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Happy Birthday, Summit Media! You’re 25 Years Old!

Over the years, Summit became the leading lifestyle publisher in the Philippines.
ART Warren Espejo
Twenty five years ago this month, in June 1995, a new glossy magazine made its debut on the newsstands of Manila, standing out among the newsprint publications of that time.
Its name, in bright, bold red: Preview.
At the time, the Philippine market was opening up to more fashion brands, both local and international, and newspaper journalist Lisa Gokongwei knew these new brands would need a medium in which to advertise.
A magazine junkie all her life, Gokongwei, who had recently moved home from the publishing capital of New York, knew exactly which medium would work.
“Every southeast Asian country already had a flourishing magazine industry, and I thought it would be fun to have one of our own. Besides, there was a rationale for business. We didn’t need much. All we needed was a backroom, three old Macintoshes, and some really good editors,” she says.
With an investment of one million pesos from her father, businessman John Gokongwei, Jr., Lisa Gokongwei entered the new frontier of glossy magazine publishing with Preview, the first title of the new Summit Media Group. Lisa Gokongwei, then 26 years old, was President.
Two years later, Hearst magazines came knocking, looking for a Philippine partner to publish the local edition of its blockbuster Cosmopolitan. Impressed by the locally published Preview, Hearst signed a partnership with Summit Media.
“That deal changed the landscape of the magazine publishing industry forever,” says the Summit founder, now Lisa Gokongwei Cheng. “Cosmo Philippines had to meet the same international quality standards as Hearst partners all over the world.”
The bar was set, and met, with flying colors.
In 1999, as more and more people were introduced to the internet, Summit Media went digital with its very first online title, Female Network, a community for self-made women.
Over the years, Summit became the leading lifestyle publisher in the Philippines. It launched a slew of local magazines including Yes!, Hi!, Rush, Candy, Yummy, Smart Parenting, Real Living, and Sparkling. It also worked with international partners on titles including FHM, Good Housekeeping, Seventeen, Marie Claire, Top Gear, Prevention, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Runner’s World, Entrepreneur, Games Master, T3, Total Girl, K-Zone, Disney Princess, W.I.T.C.H., Monster Allergy, Martha Stewart Weddings, Town&Country, Esquire, Elle Decoration, and Forbes. One by one, digital counterparts were created for Summit’s most popular brands, and digital-first brands pep.ph, spot.ph, stylebible.ph, and spin.ph hit the ground running.
Summit Media went into books, many of which became bestsellers, and outdoor media, which uses prime real estate for advertising. Today, those two groups are two of Summit’s strongest pillars.
In April 2018, Summit Media announced its full digital transformation and bid a bittersweet farewell to its print editions.
“It’s all about content. We are still dedicated to delivering great content to our readers, it’s just being consumed in a different way. Ninety percent of our readers now read on their phones, and we know exactly what they want to read because we have data to back it up,” says Gokongwei Cheng. “It’s all about data. We are reaching bigger, wider audiences than ever before.”
“Summit Media is all about innovation. It’s part of Summit’s DNA to innovate,” says Gokongwei Cheng. “We were the first to bring in foreign titles, the first to produce a stable of magazines. We were the first to make money on circulation, and now the first to close all our print titles and make
the complete transformation to digital.”
As Summit Media continues to make waves in the digital world with over 31 million unique users on its websites and 32 million followers on its social media platforms, Gokongwei Cheng brought in Chief Executive Adviser Ashish Thomas, a seasoned veteran in data, artificial intelligence, digital advertising and monetization, and an alumnus of Google, Microsoft, InMobi, and SingTel, among others.
“What made me decide to come on board was the leadership and thinking that Lisa has established with some of the bold steps taken in a timely matter to shut down print, and then, not just stopping at that, but pushing through with the imperative of the need for constant evolution in the space by embracing technology,” says Thomas. “Additionally, the collective horsepower within the organization and its people who constantly want to learn and grow.”
Summit Media has continued to operate non-stop through the COVID-19 pandemic, and in the era of disinformation and restricted movement, launched a news brand, reportr.world.
“The pandemic hit hard, and our team responded on Day Two, with every member of the company doubling down and accelerating and introducing new concepts that would be meaningful for our customers and consumers. We were able to move forward with both revenue and our userbase,” says Thomas.
“Summit’s future is brighter than before because our people have demonstrated great resilience in the face of adversity. The pandemic has made the organization stronger and more agile. The future of media is bright for those who embrace change with a consumer-first mindset.”
“We are where we are because of everyone we have worked with over the last 25 years,” says Gokongwei Cheng. “Thanks to Summiteers, past and present, and so many freelance creative talents—writers, editors, book authors photographers, stylists, hair and makeup artists. We also thank our advertisers who have supported us all these years. And most of all, we thank our audiences who consistently read what we create. You are the reason we continue to do what we do. And we are grateful.”
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About the author
Yvette Fernandez
Deputy Editorial Director, Summit Media
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Today, I am sharing my mother's story. I wish my mother was a constant in my life, like an angel who guards you to sleep and comes right there when you called. But angels come back home too, in heaven where they always belonged, and my mother went back a little early. My mother died when I was 13 years old. My last memory of my mother: Letting go when you are not yet ready is a very cruel thing that one has to ever experience. It is a sudden wave of total sadness and desperation crashing into your very core.

On the 28th of July 2013, we went to a resort in Bataan for the employees’ getaway. My parents own a 7-11 franchise, and it had always been a tradition to give their store clerks a get-together every year. I remember very well the last breakfast I had with my mother. The Sunday morning sky was clear and sunny, and the sea was calm and tranquil as we ate our breakfast on a cottage under the tall palm trees. She shared with us a strange dream she had the other night. She dreamt about an unknown woman holding an ice pick chasing her down on a dimly lit street, then she woke up just before the woman could grab her arm. We never knew what that dream exactly meant and now, I wished I never knew its meaning. After breakfast, my family and our employees decided to take a swim at the beach. The day was nice. The morning air may be chilly but the sun’s kiss on our skins gave us warmth. It was perfect. Everything is fine and the tides are low which made it very enjoyable to swim. We swam a little farther from the shore and we stopped to the point where the water reached our shoulders. We were talking about the good things in life and reminiscing the good old days. Those are the things that I’ve always loved about my family because I never had a meaningless conversation with them.

A few moments later, we heard a panicking call for help from one of our store clerks. It was Rachel. She was struggling to keep her head above water. She was already drowning but the odd thing was, she was only a few feet away from us. At first, we thought she was just playing around until we felt the sand in our toes dissolving like powder. It felt like as if the seafloor submerged deeper. I remembered sighting the shore and it seemed so close yet very far away. We were all panicking at that time. No one knew how to swim except my mother so without having second thoughts she swam towards Rachel and called out to my father, “Yung mga anak mo! Dalhin mo sa pampang yung mga anak mo!” and I never thought I already heard my mother’s last words to my father. I was paddling like a dog, gasping for air, as I say a little prayer to God to take us all back to safety. I felt my father grabbing our swimsuits, trying to lift our bodies so we can breathe even though he was also struggling to keep himself alive. Once I felt my toes touch the ground, there came a veil of relief that covered my whole body. As soon as my father and my sister made it to the shore we started calling out for help. There were no lifeguards on duty at that time, no personnel, nor guards. I saw my mother already floating in her stomach. We sighted a boat sailing nearby, we waved our hands and called for their attention. They almost ignored us because they cannot comprehend what we were trying to relay but the good thing was a passenger in the boat noticed my mother and Rachel in the water.

My mother’s body was laid on the shore. She was unconscious and her whole body was pale as white. My father performed CPR but my mother couldn’t get the water come out of her mouth because the food she ate earlier got stuck in her throat and blocked the passage. A concerned tourist offered his car to deliver my mom in a nearby health center or a clinic of some sort since the hospital was miles away from the beach and she needs immediate care. My father told us to stay in the hotel room and prepare mom’s belongings so that if she wakes up she has fresh clothes to change into. My sister and I finished packing our things and waited for our father to pick us up from the hotel. I was crying and I couldn’t stop myself because I was afraid to lose my mother. I couldn’t imagine what my life would be if I lose her that day. Moments lasted until we heard a knock on the door and it was my father, crying, and apologizing to us. He hugged me and my sister tightly and saying, “Sorry, anak, sorry hindi na uuwi si mommy, sorry hindi ko nasagip si mommy”. And that was the moment I felt sinking into the ground. I never knew what to feel at first. I was numb because my worries were now actually a reality that I have to live in. I was at shock because I am now one of the kids in those cliche teleseryes who lost a mother at an early age. We went to the health center to settle everything. The clinic was very small and it sure did lack equipment. He told us to stay in the car. I wanted to see my mom, but I know he never wanted us to see her like that. I didn’t know what to feel. I was having high anxiety levels that my stomach is churning and I wanted to vomit. I got off the car and entered the health center to find the restroom. When I was finding my way around, I passed by the emergency room. I saw my mother lying in a foldable bed, lifeless, her hands dangling from the side of the bed, she has violet bruises on her skin, and her body was partially covered with a white towel.

That is when it sunk into me that she’s dead and never coming back. My father asked the others to just commute back to Manila because what we need right now is comfort from our family. The drive back home was one of the most painful memory I had as a kid. My father was in the steering wheel crying his eyes out. We drove from Bataan to Pampanga. We went home to my grandmother’s house, the nearest house that we can call “home” because how are we still going to be “home” without her?

Once we reached Pampanga, we stopped over to the gas station and my father made some calls to our loved ones to tell them that my mother passed away. He then called my aunt to help him arrange for the funeral. We got home and my grandmother hugged us and told us to get some rest. Already tired of crying, I went to sleep for a while. I woke up and for a second, I thought everything that happened the other day was all just a dream. That she was there in Manila, sitting on the couch reading some furniture magazine, waiting for us to go home. But that’s how cruel life is, right? I got up and weirdly, I felt sands in the bed. It was gray, just like the ones on the beach. I thought maybe it was just dirt but it was a fair amount to believe that maybe she visited us before she left. - ?

- The part of how I conquered the grief of her passing is shared in my personal blog. I felt the need to share my story with everyone since she's the woman I look up to. Feel free to visit my personal blog too when you have the time. I love writing my stories. Thank You! link: http://qkathreece.wixsite.com/kathreecequizon/post/breaking-waves

Ry Fabella Just now

Hello! Sharing my first story in Wattpad!

TITLE: Whisper to the Stars AUTHOR: https://www.wattpad.com/user/withniji

GENRE: Teen Fiction/Romance STORY LINK: https://my.w.tt/Y3HeLPe9K7

Description: Ingrid Gianna "Gigi", a breadwinner of her family, has kept her feelings hidden for Hayme, her long time high school crush, because she has too much responsibilities in life; believing that she has no time for love. But, no matter how hard she tries to suppressed it for years, fate always finds its way....like it was already written in the stars.

COLLEGE SURVIVAL TIPS: IS BEING ALONE MEANS WEAKNESS OR STRENGTH, OR ELSE, MAYBE IT'S JUST YOUR OWN WAY TO SURVIVE.

College is a Matter of Survival. It is more on trusting and relying on YOURSELF, alone. College is not a race, it's like a journey, a journey of hardships, circumstances, and challenges that, to some extent, will push you to give up, so you must set your goals and take risks. College is far from being a junior or senior high school, so there's no more room for easy-going attitudes.

It is better to suffer now than to regret your actions in the future. I've learned these things and continue doing it right now. College made me realize that you'll meet temporary people in your life, some of them stay, but others not, they vanish, and soon you become strangers to them. It's okay to make friends, but you must know how to set your limitations with them. Also, don't forget to think wisely, there are some whose only seasonal friends. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that you accompanied each other, and still, you have yourself. Being alone doesn't mean you avoid people coming into your life, it's just that, you know how to distance yourself from people you don't feel to get along with, and that's OKAY. The thing about college is, you'll meet different types of people who will help you to open up your mind to be more matured enough to the point that you will become more understanding rather than start an argument. There's nothing to be afraid of being alone, you just need to accept the facts and consequences.

Little by little, you will witness yourself develop from how much you've grown, and be grateful for that because you overcome those situations that trigger you to give up. I share these things with you that may be applicable to your upcoming college life and leaving this message to you. 'Don't hesitate to take risks to success, it will be paid off someday. Let God help you and do your very best.' #CollegeSurvival

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