Movie Review: Black Butler


Bed targets back pain, neck ache

RGC CEO Natividad Cheng (center) with (from left) Stephen Lee, RGC associate sales director, Aloysius Chew Hung Meng, GM for Simmons Southeast Asia, William Lee, RGC executive vice president, Atricia Chan, marketing executive for Simmons Southeast Asia, Francis Tay, senior regional manager for Simmons Southeast Asia, Preston Yu, customer service manager for Simmons Southeast Asia. We complained about a competing brand of beds that promised us the moon but delivered only aches, pains, and disappointment. Without missing a beat, Marvey Alcantara, consumer marketing manager for Uratex, guessed the brand. She also explained the exact reason for our nightly trials and tribulations. Impressed at her wealth of knowledge about what goes on in the deepest recesses of a box-spring, we probed deeper, taking an occasional break to bounce around the many beds on display at the 2nd floor of the Ronac Art Center near the corner of Ortigas and Santolan in North Greenhills. “In pocket spring mattresses, each coil is individually wrapped,” Alcantara explained. “Other mattresses use continuous springs. When you lay or sit down on one side, the other side bounces or shifts. In a pocket spring mattress, when you sit on one side, the other side remains stable.” Uratex and the foreign, high-end brand they carry, Simmons, offer extended guarantees unlike their competitors. Uratex offers a 15-year warranty on their pocket spring mattresses, while Simmons offers a 10-year warranty. Asked why the warranty for Uratex is longer when it costs less, Alcantara replied, “Because it's locally produced. We import Simmons through Malaysia but the raw materials come from Japan, particularly the pocket springs.” The guarantee covers 25% against sagging. If the mattress deforms, they will replace the entire product. Fabric tearing due to negligence is not covered by the guarantee.


Campi speaks out on Asean integration

As the 5th Philippine International Motor Show (PIMS) on September 18–21 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City was announced, the members of organizing group Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines (Campi) were barraged by questions about everything from the new license plates to the traffic situation to the driving habits of Filipino motorists. Rommel Gutierrez (7L) of Toyota Motor Philippines, who replaced UMC's Elizabeth Lee as Campi president early this year, fielded most of the questions. China Business asked Atty Gutierrez if Asean integration would affect Campi members in any way given that the industry had been enjoying zero tariff for nearly half a decade. Gutierrez pointed out that it was “since 2010 that AFTA tariff rates went down to zero. So we have adjusted to that.” He further explained, “The Philippines is not an exporting country. We have no exports of CBUs, although we have parts and components. Integration into Asean would entail the integration of production and distribution. So we may have to make big adjustments to fully integrate into Asean.” Asked if having an AEC would impact local car prices, Gutierrez replied, “It will not drastically affect prices as they are right now. Although the challenge is there, because the cost gap between a locally produced vehicle and an imported one is around US$2,000. That will have to close as much as possible so we can compete with [the rest of] Asean.” “That's one of our requests from government, to give some support so we can lessen the cost gap between locally produced vehicles and the ones we import,” he concluded. Highlights of the September motor show will include the launching of the latest models and technologies, including concept engines and hybrid cars, by most of the participating brands. There will also be a showcase of a dozen iconic cars from six decades of Philippine automotive trends called “Progress in Motion: The Evolution of the Philippine Automotive Industry.”


Delta is iPhone of faucets

Anyone who has shopped for their own bathroom fixtures is probably familiar with the Delta Faucet Company. The biggest American faucet manufacturer has been on the cutting edge  of technology since it rolled out its first single-handle faucet in 1954. We spoke to David Naber, Delta Faucet GM for Apac, who was in Manila recently to launch new collections for the Philippine market. Naber, part of the triumvirate that runs the company, showed us the faucets found in landmarks like the Venetian Macao, Trump Ocean Club in Panama, and the current World Cup stadium in Brazil. Delta Faucet's patented technology allows you to turn the tap on and off by a touch of the neck. Also, the company's special water delivery system makes you, as Naber said, “feel like you're receiving more water even when the water that comes out has actually been reduced.” Asked about the wear and tear of such a high-tech faucet, Naber pointed out that, even if you counted electronic product manufacturers, “We are the only company that offers a five-year warranty on the electronics. Most electronic warranties range between six months and a year.” Delta owns the patent on the capacitance touch technology for the touch-on-touch-off function in faucets. The price range for the iPhone of faucets? Touch-tech models range from US$599–699; but, unlike the iPhone, Delta also offers faucets starting at US$90 for the mass market—Marion Marking


Palafox celebrates 25th anniversary

What an eventful quarter century. Renowned architectural firm Palafox Associates celebrated its 25th anniversary this month with a dinner and cocktails bash. The consultancy BCI Asia serving as the event coordinator. To mark the event, Architect Felino “Jun” Palafox Jr. entertained a crowd of VIPs at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati with a guest list including foreign dignitaries, business scions, and government officials. Palafox Associates is now a “multidisciplinary” firm with a global clientèle. A lapsed seminarian, Felino Palafox Jr. remains the principal architect and founding partner, which he jointly runs with his daughter Karima V. Palafox, an urban-planner, and a pool of associates. Since 1988, Palafox Associates' portfolio has grown to international proportions. These span the glittering Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Masjid mosque in Cotabato; the Forbes Tower in Makati; the La Mesa Ecopark; the ambitious revival projects for the Pasig River and San Juan; and many more. As one of the Philippines' more visible architecture and design personalities, Palafox enjoys his reputation as a go-to person whenever the press need a familiar face to explain why urban planning is essential. A keen speaker and presenter, Palafox' many voluble sayings include his assessment of the next 100 years: “The 21st century will be a re-century. Renewal, redevelopment, re-use, re-cycle, re-engineer, re-plan and re-design.”

China Business–Philippines

No Facebook? No Problem.

I'm now sitting on the steps of a bus in Minqin county, Gansu province, very far into northwest China. Except for the chatter of five gentlemen a dozen yards away and the singing of birds overhead, it is a quiet afternoon.

Such moments of solitude are rare for a journalist covering China under an official itinerary—which makes this brief isolation more precious.

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The Car of the Future

The average university student may be thinking about the next finals exam he is about to take. But while Tesla Motors co-founder Elon Musk was still at university, he was thinking about the future of humanity.

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When I worked for a big commodity trader in Hong Kong a few years ago, we had a young risk manager who used to sit in front of multiple screens all day long looking at multiple parabolics.

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This is What Php45 Million Looks Like

The City of Manila is enjoying a resurgence driven by two things. First, the 800-hectare Entertainment City rising on the western portion of Roxas Boulevard. Add a comment


Banker’s Club

In the good old days, being the general manager of an international bank’s overseas office really meant something.

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The Riches

A closer look at the minerals under Philippine soil

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