ASEAN INTEGRATION: 5 Digital Influencer Power Tips to be Successful in the 2015 ASEAN Integration! @DigitalFilipino @EONTweets

ASEAN Compete or Collaborate? - 0


As Digital Influencers, are you ready for the ASEAN Integration that will happen by December 31, 2015? Are you prepared to compete or collaborate with other ASEAN Digital Influencers?

Thank you to Janette Toral for inviting me to give a Keynote speech–in tandem with Junie del Mundo, CEO of EON Inc.–on the impact of the ASEAN Integration, during the recently held Digital Influencers Marketing Summit.

Here are 5 Digital Influencer Power Tips to be successful in the ASEAN Integration in 2015…



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The ASEAN was formed on August 8, 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand by the Founding Fathers of ASEAN, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. It was a political grouping to stay neutral amidst the cold war of that time. 

The ASEAN Integration deadline of December 31, 2015 is an economic integration forming the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). The AEC transforms ASEAN into a region with free movement of goods, services, investment, skilled labour, and freer flow of capital.

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With the integration, ASEAN will be the 3rd largest population in the world at 600 Million, next to China and India.

The ASEAN Economy is the 7th biggest economy and on track to be the 4th biggest by 2015. This will increase foreign investments into the region and together, we will level up with the economies of China and India.ASEAN Dimsum.007


What does it mean for us?

  • We will become ASEAN Citizens
  • We will be free to travel to any ASEAN country. It will just be like going to any island in the Philippines. Cost of travel will be lower with the increased travel activity.
  • There will be mutual recognition of degrees among ASEAN countries. Our Bachelor of Science degrees will be recognized in the region.
  • It would be easier to apply for jobs in Singapore and Malaysia and to secure a work permit, which will eventually (and hopefully) be eliminated.
  • We can do business in any country in ASEAN. We can establish a company in Singapore, which enjoys 2% corporate tax rate and one-time tax filing vs. 32% in Manila and monthly tax filing.


AHA MOMENT IN MALAYSIAASEAN Compete or Collaborate? - 1

My first encounter with ASEAN Digital Influencers was when I gave a talk on: “OAP STORY: “The Road to 1,000,000 Pageviews/Month!” during the Malaysia Social Media Week last February 2014.

It was an “AHA!” moment for me, and I realized three things:

  • Most Malaysian & Singaporean Digital Influencers are ahead and are already covering the rest of ASEAN (except the Philippines) because of geographical proximity.
  • Singaporeans have companies that fully employ and leverage the talents of the Filipinos. Why not have the Filipino companies take the lead in ASEAN?
  • Personally, I’m not ready because I impose a silo boundary on the way I think.

Indeed, we need to change to be competitive in ASEAN.


MOTIVATIONASEAN Compete or Collaborate? - 2

I’ve been blogging in OAP for 9+ years about the story of our family and our 4 boys: Aidan, Joshua, Raphael, and Ysrael. I realized they would grow up as ASEAN Citizens and compete with the super competitive Singaporeans and Malaysians

The boys are my primary motivation to dedicate the next decade of Our Awesome Planet to understanding, learning, and discovering the best of ASEAN. We owe it to the next generation of Filipinos to take the lead in the ASEAN Integration for our respective fields.

I’ve embarked on a reinvention journey since February 2014, and here are some tips to start your own.


5 Digital Influencer Power Tips to Succeed in the ASEAN Integration

1. ASSERT Our “Filipinoness” Globally
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We need to champion Filipinoness, the awesomeness of the Filipino Culture globally on being:

1). Family Centered. The Family is at the core of what we do. We order family-style and eat together as a family. We travel together either with the Family or our Barkada, our second family. 

2). Naturally Creative & Talented. We have Natural Wonders all around us–the best beaches and islands in the world. The Filipina is naturally beautiful and the best women in ASEAN. We are very creative and we have the right vision to succeed.

3). God-Fearing Culture. We love God, follow Jesus Christ, and honor Mama Mary. We love our neighbors and dedicate our lives to do good in order to reach our family’s ultimate destination in Heaven.

We need to assert our Filipinoness globally and you can start by changing your benchmarks. OAP is now the #3 Top Travel blog in the world and one of the top food blogs in Chowzter, a Food Blogging community.

ACTION: Identify your new benchmark and your top competitors in ASEAN.


2. START your first International ProjectASEAN Compete or Collaborate? - 4

You need to start your first international project to eliminate the boundaries on what’s possible.

I started my first Taiwan Food Tour. Soon, I will have other destinations, such as Berlin during Republika, and Tokyo in Holy Week of 2015.

I’m also starting my ASEAN series to cover the top cities in ASEAN: Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Bali, Bangkok, Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh City.

ACTION: Create your first International Project.


3. EVOLVE to your Filipino Best in 2020!ASEAN Compete or Collaborate? - 5

You have to accept that we cannot compete in our current state. 

First, envision what’s your Filipino Best in 2020. In 5 years time, how do you envision yourself?

For me, I envisioned to be a role model Filipino, who is disciplined, competitive, health-conscious, living sustainably, and Christ-like.

Second, change your lifestyle input to have your desired output.

I started watching the best of Ted Talks, reading the best of leadership and marketing books, and knowing more of the global food and travel trends through the best magazines (like Lucky Peach and National Geographic).

Lastly, start building your credentials by winning awards, writing a book, and getting third party recognition.

ACTION: Define your Filipino Best in 2020. Identify the new books, magazines, blogs you need to read and the videos you need to watch.


4. ASSEMBLE your “Avengers” TeamASEAN Compete or Collaborate? - 6

Acknowledge that you cannot do it alone! You have to assemble your own “Avengers” team of like-minded people who share the same values and vision to succeed in the new ASEAN landscape.

Create a Mastermind of 5-8 (max) people and meet every month to discuss both personal and business developments and aspirations.   

I currently have a mastermind of successful entrepreneurs, online marketers, and Ex-P&G IT Mafia. I plan to create a Filipino Entrepreneur Mastermind across ASEAN to foster collaboration and help each other succeed in this landscape.

ACTION: Create your first mastermind of like-minded digital influencers.


5. NURTURE our ASEAN roots.ASEAN Compete or Collaborate? - 7

Before the colonization of our region, ASEAN was one community, with the seas as our highways and the balangays/banca as our buses. The Filipinos come from the Malay race, just like Indonesians and Malaysians.

We need to discover our roots and know our neighbors more intimately. Know the similarities, understand the differences, and discover the strengths and weaknesses of each culture.

Learn and be a good example of how to be a good ASEAN Citizen.

ACTION: Visit each of the ASEAN Countries in 2015.



We have to remove all these negative ideas and terminologies from our vocabulary.


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Change them with these Hashtag Mantras instead:


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#LabanPilipinas — We all know that Filipinos have the heart (puso) but we also need to upgrade our skills and capabilities to be successful in competing in the ASEAN landscape.

#yolo #yala — You Only Live Once, Let’s Go and Do it!

#Make it Count – Let’s make all our efforts count and be accountable!

#God’sBest – God has a beautiful plan for each of us, and the best is yet to come. 🙂

#OneMoreThing – The power of One More Thing…always have that secret weapon or capability to showcase.


IN CONCLUSIONASEAN Compete or Collaborate? - 10

As Digital Influencers, not only do we need to compete or collaborate, we must also dominate to succeed in the ASEAN landscape.

We have to start to think ASEANAssert, Start, Evolve, Assemble, and Nurture!

Thank you for reading this blog post, and let me know in the comments if you have other ideas or suggestions on how else to prepare for the ASEAN Integration in 2015.


Live an Awesome Life,


PS. In P&G, if you ask a person when you need something, the answer is always “I need it yesterday.” We are already behind; we need to act NOW to be ASEAN competitive.

One thought on “ASEAN INTEGRATION: 5 Digital Influencer Power Tips to be Successful in the 2015 ASEAN Integration! @DigitalFilipino @EONTweets

  1. Anton – great post. This is one of the clearest articles on ASEAN integration that I have read – and inspiring too. I am looking forward to your upcoming projects related to the ASEAN integration. Dominate! 🙂

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