Congratulations to all the bloggers, winners and organizers of this wonderful event.
A few nights ago I was having dinner with Gang Badoy. Some of you may know her as the founder of Rock Ed Philippines, which is one of the more prominent NGOs that appeal to the youth because of their volunteerism efforts. She was telling me that the main reason why Rock Ed became very popular to the youth was because, unlike other NGOs, there is no bureaucracy from top to bottom and the youth feel very much at home, because they are placed in an environment where they are free to express themselves by volunteering nothing but their talent to the organization.
I draw a similar allusion to this tonight. I canâ€™t believe that we’re all here, doing our own thing. All volunteers, all bloggers and all witness to a momentous event which I consider to be the continuation â€“ and not the start of something big. I wish our numbers were in the 300, so I could say something like “at one time, 300 bloggers stood without the support of any PR or marketing agency to put together an awards night. Remember us, remember us.â€
But before we all decide to quit our jobs and become full time Spartans, I would like to put some perspective to this event. The Philippine blogger community is growing at an exponential rate. When I speak of community, I am talking about bloggers who have decided to become part of the conversation and participate in what I would like to call an open source marketing project with the main beneficiary being this beloved country of ours, the Philippines.
I love this country. Thatâ€™s why Iâ€™m still here. And I feel that blogs, podcasts, online video and other viral marketing efforts are a fit model for spreading the good word about the Philippines, its people and products. Not really because the country has gone blog-happy, but because these content platforms are affordable, easy to use and quite frankly, there are just so many beautiful things to write about here.
I would like to believe that the country is getting better. We are a major player in the outsourcing industry. We are known in the areas of design and the arts worldwide. We are also known to be the best caregivers in foreign lands, who are not used to the empathy and care that we kababayans take for granted. And now, weâ€™re penetrating the blogosphere. In the global scene, there are Filipinos in every major global blog network. While back home, the bloggers are slowly being given the same privileges as journalists to attend press conferences and media launches. We actually enjoy a freedom that quite sadly, we take for granted.
The Philippine Blog Awards recognizes what we can metaphysically categorize as a good use of this gift of freedom of speech. If I may explain further, this event is supposed to award â€œsomethingâ€ to â€œsomeone.â€ This â€œsomethingâ€ is really a recognition for time and effort invested in â€œupping the barâ€ in terms of content and context so that the whole industry may follow. The blog parties we had on several occasions are a proof of concept that there is a blogging community that wants to be actively engaged. And now the awards we have tonight is another proof of concept that there can be standards in the industry, and that these standards are recognized by movers and shakers in traditional and new media through our judges, and also by the blogging community itself through the special awards and bloggers choice awards.
So indeed, Mike Abundo was right after all when he said that social media, as it seems, is the way to go. And this all hinges on the fact that we as Filipinos, sincerely enjoy each others company, finding the most profound or absurd excuses â€“ like this â€œawards nightâ€ for instance — to meet up, network, and grab a beer.
In closing, I would like to urge you all to think about your personal advocacies, and how your own writings can fit into this very big niche called the Philippines. I encourage you to think like editors and entrepreneurs, who are constantly trying to reinvent themselves to reach their audience and deliver an effective message. This is all worth it, I assure you, ladies and gentlemen, because indeed, who would deny the fact that the Filipino is worth blogging for!
Thank you very much and enjoy the party!