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The past week has been a whirlwind of activities for me. It’s one of those unforgettable decisions I’ve probably made and up to now I’m thankful I made the big leap and went out of my shell to join one of the world’s biggest travel blogging conference.
Actually that part about jumping out of my shell maybe a tad of an over-statement. Despite the opportunities available left and right, I somewhat got stuck in my comfort zone and failed to embrace the idea of socialising wholeheartedly that I missed out on the opportunity of making friends with everyone. Well, at least I got to the chance meet a few and made friends with them. Hopefully next time, I’ll be better at this game of socials.
TBEX Asia 2016
Last October 13-16, 2016, the Philippine International Convention Center became the official venue of TBEX Asia 2016.
“TBEX is the largest conference and networking event for travel bloggers, online travel journalists, new media content creators, travel brands and industry professionals. Each year, TBEX partners with fantastic host destinations in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific to bring the travel industry’s most creative minds together to learn, network and do business.” – http://tbexcon.com/about/
The main conference started on October 15 and 16. The two days prior the conference was allotted for pre-bex tours. And with past TBEX events, a 4-day post tour happens where the host country flies early bird registrants to different destinations for their respective fam tours. It took me a while to decide whether I should part take in this rare event. I had to consult my friend Mica on numerous occasions just to get an idea of what to expect. I can no longer count the times I asked her is it really worth joining TBEX Asia 2016 since there’s a registration fee involved. And being the stingy Pinoy that I am, I hesitated. To me, the discounted rate of $157 was a huge investment. I’m just thankful that Mica was very patient in answering all my queries and didn’t give up in motivating me to join TBEX.
TBEX Opening party and an intimate get together of local bloggers hosted by Skyscanner
When the deadline for the registration for the post-TBEX Fam Tours was just a few days away, I decided to get it over and done with, shut my eyes and clicked the ‘Pay’ button. I’m only prolonging my agony if I continue to be indecisive about the whole thing, I told myself.
opening and closing talks, classes, and speednetworking
There were a few times from that moment till probably 3 weeks before the event that I wanted to back out. Simply for the reason that my introvert side was trying to overthrow every reason I had of joining, convincing me to stay at home and hide in my shell. The thought of meeting strangers and trying to do small talk was like me thinking about being dragged to watch a suspense thriller. My mind was slowly creating its own version of a horror movie. I’ve already booked my flight and accommodations and I was willing to throw it all away. I was that anxious. If I didn’t know that there were 2-3 local friends who will be joining TBEX, I probably would have not pushed through.
Why I joined TBEX
The thing with travel blogging events like TBEX is that you will be meeting like-minded people. You will be meeting your crowd. Fellow bloggers who share the same passion for travelling as you do. You will become one of the few people who will contribute to the success of the travel blogging community. I realised this a few days prior to flying to Manila for the event.
staycations from Belmont Hotel, Fort Ilocandia in Laoag and Hotel Luna in Vigan
In Manila, Philippines, there’s this yearly film festival held every August. It’s the famed Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, which aims to develop and promote Filipino independent films. Since my childhood friend and I was in Manila at the time, both lovers of film, we made it our mission to watch all the 10 movies competing for the festival. We camped for 2 consecutive days, Saturday and Sunday, at the Cultural Centre of the Philippines to ensure we watch all the festival entries. With movie break intervals ranging from 40 minutes to an hour, and with the long lines waiting at the next theatre you’re scheduled to watch, our lunch and snack breaks were done while we were standing in line, waiting for the next theatre doors to open. It was quite a feat for us having survived those two days. Watching films from 10am till 9pm in the evening. Exhausted. Probably. But fulfilled. That we get to be a part of the growing community that loves and supports our country’s independent films.
Travelling is my passion. Blogging about my travels is a way for me to document my journeys. This would be a wonderful story book to reminisce when something inevitable stops me from travelling in the future. What I wrote in the past and will be writing more is something I’m looking forward to reading someday.
wellness spa at The Chi Spa in EDSA Shangri-la, my chosen pre-bex tour destination, a perfect birthday treat for me, I should say 😉
With TBEX Asia coming to the Philippines, I realised that I made the right decision of signing up for the event. Because if I was so supportive of our local film industry’s festivals, diligently watching all those movies for two days except for one, why should I not do the same for TBEX and show my support to probably the only grandest travel community there is?
our fam tour involved visiting UNESCO World Heritages sites in the Ilocos Region, the highlight of which was getting stranded in flooded roads during the height of Typhoon Lawin’s wrath in Northern Luzon
I’ve been sharing (on and off) my adventures on my travel blog for the last 6 years. If there’s one group where I should belong to and be supportive of its cause, it should be with the travel blogging community. And so with the Philippines hosting TBEX, there’s only one place I’d want to be at that time.
If you’ve seen this face lurking around TBEX and that I never said “Hi”
please know that my mind really wants me to but I got cold feet. 😀
I realised that signing up for TBEX (with the hidden agenda of making sure I earn back what I invested through carefully selecting my pre-tbex tour and post-tbex fam trips, and meeting brand ambassadors at the speed networking activity) is actually my way of supporting the community. My community. Travel bloggers who are so passionate they can’t keep their minds to themselves they’d rather share the travel awesomeness with the community.
I’m thankful that I get to be a part of this. I’m thankful that the TBEX organisers brought this event to the Philippines. I’m thankful that my country hosted it. And I’m thankful for the Tourism Board of the Philippines for doing such an awesome job in showing why it’s indeed MORE FUN in the Philippines.
Would I be joining future TBEX events?
Except for complicated visa applications, it’s definitely a resounding YES!
To TBEX and the Tourism Board of the Philippines, to fellow travel bloggers, to newfound friends, CHEERS!
P.S. All the photos you see in here, the parties, classes, staycations, freebies, foodtrips, tours, and more? That’s what you get when you sign up for future TBEX conferences 🙂
I’m glad that you pressed the ‘pay’ button and finally gave TBEX a go! 😀 It was nice to see and bond with you again during the spa, videoke and conference proper. I can relate to the Cinemalaya comparison hehe 😀 Hope to travel with you soon and see you in one of the next TBEX events – where kaya? Jerusalem or the one in Europe? Both! 😀
Thanks so much Mica. I’m truly grateful for never giving up on me during those critical TBEX sign up decisions. And I’m so glad I joined. TBEX was so worth it!
As for the next event, I guess I’ll have to wait for 2018 🙂
I’ll look forward to the day our schedules meet and we could travel together. 😉
I’m so glad that you came to TBEX and very happy to have met you in our Ilocos FAM trip! In some ways, I’m just like you – there are times that I want to withdraw and not wanting to socialise with people which was the reason why I chose not to stay in the recommended list of hotels by TBEX (aside from the fact that the cheapest hotel was still expensive for me for 5 nights!). And there are occasions when I had to remind myself to get out of my shell to meet people – sometimes the outcome can be disastrous but most of the time, the outcome turned out to be fantastic and the best decision of all 🙂
I would gladly go for another TBEX event to support our travel blogging community and industry. We all understand each other really well, like-minded people, sharing the same joy, happiness, wins, challenges and frustrations. Travel blogging is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I’m pretty sure all of us will not give it up one way or another, will not go back to our previous life before travel blogging 🙂
Dooooi! It was great to chat with you again after two years! Haha. Hope to bump into you again in travels! (Or let me know when you’re in Manila!)
its looking an amazing tour. thanks for sharing your story with us. its really nice to read and watch your pics. nice post.