At exactly 7.40am this morning, the digital billboard right across one of the busiest streets in Sydney lit up with a beautiful message, "The Philippines Says Thank You".
At the same time, digital billboards in eight cities, including at Times Square in New York, Picadilly Circus in London, and Lafayette Mogador in Paris, flashed with the same message of gratitude and images, making the Philippines potentially the first country in the world to broadcast its thanks for assistance after a major disaster in such a dramatic and inspired fashion.
The #PHThankYou campaign combined the power of billboard signage at tourist hotspots with a social media campaign that went viral around the world. According to Thunderclap statistics, 1.8 million people were reached by the campaign in 48 hours.
In Sydney, attending the billboard launch were Consul General Anne Jalando-on Louis, from the Philippine Consulate in NSW; Former Philippine Consul Linda Baisa; Tourism Attache Consuelo Jones; community leaders Elsa Collado and Manny Diel; local Filipino-Australian celebrities Lillian de los Reyes and Rod Dee; well-wishers and the local media.
"We encourage all Filipino-Australians to join this campaign and show their thanks in social media, including on Twitter, Facebook and even on the special #PHthankyou Thunderclap page," said the Consul General.
The #PHThankYou campaign marks the three months since typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) hit the Philippines. The super-typhoon was a Category 5 and reported as the worst tropical storm in the world ever to hit landfall in history.
Countries around the world offered their assistance immediately after the typhoon, with Australia among the first to give emergency relief and government assistance.
You can join the campaign by leaving a message on Thunderclap (https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/8454-the-philippines-says-thank-you?locale=en). Follow the feed on #PHThankYou
The Sydney billboard is located on the corner of William Street and Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst, and will be running for the next couple of weeks.
Photos: Manny Perez (Sydney), Maria E. (Ang Kalatas Newspaper) and @jimenez_mon (Twitter)
More photos on Facebook here.