Dancing with Logos

There is something about logos that I get excited about. I feel that in much the same way as we power-dress before going into the outside world – logos very much function the same way. They represent something about our organization, our project, or program, that we want to communicate with the world.

In my years of working with brands and products, having to work with either the creation of a new logo or working to re-create an old logo, excites me. To me, the process represents the acknowledgment of change as truly the only constant thing in the world. It symbolizes the need to constantly innovate, constantly be in tune with the times. Logos allow brands to tell their stories in one symbol, and over time, it creates a certain bond that allows a brand to easily connect with its customers, users and fans.

Here are 3 logos I feel strongly about and I feel incredibly lucky to have been leading the teams that created it.


In 2010, when I joined the newly formed Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), which was formed when the former President split the former Office of the Press Secretary into two (2) new offices (the other one became known as the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office or PCDSPO), our first task was to come up with the new office’s logo. It took us 3 gruelling months but I am happy with the result. I am also happy that the incoming Duterte administration has kept using this logo but merged the offices into just the Presidential Communications Office.


In October 2010, while I was Director for New Media under the Presidential Communications Operations Office, the organizers of the 4th Mindanao Bloggers Summit invited me to speak in Zamboanga City. Little did I know then that, that visit will change my life. While I was there, someone shared to me that they found a mangrove village where children have to swim to school and one thing led to another and the rest as they say is history. The Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation logo has become iconic in the nonprofit world and the logo encapsulates what we do in a nutshell. I simply love it!


In 2012-2013, I became part of the 2013 Acumen Global Fellows Program and I traveled all the way to Lahore, Pakistan to work with Pharmagen Water, a social enterprise dedicated in helping underprivileged families in Lahore get access to safe, clean and affordable drinking water. I led a re-branding project that simplified their logo.

Logos tell a story and I believe the world will never tire of logos.

What story does your logo represent?

Team of Rivals

(photo from Sec. Martin Andanar of the Presidential Communications Office)

I read Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book the Team of Rivals a few years back. And it popped back into my head after I saw this photo. I have been an avid supporter of then Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte in the past because of what he has done and accomplished in Davao City. I knew him to be an action man but I didn’t really know anything about the inner workings of City Hall more than was written in the press.

The book Team of Rivals details Goodwin’s research and analysis of how former US President Abraham Lincoln was able to provide great leadership during his time and how we was able to recruit his main rivals for the presidency to join his cabinet. It is a rare thing in politics when a leader goes out of his way to accommodate his intellectual “foes” and works with them for the common good. While both Lincoln and Duterte have major weaknesses, there’s a lot that can be said for leaders who try to bring everyone to the table. Lincoln paved the way for slavery to end in North America.

What Goodwin said about Lincoln (in this HBR interview) holds true for Duterte for me as well:

Interviewer: More books have been written on Lincoln than on any other American president. What does Lincoln’s magic as a leader really come down to?

Goodwin: Well, it wasn’t anything so immediately felt as charisma. In fact, it took the country some time to warm to Lincoln; his popularity almost came from the inside out. His cabinet was the first to see something unusual about him.

Take William Seward, who originally was a rival. Some eight weeks after becoming secretary of state, Seward wrote to his wife that Lincoln was unlike anyone he’d ever known. Other members of the cabinet came to think so, too. One after another, they came to power thinking Lincoln was rather unexceptional and ended up believing that he was as near a perfect man as anyone they’d ever met.

What Lincoln had, it seems to me, was an extraordinary amount of emotional intelligence. He was able to acknowledge his errors and learn from his mistakes to a remarkable degree. He was careful to put past hurts behind him and never allowed wounds to fester. The rare example I could find of Lincoln’s being unable to forgive someone was his father. Lincoln never visited his father when he was dying, which suggests that he could not let go of the anger he felt toward the man who considered the future president’s fierce desire to learn a sign of laziness.”

Duterte’s legacy as presidency remains to be seen.

CNN World View covers the swimming kids of Masbate

I never imagined that our efforts in the Philippine Funds for Little Kids to seek out and help kids who swim to school would one day be featured on CNN, here’s the link – http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/international/2011/09/05/world-view-manila-swimming-to-school.cnn.

Our story started in Zamboanga City, specifically in Layag-Layag, Brgy. Talon-Talon where last October 30, I found out about a story where kids have to swim in order to go to school. Within a short period of time upon learning of the story, my friends which included Dr. Anton Lim of Zamboanga and marketing guru Josiah Go and I were able to raise enough funds to build these kids a boat and that’s how the Zamboanga Funds for Little Kids was born, which is still an organization devoted to helping the kids of Layag-Layag and their community up to this day, with the help of Tzu Chi Foundation – Zamboanga and the Rotary Club of Zamboanga. We are still raising funds for a community center, a solution to their potable drinking supply problem, and other basic needs.

Last June 2011, a good friend from Legaspi City, Dr. Ofelia Sy shared to me the story of the kids who swim to school in the island of Mababoy in Masbate.  This story was in turn shared to her by a DepEd regional official in the person of Mr. Justino Cabarles.

I was really surprised that the story of kids who swim to school was not confined to Zamboanga and so I in turn shared the story with a researcher from GMA News TV’s Brigada show. And last June 2011, GMA reporter JP Soriano and his team went to Mababoy and did a documentary on it. Donations immediately started to pour in after their feature story and that’s how the Masbate Funds for Little Kids was born.

Because of these projects being in two different areas, we as a group, decided to call it the Philippine Funds for Little Kids. And right now we’re still looking for communities where kids swim to school. We really feel its important that we as citizens become active participants in nation-building and become part of the solution. It’s the only way our country can move forward. And of course, these kids are the future of our country, its important we equip them with the right tools and knowledge.

You can help us by liking our page on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/philippine.funds. Let’s start the Learning Revolution!

Be a hero

Let’s have a short break from my series on working in government.

Today, I want to share with you the presentation I shared with students from De La Salle University and other schools last October 23, 2010 when they invited me to discuss The Ripple Effect during the 3rd Business Management Students’ Convention.

It was my first public presentation to students as a government employee.  The title is ‘Be a hero.’

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