Fusion 2023: Making waves together

BALI, INDONESIA – The International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), through its Asia-Pacific (APAC) regional board, is currently holding the Fusion 2023 Conference at the Discovery Kartika Plaza in Bali’s Kuta tourist distict. This is the first face-to-face event of IABC APAC since the pandemic and its theme is “Making Waves Together.”


Highlighting the conference will be the awarding ceremony for the 2023 winners of the Silver Quill Awards of Excellence, including 10 entries from the Philippines. Two of them are coffee table books co-published by Media Wise Communications Inc. titled Honora Medicum: 150 Years of the UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, and Sugar & Smiles: The Negrense Legacy Beyond 2020.


Media Wise Communications CEO Ramoncito Cruz said that in June 2023, these two books also won the global IABC Gold Quill Awards in Toronto, Canada given to outstanding strategic communication programs worldwide. Four other entries of Media Wise were bestowed both the Gold Quill and Silver Quill awards in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2021.


Originally known as a surfer’s paradise due to its legendary surf, the island of Bali remains the top Indonesian travel destination today. Like everywhere, its tourism industry was hit hard by the COVID-19 lockdowns but it has bounced back better than ever. How appropriate that hundreds of communication professionals from the Asia-Pacific region are converging here in Bali to make waves together while their economies are recovering in the post-pandemic era.




Back home in the Philippines, a much-deserved award was bestowed on Dr. Olivia Villaflores Yanson by the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos (UNO-R) in Bacolod City last August 30. The matriarch of the Yanson Group of Companies was conferred the honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Business Management by UNO-R President Rev. Fr. Joel Alve in recognition of her invaluable contributions to the Philippine business sector.


“I will treasure this Ph.D. degree as a testament of my achievements and my legacy to the world,” Yanson said in her acceptance speech during a ceremony attended by her daughter Ginette, son Leo Rey, and their families as well as company executives and employees. She recounted her journey to entrepreneurship that began when she was a nurse with a professional commitment to serve humanity after obtaining her nursing degree from Siliman University in Dumaguete City.


In 1968, she and her husband Ricardo Yanson decided to start a transportation business called Vallacar Transit Inc. (VTI). They initially faced challenges and encountered financial difficulties, but the couple persevered until the business flourished and created jobs in Negros Island. Today, VTI has grown to become the largest public transport company in the Philippines operating 4,800 buses nationwide with more than 18,000 employees.


Being a nurse, Yanson found ways to give back to Negrense communities by sponsoring a group of doctors from the United States who would come to the country and perform surgery on needy children who had cleft lips and palates. “It was a very rewarding mission as I saw the transformation of these once-shy kids who were withdrawn because of their deformity into happy and confident children,” she shared.


The Yanson matriarch has also helped support education by providing buildings and educational resources to schools and colleges, aside from funding the education of underprivileged children. She believes that through education, they will have a bright future and will be able to become better citizens of our country. While the business aspect is a major role for her, the humanity aspect is even bigger since precious human lives are at stake.


With her multiple roles as nurse, businesswoman, mother, grandmother, friend, and relative, she is committed to her life’s work in serving humanity with compassion and caring. Indeed, Dr. Olivia Villaflores Yanson is a woman of strength, dignity, and resilience whose generous heart has provided jobs and numerous opportunities to less fortunate Filipinos as part of her corporate social responsibility.


J. Albert Gamboa is a Life Member of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX) and Vice-Chair of the FINEX Ethics Committee. The opinion expressed herein does not necessarily reflect the views of these institutions and the Manila Bulletin. #FinexPhils  www.finex.org.ph