US Embassy Manila Public Affairs Meeting - Lazy Investing Way

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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

US Embassy Manila Public Affairs Meeting

Rick, me, mindanaoan, and some of the onlineCebu-based US Embassy Manila facebook followers
This happen out of the blue and I just so happen to remember it out of the blue. Well, that's what you get for having so many backlogs. If Mindanaoan did not remind me about this, I may have forgotten this in the dephs of my crazy brain. 1st let me thank Jay de Jesus for the invite (He's the Social Media Specialist for the Department of Public Affairs, US Embassy Manila~Can you imagine to that?) and Richard W. Nelson, the Counselor for Public Affairs for the US Embassy Manila (He's an american married to a Filipina).

I thought the topic for this sudden meeting will be political or something to do with bloggers or something to do with me? Perhaps I get a FREE US GREEN CARD, my imagination ran wild. Why the heck will the US Embassy want to meet with me? Then I recalled the US Embassy Workshop on GO-NGO Partnerships which happened here in cebu last October, so I assumed something related to that.

But when we met up with Mr. Nelson, he was not even aware of it though he explained he works in a big department and a big agency. But before that, I really was thinking that I will be with fellow bloggers but no familiar face was there and I had to muster some courage to ask these people sitting on their tables to ask if they were the ones who will treat me to dinner I will be meeting with :D. Luckily, I was not embarrassed since I just went for the American looking guy with a girl right beside him. Oh and It was the 1st time I met Lady Mindanaoan and some of the online US Embassy followers (I'd mention their names but I have to ask permission from them though?).

While munching down our food in Cafe Laguna Garden, Rick Nelson talked about the US Embassy, his department, Jay's job and why they are meeting up with their followers online. He emphasized that the online thing has somehow bridged some gap of communication and this is a good thing for them so they can also get feedback from Filipinos and also have a closer access to US Embassy and its programs.

This totally excited me since he mentioned some projects and grants from USAID which they can forward as well. He proudly shared the 15k and growing facebook page followers which make it the highest in Asia in terms of Embassies or even Government Agency which is quite an achievement (At the back of my mind, I thought: I wish our government was this accessible and close to the people :P).

Another interesting topic that we had is the talk about culture and misconceptions. He has an understanding of Filipinos since he has lived in the Philippines and is married to a Filipina. He also did some MYTH BUSTING about US EMBASSY. They are not limited to processing US Visas or the like; they are not RICH~what you see in movies like in Bourne Identity is an exaggeration of what is in reality-"insert MOUTH DROP here." (This goes to show that despite perceiving that I had eliminated my colonial mentality, there is still some left.)

He was also very eager to learn bisaya since he can speak and understand Tagalog (Though slangness is still there, but fluent nonetheless). He even sang a song, perhaps it was the beer talking or is it singing? We even went on talking about ghost stories and stuff and that he will be going back to the US after his assignment here is over--but he also said, he'd loved to come back and explore other parts of the country like in Cebu or Mindanao.

Another unique cultural-immersion-interaction for this year, I'll definitely be making a post about my international encounters even though I just stayed here in Cebu, madami pa talaga akong dapat matutunan =)

Thanks once again Mr. Rick Nelson, Mindanaoan, US Embassy Fb Followes for the Company, and to Jay for the Invite. Another Awesome Cultural Experience! I definitely Learned a Lot!

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