For a foodie, a buffet is always a pleasure. But since we’re still on an MECQ that limits indoor and al fresco dining in the National Capital Region, Laguna and Bataan, allow me then to dish out a different kind of buffet. Serving you an array of market developments. 

First on the buffet menu, of course, is the appetizer.

For a starter, Philippine National Bank (PNB) will soon be brandishing its newest brand endorsers, the husband and wife tandem of Kapuso stars Dingdong Dantes and Marianne Rivera, both, on an individual and couples together, have a string of endorsements already.

Engaging top-rated talents seems to be the current trend as shown with Korean actor Hyun Bin, who captured the heart of almost all female avid K-telenovela followers with the “Crush Landing on You” series, as the new brand ambassador of Lazada, easing out the likewise bedimpled Alden Richard. The online shopping arcade has renamed itself as Laz Mall.

Then, there’s Hong Kong-born martial art actor Jackie Chan, replacing Willie Revillame as the new endorser of Shoppee. Instead of showing his prowess in martial arts and  acrobatic stunts, Jackie danced his way through the commercial.

For quencher – from endorser to the board: to satiate the thirst of those curious market watchers, PNB is no longer in the market for a new independent director (ID). This stems from the collective decision of the family of cigarette tycoon Lucio Tan to reject the resignation of Lito Villanueva.

 “The family did not accept his resignation,” shared PNB President Jose Arnulfo “Wick” Veloso. Mr. Lito, who suffered a mild stroke, was allowed some time to “rest” to recover. Very well said as the profile of an ID lends credence to the institution.

Two dishes for the main course: the first revolves around the development in Philippine Airlines (PAL). Heard from the banking corridor that the flag carrier has successfully flown through the turbulence that has disturbed its financial rehabilitation.

The outstanding issue on which route PAL will finally take has been resolved. It’s Chapter 11. All that is hanging now is a board resolution that Chapter 11 it is and not FRIA (financial rehabilitation and insolvency act of 2010).

The good news is 80 percent of PAL’s foreign creditors have given their consent when the requirement is only 67 percent. Loan facilities from local banks, which were the contentious issue that led to the resignation of Gregorio Yu as PAL’s ID in July has also been resolved.

The only thing that is holding it is the necessary documentation. “Formal approvals on deck.” This means that the required $405 million for PAL comes up weeks after the Chapter 11 filing is no longer an issue. The rehab plan calls for a fresh capital infusion of $505 million to keep PAL afloat. The cigarette tycoon has already poured in $100 million.  

The second main course dish is the upcoming opening of the much-awaited IKEA here. Located in the open concept parking area between SMX and SM Arena, the building is ready for turnover sometime this month.

And good news: despite the uncertainty in the actual opening of the IKEA mall because of the present quarantine restrictions, IKEA lovers may be able to buy ready-to- assemble Swedish furniture, kitchen appliances and other home accessories online. The online store will be opened ahead of the actual store operations.

Oops, I’ve eaten more than enough column inches that there’s no more space, dessert with freshly brewed coffee will be served next time.

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Source: Manila Bulletin (