I had seen some photos of Thunderbird Resorts Poro Point via some relatives who had a brief stay there a few years back. I had been really impressed with the views. So when I learned that the Digital Influencers Marketing Summit (DIM2013, La Union edition) would be held there, of course, I just had to go. I live in Metro Manila, and attending the summit meant longer travel time and more expenses. But the event and the venue were all worth the time, money and effort.
DIM2013 La Union was held last Saturday, January 26. The event gathered students, bloggers, online marketers and other online media practitioners to learn from one another. The event, organized by Digital Filipino, was all about how social media is helping change the world around us (not just in business), and what we can do to be part of this change.
Inspiring Stories of Online Influencers
Speakers Vanj Padilla and Vincent Tabor talked about how they started their online journey. They opened up about the trials, doubts and other difficulties they faced at a time when “going digital” was not yet as popular as it is today. I liked what Vince said that “In blogging you can make a difference,” and his challenge to all to “make a difference online.” It’s inspiring to know that they are now enjoying the fruits of their persistence as they also shared about their present thriving online activities.
I Juana Change The Philippines
The next speaker, who was the most engaging speaker of the day, was Juana Change, aka Mae Paner. She talked first about her own transformation story. “Believe in your own beauty.” How wise and true. Then, in sharing her advocacy for good governance in the Philippines, she showed a video that criticized President Noynoy Aquino on the Porsche episode, and another video which was a trailer for a movie that she’s currently finishing, simply titled “Juana Change The Movie.” Hilarious… should be a fun movie to watch.
Juana Change knows that Pinoys are entertainment-oriented so she uses comedy to get her message across. I hope that Pinoys see beyond the colorful wigs, and go beyond the laughs and try to understand the message. And most importantly, to take action.
SEO and All That Jazz
I really should pay more attention to SEO. After all, I want to earn some money directly or indirectly from this blog. Ben Francia and Tof Salcedo talked just a bit gibberish to me, and for a while I got lost with the jargon. But the Tips on Hitting Page 1 are really useful, especially to newbies like me who are looking for guidance about how search engines work. To build our online influence, we must not only create remarkable content, but also take ownership of that content and be generous in sharing that content.
Creating Brand Champions and How Social Media Is Changing Purchase Behavior
I am not in the marketing field, so I was fascinated with the talks of the remaining speakers who gave their points of view from the business or corporate side of things. From Joma Giron, I learned that there are brand influencers, brand advocates and brand champions. Mannix Pabalan calls bloggers the new age journalists and as such what we write should be well-researched. Dr. Nick Fontanilla presented an informal study to illustrate The Impact of Social Media on Purchase Behavior. While there is a so-called Purchase Funnel that shows a definite pattern of purchase behavior by consumers, the emergence of social media has now changed and enhanced this pattern.
More on Thunderbird Resorts and Casino
It was a full, very productive day. After the summit proper, the participants and speakers were treated to a Casino Appreciation Tour. There were simulated card games where game mechanics were explained by casino staff, and token prizes were given out to the lucky winning players.
I wish I had arrived earlier that morning to have time to explore, enjoy the facilities and take more pictures at Thunderbird Poro Point. I only had a chance to take pictures during the lunch tour, which was a bit short because of the hot, noonday sun. I would have wanted to go inside one of the white and blue villas and take note of the room amenities, or eat Mediterranean food in the restaurant with a great view of the sea, or dip my feet in the gorgeous infinity pool, or just relax in one of the lounge chairs and gaze into the sea and sky, or simply be lulled to sleep by the gentle sea breeze.
Much has been said and written about the Greek-inspired architecture of the Thunderbird Resorts in Poro Point, San Fernando, La Union. It is a one-of-a-kind, beautiful, clean and tidy place. It is a place worthy of the pride of us Ilocanos. I like that it’s secluded, far from the town proper. I hope the owners won’t overdevelop the site to a point that they strip the area of its natural beauty.
So much knowledge gained from this summit. Many action steps to be planned and implemented. Made some new acquaintances. Saw another beautiful place in the Philippines worthy of a return trip. I’m so glad to have made this long trip.