PeoplePress Release

Meet the Secret Menu creative team propelling the agency to industry recognition

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Secret Menu, Kroma Entertainment’s full-service creative agency and production house, has cemented itself as a dynamic and strategic player in the Philippines’ creative services industry. In just a few years, it has secured exclusive content and event collaborations with top-tier brands and has received industry recognition in the process. This trajectory is largely credited to the professionals who work behind the scenes, making sure that Secret Menu’s content solutions, commercials, AR & 3D executions, and event coverage resonate with its clients and their respective audiences.

Central to Secret Menu’s operations is its roster of talents. The agency is home to three dynamic filmmakers: JP Habac, Chyna Lo, Lottie Bie, and multimedia Creative Director Ernest Gatpandan III. From their artistry and business savvy spring forth the agency’s portfolio of innovative and spirited brand-driven content and experiences.

JP Habac: Pioneering authentic narratives

Acclaimed filmmaker JP headlines Secret Menu’s roster of in-house directors. Recognized for his work in Film and Television worldwide, JP participated and garnered recognition in the Cairo International Film Festival, Tampere Film Festival, and Busan International Film Festival, to name a few.


When it comes to his work at Secret Menu, JP emphasized the importance of authenticity. “I believe in telling stories that resonate with audiences on a personal level,” he said. “Branded content should feel like a story that captivates, engages, and ultimately inspires.”

To wit: a touching short film that melded the themes of family and LGBT identity he directed for IKEA won a bronze in the Champions For Humanity category at the Tambuli Awards in 2023. More projects are lined up for the award-winning director in 2024.

“It’s all about achieving the perfect balance where both the story and the product shine through,” JP said, likening brand-driven content to creating a hit recipe. “It’s this harmony that allows us to create impactful content.”

Chyna Lo: A director for the times

Chyna boasts a formidable resumé that seamlessly weaves her artistic vision into captivating music videos, commercials, and branded content for clients such as BPI, Globe Telecom, Ayala Malls, 88Rising, and Disney. This artistic vision, heavily steeped in Asian cinema and anime aesthetics and inspired by today’s music and fashion, resonates with millennial and Gen Z audiences — naturally making her a director for the times.

When it comes to directing for Secret Menu, she balances her awareness of what’s out there with old-school discipline and practical sensibilities. “My directing style for ads is all about exploring what can be done creatively while addressing the needs of the client at the same time,” she shared. “It’s like solving a
puzzle — following a set of rules but also working your way around them and seeing what you can push, add, and remove.”

She furthered, “Preparation is important, [so is] openness to the beauty of a spontaneous idea.”

Whether she’s coaching captains of industry for a series of video interviews or working with fellow creatives of the same age and likes, knows full well what is expected of her. “It’s necessary for a director to be the balance within the team. The director should be able to manage the vibe of the shoot and steer everyone in the right direction.” Vibe check? Passed.

Lottie Bie: The consummate storyteller

Before she became social media’s favorite comedienne, sharp and funny Lottie was first a behind-the-
scenes creative who has worn many hats — writer, editor, assistant director, and even on-cam talent. “I’ve
always been drawn to storytelling, whether it’s through writing, editing, or directing. And on camera as a
content creator, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with audiences in a more personal way, too,” she revealed.

At Secret Menu, Lottie merges these multiple experiences on- and off-cam as a short-form director, realizing her vision through collaboration, understanding, and a deep appreciation of the creative process. “For me, directing is about bringing ideas to life and working with a team to create something truly special,” she added. Her directorial style is marked with authenticity, crafting experiences that resonate deeply with audiences. She is likewise a team player, harnessing the power of collaboration. Every voice in her team is heard and valued, empowering the team to contribute ideas and explore innovative concepts together.

“Branded content is a collaborative effort,” said the director, whose credits include Globe Telecom, IKEA, and Lazada. “It’s about bringing together diverse talents and perspectives to create something extraordinary. My goal is to create content that leaves a lasting impression long after the credits roll.”

Ernest Gatpandan III: All about vision

As the creative director at Secret Menu, Ernest leverages over a decade of experience in film, television, and advertising. Fluent in the interplay between art and commerce, and enriched by guidance from mentors like Marlon Rivera and Vince Uy, he skillfully manages multimedia projects for a diverse clientele, often juggling overlapping timelines with remarkable ease.

He quipped, “Having a clear vision and a clear message is crucial to great brand campaigns. Joining the team with a boutique agency background and roots in film and television, I am used to handling multiple campaigns each with its own challenges. I am looking forward to sharing my knowledge and experience in a production house like Secret Menu.”

Having applied his directorial skills to subjects such as food, furniture, architecture, and humans, he is eager to add more dimension to what the team already does. “On my wishlist is the ability to work on crossovers between media and cultures — theater and food, fashion and cinema, incorporating native languages to a global campaign, a national artist working with an emerging talent.”

For Ernest, the possibilities are endless.

Ask for the Secret Menu

“Our goal is to elevate brand stories through creative ingenuity,” said Head of Secret Menu, Mell Yazon-Tolentino. “With creatives such as JP Habac, Chyna Lo, Lottie Bie, and Ernest Gatpandan III leading our roster, we’re set to redefine the way branded content is made, offering brands unique opportunities to connect with audiences in meaningful ways.”

She added, “I would love for brands to visit our Instagram, check out our portfolio and the creatives behind the work, and message us. Don’t forget to ask for the Secret Menu!”

From emotionally stirring content to immersive brand experiences, Secret Menu has the right combination of creative talent to make brands stand out and take their content to new heights, offering brands unparalleled opportunities to engage and inspire audiences.

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