Bloggers Summit Down Under

In Mindanao, not Australia. In Cagayan de Oro, to be more specific.

I didn't know what they meant by "City of Golden Friendship" ... at first.

The venue was surprisingly impressive. And cool! Literally. Interesting art pieces were all over the place.
I have to admit that I wasn't expecting much, because the registration fee was only 1000 pesos (which included multiple meals and a whitewater rafting adventure package). Talk about value for money!

Migs Hipolito warming up at the lectern.

Bloggers in action. No eye contact necessary.

Charles was always ready for the camera, even at the buffet table.

The morning session was loaded with high-profile speakers, some of whom managed to inject "subtle" campaigning into the mix. Okay, maybe I was being too cynical.

I found the second half of the show more interesting because the speakers were bloggers who wholeheartedly imparted their wisdom and spoke with genuine desire to share value.

Day 2 was different. No more sitting around. No more speakers. Three hours under the sun. 14 rapids. Five somewhat quiet (I probably made more noise than all of them combined) but fun-loving and supportive raftmates. Totally fun!

Didn't bring my camera to the river, because I knew the others would. Now, if I can only find a way to steal their photos.

Thanks to...

... Brendel, Lyle, Faust, and Jim - Davao bloggers who were forced to serve as babysitters for two days. They took care of my room accommodation, introduced me to their friends, eliminated the possibility of me getting lost, brought me to blog-worthy food joints, shared fascinating facts about Davao, shined my shoes, washed my clothes, etc.

... Baby Jane, May Ann, and Venus for the Lim Ket Kai Mall tour and lively chit-chat, despite the fact that their batteries were nearly empty.

... the generous sponsors for the prizes and goodies:
  • Nokia OVI
  • Smart Communication
  • Havaianas - I won 2 cellphone... pendants; for being the online and physical early bird registrant
  • Majesty Sales Center
  • OLX.com - free classified ads
  • 1st Rafting Adventures - I won an introductory rafting package (a good reason for me to go back!)
  • UltraCraft
  • Syntactics
  • Clara's Shoppe
  • MakatiAve.com
  • Asterisk Event and Communications
  • Loretos Bar and Grill
... the CdO bloggers, for putting this together, and for being awesome hosts. I heard from an anonymous source that they even paid for their own registration fees! It was truly a labor of love.

... all the people I met at the event. Without exception (as far as I can remember), everyone deserved a Mr/Ms Congeniality Award.

The locals didn't tell me why CdO is called the "City of Golden Friendship" ... they showed me.

I'm definitely going back to see my Golden Friends! Wait, did that sound like a threat?