Lessons from the pioneer of digital marketing in PH: A tribute to Mannix Pabalan

Lessons from the pioneer of digital marketing in PH: A tribute to Mannix Pabalan


Airamae Guerrero

Airamae Guerrero

23 Mar 2020, 13:00 — 6 min read

To many, Mannix Pabalan is known as one of the pioneers of digital marketing and ecommerce in the Philippines, founding AyosDito.ph as its General Manager and launching Lazada in the Philippines in 2012 as Head of Online and Digital Marketing.

But to me, he is more than that; he is a friend, and best of all, a mentor.

When I was confused about what to pursue in life after college, his advice became my solace.

“Try to pursue your course first. If you think it’s not for you, then pursue what you really want.” So I joined the media industry for a short stint and soon began to pursue my passion for telling stories about startups and MSMEs while doing development work on the side.

I couldn’t help but be sentimental when I heard the news of his passing. As a simple tribute to the entrepreneur, friend, leader, and mentor who first believed in my capabilities even before I believe in myself, here are the things I’ve learned from him.


1. Words are powerful; keep encouraging others

I first met him in an event organized by Lazada where he served as one of the speakers. As naïve as I was, I didn’t know who he was back then until I typed his name on Google.

I think I was the youngest attendee during the event. I only asked him for a photo at that time and did not bother to strike a conversation with him. I then decided to tweet him to express my gratitude. To my surprise, he replied to my tweet and said, “Thank you too. Digital passionate young people like you are needed in this industry.”

His reply might have meant little to others, but to me that means something. I was just 19 back then, but with those words, I felt like he believes in me even before I started believing in myself.

Your words are powerful. You might not know the impact you can have on other people. Words can heal, encourage, and can build confidence of other people. If you have the chance to do so, use your words to bring positivity to your family, your colleagues, and employees. You just don’t know how it can uplift someone.


2. Learning never stops

During a few of our coffee sessions, Mannix would share how he saw the potential of the dotcom industry back then. He read different books to understand the industry and exerted all personal effort to learn which then led him to shift career from management consulting to IT and digital.

Because of this, he was able to found AyosDito.ph in 2008. And the rest, as they say, is history.


Words can heal, encourage, and can build confidence of other people.  Use your words to bring positivity to your family, your colleagues, and employees.

3. Remain grounded

If there’s one thing I always admired about Mannix, it’s that he never let me feel that he’s a CEO and I’m just a young one. He was always the epitome of a humble leader. In 2017, when I first wrote a story about his business journey and shared how we met, he expressed his gratitude and commented in jest: “’Salamat Amae. ‘Lang ‘ya ka hehehe.” [Thank you Amae. Shame on you (laugh)]

He didn’t let his title get to his head. In fact, there was a time when someone I met in a networking event messaged him and was seeking his advice. He told me about it and I asked him if it was annoying. He simply answered, “Not at all. You know I can accommodate.”

Also read: 5 easy ways to build your business network on GlobalLinker


4. Never forget to give back

It was just out of leisure when I first hiked Mt. Balagbag in Rizal where I encountered Angel, a 9-year-old girl who looked like a 3-year old girl—she was severely malnourished. During that time, I knew deep down in my heart that I had to do something. I didn’t have any monetary means to help her at that time as I was just a college student back then. So I did what I could do: I wrote a story about her and posted it on my Facebook account, hoping that someone would help me sponsor the kid.

True enough, someone messaged me and promised to help the kid. It was Mannix.

“Hey, let me know how I can help the child,” he messaged me on Messenger.

I barely knew him at that time. We had only met at an event yet he was keen to help the child.

Also read: Live a purposeful life, not just a happy one

As he sponsored my social initiative, we’d meet in a coffee shop to discuss the matter which soon turned into mentoring session. I learned a lot from him, and more than that, I also learned how he supports other children and an orphanage.

“I have not asked anything in return but for them to finish their school and to take care of their parents,” he told me.

Mannix would never know, but whenever someone asks me how I manage to do my social initiatives or development work along with my career, he’d always be part of the narrative.  I’d always say, “I realized the power of writing stories and social media when a CEO extended his hand and supported my social initiative after reading my post on Facebook.”

That CEO is Mannix, who made me realize that I can make a difference out of what I have, out of my skills.

If there’s one thing I wish I could have done before his peaceful passing, I wish I had the chance to reconnect. I wish we had the chance to work together on one item of his bucket list: to write his memoir. But nonetheless, he made a huge impact to me. Thank you for believing in me and for all the words of wisdom you shared.

Like what you’ve always said: Padayon! (move forward).

Your legacy continues!

Image source: Digital Performance Marketing

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.

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Airamae Algentera Guerrero

I shine the spotlight on business owners who are doing exciting and innovative work by featuring them as part of our 'SME Inspirations' series. Connect with me and share...

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