Lessons from a conversation with best-selling author Mitch Albom

Perhaps my best assignment ever as a writer has been getting to meet and chat with one of the world’s most beloved authors, Mitch Albom. Unknown to many, Albom was a musician and an award-winning sports journalist before he captured hearts and minds all over the world with the #1 New York Times bestseller, Tuesdays with Morrie.

After having published his latest novel, The First Phone Call from Heaven, Albom took the opportunity to visit the Philippines not only to promote his book, but also–and more importantly–to help rebuild libraries in the towns most heavily hit by supertyphoon Haiyan (local name: Yolanda).

For this series of articles on Rappler.com, Mr. Albom and I talked about his library-rebuilding and charity efforts; his thoughts on success, fame; and happiness; and his candid thoughts on death, hope, and making every minute count in this life.

MEETING MITCH ALBOM IN MANILA: Niña Terol-Zialcita with best-selling author Mitch Albom & freelance photographer Toni Alvarez
MEETING MITCH ALBOM IN MANILA: Niña Terol-Zialcita with best-selling author Mitch Albom & freelance photographer Toni Alvarez | Photo courtesy of JB Roperos of National Bookstore, Philippines

I’ll be sharing some quotable quotes here, but please feel free to read and share the original features. (And please remember to vote on Rappler’s Mood Meter! :))

Part 1: Here to help: Why Mitch Albom decided to visit PH

"DONATION. The author aims to bring back reading materials in the typhoon ravaged area so children can enjoy books once more." | Photos courtesy of Toni Alvarez and National Bookstore, posted on Rappler.com | Click on the image to view the original post
“DONATION. The author aims to bring back reading materials in the typhoon ravaged area so children can enjoy books once more.” | Photos courtesy of Toni Alvarez and National Bookstore, posted on Rappler.com | Click on the image to view the original post

“Not only do I want to call attention to these efforts to rebuild these libraries… I’ve [also] called upon my fellow authors in America to donate 10 books apiece of their own books.”

In just one day, he got pledges from “a good 10 to 12” authors, including Stephen King (The Shining), Amy Tan (The Joy Luck Club), Scott Turow (Presumed Innocent), James McBride (The Good Lord Bird), and Ridley Pearson (The Kingdom Keepers series).

“I’m also going to go after (John) Grisham, James Patterson…I’m not going to stop until I get them to say yes. I’m pretty sure they will. So I want to be able to go there on Monday and say that… all of these American authors want to show their support for getting back to regular life, which for us is being able to go and take a book from the library.”

Read the full post HERE.

Here’s another quotable quote from this piece that I love:

A quotable quote by Mitch Albom, shared with Niña Terol-Zialcita (@ninaterol) | Designed on Canva.com
A quotable quote by Mitch Albom, shared with Niña Terol-Zialcita (@ninaterol) | Designed on Canva.com

Part 2: Finding meaning in work, life; 5 lessons to learn from Mitch Albom

"REMARKABLE. Mitch Albom would not 'cheapen' Morrie by writing a sequel. Instead, he explored his own skill set and listened to his instincts – just like Morrie taught him. Photo by Toni Alvarez" | Posted on Rappler.com | Click on the image to view the original post
“REMARKABLE. Mitch Albom would not ‘cheapen’ Morrie by writing a sequel. Instead, he explored his own skill set and listened to his instincts – just like Morrie taught him. Photo by Toni Alvarez” | Posted on Rappler.com | Click on the image to view the original post

A lot of quotable quotes from this article! Watch Mr. Albom share his thoughts on failure, success, fame, and happiness in his own voice 🙂

Here’s another quote that I love from this second piece:

A quotable quote on success by Mitch Albom, share with Niña Terol-Zialcita (@ninaterol) | Created with Canva.com
A quotable quote on success by Mitch Albom, share with Niña Terol-Zialcita (@ninaterol) | Created with Canva.com

Read the full post HERE.

Part 3: Mitch Albom: Thoughts on death, making every minute count

"MITCH ALBOM. 'I’m not ready for it; I don’t think anybody’s ready for it… Nobody knows until they face it,' he says, about death and dying. Photo by Toni Alvarez | Posted on Rappler.com | Click on the image to view the original post
“MITCH ALBOM. ‘I’m not ready for it; I don’t think anybody’s ready for it… Nobody knows until they face it,’ he says, about death and dying. Photo by Toni Alvarez | Posted on Rappler.com | Click on the image to view the original post

For this piece, Mr. Albom shared some candid thoughts on death and “leaving too soon”, but he also spoke of despair and hope. Watch this video for more insights:

Here’s another great quotable quote:

A quotable quote on death and making life count by Mitch Albom, shared with Niña Terol-Zialcita (@ninaterol) | Created with Canva.com
A quotable quote on death and making life count by Mitch Albom, shared with Niña Terol-Zialcita (@ninaterol) | Created with Canva.com

Read the full post HERE.

Liked what you saw and watched here? 🙂 Feel free to share it with those who need a little picker-upper in their days. 🙂

P.S. To learn more about Mitch Albom’s charity work in the Philippines, read his latest website post, or visit A Hole in the Roof Foundation.

Amanpulo, Visayas Islands among the best of Conde Nast (Rappler.com)

(First published on November 4, 2013) in Rappler.com)

AMANPULO. Paradise in the Sulu Sea. Screen shot from http://www.amanresorts.com/
AMANPULO. Paradise in the Sulu Sea. Screen shot from http://www.amanresorts.com/

[See the original image here]

MANILA, Philippines – Amanpulo, the ultra-exclusive resort located in Pamalican Island in the Sulu Sea, has once again made it to Condé Nast Traveller’s list of Top 100 resorts, hotels and spas in the Readers’ Travel Awards 2013.

The resort was cited among the Top 20 in the Asia & India category, with a numeric rating of 77.88 over 100.

Amanpulo is the only Philippine resort to make it to this year’s Top 100.

According to Condé Nast Traveller, “[Readers] were asked to rate [their] choices according to various criteria, such as service, culture and value for money. From [the] responses, we calculated the average mark on each criterion, and used this to provide the overall satisfaction percentage figure…”

Condé Nast Traveller is one of the world’s leading travel publications, known for its independence and integrity in reviewing travel and hospitality establishments. The poll for the 2013 Readers’ Travel Awards was participated in by 80,000 jetsetters, who cumulatively cast over 1.3 million votes.

This is an excerpt only. Read the full post on Rappler.com.

Diniwid beach: The quiet side of Boracay (Rappler.com)

(First published on November 3, 2013 in Rappler.com)

DINIWID PARADISE. Heaven's painting. All photos by Niña Terol-Zialcita
DINIWID PARADISE. Heaven’s painting. All photos by Niña Terol-Zialcita

I kicked off my flip-flops and dug my feet into the cool, soft sand. It was the first sunny morning in a week of stormy skies and sudden rainshowers, and I wanted to make the most of it. I sipped the warm, sweet taho that I bought from a roving vendor, then I settled my glass snugly into the sand before finding my own sweet spot.

SWEET SPOT. Breakfast by the beach
SWEET SPOT. Breakfast by the beach

In front of me, the high tide was carrying strong waves in a sea of teal and blue. From a distance, I could spy a woman running toward the sea with her dog; in another direction, there were two little boys hopping and crawling on the sand. There seemed to be only a handful of people around me—I was in Boracay Island, yes, yet there were no beach-going throngs, no ugly windbreakers blocking the view, no jarring sounds.

SECRET GETAWAY. A handful of people, no jarring noises
SECRET GETAWAY. A handful of people, no jarring noises

This is how it is in Diniwid Beach, White Beach’s quiet, unassuming “little cousin.”

This is an excerpt only. Read the full post in Rappler.com.

In remembrance: 10 Ways Bohol Feeds Your Heart and Soul (Click the City)

The beautiful Philippine province of Bohol was struck this morning, 15 October 2013, by a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that left scores dead and badly damaged a number of government, historical, and tourism structures. One of the most badly hit was Baclayon Church, completed in 1727 and considered one of the oldest churches in the Philippines.

Another popular landmark that was destroyed is the viewing deck of the world-famous Chocolate Hills in Carmen, the epicenter of the Bohol quake. It was heartbreaking to see the state of the viewing deck, and to know that the people of the Philippines–not just the people of Bohol–have lost a number of cultural and historical treasures around the Philippines because of the quake.

As my way of mourning for Bohol’s loss, and to commemorate the enchanting beauty that Bohol so selflessly shared with everyone who entered her doors, I’m sharing here excerpts of my retro travel post on Bohol.

10 Ways Bohol Feeds Your Body and Soul

(Published on January 6, 2012 in ClicktheCity.com)

Cafe Lawis' charming facade, behind the Dauis Church (Bohol, Philippines) | Photo by Niña Terol-Zialcita
Cafe Lawis’ charming facade, behind the Dauis Church (Bohol, Philippines) | Photo by Niña Terol-Zialcita

4. Café Lawis: Perfect for soulful coffee. conversations and romantic sunset strolls. As we wandered into the picturesque, tree-lined street right behind Dauis Church in Panglao, we chanced upon a 19th-century-inspired structure and realized that Café Lawis is one of those not-yet-popular pit stops that reflect the true, quiet charm of Bohol. Serving a curiosity-inducing fusion of European and Filipino flavors (Pork humba Panini or freshly baked Tsokolate eh soufflé cake, anyone?), its interiors show Old World-Filipiniana details as well as a showcase of Dauis life and Boholano handicrafts. The real treat of this destination, though, is its expansive garden that opens up to a breathtaking view of the sea. The garden’s focal point is a large acacia tree whose leaves form a laced canopy, and—since we went there in December—was adorned with rectangular capiz lamps that gave the effect of large fireflies in an enchanted forest. It is best viewed at around sunset, with your loved ones (or at least the memory of them) by your side.

A romantic twilight view at the garden behind Cafe Lawis (Bohol, Philippines) | Photo by Niña Terol-Zialcita
A romantic twilight view at the garden behind Cafe Lawis (Bohol, Philippines) | Photo by Niña Terol-Zialcita
Dauis Church Complex {Bohol, Philippines) | Photo by Niña Terol-Zialcita
Dauis Church Complex {Bohol, Philippines) | Photo by Niña Terol-Zialcita

5. The churches of Bohol: Culturally, historically divine. Bohol’s many churches are not only testaments of the island province’s deep connection with the Christian faith, they are also, in themselves, cultural gems that give us a glimpse of the Philippines’ architectural past. The Baclayon Church, for instance, is considered one of the oldest churches in the Philippines and was completed in 1727. Its main structure was built with coral stones that had been crushed and made into building blocks, while its cuadro paintings were made in 1859 by a famous Filipino painter, Liberato Gatchalian. The Dauis Church, meanwhile, has evolved from light materials such as nipa into its current Gothic-inspired structure, and features a ceiling that has been painted to give the illusion of having three-dimensional coffer designs. The Dauis Church is also home to “Mama Mary’s Well”, a deep well located right below the church’s altar, from which Holy Water may be obtained and bought for a small donation.

A portion of the Baclayon Church which, according to locals, shows a miraculous image of Padre Pio... Do you see it? (Bohol, Philippines) | Photo by Niña Terol-Zialcita
A portion of the Baclayon Church which, according to locals, shows a miraculous image of Padre Pio… Do you see it? (Bohol, Philippines) | Photo by Niña Terol-Zialcita

This is an excerpt only. Read the full post HERE.

For updates and details on how to help the earthquake victims, follow the hashtag #earthquakePH on Twitter.

In the News: Top 5 Take-Home Tidbits from the Lonely Planet No More Seminar (Fully Booked)

Almost a month ago (and fresh after the grueling campaign!), I and my “writing sisters” from Writer’s Block Philippines joined Lonely Planet guidebook author Greg Bloom in giving a travel writing seminar to guests of Fully Booked Bonifacio High Street . It was great fun sharing our insights from two of the things we love most–writing and traveling–and to be joined by no less than an authority in the field.

Here, I’ll share an excerpt of what Fully Booked published in its blog, but for more meaty stuff, read the original post in the Fully Booked website.

Now that summer’s officially over, wouldn’t it be great to relive your travel adventures by writing about them? 😉

~ N

P.S. For an interesting look at what Greg Bloom thinks of Manila, read this post in ClicktheCity.com. 🙂

Top 5 Take-Home Tidbits from the Lonely Planet No More Seminar

Originally published in the official blog of Fully Booked

Fully Booked - Lonely Planet No More travel writing seminar - Niña Terol-Zialcita, Nikka Sarthou-Lainez, and Ana Santos of Writer's Block Philippines; Lonely Planet author Greg Bloom; Regina Cruz and Aimee Diego of Fully Booked
Fully Booked – Lonely Planet No More travel writing seminar – Niña Terol-Zialcita, Nikka Sarthou-Lainez, and Ana Santos of Writer’s Block Philippines; Lonely Planet author Greg Bloom; Regina Cruz and Aimee Diego of Fully Booked

Last weekend, Lonely Planet visiting author Greg Bloom was joined by Writers Block Philippines’ Nina Terol-Zialcita, Nikka Sarthou and Ana P. Santos to give nice, long, comprehensive seminar about travel writing.

Each speaker tackled a specific topic in travel writing—getting published, guidebook writing, feature articles, ethics. They also entertained questions from the audience of almost a hundred people, gathered at our Fort branch atrium space. While the seminar gave a great picture of the travel writing industry, how to do it as a job, and how to get started, here are five important take-aways from the workshop that are essential to anyone who would like to get into it!

1. Tell a story

“Each place has a story and your job is to find out what that story is,” Nina Terol-Zialcita mentioned. A travel article is more than a narration of what you did from the start to the end of your trip. Learn to focus on a certain part of the experience: the cuisine, the sights, the people, a realization and the events that led you to it, or anything else that struck you.

2. “Always try to get people into your articles.” — Greg Bloom

“That’s where the stories are,” Greg said.

“Imagine your destination as a person you want to get to know,” shared Ana P. Santos of Writers Block. How would you describe the person to others? Get talking to the people from that place and find out about the spirit behind it. Include dialogue in your article as well, as it shows the interaction and specific experiences that helped you build your story.

3. “Don’t underestimate the seductive power of a decent vocabulary.” — Ana P. Santos

The basics should never be taken for granted: well-written prose, grammar, a good introduction and a tight conclusion. What is heat vs. what is humidity? Know the nuances and words in order to provide a clear picture to your readers.

4. Know the market.

Research about the travel writing scene. What publications are you pitching to? What is the specific tone of that publication and how can your story fit into it? What are the trends in travel, and what would people want to read about? Where is the demand in travel writing? Is it in feature articles? Guidebook writing? This can also be a source of income when done well and done properly. The topics you write about should also be marketable to a publication and its audience.

5. Your primary responsibility is to the reader.

A part of the seminar was also dedicated to the ethics that govern one’s travel writing piece. While we want our readers to understand why we fell in love with a place, we also don’t want to be accused of ‘gushing’ over a city. Try to keep a certain sense of objectivity as well. While the article is written in the first person, the essence of it should still be about the place, and not about you.

This is an excerpt only. To read the full post, click HERE.

 

 

What can the 2013 elections teach your company or brand?

We’ve all seen how social media in the Philippines exploded with posts, tweets, and other memes pertaining to the 2013 mid-term elections. We used social media to learn about some candidates, poke fun at others, and even report election-related offenses. The social media scene was vibrant, albeit cacophonic; and, you have to admit, many of us couldn’t help but engage in the online conversations.

Now that election fever has died down, how do we process all that hullabaloo and apply its lessons to our own corporate and brand experience?

As someone who has helped build the online brands of two political figures, I’ll be sharing with you insights on translating political social media communications onto your corporate and brand communications. We’ll be going through some highlights of the senatorial campaign of Senator-elect Bam Aquino, the “Facebook candidate” of this election and the youngest senator-elect of the 16th Congress, and some lessons learned from managing the online brand of outgoing Senator Kiko Pangilinanwho was named the third most influential netizen in politics (next to President Noynoy Aquino and USEC. Manolo Quezon) by YES! Magazine.

Join me for a jam-packed session on Thursday, June 19, 1:30 to 7:00PM at the Asian Institute of Management in Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines.

CDM Bootcamp - Social Media Marketing - Lessons learned from the 2013 elections (with Niña Terol-Zialcita)

I’ll be joined by Ros Juan, a fellow social media maven and brand builder, who is also behind the social media movements Tweetup Manila and RescuePH. We’ll be tackling such topics as:

  • Determining your social media voice and creating a content strategy around it
  • Using social media to market individuals as brands
  • Social media policies for a political office
  • How to get your CEO on-board social media (i.e., social media tips for CEOs, top executives)
  • (And many more!)

We’ll also have hands-on exercises to get you started.

To learn more and register for this course, click HERE.

Special thanks goes out to Hans Roxas-Chua of e-Learning Edge and the Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines (IMMAP) for giving me this great opportunity to speak!

I look forward to seeing you all on Thursday!

Niña

 

 

 

 

Niña Terol-Zialcita

P.S. To view some other talks I’ve held about social media, please click on the videos in the right sidebar. 🙂