May 28, 2014

Where were you at 28?

A Profile Article on InancBalci – Co-Founder and CEO of Lazada Philippines

While many of us can only dream of changing the world, InancBalci is already doing it. At 26, he co-founded South East Asia’s online retail tiger Lazada and now, at age 28, he sits as the Chief Executive Officer for Lazada Philippines.

On Being a young CEO

Balci, a Turkish raised in London, attended Purdue University in the U.S. with a double-degree in Industrial Engineering and Economics. Afterwhich, he worked on mergers and acquisitions for an investment bank in London. While working for the investment bank, Balcisaw the eminent potential in e-commerce which led him to join Rocket Internet and eventually co-found Lazada in Southeast Asia.

In the Philippines, Balci heads a pool of more than 300 employees, all of which he works very closely with. With an unabashed outlook, agile wit, and a laser-sharp eye for details, Balci perfectly fits the bill to lead a rapidly-growing online company.

Online Shopping in the Philippines

In a country where shopping malls are practically part of the fabric of the society, online shopping is something quite a number of Filipinos are unaccustomed to – there comes the perennial trust issue on using credit cards, the surprise surcharges, and unfortunately, the products not arriving at all. The malls in the Philippines, on the otherhand, have creatively articulated themselves to be not just shopping destinations but also as a means of recreation (i.e. be it the cinemas, the gaming zones, the restaurants, or as simple as the airconditioning they offer as a break from the raging tropical weather outdoors) - all of these were the issues that Balci had to dispel – and dispel he and his co-founders did. Lazada has made shopping quick, effortless, and risk-free to South East Asia and in the Philippines, this is the same principle that Balci is harping on to the Filipinos. How is this so? 

First, Lazada accommodates all those shoppers without credit cards via its cash-on-delivery payment mode. This is essential given that not everyone has a credit card or is keen on sharing their credit card details to someone – or anyone for that matter. This makes online shopping risk-free for everyone. Being an archipelago of 7,100 islands, accessibility is always an issue – a significant portion of consumers doesn’t have time or access to visit the malls but with a minimum of PhP 1,000 purchase, Lazada offers free nationwide delivery, to customers anywhere in the Philippines, just log-in, shop, and the products will be delivered at the customer’s doorstep. Lastly, Lazada offers the flexibility of having the customers return the products within 30 days for free – provided that the products are in mint condition.

In a span of two years of being in the Philippines, Balci has steered Lazada to further heights and now with more than 40,000 SKUs, reaching 90% of the online population of the Philippines, and ranking as the 4th top Facebook brand in the country with a direct audience close to 2 Million. What the dot-com bubble holds for Lazada is still yet to be revealed, but one thing is for certain, InancBalci, the 28 year-old co-founder and CEO, is definitely changing the way Filipinos buy.

About Lazada

Lazada( is Philippines’ largest online shopping mall and is pioneering e-commerce by providing a fast, convenient and secure online shopping experience combined with an extensive product offering in categories ranging from mobiles & tablets and consumer electronics to household goods, toys, fashion and sports equipment. Lazada is continuously striving to offer its customers the best possible shopping experience with multiple payment methods including cash on delivery, extensive warranty commitments and free returns. Lazada mobile applications for Android, iPhone and iPad provide additional convenience to its consumers’ allowing them to shop anywhere, anytime.

For more information, please visit For updates on Lazada’s latest innovations, as well as activities, contests and promotions, connect with us via Facebook (

Partnerships and Public Relations Manager
Lazada Philippines
3/F Salustiana T. DyBldgPaseo de Roxas corner Perea Street, Makati City PHILIPPINES
(m) +639178239725

May 13, 2014

Custom Bandanas Help You Express Your Unique Style

Most people like to have a unique look. They like to express their personal style through their clothing and accessories. They want their style to represent who they are, who their friends are and what they stand for. The ability to choose a unique style is something that helps a person stand out from the crowd. Many people realize that they will be judged by the first impression that they give to others. For this reason, they work hard to make sure that the first impression they present is their true self or what they truly want to be.

Most people know that wearing a bandana is much more than wearing a simple covering over the head or on another part of the body. It is more than just a small piece of colored fabric. It actually is a representation of what an individual truly is or what they want to be. They realize that wearing a bandanna is a way for them to show more style and accessorize their already unique outfit. Most people who wear bandannas are interested in making sure that they look unique. This is true no matter if they are using it to wrap their head or if they are simply allowing it to hang out of their back pocket.

There are lots of different bandanas that a person can buy in department stores, flea markets and online. However, all of these are basically the same style. A bandanna is obviously something that adds to the look of an individual. However, when a person wants to stand out from the crowd, they are going to wear custom bandanas. They will be able to choose from a large variety of colors. This will allow them to accessorize properly with their clothing and represent their favorite sports team, their country, or their group of friends. A person can choose to have their name written across their personalized bandanna.

Even though bandanas play a large role in accessorizing the outfit of an individual who is interested in expressing their own unique style, there are other accessories that can help with this. For example, there is a lot of people who carry a flask. Instead of buying one in the exact same style that the vast majority of other individuals already owns, it would be better to buy custom flasks. While expressing your own individuality and uniqueness, you will never lose a flask that has your name on it.

May 9, 2014

Could Your Business Benefit from Corporate Hospitality?

Most of us have heard of corporate hospitality but you may be unaware of the huge range of advantages it has to offer. This article reveals more about corporate events and enables you to make the most of this opportunity for your business.

If you have never considered corporate hospitality days or events for your business before, you could be missing a trick. There are lots of opportunities to indulge in this area to enhance your business, as well as your relationships with your employees and your clients.

There are many different corporate events that you can treat clients to, mostly based around sport. Football is a sport that naturally lends itself well to the hiring of corporate boxes that come with food and drink thrown in (most Premier League and a number of Championship clubs have the stadium facilities to offer this type of experience to those willing to pay for it), and horse racing is not far behind – the likes of Aintree, Epsom and Cheltenham all have corporate packages and facilities available for visitors to sign up for as a way of making their day out extra special.
 Racegoers Hospitality & Steam Train Package
The one tripping point many business owners see is the fact that they have to pay to enjoy corporate hospitality. Cheltenham racecourse, Wimbledon tennis and all manner of football venues – these all provide great choices when it comes to hospitality, but they all cost money. However if this is how you are looking at the situation you should look to the long term instead.

The key focus when you are looking at investing in this area is to look at the long term picture instead of the short term one. You’ll notice I used the word ‘investing’ there as well. It’s well worth making sure you have the ability to change your mindset if you see every penny you spend as an expense. When it comes to corporate hospitality Cheltenham based or anywhere else, you are investing in the future relationships. These will help to provide more income for your business, which isn’t a bad thing.

You can take your day at Cheltenham to the next level by adding transport to the racecourse via its vintage steam-powered train to your package. While you can drive to the venue, the traffic around the area on race days can be extremely busy and delay your arrival – when you’re paying more than you normally would for the experience, you don’t want to waste a minute! Instead, why not park at Toddington station, enjoy the live band on the platform and cruise to the racecourse on a beautifully restored train with a buffet and bar to keep you and your party suitably refreshed? The journey takes about thirty minutes at a leisurely pace through some of the most attractive countryside that Britain has to offer.

Many business owners tend to add corporate hospitality events to their regular annual marketing expenditure because they work. If they do it regularly it must mean they are getting results – otherwise why spend the money? Keep this in mind when you are considering booking such an event for your target audience in order to get the results you want to.


April 21, 2014 - The magical land of Ooo has found its way to Manila as Ayala Malls brings Adventure Time characters for an exciting journey filled with awesome games and surprises this April to July.

Cartoon Network’s unstoppable hit, loved by kids around the world reaching 131 million global viewers, is brought to life with the Adventure Time Live on Stage that takes viewers on a trip to Finn’s candy-tinted world. Adventure Time takes place in the Land of Ooo, a post-apocalyptic wasteland filled with magical creatures where series heroes Finn the Human and Jake the Dog, battle against a pastiche of geekish villains.

Join Fann, a mad Adventure Time fan, as he attempts to write a totes radical Adventure Time fan fiction story that will turn into a real life adventure, where Finn and Jake are sucked through a wormhole between the Land of Ooo and Fann’s bedroom closet.

Get ready to groove, bust a tune and sing your heart out at the Royal Karaoke as you help them accomplish their mission: rescue Fann and his friends in the audience by helping them to come up with a story that doesn’t sting.

Witness the premiere of Adventure Time Live on Stage, meet and greet the cast and fast track time to create the most hardcore, epic fan fiction adventure story of all time at the different Ayala Malls:
  • April 26 & 27 at the Glorietta Activity Center palm Drive, 1:00pm, 4:00pm and 6:00 pm
  • May 2, 3 & 4 at the Abreeza Mall Activity Center, 1:00 pm, 3:30 pm and 6:00 pm
  • May 9, 10 & 11, at the Centrio Mall Activity Center, 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm
  • May 17&18 at the Fairview Terraces Activity Center, 1:00pm, 4:00pm and 6:00 pm
  • May 24 at The District Imus 2F Activity Center, 4:00pm and 6:00 pm
  • May 25 at The District DasmariƱas Activity Center, 5:00 pm
  • May 30, 31 & June 1 at Ayala Center Cebu Activity Center, 2:00pm, 4:00pm and 6:00 pm
  • June 7 & 8 at the TriNomaActivity Center, 2:00pm, 4:00pm and 6:00 pm
  • June 13, 14 & 15 at the Market! Market! Activity Center, 1:00pm, 3:00pm and 6:00 pm
  • June 17 at the Pavillion 2F Activity Center, 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm
  • June 20, 21 & 22 at the Alabang Town Center Activity Center, 11:00 am, 3:00pm and 6:00 pm
  • June 27 & 28 at the Harbor Point Activity Center, 11:00 am, 3:00pm and 6:00 pm
  • July 5 & 6 at the Marquee Mall Activity Center, 1:00pm, 3:30pm and 6:00 pm
Have a one great Adventure Time with your kids and head down to the Ayala Malls this season!


About Cartoon Network Asia Pacific

Cartoon Network, the number one kids’ channel in Asia Pacific, offers the best in original animated entertainment while also drawing from the world’s most iconic cartoon library of Warner Bros., MGM and Hanna-Barbera titles. Original series showcased on Cartoon Network include the international hit franchise Ben 10, Emmy-winning Regular Show and BAFTA-winning comedies The Amazing World of Gumball and Adventure Time. Cartoon Network is available in 27 countries throughout Asia Pacific and is currently seen in more than 75 million pay-TV homes. Online, Cartoon Network reaches nearly three million unique visitors a month in the region. In Asia Pacific, Cartoon Network is owned and operated by Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific, Inc., a Time Warner company. Their website is at

May 6, 2014

Ridge-to-REEF Approach

Ridge to Reef
It has been a trend worldwide that development interventions should be “green-to-blue economy” or otherwise known as the “ridge-to-reef approach”.  This means that governments should not just focus on reforestation alone, or agricultural development alone, but the entire biodiversity, which should encompass both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.  Since there have been heaps of forestry and agriculture programs in the past, development funding at present are focused on integrated coastal resource management, marine protected area development and management, reef management and the like.  In line with this, eco-tourism has been promoted in resource-rich countries like Australia, the Philippines, Saint Lucia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Japan, the US, Brazil, Canada, Belize and Dubai.  This is to boost awareness on the significance of maintaining ecological integrity.

Among the most visited tourism sites are reefs like the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the Red Sea Coral Reef near Egypt, the Belize Barrier Reef and Florida Reef in the Atlantic Ocean.  Although some scientists claim that scuba diving on these areas threatens coral reefs, we can’t really ward off people who would love to see these unique and wonderful marine creatures.  Besides, I don’t think scuba diving is really that destructive.  I believe divers are responsible enough as they can’t dive without license and I assume they know where to delve into.

Personally, I would like to experience sky diving over the Atlantic Ocean to see the Gulf, the Florida Reef, and the Florida Keys.  I would then go snorkeling over the reef and take another encounter with dolphins. 

Reef Official Store, SANDY, black blue pink, Girls : Sandals : Essentials, RF-001541I wonder what tourists should bring when spending holidays in Florida Keys? Certainly, if traveling from overseas, passport; otherwise one would be stranded at the immigration office; then probably a DSLR and underwater cameras to capture under- and over-water sceneries.  There are definitely grocery and drug stores to purchase what one may need, but it could be a lot cheaper to buy outside tourism sites items like sunscreen lotion, soap and shampoo.  For sure bathing suits, comfortable flats, floppyhat, sunnies, snorkel and goggles are equally important.  I think it is better to have a pair of reef sandy flip flops to enjoy a relaxing walk on coastlines.  Some girl's sandals may be comfy on the streets but not as cozy on the sand.

Going back to Eco-tourism, I think the best way to maintain ecological integrity is to bring more people to natural environments like the reefs.  The consciousness about preservation and conservation should spark from every individual.  When people see the beauty of these natural environments, the more they see the need to preserve and conserve it.  It would be beneficial, therefore, for governments to provide incentives to eco-tourism establishments who are offering cheap tour packages with environmental awareness building.

May 3, 2014

Mother’s Day at Solaire: Choose from discounted room packages and dinner set menu


Mothers know best. But this time, Solaire has thought of the best for the special women in our lives. From the special discounted rates in the ultimate family staycation to the exquisite set menus in our fine dining establishments, we’ve made sure that this will be one unforgettable Mother’s Day.

Bring the entire family this ‘Mother’s Day weekend’ and stay in one of our luxurious suites with discounted rates. Under the Summer Family Getaway packages, our rooms go as low as PhP6,000++ for Deluxe Room Cityview and PhP7,000++ for the Deluxe Room Bayview. The special rates are also available in Grand Deluxe Cityview (PhP8,000++), Grand Deluxe Bayview (PhP9,000++) and 2-Bay Suite (PhP12,000).

Our amazing staycation packages come with an impeccable buffet breakfast for two adults and two kids age 6 years and below. For kids who are 7 to 12 years old, we offer a 50% dining discount. Your stay also includes a free use of the swimming pool and the fitness center. To test your luck, the package comes with PhP500 worth of gaming credits.

If you opt to celebrate mom’s special day with a lavish dinner, we have prepared delectable set menus in Fresh, Yakumi, Finestra, Red Lantern and Strip. Everyone in the family can enjoy our mini pizza creation of the day (Roasted Branzino in potato crust, Versuvio tomatoes, white wine and Gamberoni), Pasta Carbonara in rich and creamy sauce with pancetta bacon, Limon Cello lemon and Chicken Parmigiano at our Italian restaurant Finestra.

For the lovers of Japanese cuisine, meanwhile, we offer a special menu that includes Gyuniku Tataki (Seared beef strip loin with onion dressing and micro herbs), Yakumi Sushi and sashimi sampler, Lobster mini soup, Ebi tempura, Chilean Seabass teriyaki and Steamed Japanese style egg custard with foie gras.

Red Lantern also offers a sumptuous set menu for those who prefer Chinese dishes. The family can feast on Hand rolled Beijing duck, Pumpkin soup with seafood and white fungus, Deep fried crispy shrimps with sweet mayonnaise, Wok fried prime beef black pepper sauce, Steamed sliced fish with Tofu in black bean sauce, the seasons best vegetables with oyster sauce, and Braised noodles with spring onions and ginger sesame oil.

Steak house Strip also offers a Mother’s Day menu consisting of Green Pea sphere and crisp ham; Tomato salad dried olive oil and goat’s cheese; Foie gras crumble mousse with candied fruit and nut; Seared tuna blood orange sponge, watermelon and labuyo chili crust; Pork belly beer braised and tomato relish; Smoked Angus beef and Caramel Sand torch banana.

All of our set menus are priced at PhP1,900 and all come with the Solaire Mother’s Day creation, the Caramel cheesecake with red berries and white chocolate silk. If you want to go all –out however, our buffet outlet Fresh is ready with Lechon (Charcoal grilled suckling pig), Roasted prime rib of ‘Gold Label’ prime beef, Brioche baked whole salmon Coulibiac, seafood delights and a long list of desserts which include tarts, cupcakes, cookies, parfaits, doughnuts, puddings and cakes.

May it be the ultimate staycation or a gastronomic adventure in one of our first-class restaurants, Mother’s Day at Solaire is definitely a great bonding opportunity for the entire family.

For reservations, call 888 8888 or log on to for more details.