Monday, December 23, 2013

DFP CARES: How selling and service can come together

"I have a funny story," shares Lorenzo "Enchong" Formoso, the Chief Operating Officer of Duty Free Philippines. "(After typhoon Yolanda,) Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro had made a joke that the teachers in the affected areas may even need donations of makeup because they had lost all of their makeup. But one of our suppliers, L'Oreal Singapore, somehow heard about it, and they are now sending over makeup to be donated to Samar and Leyte. That is the beauty of the position we are in. We have counterparts in other countries, and even our so-called competitors, and many suppliers, and so many of them, within hours of seeing the landfall of typhoon Yolanda were on the phone, asking me, 'How can we help? Now, they have a conduit because of the relationships we share. We are lucky that we have foreign partners because they have bigger budgets. For example, Johnnie Walker is our top selling product and they have pledged that for every bottle, they will donate one dollar for Yolanda rehabilitation efforts."

The business of travel retail which encompasses suppliers, operators, and airport operators is covered by a publication called The Moodie Report. Its founder and chairman, Martin Moodie, was among the first responders. As soon as he saw the news of the devastation of the strongest typhoon to ever make landfall, he called and made a substantial pledge. "We have always had CSR, and we always help out with relief work. But we feel that the scope of the damage and devastation of this last storm was a wake-up call. We now want our response to relief and rehabilitation to be more structured and strategic." And thus was DFP C.A.R.E.S born: the acronym stands for Coordinated Action in Response to Emergency Situations. Debbie F. Ongsip shares that one of the first moves of DFP C.A.R.E.S was to pinpoint islands and towns that had not yet received relief goods. "We will be bringing to one of the islands off Bantayan Island in Cebu some of our special products from our grocery, not the usual relief goods, to make their Media Noche this coming New Year more meaningful."

This idealism and patriotism is part and parcel of the DNA of Duty Free. As Enchong revealed in the book on the DFP's anniversary, "We were part of the Yellow Army spirit. We are proud to be in government, and we are happy that we can provide not just goods but a great experience. Sometimes, in ordinary retail operations, it's all profit, profit, profit. With us, it's not just profit that we're proud of. We're proud of being able to make people happy. We are part of their homecoming experience, and it really goes beyond just shopping."


One way that DFP defines its role in the rebuilding of the nation is by sharing their expertise in retail. "We are in selling. What are the retail outlets in the affected provinces? Mostly the public markets. We are looking into rebuilding the markets and helping to maintain the stalls. We know that it will take more than just a year to rebuild and we want to be there for the long term."

DFP Philippines also assists returning OFW's with free assistance from TLRC. They also provide special discounts for appliances and tools which are needed in setting up a small business. Enchong says, "It may have been sell,sell, sell, but now it's selling and service." Electronic golf carts ferry customers to the bus stops so they don't have to carry their purchases. If customers need help with their documentation with SSS, LTO, COA, OWWA and NBI, the OFW Center offers free assistance, making DFP a “one stop and shop.” "We will also start selling emergency kits at cost. These kits will contain flashlights, batteries and other emergency necessities, and the customers can buy these for their families and when they leave to work abroad, they feel safer."

The Trinity Forum, the convention for travel retail, has invited COO Formoso to present their story of DFP C.A.R.E.S in Bangkok. "We hope they will be inspired, not just to donate but to learn from what we have done."


The signature campaign of DFP Philippines has been the Babalik ka rin Campaign, which features Gary Valenciano, and touching scenes of reunited families.

They have now launched a new campaign with Richard Yap, a.k.a. Sir Chief, a.k.a. Papa Chen, with a more comedic, light hearted feeling. Richard Yap has made a name playing overprotective and somehow stern father figures, who may be misunderstood, but are completely motivated by the deep and abiding love they have for their families. He is an apt embodiment of the Filipino Everyman, who works and works for the good of his family, and a place where he can show his love.

DFP Fiestamall has something special in store for the grand homecoming of our balikbayans. The fiestamall will not only be a venue for them to spend time with their families but instead it will also be a place for them to expereince a truly and uniquely Filipino Chirstmas.

For the month of December, a line up of activities await the shoppers including mini-concerts of various celebrities such as Billy Crawford, Luis Manzano, Anne Curtis and of course Richard Yap. In different areas of the mall, there will also be balloon twisting, magician and chorale performances among others.

Ultimately beyond the individual gifts that friends and family members will receive, the memorable experience is THE REAL present. Ito and Pasalubong!

There’s really no reason to wait and experience a fun filled Christmas Pasalubong Shopping at Duty Free Fiestamall.

Meeting Lorenzo "Enchong" Formoso, DFP Chief Operating Officer

DFP Chief Operating Officer Lorenzo “Enchong” Formoso and his Chief of Staff Debbie Ongsip

Most of the biggest brand names worldwide are available at Duty Free Philippines at reasonable prices.

Cosmetics are among the most competitively priced products to be found at DFP.

Choosing your own pasalubong is one of the most enjoyable experiences at

Friday, December 20, 2013


Christmas is coming in just a few days, and I can only imagine the families affected by Typhoon Yolanda just wanting to spend their time together, even with the simplest noche buena on their table.

As part of the continued efforts to help our fellow Pinoys in the Visayas area, Coca-Cola, together with Philippine Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity, invites everyone to be part of a pool of volunteers who will participate in the relief and rebuilding initiatives.

Truly, every act matters. Let us share whatever we have, and do whatever we can!

Check out this heart warming video below.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Perfect 10: Metro Home's Milestone

When I first started in magazines, I reached out to friends to help me out. So much of magazine work is finding friends who share your vision and aesthetic philosophy. One friend who really helped me out was Anton Barretto, and he also went into the magazine world as the Entertaining Editor of Metro Society. Recently, Anton took on the helm of Metro Home and Entertaining. And in a dinner to celebrate "the new captain" and Metro Home's tenth year, ABS-CBN Publishing hosted a lovely dinner at the Conservatory. It was wonderful to toast a dear friend's new adventure, and in a simple, low key but still festive way. Bravo, Anton, and Congratulations to all the staff of Metro Home!

Love this cover, Anton!

The "new captain" of Metro Home, Editor-in-Chief Anton Barretto with our favorite David Chua.

Yes, that's me!

I just love the elegant set up!

Nix Alanon looking his best in a blue suit

Three's a company: Tess Villareal, Nix Alanon and I

Team Anton Forever: Marissa Lopa & Dani Aliaga

Metro Home's newest editor Anton Barretto with good friends Dani Aliaga, Kitty Jacinto, Odette & Franz Pumaren

Entertainment of the night courtesy of the beautiful Catriona Grey

Congrats Anton!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Happy to Help

They say charity begins at home. Yes, that is true, but it also helps when it is supported by the school. When I was in school, we would always have Christmas drives, when we would pack rice and canned goods for families in need, and we taught in a public school in a nearby district. So to this day, helping out is part of the glue that binds me to my friends. We have made new friends along the way, and have had our fair share of adventures.

Recently, while giving out hygiene kits at Villamor, some producers from GMA approached my best friend Angelette and me. They said they were going to do a feature on independent volunteers. I thought it was the news but it turned out to be Kusina Master, Chef Boy Logro's cooking show. Angel and I found out that Chef Boy also survived a tsunami in Tacloban way back in 1969. His inspiring story-from muro ami to houseboy to kitchen assistant to Executive Chef to television star- can be a beacon in these bleak times. We had a grand time exchanging stories and cooking tips with Chef Boy. And they also donated a few gift packs for us to distribute! Giving truly begets more giving, just as love grows from love!

Happy2Help now showing at Chef Logros cooking show on GMA7 @angelettec @leahpuyat @edsgenuino @charymerc

Made a new Friend Today! #happy2help #chefboylogro #kusinamaster @leahpuyat

Never thought I'd ever make it as a guest on a cooking show! But I am so glad I did! Big thanks and big hug to Erick Tajanlangit for making it happen! Check out the full video above.

Monday, December 09, 2013

French eating in Marseilles

When in Marseilles, France, it's a must to visit the markets and discover real French food, just like what we did!

Best Raclette Sandwich ever! C'est tellement délicieux!

The bread: Baguette, "a long thin loaf of French bread" that is commonly made from basic lean dough (the dough, though not the shape, is defined by French law).

Jamon Jamon

The spread: The Raclette cheese round is heated, either in front of a fire or by a special machine, then scraped onto the baguette.

The term raclette derives from the French word racler, meaning "to scrape," a reference to the fact that the melted cheese must be scraped from the unmelted part of the cheese onto the plate.

Traditionally the melting happens in front of an open fire with the big piece of cheese facing the heat. One then regularly scrapes off the melting side.

VoilĂ ! Merci Madam!

It's a waiting game, but it's all worth it!

Sidney, have a (BIG) bite!


Eating baguette, the French way! Isn't she beautiful?

Baguette eating contest!

Beautiful sunflowers!