Monthly Archives: January 2012

It’s More Fun in the Philippines—or is it?

The new tourism line will be more competitive than just an adjective. It is going to be an expression, drawn from natural conversation. The new tourism line is not a manufactured line; it’s drawn from the way Filipinos have touched the lives of tourists.

—-Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr., Department of Tourism.

Honestly, can you say that it’s more fun in the Philippines?

It’s not that I’m very skeptical. Honestly, I have to attest to all foreigners that it is indeed, “more fun in the Philippines”. The beaches, the sunset, the food and the hospitality of the Filipinos are certainly unmatched in the world. Albeit the fact that this country is a developing country with truckloads of problems, nothing can match with human warmth and the beauty of nature that could be found here. But if there is something wrong with the “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” campaign of the Department of Tourism, it’s pretty much a mouthful but it isn’t saying much about visiting the Philippines.

I do not blame the Department of Tourism. “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” is definitely an improvement from that lame “Pilipinas Kay Ganda” (“Philippines, so Beautiful”) whose logo and depiction is an obvious and embarrassing imitation from Poland’s tourism logo. Never mind that there had already been a “It’s More Fun in Switzerland” slogan back in the 1950’s. The words chosen for the logos are too plain that it isn’t impossible that someone else could think of it. I believe in coincidences but the mere fact that someone had thought of our logo decades before Department of Tourism had thought about it means something is wrong.

A lot of countries didn’t make it right on their first tries. Everyone is probably familiar with the successful tourism logo of Malaysia which is, “Malaysia, Truly Asia”. But before that they ventured to a short logo, “Fascinating Malaysia”, which didn’t really work to something longer, “To Know Malaysia is to Love Malaysia” which also didn’t sound right that it captured the essence of visiting Malaysia. Japan’s current tourism slogan is, “Japan. Endless Discovery.” is a massive improvement from their previous tasteless logo, “Cool Japan”.

Nonetheless, I believe that we could do better.  If we examine that long slogan, we shall discover that the only useful word besides the Philippines in the slogan is FUN. But what is fun? Fun, according to Dictionary.com, means something which provides mirth of amusement; enjoyment of playfulness; and lastly, it also means to kid or joke. I believe that we need more gravity on the choice of words that we place in our logo. Fun is not just too simple but something that lacks punch because it cannot be taken too seriously. It lacks the sizzle, the thrill and the enthusiasm of one to visit the country.

Take note that the brevity of tourism logos seems to be popular nowadays. It seems like wordy slogan like Australia’s defunct slogan, “Where the Bloody Hell are You?” had caused decline rather than increase in their tourism. However, if one should stick with the one adjective slogan, one has to encapsulate the very essence of why one should be thrilled to explore your country. That one adjective must be powerful enough to describe the expectation on why one should visit yet it must be cordial enough for one to easily remember it. I think “Incredible India” best illustrate it. The richness and vividness of India’s long history, diversity of people and spirituality can be summed up with the potent word, incredible. Our Asian neighbors seem to follow suit, namely, “Amazing Thailand”, “Your Singapore”, “Mystic Myanmar”, “Destination Pakistan” and “China Forever”.

Therefore, I wonder. What the hell is wrong with WOW PHILIPPINES?

Shortly after Department of Tourism’s big reveal that we’re going to use “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” slogan, netizens expressed their want to retain the Wow Philippines slogan that we had for years. Wow is a simple word, but you cannot call it plain. Wow is something that excites and amazes. It makes one builds up a person’s interest over something. Wow connotes surprises and everybody loves surprises! I love how that three-letter word could say so much for the Philippines and the possible experience one may encounter if he visits this country. That is exactly what the Philippines needs to tattoo on a potential tourist’s mind.

So why fix something that is not broken?

Let me go back with Malaysia Truly Asia slogan. Ever since they launched this slogan, they had overtaken Thailand as the top tourist destination in Asia. It also garnered awards such as Best Long Term Marketing and Branding Campaign Gold Awards at Asian Marketing Effectiveness Awards 2008. How cool is that? The moral of Malaysia’s successful tourism campaign is that we must also be inspired to create something that would essentially sell the Philippines as one of the top tourism destination in the world. Tourism generates income which would help alleviate the pitiful 7% unemployment rate in our country. Actually, a lot of unemployed people that I know are graduates of Hotel and Restaurant Management and Tourism graduates. They do not need to go abroad. We need them here to successfully launch our tourism campaign. That’s why I believe that we need to think more to entice foreigners to visit the country. Our current campaign logo will simply not do.

Bear in mind that more than good marketing is the quality of the product to be sold. Perhaps, I cannot call it fun if shortly after landing in Ninoy Aquino International Airport, I see outdated facilities, rude airport staffs and confusing routes. The flush of the toilet sometimes do not even work! No wonder NAIA is branded as one of the worst airports in the world. Also, I cannot call it fun if traffic is bad all day long and there are no strong attempts from the government to regulate it. It’s also not fun knowing that this country still have a long way to go in resolving the peace problems and politics are never stable. It’s also never fun seeing how dirty our environment is, especially here in the mega congested Metro Manila.  We have a lot to do in order for us to be a real tourism destination.

Still, I want to give “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” a try. It is after all a good logo. But I don’t want just a good slogan. I want the best slogan that we could possibly have for our country. But who knows, it might be a good start for our campaign to be known as a tourist destination here.

I’ll gladly eat my words if that happen.

xxx                                                xxx                                                    xxxx

I did some research for this entry but I think nothing beats SLOVENIA.

I love Slovenia--there's Fun in their Pun!
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2012: Stars over Fireworks

It’s nice to look back before I go forward.

2012. Wow. This time about, a year ago, I was so lost but I could not really explain why to anyone. I’m too stubborn to accept what I feel. I’m too hurt to find words to express my feelings. I’m too lost to find anyone to talk to. A few days after, I find myself budgeting time between school work and the hospital. My sister is suddenly confined because of dengue. I hardly had focus on anything. I fall down from everything—the overpass, the bathtub and even on straight surface. I was black and blue because of bruises both figuratively and literally.

I am nothing but a mess.

The next months were bipolar. There are days wherein there is nothing but happiness. There are days where I feel apathetic about everything. There are days where I could just kill, holler and break things had it been legal. There are days where I could just bow my head down and weep while all alone going home from the bus ride. There are days where I feel so good that I’m ready to die. There are days where I feel so low, misunderstood, lonely and ugly that I want to die.

2011 was not a great year for me but it taught me one important lesson: Life goes on.

Life goes on. You might be forgotten by some friends but you will eventually gain some more. You might lose so much energy and experience so much pain over a broken heart but the world shall not stop for you. You still have work to finish, cases to read and things to do that only you will be able to do. Life shall not stop for you. If you’re bruised, stand up and keep on walking. Take that first step and you might be surprised that you’re already on your one-thousandth. Life goes on because you are stronger than you think. I hoped despite depression. I learned to be brave and smile to everyone though my heart aches. I continued to love despite the pain.

Of course, there are some people that I have to thank along the way. I thank my family because even if you make me crazy, life without you is even crazier. I thank my high school and college friends for our friendship that stands up to now where we are all driven like crazy with adulthood problems. I thank my warriors and amazons people for being good friends to me and being my partners-in-crime. But I give this one special thank you to God. I know He’s always there for me but I thank Him more especially for this year for the little miracles and people who are actually angels in disguise who helped me cope up.

Let’s go fast forward to few minutes before the New Year. I was in a middle of Angeles City. I am trying to find the best position to shoot the fireworks. But I couldn’t have a good position. It’s either some establishment or the old, sturdy trees are blocking my view. In my desperation, I gave up and look up and saw a view that I had not expected. I saw numerous stars scattered across the sky. The stunning Milky Way. Their simplicity awed me, almost bringing me to tears. There are some stars which seem to be very new to me. Stars that I didn’t know existed. They sparkle brightly and tirelessly in silence. They are forever. They are so much unlike the fireworks which may be vibrant, intense and loud but they shine only for some moment and turn into dust.

This 2012, I do not have any resolution but to know what are the stars or fireworks in my life. The stars must be more taken care of and appreciated more than the fireworks. The stars may be hidden in the cloud or by the brightness of the sun and never flamboyant with their presence but they are always there for you, unlike the fireworks which are only there when there is something to celebrate on.

Life goes on, yes. You are stronger than you think, yes. But there is one more lesson learned: There are those people who are always there for you and give your crazy life on earth with just a bit more sense. I thank you to all the stars in my life this 2011. Now, it’s time for me to appreciate and give more love to all of you.  And to the people that I love, I’ll continue being your star. I swear that I’ll always be there for you. I might not be the brightest but you can always count on my unbreakable loyalty.

I look outside my window sill today. Though they are less than what I saw yesterday in Angeles City because of the Manila pollution, one thing is important for me:

They are still shining there.

Don't worry about the darkness, for that is when the stars shine brightest.