A Peek of Phuket

I went on a Business trip to Phuket last Tuesday until Saturday. I’ve been in Thailand for over 2 years now and has gone to many places but never to Phuket considering it is the 2nd most popular spot in Thailand after Bangkok.

I arrived in Phuket International Airport past 10 am. It was teeming with tourists and locals alike. At the arrival area, hundreds of tourist are waiting for the pick-up transfers and so are the drivers who patiently wait for their passengers. Phuket is also not spared from the infamous traffic jam of Thailand.

I have at least 7 meetings per day during the visit and mostly until dinner time. Since Phuket is a big island, in some instances, I had to travel about 1 hour by car from one end of the island to the other. Luckily the scenery is breath taking, from beaches to stunning bays, hills and mountains and not to mention the thousands of hotels and resorts lining all the major beaches.

Phuket is really a tourist paradise. You will never get hungry as there are a lot of restaurants, bars and fast food. If you want to relax, there is a massage shop in almost every corner of the island. Definitely a lot more compared to Bangkok or Pattaya.

The most visited area is Patong popular for its vibrant night life and long stretch of beach but I prefer the Kata or Karon area which is less busy.

Phuket is also a shopping haven. Souvenir shops lined the beach and most of the streets. But if you want to go to a bigger place, you can opt for either Jungceylon in Patong area or Central Festival Mall in the town proper.

All over the island you can see signs like “Tsunami Hazard Zone” or “Tsunami Evacuation Site” etc. as Phuket was one of the hard hit areas during the 2004 deadly Asian Tsunami. It’s a good thing though that they make those signs visible and easy to understand because calamity can happen at any time and unexpectedly. Six years after the Tsunami, there was no sign of the damage or destruction at all. It shows the Thai’s optimism and resilience.

Though my trip is quite tiring, it is truly a fruitful and memorable one. I would definitely be coming back to Phuket soon for a holiday.

I’m sharing some of the snapshots I took in between meetings.

Enjoy a peek of Phuket! 🙂

Karon/Kata View Point

Westin Siray Bay

Splash Jungle @ West Sands Phuket
Sugar Palm Karon

Dusit Thani Laguna

Pilipinas Kay Ganda….duh?



The Philippine Department of Tourism is changing the Tourism Tagline of our dear country. For years now (since the time of former DOT Secretary Richard Gordon) Wow Philippines has created the interest of many tourists worldwide as surely the Philippines has a lot of Wow offers.  The Tourism Department under new Secretary Alberto Lim will introduce the tagline “Pilipinas Kay Ganda” (Philippines so Beautiful) in all tourism related Marketing and PR endeavors.

They claimed that many foreigners have lauded the new slogan which is the opposite of how Filipinos feel which mostly are not receptive of this idea (this blogger included)!.  They said the result of the research made since July show that many foreigners know Pilipinas than Philippines including Europe which knows the country as the only Latin country in Asia.

That being said plus the very well known fact that the country is indeed beautiful, they don’t see any more appropriate brand to tag our country than Pilipinas Kay Ganda.

Well I generally don’t oppose using Filipino term as I believe our language is unique. However, we are talking about international initiatives to lure tourists. The government claimed that in terms of budget and avenues to promote visuals, we cannot compete with Malaysia and Thailand as they have very good materials that has been repeatedly shown in various forms. Check.

So if we are already disadvantaged by lack of budget for tourism promotions, then it will surely create a lesser impact if we have to change the brand which may be quite difficult for a foreigner to remember or pronounce?  Shouldn’t we just utilize existing meager budget to promote this brand “Wow Philippines” which I can say has been quite popular and has been existent for many years.

Launching a new brand in the market must entail a lot of budget, hard work and initiatives to become well known and trusted by consumers. Having said this, the government must shove huge sum of monies to promote the country globally.  My worry is that if a new government comes in and dislike the Pilipinas Kay Ganda tagline as well as rolled-out plans to promote this brand, then they have to change and start all over again.

Though Pilipinas Kay Ganda sounds unique, it doesn’t have as much impact and international appeal as Wow Philippines or taglines of other countries. Pilipinas Kay Ganda is almost similar to Umagang Kay Ganda (the morning show on ABS-CBN).  Hope it’s not ABS who suggested that tagline…hmm…

Just for the purpose of comparison, below are the various taglines of countries/cities  in terms of their Tourism Initiatives. Judge for yourself if Pilipinas Kay Ganda can compete.

Incredible India
Amazing Thailand
Malaysia Truly Asia (or now called 1 Malaysia???)
Uniquely Singapore
El Salvador Impressive!
Discover Peru
Brazil Sensational!
I heart New York
Maldives Sunny side of life

We need not say more that our country is a real beauty. I’ve been to many parts of the Philippines and each destination I’ve been to has a unique thing/attraction to offer. Let’s just hope we are able to showcase to the world (and that they will remember) the Philippine brand of natural beauty and hospitality.


Manny Pacquiao ruled ’em all again…

Yesterday is V day for Manny Pacquiao and the Filipinos all over the world.  For 8th time, he is a world champion ruling 8 different weight division by defeating Mexican, Antonio Margarito in 12 rounds via a unanimous decision in a spectacular fight amidst a full packed crowd in the Cowboys Stadium.

By body statistics, Margarito seems to be on the advantage. He stands 5’11 against Manny who is only 5’6. Margarito weighs 150 lbs on the last weigh in a day before the fight while Pacquiao is only 144.6 lbs. Margarito has a wider reach at 73″ vs. Pacquiao at 67″.

However, in terms of speed and agility, Pacquiao is definitely the better fighter as he literally danced his way in the ring to avoid Margarito cornering him except in one round wherein Pacquiao said he was hit on the  side of his body by Margarito when he was cornered on the ropes.

The cameras clearly see the battered face of the Mexican fighters. Many analyst believed the match should’ve been stopped since Round 10.  Pacquiao acknowledged that Margarito is a very determined and durable fighter and did not quit until the last round.

For this fight, Pacquiao is reportedly taking home a big purse within the range of USD 20 Million (including pay per view sales) or over 800 million pesos. Deducting taxes or whatever necessary dues, his take home pay is still a huge sum of money which most of us will not earn in a lifetime. Whew!

Above it all, Manny is taking home the pride and honor of once again putting the Philippines at the top of the world with his latest success in Boxing and this makes him the most popular Filipino nowadays and is well-loved and idolized by millions of fans.

We’re not sure how long Manny could still be able to cope with the very demanding task of defending his crown and how many more fighters he is willing to face. I guess Manny need not prove more cos he already proved to be one of the best if not the best Filipino boxer of all time.

Otherwise, we could see Mommy Dionesia more often fainting due to nervousness watching each of Manny’s fight which is also not a good idea.

Manny, Congratulations and keep it up! The Filipino people are all proud of you.

Stories as a child…

When we were young, our parents, guardians or most of the adults would come up with unique if not outrageous stories (mostly urban legends) just to make us follow their orders or to keep us still when we become too obnoxious. These are my stories to tell as a child which I don’t know where it originated from…disclaimer: this post is not intended to discriminate anyone.

When we don’t want to eat the food on the table (supposed it is a fish or vegetable dish cos naturally kids love meat and junk foods), we are told that when we become hungry and just sleep our hunger out, “our spirit would go out of our body and go to the kitchen to find something to eat. Finally, the spirit will find the rice cooker (which is still on but on keep warm mode) and try to grab some rice. Unfortunately, the spirit is trapped inside the rice cooker and may eventually die” so it’s best to keep our tummy with whatever food is served on the table to avoid it happening to us.

If we don’t sleep in the afternoon or becomes very stubborn, they would scare us by saying there is a “Bombay” (Indian men with full beard and riding a motorcycle) roaming around the streets with a sack and would put bad children inside the sack and bring somewhere far away. Since we would occasionally see Bombay in motorcycle passing the village (usually there is a pretty Indian lady seated at the back of the motorbike) and because they look different than us, so we were really scared and believe this story is true. Later on, we realized the so-called “Bombay” are Indian business men who are normal people like us and we need not be scared of them.

If we try to go home late or in occasion wherein we prefer playing outside than sleeping in the afternoon, we would hear stories from oldies like the roads/bridges are being repaired (or being made) and it was told that to make the road/bridges to be stronger, they would pour blood of a child especially the hard-headed ones so better stay indoors to be safe.

These are only some of the stories that we lived by as we grow up. Most of these stories were made up just to discipline children during our generation. I guess these stories will not work these days as children these days are more inquisitive. I also believe telling the children the truth on what consequences/outcome of their actions would bear supposed they don’t eat, sleep or listen to adults is still the best rather than whipping up wild stories.

What about you, what’s your story?