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Siargao resort sparks debate on ‘self-proclaimed influencers,’ Bianca Gonzalez, Bela Padilla, other celebs and Netizens weigh in on the issue

  • Siargao beach resort sparked debate on “influence culture” online.
  • Netizens and celebrities alike weighed in on the issue.
  • One camp argues that the resort should not shame the influencers but teach them through a respectful rejection instead, while the other camp argues that influencers should not be so entitled

With the advent of social media, marketing trends and techniques have shifted to “influencers” where known brands use those with relevant interests and a large Internet-following as the new face of their advertisements as oppose to the usual route of famous celebrities.

As always, when change is introduced, problems are bound to arise. One such thing was brought to the public’s attention was when a Siargao beach resort posted a status asking for assistance with regard to “self-proclaimed influencers” messaging them with offers to collaborate.

White Banana Beach Club Siargao wrote on their Facebook page on Tuesday, March 26: “Help out there. We are receiving many messages regarding collaborations with influencers, Instagram influencers. We kindly would like to announce that White Banana is not interested to ‘collaborate’ with self-proclaimed ‘influencers’.

“And we would like to suggest to try another way to eat, drink, or sleep for free. Or try to actually work.”

The now viral-post had several Netizens raising their brows.

Facebook user Jovelyn Mateo replied with, “If these people formally sent you a message, I think they deserve a formal rejection as well. Not like this. I do blog. I have a full time job, and I work hard to be able to travel so I can have content. I recently tried pitching to resorts and hotels, because why not, right? There’s no harm in trying naman, and if you know that you have something to offer on the table it’s never a bad thing to try. That’s all. Thanks for coming to my ted talk. Chos”.

Another Netizen commented, sharing her personal journey as a blogger and calmly asked the resort to enlighten these “influencers” instead of calling them names.

“Now, I know this post is not referring to legit influencers or professional bloggers. But if some people here say that real influencers don’t need to ask, then yes, I’m sort of offended as most marketing/pr agencies categorize me as an influencer. Please, we don’t have to be rude here. 😞 I am not against this post or anyone, but I wish we don’t call people names. If they are an aspiring influencer, I hope we don’t kill their dreams and discourage them because of your words. Instead, let this serve as a lesson for them. And if you could, enlighten them on how to do this right. #nohate #justlove,” wrote Geng Maderazo.

In an article by Daily Bruin published just this January, they explained that: “Influencer marketing is a technique that orients marketing methods and activities around influential people rather than the target market as a whole on social media. Modern-day marketing has been turning toward regular content creators with niche audiences to lead the endorsement of brands.”

Before, celebrity ambassadorships were the original method of influencer marketing up until the marketing trends have turned.

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Fresh buko time xD #province #siargao

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In another post, the resort has since then clarified the issue that they are not against influencers, only ‘freeloaders’.

“Good day everyone. Our post went viral.  But we want to clarify that we are not against INFLUENCERS. Just against freeloaders. A REAL influencer is called as such by the rest, he does not address him/herself as an influencer. They are bloggers. We have actually collaborated with a few of them, in different terms and conditions, and we support them. There are real influencers, that in case we will contact them and pay or offer something. But look, they’ve never contacted us, as they don’t need us. We need them.”

Meanwhile, local content creator Lance de Ocampo’s reaction on White Banana Beach Club’s post drew flak online.

“Being in the industry for [eight] years, I’ve learned that there’s always a better way to decline a collaboration. Email to email, private message to private message. No need to throw shade,” de Ocampo posted on his IG Stories.

“Siargao will not be as appreciated as it is now if not [for] the so-called influencers’ breathtaking and well-curated Instagram photos,” he added.

One Netizen on Twitter pointed out how entitled Lance de Ocampo’s statement sounded:

Another Twitter user was furious, exclaiming “Potacccaa, SIARGAO doesn’t need influencers, its scenic beauty and irresistible charm can stand on its own! Also, a real influencer is called as such by the rest, he/she does not address him/herself as an influencer.”


“It’s soooo sad that you felt the need to take credit for a place so beautiful to begin with and would be perfectly fine with or without you. Tsk tsk. Btw, we all started going to Siargao three years ago NOT because of your posts ✌🏻” wrote actress-writer Bela Padilla on her Twitter account.

Actress-host Bianca Gonzales chimed in with: “The word “influencer” is thrown a lot around these days. All of us, regardless of follower count, have influence with people around us, for sure. But it should never be a license to feel entitled to demand to be given free things.”

“Simple lang.. pag binigyan ka ng free service or free product, magpasalamat. Pero hintayin na sila ang magbigay, ‘wag ikaw ang mag-demand na bigyan ka. Kung gusto mo, bayaran please. Lumugar. #influencer. By the way, this isn’t shade. This is a reminder for all of us who might at times feel entitled to demand because of this new social media “influencer” culture,” Gonzales added.

Jonas Roque, another local blogger, has advice for de Ocampo: “Siargao is appreciated way before the boom of influencers, way before these travel goals, way before the hashtags, and way before overly post-processed curated Instagram posts. Siargao can stand on its own. Words from a fellow influencer, beh.”

“Siargao is famous because of its beauty and the people in it. The locals PERIOD,” tweeted GirlTrends member Chienna Filomeno which received two thousand likes online.

Singer-songwriter Mica Javier was in agreement with Filomeno saying, “Siargao don’t need influencers to be recognized by the world.”

AC Mondragon, on the other hand, poked fun at the issue by tweeting photos of himself with the “Dalagang Pilipina” meme with hashtags that social media influencers are believed to use in their Instagram posts.

De Ocampo later apologized for his “opinion that sparked misinterpretation”.

He wrote on Twitter, “I didn’t message that beach club for any kind of collaboration. To clear things up, I didn’t mean to credit Siargao’s tourism on influencers. I just meant that one factor of Siargao’s growing popularity is because of social media.”

Written by Moneeze Bernardo

Hello! My name is Moneeze Bernardo, typically silent and a good listener. I'm good at being me and at the end of the day nobody is perfect and that's what makes life interesting. Oh! and I so love sunsets.

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