What started out as a small team at a chicken-filled lot in a gas station is now the leading lifestyle media company in the country.
Literature teaches us that the beginning matters. While it may not necessarily determine the ending, the beginning sets the direction, tone, and premise of the narrative.
With an imposing “In the beginning” or a romantic “Once upon a time,” hope, intent, and a course of action will take root from a seed of idea planted in those first few lines.
And, even as the story excitedly unfurls, we will always find ourselves looking back to page one for comparison and perspective—to see how long we’ve come and to get an idea where the next chapter will lead.
As One Mega Group celebrates three decades today, we go through a similar back and forth. And for the media company, it all started from a dream and its steely dreamer Sari Yap.
Lead of faith
There have been many anecdotes filled with love, laughter, blood, sweat, and tears over the last 30 years. And every single one is a testament to the enduring power of dreams and the will to keep fighting for them.
That tenaciousness must be married with flexibility. As the needs and desires of the audience change, so have and will the multimedia company Yap built from the ground up. “We will change and lead if need be,” she says.
Thirty years down the road, One Mega Group still reports, observes, and inspires right at the center of the conversation—even in the middle of a pandemic. Evolving, innovating, and blazing trails, this is what was then and it is what will be in the years to come.
The OMG story started with Yap’s long-standing love for books and magazines. She particularly loved the Spanish title Telva, which she first encountered during her time in Navarre, Spain.
She gave birth to her company in 1992, with its first office in an air condition-less space in a gas station with chickens running around the lot. They had no working phone, and the team had to make work calls at a sari-sari store.
At this point, Yap admitted to not understanding what to do and where to go just yet. But one thing was certain, she was determined to make it work. This resolve has been passed on to the whole company until today.
By 1994, the company would move to its new home in Ortigas, which was in itself a leap of faith.
“We still weren’t making money, but we couldn’t grow as a serious business in the town home,” Yap shared in the coffee table book MEGA Stories: The Philippines’ Most Iconic. “We acquired a real telephone switchboard system within a few years, and the rest, as they say, is history.”
“Many tears are behind this book. But I choose to remember only the laughter and the play,” she said. “Sometimes, when we come up with a really good issue, I say, ‘Wow! It looks like a real magazine.’ Because I still think we’re playing. And there’s nothing wrong with that.”
From then on the legacy of Yap, as well as of One Mega Group would grow, expanding to other platforms and including different points-of-view.
Titles such as Meg, Appetite, Celebrity Mom, Inside Showbiz, Travel Now, Condo Living, BluPrint, Modern Parenting, and OneMega.com were born. Last year, One Mega Group gave birth to Nylon Manila, its first international franchise.
Lifestyle Asia, a paragon of taste and luxury living, was an early acquisition. Today, LA has gone beyond mere society coverage into how the privileged and the powerful make their life more meaningful.
Over the years, the company has also branched out to different avenues, including design competitions, fashion awards, reality television, events, and creative services.
Today,One Mega’s titles continue to explore the digital realm, making sure to be agile in responding to the needs, desires, and curiosities of its respective audiences while maintaining quality.
There are a lot of stories to tell and One Mega Group will tell them in whatever way possible.
Today, it is not just about titles, but ecosystems. At the helm of transforming the company from a traditional media company to a multi-platform conglomerate is Archie Carrasco. He is chairman and CEO of One Mega Group and AGC Power Holdings Corp., which includes Mega Global Licensing, Inc., DigiStarPH, and soon, Seven Six Four Zero, Inc. (7640) under it.
“The vision was straightforward: to create a positive impact through meaningful content,” he says in a speech to the company.
“In 2020, I started to place big bets as the pandemic began to ravage the business sector. Despite work-from-home, virtual board meetings, and similar arrangements, I immediately recalibrated the business model of the company,” Carrasco says.
“In my mind,” Carrasco continues, “there is no way to go, but move forward and up. The company shifted from survival mode to strategic measures in the form of takeovers, leadership changes, restored financial targets, and business innovation.”
It all starts, he says, with meaningful creation, which entails a commitment to the people bringing these stories to life everyday.
“Staying true to my commitment to everyone, a foundation is also set to be launched to promote ‘purpose over profit’ within the ecosystem of the holdings company for all its employees,” he shares. “Mental health programs, educational scholarship grants, housing facilities, financial support during economic an crisis are among the purposes of the foundation.”
Moreover, the current president of One Mega Group Suki Salvador heralds this new chapter with the reveal of a new symbol to signify the striking shift.
“The One Mega Group logo used to be a tree, with branches and leaves that represented our print brands. That’s not us anymore. That is our past,” Salvador explains.
“Together with Jann Pascua, Marc Pagdilao, and our CEO, Sir Archie Carrasco, our symbol is now a dandelion,” he says. “It is a beautiful flower that is light, a flower that rises with very little effort. That’s who we will be. Our dandelion is also a seed that when planted, it grows and grows and grows.”
This represents the company, Salvador says, a true “trendsetter in everything that we do, an influencer to any audience that we speak to. Our new logo can now also be used in different pastel variations, something that is calming and soothing, but also a palette that represents the current audience: young, energetic, and fun.”
Not wanting to turn their backs on the old identity, they shaped the branches like an open book. This represents not only pages, but also transparency and integrity, two core values of the company.
“And finally, there are 10 branches that add up to number one. Yes, we are number one and will remain that way for the next 30 years,” he says. “This is a new era and I hope all of you will write a piece of our history.”
With that, One Mega Group blooms anew. With more stories shared and truths spoken, this is the direction the media company is facing—to a bright future that started with a chicken-filled lot and a tenacious dreamer. How far we’ve come, how far we hope to go.