pilipinas, kay pangit? yikes, yoly ong!

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


  1. UP nn grad

    It is interesting that Yolly Ong automatically associated the reaction to “Kay Ganda” as an anti-Noynoy-Administration item.

    I suppose she is one of the few people (less than 1,000, I’d guess, but extremely RABID)… that she is one of the few people whose loyalty to Noynoy (that Noynoy-can-do-no-wrong) they extend to DOT Sec Lim, to Enteng…

    Yolly Ong belongs to thousand-or-so RABID who believe that no-one-in-Noynoy-inner-circle can do wrong.


  2. I was kinda surprised and amused too when I read her article. Me thinks the lady doth protest too much. Too much defensive mode and blind items to hide the real issue. The write-up lacked the humility and sensitivity to at least acknowledge that they really f_cked up.

    I also don’t like it when she implied that all those who attack DOT or abNoy are pro GMA. Excuse me. I am pro-Gordon. Lol.

  3. I think the issue is the Filipino’s penchant for mimicry. Although to put it on perspective, many tourism logos are imitations of the original Espana logo, designed by Miro. The Polski logo is a good imitation of that. There is no vehemence, I feel. What transpired was commonplace Filipino hectoring.

    But I like her gumption. She seems honest. Ako nanood lang ng ilang episodes ng Mad Men at alam ko it’s part of an ad agency’s job to protect clients from their own stupidity. That’s where the big ego comes in… NOT AFTER THE FACT.

  4. i dont understand your displeasure angela:

    i see one problem — she made a mistake by comparing this to the maguindanao massacre. she made a stick figure argument– no one has ever compared this to the massacre in anyway. she was the one who first did, and that is unfortunate.

    but for the other points? i dont get it.

    1) coordinated?
    how do we know that there is no vindictive group that she knows is part of people that criticized the logo? she did NOT SAY that everyone who criticized the logo is part of some conspiracy. she SAID that there is a malicious group, both political and/or in the ad industry. why distrust her when she says that? is it so implausible na may naninira sa kanila?

    bloggers seem to be way too sensitive. this reminds of the “you are so vain” song, “this song may not be about you”

    2) gossip column?
    i’m assuming you are kidding here — she will never reveal names in a publication, unless she’s old and retired. further, whats the point of revealing names?

    3) “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? ”

    in the rundown, she explained this. yes, she advised against it.

    but the point of the article isnt to defend campaigns and grey, but to give us insight into the thinking behind the usec’s thinking

    4) “i dont buy it”
    totally fair, but the true test of whether its a “good idea” or not , is a marketing test. there is no “logical reason” why its bad or not.

    5)”sorry, but where in that logo does it suggest good food and shopping, hospitable people and innate kindness? ”

    the part you quoted isnt about logo. again, its a comment against the “malicious group” that she believes (knows?) that exists

    i guess my confusion can be broken down into:
    why doubt her when she says there is a group that is interested in criticism ONLY because of self-interested reasons?

    she never said that EVERYONE is like this. she ONLY said that there is a small group that is so.

    is this so hard to believe?

  5. “she never said that EVERYONE is like this. she ONLY said that there is a small group that is so.”-GabbyD

    GabbyD has a point, to which I agree. Yolly Ong was not defending the defects of her idea of a brand, Pilipinas Kay Ganda. After all, there is no sound defense against an indefensible fault, much less a couple of them.

    Yoly Ong was just criticizing only those critics of her idea who have their own self-interest in criticizing the Pilipinas Kay Ganda project.

    Which means that Angela, and some of us who are critical of her booboos are not among those being alluded to by Yolly Ong’s vile comments, :-D.

  6. @cat

    thats basically what they talked about on the rundown a couple of day ago too.

    the big mistake: preview was too big

    why its a mistake: people will pick it apart even before a marketing test can be done.

  7. gabbyd, it was sa rundown that i heard her say she had someone monitor/count the digital feedback, from some 10,000 netizens, na less than .01 percent daw ng internet users. or something like that. someone correct me if i heard wrong.

  8. oh, and just one observation:

    you said that pilipinas kay pangit, was an the “wrong title” coz u claim that, its misleading? (even tho its clearly a play on words on pilipinas kay ganda?)

    but B0 plays EXACTLY THE SAME GAME with his “lack of class” title. is he wrong too?

  9. pilipinas-kay-pangit was the wrong title for her rant if as you say she was alluding only to a small group of industry and political conspirators. the title tells me that she’s addressing the larger community that includes everyone who dissed pilipinas-kay-ganda. “mass hysteria” daw di ba.

  10. but angela, lets us concede that she is referring to VERY SPECIFIC PEOPLE, in her article, and not the blogosphere as a whole.

    so when “her friend” uses the word “mass hysteria”, we both know that the meaning of the word “mass” is context dependent. EVERYWHERE in her column, she refers to specific groups — hence mass here refers to these same groups.

    contrast this with B0, which labels EVERYTHING associated with the administration with a lack of class label indiscriminately… no criticism for him and his “wrongness”?

  11. “but i dont concede that shes referring ONLY to very specific people.”

    this is whats so perplexing — especially since there is nothing in her column that says it about everyone in the internet, when EACH AND EVERYTIME she mentions specific groups.

  12. This is what I noticed in Yoly’s piece: “In spineless silence, we abet ignorance and envy, the lynch mob mentality and orchestrated demolition.”

    I think Yoly is right: Those who criticize her, equally vehemently, appear, to me anyway, to have a “lynch mob mentality.” Frank Lloyd Wright used to rail about “mobocracy” because he wanted the real Jeffersonian-Emerson democracy.

    As to “orchestrated demolition,” the Philippine penal code has an even fancier name in legal latin: charivari. Art. 155, para. 2, RPC. Charivari refers to discordant voices… designed to annoy and insult. Of course, this part of the law is rarely enforced, given the defense of freedom of expression, and the almost-nothing penalty (arresto menor or a fine).

    As to who may be ignorant and envious, the former wouldn’t know, and the latter wouldn’t admit.

  13. hi angela, the beauty of the web is transparency. the ignoramuses end up parading themselves usually, and “rants” are an everyday thing. i thought yoly’s piece was in self-defense, and even in libel there is such an applicable concept. the mobocracy can’t have it their way by pure decibels; they usually lack “reasoned adequacy” because they run on the gas of the herd. In the markets, the herd always loses to the likes of buffett et al; one can actually make and keep money from trading with the herd, and the same profit, but in an intellectual sense, goes to the sober thinking parts.

  14. hi orlando ;) okay lang naman to be on defense mode — damage control and all that — but i thought she stooped to the level of the mob with the ad hominems and blind items. she could have just defended pilipinaskayganda