I AM an Australian who has been living in the Philippines for two years, and I found Ceres Doyo’s Nov. 25 column, titled “10 things that make PH ugly,” very interesting.
I am here running a 700-seat call center, but I have done my fair share of travelling and writing in the past about some 45-plus countries. I have the following commentary on the Philippines:
• Doyo’s points are very valid and the 10 points are things that need to be addressed but are not enough to deter the right people from visiting this largely untapped country.
• From an outsider’s perspective, the beaches of Palawan, Bohol and Boracay are world-class, without the hordes of people and the littering and saturation of competing hotels.
• Your nation isn’t defined by what you have or what’s wrong, but by the spirit of the people who live here. I know it sounds odd, but “Ondoy” was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever witnessed. The spirit, the courage and the willingness of Filipinos to unite and rebuild were truly one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing.
• People do walk away from the Philippines thinking of Manila as unclean and crowded with bad traffic, etc., but they still love its charm. One thing that’s hard to realize unless you’ve seen the Philippines from afar is that we in the western world are brought up thinking of the Philippines as a “sponsor child nation,” as a “Community Aid Abroad nation,” and we don’t realize what the country has to offer. It’s easy to change people’s perceptions if you market this wonderful country the right way.
• Your country (outside of Manila) has such rare unspoilt beauty and is a land rich in natural wonders. Your slogan should be “Philippines: ‘Live it, love it.’”
• I will leave your country very soon as my work here ends, but your country will never leave me. You need to concentrate on the draw cards, not the deterrents because they are far outweighed.
• When comparing somewhere like France to the Philippines, you could say that France charges $9 for a coffee, its accommodation cost is prohibitive, its public transport system is unaffordable for the people it is designed to transport, and the population is largely against tourism. But instead they say Paris is “the city of love.” Millions visit France each year because of word-of-mouth and great advertising. It’s an expensive and rich country, but this doesn’t stop people from going there. Why? Because people want to feel and live the countries they visit. You couldn’t feel or live a country more than this one.
offshore operations manager
Virgin Mobile Australia, Ext 50068
Category: wow philippines
yoly ong’s rant over the pilipinas-kay-ganda fiasco is remarkable for its vehemence and venom. “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”?
… I would rather be stoned, flayed, crucified and burned at the stake, than be cowed into condoning travesty. I would rather stake whatever reputation, credibility and success I may have, than shy away from laying bare the aggressive metastasis of a cancerous psyche afflicting some Filipinos. In spineless silence, we abet ignorance and envy, the lynch mob mentality and orchestrated demolition.
Never has such coordinated online outrage been more violently expressed, eclipsing the anger over the Maguindanao massacre, Morong 43 or the unresolved murders of journalists combined! One friend accurately described it as mass hysteria over a test logo! People screamed, why was it in Pilipino when we’re talking to tourists? Actually, the logo included an English translation and pronunciation guide. Blinded by rage or possibly other motives, they didn’t see it. Or didn’t want to.
yoly ong is hysterical. she exaggerates. there’s no way that the online “outrage” over pilipinas-kay-ganda eclipses, or even equals, the continuing OUTRAGE over the maguindanao massacre. maybe it eclipses the anger over morong 43, yes, and the unresolved murders of journalists, yes, but then these are issues connected with the left, and the online community, just like the mainstream, is mostly, unfortunately, wary and tends to stay aloof of leftist issues. but maguindanao is something else, and it is sad that yoly ong does not know it.
twould seem that she’s just another oldie who has all the wrong ideas about social media and the internet community. in the first place, the reaction to the pilipinas-kay-ganda logo/slogan, across blogs, facebook, and twitter, was more like plain disappointment dismay disgust because it just wasn’t great enough for a country brand. if at all there was outrage, it was over the P5M spent on that premature flop of a preview.
in the second place, except for relief operations during and post-disasters, there is no such thing as a “coordinated online” anything, be it outrage (aug23 bloodbath) or anger disgust (maimislang-rickycarandang tweets) or even a rave review (pacquiao, charice). yes we post blogs, shout-outs and links but “friends” are free to agree or disagree, repost or ignore. there’s no one central network — with 10,000 friends that includes all of us who dissed pilipinas-kay-ganda — that dictates, much less orchestrates, anything. facebook is a zone of free spirits, and thoughts ideas expressions live and die on their own merits.
ONG: In a democracy everyone is free to express his opinion. But not all opinions carry equal weight, not all reactions are intended to help. Not all objectives were about national branding, but aimed to achieve more sinister results.
in social media, all opinions carry equal weight, everyone is free to support or dissent, which sometimes makes for entertaining if not enlightening comment threads. yes facebook can get toxic and virulent, especially about perceived injustices and incompetencies, but on the rare occasions when netizens happen to agree on something, well, that’s worth acknowledging and looking into, i think, rather than judging it sinister, which is just so praning, sabi nga ni butch dado, the warrior lawyer.
ONG: Right after the DOT event, a dyed-in-the-wool ex-cabinet member of the past regime called to “console” and probe me about the controversy. I immediately knew that the Gruesome Malicious Army will seize this golden opportunity to wreak havoc on the new, popular government. I was needled: Do I still support this “incompetent, weak and indecisive leader”? You mean will I always be on the side of an honest and incorruptible President? Absolutely YES! But my antenna was up. I knew a tidal wave of malevolence was about to hit.
But the bile that gorged out of faded advertising luminaries was too toxic even by industry standards. One accused us of being irresponsible for allowing the client to make us party to supposed plagiarism. That could have passed as a high-minded comment if his own brother wasn’t sued by a leading ad agency and ordered by the Adboard to cease and desist from airing a TV ad that was judged copied from Coke!
Then there was a former Creative Director for an airline account who mocked my Harvard degree as ironic under the circumstances. How quickly he forgot that he was fired by his Agency for allegedly receiving kickbacks from production suppliers!
salamat naman sa tsismis but really, the ad hominem blind-item attacks on the “gruesome malicious army” (gma! to the hilt!) out to “wreak havoc” on the popular aquino government AND on her fellow “faded advertising luminaries” belong more in a tabloid or the entertainment section of a broadsheet. blind items are so showbiz. next time, name names, dearie, go the whole hog, we like women with balls.
ONG: … what finally made me decide to write is this last item of iniquity.
When Undersecretary Vicente “Enteng” Romano exited with grace, he demonstrated a miracle of public office never witnessed in this country: a government official taking full ownership of a tempest-in-a-teacup-blown-up-into-a-Category-5-hurricane. Although his heroic gesture was praised by many, a malicious text immediately circulated: “Enteng Romano commissioned a company for P5M for the grand launch of the new DOT slogan. The company has reported ties to Enteng’s son. This is accdg to some sources in media.” I got this SMS three times.
What makes this so nauseating? First, the information is fundamentally wrong. Enteng has no son. Second, all the Media who attended the event said it was too lavish to be considered a “preview”. Therefore if P4.7M was really spent, every centavo must have gone to food, drinks, fireworks, talents, staging, etc. It didn’t line anyone’s pockets, much less an imagined son’s. Would a thinking man risk criminal jail-time to steal a paltry $105K? Were these braying critics just as indignant when “BurjerBen”, FG and cohorts were allegedly skimming $130M from NBN-ZTE?
this is the first i’ve heard about a son of enteng allegedly being involved in the launch. i may have missed it lang or maybe it wasn’t picked up and bandied about so it died on its own demerits? but hey $105K is not a paltry sum, and hey we brayed like anything over burjerben and nbn-zteFG. did you?
ONG: Enteng cut a few corners because he instinctively saw what must be accomplished quickly. Last year, there were 3M+ tourists. Twenty-six percent were North Americans (60 percent of whom are FilAms), followed by the Koreans (20 percent), Chinese (13 percent) and Japanese (9 percent). Forty-two percent don’t speak English and couldn’t care less if the themeline was written in Aramaic.
ah, finally we get to the heart of the matter. the question still is, why did ms. ong allow the client to break all the rules? was it against her better judgement at all? was she being experimental? anything to make sure the account went to campaigns & grey and not to the competition? this intense defense of enteng romano only makes me wonder if maybe ms. ong feels responsible for his resignation. if she hadn’t condoned the corner-cutting, then maybe none of this would have happened?
as for using tagalog rather than english, i still don’ t buy it. i’m convinced that instant recognition & comprehension are key. specially post-pacquiao’s 8th wonder, wow philippines! and even if it doesn’t matter to the 42 percent who don’t speak english anyway — except, that is, to the people of india for whom “ganda” means “dirty” or “crazy”, depending — what about to the 58 percent who do speak english? okay lang to risk losing them with pilipinas kay ganda?
ONG: If God gave the themeline in tablets, it still wouldn’t be accepted by the likes of net-dicts who fancy themselves divas of righteousness, but neglect to issue receipts for a lucrative pasta sideline. A Damaso-morality and a pathological need for attention? True, it’s all about you.
ah, a final blind item. kakaintriga nga naman. da who are dis net-dicts, dis divas of righteousness with a lucrative pasta sideline na di nag-i-issue ng recibo: kulang sa pansin na, isip-damaso pa? hayyy. what does this have to do with god, or a good themeline.
ONG: Majority of 8000 tourists who were surveyed said they visited the Philippines for its beautiful scenery, good food, shopping and above all the hospitable people. Sometimes, it’s hard to see our innate kindness. Vileness overwhelms virtue. Tearing down is more fun than building up. Detractors impact more than supporters. Pilipinas, kay pangit!
sorry, but where in that logo does it suggest good food and shopping, hospitable people and innate kindness? on the other hand, kitang kita, feel na feel, the vileness, the tearing down, right there in her rant. kay pangit, yoly ong. ang totoo, it’s all about you.
let winston churchill be a source of inspiration for people who, thinking they are god’s gift to the filipino people, feel demeaned, and are felled, by criticism:
“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”
Pilipinas Kay Praning
Yolly Ong, former Usec. Vicente Romano III, and “Pilipinas kay ganda”
Social Media gave us a voice (No it wasn’t GMA’s fault)
Campaigns and Grey’s Ong in Defense
Are you a diva of righteousness?
Huling Kabit — Magapatuka na lang ako sa ahas
heard about the new (now dropped?) tourism campaign through carlos celdran who was at the launch and was tweeting his dismay over the new slogan ‘pilipinas kay ganda’. talaga naman. in what world do these “creatives” live.
napaka-basic: ‘philippines’ for instant recognition, hindi yung mag-iisiip pa ang mga dayuhang turista, ano daw yon? lalo pa ngayon na matunog na matunog ang ‘philippines’ salamat kay pacquiao, it’s crazy, it’s stupid, to even be thinking ‘pilipinas’. until these “creatives” can come up with something better, let’s stay with ‘wow philippines’, whose logo can be tweaked, upgraded every which way.
i didn’t catch the website that was quickly brought down in the wake of boos and jeers from everywhere. but the “new” logo is posted in several sites and, susmaryosep, it’s just a recycled version of the nineties logo. i wrote scripts for the asean tourism forum festivities that dot philippines hosted back in ‘93 and yun na yon, without lang the tarsier and the smile. pa-tropical effect for the slogan ‘island philippines’ na ewan kung bumenta. all i remember is joy soler de castro on her soapbox vs. the traditional & “barriotic” and pitching the philippines’ east-west culture that’s unique in asia, which still sounds good.
but the logo, please, it’s so last century. new millennium na, after all, and the world’s travellers would want a sense of more than beaches and coconut trees, certainly more than that displaced tarsier and corny smiley, ano ba.
“their neurons aren’t working,” kasasabi ni senator miriam sa dzmm teleradyo.
nakakatawa, pero nakakaiyak din. puro sablay na lang. hayyy. we get what we deserve? this is all we deserve?
resty odon’s Looking back: Gordon coined “WOW Philippines” on the spot on TV
PiNaysaAmerika’s Tourism Slogans
ellen tordesillas Not so beautiful ‘Pilipinas kay ganda’
gmanews.tv’s Critics: DOT’s ‘Pilipinas Kay Ganda’ not so pretty
noemi lardizabal-dado’s Country branding the Philippines
james cordova’s Sun or sex? Philippines’ botched tourism campaign