PhilSTAR L!fe, the digital lifestyle hub of Philstar Media Group, celebrated its third anniversary in the sweetest way.
With the theme “Livin’ the Sweet Life,” L!fe held its birthday party at the skating rink of SM Megamall on Oct. 13. Over 100 guests were in attendance, including the staff, contributing writers, interns, brand representatives, marketing agencies, and other partners that have contributed to the site’s growth through the years. Everybody vibed with contemporary music, munched on delectable treats, bonded over good conversations, and enjoyed skating on ice.
To make things even sweeter, several guests took home raffle prizes that included dinner and salad plate sets from Casa Juan MNL, gift checks from Robinsons Land Corp., and bottles of Martini Dolce 0.0 Sparkling from Bacardi.
During the anniversary party, Head Editor Camille Santiago looked back into the publication’s achievements and how it took much conscious effort to be where it is now.
“More than anything,” Santiago said in her speech, “we wanted to create a community of people who support each other on their journeys to a meaningful and happier life. A sweet life.”
“We think that life is not about having everything perfect,” she added. “It's about finding joy in the little things and learning from your mistakes.”
PhilSTAR L!fe officially went live in October 2020, with an aim to provide everything that readers love, want, and need.
Against all odds, the pandemic baby has become a trusted online platform for news and lifestyle. To date, the website has published tens of thousands of pieces comprising breaking news, listicles, guides, opinion columns, profiles, reviews, explainers, features, and in-depth articles on fashion, showbiz, pop culture, food, travel, news, current affairs, and health, some of which have also appeared in the newspaper. It has also taken its stab at digital magazine covers, video productions, and audio content.
It’s now one of the major publications covering media events and press junkets in different parts of the Philippines and Asia.
Publisher Sheila Paras called the last three years a remarkable journey that included notable stories, extensive coverages, and exclusive interviews. But she also admitted having to face problems and challenges along the way.
“We persevered,” Paras said. “If anything, the last three years have proven how keen we are to learn, improve, and grow to deliver content that our readers love, want, and need.”
Paras said she’s filled with immense pride that L!fe’s stories continue to resonate with readers as continually increasing engagements and metrics show.
“We have not wavered in our commitment to delivering diverse, compelling, thought-provoking content that rises above the clutter,” she said.
Philstar Media Group Executive Vice President Lucien Dy Tioco noted how L!fe reached its numbers fast “in such a short time,” serving as a “ray of hope” since its official launch.
“We offered something really different to the audience and brought a lot of smiles despite what we went through,” Dy Tioco said of how the publication established a loyal following through the years.
“(Because of this) There's a growing confidence from our advertisers,” he added.
Philstar Media Group Sales Director Jay Sarmiento, for her part, said the online platform has grown beyond expectations since its launch and has consistently been part of online conversations.
“We're always first when it comes to the content we produce,” Sarmiento said. “L!fe always offers something exciting and presents it in a way that would make you click, read, and think.”
Melanie Uson, who joined L!fe right after finishing her communications degree in 2022 and is about to celebrate her work anniversary in December, said everything still feels surreal and overwhelming.
The proverbial fast-paced environment compelled her to beat deadlines accordingly without compromising quality.
“Walang makakatalo doon sa fulfillment after makagawa ng big story, lalong-lalo na kapag nagre-resonate sa readers,” she said, adding how grateful she is to the editors for their guidance.
Karl De Mesa, who contributes think pieces on film and literature, said what he loves about L!fe is how it has given him a platform to highlight stories that may not be looked at with more attention in the mainstream.
“I like creating and pitching stories that are on the fringe. They deserve a lot of attention,” he said.
Mikhail Lecaros, who contributes movie reviews, said the online platform has allowed him to get into the nitty-gritty of film, which he said he lives and breathes.
“You and I can see the same movie and have opposite viewpoints, yet they're justified,” Lecaros said. “I enjoy the discourse, and I love hearing what other people think.”
Eric Cabahug, a Palanca award-winning writer who contributes features and opinion pieces about pop culture, said it’s a privilege to write for L!fe, which he regards as one of the best media organizations in recent history.
“I like the clout,” Cabahug said with a laugh.
PhilSTAR L!fe’s fourth year and beyond
In 2024, Dy Tioco looks forward to creating more video productions that complement L!fe’s editorial outputs. Sarmiento, meanwhile, said they’d launch more events with partner organizations.
“As long as we're in touch with our readers and cater to what they like,” Sarmiento said, “we will sustain the momentum.”
Paras said she’s excited about the promise of fresh ideas and opportunities, with L!fe never just following trends but setting new ones.
“We are raring to expand our content offerings and partner with people and brands for unique collaborations,” she said, adding they’re always actively listening to readers and followers to help shape their content strategy.
One of the essentials in ice skating is not to look down or else lose balance. Instead, one must keep their head up and look straight ahead to reach the preferred direction—with all the glides, strokes, and swizzles in the mix, as well as the spins and jumps.
With L!fe’s hopes and goals, its chosen venue for its anniversary party couldn’t be more befitting.