Related Posts with Thumbnails

Shooting cascades in Papa-a

As soon as I saw small cascades running down the stream, I immediately thought it would be good to do long exposures. It was just disappointing that I did not bring my tripod [again!]. But then I felt I had to shoot.

Awesome sunset in Butuan City

It is not very often you get to witness a stunning sunset that gives you goosebumps. For a photography junkie like me, you should never, never, never let it pass just like that.

Winning a photo contest

Winning a photo contest for the first time (well, officially and with a prize for that matter) gives a different high!

Missing Cordi

From afar, I could already see the clouds rolling over the mountaintops. It was a sight to behold. So I asked the driver of our vehicle going to Buguias, Benguet to stop so I can capture this once-in-lifetime scene.

Cory Aquino: An inexhaustible gift to democracy

She further stressed the belief that the Filipino people, as a nation, can be great again. During her last State of the Nation Address (SONA), she said: I believe in the inexhaustible giftedness of the Filipino people.

Conversation with a cab driver on climate change

Ironically, this cab driver who would like to contribute something help curb climate change and global warming, by planting his narra tree becomes discouraged and disappointed...

At home [and at peace] with HDR Photography

HDR is not bad per se. HDR is nice to learn. In fact it is a must for non-pro like me to learn HDR to learn more about shadow and light and exposure, which is the crux of photography.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sunset in Digos

Taken in one of my trips to Davao del Sur more than two years ago. We just attended one of the meetings of the cooperatives in Digos and going back to Davao City, we saw this God’s beautiful masterpiece. It was a tiring day and that meeting was the last leg during my trip.

Certainly, scenes like this are always a sight to behold–one that makes you leave your pains and worries behind.

As Amy Lowell aptly puts it in her poem:
The Poet

What instinct forces man to journey on,
Urged by a longing blind but dominant!
Nothing he sees can hold him, nothing daunt
His never failing eagerness. The sun
Setting in splendour every night has won
His vassalage; those towers flamboyant
Of airy cloudland palaces now haunt
His daylight wanderings. Forever done
With simple joys and quiet happiness
He guards the vision of the sunset sky;
Though faint with weariness he must possess
Some fragment of the sunset's majesty;
He spurns life's human friendships to profess
Life's loneliness of dreaming ecstasy.

Friday, August 24, 2007

When South meets North

The ladies in the photo are not Igorots. They are young Muslim (Moro) professionals who belong to the 5th cohort of Congressional Internship Program for Young Muslim Leaders (CIPYML), which is a program I used to handle. One of their internship activities is to visit local government units where they can learn the interface of legislative and executive functions and how these are supposedly translated into programs and services.

In June last year, I brought them to Baguio not only for some R&R but to learn more about the culture of Igorots, and more importantly about the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

The Igorots and Moros share a yearning for self-determination. It would be recalled that the Igorots pushed for the creation of the Cordillera Autonomous Region during the Aquino Administration, but they failed to deliver the votes--thus the creation of the Cordillera Administrative Region, instead.

Much has been said about the Moros in their quest for self-determination (Unless you want me to discuss and you have the patience to read centuries of historical accounts). But my dissertation is rather simple. Like many Filipinos, it is my fervent prayer for this issue to finally come to a resolution so that peace and development would finally thrive in Mindanao, particularly in the ARMM and other conflict-affected areas in Mindanao. It is easier said than done, but Insha'Allah! (God willing!), we would also find a way to resolve this issue.

Much has been said against the Moros. I cringe at the thought that they are badly stereotyped. Having the chance to relate with them, getting to know what they think and aspire for, and going through what they feel, I had a better understanding of what they are, of their cultural pride and religious beliefs, as well as what they are fighting for.

As they took fancy of the Igorot costumes in Mines View Park, it was, for me, a meaningful learning experience. While I took this photo because they keep on saying they look beautiful in Igorot costume [so I should take their photo, sige na nga!], some more important thoughts were rambling in my mind. Their visit to Baguio and Benguet has further made them stand proud to belong to an indigenous people--and this became a special occasion to cherish the meeting of two great cultures of the South and the North.

Finally, if we only give ourselves a chance to don and get the feel to be in someone else's clothes (or walk in someone else's moccasins), it becomes a starting point for us to fully understand each other--we would be ready to break stereoptypes and other barriers to walk the path and lay down the foundation towards a lasting peace and development in Mindanao.

Salaam! (Peace!)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Is the Filipino [still] worth dying for?

At a tender age of 15, while other teen-agers were worrying about Bagets fashion that time, I was slowly immersing myself to fully understand social, political, and economic issues. Being involved in these causes was not an easy thing to do. Being born and raised in a clan of Marcos fanatics was doubly hard.

For many parents and elders, seeing their children joining the ranks of student activists was definitely despicable and intolerable behavior. Maybe it was just a parental or elderly brother/sister concern. We are not rich to afford losing our education in exchange of what they call a useless endeavor—because according to them, “we are just destroying the future that is in store for us.” Of course, we wanted to argue, but any intellectual argument would only prove futile. First, we were not fully understood. Second, if given the chance to speak our minds, they would refuse to understand, and third, which is a prerequisite to the second reason--they already have an unperturbed and deeply-rooted mindset.

So, our parents, specially our late father, sternly warned us not to engage ourselves in these activities. I can still vividly recall the day when my late father and I were intently listening to the live coverage of Ninoy Aquino’s arrival in the then Manila International Airport (MIA). I was incredibly outraged upon hearing that Ninoy was killed. For the first time and being in the junior high, I had mustered enough courage to utter words against the late dictator. While I succeeded, I was also amused by the fact that I have recoiled after his scolding.

Even against the will of our parents, we still saw the need to be involved—isang pakikibaka upang lupigin ang rehimeng diktadura tungo sa minimithing katarungan at kalayaan para sa masang Pilipino! (Such a mouthful!).

I would say, I was a little bit immersed—albeit everything was done in hiding. In high school, we secretly passed around old copies of Malaya and We Forum. We participated in school plays and wrote essays against the tyranny. We sang tibak songs in between rehearsals of our church choir and in our bid for seats in the student council or whenever there is a school program or event. In college, I allowed myself to be part of the UG (underground movement), help orchestrate rallies to push for the students’ right to self-determination, and participated in secret meetings. However, it ended when one day; I realized it would not do me any good. My parents were retiring at that time. Wasting their hard-earned money would make me a traitor to them. I had no choice but to say my goodbyes to the core group and concentrate in my studies. I was thankful that my comrades understood me. After all, my parents were right. Despite this, however, my sympathy for the causes still remained.

Before our father left us, and when I have already earned confidence and some level of authority, and already undaunted in my personal convictions, we had some opportunities to discuss about politics and social issues. I realized that despite his being a Marcos loyalist, he was receptive to the discussion of socio-political and economic issues, with the caveat that we have to elude conversations against Marcos. In the end, I made him understand how Marcos—although to their minds is a great hero—have caused much trouble to the country, and that all the hardships that the country is facing now is partly attributed to that part of our history.

This month, we celebrate three important events: Buwan ng Wikang Filipino, Ninoy Aquino Day, and Araw ng mga Bayani. Once again, we are called to cherish our being Filipinos by recognizing our cultural diversity and appreciate our being a multi-lingual race. We are reminded of how great Filipinos can be by honoring our proclaimed and unsung heroes—as well remembering the days when they offered their lives for genuine social justice, freedom and democracy. Ninoy, Macli-ing Dulag, Ed Jopson, Lean Alejandro, to name a few, have died for noble causes. But is their spirit of patriotism, wisdom, and at least a small percentage of their consciousness still thrives within us?

More than three decades ago, the Filipino youth started their fight against dictatorship and social injustice. To this day, the issues they have fought for are still in our midst—only in different forms and come in more elaborate and fancy packaging. The tyranny and oppressors we wanted to topple down then are still among us—only they have evolved into a more charming form of creatures that prove to be more monstrous in comparison. They are like chameleons effortlessly capable of camouflaging in many a conceivable manner.

This is not to incite any form of rebellion. With these issues still lurking in our nation’s life, would we offer ourselves in the same way that our advocates and leaders have done? Would we take on the issues they have fought against—at least in our little ways no matter how insignificant they may be?

Ninoy once said: “The Filipino is worth dying for.” However, before taking the next step and share a part of ourselves nation-building, we should be able to discern about this more practical question: “Is the Filipino [still] worth dying for?”

Note: I have an entry at WIKA 2007. Please read my previous entry, and vote for me by clicking this badge:


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

PBS WIKA 2007 GRAND PRIZE: Tungo sa Panlipunang Pagbabanyuhay

Halos isa’t kalahating dekada na ang nakalilipas mula nang mag-aplay ako sa isang training program para sa mga kabataang propesyunal upang maging ganap na social development worker. May trabaho na ako sa Baguio noon bilang isang Assistant Project Manager for Training sa isang Foundation, pero hindi ko maintindihan kung ano nga ba ang tunay kong papel sa adhikain ng Foundation, at higit sa lahat, ang kaugnayan ko bilang isang mamamayan sa pagpapaunlad ng ating bansang naghihikahos. Dahil sa kagustuhan kong magkaroon ng higit na malalim at malawak na kaalaman sa development work, at sa paghikayat ng aking manager na may malalim na karanasan sa pag-oorganisa ng pamayanan, sumali ako sa programang iyon. Dumaan ako sa proseso ng pagpili ng mga kabataang propesyunal sa buong Pilipinas upang mapabilang sa programang ito. Naging mapalad akong napabilang sa mga shortlisted o mga kandidato. Dala-dala ang aking kredensiyal, ang aking kaunting karanasan sa community development (pagpapaunlad ng pamayanan), lakas ng loob, at mahaba at matinding dasal, tumulak ako patungong Manila. Sa Manila, haharapin ko ang isang pagsusulit sa harap ng mga piling dalubhasa sa community development o mga taong haligi ng mga non-government organizations (NGO) sa buong Pilipinas.

Sa harap ng panel, ibinigay ko ang lahat ng lakas at ipinaliwanag ko ang aking nalalaman tungkol sa pakikisalamuha sa mga tao, ang papel sa kasalukuyang trabaho, at ang aking hangad na maging mas epektibo sa pagtulong sa mga mahihirap lalo na kung ako ay magkakaroon ng higit at malawak na kaalaman sa pagpapaunlad ng pamayanan. Sa palagay ko, walang tanong na hindi ko sinagot nang tama. Simple lang naman pala ang mga tanong. Natuwa ako sa nangyari. Lumabas ako sa board room nang may ngiti sa aking mga labi. Pero ang ngiting iyon ay panandalian lamang.

Tinawag ako ng HRD Manager at kinausap ako sa sa isang tabi. Hindi raw nila ako “maibaba” at sa palagay nila, mahihirapan akong makisalamuha sa mga taong aking paglilingkuran. Hindi daw kuwestiyon na mataas ang antas ng aking kasanayan at tiyak na magiging asset o yaman ako ng isang pamayanan, subali’t hindi nga raw nila ako “maibaba.” Hindi ko sya maintindihan, at nilinaw ko ang tanong nya—kung ano ang ibig sabihin ng “maibaba.” Sa madaling-salita, panay daw ang Ingles ko at mahihirapan akong makibagay sa mga tao at lalong hindi ko kakailanganin ang Ingles sa mga pagsasanay at pag-oorganisa ng mga tao. Hindi ko kasi napansin na sa wikang Tagalog ang kanilang mga tanong at sa wikang Ingles ang aking sagot. May kulang sa nangyaring komunikasyon--kung komunikasyon man ang tawag doon.

Hindi ko alam kung matutuwa ako o maiinis sa sarili, pero ngumiti na lang ako nagpaliwanag. Ipinaliwanag ko na ang pagiging Inglesero ko noong panahong yon—ay impluwensya ng aking nakasanayan sa Baguio at Benguet. Sa halip na Tagalog, gamit namin ang Ingles bilang pangunahing wika sa pagsasanay, at pantulong ang Ilocano, kung saan ang mga matatandang Ibaloi at Kankana-ey ay bihasa. Para sa kanila, ang Tagalog ay Ingles o salitang banyaga.

Bumalik ako sa Baguio na may agam-agam kung ano ang kahihinatnan ng panel interbyu na iyon. Hindi ko na inasahan na matatanggap ako. Subali’t natuwa ako nang may matanggap akong telegrama (nakakatawa man, oo telegrama pa ang uso noon) na nagsasabing tanggap ako sa programa.

Umukit sa aking puso at naitatak sa aking isipan ang karanasang ito. Hindi man tahasang itinuro sa kolehiyo ng mga paring Belgiano na kailangang malaman ko ang bagay na ito pagkatapos mag-aral ng apat na taon, masasabi ko ngayon na bago ang pagtulong sa isang pamayanan, hindi lamang dapat malaman ang kanilang kultura, pag-iisip, mga pangarap at adhikain sa buhay.

Pangunahin dito ang kasanayan sa pakikipagtalastasan (natutuhan ko ang terminolohiyong ito mula kay Gng. Ermelinda Carbonell na aking propesor sa Filipino class) o pakikipag-komunikasyon sa mga tao, dahil nagsisilbi itong tulay upang matawid mo ang kanilang kinaroroonan. At sa pakikipagtalastasan, higit mong mauunawaan ang kanilang kultura, kaugalian, kabuuang kalagayan at kabuhayan, kaisipan, mga suliranin at ang kanilang mga mungkahi upang higit nilang mapaunlad ang mga yaman sa kanilang pamayanan.

Sa higit isang dekada kong pakikisalamuha sa mga tao, bago pa man ako magsimula sa mga pagpupulong at mga pagbisita sa mga baryo, inaalam ko na ang kanilang lengguwahe. Ang “’Ayo!” o pina-ikling “Maayo!” o “Maayong buntag/ adlaw!” na mamumutawi sa aking mga labi tuwing bibisita ako sa mga proyekto ng mga Salesian Brothers sa Dumaguete, ay nagiging pampukaw ng atensyon ng mga abalang nanay at nagiging simula upang kagaanan nila ako ng loob. Nagiging hudyat ito upang ihinto ang kanilang ginagawa at simulan ang mas malalim na talakayan tungkol sa kanilang maliit na negosyong babuyan. Sa mga pagpupulong sa komunidad, hindi man nila lubos na maintindihan ang aking sinasabi sa Tagalog o Ingles, ang pagsasabi ko ng “Unsa may ato?”(Ano ang sa atin?) o “Na-a’y pangutana?” (May mga tanong? O Is there any question?) ay nagsisilbi namang mitsa sa kanilang mga inaantok na utak upang pag-usapan ang kanilang mga agam-agam at mas pina-igting na paliwanag sa mga bagay na hindi nila lubos na maunawaan. Gamay lang ang nahibaluan ko sa Cebuano o Binisaya, subali’t naipararating ko, kahit papaano, ang aking mensahe.

Noong nakaraang Abril, nagkaroon muli ako ng pagkakataong makatrabaho ang mga taga Cordillera, bumalik tuloy ang ala-ala ng pagsisimula ko sa development work. Hindi pa man kami nagkakaharap, parang isang makina na kailangan kong i-calibrate o kalibrahan ang aking utak—kailangan ko namang magsalita ng Ilocano. Hindi ako nagkamali sa aking sapantaha. Higit man silang maunlad o progresibo sa panahon ngayon, naging mas agresibo pa sila sa kanilang partisipasyon nang malaman nilang marunong akong makipagkomunikasyon gamit ang kanilang wika. Komportable sila sa akin.

Sa aking pakikipag-ugnayan nakurot ko nang bahagya ang kanilang mga puso. Masasabi nilang kaisa o kabilang nila ako, dahil hindi lamang ito nagsisilbing tulay upang maabot mo ang kanilang kinaroroonan, ito ay nagsisilbi ding puso upang dumaloy ang bawat mensahe—masaya, malungkot, pangit man o maganda. Kung ang ngiti ay ang isang pangkalahatang pagpapakita ng giliw, ang wika naman ang nagbibigay ng mas malalim na katuturan dito.

Ang iba’t-ibang kultura, kaisipan, kaugalian, kaalaman at adhikain ay magsisilbing isla sa malawak na karagatan kung hindi ito mauunawaan ng bawat Pilipino. Sa pagpapaunlad ng pamayanan, hindi maaring may maiwang pamayanan. Hindi maaring ang iilang tao lamang o siyudad gaya ng Metro Manila, Cebu o Davao ang maaaring umunlad upang masabi nating bumabangon na sa pagkakasadlak ang Pilipinas. Kailangan, ang bawat pamayanan ay may kapayapaan at angking likas-kayang pag-unlad (sustainable development) na dulot ng kanilang pagkakaisa at pagsisikap. Hindi man sa panahon ngayon mangyayari ang ating inaasam na ginhawa. Subali’t mangyayari ito kung lubos nating bibigyang pansin ang ating pagkakaunawaan gamit ang patuloy na pakikipagtalastasan—sa kabila ng pagkakaiba ng ating mga wika. At sa tamang panahon, tayo ay mabubuklod gayundin ang ating pangarap at layunin. At kung and bawat isa ay kikilos nang mapayapa at tatahak sa iisang daan, insha'Allah! (God Willing), masisimulan nating gumising sa magandang kinabukasan.

Pahuling Salita:
Pagkalipas ng isang taon sa programa, kinailangan naming gumawa ng isang
Synthesis Paper kung saan namin isusulat ang aming mga reyalisasyon at mga aral mula programa. Ito ay parang tesis na kailangang isumite at idepensa upang maka-gradweyt kami. Ito ang pamagat ng aking Synthesis Paper:

“Banyuhay: Isang Paglalagom ng mga Natatanging Karanasan sa Social Development Workers’ Formation Program (SDWFP)”

Oo, sa halip na Ingles, isinulat ko ito sa wikang Filipino maliban sa titulo ng mga programa at sa mga pangalan ng mga institusyong napapabilang dito. Ito ay pagpapatunay na tinanggap ko ang hamon sa akin—na hindi ako Inglesero at kaya ko ring “bumaba.” Tanging ako lamang ang gumamit ng wikang Filipino sa buong klase namin, isama pa ang naunang dalawang klase. Pati ang depensa ko sa panel ay sa wikang Filipino—isang patunay ng sarili kong pagbabanyuhay
(transformation). At nakakatabang puso na alalahanin ito dahil pagkatapos ay nilapitan ako at personal pinapurihan ng isang Direktor ng NGO namin—dahil sa paggamit ko ng wikang Filipino.



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Monday, August 13, 2007

CSI Detective Wannabe: Tracking down my “Anonymous” detractor

This morning, I was very excited to post my previous blog entry in PinoyBlogoSphere. As soon as I posted my entry at the PBS, and the link to my blog, I immediately got a comment. I thought it was cool! However, instead being delighted, it dampened my spirit, instead. I admit that I was furiously mad infront of my PC. But that was just a normal reaction, ins’t it? What added insult to the injury was the fact that the comment came from an “Anonymous” person. “She” gave a name at the bottom of her comment, though (so I will call her a “she/her” in the meantime). Being a naturally polite and thinking person that I am, I did not immediately reply because I wanted to be very cautious in handling the situation. I went out, puffed one stick, drank ice-cold water, and then went back infront of my PC to compose my polite rejoinder.

Coming back from the bookstore this afternoon, I was still thinking if I should blog on the incident to get even. However, I wanted to be sure of my action. Hence, I browsed on topics about netiquette and I found out that it is simply not proper to get even because my blog is already a public domain. It was fine with me.

So what will I do? Ignore “her”? No.

My a la CSI personality trait told me to further investigate on where this nasty comment came from. I have proven in my past work (and my wards can attest to that) that I have some capabilities in investigation or get some leads whenever there are problems. But how on earth could I find my “detractor”? We have millions of bloggers around the world!

It is very simple, actually—I thought of using the “stat counter” or SiteMeter.

We thought the stat counter is simply for tracking the number of your visitors. For those who do not have a widget like mine, be informed that it can also be used for tracking the location and even the site(s)—your entry page and exit pages; including the time, exact location, map coordinates, and even the ISP provider for some visitors. This reminds me about Die Hard 4.0 when the FBI tracked down the hackers. (Woohoo! I am having fun!)

A CSI detective wannabe, I did the following:

  • I took note of the time “she” posted “her” comment.

  • I clicked on my SiteMeter and looked at the details—made a “ranging” of the visitors within that specific time to narrow down the possible suspects. The entry point is PBS. So that means all PBS members are “suspects”.

  • Of course I have to narrow down further and reduce number of possible suspects—I took note of the location. It is from Ontario, Canada, so almost majority of the PBS bloggers are eliminated (Thank, God!).

  • Is the “suspect” a Filipino living in Canada? Probably, otherwise, he would not enter PBS (by this time, I am building up some clues leading to the profile of the “suspect”).

  • How do I know if “she” is the one who left a comment? My SiteMeter also indicated the URL to the comments, so these established facts, as provided for by the entry and exit URLs:

  • The “suspect” entered my blog though PBS;

  • The “suspect” commented on my blog.
  • Did "she" visit my site after "she" commented? Yes. "She" did twice—first through the PBS and second, through one of my favorite bloggers. (If you are following my blog entries, you know who that blogger is. So join na din kayo sa profiling “suspect” ko!). So I clicked the entry point from my SiteMeter. But my favorite blogger also has several visitors. What will I do?

  • Now is the time to apply my expertise in behavior analysis. How will I do it? – Examine "her" writing style. But I have a big problem. All the comments to my favorite blogger seem so nice and very cordial. There is no way I could find out! But hey, there is a certain behavior in one of the comments. Actually it stands out because it can also be found in "her"comment to my blog.

  • I clicked the track back link: Bingo! “She” is a “He.”

  • Validate further: Check location. His blog says he is from Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

  • But I wanted to be sure, so I examined his blogs again.

He whines and he rants—so that explains his behavior in the net.

Case closed.

Epilogue (like the one being narrated at the end of some movies).
He says he is an IT consultant in Canada. But he never figured out I could track him down. If I were an FBI agent, and he has committed an internet crime, he would be in jail, by now. He thought he would be incognito. But I have found him.

While I cannot do something about what he did to me, it gave me a lesson—it pays to be cordial and polite because you wouldn’t know who you are dealing with in the net. Now I can sleep tight. Mission accomplished.

Photo Credit:

Where in the Galactic Empire is Luke Skywalker?

Of course we know who Luke Skywalker is, but have you ever wondered where Mark Hamill is and what he has been doing nowadays? Hamill, the actor who portrayed Skywalker’s character in the Episodes IV, V, and VI of Star Wars, seem to have vanished into the galaxy after he did the flicks in the late 70s and early 80s.

Two of the actors who did prominent or lead roles of Han Solo and Princess Leia Organa, are still much on the scene. Harrison Ford who essayed the role of Han Solo is still very popular playing meaty roles in popular Hollywood movies. Carrie Fisher, who did Princess Leia’s role, became a writer, and wrote her first novel, Postcards from the Edge, which was also made into film in 1990. In the 90s, she did mostly off-the cam roles and played some roles like when she appeared as a therapist in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. Of course, we can see her more often now, as the full-time judge of the reality TV show On the Lot.

Mark Hamill, on the other hand, did some on-cam roles after Star Wars. His last recorded acting work was Repetition in 2005 (which I am not familiar with), but one of his popular movies that hit the tills in the Philippine cinemas was Wing Commander in 1999 playing the role of Colonel Christopher Blair. While he is not seen much on movies, he lends his voice to various animated films and video games, like the popular animated flick Joseph: King of Dreams as the voice of Judah and Wing Commander Series.

Trivia: On January 11, 1977, a day before he was set to shoot one of the final scenes needed for Star Wars, Hamill was in a car accident that severely injured his face. The damage was extensive and that Hamill had to have multiple plastic surgeries to reconstruct his face. (Wikipedia).

Mark Hamill now.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Blogging for popularity, towards social responsibility

In the past weeks, I was wondering what do Technocrati authority, blog juice, ranking, popularity and being influential means for a blog and the blogger. Bloggers in the Philippines would probably count to hundreds of thousands, if not in at least a million that landing in the Top 100 popular blogs or even the Top 10 most influential blogs, or even cited as the best blog of the year would definitely be a mind-blowing experience and significant feat for the blogger.

As a result, blogging becomes a rat-race, and their authors would try all the possibilities to outshine other bloggers. We resort to installing widgets, signing in the popularity race, and some even resort to advertising their blogs for them to get some attention.

In a few months of blogging, I also asked if these ranking, authority and popularity widgets are really important. At the least, I would say yes. It becomes an indication whether you have readers, actually. I, myself, was surprised to learn that even Manolo Quezon III linked me in one of his articles 2 months ago (see my Technocrati).

Earlier this month, I submitted my blog in the ranking of the so-called grassroots blogging society--Pinoy Bloggers Society a.k.a. PinoyBlogoSphere or PBS. Knowing that I landed in 270+ ranking out of 315 members who submitted their blog for ranking, was disheartening at the start. Although I didn't care if nobody visits my blogsite, I also surmised what would be the purpose of writing blogs if nobody would read them anyway? So I tried experimenting on some topics, which would be of interest to me, and at the same time, would engender interest among my very few readers. In a few days, I was surprised with what I saw. My PBS Ranking improved from 270+ to 208 today (August 11). It feels good—definitely! Also, even if I seldom see any comment in my blog entries, my site counter reveals that I have visitors, which also means that I am not wasting my precious idle time to run a simple analysis of the Top 100 blogs in the PBS. Perhaps, Filipinos are not really fond of giving out comments or remarks. It is a cultural thing.

However, some blogs like that of Eric (Señor Enrique) does not even have link widgets, but his blog is very popular that most of the blogs I visit link his site. So what makes his blog become the daily fare for most of us?

This prompted me to do a simple analysis of the Top 100 blogs of the PBS (This ranking is as of 2:05PM, August 11, 2007). With the information on the ranking of the PBS, here is what I have found out:

There are 20 blog categories which landed in the Top 100. I grouped similar blogs for easy presentation and analysis and came up with the following categories:

  • Entertainment and the Arts - includes the entertainment industry, photo blogs, news and media, arts, and music.
  • Personal – anything under the sun—be it entertainment, politics and governance, IT, lifestyle, family life, friendships, etc.
  • Information technology – includes blogging technology, internet, video games, computers, internet resources
  • Outdoor Lifestyle – includes travel, sports and recreation
  • Group and Community – communities like PBS, mostly Pinoy communities
  • Fashion and Lifestyle
  • Business and Entrepreneurship
  • Humor
  • Academics
  • Socio-political
  • Home and Living

Based on the aggregated or re-classified categories, the top three are:

  • Entertainment and the Arts (33%)
  • Personal (25%)
  • Information technology (15%)

They comprise 59% of all the blogs.

Thus, I have the following impressions (not conclusions yet, since my “study” is not scientific):

The blogging community prefers to be entertained and make blogging a personal experience, one reads or writes blogs to unwind, rather than engage in mind-wracking social concerns. They want to dwell on the more mundane aspect of living—its nitty-gritty and not the macro issues that beset the country. Perhaps, we already have enough of these in the news and public affairs shows and in broadsheets. You will see why politics, economics and social issues do not augur well for most of the Filipino bloggers. But it does not mean we do not have to discuss these issues. However, your discussion of these issues, like the way MLQIII expresses his punditry on these social issues, must be well written and well thought—then you will have a following like him.

Ergo, if you want to be popular, write topics on entertainment, travel, and lessons from personal experiences. In so-doing, it becomes probable that you will have the chance to land at least in the top 59% of the group. If you want to discuss about pressing issues, then you must have the authority of a Manolo Quezon or Dean Jorge Bocobo.

The novelty of ideas drawn from the personal experiences and the noble lessons derived from them becomes meaningful to the lives of readers if you will be able to touch their heart and tickle their funny side like that of Empress Maruja. Although his personal blog is somewhat “obscene” in some cases, he gets away with it. In the end, we become entertained. He has the novelty of ideas especially when he revived his “Empress Balita,” which gives a funny and unusually creative point-of-view to what is an already published story about actors and actresses. Señor Enrique, on the other hand, is so effective in painting another version of Quiapo and its environs by including some heartwarming and mind-provoking stories, which adds life and color to his otherwise mundane photos of these areas.

Just like how fast the popularity ranking is, the behavior of the blogging community is also shifting significantly. Blogging was introduced as a personal online diary. Suddenly, it becomes a venue for sharing learning from experiences, counseling, networking, information sharing, technology coaching, and advocacy, among others.

At this point, we can say that blogging will continue to flourish as a venue for reaching out to people. In the near future, it will take the center stage, perhaps replacing the other forms of the tri-media in terms of popularity and as a preferred site for communication.

With its power to communicate and change lives, this medium, therefore, should not be exploited not only for personal gains, but eventually in helping shape our society the way we wanted it to be. Gleaning from our present situation, our personal blogs, in a way, affects our readers. Perhaps, we have influenced their way of life.

While we vie for popularity, perhaps, it would not hurt if we also inject some form of social responsibility in our blogs.

Monday, August 6, 2007

New look

Finally, I have come to terms with how my blog would look like. I have experimented on some templates but could not just get the feel of it. For me, they look limited in one way or another. Perhaps, it has also something to do with my banner heading. I didn't like wordy headings (as I have learned from my hands-on practice of journalism), but it should, at least give a hint of what my blog is all about.
I thank Doc Ian for giving me a better idea with the way he put my link to his blog as "Inkblots as he interprets life." True enough, Inkblots is a psychological test that one has to interpret.

Life is a canvass, and everything in it has a meaning, that we need to unravel. In "celebration" of some things that are good and new in my life: new month, new day, first day of the week, new job, so goes, my banner:

Saturday, August 4, 2007

On Bayang Barrios, F. Sionil Jose, and being a fan

I realize have several books by Francisco Sionil José more popularly known as F. Sionil José. I also realize I still have to buy more, which means I have to save a bit from my allowance so that I could buy all if not most of the rest of the titles that I do not have. This also reminds me that I planned to go to Solidaridad Bookshop in Padre Faura to have them signed by the old man, and perhaps, have the chance to talk to him, have a photo-op with him. That should be inputted in my celfone as a reminder, lest I want to forget again.

Having an autograph is something new to me or does not catch my fancy. Not ever in my entire life until the year 2003.

I have worked for two Presidents and rubbed elbows with one of them. I had the chance to work for Canadian and US Ambassadors, had the chance to mingle with the who’s-who in politics and government. Believe it or not, while others run berserk just to have a photo-op with them, I just stay in one corner or even offer to take their photographs. You may think how snob and smug I am. Well, maybe. But I am just too shy, that is why. Plus, I always have this eeky feeling during photo-ops. It is just too jologs. Kahit na sinong Poncio Pilato pa sya. (I hope you get what I mean).

Call me smug! But hey, not anymore! I said earlier in my promo blog about Bayang Barrios, I finally succumbed to somewhat borderline fanaticism. It was one afternoon sometime in 2003 when I left the office early to meet my wife at the mall. It was also the time when GMA 7 was also promoting its MetroPop album. It started with me buying their CD. The saleslady informed me that perhaps I would like to have the CD cover signed by one of the artists who would be performing. I asked who that artist was. She told me it was Bayang Barrios and kept on talking just to entice me because the seats were still empty and there seems to be no one interested in the promo show. But her words became muffled like murmurs in my ears already growing deaf upon hearing the name Bayang Barrios. Perhaps, I would not overrate her when I say that, for me, her name is synonymous to something that is ethereal. I love Bayang Barrios—that is why!

Now I admit that I am jologs. But I would like to clarify that my state of being jologs is not the jologs-to-the-max thing. My taste has a wide spectrum. Call it tasteful jologism (So is this another jologs morphology to justify one's self being a jologs?). After all, I adore no less than F. Sionil Jose and the popular alternative music artist of our time. And I should not forget to include Lea Salonga in my list (No. Not Regine. She is my wife’s favorite.).

So I sat there alone while waiting for my wife to come, who eventually arrived in the middle of the show. We enjoyed watching Bayang sing her winning piece Malayo Man, Malapit Din, which she wrote and composed. Then the time comes—autograph signing. I was glued to my seat. My right brain says it is time for me to go out of the enclosed area. But my left brain says I have to let go and take this one-of-a-lifetime opportunity (because it may never happen again). My wife even told me to go and line up. After all, it was Bayang Barrios and not just any teeny-bopper idol. Still, I thought that lining up in a long queue for an autograph was simply dyahe. Someone I know might see me and would endlessly tease me about it. But deep inside, I have to have it signed and not just waste the opportunity. So, the logical part of me finally cooperated and says I have to have some strategy. I have to make it quick and with a style. So I waited until there were only ten persons left. While waiting for my turn, I prepared some words to tell Bayang, then it was time for me to have the CD cover signed.

I told her, “Alam mo, noong Bagong Lumad ka pa lang with Joey Ayala, fan mo na ako.”

She smiled and said, “Talaga? Salamat!”

Photo of Bayang's Signature on the CD case of Metropop Song Festival CD.

I wanted to talk to her more, but those hawi-boys were just so annoying because they shoved us to move on. After that, I played the song over and over again, watched any documentary or feature, and browsed some articles about her.

Nevertheless, that made my day, and I look forward to see her up-close and personal in one of her gigs at the Conspiracy Bar.


Friday, August 3, 2007

Bayang Barrios

Soon on this site....

I have never been a die hard fan. I would cringe at the thought of lining up in a long queue for authograph signing. But sometime in 2003, I let my guards off, and what the heck! Right infront of me is one of the finest singers in town--Bayang Barrios!
Simply Exhilarating!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Counting and sharing my blessings!

Needless to say, this is the first day of the month! Last night, while I was writing about my last blog for July I wished that my first blog for the month should be something good and inspiring.

That wish was granted.
  1. I woke up early. For the past 6 months, I am a night-lurker working like a graveyard shift call center agent. Sweet life! Let's put it this way: I work at home, at my own pace and time, but making sure I deliver the outputs that my clients want from me. The truth is, I prefer to work at night when it is colder and no one can disturb me while working. Unless, I will transfer my PC to our bedroom and turn on the air-conditioning, but that is too much. My electric bill is not included in my PF.
  2. The document I was asking in my previous work, which I also mentioned in my earlier blog about red tape has finally arrived though e-mail;
  3. I sent an email to my future employer accepting their offer to manage one of their programs. I will start on August 15. I can never be grateful about this opportunity and blessing!
  4. I am officially out of job (at least until August 14), so I can blog the whole day and till "kingdom come" (Oops! I still have to finish the study commisisoned to me!).

And I thank God, Almighty for all these blessings today.


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