Martial Law be Damned. Adtu ta sa Buda!

Martial Law be damned. There’s no better way to spend the weekend than to go on a froad (food road) trip to Buda in Marilog District to cool off and escape the city noise.

Unlike a few years back when you can’t find a decent place to eat, Buda (Bukidnon-Davao boundary) on the highlands of Davao City, is slowly transforming into a foodie destination. There are now quite a number of quaint restos that serve good food. Plus, the view each resto offers is nothing short of amazing.

Here are three of our favorite eat digs in Marilog:

La Toscana

They serve some of the best pasta and pizza in Davao City. Their fresh noodle seafood pasta alone is worth the more than an hour drive. They also have a branch in Tionko Avenue in Downtown Davao, but their pizza tastes much better at their Buda branch. Both branches use the same recipe, but the long travel to get there makes the food taste much better.

 

Seagull Mountain  Resort Steakhouse

This roadside restaurant has become the unofficial pitstop of motorists traveling to and from Bukidnon to Davao City. What made them famous is their delicious suman and sikwati combo. Your travel to Buda will not be complete if you don’t try this.

 

Wild Berry Resto
This rustic restaurant just before the quarantine stop in Lorega, Buda serves the most mouthwatering pork tenderloin steak in that part of the map. They also make a mean four berries shake with wild berry, that grows in their nearby farm, as their main ingredient.

 

 

Public advisories keep telling people to keep off crowded places, so what better place to go to than Buda. Tara na, adto ‘ta sa Buda.

 

 

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Want a Showstopper Execution?

In today’s post, I share with you an article on showstopper executions written by the Research Director of Omnicom Media Group Philippines.

 

Want A “Showstopper” Execution?

Dan Ryan Catalan

A “showstopper” that’s what you call an advertising execution that is sweeping off the feet of many advertising practitioners.  It’s a sensational feat for an advertising agency for its brainchild to create public buzz or trend online.  It’s the kind of execution that gets told over and over, even a decade after as reference for best ad-campaign practices.

Given a thousand ways to skin a cat, the “best way” for some advertising practitioners is the most “innovative”, most “creative”, most “revolutionary” and other synonymous buzzwords in the advertising vocabulary.  Why not, even marketing practitioners can’t help but to marvel and be envious of these ingenious executions paraded in mass media.

On the flipside, it is also these coveted wows, which trigger to jump the gun on executions.  With so much excitement on a spontaneous idea, there is a tendency to pre-empt the planning process.  In some cases, the execution becomes a blinder, rendering the insights and strategic process as mere support or embellishment, and worse, a pro-forma.

Nonetheless, seasoned communication experts can discern.  Omnicom Media Group CEO, Nic Gabunada explains… “Off-hand, it won’t be fair to discount the creative process that agencies go through.  But it makes you think when the execution starts outshining the brand.  You may praise the agency that came up with the brilliant execution, but the brand ends up with the shorter end of the stick”.  He adds, “You can tell if the campaign is about awards or if it’s an authentic brand communication.”  This happens with advertisers naively falling into the game, too eager to be the brand that comes up with “next-in-thing”.

It is no secret that the process involving a total communications plan is long and arduous.  It involves multiple translations of thoughts—from consumer behaviour and brand equities to insights, from brand strategy to a creative material, from a creative handle to a media idea, from a media idea to executions.  Many times, the brand or marketing objectives get lost in translation.

Here are five nifty tips that marketing practitioners can employ to keep executions on track:

  1. Wear Your Brief Tightly:  Keep the brief printed and on-hand in every meeting and brainstorming session to keep tab of the brand objectives.
  2. Be The Consumer:  Compose your insight statements or insight setup for your advertising concepts, personally expressed from the target market’s point of view.   Of course, insights do not normally come straight from a consumer’s mouth, but stating the insights in the first person’s point of view will keep you consumer-oriented on your next steps.
  3.  Walk forward:  Working backwards starting from creative executions to consumer insight and brand objectives is a force-fit, and would not likely bring about a genuine consumer connection.  Insights about the brand and consumer should be the core of a strategy, not a creative idea.
  4.  Involve the Brand:  Always include the brand in crafting your strategy or concept statements. This should ensure that the brand is the focus of the plan or strategy.
  5.  Visualize the Media Idea / Strategy:  Creative handles are sometimes difficult or impractical to translate to media executions. Planners need to express the communication objective in an actionable/execution-oriented media idea.  However, this can steer one away from focusing on the brand.  Hence, a media idea or strategy statement should be supported by a “media concept”.  This concept articulates a clear vision on how the brand and its message will travel through different channels and reach the consumers effectively.

Impressive executions may be an advantage in cutting through the media clutter and amplifying brand messages, but an execution that is hollow on strategy and insight will be short in offering something substantial for the audience to sink their teeth into.

 

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Success is doing what one desires

What is success? Somebody forwarded to me this account and I thought it offers a fresh insight on the topic.

This is the story of Ruben, an independent business man in a coastal town in Southern Philippines.

Ruben came into the shore early one morning with his small boat full of lovely fish; one for his family, others to sell. Freddie, a top executive from Manila on vacation, saw Ruben return while  the other fishermen were still out with a few catch.

When Freddie asked around about Ruben, everyone told him that Ruben was the best fisherman on the coast.

Freddie walked down to Ruben and asked how he spent his days. Ruben said he fished a bit in the morning, went home to spend some time with his wife and play with his kids, then in the evening he would meet his friends at a local restaurant for songs and games.

Freddie got excited and proposed a business partnership. Together they would build a fleet of ships that would benefit from Ruben’s knowledge. They would move to a big city, and later run offices and fleets around the world.

Ruben asked about the future beyond the world-wide ventures. Freddie expounded on the glories of the great cities and high society, He also stated that after earning so much money they could to retire, go anywhere and do anything they wanted.  Ruben asked Freddie what he wants to do when he retires.

Freddie replied, “I would buy a place near the shore, fish a bit in the morning, go home to spend time with my wife and play with the kids, then in the evening I would meet my friends at a local restaurant for songs and games.”

And Ruben laughed, and walked away.

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My take of P-noy’s Year 1 in office

Pres Benigno Aquino III
President Aquino delivering his 2011 SONA

Daang Matuwid” and “Kung Walang Corrupt, Walang Mahirap” were two prominent campaign slogans of P-noy.  And now that he is the president, we expect him, his cabinet and other functionaries to  live up to these promises.

One year after P-noy’s  inauguration as  president of the country, I could say with confidence  that there is a conscious effort to fight corruption, although, efforts at the national level are yet to trickle down to the local levels.

And while there were black eyes  (the most prominent of which are the handling of the Luneta park hostage-taking incident;  the Leviste “escape” from Bilibid Prisons;   and, P-noy’s purchase of a Porsche), I have three first person experiences of change under this new administration that impresses me and provides a glimmer of hope for the future:

WANGWANGS:  In less than a month after the “no more wang-wang” statement of the president, I could only hear wangs-wangs when an ambulance or a fire truck pass by. Before the “no more wang wang” declaration, even barangay vehicles ran around with wang-wangs on. You can only curse and shout expletives as everybody and his mother who can claim connection to the powers that be  either counterflows or crosses red lights with sirens wailing.

The “no wang-wang” is a good example of how a simple act delivers a message so strong and so symbolic of what change means under the Aquino administration. It  defines every citizen’s expectation of other government officials. It sets the tone of how those in power should handle themselves, at least, in public.

LOG BAN:   At least in Quezon province, hardwood and other timber are getting scarcer.  Logs brought by the rivers to the sea during heavy rains and swollen rivers are now few and far between. A supplier of timber and cut logs from the mountains of Sierra Madre recently went to me to ask for advice on other types of businesses he can venture into.  He told me that it is now very difficult to get timber from his usual sources in Sierra Madre.  A year ago, his clients can simply tell him the quality and quantity of timber they want to order. With the right price, he will even deliver these to Metro Manila.

BUSINESS CONFIDENCE :   I have several business contacts and consulting clients who have either increased their current exposure in the country or have invested for the first time in the country.  Most of them are Filipinos. This is consistent with the official statistics which shows that investments rose 76% to Php162B in the first quarter of 2011.versus the same period of 2010. Moreover, Php140B of that amount came from Filipino investors — a leap of  211% from Php45B in the first quarter of 2010.

The business sentiment is one of optimism that the playing field will be more level in this administration. Bureaucratic red tapes at the national levels appears to have abated, although in some towns and cities in the country getting business permits still takes forever to finish.

To me,  the past 12 months were mostly foundation work, cleaning up, and reviewing. I hope that we will soon see  a Comprehensive Development Plan – something that puts in writing the socio-economic targets we will work at achieving in the coming years.  Definitely, we expect more action in the coming years, as the cleaning up and reviewing should give way to more action. Then we can judge whether he had become the type of leader we want him to become.

 

 

 

 

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What I Want from a Restaurant: How Kanin Club at UP-Ayaland Technohub Scores

Two tries before I finally got a table at this resto.  My first try was to get a table for two for a dinner meeting with a technical person who will give me pointers for this new hobby called blogging. I got into the place at 6:30pm, and  the tables inside and outside the restaurant were all taken. I was number 7 in the waiting list. I waited for an hour, but no luck.

The second time I went there was for a Sunday lunch with my family. We were there at 11:15am and got our desired table for five. A few minutes later, the place was already full.

I tried Kanin Club because of  word of mouth.  A number of friends said the restaurant offers a different take on some of the familiar pinoy fare, although I was warned that it is not for those who are seriously watching their cholesterol levels.  Live a little, I told myself.

So how do I rate the place?

On the whether the restaurant served  great food: I give it a rating of 3 out of 5. At Kanin club we tried out the following:

  1. Kinilaw na Blue Marlin – ceviche in a refreshing salad bed of radish and cucumber, with bits of deep-fried pork bits
  2. Itsi Bitsi –  sitaw, bitsuelas and sigarilyas sauteed with beef.
  3. Crispy Dinuguan— allegedly, their most copied signature dish. Its pork deep-fried to a crisp then set in a semi stew of pork blood.
  4. Crispy Tadyang –crispy and lightly seasoned beef spare ribs
  5. Plain rice

We liked the Kinilaw na Blue Marlin, although we would have preferred to have grilled bits of pork rather that the deep-fried pork bits.  The Itsi Bitsi was a bit overcooked.  The crispy dinuguan and tadyang, lived up to their promise.  We suspected that the kitchen was using MSG, as one of us got dizzy after the lunch – something that normally happens when she eats food with MSG*.

On service, my score is 4 out of 5. I can forgive bad food but I cannot forgive bad service.    Kanin Club @UP-Ayaland Technohub, obviously has trained persons for the job. They were polite and welcoming, and knowledgeable about the menu.  I  particularly like that we  barely noticed the waiters as they put down the plates and refilled our water glasses. They seemed to anticipate what we need next. Moreover, this is one of those restaurants where getting the bill and having our credit card swiped and charged is the fastest, at less than ten minutes.

On other things such  cleanliness, ambiance and the price, the score is 4 out of 5.


*Apparently MSG was the culprit. She came back a few weeks later and had lunch with friends. She did experience dizziness.

 

 

 

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A Homecoming Speech

Last December 30, 2004, I was invited as guest speaker during the 50th annual alumni homecoming of my high school alma mater — St Michael’s School of Padada. Here is a transcript of my speech. 

Dear guests, former teachers, peers and fellow alumni of St. Michael School of Padada, MAAYONG HAPON SA INYONG TANAN!

When Elma Ayop, and then Anna Binoya asked me if I would speak in today’s reunion, I was quite humbled, but more than that actually stunned.

Perhaps, the outspoken criteria to the invitation was beer belly size? Morag dili. Dili ang gidako-on sa tiyan ang basehanan kung kinsa ang guest speaker kay mas daghan pa man diri karon ang mas dako pa ang tiyan kaysa ako. Sa pagkatinood, isog-isog gyod tang tanan nga nitambong sa atong reunion. Kay wala man ta mahadlok nga magpalista bisan dagko na ang ating mga bilbil, sinaw na ang atong mga ulo, o dili kaha, kunot na ang atong mga agtang.

Allow me to be more pensive, this time. 50 YEARS – dugay dugay na gyud na panahon sukad matukod kining atong eskwelahan.  Mas tigulang pa gani kini kaysa kadaghanan nga mitambong ning atong homecoming. But in reality it doesn’t seem to be too far back in time.

In the years since we left the corridors of St. Michael’s School of Padada, through all the compelling changes that our lives (and bodies) have gone through, I look into the faces of everybody and I can say with conviction that everyone here is a SUCCESS. A success because our Catholic upbringing within the walls of this institution, molded us into individuals, who, by making a difference in the lives of a handful of people, that by struggling to be better than how we were when we walked out of the gates of SMSP.  We, in our own way,  have fanned the flames of the SWORD OF ST. MICHAEL and kept its fire ablaze.

Kasagaran ang sukdanan sa kalampusan ginatan-aw sa kadaghan ug kwarta, sa gwapo nga sinina, bag-o nga sakyanan, o kaharuhay sa trabaho ug panginabuhi. However, the Almighty Father, ang BIG BOSS ni Senior San Miguel, dunay lain nga sukdanan kung kinsa ang successful nga alumni sa St. Michael School of Padada. Para KANIYA, ang HULAGWAY SA KALAMPUSAN makita nato:

– sa mga amahan ug inahan nga adlaw adlaw nag trabaho para lang mapadala ang ilang mga anak sa eskuylahan.

The face of success is also seen in:

  • the brightest among us who choose to be civil servants, because they still believe in our institutions;
  • the honest public servants among us – barangay captains, councilors, mayors who lead with integrity, honesty and virtue;
  • the single parents who gave up their own happiness and needs for the sake of their children.
  • And, the businessmen and corporate warriors who have helped other people add value to their lives.

School reunions is a time when we reminisce the era that had made us the successful human beings that we are now.  Our years in SMSP were memorable years! We grew up in a single, God-centered community. Education was our ticket to a brighter better world. And probably for most of us, Education was the only way out.

It was a great time to grow up. We had no money, but we learned to enjoy what was available. We did not have television, electronic games and cellphones, but we were free to learn about nature and enjoy life through our physical activities and interaction with each other. We would swim in the beach, scale the slopes of Piapi, and hunt for spiders and make them fight with each other. We walked to school, and to the church, we played and picnicked in the open spaces, serenade classmates celebrating their birthdays. We raised gardens and chickens. We cut grasses with our own hands and made crude, simple toys.

Many of us were poor, but not poverty-stricken because we had a purpose. Purpose kept us going.

Think of the teachers we had in those days! They taught us to believe we are winners. They see to it that we learn to speak and to write correct and understandable English. They made us sing in ways we never thought was possible. They showed us the logic of math and the sciences. They gave us Spanish as a living language. And our principals and the nuns kept the school running. We respected and somewhat feared our teachers, but overall, knew them as friends we could trust.

Think of the confidence we had in each other. The students were the brightest, the girls were the prettiest. The basketball and softball players were the winners. The glee club and the church choir sang like angels. The school band and the rondalla played beautiful songs. We had the pride of the CLASS of ST. MICHAEL’S. We were proud because we knew hardships was just a step in making us self- sufficient. We did not grow up to be forever dependent on the dole or the goodwill of others. We were expected to be responsible, dependable and independent adults. We wanted to accept our roles in life, whatever those roles might be. We were poor growing up but we had purpose and pride.

One other thing we had, (though we may not realized it and might even had denied it at the time),  we had prayer. We clung to our prayers in those days. We had known life and death of friends and family. We had known financial and emotional trials. We had known fears and frustrations. We have felt fatigued and despair. The right and ability to pray, as we learned in school, has continued to sustain us through the years, and will sustain us the rest of our course.

We have entered into the 21st century and a new millennium since we left SMSP. Middle age is a nagging reality. We must tell our children and grandchildren, how, despite not having all the material comforts that are accessible now, we grew with purpose and pride and we continued through adversity with prayer. This is what we learned from St. Michael School of Padada. It is the same sense of purpose, of pride, and of faith that will bring us together again.

Even after 50 years, we still keep these flames ablaze as children of SMSP.

MABUHAY ANG MGA ALUMNI SA ST. MICHAEL’S!

 

(note: a transcript of this speech first appeared in   http://www.padada.com/PR2004/alumni2004_12.htm    a website put up by Czaldy Garrote and other alumni of SMSP)

 

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