Multi-Talented Manila Based Ad Exec Herbert Hernandez Manages the Ultimate Balancing Act

Multi-Talented Manila Based Ad Exec Herbert Hernandez Manages the Ultimate Balancing Act

Most of us are blessed with only one talent – if that. But imagine being good at everything you tried, from music to art to sports to school. It would be exciting and satisfying, but it might also be difficult to pinpoint how your time is best spent, and what type of career to pursue. Luckily for Herbert Hernandez, he’s not only good at everything, he’s also found a way to balance his many talents and skills in a way that allows him to follow all of his dreams.

Ever since he was a child in Quezon City, Philippines, Herbert had many interests, all of which he excelled at. Art, music, and math were at the top of the list, even though he was also recognized for his leadership and maintained high grades in every subject. His parents both work in traditional office settings (as a mechanical engineer and an insurance sales agent), and his brother gravitates towards music (he’s now a mainstream music manager with his own agency), but Herbert has always “gone his own way.”

Hesitant to choose just one area to focus on, Herbert earned his degree in Fine Arts with a major in Advertising from the University of Santo Tomas. But in his second year of college, he founded the band Moonstar88, for which he still plays lead guitar – almost 25 years later. Even with a busy schedule of recording and touring, Herbert graduated magna cum laude, never letting his grades drop.

Ultimately, Herbert chose to pursue Advertising as his full-time endeavor, and initially took a job with J. Water Thompson (JWT) Manila. Between his artistic ability for visuals and his creative ideas for advertising campaigns that resonate with consumers, Herbert quickly began to climb the rungs of the corporate ladder. He moved on from JWT to DM9 JaymeSyfu DDB and then to Young & Rubicam, always on an upward trajectory, and always leaving a trail of awards behind him.

But it was those natural leadership skills that would really come in handy when Herbert partnered with one of his advertising idols, Badong Abesamis, to start their own agency, the independent ideas company GIGIL. Providing the visuals to accompany Badong’s talent with words, the two are a force to be reckoned with; their campaigns are magnets for awards, and clients line up to work with them.

Being Good at Everything Requires Creativity

The fact of the matter is that there are only 24 hours in each day. No matter how efficient you are, no matter how productive you are, no matter how you try – we are all restricted to those same 24 hours. For Herbert Hernandez, this hit home during his time at DM9 JaymeSyfu DDB. 

As he continued to be promoted, this time to Creative Director, Herbert wondered if he could really continue playing with Moonstar88. In addition to his advertising work and his music career, he also had a wife and a child, so his time was being stretched thin. His boss encouraged him to keep music in his life, as a creative outlet and to serve as an inspiration to his ad work. 

With the green light to keep going in both advertising and music, Herbert Hernandez took things one step further, and figured out how to combine his two careers into a fun pet project. He founded ‘Lakihan Mo Logo’ (‘Make the Logo Bigger’), a concert series featuring bands made up of Manila-based ad agency talent, giving other advertisers a creative outlet for their stress. They have performed 58 concerts over the last 12 years, and some of the participants have been signed as recording artists. Herbert also put together 12 “Rockovery” concerts to raise money to cover the medical bills for seriously ill members of the advertising industry.

Family Can’t Come Last

Far from a brooding, reclusive artist, Herbert Hernandez puts his family front and center, making time to see them everyday. He’s been married to his wife Heidi since their mid-twenties, and the two now share three children. Herbert may be busy with GIGIL and Moonstar88, but he has lunch and dinner with his family everyday, inviting them to work with him whenever he can.

Finding the time to go for bike rides, take trips, and play video games is a top priority for Herbert, who has revealed that Heidi needs to approve his outfits everyday before he leaves the house. In the rare moments he has away from work, Herbert never fails to allot that time to his family.

Time Management & Coffee Are Everything

One could say that Herbert’s real talent is time management, although he tends to give all the credit to coffee. But adhering to a strict schedule and being willing to forego sleep many nights also play big roles in him being able to balance such a busy and fulfilling life. 

When you’re good at everything, it’s hard to give anything up. If you’re Herbert Hernandez, you don’t have to.

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