Philippines – If there’s a cohort that bore the brunt of the drastic shifts in the pandemic, it would have to be those at the driver’s seat – the parents. Amid augmented health scares and a dampened economy, parents have to keep it tight as they continue to provide support to their families financially and emotionally.
With this, parents are now becoming more open when it comes to finding a source of income. For Filipino parents specifically, work that offers a flexible arrangement is a top option, and within this favored setup, half of Filipino parents, or 53%, now have online freelance jobs as a top choice – those acquired through freelance platforms Upwork and the like – according to a study by digital platform for parenting, Smart Parenting. This was followed by online selling (35%) and online content creation on social media sites Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok (7%).
Filipino parents are scrambling financially with half, or 52%, were found to have not stashed an emergency fund. The rest have saved up for the rainy days, with the majority (39%) having built their funds to cover less than two years’ worth of emergency expenses.
Within family income, funding for children’s education (24%) and paying off debts (24%) are top allocations followed by spending for the family’s house and condo unit (23%). Migrating abroad also takes part in Filipino Families’ plans where 7% said that income goes into making this a reality. Meanwhile, amid personal struggles, Filipino families still include in their priorities giving back to other people, where 8% stated income is spent on philanthropy.
The current life-threatening situation is taking a toll on the majority’s mental health. Because of this, families’ mental and emotional well-being has become a top concern for parents in the present. This is true for Filipino parents (66%), followed by worries about adding to their income and caring for their children’s emotional health and social skills (16%).
The Smart Parenting Pulse: 2021 Audience Survey surveyed 2,800 respondents in the Philippines.
Esports is growing exponentially and on a global scale. According to a report by Newzoo, in the Asia-Pacific alone, the revenue within the gaming market has reached US$84.3B in 2020, making the region the largest market in the world.
In the Philippines, the number of games has now reached 43 million, and one esports platform in the country, KALARO, is on the mission to be at the forefront of the esports industry in the country and engage these players – and more.
Launched in October 2020 for its close-beta testing, KALARO was launched by The-AsiaGroup.com Inc. as a fully integrated end-to-end esports digital platform. The application includes features like tournament management, one-on-one challenges, and team competitions as well as coaching, and buy-ins, among others.
Almost one year after, we touched base with its Founder & CEO Jun D. Lasco to get to know how much it has grown since its entry into the industry – the platform itself and its vision and mission – and ultimately, after delta and beta testing for the period, finally, the launch of its first public version 1.0.
KALARO, the esports super app by the Filipino for the Filipino gamers
Jun turns to a study similarly by Newzoo wherein 100,000 gamers across the globe were surveyed and discovered the three main motivations behind getting into esports: to unwind and relax, to engage in some form of competition, and interestingly, the social aspect of the game.
“More than providing a digital platform, one of our core missions and advocacies is being actively part in helping the youth in their mental health issues…and hopefully, KALARO will be one of the major platforms, social platforms, where they can engage socially, and compete, and be able to [have a sense of achievement], and unwind and have fun,” said Jun in the MARKETECH Spotlight interview.
Today, KALARO is an esports super app with online tournament management integrated into its own video hub, brand integration, and social networking capabilities and with its very own e-wallet.
KALARO is the Filipino term for playmate, and true to its origins, the platform carries the mission of bringing out the world-class talent in every Filipino stakeholder in the industry which includes the caster, gamer or player, team, the tournament organizer, and brand-product creator, for them to discover and be discovered by others.
“And again, we’d like to showcase KALARO as a world-class product and a product that all the stakeholders in the industry can really benefit from,” said Jun.
Releasing KALARO’s public version 1.0
So after a year since it was piloted, we asked, is KALARO now ready to launch its public version 1.0?
Jun answers a firm yes.
After beta- and delta- testing since October, and with now more than 7,800 gamers on the platform doing it on a nationwide scale, KALARO is ready for the next stage, officially launching its public version this September 2021 to start its journey towards its first one million users.
“Yes, definitely, we’re ready to launch version 1.0. This is the first public release of version 1.0. of KALARO. [We’ve been] fine-tuning the application [since] October last year [up until] end of August [this year]. And we are now ready to package version 1.0 and release it starting September 18,” revealed Jun.
Jun said that the goal has always been about bringing a world-class app with a solid product-market-fit, which is why it took the company almost a year before it launched its public version.
Launching KALARO in October 2020 was far from an easy feat, where Jun revealed the challenges they had to go through before they launched the beta version in the middle of the pandemic.
“The beta launch is very significant, because it was really challenging, working together in a virtual environment,” shared Jun.
Right off the bat, the predicament that the KALARO team had to face was not being together physically and communicating while being from different parts of the country. Like the proverbial genius working in their garage, KALARO was developing and programming the platform in the night.
Soon, following the beta launch, KALARO had 750 gamers to close-beta-test the platform, and from their feedback, the real fine-tuning began. And now here one year after, KALARO is growing from strength to strength.
After the public version is launched this September, Jun reveals, “We will have a very aggressive set of activities and campaigns for the last quarter of this year, so that the market [of almost] 50 million gamers and our fans would realize the benefits and the value that make KALARO really enjoyable.”
The mission and vision of KALARO
One year after its official foray into the esports scene, we touched base on how KALARO sees its role in the lives of gamers and Filipinos.
At its core, KALARO was built to give every gamer an equal opportunity to learn, be discovered, and gain mastery, and most of all, to have fun and to also present opportunities to earn a living. But as a super app, KALARO isn’t now merely attending to the hunger for esports action but has moved to become so much more for its users.
Jun summarizes KALARO’s mission in the three major areas: financial wellness, mental health, and most of all, national pride.
Jun shared that the goal is to develop a platform that would serve gamers’ financial wellness because as Jun puts it when someone becomes a member of KALARO, the platform would want to provide a facility and features that will help people earn extra money.
“That’s why we have our own e-wallet and are partnering with UnionBank [of the Philippines], and so on. Financial wellness is very important,” said Jun.
With esports and social platforms cited as beneficial channels to manage mental health, this has become one of KALARO’s main advocacies. Jun says KALARO is like a Facebook for gamers
“KALARO being like the Facebook for gamers will allow gamers to really socialize, interact, [and] enjoy freedom in the games that they love,” said Jun.
Above all, as a team in a country where there aren’t yet many tech innovations, putting the Philippines on the map will always be a mission. In fact, in April 2021, KALARO has begun to see its hard work and talent pay off, being named as one of the top 5 esports startups in Asia in the Esports X Business Asia Summit (EXB Asia Summit), held in Singapore.
KALARO represented the Philippines among a sea of companies from top tech innovator countries Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and the United States. In addition to this, KALARO has also successfully secured a partnership with multinational technology company for gaming, Razer, in June 2021.
“As they say, when you create a product, or when you create a service, there has to be a deep meaning as to why you’re actually building it. And again, from October last year, we have received lots of feedback and lots of suggestions, and we adapted the product of KALARO to be able to really connect to the market, and [to meet] the needs and aspirations of the gamer,” said Jun.
What’s next for KALARO?
KALARO’s growth trajectory is obviously on a promising level, and so beyond the launch of the public version, begs the question, what else is on KALARO’s future plans?
As an end-to-end esports platform, KALARO doesn’t only answer to gamers, taking a whole lot of other stakeholders within the community as the platform’s priority. Aside from the gamers, KALARO caters to streamers, casters, team managers and owners, league and tournament operators, and corporate brands.
“Since KALARO is a super app, by design, each of these stakeholders has a special role and participation inside KALARO,” said Jun.
He further shares that building an all-in-one platform has always been the objective especially in the Philippines and even in Southeast Asia as a whole where the market isn’t necessarily tech-savvy.
“You know, when we were conceptualizing KALARO, and we were going through the process of design thinking, focus group discussion, mind mapping, and so on, we really made sure that we will be able to build a holistic [and] an all-in-one solution for the esports industry. Especially here in Asia, or Southeast Asia, in particular, it could be very difficult for the stakeholders to be using say, five different applications just to be able to actively participate.”
He adds, “And the major motivations for vendors and players to participate are all inside KALARO.”
As a super app for esports, Jun shares the upcoming developments within the platform in line with its mission – and even more.
For one, the platform has partnered with one of the leading banks in the country, UnionBank, to boost KALARO’s financial service offerings. More interestingly, Jun shared that on this front, it’s not a distant possibility that there would be a Visa card for KALARO soon and even an insurance offering.
Still in line with its mission for financial inclusion, Jun also revealed that KALARO is looking into crypto- and blockchain-related features and services within the platform. Due to the growing interest of the younger generation in cryptocurrency, Jun says that KALARO is sure to leverage the power of cryptocurrency, where NFT and blockchain will be part of the roadmap.
In terms of the social aspect, KALARO will be exploring live video and voice calling features in order to heighten the experience of playing together.
“So imagine if a student or a young person in the Philippines can play with his dad, or kuya (brother) somewhere abroad, and they can interact live or play together and do other things,” said Jun.
Other than the fact that KALARO is disrupting tech in the Philippines, what is truly inspiring and makes KALARO the platform to be is above all, its advocacies to the stakeholders, who are mostly the younger generation.
“We really want to give all the chances in the world for every Pinoy and level the playing field. Even if you are not in the country’s major cities, we believe that there are huge hidden talents across the over 7,000 islands in the country,” said Jun.
“When you join KALARO, you will have instant visibility even if you are 5,000 miles away from the nation’s capital. KALARO will give you that online presence and opportunity to be seen and participate,” added Jun.
Listen to the full conversation between MARKETECH APAC’s Regional Editor Shaina Teope and KALARO’s Founder & CEO Jun D. Lasco on Spotify:
Manila, Philippines – Women’s month is long past its celebration period, but the conversation on gender equality and empowerment for women remains as vibrant and ever kicking only because of one thing: there is still so much to fight for and so much to improve in the system.
In the latest study of ‘prosumers’ by Havas Ortega, the integrated media and communications group in the Philippines of the global Havas network, it is found that almost all of Filipino prosumers, or 90% of them, believe in the power of female representation in media, specifically those in sports, to assert that women are as strong and capable as men in areas that are deemed fit only for the latter.
So first of all, what are ‘prosumers’? In an exclusive conversation with the Havas Ortega team, its Head of Data and Analytics Phil Tiongson admits they are hard to define, but that if they were to be described by a term that’s a close likeness, it would be ‘key opinion leaders’ – but still, more than that.
“If I were to put a name to them, they’re probably key opinion leaders. But they’re more than that. As an opinion leader, they’re also very much in tune with what’s happening in the world. While they’re searching for new things, new gadgets, new beliefs, new philosophies, new brands, or even new attitudes, for example, they also have a sense of social responsibility to making a difference in the world,” shared Tiongson to MARKETECH APAC.
To simply put it, studying prosumers is sort of like studying the future, Tiongson adds. Because, he said further, whatever the prosumers feel, or whatever they do now, are things that the rest of the population will do the same 18 to 24 months down the road.
So what do these future-oriented consumers think about the realm of sports and its connection to one’s lifestyle? The study, ‘Sports Forward’, in fact, presents a lot of interesting insights; some, we’ve never heard before.
First off, sports have long been a passageway for women to prove their strength and their agility, that while different from the physical abilities of men, are ever-present within them, and of equal value to society. Filipino prosumers ought to believe that there need not immediate ‘drastic’ changes in media representation when after all, the voice of women in sports is much stronger in today’s time but maybe–we just need more of it.
Now that the pandemic has halted many of the sports events in the country, it would be much trickier to do that, but still, possible. Add to this, the country witnessing an unfortunate government intervention in May 2020 to the country’s leading broadcast media network, ABS-CBN; denying them franchise, ultimately pushing the network to shut off airtime in traditional TV.
ABS-CBN has, for many years, been the home of the top collegiate sports associations in the Philippines, UAAP and NCAA, airing their games, which makes it more difficult on this front to give media share to female athletes. NCAA, however, has decided to ink a partnership with rival network GMA, while UAAP has also tied with another network TV5, to keep the ground running.
The same Havas study also unearthed other interesting data, letting us in on Filipino prosumers’ perceptions towards sports, most of which, transcends its traditional role in society.
The study found that sports are also being looked at as a source of mental health. About 88% of Filipino prosumers believe that people who play sports are more likely to stay healthy mentally and emotionally. The report notes that this points to a strong belief that sports are in the same category as relaxation, meditation, and other mental health practices that promote mental wellbeing – something we are all in need of as we continue to keep our heads above the water against Covid-19.
In line with inclusivity for women, everyone in the prosumer group, or 99%, also believes that sports brands should further create athletic apparel that takes into consideration people’s religion, most notably, the incorporation of Muslims’ hijab for women.
A lot of global brands like Nike and Adidas have the hijab already as a staple apparel in their collections. Women athletes have also accomplished important firsts, where in fact, in 2016, professional fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad became the first Muslim woman to compete for America wearing a hijab during the Rio Olympics.
What Filipino prosumers might in fact is waiting for, is for said global feats to be replicated in the local arena–more local sports apparel offering hijab attire and of course, more representation of women proudly wearing their faith in the Philippine sports industry.
In a press release, Tiongson said that sports have indeed gone a long way from being a mere spectacle and a battle for fame, glory, and money.
“Sports are now seen as content that is imbued with meaning and that can contribute to meaningful, positive change in society,” he said.
Finally, Tiongson believes that with these insights brought to the surface, all stakeholders involved in sports must rethink their contribution to all of this.
“Athletes, celebrities, leagues, clubs, federations, and even sporting apparel and retailer brands should think about their emerged role in the lives of audiences. People look up to them more closely for meaningful inspiration – and they expect more from them,” he said.
Prosumer Reports are a series of thought leadership publications by the global Havas which includes its own proprietary research across the Havas network and client companies. Philippines’ Havas Ortega Group fully implements the initiative with a local adaptation of Filipino insights and data.
United Kingdom – In celebration of the company’s 40th partnership anniversary with children charity foundation Make A Wish, Disney EMEA launches its “From Our Family To Yours” campaign, and features an animated video advertisement centered on the spirit of Filipino Christmas.
Featuring two characters, a grandmother (Lola) and her granddaughter, the video shows notable Filipino Christmas traditions, specifically parol making, or making of Christmas lanterns.
The video starts off in a Philippine location in the 1940s where the grandmother in his childhood days strolls around in a plaza or a public quadrangle and meets up with her father. He then gestures a mano, a Filipino honorific way of showing respect to the elders (0:15 video timestamp). She is then given by her father a Mickey Mouse doll as a Christmas gift.
Fast forward to 2005, and the grandmother and her granddaughter live under the same roof, and bond over making parols, a Christmas version of Filipino lanterns made from bamboo stilts and colored paper (0:50 video timestamp). However, as time passed by, the granddaughter lost interest in lantern making, evident in the granddaughter’s shift to other teenage things.
One particular scene provokes Lola’s sadness, as her granddaughter leaves the house, leaving her alone and the old Mickey Mouse doll she has been holding on for decades, an ear ripped off.
However, the video concludes with the daughter realizing that the Mickey Mouse was a memento of her Lola and decides to surprise her grandmother with a plethora of Christmas lanterns around the house and gifting her a fixed Mickey Mouse doll. Both are brought back to their cherished memories, and hug each other at the end.
The video’s official soundtrack is titled “Love Is A Compass” performed by UK artist Griff. Digital download purchases of the track and a limited edition vintage Mickey Mouse soft doll are eligible to support the Make a Wish Foundation, as 100% and 25% of the item sales respectively are donated to the said foundation.
Manila, Philippines – Filipino ice cream maker The Lost Bread has revealed on Facebook its latest limited-edition flavor – none other than the Filipino well-loved Doughnut flavor Choco Butternut.
The new ice cream selection, which is named “Coco Butternut,” is part of the brand’s Halloween promotions, and customers can get their hands on it for the entire month of November.
Choco Butternut is a staple Filipino favorite, originally coming from donut chain Dunkin Donuts. Other brands such as Mister Donut have adapted its own version, with some Filipino online bakeries recreating their versions making not only doughnuts but even cakes and cookies.
The flavor from The Lost Bread is made with rich chocolate ice cream mixed with doughnut chunks and orange coconut sugar coating throughout the ice cream. It is available in a pint-size for Php 250 and liter size for Php 450.
Founded in 2015, The Lost Bread is known for its innovative and fun ice cream flavors. Some of its iconic flavors include Filipino chocolate Chocnut, brown sugar milk tea, milk and cookies, and Filipino sweet rice Champorado.
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.