My Philippine Blog Awards Night 2008 Experience

Hey guys! I didn’t win. I already expected that. There were 14 of us who competed. The winning blog is about cats and dogs. Mine is about the deaf. No comparison. No bitterness. Congratulations to the winners! 🙂

I don’t want to dwell on that. I’ll tell about bits and pieces of what I experienced volunteering last Sunday, September 21.

  1. I arrived SM Mall of Asia at around 3:00 pm carrying the fish bowl I promised to contribute. I thought One Esplanade was just behind the main block. It wasn’t. It was way too far right of the mall. I had to pass through wilderness in order to get there. I almost got lost going there. I’m not sure how. Either I’m not good at directions or I’m simply dumb.
  2. When I entered, I saw the program venue. It was huge but not very impressive. The first person I met was Mark Dela Cruz (?). I asked him about Gail of the secretariat. I introduced myself as the one “who volunteered and to provide the fish bowl”. He immediately recognized. He introduced himself to me as the husband(?) of Gail. He was very friendly and accommodating.
  3. He escorted me to the dressing room at the side of the stage. There I saw around a dozen of busy yet cool dudes. Mark introduced me to them as the “fish bowl guy”. So for the whole event, I was called the “fish bowl guy”. Was that a compliment? I’m not sure. Either it sounds surreal or simply stupid.
  4. There I met Shari of I knew it was her because of her size, no offense meant. She looks exactly what appears on her blog. She was in charge of the prizes and video presentations. She was very cordial and has a ready smile. But due to her busyness, I wasn’t able to hobnob with her longer. I understand. Either I’m bored to look at or we have nothing interesting to chat about.
  5. I don’t remember the names of rest of the people inside the dressing room so I can’t mention them here. I helped Mark cutting the votes for Blogger’s Choice Awards who will win the Nokia cell phone. I’m not sure who won. Either they announced the winner late at night or they didn’t.
  6. I promised myself, I have to be useful. Then, I saw Gail. She told me that I need to register because of the prizes to be given away. So I did. I’m not sure who won. Either they announced the winners late at night or they didn’t.
  7. Then I saw Mark carrying the box full of trophies. So I volunteered to get the rest from the dressing room. The trophy was a gold-painted wire meticulously twisted and turned on top of a wooden base. I was very careful not to re-twist the wires as they dangle with others because it was supposed to look abstract. I’m not sure how to look. Either it’s really a work of art or I just don’t appreciate art.
  8. I tried to socialize with nameless people. It’s a blogger’s awards night so the most common entry line is “What’s your blog about?” Then, when they returned the question to me, I explained about my blog. Their surprising look was expected. They asked, “Ano yun?” (What’s that?) Only 20% of my readers are from the Philippines. Refer to Geo Counter at bottom left of this page for the stats. Besides, who would be interested about the deaf and disabled persons? Either they are unaware or simply don’t care.
  9. Then I saw someone whom I’m familiar with, Sonny Villafania, web designer of Emilio Aguinaldo Colleges and PWAG Secretary. At last, I wasn’t a stranger anymore. We had a long chat because we haven’t met in almost a year. His blog about Pangasinan’s literature was one of the finalists under the Culture and Arts category. The winner was a theater reviewer. His blog lost. I’m not sure why. Either his literary works is unappealing to the judges or the judges don’t appreciate the beauty of his unique literary works.
  10. Presidential aspirant and current Senator Mar Roxas was the special guest speaker. His talk was good especially when he focused on the significance of the day (Former President Marcos declared Martial Law). He wants to befriend the Filipino bloggers. I’m not sure about his motives. Either he champions their work or he wants them to work to make him a future champion.
  11. The first two front rows were empty. There were many empty seats in other parts. I thought many would come since 600 bloggers submitted their entries and 37 trophies are at stake which is far greater than last year. The registration was lax. Anybody can enter. I’m not sure why there were few who attended. Either bloggers have other things to do or they have better things to do.
  12. I was at the back stage or err, right side stage together with Mark arranging the trophies according to the program’s continuity. We also assisted in handing out of trophies to the trophy girl and boy up stage. But as the names of winners were called, Mark and I soon moved back and forth collecting the trophies because the claimants were absent. Out of 37 trophies, 17 were unclaimed, nearly half. I’m not sure why some didn’t bother to attend. Either bloggers have other things to do or they have better things to do.
  13. The program started a little bit late. There were technical problems during the event but was very minor. The stage was perfect. Everybody especially the winners, were ecstatic. The cocktail was very delectable especially because it’s free! I had multiple servings during the night. They were served on both sides of the venue yet the food disappeared ultra fast. I’m not sure about the cause. Either the audience were so hungry or they have nothing else to do except to eat.
  14. The program ended at around 8pm.Overall the event was a success. Afterwards, dance party with 50 cases of beer freely flowed courtesy of the major sponsor. They said the post-party event will end at 10. But I can’t stay that long. I wasn’t even able to get my fish bowl because they told me that they will still use it for raffle draw. Besides, there were a handful of policemen waiting outside talking with the organizers. I’m not sure about what they want. Either they want to secure the party because of the booze or they want to join the party because of the booze.

It was truly an eventful Sunday evening for me. I was satisfied volunteering. Congratulations to the organizers. They deserve a pat in the back. I hope they read this but I doubt if they will (Refer to Item 8 for my reason). Now, will I volunteer again next year? If given a chance, I certainly would. But I’m not sure about the future. Either there will be a 3rd Philippine Blog Awards or there won’t be a 3rd Philippine Blog Awards. 🙂

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Yay! First 12500 Visits!

Fifteen posts, 21 days and 2500 visitors later, I again achieved another milestone of 12500 visitors! Hooray for me! hehehe

Before I promised to celebrate by posting this for every 1000 visit. But now I changed it to every 2500. That’s why it took me almost three weeks to post this. Most of the articles I added during these weeks were about the Philippine Blog Awards (4 posts) followed by the Silent Odyssey Docu-film (2 posts) and Special Job Fair for the Deaf (2 posts).

Two significant things that made these three weeks unique are:

  1. My Blog was selected as finalist in 2nd Philippine Blog Awards under Commentary Category
  2. My Blog shoots up to 4 in my Google’s Page Rank. More on this in my next post.

Visitors are the lifeline of every blog/blogger. Without them, posting articles in your blog are worthless. I remember the famous line from the Kevin Costner’s movie “Field of Dreams” shown during the late 80s where he built a baseball field after hearing some voices saying,

If you build it, they will come.

I hope this tag line can also be applied for bloggers. But it ain’t so. There are millions of blogs out there competing for viewers. brags of hosting more than 4 million blogs. Thousands of new blogs are listed each day and an even greater number of blog posts appear in Google’s search engine. Sadly, most of them don’t get noticed even after blogging for years. Was it due to the content’s wide appeal? Frequency of posting? Significance of tags? Credible links? Or a concoction of each? I’m not sure.

So to my increasing number of readers, thank you very much for coming. Mabuhay Ang Mga Pilipinong Bingi! (Long live the Filipino Deaf!) 🙂

Makati City will again hold job fair for deaf persons

After the successful job fair held last September 18 at Makati City PESO Office, they will again hold the last of its series on Thursday, September 25 also on the same venue. The event is exclusively for Deaf persons only.

Applications are welcome, male or female, 18-35 years old, and at least a high school graduate. Please bring resume or bio-data.

I mentioned successful because based on the feedback I heard from the deaf who went, there were more than a hundred people who applied for jobs as compared to the first one. This according to PESO official, Mr. Manny Roldan. He said that more than 20 Deaf attended and applied for work last September 11.

Aside from Lamoiyan Corporation, makers of Happee toothpaste, companies who participated in the job fair were mostly for factory or blue-collar work.

So for those who were not able to join in the previous two job fairs, this is your last chance.

Related Article: written by Mr. Ralph Torralba, Deaf Journalist

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Yay! My blog is finalist in Philippine Blog Awards!

This is exciting! Out of 600 nominees, my blog was chosen as one of the finalists together with 13 other bloggers under the Commentary Category on the 2nd Philippine Blog Awards! Being nominated is already an honor. Winning is just the icing on the cake.

After being selected as one of those eligible to join, I promised myself that I will volunteer. So I signed up. Mapili man ang blog ko o hindi, I would go through volunteering. So I did. I promised to bring the fish bowl to the secretariat that will be used for the raffle draw. Cheap! hehehe

Compared to other seasoned bloggers here, my blogging history was fairly short. Although I signed up my WordPress account March 8 last year, I posted my first article only last April 26, barely five months ago. This is because I was infuriated when I learned that Cebu Pacific Airlines refused to board ten deaf passengers who are already seated inside the plane, on a flight to the world renowned Boracay Island. They cited that their policy that blind and deaf passengers had to be properly accompanied in order to be treated as regular passengers. I posted my fiery article to Yahoo groups which I’m a member of. An online news website re-posted my article but I felt it’s not enough. I need to expose the human rights violation this airline did on a larger scale so I posted it in this blog. That’s where it started.

I almost did not make the criteria for the awards. They requested me to submit my best five blog posts from April 2007 to April 2008. It’s a good thing that I posted exactly five articles on the last week of April namely; Deaf Persons Not Allowed to Board Cebu Pacific (April 26), Four Days of House Visits (April 26), Deaf Laugh (April 27), Deaf Humor (April 29) and On Being Deaf and Uneducated (April 30) or else I won’t get qualified. 🙂

I know I’m too lazy to write. I also have other more productive things to do than to write. I just tried posting a few. But now, I can’t stop. This is addicting. hehehe

So to the award’s organizers, thank you very much for considering my blog. I pray for the success of the awarding ceremony this Sunday. 🙂

On being deaf, Christian and …. err, gay?

I know that by blogging this, I would create some stir among my Christian brothers and of course the Christian Deaf community.

Before I continue, let me get this straight. I am a Born Again Christian. I received Jesus Christ as my personal Savior when I was eleven years old at Grace Bible Church in Nagtahan, Manila through the invitation of my high school best friend Louie Baclagon, who is currently the Marketing Director of World Vision Philippines. My whole family are faithful believers and baptized to a Bible Baptist Church in Quezon City where the father of now Manila congressman was our pastor for many many years. I was once the church pianist and choir member there. They eventually transferred to another Baptist church in Marikina City while I continue to interpret for the deaf congregation of Capitol City Baptist Church in West Avenue, Quezon City since 1996. Now that I have made that clear, let’s go on.

As I was scanning through my WordPress dashboard, I caught this seemingly innocent link entitled “Ray Boltz has come out of the closet“. I thought it was just somebody with similar name so I got curious. I know of a gospel singer by that name. I used to sing most of his songs during my younger years. My Christian friend introduced me to his music by giving me his cassette tape. I was very blessed every time I hear him sing. So when I clicked on the link, I got stunned. It really is him! Ray Boltz publicly confessed that he is gay! My initial reaction was, “How could he?

Now, how do I relate this to the deaf community? I know for a fact that the deaf are not immune to this unnatural sexual preference. In our school, we have male students who act effeminately and female ones who appear brusque and rough. Although we don’t encounter grave problems with the feminine men, it’s the masculine women that we get too much headache. Their roughness tend to go overboard that they harass and even threaten other female students if they don’t get what or who they want.

This issue even becomes so timely because DeafRead recently posted a couple of articles tackling about homosexuality among the deaf and some harassment they get from churches where they belong. According to the blogger,

Deaf Christians are imposing their religious values and making righteous judgments on Deaf Gays and Lesbians.

Now, here is my take. In this world, being deaf already connotes discrimination. Being deaf and gay is even harder. But being deaf, Christian and gay is really a tough row to hoe. Sometimes I hear hearing people remarked snidely when they see gay deaf. They felt sorry for them because they were not “brought up well by their families”. They easily judge them even though they haven’t even met their families.

I did not put this post to malign, ridicule, lambast or even judge people. It’s easy to make comments or judgment about others even though we know nothing about their lives. It’s easy for us to throw theological arguments and Biblical verses pertaining to this. It’s easy to take sides. But it’s more difficult to love and understand.

One of the vital values I learned after being with deaf people for almost two decades is being patient. Isn’t that also a Biblical truth? So, I go for the love and understand side. Sure it’s harder to do. But it’s easier to bear. 🙂

Here is the music video of my most favorite hit gospel song of Ray Boltz entitled “Thank You”. I memorized its lyrics by heart and I always get “tears in my eyes” every time I hear this.

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