24 November 2009

Subic draws praises for Ad Congress success

Organizers of the 21st Philippine Advertising Congress (PAC) have praised the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and the City of Olongapo for their “crucial support” in the successful staging of the event at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center (SBECC) recently.

Charmaine Canillas, chairperson of the Philippine Advertising Board, which manages the biennial Ad Congress, said that with the assistance from SBMA and Olongapo the event was successfully held even with only a three-week preparation period.

“It was easy to simply duplicate what was done two years ago,” Canillas said, recalling the fact that Subic hosted the 20th PAC in 2007 but again became the host this year after roads leading to Baguio City were damaged in the recent typhoons.

“The SBMA really came out to help, and showed a very high level of professionalism. We expected it, and we knew they would deliver,” she added.

Canillas also said the 21st PAC exceeded the number of delegates expected this year, drawing in more than 3,000 participants, aside from thousands who separately came to Subic to witness the event’s culminating feature — the advertising industry’s Araw Awards.

Canillas said the organizers were looking at less than 3,000 delegates this year, considering that the ad industry is still recovering from the global economic crunch.

The “Ondoy-Pepeng” tragedy, she added, even compounded the scenario, forcing the 21st PAC committee to transfer the venue to Subic Bay with less than a month before the actual staging.

Surprisingly, the outcome exceeded the committee’s expectations, a visibly elated Canillas added.

The Ad Board official also noted the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) significantly helped in keeping a high attendance level in the congress, even as this year’s figure fell short of the record 3,423 delegates that attended the Subic congress in 2007.

“Delegates from Manila can go to Subic for the sessions they want to attend, and come back to their Manila offices right on the same day,” was how she described the ease brought about by the road network leading to this free port.

Aside from this, the 21st PAC committee also found a way to maximize the outdoor space at the SBECC, giving rise to a bigger exhibit area this year.

According to Alvin Trono, one of the 21st PAC committee heads for venue, when it comes to managing convention facilities for their biennial meet, Subic comes close to being an ideal site.

Trono, who helped organize the PAC installments previously held in Cebu, Baguio, and Subic Bay, said they always had an easier time preparing the venue in Subic, compared to other locations.

“In terms of managing the facility, the best so far has always been Subic,” Trono said, pointing out that the Subic convention facility is capable of putting about 3,500 delegates under one roof.

Other factors that give Subic its competitive edge are the abundant spaces available for exhibits, the green environment surrounding the venue, and the support of SBMA personnel, he added.

Trono also suggested that Subic’s drive to become a top convention venue could be boosted if the free port had more five-star hotels that could accommodate high-end customers who attend events like the Ad Congress. (SBMA Corporate Communications)

PHOTO: The Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center, which served as the venue of the 21st Philippine Advertising Congress, is now among the best convention sites in the country today.