A Positive Influence

The email said it was the first initiative of its kind, an awards show meant to recognize top social media influencers covering the Asean region. Select influencers in different categories, picked through a panel of judges, were invited to attend the grand event in Singapore, with nominees coming in from the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and from Singapore itself. It was a surprise that the email also said that I had been chosen as one of the recognized social media influencers from the Philippines covering the Parenting Category.

With a mix of disbelief and caution, I took time to verify the information in the email, especially after seeing the names of the judges who I felt would only lend their names only to legitimate and worthwhile activities, I realized it was legit. In between saying prayers of thanks for the honor, I excitedly shared the news with my family!

For the first Influence Asia Awards, they selected 15 influencers per category per country named on their website. From here, the judges selected the top 4 from the list, and the total 180 finalists were invited to the event (36 from each country) and flown into Singapore.

To be recognized in the parenting category is mind-blowing. First, it was a pleasant surprise that in addition to the more established digital niches, like fashion, beauty and food, the organizers (Kudos to Yelo Mobile and GushCloud!) gave enough importance to parent influencers to include us in its roster. They are smart you know, since moms have emerged as one of the most powerful word-of-mouth and online influencers, a demographic that has been consistently growing in recent years. Also, for them to have actually noticed my work when, in parenting, I am in great company because all hypersocial moms can actually be considered all influential in their own ways. Even finding myself amidst my co-nominees Patty Laurel, Amanda Griffin Jacob and Martine de Luna, whose individual work is not only of good quality, but also reflective of their passions and missions, makes this recognition such an honor.

So before the end of 2015, I flew to Singapore because of this very special invitation.
Influence Asia awards

We spent the first evening with all the other influencers from Southeast Asia and had a fun dinner at the office of GushCloud SG. We toured the very cool office and now know why a lot of creative things come out of this company…
Influence Asia awards
Their meeting room resembles a park bench, one of the best places where good ideas flow freely

Influence Asia awards
Game wall (Zach, my nerf gun collector, will love this)

with David Bonifacio, one of the judges who brought me here! Coincidentally I just met David a week before I got the invite email so it was so nice to see him again.
Influence Asia awards

Influence Asia awards

Met the other members of the Philippine contingent. Go Philippines!
Influence Asia awards
Trassiene, Jin, myself and Shereose

Influence Asia awards
Michelle, Patty, Mari and Bianca

and also met people from other countries like Rebecca Saw (@Wacky Becky), influencer from Malaysia and Athena,one of the founders of GushCloud
Influence Asia awards

Also met this super adorable fashionista baby, Jacob, son of Malaysian mom blogger Shaine Wong. Yes, there was a catwalk in the EP office!
Influence Asia awards

Members of Team Philippines! With three of the Philippine judges, Paolo del Rosario, David Bonifacio and Alex Syfu
Influence Asia awards
David Bonifacio, Ernie Lopez, Paolo del Rosario, Alex Syfu

Heads of Yelo Mobile and GushCloud opens the event with this question, which I could not forget. Referencing a book by John Locke, he asked us: “When your kid grows up and says he she wants to be an influenecer, what will u say?” Will we welcome the news and be happy about it, or will we want him to choose a different “world” to be part of? The question did make me think. Bottom line is, whatever my child chooses, we must take care of our “world”, the digital world, and make it a place of profesionalism, mutual respect, authenticity and legitimacy.

Influence Asia awards

After the memorable evening came the main event, the Influence Asia Awards Night. We all got dressed to the nines, as we were all briefed that we would have to walk the red carpet!
Influence Asia awards

It was also one of the best things to be able to share this night with my hubby Gary who flew in with me just to share in the experience. Rightly so since Gary is not only my partner in life and parenthood, he is also my constant moral support. Mommy Mundo is Gary’s as much as mine.
Influence Asia awards

Influence Asia awards
Gary and I walk the red carpet. Young fans lined the barricades waiting for the big stars and their fave influencers.. (They’re probably wondering who we were!)

Influence Asia awards
I felt blessed to be with my fellow parenting influencer nominee, Patty Laurel, who is always very warm and cool about things. Sadly, Amanda and Martine couldn’t make it to the event.

We had some time for photos after the red carpet moment and before the awards ceremony. Here’s another shot of most of the Philippine contingency…
Influence Asia awards

and these cool four are Influencer of the year nominees, Jelito de Leon, BJ Pascual, Karl Ivan Jover, Trassiene
Influence Asia awards
Jelito won two awards that night- Breakout Influencer of the year and Influencer of the Year! Bravo, Jelito!

With my date for the night…
Influence Asia awards

Influence Asia awards
In my dress by my friend, designer Richie Ortega Torres

Finally the big show happens….
Influence Asia awards

Influence Asia awards

The crowd was treated to a grand show featuring Red Foo and K-pop stars Tiffany and Baby Yebin

What a memorable experience, and I was happy and proud to have been part of it! Having started this advocacy+ business more than 15 years ago, when I was a new mom just really wanting to help my fellow moms, back when social media was non-existent and the internet was just all about Yahoo Mail and search. With this foundation, I know and appreciate much the value of new media. I personally consider the internet as one of the biggest blessings given to today’s moms and mompreneurs and am always amazed at how it has allowed us to spread messages, engage people, build communities with less time, less effort and less money. Digital is a medium we should use well and use wisely. Here’s hoping the efforts of Influence Asia will continue on and grow even more, so that together, we can keep our digital space positive, purposeful and credible.

As for me, the experience reminds me of being blessed to be doing the work I do, and to remember what a college friend told me, “with blessings comes responsibility”, so I push on to continue to strive to be a positive influence, and use whatever I have in a good, purposeful way.

+AMDG

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