My third huge FAM / Press Trip to the Philippines – How to work with #TBEX, and how to do it right!

Victoria Ade-Genschow - The British Berliner (me) in the Philippines. But could this be a James Bond moment! ©Scott Herder - BoboandChiChi.com
Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner (me) in the Philippines. But could this be a James Bond moment!
©Scott Herder – BoboandChiChi.com

I’m back in Europe you guys!

It’s a little sad ‘cos Asia is one of my favourite continents, but still, it’s good to be back home.

I’ve just returned from that most exotic of continents – Asia – and to a region unfamiliar to travellers and visitors – the Philippines!

BUT WHAT WAS I DOING IN THE PHILIPPINES OF ALL PLACES?

Remember when I told you that I had astonishing news! Well, that astonishing news was the introduction of my journey to the Philippines for the very first time.

As you know, I had originally planned to go to the European conference in Sweden, but a window opened up. That window was the fact that I’m taking up a new job!

Yep!

I'll soon be working for Logo Sprachenschule!
I’ll soon be working for Logo Sprachenschule!

Now you all know that I work for a British / American company as a corporate trainer, but from November 2016, I’ll be working for a German company as the Vice-School Principal. And get this.

I’ll be responsible for their English-speaking business and their Social Media Management too!

It’s a small business and will be focused on international languages. The company is called LOGO Sprachenschule, and is based in my gentrified hipster neighbourhood of Prenzlauerberg. In the best place in the world – Berlin!

As usual, I’m an advocate for smart travelling, so I’m not quitting either my travels or my job anytime soon, thanks very much!

My family & I in Thailand - All smiles and bunny ears at the end of a great day at Baanchang Elephant Park.
My family & I in Thailand – All smiles and bunny ears at the end of a great day at Baanchang Elephant Park.

I didn’t go to the conference in Sweden, so I decided to go to the TBEX Asia-Pacific 2016 conference in the Philippines instead!

WHAT IS TBEX ALL ABOUT?

Me at TBEX - Travel Blog Exchange Asia Pacific 2016 - The future of travel Media!
Me at TBEX – Travel Blog Exchange Asia-Pacific 2016 – The future of travel Media

Well, TBEX is the holy grail of the travel blogging world and stands for Travel Blog Exchange.

It’s the world’s largest conference and networking event for travel bloggers, writers, online travel journalists, new media content creators, travel brands and social-media-savvy travel industry professionals. There are three (3) conferences held annually in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific, attracting 600-1000 delegates from all over the world!

At the Travel Massive Party with Filipino bloggers, in Manila! ©Kenneth Ephraim Surat
At the Travel Massive Party with Filipino bloggers, in Manila!
©Kenneth Ephraim Surat

It’s also a medium for the creative minds of the travel industry to come together, to network, to learn, to negotiate with the travel industry, and for those who are so inclined, to take the business of blogging to the next level.

How exciting!

Last year, I went to the TBEX conference for the very first time.

And it was a disaster!

The headless main in Barcelona, Spain.
Look. No head! In Spain!!

But this year. It was marvellous!

Every year, TBEX partners with fantastic destinations so that bloggers and media people get the opportunity to meet potential business partners or sponsors, meet influential bloggers, get new strategies and tips, network with each other, discover new destinations, share a new experience and well, be entertained and paaaaaaaarty like it’s 1999!

And party we did!

At the TBEX Asia Pacfic Oktoberfest Farewell Party, with local Filipinos!
At the TBEX Asia-Pacific Oktoberfest Farewell Party, with local Filipinos!

Most importantly, TBEX affords participants the opportunity to experience the destination hosted by the country itself!

You see, going to TBEX doesn’t only mean the conference weekend but actually a few days of serious jollification and pre-tours before the conference, and a week of a bit of a jolly, after the conference! In fact, even though the conference officially took place from October 13th – October 16th, many people arrived early, and some people are still in the Philippines NOW – Living the life of Riley!

Last year, I wished it had been me.

And this year it was!

TBEX 2016 Asia Pacific
TBEX 2016 Asia-Pacific “The Visayan Charms” – Cebu/Bohol – Familiarization (FAM) Tour in the Philippines

Yes, your favourite blogger – The British Berliner – was invited to participate in the TBEX 2016 Asia-Pacific – The Visayan Charms – Cebu/Bohol – Familiarization (FAM) Tour in the Philippines.

I was ecstatic!

Me!

Out of hundreds of other bloggers!

Whoop! Whoop!

WHAT IS A PRESS OR FAM TRIP?

The 50 Shades of Tan Girls - Visayan Charms - Megan Indoe, Victoria Ade-Genschow, Charlotte Anne de Peralta & Ruchika Shankar! ©Trixie Lago - the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines
The 50 Shades of Tan Girls – Visayan Charms – Megan Indoe, Victoria Ade-Genschow, Charlotte Anne de Peralta & Ruchika Shankar!
©Trixie Lago – the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines

A PRESS TRIP is normally described as a visit to a destination, country, city, hotel, venue etc, organised for media groups. It usually introduces and presents the best bits of a particular itinerary and is usually for a small group of journalists or bloggers, or an organised private trip. Although a press trip could be for a few hours, it usually refers to a trip of a few days.

A familiarization trip, or FAM TRIP as it is better known, is similar to a press trip however, it usually includes a visit to a number of sights, venues, activities, accommodations, or restaurant spots, in one area or region. It is typically organised for travel industry professionals, to give them a better understanding of the regions and products they are trying to sell to their clients. Lots of different activities are included so that as much as possible can be experienced. Sometimes journalists might attend a FAM TRIP too.

The cost is covered except for personal spending and tips. That usually means no shopping. Awwww!
The cost is covered except for personal spending and tips. That usually means no shopping.
Awwww!

In both instances your costs will usually be covered, though this will vary depending on the organiser.

In this case, I made my own way to the Philippines and paid for the conference fee and my own hotel costs while at the TBEX conference (4 days) in Manila, which was where our FAM trip week was to start.

Once the FAM trip started, we didn’t have to pay for a single thing!

Of course, if you suddenly fancied a spot of your finest whisky monsieur. That was a hefty bill, and all on you!

HOW DID I GET INVITED?

I absolutely love walking! ©Pascale Scerbo Sarro
I absolutely love walking!
©Pascale Scerbo Sarro

Well, my big break came just five (5) months after I started writing as a blogger. And to be quite frank, I have been extremely lucky to be at the right place, at the right time. In 2014, I happened to be at the Sony Centre in Berlin where I got chatting to a PR person who promised to put me on the guest list of the Berlin Music Video Awards. She did, and even though, I never saw her again, my pro-active activity coupled with an outgoing personality, and a genuine interest to get involved, opened the door to being invited into the VIP section, a glimpse into the media world, and a whole host of people who had a friendly eye, and were willing to help me in my quest for knowledge and information.

Press documentation for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week - Autumn/Winter 2016.
Press documentation for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week – Autumn/Winter 2016.

A press card and a TV documentary about me came about because of the simple matter that when I undergo to write a piece, I make a thorough job of it.

People really like my personality, so I’ve often been an invited guest of city-destinations in which trips have been organised and customised to my own personal requirements. This is the best type of press trip to have, so I consider myself extremely lucky and very honoured.

However, I’ve only ever been on a group FAM trip once before, and that FAM trip was to France!

You can imagine my  anxiety ‘cos I was the only British person there, and the only blogger!

It's embarrassing. I had no idea who I would be meeting, I just knew that I would be going to France!
It’s embarrassing. I had no idea who I would be meeting, I just knew that I would be going to France!

This was only slightly different ‘cos not only was I the only British person in my group, I was the lone European too!

WHAT WAS I SUPPOSED TO BE DOING ON THE VISAYAN CHARMS FAM TRIP?

The Visayan Charms of the local Filipino people!
The Visayan Charms of the local Filipino people!

The point of this FAM trip was to introduce the region as not only an interesting place to visit, but a historical cultural one too. A destination that would hit all the right spots for someone like me. And ultimately, someone like you!

This FAM trip was a five (5) day exploration starting from Sunday night and finishing mid-Friday evening.

I didn’t have any information as to who was going to be there and what type of bloggers would be attending.

You tend to get a little anxious that you’re going to be too shy, people aren’t going to like you, you’re not going to like them, you end up being that blogger, or that you’re going to be completely out of your depth and thus, comfort zone.

Yes, I know.

Silly isn’t it, but there you have it!

I knew only one person - Nathan Aguilera! ©Ajay Sood - Travelure (a.k.a. Ajay Sood)
I knew only one person – Nathan Aguilera! ©Ajay Sood – Travelure (a.k.a. Ajay Sood)

As I said earlier, I didn’t know who would be there except for one person – a crazy young American foodie blogger called Nathan Aguilera – Foodie Flashpacker.

We met on the TBEX Facebook Group page, and ended up in the same conference hotel – The Golden Phoenix.

I was so relieved to see him, and hung out with him quite a bit. I hope I didn’t stalk him too much but I don’t think so, as I ended up giving him my hotel room for free!

WERE WE GIVEN ANY DETAILS AT ALL?

Press Trip!
Press Trip!

Yep!

The Host was the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines. They were highly organised and thoroughly fantastic.

I’ve been on a FAM trip with the Germans. I should know!

On this FAM trip we were expected to be doing the following:

THE VISAYAN CHARMS

The Visayan Charms of the local Filipino people!
The Visayan Charms of the local Filipino people!

NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS: 10

DEPARTURE: October 17th

RETURN: October 21st

A DESCRIPTION:

The Tarsier - the sallest monkey in the world!
The Tarsier – the smallest monkey in the world!

Cruise the river of Loboc, view the mountain trails of kisses of the Philippines known as the Chocolate Hills and do a selfie with a tarsier. Explore Bohol’s eastern side with the island’s long stretches of white sand beaches and pristine waters. Discover Lamanoc Island known for its mysticism.

Have a taste of “lechon – the best (roast) pig ever” according to Anthony Bourdain. Walk along the streets of Colon, the oldest street in the Philippines. Explore the city’s rich past with a visit to its historical landmarks such as the Magellan’s Cross, Basilica de Santo Nino, one of the country’s oldest relics. As a major trading port and site for some of the nation’s fastest-growing industries, it reinforces its multiculturalism with progression. This heady mix of urban vibes and casual provincial airs makes it a favorite destination of those seeking a showcase of the harmonious co-existence of history, culture and modernity.

ATTIRE: Light casual clothes with comfortable sandals for walking and beachwear
THEME: Nature and Culture
DESTINATION: Central Visayas Region – Cebu and Bohol

Just me and my horse in Manila!
Just me and my horse in Manila!

TOUR PROGRAMME:

DAY 1

Leave the humdrum of city life in Manila behind!
Leave the humdrum of city life in Manila behind!
  • Depart Manila
  • Arrive Tagbilaran Airport
  • Proceed to Bohol Countryside Tour
  • Loboc River Cruise with lunch
  • Drive to Carmen to see the Chocolate Hills
  • En-route, stop at the Butterfly Sanctuary
  • Arrival in Chocolate Hills view deck
  • Depart view deck then drive to resort
  • Check-in at Amorita Resort
  • Dinner

DAY 2

  • Breakfast at the resort
  • Proceed to Balicasag Island using an outrigger boat
  • Arrival at the island for some snorkelling and leisure time on the beach
  • Picnic-style lunch in Balicasag Resort
  • Depart island and return to the resort
  • Back to hotel / freshen up / Free Time
  • Arrive in South Palms Resort for cocktails
  • Dinner at South Palms
  • Back to Amorita Resort

DAY 3

Have breakfast at the Resort. And sushi!
Have breakfast at the Resort. And sushi!
  • Breakfast at the Resort
  • Check out
  • Transfer to the seaport
  • Ferry: Depart Tagbilaran to Cebu
  • Arrival in Cebu
  • Lunch at Circa 1900 featuring Cebu’s famous lechon
  • Proceed to Mactan Island Tour
  • Proceed to Shangri-La Mactan / Check-In
  • Free time
  • Dinner at Cowrie Cove

DAY 4

  • Breakfast at the Hotel
  • Proceed to Island Adventure
  • Lunch at Cow-Oy
  • Back to hotel / freshen up / Free Time
  • Scheduled Spa & Massage for the group
  • Dinner

DAY 5

Flying is safe in the Philippines so proceed to the airport! Scott Herder & Megan Indoe - ©Victoria Ade-Genschow - The British Berliner
Flying is safe in the Philippines so proceed to the airport!
Scott Herder & Megan Indoe – ©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner
  • Breakfast
  • Free time / Check resort programmed activities
  • Check out
  • Proceed to Mactan City
  • Lunch
  • Proceed to Airport
  • Depart Cebu
  • Arrive Manila

HOW WAS IT?

Team Visayan Charms - It's more fun in the Philippines! ©Trixie Lago - the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines
Team Visayan Charms – It’s more fun in the Philippines!
©Trixie Lago – the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines

It was a pretty packed programme, but awesome!

As I write this, it’s October 30th, and so much has happened since then.

Due to the very hot weather, the over-indulgence of wonderful food, a few sneaky gulps of whisky, and the intensity of foreign travel in a developing country, I ended up with the trots!

For the non-British people among you, I mean Delhi-belly.

Still don’t get it?

Diarrhea!

It had to happen.

It had to happen. I ended up with the trots: aka diarrhea!
It had to happen. I ended up with the trots: aka diarrhea!

Thankfully, our FAM trip had already ended when I was struck down.

And luckily, I was in the nice Belmont Hotel when it happened too!

Otherwise, it could have been rather.

Akward!

ANY TIPS GOING ON A FAM TRIP FOR THE FIRST TIME?

Arriving at Nalusuan Island in Cebu with Jonathan Espiña, Ajay Sood, Victoria Ade-Genschow (me) & Ruchika Shankar! ©Jonathan Espiña - Jon to the World
Arriving at Nalusuan Island in Cebu with Jonathan Espiña, Ajay Sood, Victoria Ade-Genschow (me) & Ruchika Shankar!
©Jonathan Espiña – Jon to the World
  • Leave plenty of time for trips, tours and meet-ups both before, and after the conference
  • You don’t have to have a huge following to be accepted onto a FAM trip
  • Improve your photography
  • Have great content
  • Educate yourself and if you don’t know, ask your fellow invites
  • Networking is key to putting a face to a name in the blogging / press community
  • Take your business cards
  • Try to get some sleep
  • Get comfy but smarten yourself up, if the venue demands it
  • Be punctual
  • Stay professional
  • Don’t whinge
  • Follow the programme
  • Be a team-player
  • Keep smiling
  • Don’t be afraid to get into the sea.
  • Don’t be stupid either
  • Be yourself
  • Write about your FAM trip and send it to the host or organiser
  • Thank the host or organiser
  • Have a great time

VERDICT?

Nobody got bitten / attacked by strange creatures of the sea in the Philippines!
Nobody got bitten / attacked by strange creatures of the sea in the Philippines!

The staff of the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines (Maria Gracia, Grace, Mary Ann, Trixie and Zyrah), were warm, welcoming, funny, and professional. They made sure that we were well-looked after, nobody got lost or forgot anything (except for me. I lost my MAC lipstick)! Nobody got bitten / attacked by strange creatures of the sea, and nobody got left behind or ostracised.

In fact, we all got on extremely well!

There were huge moments of laughter, hugging, leaping, jumping, screaming, but most importantly, lots of smiling, laughing, and learning from each other.

On quite a few nights, there were some on-the-spot-learning workshops, the sharing of tips, links, talents, and skills, and the promise of future collaboration / partnership.

In fact, I might even have got myself a new employee for my brand – The British Berliner – and once it’s all confirmed, I’ll let you know who it is, and why!

ANYTHING ELSE?

Team Visayan Charms on the way to Balicasag Island using an outrigger boat. ©Trixie Lago - the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines
Team Visayan Charms on the way to Balicasag Island using an outrigger boat.
©Trixie Lago – the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines

Yep!

We were a small group of just nine (9) bloggers (including myself) from five (5) international countries:

Nathan Aguilera – America

Ruchika Shankar – India

Charlotte Anne de Peralta – Philippines

Ajay Sood – India

Jonathan Espiña – Philippines

Scott Herder – USA

Megan Indoe – USA

Karl-Philip Vallée – Canada

Victoria Ade-Genschow – England / Germany (me)

Our job for that week was to visit and see the region for ourselves and hopefully, discover the many interests and joys of Manila, Bohol and Cebu, so that other travellers and visitors are encouraged to come and visit themselves.

And we did!

Thanks guys!

MY THIRD HUGE FAM / PRESS TRIP TO THE PHILIPPINES – HOW TO WORK WITH #TBEX, AND HOW TO DO IT RIGHT!

Delicious slices of Lechon - that tasty famous suckling pig!
Delicious slices of Lechon – that tasty famous suckling pig!

This article is not sponsored and even though I was invited on this trip as a guest of the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines and as a member of TBEX, all opinions and the tasty famous suckling pig, and beautiful landscape that I saw, are my very own!

In November, I’ll be travelling to Austria and starting a new job!

Save the Date!

October is going to be out of this world!

Watch this space!

My third huge FAM / Press Trip to the Philippines - How to work with #TBEX, and how to do it right!
My third huge FAM / Press Trip to the Philippines – How to work with #TBEX, and how to do it right!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

My third huge FAM Press Trip to the Philippines - How to work with #TBEX, and how to do it right!
My third huge FAM Press Trip to the Philippines – How to work with #TBEX, and how to do it right!

Did you know that the smallest monkey in the world is in the Philippines? Did you ever think a FAM or Press trip would be that intense? Is a suckling pig the type of thing you would have for breakfast? Let me know!

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

If you like this post, please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

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The British Berliner is 3 years old. Hurrah! Let’s go out and play cricket!

Happy Birthday. My blog is 3!
Happy Birthday. My blog is 3!

It’s my blog birthday!

Hip! Hip! Hurrah!

OMG!

I can’t believe that on Friday, October 21st, my blog was 3 years old.

Honestly, I can’t quite believe that 36 months ago on an Autumn Sunday evening, I decided to put pen to paper and open up a social media thingy.  I mean, when I first started I didn’t even know what social media was all about, and I had never ever met a blogger.

Never, ever.

In real life!

Kash (the Budget Traveller) & I, at a bloggers after-ITB party!
Kash (the Budget Traveller) & I, at a bloggers after-ITB party!

And apart from Facebook and who isn’t on Facebook? I knew zilch about social media.

Yep! Yours truly had known nothing about Twitter. Nothing at all!

I mean, I knew it, but I didn’t know it – know it!

But I quickly learnt.

Happy Birthday ITB Berlin!
Happy Birthday ITB Berlin!

I went to a workshop at the ITB in Berlin and one afternoon, the Head of the European Branch of Twitter did a workshop and showed us step-by-step how it worked. And that was it!

My Twitter page was open and ready to go!

Oh, I used to have a travel diary that was purely set up for friends and family, but this blogging thing was something else.

This.

Was.

Real!

I'm looking gorgeous in the Philippines! ©Scott Herder - BoboandChiChi.com
I’m looking gorgeous in the Philippines!
©Scott Herder – BoboandChiChi.com

Three years.

Wow!

So much has taken place that I can hardly stand it.

As a result, this week’s post is going to be about that journey from when I wrote my first blog, to right now. Three years later. Here we go!

The British Berliner is 3 years old. Hurrah! Let's go out and play cricket with the penguins!
The British Berliner is 3 years old. Hurrah! Let’s go out and play cricket with the penguins!

Before we go on, why did I start this blog anyway…..?

At the beginning of 2014, I told you that The Tall Young Gentleman was a member of the Boy Scouts of America: Troop 46. Some of the American mothers were new in town and not only was I the only British parent but I was also the New Parent Co-Ordinator…..

One of the mothers asked me about skiing in Europe. I recommended the Czech Republic.

Lots of my corporate clients ask me about Britain, I recommend London and my original home-town – Manchester. Thousands, OK, hundreds of people asked me about Germany. I recommend Berlin and then I thought, why don’t I write about my favourite places and they can see for themselves? So here we are!

Happy Birthday to meeeeee!
Happy Birthday to meeeeee!

My blog is three years old.

Golly!

It’s been an amazing ride. In fact, the last three years have been fantastic!

My blog is a thriving toddler.

And I am exceedingly proud.

She's as pretty as my blog!
She’s as pretty as my blog!

I’ve had an amazing collection of marvellous stories, visits, and adventures.  As I told you when I published my 100th post, a lot of people, bloggers in particular, don’t like the notion of luck and quite frankly, I’m not one to talk of fate, but when I happen to be in the right place at the right time, I don’t know what else to call it.

So I’m going to say it as I see it.

Are you ready?

Here it comes!

Me being thoughtful during a Live TV broadcast in Germany, and looking as if I'm about to sing! ©Pascale Scerbo Sarro
Me being thoughtful during a Live TV broadcast in Germany, and looking as if I’m about to sing!
©Pascale Scerbo Sarro

My toddler blog has been a resounding success because of the jolly good luck I’ve had, flowing with masses of enthusiasm, buckets of really hard work, and shaken and stirred with all the people I have met along the way, who have helped and supported me on my quest to being a fabulous British blogger.

There. I’ve said it!

But before we go any further, I would just like to thank some very important people.

I would just like to thank some very important people - YOU!
I would just like to thank some very important people – YOU!

You!

Yes YOU!

All of you.

Where would I be without your comments, your likes, your opinions and your reads?

Without you this blog would just be an empty piece of cyber-paper floating in the blogosphere. You have all been so amazing and supportive, reading my blog every week, and sharing it with all your friends, family, and associates.

I’ve even had people smiling and recognising me on the streets.

Berlin - very British - rbb
Berlin – very British – rbb

In Berlin.

One woman’s smile was so wide, when she discovered that I was just about to sit opposite her on the commuter train! Another guy saw me on my residential gentrified street and screamed outside his van window “Are you that blogger? The British one!” In German of course, so it sounded rather different!

A group of teenaged girls followed me about and giggled as I went shopping in my local supermarket. And being that I live in Berlin and not New York, I got thumbs up, the gruff “I saw you on TV” and appreciative looks when running around town with my signature stripped, dotted or Union Jack pop socks!

I’ve been on TV. I’ve been on a documentary. I’ve been on the radio. I’ve been in the newspaper. I’ve even been in an independent film. I’ve already travelled to 10 countries this year. And all because of you.

Thank you all so much!
Thank you all so much!

Thank you so much! I love you all!

So let’s go back in time.

WHAT IS THIS BLOG ABOUT?

At the Berlin Music Video Awards with Roc Roc It. 2015 © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
At the Berlin Music Video Awards with Roc Roc It.
2015
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

The British Berliner is a lifestyle expat travel blog about culture, history, travels around the world, Europe, and being British in Berlin.

It’s about a British girl from Manchester living in Berlin with her German husband and her half British – half German son,  her promotion of British-German life, culture, history, literature, theatre, style, Europe, travels around the world, what she does in normal every day life and where she goes.

THE MOST POPULAR POST EVER

Jesus in Warsaw.
Jesus in Warsaw.

The most popular post is the one that I wrote about Poland.

It was very tongue-in-cheek. Most people got it, but at the same time most didn’t, so I got a lot of abuse for it.

Ah well!

The blog post was called: Going to Poland: 10 reasons not to go! This post shockingly went VIRAL and I received 145 comments and up to 42,000 hits in my social media feed!

Forty two thousand (42,000) views, hits and shares!

This is what happens to children who don't eat their greens - boiled fish for dinner, and only boiled fish!
This is what happens to children who don’t eat their greens – boiled fish for dinner, and only boiled fish!

Can you imagine that I wrote it two years ago. And it’s still going as strong as ever!

Absolutely Amazing!

Thank you Poland!

I looooove you!!!

THE MOST POPULAR BRITISH POST

I'm the British Berliner - a British European. And I'm proud of it!
I’m the British Berliner – a British European.
And I’m proud of it!

There’s no point in being The British Berliner if I can’t tell you how to, in fact, be British. You found this post charming: How to be British: Oh and by the way, you need to queue! And so did the trolls and naughty people. Some were so naughty that I had to ban them from my blog!

You also liked my post about Bristol and were intrigued by the wealthy maritime city after reading this post: 48 hours in Bristol – 48 things to do! I’m sure the Visit Bristol people are delighted by the number of people who have decided to visit the city because of my post. When you do, let them know that it was me!

THE MOST POPULAR GERMANY POST

Tasty German Bavarian pretzels!
Tasty German Bavarian pretzels!

The most popular post is still actually the very first post, that I ever wrote on my blog! The title was: Germany is Boring. Ooops!

Yeah, I got insults and abuse for this post. Mainly from people who never read it.

It received 72 comments and over 5,000 views, shares and hits! I wrote it exactly three (3) years ago, and it still hits a nerve!

Ah well, I’m famous now.

Right. Right?!

THE MOST POPULAR BERLIN POST

At Queen Nefertiti's Party!
At Queen Nefertiti’s Party!

It seems that when you think of Berlin, you think of it as creative, intense, full of energy and free. Yes, you like music, entertainment, glamour and suspense. You loved the Friedrichstadt-Palast – the venue that is the Las Vegas of Berlin in the post: It’s bizarre. It’s quirky. It’s THE WYLD!

Guys. It went VIRAL too and I don’t know how, but you must have loved it, ‘cos I received close to twenty-two thousand (22,000)  views, hits and shares!

THE MOST POPULAR INTERNATIONAL POST

It was snowing when we got to Latvia, but thank you so much everyone!
It was snowing when we got to Latvia, but thank you so much everyone!

This title went to the post about Riga. In Latvia which was my most popular post in 2015!

The people of Latvia were astonishing and really came out and supported my blog on the following post: Riga is gorgeous. Go there right now! This post shockingly went bloody VIRAL too, and I received 77 comments and up to 25,000 hits in my social media feed!

Twenty five thousand (25,000) views, hits and shares!

Absolutely Outstanding!

Thank you.

Thank you Latvia!!

THE MOST POPULAR MOTIVATIONAL /ADVICE POST

Keira Knightley on the passenger train in Poland!
Keira Knightley on the passenger train in Poland!

You obviously love, or want to travel, and need help doing so, as the most popular post of advice was: How to use the train in Poland: 10 tips to help you.

Wow!

I have promised you a post about how to travel by train in Europe which I will write very soon… and I have also been asked to consult a few people on this very issue.

If you’re concerned about travelling in Europe, and need a helping hand, I would be available by Skype or by Email to advice you for an initial introductory fee of €50.00 for 60 minutes. Communication would be either in English or German. Send me an Email with your details, and we’ll take it from there – victoria@thebritishberliner.com

THE MOST COMMENTED POST EVER

Auschwitz - Poland
Auschwitz – Poland

You people!

As you know, Poland is one of my most favourite places. And so was this post: Going to Poland: 10 reasons not to go! Interesting stuff it seems. You couldn’t stop talking about, it so I received 145 comments and up to 42,000 hits in my social media feed!

THE MOST COMMENTED POST ABOUT BRITAIN

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh in their younger days - GB / UK.
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh in their younger days – GB / UK.

You love British people. You love how quirky we are and the fact that we tend to be particular about certain things, and you said so in the post about being British: How to be British: Oh and by the way, you need to queue! I had 82 comments. Thank You so much!

THE MOST COMMENTED POST ABOUT GERMANY

An organic burger and a beer at Bread & Butter - Berlin Fashion Week

Well, umm – Germany is boring!

That post gave me 72 comments and over 5,000 views, shares and hits! More comments than shares, but then, you can’t have everything!

Coming in second (2nd) place was food. Contrary to expectations, even though German cuisine has a hard, long reputation of being rather stodgy and boring, food in Germany can be pretty awesome, if you know where to look! You obviously did look and you proved it with 67 comments in this post: 10 surprising reasons why food in Germany isn’t just grit and stodge but is pretty awesome, in my opinion! Yummy!

THE MOST COMMENTED POST ABOUT BERLIN

Choose an alternative walking tour in Berlin!
Choose an alternative walking tour in Berlin!

You felt that the post that spoke to you most was the one that I wrote about an alternative walking tour, in the cool trendy neighbourhood suburb of Kreuzberg. I used to live there so I know what I’m talking about.

Kreuzberg has some of the best gay clubs, quirky bars, underground vibes, and great food. It’s not as cheap as it used to be unfortunately, but it’s still a great neighbourhood with a river, and teeming with tourists looking for the “real” Berlin.

In fact, I made my German TV debut right there! Here’s why: If you’re looking to make a change: Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a family. Choose an alternative walking tour in Berlin! It had 72 comments.

PREMIUM – Berlin Fashion Week 2016.
PREMIUM – Berlin Fashion Week 2016.

It seems that you guys like to paaaaaarty, ‘cos you were enormously interested in some of the hard-core underground clubs that I mentioned in: If you’re going to dance the night away – Do it in Berlin!

Back in the day, I was a serious clubber.

Now I hardly go dancing unless I’m on the VIP list and there’s a driver to collect me…!

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin Spring/Summer 2017 ©Lupi Spuma Fine Photography
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin Spring/Summer 2017
©Lupi Spuma Fine Photography

THE MOST COMMENTED INTERNATIONAL POST

Delicious, yummy, spicy Tom Yum Goong soup in Bangkok, Thailand.
Delicious, yummy, spicy Tom Yum Goong soup in Bangkok, Thailand.

THE MOST COMMENTED MOTIVATIONAL / ADVICE POST

How to unravel the mystery of the map and claim the treasure! Ship ©Alina C photography
How to unravel the mystery of the map and claim the treasure!
Ship ©Alina C photography

At the beginning of every new year, it’s the norm to think about what you did last year and what you’re going to do this year. Travelling and living a life of quality struck a chord with many of you, as readers were worried about how to travel on a budget, how to get holidays / vacations, or even how to take the first step, so I told you how I do it in this post:  How I can afford a life of travel. Don’t choose. Have it all!

In beautiful Wales.
In beautiful Wales.

Most of my readers are professional upper-middle-class people. Just like me.

Staying at a €5.00 hostel or jetting off to Cambodia on a whim, just isn’t an option. I mean who would look after the dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits or giant iguana?

No seriously. Who?!!

In 2015 I travelled to 11 countries however, in 2014, this post got me a whopping 73 comments!

Myself with Naren, the ultimate prize winner, at the Berlin Music Video Awards in 2014.
Myself with Naren, the ultimate prize winner, at the Berlin Music Video Awards in 2014.

Nevertheless, I shouldn’t fail to tell you that the post that totally changed my career from being just another blogger to being totally awesome was: A light, a camera, and a broken arm: Action and drama at the Berlin Music Video Awards. It had 50 comments. I know the big bloggers have a hundred comments and more, but that post was written in May, 2014. A little after the 6 month mark.

You were fascinated by the fact that Queen Elizabeth came to Berlin and I got to be a part of that story and had more requests of interviews that I even knew what to do with. I actually had to turn some of them down!

And why?

Myself and Andrea Vannahme having High Tea on the rbb Abendshow LIVE! © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
Myself and Andrea Vannahme having High Tea on the rbb Abendshow LIVE!
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

The Queen came to Berlin. I’m British so pass me the Pimms. That’s why! – I hope I did you all proud. You seemed to think so with 49 comments.

I’m delighted!

WHERE ARE YOU FROM?

Popcorn and stuff watching basketball in Berlin!
Popcorn and stuff watching basketball in Berlin!

THE TOP 10 MOST POPULAR COUNTRY, OF PEOPLE WHO READ MY BLOG IN 2016

  • USA
  • Great Britain
  • Germany
  • Poland
  • Canada
  • France
  • Australia
  • Holland
  • Latvia
  • India for the exotic factor!
India - for the exotic factor!
India – for the exotic factor!

Surprisingly, I also get a significant number of readers from the Czech Republic, Ireland, Spain, Sweden, & Singapore!

It’s amazing that even though I only blog once a week, consistently I might add LOL, I still manage to attract a huge number of subscribers and happy Twitter fans who read my blog on a daily basis, and all my funny two-line quips! You too can join in the fun and games right here: http://twitter.com/britishberliner

Not too shabby I might add!

COUNTRIES I HAVE BEEN TO IN THE LAST 1 YEAR

Sailing on the Douro River in Porto!
Sailing on the Douro River in Porto!
  • Germany
  • England – three times!
  • Denmark
  • Luxembourg
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Philippines
  • Slovakia
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan

THE MOST POPULAR GROUP PRESS or FAM TRIP

One of our French guides - Raphael - in Nord-Pas de Calais.
One of our French guides – Raphael – in Nord-Pas de Calais.

Even though Northern France is my first press trip, it’s very much worth writing about, so the most popular post was: My first press or FAM trip ever to Nord-Pas de Calais otherwise known as, Northern France! It was amazing. I’m so honoured to have been invited. It was great, but bloody hard work LOL!

The readers have spoken, now what do I think?

MY TOP BLOG ACHIEVEMENTS

I'm sorry but I look amazing! © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
I’m sorry but I look amazing!
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro
  • Starting this blog. Hurrah!
  • Getting a MA – University of Chester
  • Becoming The British Berliner
  • Getting on prime-time German TV – Live!
  • Making a documentary about being a lifestyle, expat, travel blogger
  • Becoming Germany’s answer and expert on modern-day Britain and the monarchy!
  • Talking on German TV about Brexit
  • Doing various newspaper interviews about Brexit
  • Getting interviewed on the radio. In German
  • Acting and making an independent silent film with an aspiring German/Finnish film director!
  • Promoting and showing you Berlin
  • Getting newspaper interviews
  • Getting official invitations to Berlin Fashion Week.
  • Hanging out with VIP’s at the Berlin Music Video Awards
  • Organising Victoria’s Summer European Challenge Campaign!
  • Being invited on my second press trip to Bristol / Bath!
  • Being invited on my third press trip to Luxembourg!
  • Being invited on my fourth press trip to Usedom!
  • Being invited on my fifth press trip to the Philippines!
  • Going to four (4) new countries!
  • Keeping things light but still throwing in tiny issues about the appalling circumstances of Europe’s refugees. #RefugeesAreWelcome
  • Being invited to take part in a Twitter conference
  • Being an active member of Travel Massive (the Berlin Chapter)
  • International Travel
  • Regional Travel
  • Local Travel
  • People believing in me, encouraging me, and motivating me
  • Updating my blog website image, logo & business cards
  • Hanging out at the Berlin Film Festival (the Berlinale)
  • Attending the TBEX (Travel Blog Exchange) conference – the holy grail of the travel blogging world – for the second time
  • Being recognised among my peers
  • Making an established name for myself as The British Berliner
  • Meeting other real-life bloggers. That was awesome by the way!
  • Talking to and hearing from YOU. Yes, YOU

MY TOP 6 FAVOURITE POSTS IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER!

The Bee Hive by Simon Adepetun.
The Bee Hive by Simon Adepetun.
The British Berliner is 3 years old. Hurrah! Let's go out and play cricket!
The British Berliner is 3 years old. Hurrah! Let’s go out and play cricket!

Thank you so much everyone. I really appreciate it lots.

Thank you for making this blog real, reading, commenting, and connecting. You’re all amazing. Here’s to the next blog year. Cheers!

Next week, it’s back to work. It’s November and I’ll be starting a new job!

Winter’s coming.

Yay!

This article is not sponsored. It’s my blog birthday!

Happy Birthday. My blog is 3!
Happy Birthday. My blog is 3!

Do you have a blog? How long have you had it? Was there anything that you found surprising?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

Please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

Shocking news! I’m actually in the Philippines and guess what? The secret Chinese-speaking location I told you about is….Taiwan!

Shocking news! I'm actually in the Philippines and guess what? The secret Chinese-speaking location I told you about is....Taiwan!
Shocking news! I’m actually in the Philippines and guess what? The secret Chinese-speaking location I told you about is….Taiwan!

I’m actually in the Philippines you guys!

And wow!

It’s looking far better than what I ever imagined it would be like!

But first.

The Philippines?

Shocking news! I'm actually in the Philippines and guess what? The secret Chinese-speaking location I told you about is....Taiwan!
Shocking news! I’m actually in the Philippines and guess what? The secret Chinese-speaking location I told you about is….Taiwan!

WHATEVER AM I DOING THERE?

Well boys and girls, a long time ago, in the summer……..I told you that I had astonishing news! That astonishing news was the introduction of my journey to the Philippines for the very first time.

WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO THAT EXOTIC PLACE?

I’m in the Philippines right now, and it’s ridiculously exciting.

I'm in Manila right now! Yeow!
I’m in Manila right now! Yeow!

WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO THERE?

I’m going to:

I'm going to eat the best that Filipino food has to offer!
I’m going to eat the best that Filipino food has to offer!
  • Visit Manila
  • Fly to the island of Bohol
  • See the most famous Chocolate Hills (which aren’t actually made of chocolate…)
  • Stare at the tarsier, otherwise known as the world’s smallest monkey!
  • Go on a river cruise
  • Run around the Bohol Butterfly Sanctuary
  • Explore the southern edge of Bohol’s Panglao Island
  • Search out where the best dives can be found on the Balicasag Island
  • Explore historic Cebu – the Queen City of the South!
  • Sail across and experience a Mactan Island Tour
  • Find out if the Lechon suckling pig dish delicacy really is as good as they say!
  • Eat the best that Filipino food has to offer!
  • And at the end of it all, I’m going to take advantage of the spa and massage moments, because by the end of an exciting but intense time, I’m going to need it!

Book your hotel here!

I'm going to see everything that there is to see all over the Philippines!
I’m going to see everything that there is to see all over the Philippines!

Whew!

BUT WHY AGAIN?

Sigh!

I'm a very happy British lifestyle, expat, travel blogger. Right here in the beautiful city of Berlin - © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
I’m a very happy British lifestyle, expat, travel blogger. Right here in the beautiful city of Berlin –
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

As you know, I’m a lifestyle expat travel blogger. And part of this lifestyle is spending an awful amount of time writing and spreading the love on social media.

If you don’t get yourself out there, it can be quite lonely.

Thankfully, I’m a bit of a social butterfly and a little bit of a show-off, so meeting other bloggers is always going to be a good thing. One of those ways to get-together is to attend a TBEX conference.

I had originally planned to go to Sweden...!
I had originally planned to go to Sweden…!

I had originally planned to go to the European conference in Sweden, but a window opened up. That window was the fact that I’m taking up a new job!

Yep!

I'll soon be working for Logo Sprachenschule!
I’ll soon be working for Logo Sprachenschule!

Now you all know that I presently work for a British / American company doing corporate teaching in industrial, business and governmental establishments. Well, from November 2016, I’ll be working for a German company as the Vice-School Principal. And get this. I’ll be responsible for their English-speaking business AND their Social Media Management!

It’s a small business and will be focused on international languages. The company is called LOGO Sprachenschule, and is based in my gentrified hipster neighbourhood of Prenzlauerberg. In the best place in the world – Berlin!

As usual, I’m an advocate for smart travelling, so I’m not quitting either my travels or my job anytime soon, thanks very much!

and then We Were Three. In Wales!
and then We Were Three.
In Wales!

Anyhoo!

Oh yes. I didn’t go to the conference in Sweden, so I decided to go to the TBEX Asia-Pacific 2016 conference in the Philippines instead!

Gosh, you’re a busy girl Victoria!

WHAT IS TBEX ALL ABOUT?

I'm at TBEX - Travel Blog Exchange Asia Pacific 2016 - The future of travel Media!
I’m at TBEX – Travel Blog Exchange Asia-Pacific 2016 – The future of travel Media!

Well, TBEX is the holy grail of the travel blogging world and stands for Travel Blog Exchange.

It’s the world’s largest conference and networking event for travel bloggers, writers, online travel journalists, new media content creators, travel brands and social-media-savvy travel industry professionals. There are three (3) conferences held annually in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific, attracting 600-1000 delegates from all over the world!

The organisation used to be located in North America and Europe but for the first time in 2015, was based not only in “the West” but in Asia too, and on a cruise-ship in the middle of the sea!

Me on the beach at Lloret de Mar, Spain for TBEX.
Me on the beach at Lloret de Mar, Spain for TBEX.

It’s also a medium for the creative minds of the travel industry to come together, to network, to learn, to negotiate with the travel industry, and for those who are so inclined, to take the business of blogging to the next level.

How exciting!

I had heard a lot of good and sometimes controversial things about TBEX, but I decided to attend the conference for myself and make up my own mind.

Last year, I went to the TBEX conference for the very first time.

Eeek!

Shocking news! I'm actually in the Philippines and guess what? The secret Chinese-speaking location I told you about is....Taiwan!
Shocking news! I’m actually in the Philippines and guess what? The secret Chinese-speaking location I told you about is….Taiwan!

Every year, TBEX partners with fantastic destinations so that bloggers and media people get the opportunity to meet potential business partners or sponsors, meet influential bloggers, get new strategies and tips, network with each other, discover new destinations, share a new experience and well, be entertained and paaaaaaaarty like it’s 1999!

Oh alright then. Paaaaaarty like it’s 2016!

Party like it's 2016 at TBEX in Manila! ©Vicki Winters
Party like it’s 2016 at TBEX in Manila!
©Vicki Winters

There.

Happy now!

I love the Asian continent, and I’ve been to Asia many, many times, but I’ve never been to the Philippines!

THE PHILIPPINES

Turtles in the Philippines!
Turtles in the Philippines!

The Philippines officially known as the Republic of the Philippines, is a sovereign island country in Southeast Asia, situated in the western Pacific Ocean!

It consists of:

I can't wait to run across the many sandy white tropical beaches such as this, in Bohol!
I can’t wait to run across the many sandy white tropical beaches such as this, in Bohol!
  • A population of 101 million people!
  • 36,289 kilometres of coastline
  • 10,000 feet of mountain ranges
  • 7,107 tropical islands
  • 6,000 endemic plant species
  • 5,000 species of clams
  • 2,000 species of fish
  • 900 species of seaweed
  • 600 species of birds
  • 500 animal species
  • 400 species of coral
  • 176 languages and local dialects
  • 100 indigenous ethnic groups
  • 22 species of whales and dolphins
  • countless beaches
  • and the capital city – Manila

Book your hotel here!

Just me and my horse in Manila!
Just me and my horse in Manila!

Golly!

While I’m in this part of Asia, I decided to visit another new country in the vicinity.

I picked Taaaaaaaaaaaiwan!

TAIWAN

Taiwan, otherwise known as, the Republic of China (ROC).
Taiwan, otherwise known as, the Republic of China (ROC).

Taiwan, otherwise known as, the Republic of China (ROC), is a state in East Asia.

Neighbors include the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to the west, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the south. Taiwan is the most populous non-UN state and the largest economy outside the UN.

The history of Taiwan dates back tens of thousands of years although it’s believed that the appearance of a culture based on agriculture around 3000 BC, reflects the arrival of the ancestors of today’s Taiwanese aborigines.

Taiwan was initially colonised by the Dutch in the 17th century, followed by an influx of Han Chinese including Hakka immigrants from the Fujian and Guangdong areas of mainland China, across the Taiwan Strait.

The Spanish built a settlement in the north for a brief period, but were driven out by the Dutch in 1642.

Taiwan, otherwise known as, the Republic of China (ROC).
Taiwan, otherwise known as, the Republic of China (ROC).

In 1662, Koxinga, a loyalist of the Ming dynasty who had lost control of mainland China in 1644, defeated the Dutch and established a base of operations on the island. His forces were also defeated by the Qing dynasty in 1683, and parts of Taiwan became increasingly integrated into the Qing empire. Following the First Sino-Japanese War in 1895, the Qing ceded the island, along with Penghu, to the Empire of Japan.

In 1945, following the end of World War II, the Republic of China (ROC), led by the Kuomintang (KMT), took control of Taiwan.

Taiwan, otherwise known as, the Republic of China (ROC).
Taiwan, otherwise known as, the Republic of China (ROC).

The KMT ruled Taiwan (along with Kinmen, Wuqiu and the Matsu Islands on the opposite side of the Taiwan Strait) as a single-party state for forty years, until democratic reforms in the 1980s.

During the post-war period, Taiwan experienced rapid industrialization and economic growth, and was known as one of the “Four Asian Tigers.”

Wow!

How intriguing!

That’s all for now!

Book your hotel here!

SHOCKING NEWS! I’M ACTUALLY IN THE PHILIPPINES AND GUESS WHAT? THE SECRET CHINESE-SPEAKING LOCATION I TOLD YOU ABOUT IS….TAIWAN!

Street food in the Philippines.
Street food in the Philippines.

Even though I was a member of TBEX, all opinions and the exciting time that I’m currently in the middle of, is my very own!

Right now I’m travelling around the Philippines and Taiwan and you can follow what I’m doing and where I’m going, on Twitter & Facebook.

Come and find me on social media ‘cos you know what, I believe it really is more fun in the Philippines!

In November, I’ll be travelling to Austria and starting a new job!

Save the Date!

October is going to be just delightful!

I’ll be there. Will you?

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & Facebook!

If you’re not in Berlin in October, you’re lost!

Watch this space!

How do I get to Taiwan?
How do I get to Taiwan?

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

Shocking news! I'm in the Philippines and the secret location is Taiwan!
Shocking news! I’m in the Philippines and the secret location is Taiwan!

Have you ever been to the Philippines? Did you guess the secret location would be Taiwan? Any tips? Have your say!

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

If you like this post, please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!