My tribute to the First Philippine Website for the Deaf
Yahoo has finally pulled the plug on Geocities.com, the pioneering online free webhosting site. Started in 1994, this unique site makes users select a “city” in which to place their web pages. The “cities” were named after real cities or regions according to their content—for example, computer-related sites were placed in “SiliconValley” and those dealing with entertainment were assigned to “Hollywood”—hence the name of the site.
People visiting the site are now greeted with the simple message, “Sorry, new GeoCities accounts are no longer available.” Existing users can still access their accounts, but Yahoo has begun aggressively pushing them to its premium Web Hosting. Yahoo purchased the site in 1999.
One of the first sites that I dabbled was the Official Website of Manila Christian Computer Institute for the Deaf which was then called MCCID Online. I can proudly say that in 1997, we were the first school for the deaf, probably even the first in Asia that went online. The site’s home city was in Athens. That is why its address was “http://www.geocities.com/athens/9385“.
I was pleasantly surprised and wondered why after more than twelve years, the site is still existing. They did not tear it down. The other sites which I created including my personal site were all removed by Geocities except for the one which I designed in 2001 for my family owned former computer school. After careful research, I found out that Yahoo retained those sites which back then, has many valuable outbound links.
Important articles and news items that appear in the MCCID Online website include:
- My Article about Deaf Culture;
- Ms. Heather Whitestone’s 1997 Visit to the Philippines;
- Prominent and controversial news on Filipino Deaf like the Supreme Court’s decision favoring Deaf workers against a major bank and the blow-by-blow account on Marlon Parazo, the first Filipino deaf convict;
- Detailed directory listings of deaf schools and organizations in the Philippines.
That site has received a few awards including the Deaf Watch Awards and a nomination in the 2nd Philippine Web Awards. It was even used as a credible online resource information pertaining to deaf people and institutions in the Philippines by Deaf Child Worldwide, Asia Disability Japan, Google Directory Asia, Deaf World Ministries (Deaf Culture) and The Interpreter’s Friend. In one occasion, it was even used as a reference by Gallaudet University.
I remember back in 2005, an American-Canadian researcher of SIL International Ms. Hope Hurlbut visited MCCID together with our deaf alumna and a provincemate Ms. Gilda Quintua. She was conducting a survey on sign language used by Filipinos. She wanted to find out the variety of languages used by deaf people in every province. She informed me that she had no idea how to go about the research since she is not familiar with places in the Philippines. It’s a good thing that she was given a printed copy of the directory of organizations in the country which her superiors got from the Internet. At the back of my mind, I knew that the list came from MCCID Online which I was proven right! The printout came from our site. It became very useful for her. You can freely download her “Philippine Signed Languages Survey” on this link.
After 1999, I wasn’t able to update the site because I forgot its login name and password. In 2000, MCCID bought its own domain name mccidonline.net and transferred all the contents. However in 2006, the school’s domain became mccid.edu.ph in order to make emphasis on it as an educational institution. The school still retains the old domain (mccidonline.net). But it now houses websites designed by our deaf students for free. However, the school’s official website continues to provide and update a more comprehensive directory of deaf organizations, schools and entrepreneurs in the Philippines.
Now, why did I make this blog entry? Simple. I want the site to be remembered before it will be permanently removed by Yahoo from the face of the cyberworld. 🙂