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Ciaz in focus

A closer look at Suzuki Ciaz.

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To be blunt, the first time I “encountered” Suzuki Ciaz was through an ad – there, the model unit was tan-colored (apparently they refer to this shade as “Prime Dignity Brown”) that, at any other time, may look okay, but didn’t do it for me because the shade reminded me of (sorry to say this) poop. So it was with abated breath that I waited for the unit to drive test to arrive (at my tita’s place in BF Resort Village in Las Piñas). A white unit (they call the shade “Pearl Snow White”) arrived, and I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t look “wedding-y”; it was actually a pretty car (it isn’t drop-dead gorgeous, yes; but it’s not ugly at all).

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And so I was exposed to Suzuki Philippines’ entry in the sub-compact sedan segment, the Ciaz.

Ciaz – said to be an acronym for “Comfort-Intelligence-Attitude-Zeal”, and which actually replaces Suzuki’s SX4 sedan – is, to my surprise, a nice looking car, with no out-of-place parts.

On the outside, the car is elegant – e.g. there are no lines out of place/un-sexy edges (making it look even sleek/sporty), unnecessarily large grills (as if calling for attention), unsightly headlights (as if they’re too big for the model; this one has projector-type headlamps), et cetera. Particularly when considered front-facing (complete with the signature Suzuki “S” logo in front), Ciaz looks like an executive sedan.

Inside, the Ciaz continues to be not bad. Some features worth highlighting:

  1. Start with the all-black interior. Some may find this boring, but you know, black=class, at least most of the time. An issue for me here, though, is how easy it is to leave marks on… just about everything. I placed Baliwag chicken (inside a plastic bag inside a supot/paper bag) beside me, and upon removal, the mark left didn’t come off easily (no stains; but removing the mark was tedious).
  2. The gear stick is “supported” by the dashboard – i.e. you can see what gear you’re on right on the dashboard, as opposed to other cars that: A) relies on you “knowing” your car enough to trust your shifting; or B) somewhat forces you to look at the light that appears beside the gear. The somewhat tricky part here is when you’re turning (and may have to change gears), and the dashboard is covered by the steering wheel.
  3. The enhanced leg, head and shoulder room for all occupants (and I mean all). Ciaz claims to be the longest car in its class, measuring 4,490 mm (length), 1,730 mm (width) x 1,475 mm (height), with the car getting an extended wheelbase of 2,650 mm. Particularly when you check the back seats, the space is impressive – it ought to seat three, but four (admittedly slimmer) friends didn’t find the back tight at all. There are minute details worth mentioning – e.g. rear headrests don’t adjust – though these become trivial/appear like we’re nitpicking, considering that the back also has an armrest (as needed).
  4. A keyless push start system – i.e. “Look, ma, no keys!”.
  5. An Android OS-based multimedia system with mirror-link capability and GPS navigation (As a friend said, “It’s like having a tablet there.”). It’s not iPad-fast (or since it’s Android, Samsung-like); but considering that other at-par cars aren’t even touchscreen equipped, can’t complain on this one.
  6. The trunk space isn’t bad – e.g. I carried three sacks of gravel (over 15 kilos per bag) alright; and another time, a bicycle (with the wheels removed) fitted inside nicely (plus some bags). Forget trunk space flexibility, nonetheless, since the rear seats don’t fold in any way.
  7. Equipped with dual SRS airbags and ABS with EBD (on all variants).
  8. It even has a heater – sorta (initially) out of place in a tropical country, though coming in handy when heading to places like Tagaytay or Baguio City.

Ciaz is powered by Suzuki’s K14B 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, and come with VVT (variable valve timing; with the VVT emblazoned at the side of the car) to generate up to 92 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 130 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. Obviously depending on the variant, the engine can be mated to either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic.

But for me, more than the nimble performance, Ciaz also fares well because it offers a quiet(er) and smooth(er) ride. If you’re heading to Las Piñas coming from Pasay/Baclaran via Coastal, and turn right at BF Resort Drive at Casimiro/Alabang-Zapote, you’d encounter oh-so-many humps (not to mention potholes). Braving these (humps and potholes) didn’t bother me (and my passengers) at all. Turns aren’t problematic either (stable and quite sharp).

It’s this quietness that I also remember even in longer drives (e.g. Tagaytay) – though as my cousin (who also tried the unit) said, “this calm is tricky” as it “could cocoon you into a false sense of being secured”. More than once, I got a sense that Ciaz is a lightweight car (curb weight is 1,010-1,040 kilograms) because I could “feel” big (e.g. trucks) or speeding (e.g. jeepneys driven by barumbado drivers) vehicles “pushing” me, so that I had to cut speed (then at 80kph). And you know that oft-repeated stories about smaller cars, that when you reach a certain speed, your control over it lessens faster, too? I had some moments like those in Ciaz, too…

Fuel use isn’t fixed. In ideal (and I’d say often city driving) conditions, just as when I received the unit, the dashboard boasted that consumption is at 8.8L/100 km. Driving around the city (e.g. from Las Piñas to Quezon City), this went to 8.1L/100 km. And on the way to Tagaytay, this went up to 9.1L/100 km. I’d say more than acceptable…

To sum up, this isn’t gonna be on everyone’s must-have car (particularly with cars fast mimicking tech goods, with newer units released before you can say “HELLO!”). There’s bound to be a model (or two, or three – depending on needs and budgets) that one would want to get hold of. But having said this, Ciaz is not at all a bad car particularly in its category. Sleek (even sexy), not-a-bad performer, no voracious gas guzzling, et cetera, it’s not surprising for Ciaz to be noticed. And so, yes, I do see you Ciaz…

The Suzuki Ciaz is available in five colors (Pearl Snow White, Metallic Star Silver, Metallic Mineral Grey, Pearl Super Black, and Prime Dignity Brown), and sell for P738,000 (GL M/T), P773,000 (GL A/T), and P888,000 (GLX A/T).

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M.D. dela Cruz Tan is the founder of Zest Magazine. And no, the initials (i.e. M.D.) do not make him a "medical doctor" (as many have erroneously thought in the past); he is actually a graduate of Bachelor of Arts (Communication Studies) of the University of Newcastle in New South Wales Australia (just don't ask when, he says). He can: photograph, do artworks with mixed media, write (of course), shoot flicks, community-organize, facilitate, lecture, research (with pioneering studies under his belt)... this one's a multi-tasker, who is even conversant in Filipino Sign Language. Cross his path is the dare (read: It won't be boring).

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Fight against smoking continues with Nicorette

Over the years, the Philippine government in partnership with private organizations have been working together to reduce tobacco use through awareness and education programs.

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According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, twenty eight percent (28%) or 17.3 million Filipinos are smokers. Today, the Philippines still has one of the highest per capita levels of tobacco consumption among the ASEAN countries, and this poses a major public health problem in the country.

Over the years, the Philippine government in partnership with private organizations have been working together to reduce tobacco use through awareness and education programs.

Ending the Habit

At Johnson & Johnson Philippines, we walk the talk when it comes to enforcing good, healthy habits, in order to quit smoking. Through a series of posters strategically displayed around the J&J Philippines campus, employees are reminded how Nicorette can help them break free from smoking. Nicorette is Nicotine Polacrilex, a type of nicotine replacement therapy that can help quitters reduce their cravings in as fast as 15 minutes. Quit smoking for a week with the help of Nicorette and be 9x more likely to quit for good.

“As part of our J&J credo, it is our responsibility to give our employees a healthier and safer environment in the office and at home. This is just one of our initiatives in making sure we help put a stop to smoking. Our work does not just start and end with promoting Nicorette to our consumers, but we would also like our employees to be reminded of the threats of smoking”, says Patricia Rodriguez, brand manager for self-care, Johnson & Johnson Philippines.

Quit Smoking with Nicorette

Apart from activities within the Johnson & Johnson Philippines campus, we are also making strides in advancing our goal in reducing tobacco usage in the country. Last year, in celebration of World No Tobacco Day, Johnson & Johnson Philippines introduced Nicorette to encourage more Filipino smokers to #JoinTheQuitters. Nicorette held an online event anchored on the World Health Organization’s campaign “Commit to Quit” to motivate Filipinos to permanently quit for good.  The event was streamed through Facebook live and was attended by over 700 people nationwide. Some participants were “quitters” who shared their quitting journeys and smokers who pledged to a healthier lifestyle.

  • Since then, Nicorette has worked non-stop in advocating to end smoking in the Philippines. We continued to raise awareness of the difficulties in quitting smoking with the help of our ‘quit ambassadors’. This year, in commemoration of No Smoking Month, Nicorette invited the media to participate in a roundtable discussion on the hazards of smoking. The event was attended by John Matthew Uy, a Nicorette user and successful quitter, and pulmonologist Dr. Leni Fernandez ho enlightened guests about the threats of smoking.  Apart from that, we also sought the help of “quitters” to share their quitting journey online. Our ambassadors talked about the challenges of quitting, the importance of having a strong support system in their journey and having an effective and trusted product like Nicorette that can help them through withdrawals and in stopping their cravings.

The Answer to Quit Smoking for Good

There is no excuse in being unable to quit smoking now that Nicorette is available in leading supermarkets and drugstores nationwide. Nicorette is available in your nearest drugstores like Mercury Drug, Watsons, Southstar Drug, and more, and is also available on both Shopee and Lazada for your convenience.

​​For more information about Nicorette, visit www.nicorette.com.ph or  follow our social media accounts at www.facebook.com/NicorettePH/ and @nicoretteph on Instagram. Get special deals and promos to finally break that habit by purchasing Nicorette on official Johnson & Johnson Philippines accounts, both on Shopee and Lazada.

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Manulife makes its insurance products more accessible through Kwik.insure partnership

Manulife has partnered with Kwik.insure, an online insurance marketplace that serves thousands of customers, to make insurance accessible to more Filipinos through its HealthFlex, FutureBoost and Horizons plans, helping them financially secure their future.

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Manulife has partnered with Kwik.insure, an online insurance marketplace that serves thousands of customers, to make insurance accessible to more Filipinos through its HealthFlex, FutureBoost and Horizons plans, helping them financially secure their future.

In a recent Manulife study, “The Modern Filipino Family: Exploring family dynamics and digitalization in the new normal,” 41% of Filipino Gen Zs surveyed intend to buy life insurance online in the next 12 months. In addition, 33% of Filipino millennials and 25% of Gen Xs actually bought insurance in the last 12 months, among those surveyed. Manulife aims to address Filipinos’ increased appetite for digitally enabled insurance and investments by making protection more accessible online.

“As the first global life insurance brand on Kwik.insure, and the only insurer to offer variable-linked insurance products that rewards you with bonuses like FutureBoost on the platform to secure every stage of your life, we are focused on making our products more digitally accessible to meet their evolving priorities and expectations,” said Neil Bowyer, Chief Partnership Distribution Officer, Manulife Philippines. “This is just one more way we’re delivering on our mission to make decisions easier and lives better through digital, customer-centric experiences for Filipinos across the country.

Hamilton Angluben, Chief Executive Officer, Kwik.insure, added: “By working with Manulife, one of the leading and most trusted insurance brands in the country, we look forward to leveraging our most valuable technologies so Filipinos can get access to best-in-class and relevant insurance solutions that can help them better prepare for the future. This, in turn, can help us achieve our goal of bridging the insurance gap in the country, and make getting insured easy and reliable for all Filipinos.”

Manulife’s products that will be available on Kwik.insure offer customers access to customizable insurance plans that give them life and health protection coverage based on their needs, priorities, and budget, and enjoy various add-on benefits like investments.

  • Manulife FutureBoost, an affordable life insurance plan with no premium charges, gives Filipinos potential income from bonuses ranging from 0.5% to 5%, plus access to expertly managed global and local investment funds.
  • Manulife HealthFlex, a health insurance plan that allows customers to pay only for the health coverage they need, has four base plans covering up to 112 critical illnesses at any age until 100.
  • Manulife Horizons, one of insurer’s most affordable investment-linked insurance plans, provides comprehensive coverage for their families, and offers investment opportunities that allow them to grow their funds.

FutureBoost, HealthFlex, and Horizons are now available on Kwik.insure’s online marketplace. Interested customers may inquire via Kwik.insure live chat or set an appointment with a Kwik.insure financial advisor. Enrolled customers may sign up and transact via Manulife Online so they can manage their policies digitally. Premium payments can also be completed via credit card or e-wallets.

For more information about Manulife’s products and services, visit www.manulife.com.ph to learn more.

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Keep loved ones ready and protected with MediCard’s RxER

MediCard, a leading health maintenance organization (HMO) in the Philippines, brings you MediCard RxER so you can ensure that your loved ones are prepared for any unexpected situations while savoring the joy of the festive season.

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The holidays are here! Finally, it is the time of the year to relax, unwind, and enjoy all the festive activities with your family and friends. And perhaps, you are now busy listing all the possible gifts that would spark joy in your loved ones, regardless of whether they have been naughty or nice.  

As everyone is eager to celebrate this season, keep in mind that it can be a risky time as well. The holidays frequently attract unwanted guests, such as illnesses and accidents ranging from road accidents to fireworks injuries. 

A January 2022 report by the Department of Health (DOH) revealed there were 85 cases of fireworks-related injuries as the country celebrated the 2022 New Year. While the numbers continue to decrease each year, it pays off to be ready always for unforeseen emergencies that can steal your holiday celebrations. 

MediCard RxER: The best gift you can give this season 

To help you put one of the best gifts under the Christmas tree, MediCard, a leading health maintenance organization (HMO) in the Philippines, brings you MediCard RxER so you can ensure that your loved ones are prepared for any unexpected situations while savoring the joy of the festive season. 

The RxER provides a brand-new, specialized healthcare maintenance service that includes emergency, preventative, and outpatient treatment and is created to give members of all ages the maximum value and convenience. 

In hospitals recognized by MediCard, the overall cap for patients requiring emergency trauma care is PhP20,000. ER costs, professional fees, and urgent drugs connected to the condition of accidents, burns, animal bites, and accidental chemical poisoning are also included in emergency care charges if it is within six hours from the time of the incident.  

Emergency diagnostic procedures and lab tests up to PhP5,000, including MRI, CT scan, and ultrasound, are also covered. Additionally, coverage will be provided for tetanus toxoid, anti-tetanus serum, and current rabies vaccination. Regular casting and splint are also included. 

Is it a one-time-use thing? No. Members may use emergency services more than once for the said circumstances if the limit has not yet been reached. 

The gift that keeps on giving 

Members of the RxER card are also entitled to an annual physical exam in any MediCard free-standing clinic and Uro Industrial Clinic (UROIC). This includes a complete blood count, a chest X-ray, a urinalysis, a fecalysis, and a general check-up for the entire year. 

In addition, members get unlimited access to outpatient consultations with primary care physicians, including general practitioners, general surgeons on a clinic-to-clinic basis, obstetricians for non-maternity-related check-ups, pediatricians, family medicine physicians, and medical internists. For other specialists and sub-specialists, on the other hand, the RxER covers a flat rate of PhP350 for consultations. 

Other benefits of RxER include a 30% discount on outpatient laboratory and diagnostic tests, outpatient surgeries and other services, and procedures at the Skin & Body Clinic. It also gives its members dental services, such as one-time oral prophylaxis, dental consultations, and a 30% discount on dental procedures. 

All these may be availed of at any MediCard free-standing clinic in key cities nationwide https://fsc.medicardphils.com/Home/Contact.  

There is no time to lose! Gift your loved ones these wonderful benefits now for only PhP1,998 with no age limit and no medical check-up required, available on MediCard’s websiteShopeeLazada, Medicard free-standing clinics, Maria Health, and more. 

MediCard is a leading HMO founded and managed by doctors. Over the years, it has provided the most comprehensive and innovative healthcare programs and fitness activities to help people achieve healthier lives.  

To learn more about MediCard Philippines, visit its website at https://www.medicardphils.com/.  

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