I had to attend to some work stuff, so I showed up late for the joint meet-and-greet event of YouTubers Always be Changing (ABC) and Mom Duty (MD). They were about halfway through the activities when I sauntered in. Two guests immediately greeted me, calling me by name, and thanked me for helping the #ABCMD fams. I had never met them before. Over the next couple of hours, I received more thank-yous from strangers. They’re all ABCMD subscribers.
I attribute this phenomenal gesture to the love they have for ABCMD. You know how when someone you care about is taken care of, you feel the need to thank the one who helped him/her too? I’m guessing it’s something like that. Usually, I receive a thank you from event attendees when I do something for them —like handing them an extra ticket, giving them special access for a photo with celebrities/VIPs, having an item signed for them, asking the show host for a special shoutout, or having the DJ play their song. I don’t recall being thanked because I helped the “stars” of the event. My experience with the ABCMD subscribers was very heartwarming. It just goes to show the kind of people that ABCMD attracts. Ahem.
If you would like to understand better, read on.
Back in early December 2023, while conducting research on a particular travel vlog, I came across the Always be Changing channel. After watching one video, I was hooked. They consistently mentioned Mom Duty, so naturally, I had to check out that channel too. I ended up binge-watching the two channels. Both feature an American family that has been traveling the world for the past several years and recently decided to make the Philippines, specifically Bonifacio Global City, their base
Always be Changing is composed of the Lockwoods – Phil, Erin, and their children Brooklyn and Colt. Mom Duty revolves around the Ocampos – Rocio and Nelvine (who is 100% Pinoy but moved to the US when he was 8 years old) and their twins Nia and Knox. I’m not exactly their target audience. I am not married, I don’t have kids, and I am not into traveling. However, I find their perspective on the Philippines interesting. It’s fun to watch them wow-ing over things I take for granted. More than anything, I really appreciate the style and quality of their videos. While you still get that homemade feel, their presentation is well-thought-out, the lines they deliver are intelligent and not redundant, and everything is always nicely edited.
A few weeks ago, they started announcing that they were hosting a meet-and-greet for their subscribers. I noticed that the details were slow to come, so I thought I’d reach out and offer my help. I figured it would be one of two things – they’d think I’m some kind of stalker and get scared, or they’d appreciate the effort. Fortunately, it was the latter. Nelvine admitted that he was initially wary, but when he saw the preliminary checklist I had discussed with Rocio over the phone, he was convinced I was legit.
It was all a whirlwind from that point onward. They were pressed for time and had a gazillion things to sort out. We met face-to-face, and despite my efforts to run away from their cameras, plus threats of charging them for a talent fee, they managed to insert a few short clips of me into their vlogs. That’s how their subscribers learned about me and my involvement in the meet-and-greet event.
After meeting and visiting the venue they had reserved, we got down to business. Rocio was the point person and the one coordinating everything. My role was to help her put things in order, guide her through the nitty-gritty, provide her with the questions to ask and details to check, and identify the questions to ask AGAIN and details to check AGAIN (the AGAIN is required because we’re in the Philippines). I presented her with scenarios and explained the possible consequences of every decision. She considered every suggestion, raised every point with everyone involved, and mulled over the options with the rest of ABCMD. It was a lot of back and forth on Viber and more conversations.
In the video above, Rocio can be seen crying. I haven’t had the chance to ask her, but I’ve been wondering if that happened after one of our conversations. Had I pushed her too much? When preparing for events, I dissect everything. It’s easy to deal with the best-case scenario, but what do you do when you’re faced with the worst? It can be quite daunting to listen to me go on and on with all the what ifs. I had no doubt that we were aligned with what we wanted to deliver to their subscribers. When your vlogs are produced excellently, I assume you would also want your events organized excellently. However, in hindsight, I realized that it must have been all very overwhelming for her. The Pinoy way of changing or only revealing the rules in the middle of the game made everything doubly difficult.
In the ABC family’s vlog below, Phil said, “Learning the Philippines’ way of doing business is like drinking from a fire hose.” Oh yes! And that fire hose can be a damper. For every project, I struggle to not let it extinguish my passion, creativity, and pursuit of excellence. It gets harder as I grow older and have less of the naive optimism of my youth, but when I encounter like-minded people, I am strengthened.
And so we soldiered on to come up with the best possible meet-and-greet event. I think got a wee bit carried away. Before I knew it, I had roped Photoman into the project. Printing photos for souvenirs never gets old, and with Photoman’s hardworking photographers, every party guest goes home with a stash. If you attended the event, you can go to Photoman’s Facebook page to download your photos.
I was also able to recruit Looking for Juan to provide prizes. I have been working on and off with them for the past couple of years. Their lineup of children’s books, puzzles, journals, note cards, etc. with Filipino artwork designs is very premium. Every purchase from their website www.lookingforjuan.com is matched with book donations to children in disadvantaged communities.
Event day came and everything went perfectly well. ABCMD hired Combined Concepts to style the venue and run the entire show. They did a splendid job, you wouldn’t think that they only had a few days to prepare.
The number of people that attended was just right for the space at the 5th level of the Philippine Stock Exchange building in BGC, the weather cooperated, and everybody went home happy. Shout out to the other sponsors Sip Water, Monkey Shoulder, GoTo King, City Jump N’ Slide, Cravewell, Daddy Mikks, Thai Coco, and Cafe Mary Grace for making the event possible.
I was thrilled to bump into Jay Jay and his wife, Gi. We moved in the same motorsports circle some 15-20 years ago and were part of the same events. Now, here we are, both vlogger fans. Haha!
Another person I reconnected with through this endeavor was Arleen Legaspi, who used to participate in my events for K-Lite 103.5 some 15-20 years ago too. She saw me in the ABCMD vlogs, left a kind comment, and messaged me.
I was inspired to write because I was blown away by all the thank yous I received but really, I’m the one who should be saying thank you. I’m grateful to the ABCMD fams for allowing me into their playground. I’m grateful to their subscribers who showed appreciation for my efforts. I am grateful to the brands that trusted me enough to accommodate my requests for the event. I’m grateful for the new friends and rekindled acquaintances. And, most of all, I’m grateful to YouTube’s algorithm for starting it all! Harhar!