Tag Archives: UP Manila

5 things I learned from doing this blog

Like what I’ve said in my first entry, I’m no first-time blogger. Naturally, I would already have the hang of this in no time. Boy was I wrong. This time, blogging felt like some forgotten talent, a skill that has gone unused for quite some time (much like solving algebraic equations). As an appropriate 15th blog post, I would like to share the difficulties that I have faced in keeping Comm de Garçon up and running.

  1. Picking a topic is about as easy as licking your own elbow. Knowing what to write about is obviously my biggest challenge. Given that I am not an expert in communication (at least not yet), analyzing trends and writing about their implications on how organizations should function is no walk in the park. A lot of big news happened over the course of my first entry to this one and yet I did not go beyond my comfort zone to write about them, which brings you to my second learning…
  2. When in doubt, stick to your guns. Like I’ve said, it’s hard talking about something that I have absolutely no knowledge about. This doesn’t mean that I’m uninformed about current events though. I just felt that I won’t be able to verbalize them to the best of my ability. It’s childish how I deal with my personal insecurities but then again I do not want to pretend that I know everything. I’d rather do a boring post about something that I am truly interested in (I’m pretty sure my peers are tired of seeing me write about fashion) rather than write a pretentious entry about a recent event just for the sake of doing timely social commentary.
  3. Typing the entry is only half the work. I’m pretty sure that a lot of people type their entries on some word processor and then copying and pasting it here on WordPress. That’s the easiest way of actually putting out a post. However, since part of opening your blog to the public means being able to engage them for more than five minutes or so (just enough to get them through an entry or two), putting supporting media is necessary. Formatting it to fit the post certainly feels like a chore that one would rather not do (like washing the dishes for instance). Adding content (photos, videos, etc.) that would grab their interest involves searching for that material, choosing the one with the best quality, and then uploading it to some external host website. This is precisely why each blog post would take me at least an hour to make. Thirty minutes if inspiration strikes.
  4. Proofread, proofread, proofread! I am a self-confessed grammar Nazi so you could just imagine my horror if I spot a grammatical error or a misspelled word in my entries. Sometimes things just sound better in my head or when I say them out loud. That being said, I tend to forget that translating something that is orally acceptable into a written piece of work requires much reviewing and rephrasing. My ideas don’t always come out as how I heard them in my thoughts which is why I’m apologizing right now for any “What the hell did he just say?” entries.
  5. Dig a little deeper and you just might find oil. Of course, I’m speaking metaphorically. I’ve learned that one must not take everything in its face value. There’s so many implications, so many subtexts behind every situation. With that, I really need to give more time in assessing all the events that happened during the duration of this semester. I know very well that I missed out on a lot of good potential entries but you know how writer’s block can be.

Many of my peers have said that blogging can be a total drag unless you put your mind to it and I admit that with this blog, I didn’t exactly use up all my critical thinking capacity for it. Regardless, it was fun having to put my OrCom hat on and act like I know a thing or two about stuff. I still have a lot to learn  and discover, and just because this is technically my last required entry doesn’t mean I’ll stop posting here. For now, I just need a little breather before I can write about anything again.


Gucci Gucci goo

I’ve talked about how different fashion houses have started livestreaming  their shows over the internet a few posts back and now that it’s Fashion Week all over again, we can expect them to once again broadcast their collections for fashionistas all over the world to see in real-time. Last night, Burberry showed its women’s Spring-Summer 2011 collection live from London and I was able to watch only snippets of it (my internet connection was rather choppy and the video host kept buffering every two seconds or so). Needless to say, it is a triumph for the brand granted that every time they do a livestream, thousands of people around the globe tune in to their website. Burberry is one of the frontrunners in innovative fashion show webcasts, having streamed their last season’s show in 3-D.  However, despite being 3-D, it still looked rather grainy. This season, they were successful in broadcasting it on high-definition. Even with that, it seems another brand is trying to top their performance with one that is more outlandish, if you will (fashion is about extravagance, after all).

Burberry women's Spring-Summer 2011

Burberry women's Spring-Summer 2011

Enter Gucci. Gucci of course, is a brand that needs no introduction. Like Burberry, it too has jumped on the livestream bandwagon. Last season they did simulcasts of different cameras stationed in different locations within the venue of their show, much like what you’d see on CCTV camera screens. However, like Burberry, the quality of the video was not exactly up to par. This concern is probably a result of having so many viewers watching the stream at a time. This season, they’re being more exclusive as now they require an online RSVP for one to view the channel. I have a feeling that they too will be doing a high-definition broadcast given that Burberry has raised the bar considerably high. Apart from the live-Tweet function (which Burberry also offers), Gucci has this webcam viewing option so online guests can see each other while they watch. Now, I really don’t see the point in doing this since everyone would be fixated on whatever would come down the runway. It does give the impression of Gucci being more advanced nonetheless when it comes to its web platform. Whether they will succeed Burberry will be found out later, in approximately six hours.

This display of “Who does livestreams better?” certainly shows how much companies are capitalizing on the fact that a lot of those who comprise of their stakeholders are netizens. They’re definitely bringing out the big guns to catch their audience’s attention. These PR efforts certainly makes these luxury giants more appealing to a greater number of people and thus create a bigger demand for their products. If that is the case, then wouldn’t it be nice if Philippine Fashion Week did the same? After all, gaining worldwide recognition is about as easy as doing a live webcast.

Oh shit my dad says

It is undeniable that identity theft is a persistent problem that one could face these days if one uses the internet. Transactions made online almost always require some form of exchange of personal information. Granted that with the advent of technology, criminals, too, have evolved in terms of their modus operandi and have learned to use the internet to wreak havoc to innocent internet users’ lives. This makes one think: “Am I really safe anywhere?” Sadly, all signs seem to point to “No.” Crime is something that we have to painfully accept and live with. The constant dark shadow that it casts on society may be hard to avoid but the least that we can do now is know how not to get victimized. These low-lives may have gotten smarter, but we should be able to be a few steps ahead.

Better safe than sorry

Better safe than sorry

Recently my dad and I had this little chat regarding internet safety. It came as a surprise to me that he brought this up because I know that I’m very particular about my privacy, especially when it comes to cyberspace (read: my complex Facebook security settings). I’m aware of the risks involved when putting out personal information over the web for everyone to see, and that whenever the need to post arises, my moves are calculated so as any missteps can be avoided. My dad’s suggestions, albeit tinged with paranoia (you know how parents are) are actually quite helpful.

  1. Be a little fake. Many sign-up or registration forms on the internet ask people to supply information that is usually reserved for public (as in those registered in the government’s archives) documents. Knowing that the person on the receiving end of these info has the liberty of using these at his or her disposal, it is advisable not to divulge everything in excruciating detail. Perhaps one could provide a fake birthdate, address, or whathaveyou. Dad actually uses “Clark Kent” as his alias when he makes transactions. Now, I do not follow this tip myself but then again I can see where Dad is coming from. After all, he’s had several experiences where his identity was almost stolen… and none of thesemade use of the net. Just imagine if that happened. The possible consequences are endless.
  2. Hold off the vanity. Now, this is obviously a rule that I do not abide by. I think my 50+ photo albums on Facebook are a testament to this. I just don’t want to seem like a faceless creep. Dad uses this GIF photo of Sylvester the Cat with opening and closing eyelids as his display photo in social networking sites and forums. Since PR is my calling, I don’t think being secretive of your face would make people want to trust you. Anyway, if you insist on posting photos , make sure these are the kind that will haunt once they are unearthed several years from now. I’m pretty sure you had a blast chugging down a bottle of vodka and are proud of the supporting photos that you were tagged in to prove it, but in a few years time, it won’t be a laughing matter if someone tries to blackmail you with them.
  3. Use a dummy, dummy! Dad says it’s important to keep a couple or so email addresses for different uses. One should be used for official purposes while the rest can be for anything (i.e. online shopping, social networking, forums, porn, etc.). In Dad’s case, he has three: one for the office, one for personal correspondence, and one as a dummy account with “Clark Kent” as the registered owner of the account. I have at least ten emails but a majority of them I have lost their passwords to. Don’t tell my dad though.

Sure enough, Dad really knows his way around the internet as well as keeping his private information… well… private. And that’s how it’s supposed to be. I wish I could say the same for me. My life is such an open book that if it were an actual, tangible reading material, the spine would be nearly torn in half. But hey, I’m young, I’m smart, and I’m certainly not as dumb as my dad thinks… or maybe that’s my immortality complex talking. Whatever the case, if you wish to be safe, DO NOT FOLLOW MY EXAMPLE!

She’s everywhere

On September 4, 2010, my org, the Junior Marketing Association – University of the Philippines Manila (JMAUPM), held a seminar on various online marketing strategies. The guest speakers for the afternoon were Zack Bulatao of CreatiVoices, freelancer Tricia Gosingtian, Camille Co of Coexist, and Beam Mariano of Artwine. Each of them shared their experiences as well as tips on how to market one’s brand. Miss Gosingtian in particular elicited much excitement and anticipation from the audience as she is the most prominent figure among the four.

JMAUPM EBOG and BOG with Tricia Gosingtian (Photo by Tricia Gosintian)

JMAUPM EBOG and BOG with Tricia Gosingtian (Photo by Tricia Gosingtian)

Tricia, despite the fact that she is not involved with any particular company unlike the other speakers, is arguably better-known because of her internet popularity. Since she uses a plethora of platforms to promote “Tricia Gosingtian, Inc.”, it is really no surprise that most of the audience members know her or have at least heard about her. It is her knack for for projecting such an appealing public persona that made her a fixture in the Philippine social scene and blogosphere.

Surprisingly though, Tricia shared that her celebrity status came by accident and insisted that she did not expect this kind of attention from people. She said that her so-called success stemmed from her “hobby of being self-centered” and everything else snowballed from that. What began as her simple outlet for her creativity (she is a professional photographer after all) has catapulted her to internet fame, so much so that she has approximately 19,000 followers on Tumblr (it is is ranked second in Topblogs.com.ph in the Fashion and Beauty category), 13,000 likes on Facebook, 9,000 followers on Twitter, and and 5,000 fans on LOOKBOOK.nu. She’s also in YouTube, deviantART, Flickr, Chictopia, and has her own food blog. One might ask how does a typical 20-year-old girl achieve this kind of feat (in less than two years’ time, mind you)? Her secret is remarkably simple: by being everywhere.

Tricia’s meteoric rise to the cyber-stratosphere is a well-thought-of and carefully-orchestrated effort on her part. By capitalizing on her initial popularity on Tumblr, she was able to redirect her readers to other web platforms in which she is also using. It is a product of a domino effect of sorts. When people see different links, especially to social networking sites, on her blog, the tendency is for them to click on them and eventually follow, like, or become a fan of her account on that site.

Organizations and brands can learn a thing or two from Tricia’s marketing strategy, specifically in tapping online communities and promoting online. In order to achieve online visibility, one must learn how to catch the attention of one’s target audience or primary stakeholders and have them tuning in for more. In Tricia’s case, she gave people something nice to look at in the form of her well-taken photographs and her insights on fashion. Brands should be able to captivate their target market by providing content that is both relevant to their cause and in line with the interests of their audience. Some actually commit the very common mistake of relying solely on the existence of a Facebook fan page in the belief that the mere presence of such would already suffice for visibility effort. In order to establish oneself in the internet, consistency and more importantly, active participation (responsiveness) of the brand is necessary to effectively achieve their cause.

Certainly, successful online marketing does not stop at existence for existence’s sake. To be a front-runner on the realm of internet promotions means that one should grab every opportunity (seize whatever popular web platform at the time) for marketing oneself. Only through that could one reach popularity of Tricia Gosingtian levels.

ThaiDara: Granada Street’s best-kept secret

My blog is usually devoted to my musings regarding communication trends, social media, and of course, fashion. However for this entry, I would like to play around a bit and do a post about food. Not many people are aware of my being a foodie, especially because I’m quite fussy about my weight. Granted that I have what my friends would describe as a “ridiculously skinny” frame, my love for food is not quite obvious and would take some careful persuasion (i.e. “Tara kain tayo”) in order for it be brought about.

ThaiDara: Bangkok Street Food

ThaiDara: Bangkok Street Food

During my on-the-job training over the summer, I had to walk every weekday from the Gilmore LRT station all the way to Granada Street where my office is located. When I first walked (or shall I say “trekked”) to the office, one particular restaurant caught my eye. Given that the entire stretch of Granada was dotted with eateries of various cuisines, for one to catch my attention is definitely something worth checking out. With its then-orange-painted walls, it wasn’t really a surprise why I immediately took notice. It was probably the citrus-y color which screamed “Eat here! Eat here!” which drew me in. The name “ThaiDara” simply sealed the deal.

ThaiDara's interior

ThaiDara's interior

It was quite obvious that ThaiDara served Thai food. As a frustrated traveler, Bangkok was certainly one of those places in the globe that I have always wanted to go to. I figured, “This is the closest thing to Bangkok that I can get. Why don’t I give it a shot?” Until that time, I haven’t tasted Thai food but have heard a lot about it. The usual comments were that it was spicy and savory. What ThaiDara gave me certainly exceeded my expectations. Soon enough I was singing ThaiDara’s praises to the heavens.

With James Bon and James Worrasaran

With James Bon and James Worrasaran

Opened in August 2009, ThaiDara is the brainchild of restaurateur James Bon and Chef James Worrasaran. Both were working in The States before taking a vacation in the Philippines. Not long after, they realized that they can’t find any good Thai restaurants that offered food with that authentic Thai flavor. Chef James, being Thai himself, knew all too well the unmistakable taste of home. His recipes which evoke his late mother’s cooking pay tribute to her dream of having her own restaurant but was unable to fulfill in life. The two friends decided to try their hand in the food business by starting their own restaurant with the promise of bringing the tastes of Thailand to Filipino palates. It seems that with James Bon’s entrepreneurial magic and Chef James’ 12 years of experience in the food industry, they have succeeded since the restaurant has had its share of regulars as well as a handful of celebrities (e.g. Ai-Ai delas Alas, Christine Reyes, Lance Raymundo, Denise Laurel, Venus Raj, and Ciara Sotto, among others) dine there.

Among ThaiDara’s specialties that keep patrons coming back for more are the iconic Pad Thai and the crowd favorite Tom Yum soup. I personally love the Drunken Noodle, Sassy Fish, Bangkok Spring Rolls, and Pork Satay. The irresistibly sweet refreshments (e.g. Thai Iced Tea, Lemongrass Iced Tea, Mint Lemonade) perfectly compliment the richly flavored dishes. And the desserts are nothing short of delectable. The reason why Filipinos have had such a positive reception towards Thai cuisine, according to Chef James, is because of its similarity to Filipino cuisine. The unique blend of spicy, sweet, and sour present in such dishes definitely appeals to Philippine taste buds. Given that that ThaiDara gives the closest thing to fine dining in Granada Street without the hefty price that is attributed to haute cuisine, it certainly makes it a popular destination among foodies who are in need of their regular Thai fix. A complete meal would normally set you back at 400 pesos; not bad considering that each dish is a masterpiece in its own right (“It has a little bit of everything,” Chef James says).

Just as impressive as the food they serve is the ambience in the restaurant. Its clean lines and minimalist flair makes dining such a serene and relaxing experience; perfect for having dinner with friends after a long and tiring day. What makes ThaiDara even more charming is because it somehow brings the vibe of contemporary Bangkok with photos of Thai personalities plastered in one corner and a television screen that features modern Thai music videos. They also paid homage to traditional Thai culture by incorporating certain design elements which evoked Thailand’s old world charm (i.e. pictures of Thai dancers on one wall, antique silver pitchers and cups, various wood carvings in Buddha’s likeness, and a Thai headdress which one can borrow and get photographed in). Indeed, ThaiDara offers a slice of Thai life as a beautiful mix of past and present.

Having recently celebrated its first anniversary, ThaiDara put up an “Eat All You Can” promo for us who just can’t get enough of their awesome food. Certainly I’ll never get tired of them anytime soon. I make a “pilgrimage” of sorts to Granada to grab a plate of my favorite Pad Thai as much as my free time allows me. Chef James, when asked what envisions for ThaiDara in the next five years or so, said that he and his co-owner James see ThaiDara as having more branches in the future but promise to maintain the home-y and very personal approach that the restaurant has now with its clientele. Now with that projection, isn’t that such a delicious future to look forward to?

ThaiDara: Bangkok Street Food is located at 56 Granada Street, Barangay Valencia, Quezon City. For inquiries, you may reach them via telephone at (02) 515-0469 or (02) 568-0651. Payments are on a cash-basis only.

How to locate ThaiDara

How to locate ThaiDara

Sample Social Media Release for ThaiDara:

Sample Social Media Release

Sample Social Media Release