The online playing field has evened out for content creators from VisMin (Visayas and Mindanao), according to the Creator and Influencer Council of the Philippines (CICP).
“There are now people from Luzon who like our content, so we’ve put subtitles. They can laugh at our humorous content even if they don’t understand what we’re saying,” said David Jones Cua, member of Cebuano boy band 13C and co-founder of Bai TV, a Cebuano entertainment channel that boasts over 356,000 Facebook followers.
This was a far cry from almost half a decade ago, Mr. Cua shared, when there was no creative industry to speak of where Bisaya content creators and influencers could converge, hold events, and find opportunities to connect with brands.
Now, there are many avenues to explore, including the digital talent agency Bai Social to events like the Bisaya Fan Fest or BaiCon InFest.
These developments, in addition to providing opportunities, also showed that the Philippine creative landscape did not have to be Luzon-centric, according to Phillip Te Hernandez, known online as Davao Conyo.
“It’s really the internet that changed things. We see a lot of Bisaya creators online and we see it’s possible to have an audience, to have someone to listen to you, even if you are Bisaya,” he said during a CICP general meeting this August.
Humor is the difference between Luzon content creators and VisMin content creators, according to Mr. Hernandez: “I would not be able to write my scripts in my way if I wasn’t Bisaya, even if I usually use Tagalog now. Bisaya [style] is punchier and braver.”
Mr. Cua confirmed this difference in humor and style, and added that brands and agencies should put up Bisaya-language billboards in Cebu — since Tagalog billboards are a pet peeve among Cebuanos.
The appeal of working with Bisaya creators lies in their ability to connect with consumers in VisMin in ways people from Luzon can’t, according to panelists.
Public relations firm Greenbulb Communications started working with regional influencers in 2017 for brands such as P&G, Nestle, Grab, and Klook. “It’s been rapidly evolving, seeing the number of content creators emerging across the different platforms,” said Ayel C. Agbanlog, Greenbulb’s public relations director. “In terms of perspective, I would definitely say we can see the added value regional creators bring.”
Michelle De Guzman, marketing director of Cebu Pacific, acknowledged the importance of Bisaya creators in promoting flight routes in VisMin.
“We operate a lot of flights everywhere in the Philippines. The question then was, how might we promote the new flights we operate? That’s why we partnered with VisMin creators early on because we realized that, by working with them, we could reach a specific audience and reach our customers on a local level,” said Ms. De Guzman. — Brontë H. Lacsamana