• By The Financial District


A seasoned advertising executive who has handled various multinational brands on facial care, hair care, home care, cars, petrol and food brands, over the counter meds, banks and local companies has come up with a novel way of helping the harried netizens get answers to the best place to eat-out or simply “to help each other get the best of the best of anything.”

Nina Cruz Zialcita’s social media platform Best of the Best MNL (BOTBMNL), which she stitched together as an extension of her over 15-year experience as an ad exec is now resonating within Facebook, thanks to her persona that made possible what she considers “just an extension” of herself. Having breathed the rigors of conceptualizing ad campaigns and of transforming words to nudge customers to part with their pesos for certain brands, Nina’s Eureka moment for BOTBMNL arose from her own experience trying to figure out where to get the information she desires preoccupied as she is with work and has no to time to figure out where to have the best of the best in that short time frame.

“My random questions which I just wanted to get answers to,” but which appeared daunting due to exigencies of her workload made her to come out with the FB group, Best of the Best where members are free to contribute what they are knowledgeable about to questions thrown within the FB threads on mundane and sublime topics. “Because of work I rarely had time to go out or try a lot of things but, I knew there were a lot of things, food, experiences out here in Manila that I could be missing out on. So BOTBMNL was born, she enthused. And the FB group has grown not just in number but in the discussion of topics that at times involve squabbles among the members of the private group who earn their admission tickets by way of referral and a customary screening.

She told The Financial District that she is glued to the FB thread when there are differing opinions that get out of hand that sometimes kept her up to the wee hours of the morning. “For the squabbles some kept me up for real till 2-4 am just policing,” Nina added. Her experience in advertising where she started as an Account Manager right after college and moved up the rung to being an Associate Managing Partner proved providential on the matter of taking out the sting of the barbs thrown among squabbling members. She confesses that “for some I had to work extra hard to be polite – and that’s usually easy as I was in client servicing but there are times, she had to hit the unfollow button for the intransigent ones.

Indeed, the Best of the Best has been so successful that it now had fund raising events. Outside of the fundraising or public events that the FB group hosts, Nina finds fulfillment in the fact that members excitedly tell her that “their day was made better,” because of the Best of the Best. Posts like “best way to bounce back from a difficult situation,” or “best thing you are grateful for today,” makes her day complete. When members say that the FB group “made a difference in their life or that it has become their go-to place for recos before trying or buying anything before or after Google.” But she considers a singular achievement the fact that the “people say it’s a safe place and helpful to them as it evokes what the group is all about: “To help each other get the best of the best of anything.”

Asked what was the most challenging question thrown to the group, she smilingly said that “a tough one was where to get the best uniform for helpers” which though seemingly an innocent question, “kinda got out of hand.” The FB group which she conceptualized has already been copied by two others and that shows the power of the social media which she believes is extremely relevant right now.

“It’s the window to the outside world. It spreads news (hopefully more true than false news) as needed. It lets perfect strangers come together to engage as a community in a way that COVID doesn’t allow,” Nina said of the growing importance of social media. Social media “allows groups like BOTBMNL come together for a laugh, for best advice and even to help other people in their small way, i.e. the COVID fundraiser, or the fundraiser for the helper’s baby and now the fundraiser for chemo. I know it has a lot of downsides but when used in the way it was meant to, I think it can make a difference.”

For her though,” Best of the Best is all about helping each other get the best of the best of anything. From products to life advice or just for laughs.”