Personally, I prefer receiving Sodexo Gift Certificates over cash/items as a gift, prize or incentive at work.

Why?

Because when items are given as presents, sometimes I already have one so I would either keep it for future use or recycle it by gifting it to my family and friends so that the item will be put to good use. Also, I must admit that there are plenty of times when I received something that I couldn’t use or wouldn’t be able to but I couldn’t give to others because of its sentimental value so it just sits in the cabinet for a very long time that I may have even forgotten all about it.

The problem I have with cash gifts, rewards and incentives, is that the money is always mixed with my own money that I always forget where I spent it, which makes it lose its “reward” value.

Usually, when I get prize money, I try my best to buy something that would make me proud of my accomplishments and remember the moment I received the prize. However, it can be difficult with cash prizes especially when I’m regularly paying bills & grocery shopping. It’s great to receive plaques of recognition and trophies but not all contests and events have these so sometimes, the only remembrance I have left is the actual announcement of winners. What’s worse is I couldn’t even remember where I spent the prize money.

That’s why I prefer receiving Sodexo Gift Certificates because unlike the usual presents, I can choose my own reward or gift.

Unlike cash gifts, Sodexo Gift Certificates makes prizes more memorable and rewarding because I get to buy something that would last a long time and make me remember where I got the funds to buy the item/s.

I have received a lot of Sodexo Gift Certificates before as a performance incentive at work, as Christmas party prize, as a gift during our wedding and as a prize in online and blogging contests. But there’s definitely one moment that stood out from the rest.

One of the most memorable and rewarding moments I’ve experienced when it comes to receiving and using Sodexo Gift certificates was during the Christmas Season of 2015 when I joined the SM Bears of Joy Blog Contest sponsored by Nuffnang and SM Supermalls.

I was really inspired that time because I really liked the blog contest theme (giving Bears of Joy and spreading awareness to everyone that each Bear of Joy can give happiness and comfort to less fortunate children who really need them) so I exerted a lot of effort and time to construct my blog post. 

You can find my entry to the said contest here: http://www.joysofasia.com/taking-gifting-to-the-next-level

I was lucky enough to win the top prize of 25k worth of SM Gift Pass (which is also a kind of Sodexo Gift Certificate)! I was ecstatic when I opened Nuffnang’s page and saw my name displayed as the 1st prize winner, I literally jumped and screamed for joy. It’s not every day that I could win a prize like that.

You can find Nuffnang’s announcement of winners here: blog.nuffnang.com.ph/2015/12/02/merrysmchristmas2015-blogger-contest-winners

The prize for winning that blog contest was PHP25k worth of Sodexo Gift Certificates (branded as SM Gift Pass). I really liked the prize because not only can I use the GC’s to buy myself a gift I wouldn’t buy under normal circumstances, I would also be able to share my blessings. Not only that,  I can also proudly share my winning moment on my social media account, which I wouldn’t be able to do if I received a cash prize.

sm gift certificates - sodexo prize from sm and nuffnang

It’s great to share a proud moment after receiving those Sodexo Gift Certificates. If I have received a cash prize, I wouldn’t have been able to post it online because it would be awkward like those posting money online to encourage pyramid schemes. lol.

Anyway, I’m very thankful to SM Supermalls and Nuffnang Philippines for sponsoring that awesome blog contest and for picking me as the winner among the numerous entries submitted. It was really a great honor and I would never ever forget that moment especially because that rewarding moment also had an equivalent rewarding experience of using the prize (Sodexo Gift Certificates), which you can read below.

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It was a very special winning moment for me since not only did I win, I also got to spread joy to the recipients of the Bears via the Bears of Joy project of SM Supermalls.

I also bought Christmas baskets/treats from SM Supermarket and gave some of the bears (other half of the pair of bears I donated) to our neighborhood’s kids as well. It was my first time doing that so it was quite a memorable and rewarding experience as I got to share my prize not only to my family and friends but also to our neighbors and the less fortunate children as well.

The kid in the picture is Bekbek, our neighbor whom I gave my very first Bears of Joy to. I also gave her and her family a treat for Noche Buena for allowing me to use her photo on my blog entry that time.

Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of the other kids (after I’ve won and bought more Bears of Joy) to share on my blog as I did what I did that time without the intention of blogging it or sharing it online. And I gave the bears and Christmas Baskets as soon as I returned home from shopping so I didn’t have the chance to do some kind of photoshoot. The feeling of giving and sharing was enough for me to remember that moment for all time.

Even without a photo to remember how I spent the Sodexo Gift certificates, the actual experience (experiential reward) was worth more than a physical gift since whenever I receive more Sodexo Gift Certificates, I am reminded of the time I won the Sodexo Gift Certificates and shared my prizes.

Of course, I didn’t spend all the 25k Sodexo Gift certificates only on the Christmas Baskets and SM Bears of Joy. I also used my Sodexo Gift certificates to go Christmas shopping with my family so I can buy them gifts they actually want or need. We used my Sodexo Gift Certificates at SM Department store, SM Supermarket, SM appliance center, Uniqlo, and Forever21. We had fun shopping and never encountered a problem using the Sodexo Gift Certificates, which made me feel like using real money at that time. Since I had the SM Gift Pass which was a product of Sodexo, I could only go to a selected group of merchants that are covered by the SM Gift Pass since the SODEXO PREMIUM PASS was needed to gain access to the 10,000 merchant partners. Nevertheless, we still managed to enjoy and maximize our shopping spree since SM practically had everything!

However, if you’re going to give a GC as a gift, it would be better to purchase the Sodexo PREMIUM Pass to gain access to ALL Sodexo partner merchants. For a complete list of merchants, you can refer to this link: https://merchants.sodexo.ph

cameraAnd to ensure that I remember my winning moment, I bought a prize for myself at SM Appliance Center, which was a Nikon D5300 DSLR kit so I can pursue my photography hobby. Instead of paying the full price, I used part of my Sodexo Gift Certificates to give myself a huge discount (I still had some GC left behind because I didn’t want to spend it all) so I can afford to buy a DSLR for online work, blogging and recreational purposes. Actually, I have been meaning to buy that for quite some time but I always choose to set aside my budget for more important stuff. Needs first before wants, that is my motto in life. Unfortunately for me, it has been 5 long years since I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to buy my own DSLR.

However, when I received the Sodexo Gift Certificates, I just knew that I finally found the perfect opportunity to buy something that I really want. Thanks to the Sodexo Gift certificates I used, I was able to appreciate photography as my new hobby.  I even joined photography events and I also got to experience winning Photographer of the month in one of my Photography groups.

Here are some photos I took. Note that I really love animal & wildlife photography so the images I uploaded are from that niche:

Was it worth spending those Sodexo Gift Certificates on the DSLR? Definitely! Without the GC’s I wouldn’t have been able to buy the DSLR at full price. Now that I have the DSLR, it paved the way for my new passion, which is Photography. I think that this was one of my best investments because the photos I took using my camera will definitely last a long time. Plus, I discovered that I have some talent in Photography which I am hoping to continue on improving.

Using the Sodexo Gift Certificates was really rewarding because I was able to realize that I have a knack for Photography. I used to just admire people’s photos of animals and wildlife, now, I’m living that dream. I’m not a pro yet but in time, I hope to be one.

What made it more fulfilling and rewarding is being recognized by peers, receiving kind words about my photos, and being asked by a foreigner in one of the Photography groups I joined if she could convert one of my photos I took into a colored pencil art. I thought she was joking but lo and behold, she sent me her artwork and I was awed by her artistic skills! 🙂 Below is the artwork made my Petra Cleve based on my photo of the  “Philippine Eagle Owl”, which she named “SHANIA” (Indian for “I’m on my way”).

Lastly, I kept a few of the Sodexo Gift Certificates for emergency purposes. This was the smartest thing I did because back in October 2016, some unexpected things happened and we used up our emergency funds. Our finances were really tight and the Sodexo Gift Certificates I kept with me proved to be our saving grace as we were able to use it to augment our budget for groceries. It was a good thing that Sodexo Gift Certificates don’t expire. Sodexo Gift Certificates will always be forever valid. If you have Sodexo Gift Certificates and the validity date is reached, you can always have them revalidated and replaced.

Also, if you receive GC’s as a reward, it’s okay to TREAT YOURSELF, after all, it was your hard work, luck, and dedication that got you that prize. Sharing is good and everything but you should be able to learn to love and appreciate yourself more so that you can give more love and inspire others. You owe it to yourself to be HAPPY, FEEL LOVED, APPRECIATED, and REWARDED.

Come to think of it, if I received a prize item, I wouldn’t have been able to buy what I really wanted and I wouldn’t have been able to share a lot during that Christmas season so I must say, that moment  really was a rewarding experience for me because I was rewarded with Sodexo Gift Certificates.

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To summarize my blog post, it was a very rewarding experience using my SODEX GIFT CERTIFICATES because:

  1.  I was able to make more children happy by buying more of the SM BEARS OF JOY. Half of the bears will be donated to children who really need to be cheered up and have a bear companion.
  2. It was my first time experiencing sharing my blessings with our neighbors. I don’t normally do that but I loved the warm fuzzy feeling I felt just by giving the kids the other halves of the SM Bears of Joy as well as reaching out to our less fortunate neighbors by giving a few of them some Christmas Baskets and a few things to add to their Noche Buena.
  3. Shopping with my family and buying them what they want and need is also very rewarding especially because I was able to treat them to new brands like Uniqlo and Forever 21 at SM The Block (both just launched at that time). Plus, we had fun buying more Noche Buena items and we were able to share them with other people as well.
  4. I was able to buy a DSLR camera which I have been wishing and wanting to buy for more than 5 years already. I don’t want to use our family budget so the Sodexo GC’s was the main reason why I was able to buy it for a huge discounted price. Because of this, I discovered that I have a talent for photography and because of Photography, I was able to meet and be friends with other photography enthusiasts.
  5. Other people took notice of my photos. I was able to get the acknowledgment of my photography peers and one of them even converted my photo into a pen art which was really amazing because I was able to inspire her to draw one of my photos.

Experiential rewards such as Sodexo Gift Certificates is really awesome because I got to choose how I spent my prize and got something in return that money can’t buy (sharing happiness, starting new friendships, inspiring others and my newly-found photography skills) which was more special, long-lasting and up to now, I still keep reaping benefits and rewards from that experience. Whenever I use my DSLR and produce awesome-looking photos, I always look back at that cherished moment when I won the GC’s.

That is why I chose that particular moment because it proved to be the most rewarding experience I’ve had using Sodexo Gift Certificates. And I have SM Supermalls and Nuffnang Philippines to thank for giving me the best reward ever! And I also want to thank SODEXO PHILIPPINES for ensuring that the prize (Sodexo Gift Certificates) I had was more than I’ve ever imagined and hoped for.

In case you’ve received SODEXO GIFT CERTIFICATES, below are some information and tips based on my experience that will definitely help you since I’ve encountered some mistakes and problems before and using the info below, you can just use your Sodexo GC’s easily, smoothly and confidently.

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Using Sodexo Gift Certificates can definitely be rewarding and you can also use them practically anywhere. I’ve included the image below (courtesy of Sodexo Philippines) as a quick reference of Sodexo Merchant Partners. If you’re using a smartphone or tablet and the picture below is too small, please click here to see the bigger version of the image below.

SODEXO MERCHANT LIST

For a complete list of places where you can spend your Sodexo Gift Certificates, you can go to the Sodexo Merchants Link here so you can plan or choose how to spend your Sodexo Gift Certificates:   https://merchants.sodexo.ph/

 

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Based on my personal experience, below are the reasons why SODEXO GIFT CERTIFICATES are the best kind of gift. The list below also shows the advantages of using Sodexo Gift Certificates.

1. Guilt-free spending. Like money, you can use Sodexo Gift Certificates almost anywhere but the difference is when you are gifted with money, the tendency is to add it immediately to the family “budget” and the gift essence is somewhat lost into bill payments, etc. I’m not saying doing so is bad but a gift is meant to be enjoyed and remembered.

2. Be proud and loud. GC’s give a sense of fulfillment — Sodexo Gift Certificates are like well-earned trophies or medals that you can actually spend. Money is a little taboo to discuss and post on social media. However, posting GC’s and discussing where you can possibly spend them and even ask friends or relatives to make suggestions is socially accepted.

3. GC’s can be a real life-saver. I place money in secret pockets of my wallet for emergencies but sometimes, I find myself spending them at a spur of a moment without even a second thought. Spending GC’s, on the other hand, requires some thought since you want to be able to spend the GC to its maximum capacity since you won’t be getting any change. Having a few pieces of unused GC’s in my wallet proved to be a life-saver because when I was short on budget, Sodexo Gift Certificates I kept for emergency purposes proved to be a real life-saver.

4. Get yourself a discount anytime! The reason why I don’t spend so much for high-valued items is that it’s difficult to let go of so much money at such a short period of time. Others opt for installment plans, etc but this is not wise since it would feel like you’ll be paying forever. You can use Sodexo Gift Certificates to give yourself a “discount” so that your budget can reach something that you really like to buy but can’t afford to buy at its full price. Getting discounts is really a great feeling because you feel like you’re getting such a bargain. The same feeling can be felt when you use GC’s to slash the cost of high-priced items.

5. A gift that lasts forever (or until you get them renewed!) The problem with getting money as gift is you’re bound to spend it on something not worthwhile or you might even mix the “gift” or incentive to your holiday budget and wonder where it went and when somebody asks, you can’t determine exactly how you spent it. GC’s are different, I actually remember the things I spent them on, whether it was for my camera lens, as gifts to my loved ones, Christmas meals/movies or when I used it for emergency purposes. That’s because I put some time planning how to spend it.

If you don’t plan on using your GC’s yet, don’t worry because Sodexo Gift Certificates last forever. Forever? Yes, because you can have it renewed at any time before or after the validity date which pretty much extends its validity time.

 6. GC’s are “EXPERIENTIAL GIFTS” which makes it more rewarding than receiving CASH.

GC’s feel more like a gift or incentive than receiving money. Giving money as a gift or incentive is like saying I forgot and didn’t have the time to buy you anything so here’s some money, go buy yourself something. Receiving GC’s is like saying I didn’t know what you’d want most to receive so here’s a GC and go ahead buy yourself something you love. Both are gifts but the difference is GC’s are a more special and personal way of saying that I took some time and effort to buy you a gift. Also, as I’ve mentioned earlier, experiential gifts are more rewarding because the recipient gets to choose his/her own gift & it’s more special and long-lasting than cash gifts.

7. What makes using SODEXO GIFT CERTIFICATES rewarding?

In my case, using Sodexo Gift Certificates is very rewarding because you get to really enjoy the fruit of your labor. Normally, we work hard, earn money and use that money for bills, food, transportation, and other household expenses. While cash gifts are added to the budget voluntarily or involuntarily, GC’s are different because we can only use it for selected items and stores. When we receive a GC as a gift, it’s like receiving a free ticket to buy whatever we want without damaging our family budget.  It makes us able to buy things that we won’t normally buy making it really rewarding because you get to enjoy and buy something guilt-free. It opened up a whole new world for me, which is Photography and because of it, I learned to appreciate my God-given skills more than ever. Being able to buy what we want is definitely rewarding, which is why I love receiving GC’s.

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Before I end this blog post, let me just share some tips in using Sodexo Gift Certificates so that you won’t have to experience any trouble using your GC’s. Note that some of these were part of my personal experience using Sodexo GC’s and some of these were researched and included based on the experience of other people who had some troubles or questions regarding Sodexo Gift Certificates.

1.) CHECK BEFORE GOING TO THE STORE

Before going to the mall or store to use your Sodexo Gift Certificates, please check first if the merchant you’re planning to buy from is included here: https://merchants.sodexo.ph

You wouldn’t go to battle or answer examinations without any preparations, right? So prepare and plan first and see all of your options and make your final selection before going to the store.

2.) CHECK WHAT TYPE OF SODEXO GIFT CERTIFICATE YOU HAVE.

There are different types of Sodexo Gift Certificates and some are brand specific (SM Gift pass, etc) while some are product specific (Gift baskets, Meal and food pass, etc). Those types have specific or limited merchants so make sure you check the type of Sodexo Gift Certificate you have.

If the Sodexo Gift Certificate you have is not PREMIUM PASS or have other brand’s logos on them, then your GC is accepted only at selected stores. For example, if you have SM Gift Pass, you need to click this link for Merchants that accept SM Gift Pass.

The best type would be the Sodexo PREMIUM Pass shown below because you’ll gain access to ALL partner merchant types which is about 10,000 stores (you still need to check if the branch accepts Sodexo GC though because some branches are just franchises and don’t cover the partnership with Sodexo).

sodexo gc

If your GC’s are not Sodexo Premium Passes, check out what stores and merchants are available to your specific GC by clicking here.

Note that you have to click “Where it can be enjoyed” in blue font on the GCregalo.com website in order to check where you can use your Sodexo Gift Certificates.

giftpass

Above is a screenshot to make it easier to visualize what I’m talking about and to give you an idea where you can find the “where it can be enjoyed” link. At the same time, you can see the difference between two of the most prominent type of Sodexo Gift Certificates: at the left side is what a Sodexo Premium Pass (blue and gold)  looks like and at the right side is the SM Gift Pass (blue).

 

3.) Please note that NOT ALL branches listed as a Sodexo Merchant Partner accepts Sodexo Gift Certificates because some branches are only franchises.

So before you go to the store or restaurant of your choice, make sure that you locate the specific branch here: https://merchants.sodexo.ph

In the past, I experienced some difficulty in locating some branches, so in this blog post, let me just share some of the steps and tips to make searching for your branch of choice easier:

  • STEP 1: Visit https://merchants.sodexo.ph then choose the category of the merchant you’re looking for. For example, you want to use the Sodexo Gift Certificates at JOLLIBEE SM NORTH EDSA. Below you need to choose “Food & Restaurant”.
  • STEP 2: Upon clicking Food and restaurant, click on the Jollibee Icon.
  • STEP 3: The Sodexo website will try to look for nearby branches based on your location. However, if you do not have location services turned on your computer or phone, you need to either click on the “All Branches” beside the Nearby Branches phrase & search the branch manually from the list of branches OR you can type one word on the “Search for a city” tab that relates to the branch you’re looking for then press the magnifying glass icon.
  • STEP 4: If you opted to SEARCH for the branch using the search tab, use only one word or a short phrase that’s because the search tab is sensitive to the combination of words and letters used.  To illustrate, I typed “SM North Edsa” on the search bar and hit the magnifying glass, however, it returned a “NO SEARCH RESULTS” error as shown below.
  • STEP 5: So instead of “SM North Edsa”, I typed “North Edsa” and it returned the following search result (see screenshot below). The reason why my first search result was a fail before was that SM North Edsa was listed as SM CITY North Edsa. So keep this in mind when searching for a particular branch. Try different word combinations or just use one word and don’t stop and conclude that the branch is not included by searching for it only once. Remember, patience is a virtue. 
  • STEP 6: If you still can’t find the branch, be patient and search for it manually from the “ALL BRANCHES” tab. Instead of reading the stores one by one, you can do manual search by clicking CTRL+F then type your search word for easier searching. Your patience will be rewarded because you won’t have to suffer the humiliation of being asked to pay in cash since the GC you have cannot be accepted as a mode of payment. If the brand has hundreds or thousands of branches, however, try your best to find a keyword so at least the search list is shorter. If all else fails, find a branch that’s nearest to your location.

 4.) MAKE SURE THAT SODEXO GC IS ACCEPTED

To ensure that the store/restaurant accepts Sodexo Gift Certificates, before going to the actual store and selecting items, ordering or fitting items, first look for the Sodexo Sticker located at the entrance or door, you can also try to check if there is a Sodexo countertop at the cashier area or counter. If you can’t find any of the two items I mentioned, you can go ahead and ask the cashier or store personnel if they are accepting Sodexo Gift Certificates as a form of payment. However, as I’ve mentioned several times already, you can save yourself the effort of having to drive or commute to go to the store by checking online via https://merchants.sodexo.ph.

For more details, visit http://ph.benefits-rewards.sodexo.com/consumers

sodexo-premium-pass

 

5.) VALIDITY DATE AND REVALIDATION OF SODEXO GIFT CERTIFICATES

Another awesome thing about Sodexo Gift Certificates is that it doesn’t expire. Check your Sodexo Gift certificates now. If it shows an expiration date, then you just need to bring your GC’s at the Sodexo Office for revalidation upon expiration of before the expiration date.

If there is no expiration date and only DATE ISSUED is reflected, then you don’t have to worry because your GC’s do not have an expiration date so there’s no need to revalidate. Revalidation is free of charge so in case you have expired Sodexo Gift Certificates with you, you can have them revalidated so you can still use them to buy from their 10,000 merchant partner stores.

Below was the question posted on Facebook. I blurred out the picture and name of the person who asked it to give him privacy.

sodexo question

(Reference: link)

6.) CRUMPLED AND FOLDED SODEXO GIFT CERTIFICATES

There are times when we accidentally fold or crumple Sodexo Gift Certificates especially if they do not fit in small wallets and the question we usually ask is, “Are crumpled or folded Gift Certificates still valid?” The answer is yes as long as the security features (Barcode, Serial number, etc.) are intact. In case the Sodexo Gift Certificates you have has undergone quite some damage (by rain, flood, mud, accidentally cut, etc) but the security features (codes and barcodes) are still intact, try to check with Sodexo regarding the validity.  Lost or misplaced GC’s and GC’s with damaged security features cannot be replaced. 

Below is a screenshot of SODEXO’s FAQ answering this particular question:

(Reference: link)

7.) PERKS, DISCOUNTS, AND CONTESTS ON SODEXO’S SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES

Visit and follow Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services Philippines’ FACEBOOK page (www.facebook.com/sodexophilippines) and INSTAGRAM (www.instagram.com/sodexophilippines) to get updates on discounts, perks, promotions, freebies and contests such as the one shown below. They hold constant contests and since it’s nearing Christmas, there are some ongoing contests that will help you win SODEXO GIFT CERTIFICATES so go ahead and visit their social media sites to know the mechanics.

 

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 **** SUGGESTION TO SODEXO PHILIPPINES  ****

suggestion to sodexo by joysofasia

I’m not quite sure if this is implemented already but this is my suggestion based on my thoughts as a customer.

I wish that SODEXO would give customers a “validity code” via email pertaining to the validation of torn or slightly damaged GC and instruct the customer to print it for faster transactions so that when partner merchants ask regarding the validity, they can just mention the code indicated on the printed email and the person on Sodexo’s part can mention the barcodes covered by the code to make checking of validity of slightly damaged GC’s faster and tension free.

This is considering the fact that people from VISMIN and far areas from LUZON cannot go to the head office to have their GC’s revalidated or replaced. They could just take pictures of the GC’s, have them validated online or via email and then the Sodexo personnel can issue a validity code via email so that instead of traveling to Metro Manila just to have the GC’s revalidated, they can just use the validity code instead. This might increase customer satisfaction even more.

Note that this is just a suggestion so to everyone reading this, note that validation of slightly damaged GC’s is still processed at SODEXO’s Headoffice.  Also, note that SODEXO already has a MOBILE PASS which is a modern & more convenient way of using GC’s. 

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sodexo logo

For reference, here are the details of SODEXO Philippines in case you want Gift certificates replaced or revalidated, and in case you have further questions:

Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services Philippines, Inc.

Address: 11th Floor, B.A. Lepanto Building, 8747 Paseo de Roxas Street, Makati City

Customer Service Hotline: (632) 689-4700 & (632) 689-4780 MANILA / (032) 238-3494 CEBU (Monday to Friday: 9am-6pm only)

Cellphone: 0919 687-2222 (Monday to Friday: 9am-6pm only)

Customer Care Email Address: customercare.svc.ph@sodexo.com

 

WHERE TO BUY SODEXO GIFT CERTIFICATES (click on the icon):

 

 

 

SODEXO PHILIPPINES’ SOCIA MEDIA SITES (click on the icon):


 

 

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Disclaimer: This blog post is an entry to a blog contest sponsored by Nuffnang PH and Sodexo Philippines. All the thoughts here are mine and the testimonials & events related here are all real and not part of a media kit. Some videos and images here are properties of their respective owners, including logos of brands and companies as well as social media post/s by Sodexo Philippines. No Copyright infringement is intended. If you wish for it to be taken down, kindly send the blogger a message using the contact page found on this blog. Thanks.