The Walks of Kulot

25 Creatives. 17 Countries. One Passion.

Red flags at the Cannes Lions 2013 festival

I have always reminded myself that someday I would make it in Cannes. A bucket list entry waiting to be ticked anytime soon and if not early in this lifetime I would patiently wait till I make it. Any adman would definitely dream of this privilege since Cannes Lions is the mecca of all advertising festivals.

If you don’t get it the first time, try again…and again.

Luckily, starting my advertising career at Lowe Open literally opened a lot of doors for me. I am very thankful to be given the opportunity to represent the agency (together with other young creatives at LOWE) to join the local design competition where the winners will be sent to Cannes. Unfortunately, we did not make it but then again I reminded myself that more than the prize it was the experience that mattered. Not until another opportunity came – an invitation from Unilever for its Developing and Emerging Market Young Creative Scholarship. At first I was apprehensive to give it a try since I will be competing with other talents from almost 20 countries but I realized I don’t want to regret this if I don’t give it a shot. Unfortunately, I did not make it through the first cut but Unilever was kind enough to open three more slots and fortunately I was chosen to be one of the scholars. God really knows how to make surprises and when you dream it, you can actually do it!

The Palais – this is where most of the seminars and talks are held.

60 Years of Inspiring Creativity


The Young Creative Academy by Unilever

On its second year, Unilever has been sponsoring the Young Creative Academy during the Cannes Lions festival. The Academy is headed by Bob Isherwood – Ace Saatchi and Saatchi’s former Worldwide Creative Director famous for his creative leadership which brought the agency into its top rank. He has carefully chosen speakers from the creative industry to share their experiences and inspire young creatives to do better in their chosen fields and how to make their bright ideas happen. The line-up of speakers was topnotch which included advertising legends, an award-winning director and a world-renowned photographer.


Advertising legend Sir George Lois giving his talk at the academy.

David Droga on hiring young Creatives: “I want them to be connected with the real world.”

Fruits for your picking. Served fresh daily at the academy.

25 Students. 17 Countries. One passion for Creativity.

More than anything else, meeting 25 creative (and crazy) individuals from 16 different countries was definitely one of the best experience I had so far. It was great sharing ideas and stories with like-minded individuals who share the same passion for creativity. Being together in the academy for almost a week made me realize how similar we are in so many ways – the problems we encounter, the clients we have to face but most importantly the drive and passion that brought us in the same place. The amount of inspiration I got from these people was really mind-blowing and something I would definitely be remembering always. As I look back, I did not only learn a lot but I am glad that I have made good friends along the way. And as soon as I get back to work, I will always be reminded that 24 different individuals from across the globe are fighting for a good brief, making their voices heard, and keeping their creative passion alive.

The Young Creative Academy with Bob Isherwood.

A massive Thank You to Unilever!

The whole class during our “graduation” day.

Asia represent! =)

With Erika Miklos and Fernando Machado (Dove) of Unilever.

One final group photo.

Now that the academy is over the challenge is to transform all the learnings and wisdom into great work. I am looking forward to sharing all the things I’ve learned and passing on the inspiration I’ve gained from the experience. Hopefully, this wouldn’t be my last trip to Cannes and I am hoping the next time a golden shiny lion will be sitting on my palm.

Here are more photos from the festival:

“The communicators will have a profound influence on how the next 20 years turn out…think about how to do it and do it as well as you can.” -President Bill Clinton, Cannes 2012

The “game area” at the Young Lions zone.

Shortlisted entries and winners are on display at the Palais.

More of the best works on display.

The public beach just outside the Palais.

A very busy afternoon with a lot of activities happening around the Palais.

The green ticket invite for one of the award shows.

So this is how an advertising show looks like? Definitely grand!

The Palais usually in a celebratory atmosphere after the awards show.

The Cannes Lions 60th Anniversary Coca-Cola bottle.

Festival poster all over Cannes.

I guess everyone’s wish in the advertising industry is to take home one. 🙂

The Google beach bar open for delegates.

The Young Lions party at the Baoli Beach.

Priceless Cannes.

Talkback 2012.
December 31, 2012, 3:10 pm
Filed under: THOUGHTS OF KULOT | Tags: ,


2011 you sucked big time! You were a year full of pitfalls and disappointments. You’re like a dark overcast filling me with gloom. You allowed me to reach rock bottom and I couldn’t hardly stand on my feet again. Life was slapping me with bullsh*t I thought I don’t deserve. But these series of events (which are unnecessary to mention anymore since they are gone past) have been lifelong lessons I am grateful because they happened early on.

But 2012, yes you 2-0-1-2 (the year I thought the world would end) brought a new hope in me. You lit a spark in my heart waiting to make a change as I face another year – better, stronger and with much enthusiasm. The good thing about you is that you allowed me to start again. My mantra for you 2012 was filled with much passion and excitement as I work on refreshed goals and making things work for me this time. I tried my best to have a more positive outlook in life and to reach out to more people – cherish relationships that matter because it’s not about the quantity but the quality of friendship you make. You taught me to talk less and listen more. 2012, I will be forever grateful for all the amazing surprises you have brought me. You have proven that with God’s grace and determination whatever you hope for can be possible. I am thankful for all the opportunities that came along the way. Thank you for the dream job albeit the sleepless nights, for the all the amazing people who became good friends, for all the rakets which paid the bills, for the quality time with my loved ones, for all the adventures and misadventures and most importantly for allowing me try again. Whatever was lost in 2011, was replaced with far more better things. I am also thankful to all the people I’ve met who became my friends and to all my long time friends who have remained to be the same. As I bid goodbye to your near perfectness, I want to tell you that you will surely be missed. But unlike with other goodbyes, you have put me in a position wherein I will be happy to let go.

As I say hello, to a new friend – 2013, may you be as steadfast as the previous year. Please don’t make the world end just yet. We have to work double time as we make things happen this year. I think 2012 has set the bar high. But don’t be pressured because we will make this through together bringing all the positive goodness of 2012. I won’t make any resolutions this 2013. Better yet, I will just continue to do things which made a difference this year. And oh 2013, let’s put more content to this blog please. This isn’t a personal blog, you know. This is supposed to be a travel blog.  🙂 Allow me to travel more and write more hoping to reach more people and inspire them.

And to you reading this post (whom I know is a good friend), I am grateful to have met you. Hoping that whatever our heart desires will be a reality this year. Again, it’s time to own another year as we continue to dream BIG and MAKE things happen!

Happy New Year everyone! #makingithappen2013

September 27, 2012, 3:55 am
Filed under: THOUGHTS OF KULOT | Tags:

NOTE: This is a non-travel related post.

In just a few hours I will be turning a year older as I bid goodbye to a quarter of my life (hoping I will be living a hundred years). When I turned 20, I never wanted to get old because I felt my teenage years were the most exciting part of my life. But I was wrong because I realized life just gets better when you age – not to mention the many possibilities you could do with your life now that you’re in control. But then again, I still cringe at the thought that I will be turning a year older! It’s the BIG TWO-FIVE right in front of my face slapping me and telling me that there’s now a thin line to being young and being a young adult. Getting old is inevitable and I have no escape. Maybe older people were right in saying that age is just figures and it’s only a matter of how you look at it. Anyway, I hope this isn’t the horror of quarter-life trying to knock me down.

Right, maybe it’s how you perceive things and I think I am more than grateful for the BEST 25 years that has been. It’s been quite a journey but I am not yet half way through. It’s been a series of plains and uphill but nevertheless I am glad that I was able to reach life’s best summits so far. It wasn’t easy after all but I guess I am blessed to have come this far. So what have I learned so far? Let me share to you 25 life lessons I felt was valuable to me. This is a collection of lessons from the life experiences of someone turning 25 – some were overheard and some were borrowed but even so I think can be applied to anyone.

1. The things you learn in Kindergarten are valuable lessons when you get old.

– Simple things like saying “Thank You!”, “Good Morning!” and “Sorry” make a bigger impact when your older self continue to say and use these words properly. Remember how proud we were of our coloring activity when we were kids? We get 5 stars for coloring the sky green and the trees red but it felt like it was the best piece of art we’ve ever made. Lesson learned: You can be crappy at times but no one else can be proud of yourself but you.

2. Suddenly, the things you hate will mean a lot to you.

– I remember how I dreaded sleeping in the afternoon when I was a kid, but now how I wish I could do it every day. Sleeping is now a luxury.

3. Be delighted in simple things.

– Okay fine, I still dream of having all the latest Mac gadgets there is and travelling the world but as I grew older the simplest things make me the happiest. I take simple joys in opening the mailbox and finding out that I have a letter inside it, pulling out a P50 bill in my jeans’ pocket, riding the MRT with only a few passengers, buying something and the moment I pay for it I get a mark down, the moment I lose something and find out that it’s not missing and a lot more.

4. Make lists. Lots of them.

– Admit it, you can’t remember everything. Writing them down will help you organize your thoughts. It’s also the best feeling when you are able to check everything on your list.

5. “Do something today, that your future self will thank you for”

– I’ve read this somewhere and I think it’s good to be reminded that what you do now will have a major impact to your future self. Having said this, I think I must not forget to exercise at least 3 times a week.

6. An act of random kindness a day is good for the soul.

– Imagine making someone happy, you don’t just make that person happy but you’re making a difference in his/her life. A simple gesture can mean a lot – start with a smile. Remember that you can never go wrong in doing something good. It’s the only thing that you do that will have a lasting effect in your life.

7. What goes around, comes back around.

– I always believed in karma and this one never fails to come back without kicking someone else in the butt. Just hope that it won’t go after you next. But if you do good, karma isn’t selfish to reciprocate.

8. What other people think of you is none of your business.

– Everyone is entitled in making their own opinion. It’s their opinion anyway, not yours. What they think or say about you (most especially people who don’t know you best) is the least version of your best self. People who malign others are tarnished inside. Their blabbering makes them feel precious stones but in reality they are rusted metals ready to be thrown in junk. Feel sorry for them anyway.

This also goes to saying that other people’s misdemeanor is none of your business. Mind your own life and try to be an inspiration isntead.

9. Don’t complicate. Keep it Simple.

– The more you complicate things, the more stress you give yourself. Keep things plain and simple. People tend to comprehend things best when it’s said or done in a simple manner. Get out of clutter then you’ll have a better picture of things. Something related to this is the courage to say “No!” – it doesn’t mean you don’t care but it’s giving yourself a breather. Take a break, you deserve it.

10. To be hurt makes you say “Hell, Yeah! I am now an official human being!”

– It’s human to be hurt. Get your heartbroken, grieve the loss of someone, feel betrayed, get rejected or better yet feel despised. You’ll have lots of it and it’s better to experience one of these because it will make you sturdy as a solid rock. Someone tweeted: “The earlier you get hurt, the earlier you carry on with life.”

 11. Find something you love doing. Be passionate about it. Stick to it. Don’t quit. Everything else will follow.

– When I was in gradeschool, I was already fascinated with advertising. I enjoyed watching commercials more than the show. Told myself that I will take it up as a course in college. From then on, I knew Advertising was my passion. After college, I applied for several ad agencies but I didn’t make the cut because I felt I didn’t have enough experience. I was devastated but that didn’t stop me to pursue it. I already quit two jobs before I started working in an ad agency. My former boss even told me that maybe I should try something else and not advertising. That didn’t dampen my spirit but I took it as a challenge to be the best in what I do. Lesson learned: Your passion will haunt you, follow what it tells you to do. Doing what you love best is the best decision you’ll ever make.

12. Look forward to something every year. It doesn’t have to be your birthday.

– Every year, I look forward to the holiday season. I think it’s the most wonderful time of the year, isn’t it? Christmas carols everywhere, trinkets of lights on trees, the infectious energy of everyone on the streets, Simbang Gabi, Bibingka and Puto Bumbong, gift giving and simply the quality time with family and friends. This season is also an excuse to be child-like once again as you get giddy falling in line for an aginaldo.

  13. Thank the people who matter to you. Say I love you more often. BUT Say it when you mean it.

– When you show gratitude to someone you allow them to be a blessing to someone else’s life. Don’t cut the chain of gratefulness because it is infectious. This also goes to saying “I love you” more often most especially to your parents and loved ones.

14. Follow your gut feel. 90% of it is correct.

– I don’t know if I have a soothsayer tendency but my gut feel is true most of the time. Sounds weird but I think your gut feel is your invisible self trying to convince you to take action. Your gut feel makes you more adventurous in life. If you fail, don’t blame yourself. You’ll never know the answer if you did not try in the first place.

15. Fall in love

– But don’t fall too deep that you knock your head down. Love yourself first, then love responsibly. Or when things get worse, “Be Tanga Responsibly” (Team Manila)

16. Get Lost

– I enjoy getting lost. It’s an adventure. It’s a moment of self discovery. It makes you believe in the goodness of people. You appreciate the simplicity of life. You become a better listener. You find music in silence. You see things in a different perspective. You become human. You become a better person. For once, be astray and try to get lost.

17. Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.

– Thinking about it I haven’t saved much to buy myself a condo or a car. I don’t have much to buy myself the latest gadgets and my other materialistic pursuits. All I have is this blog filled with photos and freakin’ long paragraphs! But I don’t regret because this blog is my most coveted investment. And looking back at every entry makes me feel rich…rich in memories and stories. When I grow old, I’ll tell my children to read my blog and hopefully they will be inspired to do the same.

18. Be proud of your race. Be the change you want to see.

– Love your country and believe in the goodness of its people. You might get discouraged at times but there’s a reason why you are a Filipino in the first place. Bashing your fellow countrymen is like stabbing yourself with a dagger. Be the change you want to see. “You might not be the light, but you can be the spark”

19. It’s the quality not the quantity

– As you get older, you realize that it’s not about the number of friends you have but the quality of friendship you have kept throughout the years. Keep these people and they will help you get through difficult moments in your life.

20. Step back and connect the dots.

– Most of the time we question why things happen in our life most especially if it were the trying times. But have you tried to step back and look at the dots? I’ve discovered that things happening in your life are all connected, dot by dot. Something MUST happen to pave way to something better. Try to step back and connect the dots and be surprised how things are connected.

21. Creativity isn’t only about art. It’s how you make ordinary things extraordinary.

– Do what’s more than the usual. It helps to undersell yourself first and deliver more than what’s expected from you.

 22. When all else fail, stick to your morals. If it doesn’t work then stick to your faith.

– Sometimes you just want to punch someone straight to his/her face. Compose yourself, breathe…breathe more. Plain and simple: if you know it’s against what you believe in don’t do it. But if that person is persistent in annoying you, stick to your faith and just pray for that person’s soul. Take note SOUL. You don’t want to punch someone who’s walking dead. =)

23. Grow old, but don’t let go of your youth.

– Young, wild and free. This is the main reason why I don’t want to get old because I am afraid that I might be a boring adult. I want to be updated. I still want to be hip and cool that my younger siblings would look up to me as a cool kuya (not douche cool, okay). Grow old but don’t lose the young energy and vibe in you! Remember it’s okay to be child-like but definitely not childish.

24. Your life is a film, choose your soundtrack wisely.

– That moment when you wish a song is playing as background music to your current situation. You have the power to choose which song is going to play next. What will you pick?

 25. The best is yet to come

– If it’s not happening don’t fret. If something did not materialize don’t lose hope. If you don’t get it the first time, try again. You will be surprised that something better is coming your way. If it isn’t happening yet, don’t be discouraged. Life is full of little treasure troves waiting to be discovered. The moment you get to appreciate the little things you’ll treat the grander things as blessings.

So where will the next 25 years and beyond take me? I don’t know yet but I am sure it will be a better ride this time. 

August 10, 2012, 2:47 am

Pilipinas, Araw na natin to! Para magmalasakit sa kapwa at kalikasan. Para sa bayan. Chance na natin to, wag natin sayangin. (Philippines, this is our day! To show concern to our fellowmen and nature. For our country. This our chance, let’s not put it to waste)

Finally, the sun is up 🙂

It’s More Fun In The Philippines

After months of waiting, the Department of Tourism finally launched its new campaign with the tagline “Its More Fun in the Philippines” which I think is better from its predecessor – Kay Ganda.

It's MORE fun in the Philippines logo. Notice the banig (weaved) pattern of the Philippine map.

I have high respect for the advertising industry of our country most especially to the ad agency (BBDO) who came up with this campaign. I know how painstaking it is to come up with a BIG idea that will be easily accepted by the public. In every campaign there will always be bashers & haters but I think DOT Secretary Ramon Jimenez was right when he said that this campaign is actually “a people’s campaign.” Let’s stop hating and looking for its flaws — instead, why don’t we just embrace it as our own and start promoting our country the best way we could. Remember that the campaign is still new and I am optimistic that the creative agency has a lot of  succeeding plans for it. It still has to go a long way before we could tell if it was successful (foreign arrivals in the country). But for now, all we can do is support the campaign and let the world know why it is MORE fun in the Philippines. As DOT Secretary Jimenez said in a TV interview (State of the Nation):

“Believe in the beauty of your country. Sell it at every turn. Sell it on Facebook, on Twitter, on Multiply. Talk about your country because we deserve a visit from the world.”

Days after the launch, different versions/meme of the campaign came out and became viral on Facebook and Twitter. I am joining the #itsmorefuninthephilippine’s bandwagon and I created my own copy but still similar to the actual campaign/ads. Enjoy!

Finding your way out. More fun in the Philippines. (Photo: Cave Connection, Sagada, Mountain Province)

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THOUGHTS OF KULOT: Pilipinas Kay Ganda

The new Philippine tourism logo: Pilipinas Kay Ganda

With no contradiction at all, I certainly agree that the Philippines is so beautiful – as what the new tagline says. But I think “Pilipinas Kay Ganda”, when used as a tagline or a catch phrase lacks the oomph appeal or the wapak! factor – a term my college professor would describe advertisements with a kick or ads that work. I am one of the many Filipinos who was inspired to support local tourism after watching the series of the WOW Philippines ad campaign under the administration of Sec. Richard Gordon as DOT secretary eight years ago. The ad was done in good taste, it was simple, the message was clear (Philippines: More than the usual) and the tagline WOW Philippines instantly gained popularity and recognition worldwide. The campaign even won “Best International Video Advertising” award at the Internationale Tourismus Borse (ITB) in Berlin. If I am not mistaken the ad was also done with a limited budget but it turned out to be successful. I can’t help but write about this, because I think the WOW Philippines campaign has really set a benchmark as our country’s tourism brand over the past years and to be replaced with something that sounds like a morning talk show, game show or a parlor chain won’t give justice to the people who worked hard to make WOW Philippines a huge success.

Since I believe the current administration/Department of Tourism is open to suggestions, here are my thoughts:

1. I think there’s nothing wrong with using Filipino as a medium for the tagline but like the concern of many, aren’t we targeting foreigners to visit our country? Why not use English as medium for the international campaign and Filipino for the local/domestic campaign? But I think, Philippines So Beautiful wouldn’t work either. If we can’t go away with tagalog I think (like the suggestion of many) Mabuhay Philippines, would be better. We could strengthen the country’s brand equity as a place where everyone is welcome at the same promoting Filipino hospitality.

2. Improve and not totally eradicate the WOW Philippines campaign. I think the WOW Philippines campaign was a huge success and giving it a new life or re-launching it into something as “New and Improved Wow Philippines” would be better. They might want to improve the current musical scoring–same tune but more upbeat, catchy and lively maybe?  I don’t know.  They could even add more snippets/video montage ideas for the more than the usual part. For example: More than the usual  staircase, Banaue Rice Terraces; More than the usual cruise, Vinta of Zamboanga; More than the usual paintings, Pintados Festival; More than the usual parade, Sinulog, Kadayawan or Holy Week celebrations etc. There are a lot to choose from.

3.  Seek help/creative advice from the best ad agencies in the country or better yet ask Team Manila to create the tourism logo. I believe Team Manila is one of the best creative design studios in the country and the good thing about their company is that they support our country’s tourism industry. Their designs are modern, vibrant, youthful and of course proudly-Filipino made! There are many creative Filipinos out there willing to help the DOT, allow them to do what they do best.

As a Filipino citizen blogging about the best his country has to offer, I think a good tourism campaign would encourage us to do better promoting our country because we believe and we support where our country’s tourism industry is heading to.


Why do I care so much with this issue? Same sentiments as Dennis Garcia:

Dennis Garcia captured the sentiments of many of us who care for this country on his Facebook page: “Somebody asked me why I’m wasting time, fussing about DOT’s ‘harmless’ slogan and feeble communications thrust. Three answers: 1) I have no tolerance for mediocrity, 2) My high expectations for the President are being eroded by idiots working for him, and 3) most important..I give a damn, it’s my country.”

August 24, 2010, 2:56 pm

Isang malungkot na araw para sa buong mundo ang nangyari kahapon sa Quirino Grandstand. Habang pinapanood ang mga kaganapan sa telebisyon, hindi ko maiwasang malungkot para sa ating bansa. Napapanood ng buong mundo ang nagyayaring hostage-taking sa CNN at isang malaking dagok nanaman ito sa imahe ng ating bansa. Mga inosenteng dayuhan ang lulan ng bus na iyon na ang tanging nais ay makapagsaya sa ating bansa. Sa totoo lang, hiya at pagkamuhi ang aking naramdaman noong mga panahong iyon. Subalit aking naisip na baliktarin mo man ang mundo, hindi maitatangi na dugong Pinoy ang nanalaytay sa akin. At kabilang ako, kasama ang buong bansa na haharap sa problemang ito.

Naniniwala pa rin akong may pag-asa pa din ang Pilipinas. Tulad nga ng sabi ni Reigno Jose Dilao sa kanyang liham sa CNN iReport, hindi lahat ng nasa Pilipinas ay katulad ni Mendoza. Naniniwala ako na madami pa din akong kababayan na may malasakit at lubos na nagmamahal sa ating bansa. Kung kaya’t nananawagan din ako sa buong mundo, na muli tayong pagbigyan.

At habang pinupulutan ang pangyayaring ito sa mga inuman session sa kanto, bakit hindi natin itanong sa ating mga sarili kung ano ba ang mga aral na ating mapupulot sa pangyayaring ito? Ano ba ang ating magagawa bilang mga Pilipino upang maibalik ang dangal ng ating bansa? Kapansin-pansin sa pangyayari kahapon ang pagdagsa ng mga “usi o usisero” matapos ang hostage taking. Marahil may kakulangan din sa bahagi ng crowd control team ng mga awtoridad pero talagang di na mapigilan ang mga usi. Tila parang mga langgam na nagsilabasan sa kanilang mga lungga. Di alintana ang malakas na ulan, nagsulputan ang mga usisero at usisera. Nagmasid, nagchismisan at nagsiuwian. Wala naman silang naitulong kung tutuusin. Sa halip na madala ng maayos ang mga dayuhang biktima patungo sa mga ambulansya ay nagpasikip lamang ang mga ito. Dito ko napagtanto na tayo ay isang bayan ng mga usisero. Kadalasa’y naroon lamang tayo upang magmasid, mag-abang, at manuro kung sino ang may sala. Ngunit pagkatapos ay wala naman tayong ginagawa upang makatulong. Bilang mga Pilipino, marahil ito na ang panahon na makiisa tayo upang maitaguyod muli ang ating bansa.

Sa ating pakikiramay sa mga biktima at paghingi ng tawad sa buong mundo, nawa’y mapanindigan natin na ang mga Pilipino ay isang lahi na may malasakit sa kapwa, may respeto sa buhay at isang bansang kaaya-ayang puntahan. Itigil na nating ang pagiging usisero at maging bahagi ng pagbabago. Sana makaugalian din nating isali sa ating mga panalangin ang kapakanan ng ating bansa. Kahit anong gawin natin, tayo ay mga Pilipino at kargo ng bawat isa sa atin ang suliranin ng ating bayan subalit naniniwala din ako na ang bawat isa sa atin ay may magagawa para dito.

Ako’y nanalangin para sa mga bikitma, para isang mapayapang mundo at bagong simula para sa ating bansa.