On March 2nd, 2013, without much fanfare, the first Google Business Group (GBG) chapter in Mindanao was formed in General Santos City with an INAUGURAL MEETUP at Café Amoree, at the city’s new entertainment and dining strip, Valley High.
The INAUGURAL MEETUP: March 2, 2013
About 35 entrepreneurs, online workers, bloggers, IT staff of private companies and the local government, were in attendance, all of them responding to my invitation, in my capacity as Manager of GBG-GenSan, to an orientation on internet technologies, made available by Google, that could help them leverage their businesses, professions and careers.
Helping me introduce these excited attendees to the wonderful world of Google products and apps, were then GBG Country Champion, Chelle Gray and Google Evangelist Herald Uy, of Singularity.
The launch was a success, thus creating the first community of “generals” who share a common interest in Google technology for business, among others.
And so, on that day, March 2, 2013, GBG General Santos was born.
Here’s the video clip of the news report from ABS-CBN.
DISCOVERY SESSION ON GOOGLE APPS: April 19, 2013
A series of meetups followed, the following month. The first one, a DISCOVERY SESSION, which was in conjunction with the General Santos City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc., was carried out in April 19, 2013, at a function room of Tierra Montana Hotel.
Again, Ms. Chelle Grey and Mr. Herald shared their expertise to the assembly.
This time, the gathering numbered to more than 50 participants, mostly from the membership roll of the chamber. A good number were i.t. and MIS managers of some of the local companies and a few were the business owners themselves.
The gracious Ms. Bench Tacumba, Executive Director of the GSC Chamber was very instrumental in ensuring a good attendance from Chamber members and their representatives, who themselves were appreciative of the orientation and were asking for future workshops on the various Google apps. This was of course, in the pipeline for GBG GenSan who will again be collaborating with the chamber soon.
The following day, April 19, GBG- GenSan held back-to-back activities.
PRECINCT MAPPING PARTY: April 19, 2013
In the morning was the “Precinct Mapping Party” in time for the 2013 National Elections.
The MapUp was in collaboration with the SoCCSkSarGen Bloggers, with 15 volunteer mappers, tasked with plotting the locations of the voting precincts of the cities of GenSan, Koronadal, Tacurong and Zamboanga and Provinces of South Cotabato and Sarangani on an easy-to-use Google Mapping web app. This app was developed by Filipino Google engineer, Dan Delima three years ago, for the 2010 National Elections.
Lending her presence to this MapUp at Hotel San Marco, was Googler Aileen Apolo herself who regaled the mappers with the history of Mapping in the Philippines and thanked the generals, led by the SoCCSkSarGen Bloggers who started it all and became the most active mappers and mapup organizers in the region.
At day’s end, the precincts of the above-mentioned localities were 100% located and mapped.
WOMEN ON THE WEB – GENSAN: April 19, 2013
That same afternoon, an all-women event, dubbed Women On the Web – GenSan (Empowering Women Entrepreneurs with Awesome Online Tools) followed at the same venue.
It was groundbreaking since it gathered 25 young ladies. all eager to find out how Google products could impact on their lives, business, work and careers. We had lawyers, restaurateurs, travel agents, media workers, bloggers, a travel agent, bank managers, college teachers, civic leaders, entrepreneurs, etc. It was indeed a lively, fun group and definitely, we will have a bigger all-women gathering again soon.
The women of the hour were again, Aileen Apolo and Chelle Grey, who mentored the attendees on Google Drive, Google Plus and GMail.
WORKSHOP SERIES 1.0: UNLOCKING THE POWER OF G+ & GOOGLE DRIVE: June 1, 2013
In response to the clamor to do a hands-on workshop, GBG- GenSan did just that and conducted one on Google Drive and Google Plus on June 1, 2013, again at Café Amoree, dubbed GBG GENSAN WORKSHOP SERIES 1.0. Unlocking the Power of Google Plus and Google Drive for your traditional businesses.
This successful afternoon session were superbly handled by local GBG Mentors Alexis Chua and Laurence Erojo along with me and Co-Manager, Orman Manansala.
SEARCH SUMMIT 2013 @ Yogyakarta, Indonesia: June 20-22, 2013
On June 20-22, I and Orman attended the Search Summit 2013 at Yogyakarta, Indonesia, which gathered Google communities all over Southeast Asia.
It was a very valuable and life-changing learning experience for both of us. It further strengthened our resolve to be even better Google evangelists, for GenSan. The summit also gave us a chance to learn from the success stories of our counterparts from other countries in the ASEAN region.
Incidentally, I myself was able to share my story about my advocacy on blogging about Gen. Santos City in a presentation to the GBG Managers present..
After coming home to the Philippines, we have not even rested much when we again conducted two more meetups, one after the other.
The first one, in June 30th, was the Social Media Day celebration.
SOCIAL MEDIA DAY: June 30, 2013
This was the first time for GenSan to host this annual fun activity where the participants were all social media enthusiasts. The event gave them a chance to listen to the State of Social Media in the Philippines, from Ateneo de Davao teacher, Kevin Olmedo. Later, in an UNCONFERENCE, the group discussed TIPS and TRICKS on the usage of Google Plus and Gmail and developed plans to propagate its usage among their peers.
They were also shown a video of GBG Southeast Lead Hadi Othman’s speech for Social Media Day. It was also a good time to introduce Ms. Chiclet Rillo, another Co-Manager for GBG GenSan. Chiclet teaches at the AMA-CLC and is a famous events organizer in the city. She will be a valuable asset to the chapter, both as an officer, planner and as a mentor.
COFFEE PLUS: A COFFEE & GOOGLE + ENGAGEMENT: July 10, 2013
More than a week later, riding on a Coffee Seminar initiated by Starbucks GenSan on July 10, GBG joined the event, calling it COFFEE PLUS: A Coffee and Google + Engagement. The topic was: Responsibly grown and ethically traded coffee: Propagating it through Social Media.
The coffeecionados numbering about 20 shared the proceedings on G+ Mobile which included a workshop on coffee tasting/appreciation by the pretty Mai Abarico, while I also presented the case of Google Plus and its merits on spreading good causes online.
Of course, the fun would not be complete without Starbucks distributing GIFT CERTIFICATES to the hyper group and me raffling off a few Google shwags as well. And for the first time, Google Student Ambassador (GSA) Shahara Rosco, of Notre Dame of Dadiangas University, was introduced to the group of GBGers. She is Mindanao’s first and only GSA, and was with us in Indonesia for the Search Summit . Woot!
A few days later, on July 18, GBG GenSan, we levelled up and became more techie.
PHIL. TRANSIT APP CHALLENGE BOOTCAMP: JULY 18, 2013
In order to strenghten the presence of startups in the city, GBG GenSan initiated the BootCamp for the Philippine Transit App Challenge, a national competition spearheaded by the DOTC, MMDA, and Cebu City LGU which aims to find the best app in answer to traffic and transport problems of Metro Manila and Cebu City.
This time, the attendees at the new and plush Greenleaf Hotel GenSan were composed mostly of developers, designers, programmers, computer techs and web enthusiasts. The activity also made us discover another pool of good mentors for GBG, after handling specific topics for the BootCamp. These are Rap Gregorio, Job Oberio, Erwin Bantilan and Lord. Lending a hand was GBG Davao Manager, Dulce Rose Lada.
From the attendees, hopefully, one or two groups will be able to submit their entries and emerge among the finalists.
SARANGANI MAPUP: Mapping Your Adventure (and Business): July 19, 2013
On July 19, we held our first GBG-initiated Mapping activity, held outside of the city. This was the Sarangani MapUp: Mapping Your Adventure (and Business). This was a play on Sarangani Province’s slogan: Sarangani, Your Adventure.
Assisting me for this mapUp was GBG mentor Ariel Lalisan, a blogger who teaches at one of the region’s prestigious public schools, the Alabel National Science High School. He coordinated with the Office Provincial Governor of Sarangani and was able to get us to use the SP Conference Room for the activity.
The 20 or so volunteer mappers were from the Provincial Planning Office of Sarangani and the brightest Seniors and Juniors of ANSHS. Lending their presence in support of the project were Dept of Tourism Regional Director Nelly Dillera and Regional Tourism Council Prexy and the First Lady of the Governor of Sarangani, Michelle Solon.
Together with me and Ariel were GBG Mentors Erwin Bantila, Bebegem Tadefa and Christine Cloma.
The 4-hour activity impressed both ladies that they vowed to support the next MapUps in the Region.
GBG GENSAN IS ON A ROLL.
In a matter of five months, GBG GenSan has conducted nine activities in fulfillment of its mission to spread the gospel of Google to the generals. From the positive responses of most of the participants on feedback forms and based on inquiries I and the other mentors have received on the dates for future workshops and meetups, the group feels that their efforts have not gone in vain.
And with new recruits trying out these new web technologies, it will just be a matter of time, that more and more generals will follow our lead and discover the significance of Google products in improving their professions, careers and businesses.
And yes, by the time that General Santos City hosts the biggest Google-sponsored gathering in Mindanao, GDayX GenSan in November 16, 2013, it is safe to declare that indeed, the Tuna Capital has definitely gone Google.