AS ONE of the leading and most trusted “explorers” in social media, the team or better yet, the family behind “Where in Pampanga” are listed among the most promising group of online arbiters of taste and lifestyle, more commonly known today as “influencers.”
For Louie Sison, what started as a personal hobby with his wife Joise has skyrocketed to an unexpected opportunity that goes beyond likes, shares and fame.
In a collaboration with SunStar Pampanga, the former website developer warmly shared that getting in the industry was utterly unexpected until a friend told him about the idea of earning an added income from a knack he probably never thought of before.
“Mag boyfriend-girlfriend pa lang kami noon when we were enthused by the idea of getting passive income through ‘blogging.’ Thus, we had to maintain several websites at that time, until we were married and eventually had a baby in 2013. Consequently, our priorities turned upside-down and halted us from doing what we’ve already started,” he said.
Luckily, that same knack knocked on their doors two years later. Only this time, it was centered on their new star and little princess, Isa. Hence, they thought of creating the hashtag #WhereIsIsaNow (Nasaan si Isa ngayon?) for their amusement whenever they would spend some “fam time” and bond around town.
He noted that their inspiration to go further came about when friends and acquaintances would frequently ask questions about the details of their recent dine-ins and travel check-ins.
And with the help of a mobile phone, “Facebook live” feature and basic knowledge in video editing, “Where in Pampanga” has slowly evolved to how we see it today - a successful food, travel and lifestyle online platform.
And this was made even more possible when Mark Cunanan, a hobbyist photographer and Louie’s brother-in-law, joined the squad as their lensman.
“At first, I strived to make myself available after hustling on my day-job,” the engineering-graduate fondly recalled.
“It was not easy at first because I had to balance everything, but when you love what you do and it makes you happy, you must follow it even if it means doing it for free,” he added.
While everything seems to be smooth sailing now, the duo shared that it was challenging in the beginning. There were days when they had to spend from their own pockets to pay for their food and accommodation just to create content. More so, days when they had to tediously produce vlogs only to get three or even less engagements out of it. And times when they had to hideously deal and learn from bashers and critics themselves.
Hence, Sison advised the aspiring young ones to embrace displeasures as part of the process. “If you’re sad, be sad. If you’re disappointed, feel disappointed. But learn to pick yourself up, get the best out of your room for errors and stay true to yourself,” he said.
“After all, as cliché at it may sound, aside from our vision to help promote Pampanga, what makes ‘Where in Pampanga’ unique is that we’re not focusing on the fancy side of things,” they mentioned.
“What you see is what you get. No extraordinary effects and filtering. It’s all true and very human,” they added.
If given another chance to go further, they desire to turn their current platform into a full-time business to maintain mobility and ultimately sustain the vision that led them to where they are today.