Happy Birthday, Dad.

I remember writing your obituary.
I wrote it with all my heart; the words punctuated by sweat, tears, shock, resignation. 
It was the best & worst thing I ever wrote. I put all the details, chose my words carefully — but missed the part where the readers could find what was left of you (the body is a mere vessel).
Perhaps, I wanted the world to know that you were gone.
But I did not want the world to bear witness. It would make it too real.
I still miss you. It never goes away.
Always, there is a joke missing a few peals of laughter. Always, there is a meal half-savored. Always, our family photographs have room for one more person.
I love you, happy birthday — Dad.

What PR Pros Can Learn at Museums

Surprise. Intrigue. Guilt. Happiness. New-ness. Nostalgia. Desire. I noticed that successful campaigns had at least two of these emotional elements.

It’s not just about acting, good visuals or sad violin music.

Good, effective campaigns start with clear communications:

a crystal vision of where we want to be

a determined way of hacking out a path.

For us who are writing — whether to sell products, to change minds, to transform society – developing an emotional hook is important to getting our target market to respond.

A few weeks ago, I went on a feelings spree with another PR colleague.

We traveled to the National Museum to answer some questions:

“Paano ba humugot at saan ba huhugot?”

hugot – an emotional response & a wellspring of creativity.

Here’s what we found:



Every story we write must set us apart.



Catching the essence requires focus.



Putting ourselves in our customers’ shoes helps us write more authentically.


 The art we saw were were visualizations of specific calls to action.


When words are cheap & fame is easy, it’s our mastery of story that will help us establish a brand of renown. 


The first half of 2016 just whizzed by & it’s time for my mid year review! I’ve been having a hard time isolating what exactly I learned in the past six months when it hit me: I learned how intrinsic grounded optimism was to my being productive! 🙂

I was reading Edward Monkton’s “The Pig of Happiness” to my daughter earlier this week & that is when the idea struck:

The pig looked around & saw that all was not well at their farm. He saw & then acted. He decided to spread happiness. This pragmatic, unflappable optimism is what I truly believe in & to be otherwise, to “think positive” without considering the facts of life is simply lying to yourself.

Moving forward, my midyear resolutions are to:

  1. Be realistic but not a cynic
  2. Respond with compassion
  3. Cultivate genuine optimism

If you can’t find the book, you can get to know The Pig of Happiness via this video!


3 Reasons why I miss agency life

I’ve been working on the client side of PR now for over 2 years. While I’m glad I moved to “the other side” — there are days when I miss the dynamic agency environment.

So, to quell my ‘homesickness’ (and let’s face it: for many PR pros, the agency can be home…14h workdays notwithstanding!) here are the top 3 things I missed from my agency time:

I miss the thrill of pitching.  

Fresh ideas. New people. If you weren’t keen on pitching stories and dreaming up new executions; you had no place in a PR agency. The fast-paced (and sometimes cutthroat) environment was challenging.

Challenging and rewarding.

You knew when you won the pitch, you knew when you lost the client. Plus, there’s nothing that can keep you on your toes more than meeting a roomful of strangers almost every week. When you communicate with unknown quantities, there is no choice but to be as clear as possible.

There was little constraint on the amount of “dream time” you could invest in a project…provided that you could deliver & meet your deadlines.

The deadlines.   

I never thought I’d say this but I miss the ironclad deadlines of the PR agency. We usually dealt with finished products. This means, I never had to worry about manufacturing issues & other issues brands faced internally. There was no mental waiting time between a product idea & a launch — what landed on my desk was ready to be hyped up.

The regroup.

Speaking of hyping products up — if there’s one thing agencies know how to do — it’s going back to the drawing board when things don’t go as planned. Agile creative teams know when it’s time to let go of an idea they’ve developed to service their client (and the public!) better.

So there. It’s out of my system. Back to working for the dark client side. 🙂


Help end ‘endo’

Starting my birthday week right with a story that is very close to my heart.

I was a freshman doing a story for Matanglawin Ateneo on the SM Workers’ strike. There I was sitting on a curb surrounded by the picketers. As I listened to their stories, the gravity of the injustice done to them burst my sheltered Atenean bubble.

It was a turning point in my life and a decade later, here I am, still doing what my 18-year old self wanted to do — help end the injustice in any way I can.


Full story here: http://www.rappler.com/business/features/131422-philippines-labor-contractualization-endo-human-nature