YouTube launches in the Philippines

When YouTube chooses the Philippines to launch its first localized service in Asia, that is telling of what my country’s social media statistics must be like.

Media and citizens in the Philippines have taken to YouTube like fish to water. Watch segments of talk shows, entertainment, news on TV and most likely, portions of these can be found on YouTube. I’ve been to birthday parties where the celebrant is greeted via YouTube by relatives and friends from all over the world. My own son is glued to YouTube videos every day as he watches stuff from computer-related videos to videogaming videos. In Blog Watch, the citizen media group I am with, we already had a YouTube channel since late 2009 and we’ve used it extensively to document the interviews we did of the candidates running for office in the last 2010 elections.

YouTube has also brought several Pinoys to fame as their videos unexpectedly go viral. There was Christine Gambito, better known as Happy Slip, who regaled us with her funny video takes on the Pinoy characteristics and customs. This was followed by the Cebu inmates whose Michael Jackson-inspired dances went globally viral. Charise Pempengco and Arnel Pineda were discovered via YouTube. Charise is now a growing star in the music industry who counts David Foster, Oprah, Ellen DeGeneres and many other celebrities as friends. Arnel is now the lead singer of the band Journey. Maria Aragon of Lady Gaga fame (who I recently met at another event) has Filipino blood running through her veins and so is funny man, Mikey Bustos. Who can forget that even the video of Cebu Pacific flight attendants dancing while in flight would become viral? And those four who were caught jumping up and down on a bed after Venus Raj became a finalist?

Pinoys have really become so attached to documenting lives and posting these on YouTube that even PR campaigns and strategies include contests that are intertwined with YouTube.

Several blogger friends and I were invited to the YouTube launch party held at Whitespace. The whole night was a celebration of YouTube’s success globally, with focus on how Filipino YouTube videos turned viral. Whitespace was transformed into a fun, fun place where different YouTube activities were happening in different corners.

A karaoke booth let guests sing their hearts out while being livestreamed

Moymoy Palaboy

Greyhoundz

Rivermaya

With Hannah (flaircandy)

With blogger friends

With YouTube present now in the Philippines, we can expect easier access to Philippine-originating content. In fact, content from the government will be made available to the YouTube viewing public through two channels – RTVM and Official Gazette.

Jumpstarting this effort will be a Google-YouTube-World View interview on November 4, 2011 of none other than the Philippine President Aquino. World View is a show that features world leaders answering questions from YouTube users sent online. These past days, questions were being gathered from citizens, some of which will be answered personally by Pres. Aquino on the Nov. 4 show.

Exciting times are ahead for Philippine YouTube viewers.

Are you one of us? What do you think of this move to establish a firm YouTube presence in the country?

 

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My Day with Happy Slip

Feb. 7, 2008, Mag:net Cafe Bonifacio High Street, 11:00 am – 3:00 pm

I was not familiar with the place and had to ask some security guards where Mag:net Cafe was. It was just a little before 11:00 and thankfully, the place was not yet full. After registering at the entrance, I made my way into the cafe and reserved the nearest table I could get. Dine and Noemi were still at Krispy Kreme and they soon arrived together with Tin Mandigma of WikiPilipinas and that made up our table of 4.

Christine arrived promptly but to the disappointment of many of us bloggers, she was immediately whisked to an open area of the cafe for media interviews. Thankfully, lunch (FREE!!!!) was served so we had time to socialize and catch up among bloggers. I went around meeting those I knew virtually but was seeing in the flesh for the first time (people like Manuel and Angel Viloria, Anton, Jayvee, Juned and Ivan Henares).

After the media interviews, Christine’s also famous cousin, Josh Verdes, who composed many of the songs featured in her videos, sang 3 of the more popular ones on YouTube (Save Me, Home, and Love At First Sight). Then Christine gave her opening remarks, gamefully answered some questions (sometimes acting out her other family members — to everyone’s delight), and spent time with each and every one of us for a short chitchat, autograph signing, and pictures.

When I got to the front of the line, I told Christine that my 2 girls felt bad that they had to be in school and could not come with me. But she accommodated my request to personally write to them (and a niece) using stationery that I had brought along with me. She also autographed a picture of herself in Luneta which Yehey.com provided all of us.

Towards the end, as everyone got their moment with her, I was able to go back to her with my videocam to get a personal message for my girls (and she cheerfully did, to the delight of my girls). Josh was also able to give them his own message so I think my mission was more than accomplished that day.

We were one of the last to leave Mag:net. We watched from the 2nd floor as Christine was mobbed by adoring fans while she was in her coaster. This is what is amazing about this bubbly girl. She was all heart for everyone she met. Even while inside her vehicle, she went all the way to the back and continued smiling for the small crowd that had patiently waited for her on the street since they could not enter the venue. Waving, smiling, pretending to cry (to show them how she wished she had more time to meet them). And when her coaster sped away, she continued waving from the rear window of the coaster. Such a wonderful, beautiful person inside and out….

Now that she is back in the States, we sit back to wait eagerly for her to edit what must be volumes and volumes of footage from her trip to the Philippines. I am sure what will come out of that will be hilarious at times; but more than just funny, it will be videos filled with love, warmth and sunshine….because that is what we saw from the real Happy Slip.

Christine, no doubt about it…you are one heck of a Philippine Ambassadress. We hope you can come visit more often to get to know your heritage. You bring Philippine sunshine and warmth with you wherever you go and likewise, we will always carry you with us in our hearts.

I will upload YouTube videos of her opening remarks and Q & A portion soon. Watch out for it here.

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Happy To Have Met Happy Slip

Yes, it happened today at Mag:net Cafe, Bonifacio High Street. I met Christine Gambito a.k.a. Happy Slip.

I took so many pictures and videos and am swamped with stuff to put up on the web so I will do all that over the weekend.

Suffice it to say, it was one heck of a day and no doubt about it, Christine is one awesome ambassadress. She is a beautiful person inside and out and just radiates sunshine wherever she goes.

More on her in my post over the weekend.

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A Second Chance to Meet Happy Slip

christine.jpg

There was an overwhelming clamor to have another meet-and-greet event with Happy Slip. The first meet-and-greet, which is tomorrow, Feb. 7, was limited to only 100 bloggers. I was just plain lucky I got into that magic 100.

But for all the fans of Happy Slip out there, fret no more. There will be a second chance to meet Christine. The venue will be the same (Mag:net Cafe, Bonifacio High Street, Fort Boni). This will be on Friday, Feb. 8, from 1-4 pm.

For details, go to Yehey.com’s site for this event. Click HERE.

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Meet-and-Greet in Manila for Happy Slip!

Hi All, Thank you for confirming your participation in the Happy Slip Meet-and-Greet this coming February 7, Thursday at Mag:net Café, Bonifacio High Street from 11:00AM-3:00PM. You are one of the lucky 100 bloggers to join us in this rare opportunity in meeting Filipina YouTube sensation Ms. Christine Gambito brought to us by the Department of Tourism.

And with that confirmation email, I will join 99 other selected bloggers who will get to meet Christine Gambito (a.k.a. Happy Slip), our Ambassadress of Tourism.

When I posted a comment on Anton’s blog and emailed Yehey.com at their Happy Slip site, I never expected to get in, considering Christine’s thousands of fans here in the Philippines. But I got in!

Am I excited or am I excited?

Well, not only is it a chance to meet, greet and blog about Christine, the FilAm YouTube celebrity whose funny videos on Pinoy life have garnered her over 100,000 subscribers to her channel, but I am also looking forward to being with mommy blogger friends, Dine and Noemi.

This event is sponsored by the Department of Tourism, Yehey.com, and Euro RSCG. Kudos to all you guys for bringing over someone who so positively portrays the Philippines even when in her adopted homeland!!!

Watch out for my Happy Slip blog post….sooon!!! With pictures, I hope!

Now — to have my son M1 teach me how to operate our new videocam……

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‘Happy Slip’ Comes to the Philippines!

The FilAm YouTuber, Christine Gambito, whose Happy Slip channel now has over a 100,000 subscribers and whose very humorous videos focus on the life of Pinoys trying to make it in a foreign land, is in town.

Never heard of her? Head off to her YouTube channel and get loads of laughs!

She was recently chosen by the DOT as the Philippine Ambassador of Tourism and her wide following on YouTube is expected to generate interest among Filipinos in the US, including Americans, to visit the Philippines.

I was curious about Christine’s choice of title for her YouTube channel until I read that ‘Happy Slip’ came from her Mom’s way of saying “half slip” (hap e-slip). Hehe, isn’t that so Pinoy?

Christine successfully mimics several “family members” all played by her (her Mom, her Dad, her aunt, a FilAm cousin, etc). She gives each of them a Pinoy accent, a way of speaking, Pinoy habits, Pinoy expressions, etc.

She has made over 40 videos to-date and many of them are really so hilarious. This lady is a looker and yet she does comedy with aplomb. No wonder she won second place for Best Comedy in March 2007 at the YouTube Video awards!!! Believe it or not, her comedy sketches have already been viewed over 30 million times!

See a sample of one of these videos aptly called “Morning Meest” (guess what the meest is!):

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