An email landed to my mailbox inviting me for an event-cum-blogger launch of Awesome Philippines, a campaign of MTV Networks International and the Department of Tourism of the Philippines that "promotes the country as a hip and cool travel destination to young, adventurous travelers".
(logo from the website)
It was held in M Cafe, a restaurant by Ayala Museum that I have always wanted to try it when I read it in a blog but never had a chance to. located within the vicinity of Greenbelt 4
my photo op! :)
Invitation says the event will start at 6:00PM. I arrived at around 6:15PM and only handful of bloggers were still there at that time. As I was ushered into a table with a vacant seat, the other attendees were invited to start and grab some food for dinner.
appetizer: roasted honey duck rolls, assorted sushi, crispy asian vegetable tempura
main course: tuyo penne, roasted tandoori spiced chicken, beef and brocolli in garlic oyster sauce
and for dessert: jackfruit sansrival, chocolate creme brulee, mango sticky rice
bloggers, busy eating
This is what I had on my plate - roasted honey duck rolls, tuyo penne, roasted tandoori spiced chicken and rice. I'm a big fan of roasted duck, especially the peking/beijing duck variety. I have good memories of tandoori chicken back in Malaysia where I buy these Indian food from the street hawker stalls, paired with naan, but for some reason I didn't like this version from the restaurant. Tuyo penne was okay, just as I expected combination of salted dried fish and pasta.
For dessert, I had the jackfruit sansrival and chocolate creme brulee - I enjoyed the latter so much! :)
and the meal was almost over!
A few minutes later and the event started. Everyone was welcomed to the event and the campaign was explained briefly to the audience by Sherry Magno of Media Concepts.
An MTV VJ Maggie Wilson was called in for a few words, a head-turner that caught my attention when she came in. I was thinking "wow she's hot!"
Tourism Secretary Ace Durano was also present to grace the event and gave a few words about the campaign.
MTV, through Chris Pattinson, also explains their part of the campaign.
And then the teaser videos were shown to us
Yvonne Tey, Marketing Partnerships director of MTV Asia had a demo part (how technical can this get!). Well, at least they are using Windows Vista! :D
The demo, is actually a tour of the Awesome Philippines website. Cool site, I should say.
They also highlighted an on-going contest, Remix-a-holiday, which I think is an interesting viral campaign. And the prize... an expense-paid trip to the Philippines!
Mechanics for this contest (copy-pasted from the official website) is below:
AWESOME PHILIPPINES PROMO MECHANICS
1. Create your dream holiday video by remixing video travel clips, photos and music tracks from www.awesomephilippines.com.
2. Find the different clips of specific destinations in the Video Remixer.
3. Pick and edit cuts of the different travel clips and photos based on your own storyline.
4. Choose the soundtrack of your video from the songs available.
5. Register to enter the contest. As a user, you may submit more than one video entry.
6. All submitted videos will be showcased in the website (www.awesomephilippines.com) gallery and widgets.
7. Your video will be rated by other registered users via a thumbs-up, thumbs-down system.
8. Videos with the highest ratings will be short listed. From the shortlist, 11 videos will be selected by MTV Asia and the Philippine Department of Tourism as the winning entries.
9. Each creator of a winning video will get to fulfill his/her dream holiday with a friend.
10. This promo runs from February 27 to May 24, 2009. All submitted videos will automatically become the property of the Philippine Department of Tourism.
Andrew Chan showed us a beta version of a map in Second Life, featuring the different natural wonders of the Philippines such as Mayon Volcano, Chocolate Hills and rich underwater biodiversity.
Eduardo Mapa, Jr., Managing Director of Media Contacts showed us campaign videos showcasing Philippines, similar to the ones of "Incredible India", "Malaysia Truly Asia", etc. that are shown on cable TV networks.
And then the floor was opened for questions. Questions asked, among others, are why MTV was chosen as the partner, who are the target audience of these, what is the market, why choose the word "awesome", what's in for budget travellers, etc.
table of MTV and DOT team
Ace Durano answering the queries
The whole event ended early, just on time when I was about to run off for something else. Of course it ended with social drinks and...
I've been looking for a campaign like this for years now where Philippines is showcased to the world and attract foreigners, making them want to come here for a visit. I've always been amazed and attached with the series of video ads by Malaysia, tied up with a song that is easy to catch up with that sometimes I suddenly find myself singing "Malaysia Truly Asia". :P
Hopefully things will be sustainable and this is not just a one time big blast and then it's gone. I'm supporting this campaign in whatever way I can and for my foreign readers who have been messaging me what's in the Philippines and why go here, here's your chance - compete and win a free trip to the Philippines!