Bloggers Join in Welcoming U.S. Cultural Affairs Officers

Ever since Pres. Barack Obama was ushered into the highest position of the land in the United States on the back of a campaign built with the help of the internet and new media, the landscape of government has never been the same. The ease of Pres. Obama with tech, new media (bloggers), the web, and social networking sites is showing in the way the U.S. embassies around the world are slowly becoming open to bloggers being included in their events.

Right here in the Philippines, I am witnessing a new openness, a willingness by the U.S. Embassy to engage the citizens of the country they are living in and reach out to the ordinary man in the persons of bloggers. To me this is a delightful FIRST. After all, we bloggers do not hold any outstanding achievement in any political, cultural, academic or artistic arena. We are not part of large media organizations that are normally invited to cover embassy events. All we own is that piece of real estate in the blogosphere we can rightfully call ours where we exercise our right to freedom of speech and thought, where we express our opinions and dreams, and very rarely, rant.

Firstly, my wedding godchild (inaanak sa kasal), Jay de Jesus, became the first ever to join the U.S. Embassy in Manila as their Emerging Media Specialist for Public Affairs. That title is loaded!!! Jay is basically the point person for the embassy’s social network sites (SNS), really raising the bar of SNS as  a major communication and feedback tool.

The very first invitation I received as a blogger from the U.S. Embassy was for a reception dinner at the USS Blue Ridge (the flagship of the US Seventh Fleet) when it docked in Manila for a visit.

Last Friday, bloggers got a second invitation. This time, it was a reception for the U.S. Cultural Affairs Attache, Alan R. Holst, and the Assistant Cultural Affairs Attache, Joseph Tordella.

The cozy dinner, hosted at the home of Counselor for Public Affairs, Richard W. Nelson, was meant to introduce the two to Manila’s cultural circuit. Present were people representing their own spheres of influence in the arts, music, literature, sports, theater, education and so on. The Cultural Affairs spearheads, sponsors, and is involved in several projects in these fields. Professional visits and exchange programs between the Philippines and the United States are handled by these officers.

More

Advertisements

Krispy Kreme brings on a Chocolate Karnival

When I brought 3 of my blogger kids to Bonifacio High Street’s Krispy Kreme (KK) to attend the launch of their chocolate doughnut line, I thought we would just go there, listen to an introductory speech, be treated to samples of the doughnut and that’s it!

What greeted our eyes when we came down from the car was this — a full carnival at KK complete with clowns on stilts and bikes, carnival music playing, lots of games for the kids inside, and free-flowing doughnuts and beverages. They even had a Leaning Tower of Pisa Chocolate made of KK boxes!

Krispy Kreme in carnival mode

Brewed coffee served at your table on demand (woot!)

Brewed coffee served at your table on demand (woot!)

My kids had fun playing the games like Doughnut Ring Toss, Stack It, Speed Stacker and Pachinko. M2 met this 11-year old speed stacker who truly amazed us with his stacking abilities. Mind you, he stacks cups 3 levels high in seconds!

     img_6025-lowres

Pachinko

View of the Doughnut Ring Toss and Stack It games

The Leaning Tower of Chocolate

Another view of the Leaning Tower of Chocolate

My mommy blogger friends came with their young kids. It was my first time to see most of the kids whose names I was already familiar with via our online communications so it was a thrill to meet them. My own kids seemed so grown-up beside all these young ones!

with Julie, Chats, Noemi, Cookie & kids

with Julie, Chats, Noemi, Cookie & kids

With Lynn, Feng, Chats, Julie & kids

With Lynn, Feng, Chats, Julie & kids

 Lunch was served to us all – pasta, sandwiches, chips & dip. Afterwards, there was a magic show inside (but there were so many people already that I dared not try to squeeze my way in.

The assembly line of Krispy Kreme was covered with a brown curtain. Wow, that made the unveiling of their new chocolate line even more exciting. I got a good view of it as I was standing right at the entrance to the production area. When Az was allowed into the area, I instinctively followed him, as did Noemi. Only the 3 of us bloggers got INSIDE! But…we were required to wear the KK hats for good measure.

From our vantage point, we were able to see the glazed doughnuts roll down the conveyor belt. The chocolate syrup was flowing and everyone hooted and clapped as the first line of doughnuts went through the chocolate “waterfall”, coming out on the other side with dripping chocolate syrup. Yummmmmy!

This picture, courtesy of Noemi, shows me eating the chocolate glazed doughnut fresh from the production line.

Taken by my friend, Noemi

Here is a short video of that moment. I got to interview Az as he took his first bite of the chocolate delight.

My kids and I had a blast that afternoon. Never mind the summer heat. The fun, carnival mood made us forget the humidity. And the company was just purrrrfect…

On your next visit to Krispy Kreme, do try all their chocolate varieties. 

KK Poster Choco Karnival

KK Chocolate Products

Glaze your friends too! Visit http://www.chocolatekarnival.com.

kreativ_blogger_award_copy.jpg