How I went to TBEX again, and what I learnt!

Let's paaaaaarty! TBEX Manila 2016 - ©Kira Ramirez - Elegantly Wasted
Let’s paaaaaarty!
TBEX Manila 2016 –
©Kira Ramirez – Elegantly Wasted

So last week I told you all about the fear and horror of visiting a city such as Manila!

I told you about the anxiety of many a people living in a constant state of fear at home, not to talk of travelling abroad!

I also told you how well we were looked after, because I couldn’t be in Manila on my lonesome.

Oh dear me no!

Bloggers from TBEX are welcome everywhere!
Bloggers from TBEX are welcome everywhere!

I was with TBEX!

The comments of my previous post gives me the distinct impression that people are wary of going to a TBEX conference, or any conference at all for that matter.

I have the feeling that people are reluctant to open their purse-strings and spend $100+ on something that they know very little about so have no fear, Victoria is here!

Yep! I’m here to clarify your mind on whether going to a TBEX conference is worth the money that you will undoubtedly, spend.

WHAT IS TBEX?

Travel Blog Exchange - that's us - TBEX Asia!
Travel Blog Exchange – that’s us – TBEX Asia!

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

WHAT IS TBEX ALL ABOUT?

TBEX Asia Pacific - one of the largest gatherings in the world!
TBEX Asia Pacific – one of the largest gatherings in the world!

TBEX is 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!

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!

At TBEX Europe with myself - Victoria Ade-Genschow - The British Berliner, Matthew Kepnes – Nomadic Matt, & Jodi Ettenberg – Legal Nomads, in Lloret de Mar – Spain.
At TBEX Europe with myself – Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner, Matthew Kepnes – Nomadic Matt, & Jodi Ettenberg – Legal Nomads, in Lloret de Mar – Spain.

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

In previous years, the bloggers conference had been in Dublin (whisky & beer. Yay!) and Athens (ouzo & wine. Double Yay!). Last year it was on the seaside coast of Costa Brava. In Spain.

Paella in Spain is just all you need!
Paella in Spain is just all you need!

Oooooo!

And I spent most of my time crying, as it was a complete and utter disaster!

I love going to Spain and after that horrid experience I needed to go back to Spain again. So I did!

In fact, I went one step further, and travelled to Portugal too!

I'm the Vice-School Principal / Social Media Manager at Logo Sprachenschule!
I’m the Vice-School Principal / Social Media Manager at Logo Sprachenschule!

I had planned to once again go to the TBEX European conference in Sweden, but a window opened up. That window was the fact that I took up a new job for a German company called LOGO Sprachenschule, as the Vice-School Principal responsible for their English-speaking business and their Social Media Management too!

We’re in the process of setting up a new website, but I’ll let you know when it’s done!

So back to TBEX!

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!

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

And this year. It was brilliant!

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!

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

Last year, I wished it had been me.

And this year it was!

BUT WHAT DO YOU DO THERE?

Let's paaaaaarty! TBEX Manila 2016 - ©Kira Ramirez - Elegantly Wasted
Let’s paaaaaarty!
TBEX Manila 2016 –
©Kira Ramirez – Elegantly Wasted

Whatever you want really!

But seriously, there is a conference agenda crammed with pre-BEX tours, workshops, keynote speeches, break-out sessions in Content, Commerce, Community, TBEX Business, Speed Networking, a Closing Keynote about the future of travel by Patricia Schultz – the bestselling author of 1,000 places to see before you die, and fun things like pub crawls, an opening night party, refreshments, lunch, coffee-breaks, a Second Night Party, a Farewell Party, Roof-Top Pool Parties, cocktail bars, meet-me-at-the-front-parties, FAM tours, all great fun, and all included in the price!

During the TBEX conference, I hardly slept at all!

At TBEX Asia-Pacific in Manila - the capital of fun!
At TBEX Asia-Pacific in Manila – the capital of fun!

There were shuttle vans and buses to take bloggers to the conference venue and since, I’m weird and actually like learning new things, I went to quite a few sessions.

I went to:

During the TBEX conference, I hardly slept at all!
During the TBEX conference, I hardly slept at all!
  • Writing like a Human Not a Robot: SEO With Soul (Community) by Michael Briggs
  • You Want Publicity? Use G+ to Reach Millions (Community) by Shane Dallas
  • Practical Ways to Improve your Affiliate Sales (Commerce) by Chris Christensen
  • How to Trend on Twitter (Commerce) by Michael Collins
  • How To Build A Thriving Real Community Around Your Blog & Brand (Community) by Anton Diaz
  • And Speed Networking

I wanted to go to:

Take a photo of me. No meeeee!
Take a photo of me.
No meeeee!
  • How to Improve Your Architectural Photographs (Content) by Ajay Sood. Thankfully, I met him again as he was on my FAM trip too!
  • How to Monetize your Blog with Print on Demand (Commerce) by Betsy & Peter Wuebker. I opted to go to a session conducted by a local Filippino – Anton Diaz instead. And I enjoyed it very much. In fact, the room was packed!
  • How to Creat Eye-Catching Hyperlapse Videos Today Using your Smart Phone (Content) by Scott Herder. I regret missing this the most as I love my iPhone 6 smart phone, and actually prefer using it to a more sophisticated camera! It’s small. It’s in my handbag, and it’s less invasive. I’m a strong believer that you ask your subject before taking their photograph!
I was exhausted and really, really tired. So I nipped off for a nap!
I was exhausted and really, really tired. So I nipped off for a nap!

And I missed it ‘cos by the last day, I was exhausted and really, really tired. So I nipped off for a nap instead! Happily, Scott was on my FAM trip too!

YOU MENTIONED REFRESHMENTS. WOULD WE STARVE?

A customised bubble-tea type drink at #TBEX in Manila!
A customised bubble-tea type drink at #TBEX in Manila!

Ha!

Not in the least! I’m sure people do worry, because food n’ stuff has to go in the budget, but once you’re on the doorstep of the TBEX Convention Center, you wouldn’t have to pay for a single item of nibble!

Exotic fruit at #TBEX in Manila!
Exotic fruit at #TBEX in Manila!

All soft drinks, water and coffee were provided free of charge. Getting a cup of tea was slightly more difficult, but the staff were awesome and ran around making sure that I had a good cuppa. With milk and sugar!

Nibbles at #TBEX in Manila!
Nibbles at #TBEX in Manila!

During the breaks we had tables full of snacks, cake, fruit, nibbles and ice-cream. I’ll let the pictures do the talking!

Colourful Filipino buns at #TBEX in Manila!
Colourful Filipino buns at #TBEX in Manila!

Lunch was amaaaaaaazing, and at one of them, we all had to eat standing. And with our bare hands!

A delightful hands-only lunch at #TBEX in Manila!
A delightful hands-only lunch at #TBEX in Manila!

It was quite hilarious too, as most of the Asian bloggers were using cutlery delicately provided, while we international bloggers all tried our best to use our fingers!

Yum! Mussels at #TBEX in Manila!
Yum! Mussels at #TBEX in Manila!

The food was quite delicious too!

As for drinks, I’m more a cocktails and champagne type of girl so when we went to the Second Night Party at the Long Bar at Raffles Makati, hosted by Travel Massive, I bought the All-You-Can-Drink for four (4) hours ticket, and bought cocktail after cocktail. I also sneaked a few to the local Filippino bloggers as the bar price was beyond their local budget!

A Singapore Sling cocktail - Long Bar at Raffles Makati, hosted by Travel Massive at #TBEX Manila.
A Singapore Sling cocktail – Long Bar at Raffles Makati, hosted by Travel Massive at #TBEX Manila.

And let’s not forget the TBEX Farewell Party which was themed for Oktoberfest.

Yep! Oktoberfest!

German craft beer and festive gingerbread at the #TBEX Asia-Pacific Oktoberfest Farewell Party, in Manila!
German craft beer and festive gingerbread at the #TBEX Asia-Pacific Oktoberfest Farewell Party, in Manila!

Well, this girl didn’t let you down ‘cos there was German food, Filippino food, and Indian food, as well as good ‘ole German craft beer, and German beer on tap!

The service staff even wore the football uniforms of the German 2016 FIFA World Cup winners!

Neat!

WHY TBEX?

Drinking a very important cup of tea! © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
Drinking a very important cup of tea!
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

Why not?

And because blogging can be a lonesome game so it’s pretty nice meeting others.

Hanging out with real people, and people who “understand” why it’s important to position an item just so, before you take a photograph! You should have seen the angles that people were taking with some even standing on the table, in order to get “that photograph” just right.

And everybody completely understood!!

HOW CAN I GO TO TBEX?

One of the major locations for TBEX is in North America!
One of the major locations for TBEX is in North America!

There are three (3) conferences held annually in North America, Asia-Pacific, and Europe. Choose the region that is closest or more appropriate for you. For instance, going to TBEX in America would be pretty useless for me, as many of you are actually from North America, Europe, or the UK, and are more interested in Europe!

Truthfully, I decided to go to the Philippines because I could!

WOULD IT COST ME AN ARM AND A LEG?

You can save up all your pennies, and it wouldn't cost you!
You can save up all your pennies, and it wouldn’t cost you!

‘Not at all!

TBEX Asia (2016) cost me (with a Travel Massive discount) just $125.00!

TBEX Europe (2017) (early bird) cost a mere $117.00!

Of course, you do have to factor in your flight cost.

The cost of flying to the Philippines is effectively cheaper than flying to Sweden!
The cost of flying to the Philippines is effectively cheaper than flying to Sweden!

In my case, I knew that the cost of flying to the Philippines would effectively be cheaper than flying to Sweden as Nordic countries are hideously expensive!

BUT WHAT ABOUT HOTELS?

I stayed at three different hotels in Manila!
I stayed at three different hotels in Manila!

Whilst in Manila, I stayed at three (3) different hotels.

TBEX usually recommends a bevy of hotels which I would definitely check out as they’re usually near the TBEX Convention Center venue, and loads of other bloggers will also be there which is all part of the fun…!

However.

Do your own research as to prices.

I found that my hotel was actually cheaper without the TBEX discount code, and gave me more extras like breakfast and bottles of water!

The Golden Phoenix Hotel in Manila.
The Golden Phoenix Hotel in Manila.

The first hotel I stayed at was the Golden Phoenix Hotel Manila.

There was free WiFi, a buffet breakfast (mainly Asian), a swimming pool, and a fitness center.

The Asian boxed take-away breakfast!
The Asian boxed take-away breakfast!

It was in a really nice area, the staff were great, my room was large, and the twenty (20) or so bloggers that were staying there, were awesome!

Cost: PHP 3,002.52 or €57.00 per day

The Belmont Hotel & Resorts in Manila
The Belmont Hotel & Resorts in Manila

The second hotel that I stayed at was the Belmont Hotel & Resorts.

We were all moved there, so that we could fly out for our FAM trips pretty early in the morning!

Getting ready to fly out on our Visayan Charms FAM trip in the Philippines!
Getting ready to fly out on our Visayan Charms FAM trip in the Philippines!

The night before our FAM trip and the night after our FAM trip were complementary, and I liked the set-up so much that I paid for two extra nights out of pocket!

The Belmont Hotel is very near the airport, and my room was large. And of course, the fact that all the bloggers who had gone on a FAM trip were accommodated there, made it a pretty social place to be.

Now this is what I call a great start!
Now this is what I call a great start!

There were roof-parties, pool parties, and generally, come-to-my-room-we-have-whisky-and-rum-parties!

Sadly, towards the end of my time in Manila, I was horribly ill.

Perhaps, it was 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, so I was very happy to still be in only one place, and one room!

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

The service wasn’t that fantastic as the staff were over-whelmed. It took one hour for someone to come to my room with a pair of scissors, numerous calls for someone to bring me a bar of soap, and an extra towel, and sometimes, it would take ages to get reception on the phone! However, when I was ill, they sent for a doctor, and honestly, I was glad that I was at a more up-market place, than elsewhere!

They had free wifi, a lovely swimming pool, a nice restaurant, breakfast, a lovely view, comfortable beds, and free bottles of water.

Cost: PHP 6,000 for two nights or €57.00 per day. If you booked a room at this first anniversary price, you would get the second night for free.

So that was what I did!

I don't have a picture of the Vieve Hotel in Manila, only the traffc!
I don’t have a picture of the Vieve Hotel in Manila, only the traffc!

The third hotel I stayed at, I would definitely not recommend!

At the end of my stay in Asia, I flew back to Manila for 24 hours and this time, I chose the more humble 3-star Vieve Hotel.

The staff at the Vieve Hotel were nice enough, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you were travelling solo. I wanted to see the more “authentic” Manila, and I certainly did!

Is Manila a crime-ridden place or is it something completely different?
Is Manila a crime-ridden place or is it something completely different?

To be candid, I was scared.

I didn’t go out that night but stayed in my room, double-locked the door, and jammed a chair behind it!

WHAT DID I LEARN AT TBEX ?

There are many things to learn at such places as TBEX International 2017 in Jerusalem ©Israel21c.org
There are many things to learn at such places as TBEX International 2017 in Jerusalem
©Israel21c.org
  1. Leave plenty of time for trips, tours and meet-ups both before and after the TBEX conference
  2. Use the TBEX recommended hotel list when booking your hotel or B&B, but do your own research for prices
  3. Networking is key to putting a face to a name in the blogging community
  4. Just because you don’t have an appointment, doesn’t mean that you can’t go to the Speed Networking event to meet potential clients
  5. Don’t be afraid or shy to say “hi” to some of our blogging stars or key-speakers who are just as human as we are
  6. Realise that some people might consider you to be a blogging star too!
  7. Make sure that you’re in the right session room….!
  8. Think about your future and where you would like your blogging career to lead to
  9. Don’t be afraid to monetize if that is what you want to do, just be realistic as nobody ever “made it” by blogging alone. There’s a huge amount of hard work behind the facade of “success.”
  10. Think about what your niche market is and if you’re a local destination expert – own it!
  11. Google+ could be the next big thing. Don’t under-estimate it
  12. Don’t spend more than you can afford to lose.
  13. It’s not about the best camera in the world, it’s about you!
  14. Improve your photography
  15. Drink lots & lots of water
  16. Try not be sick
  17. Give back to whatever local community you happen to be in
  18. If you’re tired, take a nap
  19. Be professional
  20. Be appreciative of all the hard work that the host country / region has done
  21. Listen to your readers
  22. Look at what excites YOU
  23. Educate yourself
  24. Get started
  25. Build your audience
  26. Do things your way
  27. Sunglasses can never be too huge!
  28. Have a great time!

ANYTHING ELSE?

The next TBEX Europe Conference is in Ireland. Again! Ho! For the the luck of the lovely Irish!
The next TBEX Europe Conference is in Ireland. Again!
Ho! For the luck of the lovely Irish!

The next TBEX Europe Conference is in Ireland!

I’m going to be there. Are you?

HOW I WENT TO TBEX AGAIN, AND WHAT I LEARNT!

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

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 magnificent time that I had, are my very own!

Next week I’ll be writing about Taiwan, and then returning to the Philippines again later!

On November 26th, I’ll be attending the Berlin-Premiere and the 10th anniversary of British musical comedy duo – Carrington Brown at Bar Jeder Vernunft in Berlin.

Save the Date!

November is going to be wind-biting!

Watch this space!

Please also note that there is now a Booking.com affiliate link (for the very first time) connected to my hotel. Every time some sort of accommodation is booked via my link I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself! A win-win for all!

How I went to TBEX again, and what I learnt!
How I went to TBEX again, and what I learnt!

Do you want to be a blogger? Have you ever been to TBEX or a conference of any kind? Is it worth the money? 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
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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!

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!