We had the good fortune of connecting with Chad Santo Tomas and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chad, why did you pursue a creative career?
My father is turning 86 this year and recently I’ve been thinking of the concept of ‘legacy’. I originally had a career and degree in neuroscience, which is creative in problem solving and theorizing. However, there’s something different about creating art or something meaningful that transcends your existence. I think an artistic career, or a career striving to be an artist is impactful in making things that help other individuals or businesses directly that live longer on the internet. And I think art provides an important holistic aspect to the human experience.
What should our readers know about your business?
So while I have pivoted towards photography and videography especially during COVID as a means of income, I’ve always been intertwined in the food and beverage industry. After I quit my job doing neuroscience research, I moved to the Philippines and spent about a year there creating multiple kinds of content from written articles, YouTube videos, and photojournalistic photos. All while finding artisanal goods that I could distribute domestically and hopefully export out. I think I’m very fortunate to say that I’m very intimately tied to my Filipino culture, especially having been raised here in America. This has brought me to working on exporting Philippine coffee and later on other goods like Philippine rice wine that I want the world to try.
Honestly its not easy. if you’re working in any supply-chain right now, it’s exacerbated because of how much COVID has affected business operations and worldwide trade. And even more that the Philippines is still struggling with COVID and rectifying the situation and going back further, the lack of government support in agriculture.
At the end of the day, the business is still in its inception and there’s a LOT to overcome and navigate. BUT through making YouTube videos and writing about my culture, I’m able to showcase my culture and be genuinely proud of it. It’s funny to say, but some friends I’ve made in the Philippines have told me that I’m more Filipino than they are. And I think there’s SO much to show in the food and agricultural space that I hope to showcase through my business and YouTube. And hopefully I can return back to the Philippines to utilize more of my growing photography and videography skills to work on some short mini documentaries.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Ok I am spoiled to be a San Francisco native because our gastronomy culture here is INSANE, particularly in the bougie food space. Let me preface I do enjoy good food, good wine, good drink – the French have been living this lifestyle for centuries and its only right that it translates to being embedded in the SF food culture.
ASSUMING they were down for whatever and had the same interests as me, we’d probably spend a week traveling up and down the California coast. It’s one of the things I missed most about San Francisco, or California in general.
We’d definitely spend an absurd amount of money going to incredible restaurants, some of whom I’m friends with for that added layer of experience and service/hospitality, spending some days overnight in wine country. You can’t enjoy SF without that, or the hiking and availability of nature.
There’s definitely some incredible coastline boutique hotels to visit up in Mendocino and San Luis Obispo and Half Moon Bay to go to. And while there just taking in the expanse of nature from hiking or just walking around. And before they head back to wherever they’re from, maybe drinking on a boat in the SF bay to wrap it all up.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
It’s cheesy and cliche, but I don’t think I’d be comfortable doing what I do now if it weren’t for the support of my mother. When I had made the transition to start my own business and do freelance video and photo work, she was very supportive of my change. Although, she does on occasion jokingly ask when I’m going to graduate school. Aside from her, my creative friends also helped push me in this direction.