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Tech Round-Up: Spotify's Music + Talk, TNT's TikTok Challenge, And More!

Here are tech-related news items and updates to know now

During the pandemic, we've all become dependent on digital platforms, redefining the way we live and, ultimately, making our lives a bit easier and more bearable despite the challenging times. These online avenues have not only brought us comfort through entertainment, they've made staying at home more convenient as well. 


Here are some tech-related news and updates to know now: 



Manulife Online launches new features

According to leading life insurer Manulife’s Asia Care Survey, at the height of the pandemic last year, 70% of Filipinos preferred online channels to manage their insurance policies. With this insight, Manulife Philippines has further accelerated its digitalization efforts by introducing new features on Manulife Online, its mobile-optimized customer website, to provide more convenient, secure, and seamless services–anytime, anywhere. 


Besides real-time updating of personal information and tracking fund value for investment-linked plans, customers can now make online payments in advance of their due dates, and select the amount of premium they would like to pay. They can also download premium notices and variable life statements of accounts. 


A Manulife policyholder since 2010, Popstar Royalty and Manulife brand ambassador Sarah Geronimo shared how life insurance has been a great investment for her, providing her financial protection amid life’s many uncertainties. To manage her policies, she recognizes the importance of digital platforms like Manulife Online, because it has been a huge help for her when juggling financial management with her other day-to-day responsibilities. “Manulife Online allows me to manage my policies better, nababayaran at na-a-update ko ang mga ito digitally. Gusto ko rin na I can keep track of my funds’ performance regularly by accessing Manulife Online,” Sarah shared.


For all current Manulife customers, Manulife Online is available at online.manulife.com.ph.


Sarah Geronimo for Manulife
Sarah Geronimo for Manulife


Spotify launches Music + Talk in the Philippines

Spotify launches Music + Talk in the Philippines, a new type of audio experience that brings together music tracks and spoken word commentary, wrapped up into one harmonious listening experience. From today, listeners can access an array of locally-made Music + Talk shows and episodes by popular Filipino creators to experience a rich, on-demand listening experience.  


From a song’s origin story, to a discussion on trends and charts, the new format enables listeners to go deeper into the music via conversations and commentary from leading creators and musicians, including Jugs and Teddy, Jim and Saab and the band, The Itchyworms.  


According to Spotify’s Culture Next Report, 51% of Filipino millennials and 52% of Filipino Gen Zs believe listening to music without the background knowledge of the culture it came from is a concern. Music + Talk provides a seamless discovery opportunity, allowing listeners to  explore and interact with music tracks within an episode, and the ability to like, save, and see more information about a track without having to leave the episode page or search for it manually.


Filipinos can access shows including Soundtrip with Jugs & Teddy, Makinig Ka Muna with Jim & Saab, and Worms Upon A Time: An Itchyworms Podcast. 


Through Anchor, Spotify’s all-in-one podcast platform, anyone, whether a professional podcaster, or someone who simply loves music, can create a Music + Talk show that seamlessly mixes spoken word content and music with access to Spotify’s library of over 70 million tracks. 


Music + Talk is available to both Premium and Free listeners.


Spotify launches Music + Talk in the Philippines
Spotify launches Music + Talk in the Philippines


Celebs and online creators spread saya and Pinoy pride through the #TNTYanAngPinoyOneBreathChallenge on Tiktok

Celebs and online creators put their rapping skills to the test by taking on the latest TikTok trend, the #TNTYanAngPinoyOneBreathChallenge featuring the mobile brand's anthem of TNT’s “’Yan ang Pinoy” by Asia’s Soul Supreme KZ Tandingan. 


“’Yan Ang Pinoy” is the latest campaign of mobile brand TNT, which aims to reignite Filipino pride amid the challenges we face and encourage everyone to keep on chasing their dreams. Through the campaign, TNT and KZ also seek to positively impact the Kabataang Pinoys especially, who may be looking for reassurance in pursuing their dreams. KZ kicked off the #TNTYanAngPinoyOneBreathChallenge on TikTok, an increasingly popular platform among Filipinos who want to promote and share good vibes through creative content like fun challenges and trends. For the challenge, KZ rapped “’Yan Ang Pinoy” in only one breath. 


With this fun and proudly Pinoy challenge, the #TNTYanAngPinoyOneBreathChallenge has inspired other celebrities like Darren Espanto, Mimiyuuuh and, other creators to take on it and showcase the talent of Kabataang Pinoys.


Jump in on the challenge on TikTok using the hashtag #TNTYanAngPinoyOneBreathChallenge for a chance to be selected and featured by KZ Tandingan! Follow TNT’s official social media accounts for more updates. 


@kztandingan

Are you up for a challenge mga KaTropa? Ilabas na ang talents at maki-duet with me sa ##TNTYanAngPinoyOneBreathChallenge

♬ original sound - KZ


@mimiyuuuh

PAHABAAN DAW OH! HUMINGA!! TO TALAGA!!Ilabas na ang talents at maki-duet with me sa #TNTYanAngPinoyOneBreathChallenge! LEZ GAW!!!!!!! @@kztandingan

♬ original sound - mimiyuuuh


@darrenespanto

Mga KaTropa! Samahan niyo ako gawin ang #TNTYanAngPinoyOneBreathChallenge ni Ate @kztandingan . Ibida niyo ang galing niyo, duet and tag me and @tntph !

♬ original sound - Darren Espanto


Education financing solution provider Bukas onboards new partner institutions 

Providing much-needed access to education to the Filipino youth, Bukas, a tech-enabled education financing platform, widens its reach with new partner institutions from private universities such as De La Salle University, University of Asia and the Pacific, Panpacific University, Technological Institute of the Philippines, St. Louis University, Colegio de Dagupan, to more specialized schools like SoFA Design Institute, Enderun Colleges, De La Salle Medical and Health Sciences Institute, Avion School, and Uplift Code Camp. 


A third of Filipinos have not attained higher education with affordability being a major barrier. In some cases, students may have enrolled for the first few semesters, but their financial situation at home does not make it sustainable for them to continue and finish their degrees. This is reflected in the annual 10-15% dropout rate that many schools in Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, experience. 


“This new partnership between DLSU and Bukas is very timely as many of our students continue to feel the effects of the pandemic on their family's resources. With Bukas' tuition installment plans, we can provide our students more options to fund their education so that their learning continues during these difficult times,” shares Dr. Christine Joy A. Ballada, Dean of Student Affairs of De La Salle University. 


Committed to serving Filipino students, Bukas is offering an affordable, complementary solution that aims to empower Filipino families to build a better tomorrow through quality education. The offering is accessible to more families and students who are not able to rely on bank loans, or scholarships. With a base monthly interest rate of up to 1.5% that is lower than other financing institutions, and payment installments up to 12 months, Bukas makes it sustainable to parents, and even to working students to manage their school finances. 


With the onboarding of new partners, Bukas now has a total of 27 partner schools, with presence in 57 campuses, including Mapua University, Far Eastern University, Adamson University, Our Lady of Fatima University, PHINMA Education Network, University of Nueva Caceres, Centro Escolar University, and Eskwelabs, among others.


The BUKAS PH Team
The Bukas PH Team


ComCo Southeast Asia’s “Write to Ignite Blogging Project” unveils Top 40 finalists for Season 2

ComCo Southeast Asia congratulates the great 108 storytellers across the Philippines who have shared their inspiring stories in “Write to Ignite Blogging Project” Season 2.


The “Write to Ignite Blogging Project” is back for Season 2 to continue championing the triumph of the human spirit through inspiring stories during these challenging times. “Dear Survivor”, the theme for Write to Ignite Season 2, puts a hopeful light on everyone who are affected by the recent crises.


Bloggers from all over the Philippines once again joined the initiative by writing a letter to themselves and blog about their stories, experiences, and life lessons during these trying times. The participants, who hail from various cities such as Ilocos, Baguio, Laguna, Bulacan, Manila, Albay, Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, and Davao, each generously shared their stories that reflect not just their own plights, but of their communities.


To commemorate this, ComCo Southeast Asia recently held the “Storytellers Get-Together and Top 40 Reveal,” a virtual event that celebrates the 108 storytellers for “Write to Ignite Season 2” as well as announces the Top 40 finalists. It was a fun event filled with games and surprises that also served as a platform for the bloggers to share their experiences in crafting their entries to the rest of the storytellers. The storytellers even raised their cities’ pride high by wearing headgear that represents their hometown.


The Top 40 finalists, including the rest of the Great 108 storytellers, are invited to a special virtual Awarding Ceremony this August 27, where the winning blog entries will be announced.


ComCo Southeast Asia’s “Write to Ignite Blogging Project” Season 2
ComCo Southeast Asia’s “Write to Ignite Blogging Project” Season 2


Lead photos from Manulife and Spotify