It’s more fun in the Philippines! And then… ???

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Nanette Franco-Diyco

THE MULTI-AWARDED integrated marketing campaign of creative agency BBDO excelled in terms of longevity and effectiveness. The campaign’s battlecry “It’s more fun in the Philippines!” was such a fabulous allurement for any traveler! And its exquisite pull in social media was energized day in and day out by all sorts of photographers “in the name of very personal fun,” and served to substantiate the Department of Tourism’s tagline. Take a bow, BBDO chairman and creative topdog, David Guerrero.

It’s more fun in the Philippines! And then... ???

In my interview of David a short while ago, I was saddened to find out that BBDO’s work for the Department of Tourism (DoT) had ended even as he was “happy and proud” to have been part of the exhilarating growth in the number of tourists visiting our country after the launch of the campaign. No one can tell as of now what the DoT’s communication campaign for the years ahead will be — but we can only wish that BBDO can be consulted about what new strategies can be employed to continue its phenomenal success with “It’s more fun in the Philippines!”

During the long weekend that we just celebrated, we met local and foreign tourists who spontaneously echoed “It’s more fun in the Philippines” without the least bit of prodding from anyone.

In honor of Our Mother of the Holy Rosary at the very end of October, we drove to the many Laguna, Batangas, and Tagaytay churches and antique homes that we had long heard of. The road trip actually evolved into a combination of great sight seeing and pilgrimage — something that each of us has resolved to repeat for our families’ traditional “Visita Iglesia” (church visit) of seven churches for Holy Week’s Maundy Thursday next year.

The native kakanins (snacks), candies, and sweets and all sorts of pasalubongs (gifts) from almost every stop are enough to lure us straight back, along with the unbeatable Filipino hospitality accorded us in each home.

The following day — All Saints’ Day — a Brother with us intoned, “Today, we celebrate the Fiesta of all fiestas, the SuperFiesta of all saints in heaven. They are ‘a great multitude which no one could count, standing before the Throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white with palm branches in their hands.’ Each saint is a masterpiece of God, each a small image of His infinity and an imitation of His Son’s sanctity. Together, they show us a glimpse of the majesty of God and the glory that await those who hope in Him and ‘makes himself pure as He is pure.’

“All souls in heaven are saints — those who are not are somewhere else. It is therefore our mission to be a saint. The Church has identified some of them whose earthly lives are worthy to be imitated. Let us choose one or two to be our intercessor and companion on our journey.”

Apart from our unexpected reflections, I was particularly inspired by the huge century-old Mother of the Holy Rosary statue garbed in a beautiful gold-stitched garment, which is displayed for veneration every October by the family of Nene Garces. Mrs. Garces revealed that she used to lend it to the church but brought the statue back home because “someone had sadly stolen her finger for his amulet.”

From our truly memorable road trip, we were steered straight to Shangri-La at the Fort, the newest hotel in Bonifacio Global City, where we “staycationed” for the rest of our three-day holiday. It was indeed a great ending to our holidays: our room had all the comforts of home and was supremely elegant. I loved the special fixtures of their bathroom, and their no-dieting-possible scrumptuous breakfast and luncheon buffets!

It’s absolutely more fun in the Philippines!

Nanette Franco-Diyco ended her 15th year advertising career as Vice-President of JWT, segueing into the world of academe, currently teaching communications at the Ateneo de Manila University.