Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Zamboanga Times Features the Ultimate Thailand Explorers!

With a plethora of  problems hounding us daily, it is always refreshing to write about good news. If General Santos' Manny Pacquiao will gie honor again to our country by November 15, Zamboanga City will also have its own glory (and be known worldwide) within this month, too. 

 We may have had our fair share of negative publicity in the past, but we have been given another a chance to shine in the international scene by November 13.  Thanks to a young couple from Canelar Moret, Michael Paul and Jennifer Cocuaco, Zamboanga City made it in the  international travel competition Ultimate Thailand Explorers. They are the only team from the Philippines who got into the semifinals of this competition organized by the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

Among the 192 contestants from around the world, Michael and Jenny's 1-minute audition video caught the eye of the panel of judges who immediately included them in the list of only 25 teams to enter the semifinals. It is no small  feat because only three Asian teams got picked to be in this coveted spot. The two other teams come from our industrialized neighbor Singapore. Majority of the semifinalists are from the US and Europe. 

The battle is just heating  up  for Michael and Jenny.  The Ultimate Thailand Explorers is afterall an online voting competition. And yes, you can do something to affect the outcome. Out of the 25 semifinalists, only 5 teams who get the highest votes in their chosen destination will get to the finals.  Deadline for voting is on November 13 at 1 AM.   The past two weeks, Michael and Jenny  were trailing behind by almost 300 votes in their chosen destination, but because of  the outpouring of support from family, friends, online contacts and the media, they are now number one! Our beloved Zamboanga is now leading by 809 votes as of press time. Trailing far behind are contestants from the UK, Singapore, and the US.  Help keep Michael and Jenny at the top by voting for them every 24 hours. As a reward for your generosity, you may even win for yourself the $2,500 luxury travel package and high-tech HTC cellphone that the contest organizers are giving away to two lucky voters. This definitely is a win-win situation and a worthy investment in Zamboanga's pride. Imagine!

To vote, log on and register your details at this website: http://tinyurl.com/mike-jennifer   A confirmation letter  will be sent to your email immediately  by the contest organizers. Open the email and click on the confirmation link which will bring you to the contest's main webpage. Look for Michael Paul & Jennifer's video for Koh Samui near the end of the page and vote by clicking the pink VOTE button. It's that easy. 

 An adventurous  and fun-loving couple, Michael and Jenny's zest for life is contagious, as one can see in  their 1-minute video (http://tinyur.com/mike-jennifer)  which highlights  the best spots of Pasonanca Nature Reserve.  More than that, they serve as good ambassadors for our city and nation, as they are responsible professionals in their respective fields. Michael, an alumnus of Zamboanga Chong Hua and Ateneo de Zamboanga, took up Hotel and Restaurant Administration in the University of the Philippines. Aside from being a manager and reservations officer of local travel agency 888 Ticketworld, he is also a youth leader, often asked to share his experiences and expertise in the areas of leadership, management and finance. His wife of 1-year, on the other hand, is a graduate of Ateneo de Manila University, who majored in Business Management and Communications, where she was also a Dean's Awardee for the Arts.  As  a writer, her work has been published in numerous glossy magazines and newspapers, including Reader's Digest Asia. Aside from that, Jenny, born and raised in Manila, is also a TV producer and director who has produced magazine and documentary TV shows in the Philippines and China.  Both Michael and Jenny, chosen recently as our country's representatives to South East Asian Youth For Change,  are well-traveled and well-versed in the Asian culture.They are perfect for this competition, which tests the participants' skills in promoting and highlighting the beauty of 5 tourist destinations in Thailand namely Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket, Chang Mai and Koh Samui. 
Two weeks into the competition, Michael and Jenny got the Philippine media's attention. Several lifestyle and social writers  from Manila featured them in their blogs, including CNET blogger Joey Alarilla,  travel blogger Anton Diaz and OK! Magazine editor-in-chief Frances Amper-Sales.  Aside from being heralded by the Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP), the  Zamboanga couple  was also featured last Saturday in  fashion icon  Tim Yap's column in  the Philippine Star.  Let's not delay in giving  this  couple our all-out support by viewing, voting and campaigning for their video.  (http://tinyurl.com/mike-jennifer) 

Once they get to the finals, Michael and Jenny will be given the chance to personally travel to the Thai island paradise of Koh Samui.  They will document their experiences through articles, pictures and video that will be published to a worldwide audience online.  Your support is crucial even in the finals, because judging is purely based on voters' support. A vote for them is a vote for our beloved ctiy. 

So log on and vote for this sweet couple and have the chance to win $2,500. Above all, Zamboanga City will be known around the world. 

  Thanks for this second article, Kuya Dante!  :D 

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