February 21, 2013

My App Night Experience: On being a blogger

When you’re totally involved in something else, some other good news takes a while to sink in. My recent experience as recipient of the Blogger of the Year conferred by the Cebu Bloggers Society Inc. (CBSI) was like that. The conferment was seven nights ago, and the trophy is on my desk at home practically screaming for me to be appreciative, if not attentive, to its beautifully crafted orange, gold, and silver curves… And I am, really.

Members and partners of Cebu Bloggers Society Inc. during the 2013 CBSI Appreciation Night
It’s just that these past few nights, I was (utterly) basking myself with relief after we successfully pulled off the first CBSI Appreciation Night last Feb. 15 at Harolds Hotel. Of course, the word ‘successfully’ is a subjective term. But when you count five reputable companies as our partners for the event; no physical accidents onstage whatsoever; an intimate venue complete with large backdrop, photo wall, and a photo story; charming emcees flawlessly moving the program from one segment to the next with wit and humor; and more than 40 people in attendance despite the cold weather and traffic, then, yes, you may enthusiastically accuse me for being subjective. So, you see, after the event, indulging myself with the “organizer’s relief” was the next best thing.

Actually becoming conscious of the trophies I’ve brought home came only second. But I’m happy just the same.

Blogging pushed me out of my comfort zone. In a good way. Outside this comfort zone, I found myself socializing with different people, meeting weird characters, craving to share good news with others, organizing events, advocating personal causes, and forming my own community of readers.

I am amused to recall when I received the CBSI Blogger of the Year during the Appreciation Night. I was onstage in hypertensive mode ready to fly out of the stage to proceed with the program and look at other things that I was assigned to take care of (yes, I was part of the organizing committee). The next thing I knew I was asked for a message. And oh boy, did I freak out! Public speaking has never been a strong point, though I try. With the microphone on my face, here is a part of what I said--that is, as far as I can remember, given my shocked nerves:

“Ruben (CBSI president), this was not part of the program! (My readers, I just had to protest! I was in charge of the program, for Jesus’ sake!) Anyway, uh, uh, um, thank you. (Yep, there were so many lots of ums and uhs that I lost count, which obviously showed how my mind suddenly went blank). This is kind of funny because I was the one who called for the voting for the CBSI Blogger of the Year. So when Bjornson (CBSI external vice-president) tallied this, the result came as a big shock. So thank you. Let us keep blogging. There is so much joy and gratification in what we do. Thank you.”

Then I practically jumped off the stage.

I received an Award of Distinction and the
CBSI Bloggers of the Year award.
Please humor me when I say I would like to extend that speech through this blog post:

It has taken me some time to come into terms and accept that I’m a blogger. I have long perceived myself more as a writer, student, and teacher. Perhaps it is because blogging has such a technical ring to it, something that I’m not really knowledgeable of. Give me
books to read, give me art exhibits to cover, give me people I can debate with on responsible news reporting, and I can manage myself. But give me the technicalities of search engine optimization and social media, and my instinct would tell me to run to the opposite direction.

My experience with blogging has been a humbling one. I am what you call the reluctant blogger. I was a business reporter for Sun.Star Cebu under the tutelage of Liberty Pinili, working proactively with my then partner in business crime, Debra Magallon-Estero, when I came across CBSI. If my poor memory serves me right, the interview happened around the time when the group was on their first year. I met bloggers who are now reputable in their own niches, such as Kevin Ray Chua, Mark Monta, Clarence Mongado, Jorich Ponio, Mikyu Maglasang, Agnes Jimenez, and Evan Johnn Mendoza. These people have encouraged me to try out blogging, which seemed to be a buzzword at the time. Even my former editor, Max Limpag, who holds my respect and admiration, especially when it comes to clear and effective blog writing, pushed me to explore it. Buoyed by this supportive climate, I made an online portfolio of my news reports. The amount of interactions I received bolstered my confidence enough to further explore this amazing platform. Later on, in the span of four years or so, I was learning other things beyond what is familiar to me—setting up my own site under my own name, embedding photos, videos and plugins, networking with other local and international bloggers, engaging in blogging partnerships, and even doing basic Adobe Photoshop.

My interview with CBSI four years ago. (L-R) Kevin Chua, Mark Monta, and Jorich Ponio
(Photo credit: Clarence Mongado)
Blogging pushed me out of my comfort zone. In a good way. Outside this comfort zone, I found myself socializing with different people, meeting weird characters, craving to share good news with others, organizing events, advocating personal causes, and forming my own community of readers. In this blogging environment, where I thrive with good intentions and without ulterior motives other than to help professionalize the blogging community in Cebu in general and push my personal advocacies in reading and writing, I guess I turned out okay.

Another huge event to look forward to next month!
If this were a speech, then this would be the time when I would hold  my trophy on my left side and lift it up and down as I thank my family and friends (offline and online) who supported me in this remarkable blogging journey—my longtime non-showbiz boyfriend (haha!) who is my number one fan; my parents and sister Sheilou and my boyfriend’s family who all spoil me; my writing “stars” and former professors and colleagues Mayette Tabada and Lorenzo NiƱal; my special friends Jen, Dess, Mayang, Darah, and Venshang, for keeping me sane; all my fantastic colleagues at CBSI with the dependable leadership of Ruben Licera and Bjornson Bernales; my ever patient friends at the Cebu Book Club Geezelle Tapangan, Fleire Castro, Jaysee Pingkian, Agnes Jimenez, and Ken Taarup, among others, and all my readers, followers, and blogging partners!

Here is praying for more years of productive and effective blogging experience for me!


- Nancy -