Mano Po: the Pop Up

Keeping in theme with August as the CSR month (and not as Ghost Month!), TeamAsia’s Pop Up of the month had us spending a rainy afternoon with the lolas of Mary Mother of Mercy Home for the Elderly and Abandoned last August 9. The weather may have been wet and gloomy, but, being Bright TeamAsians, we brought warmth and sunshine with us to the delight of the lolas at the Home.

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The Content Team together with our Pop Up team took the lead for the program and we made sure that there was plenty of fun, games, laughter, and music for everyone. Raiza and Steph decorated the multipurpose area with balloons and crepe paper to set the festive mood. Ingrid and Tony, and through the kind sponsorship of Reserve Car Rentals who sponsored our van, made sure everybody had a ride from the office to and from the venue. Althea and Nina prepared the giveaways. Hans and Vbernie kept the energy up and the program fun as the hosts and entertainment. Vince and Thea prepared party games the lolas had fun with. They also enjoyed making their own rosary bracelets as one of their souvenirs from the day. Chef Jesse sponsored our snacks and early dinner for the lolas (they sleep early) and I, with the help of Bea, Pam, Lien, served up the yummy biko and pancit.

Takeaways

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It was a memorable but bittersweet afternoon spent with the lolas. We all have (or had) grandparents. Whether we acknowledge it or not, they played a significant part in making us who we are today. “Home for the elderly and abandoned” pricks at my heart everytime I come across it. After all that they have been through, it’s sad that some grandparents could be left in the mercy and care of people they don’t know. But at the same time I’m grateful that there are people who have dedicated their lives in taking care of the elderly.

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I’m glad we got to spend time with them for our Pop Up and got to hear their stories (even if I couldn’t follow the logic of some of them). They are always in my thoughts. I’m sure we all have a story to share from our afternoon with them.

The Pop Up was particularly memorable for me because I had to hastily rescue a couple of kittens and was tasked by Sister Venus to find homes for the other cats in the compound. I made friends with a lola who was looking for a home for her Bengal cat (Tiger has since been adopted by a friend of a friend). She and I got to talk about our shared love for animals and the people that she knew from my hometown. I still have to settle on the names of the kittens (either Teamy and Asia or Pop and Up), and they are now learning the ways of being a cat from one of my other rescues.

I also asked our team to share some of their thoughts and takeaways from the afternoon:

Nina:

As cheesy and cliche as it sounds, I learned that you have to live in every moment the best you can. Life’s too short to be overthinking about both the past and the future. What you have is now and what you can control is right in front of you. So, you have to make the most of it.

Steph:

I learned from pop up experience how important it is to spend time with the lolas. You can see in their eyes that they’re very happy whenever people visit them. They keep asking when are we going back and that makes my heart sad. I hope we can have another pop-up with them.

Ingrid:

Seeing as I’m a newcomer TeamAsian, I thought it was really cool that my second pop-up was an outreach activity, and co-organized by my own Content team, no less!

It’s nice to see my colleagues outside of an office setting, where the usual designations and rules were stripped away. It didn’t matter what age or department you were in, the Mano Po pop-up just gave off a warm, welcoming sense of family for all of us who participated. We all came together to give the lovely ladies of the Mary Mother of Mercy Home for the Elderly – excuse the pun – a grand old time. Everyone turned into each lola’s very own sweet and doting grandchild for the afternoon.

It was a heartwarming experience that I appreciate being a part of, especially as it is with my new professional home and family.

Thea:

My best memory from that afternoon was the stop dance! My lola was so happy swaying her arms even though she couldn’t stand.

Vince:

The afternoon with the lolas reminded me so much of my grandparents. Back in college, I lived with my grandparents who were living in Quezon City. During the time I was there, my lola took great care of me — always preparing my food, waking me up so I won’t be late, and making sure that I’m ready for the day. Back then I never really got to appreciate all of their efforts for me. My lola would always scold me whenever I go home late. She would always be waiting for me to be home, staying up until the wee hours of the morning just to make sure that I get home safely.

I realized that I took all of those for granted. I never got the chance to thank her for all the things she has done for me. Seeing the lolas there made me realize how lonely it must be for them growing old. I realized that the time I was living with my grandparents must have been meaningful for them — all the meals we shared together, and all the stories we’ve shared with each other — all of which made them happy.

I’m lucky because I still can tell her those things. I can still go back to her and care for her, the same way she did. This experience made me realize that we should always be thankful to our parents and grandparents, to never fail to appreciate all the things they do for us. I wouldn’t be where I am now if not for them.

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What are your memories from that day? We plan to visit the lolas again soon, let me know if you’d like to come with us!

Be sponTAneous when things don’t go as planned

by Johanna Amancio, Media Relations Associate

Like a singer losing his voice or a bride getting stuck in traffic, nothing is more upsetting for an organizer than a plan going out of hand. When I was assigned to create a three-day program for this year’s TeamAsia geTAway, I knew I had to make a foolproof plan. After all, it was my first time being a part of the outing committee. After a few meetings, meriendas, and revisions with my fellow committee members, we came up with the theme “Slip ‘n Slide”—inspired by the huge inflatable island in our resort, MB Cove. With the help of our directors, the committee came up with an engaging plan, even for a group of rest-seeking individuals (including yours truly). But as they say, the future is promised to no one.

No power, no problem
After three hours of travel, TeamAsia made it to the MB Cove Resort in Nasugbu, Batangas. Our bus, however, was too big to enter the resort’s parking space so we had to make a short walk to the place. Upon reaching the resort, I had a sudden urge to dive into the sea and play for the rest of the day, but being the supposed adult that I am, I went to our designated room and began unpacking like the rest. Before I could even open my bags, one of my colleagues came in and said that there was no electricity. Power outages are not that uncommon especially in a remote area such as our resort. From my previous family outing, I learned that some areas in Batangas had a power distribution schedule so a brownout is nothing to me. But after three hours of travel and walking under the stupefying heat, I knew that such slight inconvenience can come a long way for some. Upon stepping out of our temporarily aircon-free room, to my surprise, I saw an active crowd. The power outage somehow kept everyone from locking themselves inside their rooms. Everyone was out, appreciating the place, playing cards and beer pong, and enjoying each others’ company. And just after enjoying our sumptuous lunch, the power was back at one!

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Letting nature take its course
After a brief siesta, we called everyone for a short game briefing. The game was a one-shot music video that each team can shoot in the afternoon before we play it during the evening program. In preparation for our President’s, Monette Iturralde Hamlin (MIH), talk in the afternoon, we took a personality test that would determine our temperament type. In a bright and sunny day such as what we had, a destructive storm is the last thing you would expect—but that was exactly what we got. Just as everyone started to put their ideas into action, a violent storm hit our area. Tents, plants and even the inflatables were all over the place just as everyone was running aimlessly, looking for a safe and dry spot. After the unexpected downpour, everyone entered their respective rooms and tried processing mother nature’s stunt. But despite being disruptive, I realized that a brief and violent storm was just what we needed after hours of scorching heat. It even gave way to a longer personal and rest time. Some even took this time to bond and share stories. After the rain, the resort staff also put the inflatables aside. But even without it, the team had an amazing afternoon swim together and had fun even with just each other’s company.

In the evening, right before dinner, MIH gathered us for a brief session about the personality test we took earlier that day. I learned that there are four temperament types namely Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholic, and Phlegmatic. I turned out to be a Popular Sanguine and just like everyone else, I was surprised to discover how on-point my characteristics were. The night ended with a bonfire session near the beach with a few cold drinks and warm company of each other.

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Improvising is the key
The next day was filled with adventure. Vince, Thea, Althea and I from the Content Department decided to go island hopping with Abi, Gena and Justin from the Experience Department and Enzo, Clarisse, and Joyce from the Marketing and Accounts Department. We went to the nearby islands, which are owned by two prominent politicians in the country. That day was filled with many firsts–my first boat ride, first island hopping activity, and my first coral injury. But despite our wounds, the fun must go on!

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In the afternoon, everyone was gathered to join the highlight of the outing– the obstacle relay in the inflatable island. But just as everyone got out of their rooms for the game, a heavy downpour struck our area again. With that heavy rainfall, it was almost impossible to go through the obstacle relay and the staff would not let us play in the inflatables until the rain stopped. But with everyone already by the shore, people began to improvise and started a game of agawan base (stealing base), which brought out the kid in us. After the storm, there was a go signal to use the inflatables. Though it may look easy from afar, using the inflatables was no easy task. It was slippery, bouncy, and made everyone fall on their backs. But now that I think about it, the short agawan base game became sort of a warm-up exercise for everyone, with the team running around and jumping in the shoreline. Everyone enjoyed the inflatable island particularly the human projectile inflatable slide. By the evening, everyone had a chill time over a fun trivia game.

Last Day
As expected, almost everyone was up late morning and had their breakfast. Some of us stayed in our rooms after and enjoyed an anime series called “The Promised Neverland”. By lunch, some of our colleagues were still swimming at the beach. I was so jealous and wanted to follow, but I had to tend to my wet clothes and towels. By noon, the teams were gathered just before our departure to declare the winners. And even if I enjoyed the activities from afar as a committee, I still felt like a winner because I got the rest and adventure that I badly needed. Throughout the geTAway, a part of me was consistently worried given that the outing did not entirely go as planned. Storms would come and go, the power would be out, and activities will be put to a halt. But at the end of it all, I learned that just like life itself, things won’t always go as planned. And sometimes, the key is to not wait for the perfect moment. Instead, let’s take the moment and make it perfect instead.

You’re The Best, TAtay!

We all have this mental image of our fathers. Proud. Strong. Invincible. Our knights in shining amor who will be with us through thick and thin.

But being a father is hard work. It’s a balancing act between work life and family life that has so many challenges. It’s waking up at 4 am for bottle duty when we were babies. It’s rushing home from work because the bus forgot us at school. It’s working all day in the office and coming home to have dinner with us every day.

Here at TeamAsia, we have our own TAtays, awesome TeamAsian dads who work hard for their families. Today on Father’s Day, we asked them what is the most challenging and most rewarding part of being a Father. Check out what they said here.

To all our Tatays, Fathers, Papas and Itays – Happy Father’s Day!

The Good Trade PH: A Vlog by Thea Madrideo

“I just felt like I needed to do something for my community and my environment. We’re not the only living creatures on the planet. We share the same resources. It’s not a coincidence that we’re the smartest. Being that, I believe we should take care of the planet more.”

A few weeks ago, our PR Associate Thea Madrideo visited The Good Trade Fair to immerse herself with the group’s advocacy towards green living initiatives.

Link to Thea’s Channel.

Thea shares TeamAsia’s advocacy of being more involved with environmental conservation and being more conscious with the products that she uses. One of our biggest campaigns towards sustainability is our initiative towards greener conference events. Learn more about our campaign here.

TeamAsian of the Year 2018

My TeamAsia Story

By James Michael Chiong

Before this version of the blog, I had more than 10 unfinished drafts that did not see the light of day. I usually am able to articulate a lot of things in writing, but when I received the TeamAsian of the Year award, and even until now, I still don’t know how to think or feel about this. For my colleagues who watched me stammer as I try to put words together when I accepted the award, I apologize. I hope you don’t secretly talk about the nerd who can’t make sense of himself during these intense situations.

Kidding aside, because of multiple trials and a lot of errors of writing this blog, I realized that this award is not because of me. Yes, the plaque was named after me and that I received the award during our Christmas party, but as cheesy as it sounds, this would not have been possible if everyone did not band together and work hard to achieve our goals.

TeamAsian of the Year 2018

Our daily mission is to provide the next level of experience for the brands, clients, and partners we serve. I am just happy to be part of this collective of creative and insightful minds who I work with every single day. And I am happy to be sharing this award with the entire TeamAsia family.

What Live Means
Throughout the 10 years of being a professional, I have struggled to be in a position to provide value to the people around me. Being able to provide value to people sparks joy.

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And perhaps this is what Live, our theme for 2018, means for TeamAsians. Live represents one of TeamAsia’s principles that define that we should strive to uplift the lives of the people around us.

My old mentor used to tell me to do whatever it takes because that’s what it takes to be #1. Throughout my professional life, I valued the skills and knowledge I have and pushed myself to learn so many things. You know, to be #1, and because I am a nerd who takes learning very seriously.

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I believed that I can provide the most value to the people around me by sharing these things that I know. I joined TeamAsia in December 2016, hoping to be able to share the ideas and knowledge I gained from my collective experiences and contribute to this unit of creative, intrepid explorers seeking for the next big idea. I joined TeamAsia as a marketing manager, tasked to improve the brand visibility of the agency and our integrated marketing communication services.

The Drawing Board
My fascination with data and technology will be a good fit to how we operate in TeamAsia, but when I started I didn’t know how exactly. I started applying what I know in those fields through Search Engine Optimization and optimizing the UI/UX and the conversion rates of our website. Our team also reported more about website analytics, social media platforms, online ad campaigns, and email marketing performance data.

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We also performed experiments and A+B tests, in which we were allowed to test our theories and if we fail to get results, pivot and start over with better insights. It’s like a common life adage that discounts the number of times you fall down and puts more importance in the number of times you get up. We learn every day, and this is one of the things I appreciate about TeamAsia.

Up until now I still feel the pressure of pushing myself to provide more value to my colleagues. I work amidst some of the most creative and brightest minds I have ever met. So, I challenge myself to learn more and more things, not because so I can simply learn them, but to put the knowledge to good use when we work on the amazing things we do every day.

At the end of the day, being able to provide a different perspective to the drawing board, is how I think that I can help bring brands to the next level of experience.

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The Nerd in the Super-Cool Agency
When I joined TeamAsia in 2016, I was worried how I was going to fit in. I was socially-awkward and because I was new, I focused a lot of my time to try to understand the brand as much as I can. But, in retrospect, it didn’t seem so much of a challenge because of the family I had in the Marketing and Accounts Department. Throughout my stint as a marketing manager, this family had my back.

Seth Godin, in his book Tribes, said that “A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea.” In October 2018, I was promoted to a senior management role in the Digital team. This meant that I am moving from my family, to leading my own tribe of Digital natives.

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With all that’s happened in between, I am thankful.

  • I am thankful for my family and friends that saw me through;
  • I am thankful for the Marketing and Accounts Department/family that welcomed me. I am thankful of Denise, our director, and Clarisse, our marketing associate. We’ve done some great things together and I cannot wait for more;
  • I am thankful for the Digital team. To sir Jeff, and our associates – Andrei, Justin, Evian and Chiara. Let’s all be a stronger unit together;
  • I am thankful for the TeamAsians that I’m fortunate to have worked with. I hope I have provided value in the different things that we do; and
  • I am thankful for our management. Thank you for the confidence you put in me – day in and day out.

There is a proverbial trash can filled with crumpled old paper with ideas, that all led to this version of the blog. Like the many years that have passed, these are experiences that we learn from, and move on from. We take away insights and new knowledge from these drafts, and from them, we do better things. And, if we all learn from these together, who knows what great things we can achieve?

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Yes, the TeamAsian of the Year award is named after me. But the recognition goes to the collective creative and insightful minds of TeamAsians, of which I am proud to work with every day.

Santa At Ascension

Being Santa Claus

by Roland Andrei T. Carada

I was still in school when I met a real live Santa Claus. Michael Allan Hamlin (MAH) went to our Parish Gift Giving in full Santa regalia. Imagine this tall American, decked in what was probably the hottest Santa costume of all time, in the sweltering heat of Manila. When MAH went out to that court, the kids went wild. Like me, this was probably the first time they ever saw Santa Claus for real.

My First Real Santa

Boy were those big shoes to fill.

You see, I never once imagined that I would get to play Santa. But that fateful day came when a colleague playfully asked me if I wanted to be Santa for the My Dream in a Shoebox Pamasko sa Mga Bata. My answer? “Seryoso ka ba!?!?” Turns out she was just joking. But it got me thinking. And being the impulsive Andrei you all know and love, I went over to her and I said yes.

So I told my mom. And knowing my mom, because I’m a Carada, you have to be EXTRA. She sent forth her ever resourceful EA Ate Dana who found two awesome Santa Costumes just in time for Christmas.

My mom then hand-stitched and repaired them so they fit just right. She even made a belt out of velcro and this stretchy cloth that wraps around perfectly.

It’s amazing the effect of a wig, a fake beard, and bright red pajamas can do. The kids looked at me with this look of genuine awe and wonder. It’s Santa Claus come to life! Kids came up to make mano and gave me high fives. There was a kid who hugged me for five minutes straight!

 

My First Foray As SabtaWith MDIAS VolunteersWith TeamAsia

Last December 29 was my last day as Santa. And as the kids were being lined up for the obligatory picture taking, at around the tenth group or so, I found myself silently weeping. It was overwhelming to feel that much love. Good thing I was under all that fake hair and nobody noticed. But suffice it to say, I was genuinely touched.

Santa At Ascension

In any case, as I stow away my Santa costume, all I feel is this sense of gratitude that I was able to contribute a small part in this. I guess that’s what TeamAsia teaches you. We always pride ourselves in creating next level experiences – because at the end of the day, that experience can touch people’s lives.

Dressing up as Santa Claus is small in the grand scheme of things but you never know the effect it will have on the children who saw you. Maybe a decade from now, one of those kids will dress up as Santa Claus and reflect on this just as I am doing now.

Here’s to more next level experiences this year. Cheers!

TeamAsia Pop-up!

Making TeamAsia POP!

I do not look the part but I have already been working for well over a decade and a half. TeamAsia is the latest stop in this crazy adventure I have been on since I graduated from college.

When I got here, the first thing I noticed was the culture. You felt it in the air. It animated the way people spoke and interacted with each other. Even though the backgrounds are as diverse as in any organization, there is a palpable sense of a singleness, a unity that you just cannot define. It makes the word “team” in TeamAsia more real somehow.

The question is: what makes TeamAsia tick?

Read our feature from BusinessWorld SparkUp! About Pop-Up! here: Staying Alive – Employee Engagement in 2028.

WHAT’S OUR SECRET SAUCE?

“A culture is strong when people work with each other for each other. A culture is weak when people work against each other for themselves.” – Simon Sinek

Forbes.com defines employee engagement as how much employees are emotionally committed to the organization and to the organization’s goals. Employee engagement is important because of how it affects the bottomline – Brilliantfuture.se reports that companies that have engaged employees experience at least an 8.6 percent increase in profits.

That same employee engagement is important to creating the culture we have in TeamAsia. When employees put an emotional investment into their organization, it leads to a smoothing of egos; a unity of ideas; a single language that pervades each and everyone on the team.

A big part of why TeamAsia’s employee engagement is so pervasive is also because of its engagement activities. If we pride ourselves in bringing next-level experiences, it should be fitting that we also bring next-level employee engagement.

Enter TeamAsia Pop-Up!

MAKING TEAMASIA POP!

Work Stops, Everybody Pops

Here at TeamAsia, we have our own employee engagement tradition which we call Pop-Up! Every month we set aside a few hours for meaningful activities with the whole team.

My first Pop-up! happened just a few days from my first day in TeamAsia – the annual TeamAsia GeTAway (note the use of TA in our activities which stands for TeamAsia). For the following month, we all stopped working for a few hours to do some spring cleaning and create something wonderful from all the things we accumulated over the years.

Just last month we had our special Halloween Pop-up! called TAkot. We all dressed up in our musical Themed Halloween costumes presented a twist to happily ever after.

The Experience Department

The Creatives Department

The Marketing and Accounts Department

These activities have an impact on the people that participate in it. For Justin and Chiara, two of our newest members on the digital team, TAkot definitely left an impression. “TAkot was a reminder that at the end of the day, people need to experience life even in the workplace,” says Justin. Chiara notes that TAkot was a great opportunity to get to know her new officemates better.

This concept has been a hit for TeamAsia, garnering it two Quill awards for Employee Engagement.

CONCLUSION

The Digital/IT Web Teams

In all my years working, I have always believed that the deepest bonds are formed on the proverbial battlefield. It is not the stress that forms that bond, it is the moments in between that create stronger relationships.

That single purposeful voice in TeamAsia leads to us taking that next step in making brands more engaging. That energy makes us all bright and shiny and renews our commitment to taking brands to the next level of experience.

Read all about our latest Pop-up! here: Staying Alive – Employee Engagement in 2028.