SAN JUAN, La Union—Located 277 kilometers north of Manila, the province of La Union is considered as the surfing capital of Northern Philippines. It has also been called the “Garden Coast” due to its bountiful botanical gardens.
Recently, however, tourists and surfers aren’t the only ones thriving in this community.
“There’s a mini migration happening here,” Luis Buenaventura, YGG Pilipinas country head, told us during an afternoon chat when we visited their new HQ here, called the YGG House.
Because of the pandemic a lot of people have chosen to move away from the crowded cities and La Union has become one of the preferred options.
“It just became this thing [for several startups]. La Union [or ELYU as the millennials prefer to call it] is just a four-hour drive from Manila [via the new tollways]. You dont have to fly here, the best general hospital in Northern Luzon is just a few minutes away, there’s bigger space, and rent is certainly a lot cheaper,” he noted.
“Now, if you go to places, like Kermit, or the coffeeshop El Union, it’s just like being in Pobla [Poblacion in Makati] because you run in to the same crowds, the same startup founders. Plus, it’s more informal here and you can just walk around in slippers.
The first time I met Luis was via a Zoom event, and I think he was calling in from the beachfront, just a few steps away from the water.
WELCOME TO THE FUTURE
IF this trend continues, it looks like the future (of gaming/streaming at least) would be shaped not in the towering skyscrapers of Makati, but here in the beaches of La Union.
YGG, or Yield Guild Games (yieldguild.io), is a decentralized gaming guild acquiring non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that generate rewards from active play in blockchain games. YGG’s mission is to onboard millions of players around the world to the “play-to-earn” revolution that brings the benefits of blockchain technology to those who need them the most.
As an effort to help the community power through the crypto winter, this Filipino-led gaming guild is creating a space for content creators to collaborate and develop effective content to enrich the community through the launch of this new content hub, the YGG Playhouse. Alongside the launch of the YGG Playhouse is the YGG Playhouse Series, a show featuring developed content through the hub, with the pilot episode airing last June 27.
Think Pinoy Big Brother—but with gamers/streamers/creators and less orchestrated drama.
Buenaventura said the YGG Playhouse is just one of the many initiatives they are organizing to help bind the community by upholding empowerment and inclusivity while gearing up for better opportunities.
The challenge is to come up with ways to empower and get the community involved, not just to get more views, but create lots of unique content.
YGG’s sense of community includes what we call the YGG All Stars, which include the top players, streamers and influencers within the community.
The first season of the YGG Playhouse will prominently feature four of their All Stars including Vittorio Miguel “VMG” Gonzales, their first scholar who ranked No. 1 in the world for Axie; popular shoutcaster Jomari “ArcherPerez” David, Enrico Jerome “Boarknock” Toliongco, and Gerald Rivera “Jobols” Domingo, while other top YGG streamers like Een Mercado, Tricia Potato, Charess, KAFI, Sheila Snow might even do some guest appearances.
Buenaventura said toying with the idea of putting the four streamers in the beach was an interesting idea, as they could do gamer or web things without even being in Manila.
He said the community can expect content hinging on community events, joint streams, showdowns, financial literacy, and everyday life with crypto, among others.
“We let the guys live here and we shoot them like a reality show, and give them challenges to do,” he explained.
Each three-episode stream will have a one-story arc that involves how they are able to accomplish the tasks given to them. But instead of doing JackAss wild stunts to get views, the challenges will focus on those that will help enrich the community yet still be interesting and fun.
In the first three episodes, for example, the task of the All Stars was to organize a community meetup using very limited funds.
The YGG Playhouse is in line with YGG’s direction to nurture a democratic and collaborative environment where members can thrive beyond gaming. It will act as a studio where content creators develop effective materials that highlight the impact of the play-to-earn community and future expansions in the lives of the “new heroes”—ordinary Filipinos who found opportunities in the metaverse to support their families.
Buenaventura said the Playhouse is a way for the community to get to know the YGG All Stars behind their indivitual streams. For the All Stars, it gives them the chance to collaborate with each other and come up with new and more interesting content for their subscribers.
“We are honored that YGG values the work that we do for the community, and we are very excited to work with them to achieve the same goal. We have always enjoyed creating content for the community, but it is even more meaningful now knowing that we can contribute to a strong advocacy,” said Boarknock.
Buenaventura added that YGG is dedicated to finding opportunities for Filipinos to thrive in the metaverse, stressing that Web3 can enable a robust working economy. “YGG is working hard to forge paths in the metaverse that can benefit Filipinos. The YGG Playhouse is a crucial step for us in this direction, and we hope that with our efforts, the community will be in a much better position to maximize the potential of Web3.”
The series had its first public-viewing premiere in Baguio last weekend and can be viewed on all of YGG channels—YGG Pilipinas Facebook Page, YGG Pilipinas Youtube Channel, YGG Facebook Page, YGG YouTube Channel, YGG Twitter, and YGG Twitch—with new episodes every other week.