When stars descend upon Mati

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

THIS used to be a sleepy place, indie filmmaker and real estate marketing man Albert Egot describes his hometown Mati City.

But this small city facing the Pacific is slowly being reinvigorated by the influx of steady development; businesses fueled by increasing commerce and its growing tourism industry.

And one of the city's new generation of entrepreneurs is taking steps to make the city more lively and exciting- this by getting showbiz celebrities to visit Mati.


"We want our suki (loyal customers) to experience their idols in flesh not just on TV. We want to make them happy. It's indeed very fulfilling to see them smile, laugh, get kilig every time their favourite artists serenades them on stage," says Lyn Pang marketing head of the family-owned ER Superstore.

Founded in 1984 by Lyn's parents Edmundo and Rosemarie as a small mini-mart, ER Superstore is now one of the biggest retail centers in Mati City.

In 2009, Lyn decided that instead of Matinians looking at actual stars in the sky to while their time away, she would have to get showbiz stars to descend upon their city.

Star-in-a-million singing stars Rachelle Ann Go, Erik Santos and Christian Bautista serenaded Matinians then during the opening of the City's first mall in 2011, the Pang-owned ER Supermall Lyn got Sam Concepcion, Gloc-9, Calla Lily, Aiza Seguerra among a bevy of celebrities.

And during the mall's first anniversary she got matinee idol Paulo Avelino, Melissa Ricks and Jaycee Parker.

By the following years popular stars such as Kathryn Bernardo, Kristine Reyes, Enrique Gil, Jake Cuenca, Maui Taylor, Regine Angeles, Christian Slater for their mall shows.

"We chose them according to the Matinians' taste of artists. We make sure that we balance them such to their market in terms of their Fans." Lyn Pang explains as to how she chooses the stars.

Current favorite are ABS-CBN stars as the TV network's shows are the current staple of the residents' television sets. She also gets sexy stars such as Maui, JC Parker and Aubrey Miles for the male audience and young heartthrobs like Enrique Gil and Khalil Ramos for female teenagers.

I was recently in Mati (March 8) together with Albert and a troupe of Davao City's stand-up comedians led by Vice Ganda impersonator Danielle Diva, comedian-singer ER and Beyonce-spoofer “Brayance”.

The three stand-up comedians who also starred in Egot's campy comedy film "Ang Wig ni Happiness" were hosting a show celebrating ER Superstore's 30th year anniversary.

For that particular event Lyn got JessyMendiola, a rising television actress who recently starred in the teleserye remake of Thalia's Maria Mercedes, In the company of Jessy were teen heartthrob Khalil Ramos and sexy star Aubrey Miles.

For Lyn, getting the celebrities is also a way of promoting the town. She usually takes them to the fabled Dahican Beach currently the city's main tourism attraction. Usually the stars are billeted at Kanakbai, one of the premiere accommodations in Dahican.

If the visitors will have the time Lyn says she would bring them Dahican and the other islands such as Pujada and Waniban.

Mati's Pacific scenic coastline boasts of long stretches of white sand beaches, it has also become a popular spot for surfing and skimboarding and has largely contributed to the growth of tourism in the region.

As for memorable visitors Lyn says she can't forget Kathryn Bernardo.

"Despite her popularity she maintains her feet on the ground, very humble, friendly and accommodating as well as to her mom, Tita Min she also put us on national trending in Twitter for the first time because of her fans."

Lyn says she is planning to get Daniel Padilla due to very popular demand from Matinians.

"We have received an overflowing of requests from our customers and as much as we wanted to bring him here his schedule is always booked." Lyn explains why Daniel has to set foot in Mati. She says hopefully this year they could see the national teen idol setting foot in the city.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 17, 2014.


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