Portrait of the Filipino as blogger

The latest episode of the San Francisco Chronicle’s Pinoy Pod features several top Pinoy bloggers: Manolo Quezon, Abe Olandres, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, represented by executive director Sheila Coronel, Rickey Yaneza, and Bryan Boy. The “Portrait of the Filipino as Blogger” segment is too short because Pinoy Pod squeezed in two topics for the episode: Pinoy bloggers and two Fil-Am filmmakers.

Central to the very short discussion is the political blogs v. gossip and showbiz blogs issue. As you can see in Pinoy blog rankings like Abe’s Pinoy Top Blogs, showbiz-oriented weblogs hog web traffic.

Manolo told Pinoy Pod: “I was never upset about it unlike some other people because you just have to realize that it will always be a smaller percentage of people interested in politics day in and day out.”

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Free Expression in Asian Cyberspace conference: personal notes

Last week’s conference organized by the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (Seapa) in cooperation with the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) with the support of the Berkman Center Center for Internet and Society offered me a chance to meet bloggers and journalists from all over Asia.

With Sheila Coronel
Time flew so fast for the conference–an indication that I found it very interesting–that I found myself back at the airport in what appeared to be merely a day after stepping out of it.

I met Portnoy, a blogger from Taiwan, who asked for advice in choosing which Lucky Me instant cup noodle to bring back to his girlfriend. I picked my favorites: La Paz Batchoy and Palabok. He couldn’t have found a more knowledgeable conference delegate as instant noodles and sandwiches are common blogging and writing food for me–these are efficient to eat and the simplest to prepare especially if you’�re chasing a tight deadline.

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Darn, I missed iBlog2

I was all set to attend yesterday’s iBlog2 summit. I’m here in Manila for the Free Expression in Asian Cyberspace conference organized by the Southeast Asian Press Alliance and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.

I was scheduled to arrive before noon yesterday but the flight I took got delayed. I arrived at the hotel at past 1:00 p.m., went through my to-do lists items of things that needed to be done by then and the next thing I knew, it was already past 2:00 p.m. It would have been great to finally meet bloggers I only knew online. It would have been great to revisit the school where I spent some of my best adolescent years in. Meeting an “old flame” and finding out you can connect to the Internet in the hotel room I’m staying in saved my day.

The Free Expression in Asian Cyberspace is a very informative conference. You can download the presentations at the WordPress blog opened by Alecks Pabico last night. I also got to meet Dean Jorge Bocobo. Some of the Pinoy journalist bloggers attending it are Manolo Quezon, John Nery, Erwin Oliva and of course the members of PCIJ.

Listening to some of the speakers brings me back to a familiar line of thought that keeps coming back to me during Martial Law and Edsa 1 anniversaries, and like Jacopo Belbo in Foucault’s Pendulum—I keep asking myself whether Id have the courage to defy fascism.

This afternoon, Rebecca MacKinnon of Global Voices and Manolo Quezon will be speaking. Manolo is scheduled to talk on “Tag-teaming against the President: Philippine case study on how bloggers and mainstream media kept a “banned” conversation going and online.”

Note to self: schedule installing of this great WordPress plugin later tonight.

Exceeding my plan’s bandwidth allocation

This site was unavailable for a while because I exceeded my hosting plan’s bandwidth allocation. That’s what you face when you’re linked to by Sassy Lawyer, Manolo and the PCIJ. Now there’s a link to this site from INQ7.net and Newsstand. I’m praying for this month to end already so my bandwidth counter can return to zero. I used to say it would be nice to encounter the same problems Sassy Lawyer faces-that of exceeding bandwidth allocation. It’s not nice at all. Since last night I’ve been trying to reload my page once in a while that I’ve memorized the error message.

Manolo Quezon: Blogging is the salvation of print media

Manuel L. Quezon III is among the country’s top political bloggers. He describes himself as a “prototypical pajama blogger” working and blogging from home. During the House of Representatives’ vote on the committee reports dismissing the impeachment complaints against Arroyo, Manolo covered the proceedings from late afternoon until 4:00 a.m. when he collapsed in exhaustion. Below are transcripts of my email interview with Manolo for the “See it, hear it, blog it” article for Sun.Star Cebu during the Cebu Press Freedom Week.

Max: Professor Jay Rosen of the New York University said early this year that the question of bloggers vs. journalists is over. He says the “question now isn’t whether blogs can be journalism. They can be, sometimes. It isn’t whether bloggers “are” journalists. They apparently are, sometimes.” Do you agree with his statement? Do you see yourself as journalists in the mold of reporters producing original news content or more of opinion writers who comment on news items?

Manolo: In my particular case, I have always been an opinion writer (either as a columnist or editorial writer), or have delved into history. Whether history (examples would be my pieces on Edsa One or say, the American period) or reportage (reportage, to me, is a kind of literary form of the essay, I’ve been influenced in this view by Ryzsard Kapuzsinsky, by Tom Wolfe, Nick Joaquin, etc.), or opinion-writing, which includes both analysis and commentary (analysis is putting together events and circumstances to come up with an educated guess of future trends, or a prognosis on ongoing events; commentary is a synthesis of personal views and that of other people on a specific person or event).

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Sporting a new theme; meeting Manolo

The Tri-Sexuality WordPress theme by Scott Jarkoff, co-founder of deviantArt, has to be the best three-column wordpress theme out there. When I spotted it, Jarkoff was still packaging a release and I had to check his site daily until the theme was offered for download.

I’m still customizing the theme and transferring elements from the previous themes I’ve used.

Press Freedom Week is finally over. I missed a lot of activities during the celebration because of my work schedule – I work from 5:00 in the afternoon until the pages are put to bed. I wasn’t able to attend any of the seminars or conferences for editors and reporters.

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See it, hear it, blog it

(Note: I wrote this article for Sun.Star Cebu during the Cebu Press Freedom Week. I am reprinting it here to continue the community conversation on the topic. I will be reprinting later my notes for this story.)

Manuel L. Quezon III knew Sept. 5 would be historic. It was the day the House of Representatives would vote on a committee report dismissing three impeachment complaints filed against President Arroyo.

He was up at 6 a.m. that day, cramming as much work as he could in the morning to clear his afternoon schedule, in time to cover the House vote for his personal site at www.quezon.ph.

Quezon covered the House session live in his weblog, posting his first entry at 4:06 p.m. and ending only at 4:03 a.m. when he collapsed in exhaustion. He continued in the early afternoon of Sept. 6.

His coverage wasn’t your regular news report. It was a recap of the events written by a historian, opinion writer, speechwriter and one of the country’s top bloggers:

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Press freedom week and haute cuisine

This week is Press Freedom Week in Cebu. The event, held on the week where Sept 21 falls, is an annual gathering of Cebu journalists. The event traditionally starts with a march from City Hall to Capitol, this year it was from Capitol to the University of the Visayas. I missed last Sunday’s march because I wasn’t feeling well and I was struggling to meet the deadline for an article on blogging and journalism.

Last Monday, reporters were treated to a six-course lesson on haute cuisine at the Waterfront Hotel in Lahug, Cebu City. I was busy closing pages that night and had to content myself with a fine meal of canteen cuisine and an instant La Paz batchoy later.

On Wednesday, Sun.Star Cebu started its citizen journalists project. It has a web component run by, naturally, WordPress. Here’s a link to Sun.Star Cebu’s editorial announcing the project. This afternoon, Manolo Quezon will be addressing a forum in UP Cebu on Gloriagate. I checked the assignments log last night and saw that the forum was scheduled at 1:00 p.m. My wife and I are planning to attend the forum (that is if I wake up in time for it). Are other Cebu-based bloggers planning to attend this afternoon’s forum? Why don’t we meet there?