I have a confession to make. In 2016, Ayoko Kay leni Robredo because Dilawan siya. But I got to interview her with my fellow bloggers for almost 2 hours . In our interview she said she had plans for anti poverty program.
At ginawa talaga niya. Angat Buhay started in October 2016. Mas lalo ako bilib sa kanya.
Angat Buhay is her anti poverty program under the Office of the Vice President.
As of December 2021, the OVP, through Angat Buhay, has partnered with 372 organizations mobilizing a total of P520 million worth of resources to assist 321,001 families and 305,223 individuals in 223 communities nationwide.
Some of the projects under the program are the Angat Buhay villages in Bicol and Marawi, medical assistance, and the construction of health centers and classrooms, among others. Imagine if she is president. She will make ANGAT Buhay lahat even bigger.
Two out of many reasons “Why Leni”. If president , she will push for a bill for a P100 billion stimulus package for MSMEs to help rebuild our economy while also making sure people don’t lose their jobs. Meron din balak ng Unemployment Insurance Program where you will get 80% of 3 months worth of their previous salary . This is what I will campaign when asked about her concrete plans.
Marami nag sabi wala siyang ginawa. I only knew of her achievements last year. Hindi siya epal. Her weakness and strength is she didn’t want to publicize her achievements. At that time, she had no intentions to run for President. She just kept on working.
These are her achievements
COVID -19 RESPONSE 1. P503 Million COVID-19 Response. 2. P58.84 Million Testing Kits. 3. P64.70 Million PPES. 4. P43.98 Million Dormitories for Frontliners. 5. P35.60 Million Disaster Relief Operations. 6. P20.43 Million Gadgets for students. 7. P17.28 Million locally funded projects. 8. P14 Million Hot meals for Health workers. 9. P2.5 Million support towards employees exposed to COVID-10. 10. P1.4 Million Hazard Pay for regular employees. 11. P817,000 Hazard Pay for the contract of service employees. 12. P249,500 Hazard Pay for contractual employees. 13. 23,345 Frontliners served through Vaccine Express, Cab Swab, Free Shuttle. 14. Community Mart sa Quezon City at Pasig para sa mga small-time market vendors at tricycle drivers na naapektuhan ng pandemya. 15. Vaccine Express initiative that inoculated 500 Aetas in Barangay Sta. Juliana. 16. Leni backed the passage into law of the Unemployment Insurance Bill that will create an unemployment insurance system to protect Filipinos who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
DISASTER RELIEF/HOUSING 17. P12.3 Billion total value of given help to families. 18. P42.17 Million worth of help given to communities. 19. P12.80 Million contribution towards transitory shelters and shelter kits for Marawi 20. P207,244 or 1,022 individuals given relief ops. 21. P23.86 Million from the VP fund was shelled out for the victims of the Taal Volcano, Typhoon Quinta, Super Typhoon Rolly, and Typhoon Ulysses. 22. P8.841 Million donations were collected for the Taal eruption. 23. P2.360 Million donations were collected for Typhoons. 24. 12,489 families’ homes were repaired due to disaster-related damages. 25. 92,600 Light Bulbs given to homes in Metro Manila. 26. 3,776+ Households have been given electricity through the OVP’s Angat Buhay. 27. Assistance to at least 11 towns in Batangas, 1 in Cavite after the volcanic eruption, reaching at least 22.047 families in the two provinces. 28. 87 municipalities across 11 provinces were given aid that reached at least 56,148 families after the typhoons. 29. The OVP turned over pet supplies donated by different organizations to the Philippine Animal Rescue Team. This is to help in taking care of around 600 animals. 30. Leni has proposed the construction of stronger evacuation centers that not only will withstand natural calamities but will also accommodate pets and livestock. 31. Leni wants to strengthen the rescue capabilities of barangay officials. 32. In 2020, Leni together with the OVP’s partner-agencies provided boats for Aurora fisherfolk affected by typhoons. 33. After the Typhoon Ulysses calamity, Leni says that climate change should be taken seriously. 34. Leni recognizes that there is a “global climate emergency,” and values conversations on the issue. She supports instructional changes towards fossil fuel independence.
POVERTY REDUCTION 35. Leni was a practicing lawyer who focused on cases involving the marginalized sector. 36. P441.14 Million worth of resources mobilized through the OVP’s Angat Buhay with 330 partnered organizations. 37.341,779 families helped or 221,122 individuals in 381 communities nationwide through the OVP’s Angat Buhay. 38. P8.93 Million worth of projects, farm inputs, livestock, development and training wherein 127 individuals and 18 accredited Civil Society Organizations were assisted.
EDUKASYON 39. P122.96 Million worth of Educational infrastructure built. 40. P8.27 Million worth of School kits. 41. P4.49 Million worth of Scholarships and technical training. 42. P19.75 Million appraised value of gadgets and items raised via Kaya Natin donation drive for Bayanihan E-skwela, Community learning hubs, instructional videos for teachers and parents. 43. Leni wants SPED centers in all public schools. 44. Noong siya ay Housing Chief, she pushed to build communities that are friendly to persons with disabilities. 45. The OVP partnered with USAID and PBEd to provide free technical-vocational skills and employability training for over 1,000 unemployed and out-of-school Filipino youth.
BILLS AUTHORED 46. Principal Author of HB 19 or the Full Disclosure Bill. 47. Principal Author of HB 3905 or the Participatory Budget Process Bill. 48. Principal Author of HB 4911 or the People Empowerment Bill. 49. Co-author of HB 3432 or the Comprehensive Anti-Discrimination Bill. 50. Co-author of HB 3587 or the Anti-Political Dynasty Bill.
It has nothing to do with age. I was in my early 60s when I embarked on my journey as a coffee producer. Knowing nothing about coffee production , I was able to overcome my insecurities by just doing it. It’s never too late to start something out of your comfort zone.
Women have long fought for equality and while the road has often been filled with ups and downs, stories of women finding strength within themselves and using it to help other women find theirs has always been at the forefront of the journey towards women empowerment.
This Women’s Month, YouTube celebrated women content creators who were able to break the bias and chart their own journeys of equality in an online event titled Breaking the Bias: Online and beyond on March 30.
“The theme for this year’s Women’s Month is ‘Break The Bias’ which resonates so much with me. I myself experienced this. I felt that I had to break the biases that are attached to being a woman back in the day when I was just starting in the tech industry,” said Bernadette Nacario, Google Philippines Country Director.
“I believe that in order for us to break the bias, one of the steps we have to take is to ‘Ask Her First’. The simple habit of asking, rather than assuming, can lead more women to realizing their full potential and succeeding in what they choose to do,” Nacario added.
Hosted by Nikki Gil-Albert, the event highlighted the challenges women face–from body-shaming to dealing with disabilities–how they rose above it and how they encourage others to do the same.
Breaking biases online and offline
“Growing up, the beauty standard was all about being sexy and in order to be sexy, you needed to go on a diet. As a plus-size woman, I did not fit those standards,” said Helen Payawal of Helen On Fleek.
Helen is a beauty and lifestyle content creator who runs her own clothing and swimwear line. When she became a content creator, she revealed that she often came across comments about her size and how “it’s embarrassing” seeing a person like her wearing swimsuits.
That didn’t stop her from doing what she loves–vlogging and traveling–and if that didn’t stop her, her “curvybabes” shouldn’t either.
“A lot of us felt insecure growing up. But there’s this one quote that a friend shared to me that I will never forget — ‘Be someone who you needed when you were younger,’” she said. “I want to be someone who can inspire my fellow plus-size women that once you get over the shyness and what people would think about you because you are different, you will be limitless. At the end of the day, it’s your happiness that matters.”
ForJozelle Tech, a content creator and CEO of her own brand creative consulting firm The Rolling Media, living as a differently-abled person sometimes has challenges beyond the disability itself.
“Living as a physically-challenged person, people are prone to assumptions: that I would need help or that I won’t be able to do certain things,” Jozelle said.
Jozelle was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy and uses a wheelchair to move around. This has led to many instances of people talking over her or asking her companion about her instead of directly asking her.
“They think I can’t handle the conversation on my own. The crazy thing about this is I’m right in front of them,” she explained. “By approaching my companion first, I’d feel like you see me as someone unequal or incapable.”
“This is why it’s very important to educate people about the right approach or way of asking questions. Sometimes comments like ‘can you do that’ can do more harm than good,” Nikki pointed out.
This is why Jozelle, through her YouTube channel, seeks not only to inspire others like her into following their passions but also helping people to change how they treat differently-abled people.
Building a world of strong, confident women
As a Muslim Filipina, Egypa Balindong felt that while being a woman is struggle enough, being a young Muslim woman and a minority is an even bigger struggle.
“People will always question your talent, capacity, and credibility and they will discredit your achievements just because you’re a woman,” Egypa said.
She was able to turn these challenges into opportunities as the filmmaker used her YouTube channel to show her life as a Maranao, as a Muslim, and most of all, as an empowered woman.
“I had to be brave enough to educate people about my culture and religion. By simply sharing my daily life with my friends and family, I was able to make people see that we are not different,” she said.
The world has come a long way but there is still more that needs to be done, especially when it comes to creating a world where women are empowered.
Mothers like Arra Solis (Rookie Mommy PH) play a major role in that regard. As mother to her young daughter and as a businesswoman, she has taken it upon herself to set an example that a woman can do anything she sets her mind on doing.
Before being a work-from-home mom and entrepreneur, Arra used to have a regular office job. She recalled that one of the difficulties she faced was being passed over when it comes to leadership positions or having decisions made for her.
“I was never really asked first if I wanted to do something or if I’m able to do it. This is when I learned to speak up and have people listen,” she explained before adding that she wishes her daughter would grow up in a world where such challenges are no more.
“I’m hoping that we get to a place where gender, skin color, religion, etc will not hinder her from getting the career path she wanted, may it be to take on a leadership role in a company or to start a business,” she added.
Learn more about how to #AskHerFist and #BreakTheBias to create a more inclusive place for women. Listen to their stories on the Google Philippines YouTube and Facebook pages.
I never imagined dabbling in video production much less being a program participant of the YouTube Creator Program for Independent Journalists. I just arrived in my hospital room after an angiogram procedure on July 15 when I checked my emails with my left hand. My cardiologist told me that I shouldn’t move my right hand until I got the clearance.
I thought, “wow, they had to inform me I didn’t get accepted”. I applied two days before the deadline, and went through an interview and heard nothing since June. I really thought I was not accepted so why was the email congratulating me. It was the second good news within one hour. First, the angiogram showed I had no blockage in my heart. Second, this news saying I am IN . Though I have a YouTube channel for 14 years now, I never made any effort to create interesting videos. I concentrated mostly on short form and long form written content. All of my videos were raw files from my coverage. Also, for the past four years, I concentrated on being a budding coffee producer. In fact, I started creating videos of our Agnep coffee farm but not for social issues.
We’re excited to announce today the selection of nearly 50 independent journalists and over 40 digital-first newsrooms across the programs. Our Creator Program for Independent Journalists aims to give the growing number of reporters publishing independently the tools needed to succeed on YouTube. And the Sustainability Lab for Digital-First Newsrooms provides support for digital native newsrooms to start and expand their video operations.
While I am happy to be one of the 50 participants, I am disappointed to be the only one in the Philippines. It would have been fun to learn from each other. Still, I am grateful to learn from my cohorts. Training started on basic video production. More will come during the year.
YouTube said that “over the course of the next year, we’ll offer journalists in the Creator Program training in industry best practices, including comprehensive sessions on video production and editing, audience development, entrepreneurship, and achieving financial sustainability on the platform. Participants will receive grants to help fuel their new video operations.”
So I am thinking of my content for the years to come. Developing a social media campaign requires a lot of thought, time and effort, especially in human rights work and social advocacy. Underrepresented stories I have covered are the victims of extrajudicial killings and the harassment of indigenous communities. The needs of our farmers, laborers and the marginalized sectors are issues I have covered and continue to write. Let me know if there are urgent issues I need to cover.
If you have been a regular visitor of my blog for the past 15 years, you would have known my journey. This latest gig is another chapter of my new normal in honor of my beloved son who made sure I had some mission to fulfill in this mortal world. This is my journey
Last year, I wrote about “Social Media and Suicide.” The World Health Organization (WHO) states that close to 800,000 people kill themselves every year, which is one person every 40 seconds. Suicide among young people is increasing, and social media is pointed out as the cause due to documented research.
Research findings published in the medical journal JAMA on July 2019 found that “adolescents are of particular concern.“ Increase in screen time have been found to be associated with increases in depressive symptoms. More evidence also points out to social media use. The 2012 study on “Social Media and Suicide: A Public Health Perspective” (David D. Luxton, PhD, Jennifer D. June, BA, and Jonathan M. Fairall, BS) cited the role social media might have in suicide-related behavior. The rise of pro-suicide, social media sites may pose a new risk to vulnerable people who might not have been exposed to these potential hazards. Media also plays an influence on suicidal behavior and suicide methods used. Cyberbullying and cyber harassment are prevalent problems. An increase in publicized cases of suicide in 2011 involved social media.
Another paper came out, “Increases in Depressive Symptoms, Suicide-Related Outcomes, and Suicide Rates Among US Adolescents After 2010 and Links to Increased New Media Screen Time” (Jean M. Twenge, Thomas E. Joiner, Megan L. Rogers, Gabrielle N. Martin), in 2017. The study discovered that adolescents who devoted more time online were more likely to report mental health issues. Psychiatrist Dr. Dinah Nadera said “that sense of lack of social connectedness is very, very prevalent…. They’re connected, but they couldn’t seem to have a trusted person.”
The relationship between social media use and depression remains a controversial topic. A study in 2018 by San Francisco-based social innovation group called HopeLab did not find a correlation between use and self-reported depressive symptoms. Despite the lack of conclusive studies, I couldn’t stress enough that our digital well-being matters. It is best to disconnect when called for and create healthy habits for our family.
Suicide prevention is everybody’s business. Educate our community that suicide is a preventable public health problem in the Philippines. Suicide should no longer be considered a taboo topic, and that through raising awareness and educating the public, we could SAVE lives.
To prevent suicides, the whole community from the school, family, church, government, netizens and media are involved. WHO said responsible reporting of suicide in the media to decrease suicide rates. Responsible reporting include: avoiding detailed descriptions of suicidal acts, avoiding sensationalism and glamorization, using responsible language, minimizing the prominence of suicide reports, avoiding oversimplifications, educating the public about suicide and treatments, and providing information on where to seek help. Every person, as a part of that community, need to take responsibility.
The Lancet published research on “What Works in Youth Suicide Prevention?” and the review identified many studies testing a broad range of interventions across multiple settings, which could reduce the frequency of self-harm and suicidal ideation, “although it is likely the size of these studies that is driving the effects.”
The question is are Facebook, Twitter and Google, the most popular platforms doing enough to prevent suicide?
Facebook announced during World Suicide Day on Sept. 10, 2019 that it is taking steps to fight the youth suicide epidemic, including sharing data about how its users talk about suicide and self-harm and hiring a safety policy manager focusing on health and well-being. Some changes in policy is Facebook’s decision to “no longer allow graphic cutting images.” Even Instagram which they own would also make “it harder to search for this type of content and [keep] it from being recommended in Explore.” Whether you’re worried about someone you know or you’re struggling on your own, Facebook provided a Suicide Prevention Page (http://facebook.com/safety/wellbeing/suicideprevention).
In Google’s Suicide Prevention page (https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/2802245?hl=en), content that promotes self-harm or is intended to shock or disgust users is not allowed on YouTube. Google allows users to post content discussing their experiences with depression, self-harm, or other mental health issues. Instagram also has a page on those who spot content about suicide or self-injury (https://help.instagram.com/388741744585878 ). Twitter’s approach to self-harm and suicide threats is explained in their “About self-harm and suicide” (https://help.twitter.com/en/safety-and-security/self-harm-and-suicide). After Twitter assesses a report of self-harm or suicide, they will “contact the reported user and let him or her know that someone who cares about them identified that they might be at risk.” Twitter would also provide the reported user with available online and hotline resources and encourage them to seek help.
One couldn’t just rely on social media platforms to moderate the content. Let’s take time to understand the social media platforms and potential warning signs or indicators for self-harm or suicide.
For the past month and a half, I have been glued on Twitter to read the latest updates on the fight against Coronavirus disease COVID-19 or otherwise known as #coronavirus on Twitter. I have been meaning to compile a lot of helpful tips but saw that Alistair Miles, a Malaria researcher at the University of Oxford and Wellcome Sanger Institute compiled a helpful list. His advice on coping with COVID-19 is very helpful. In his twitter post, he shares “I’ve gleaned from folks who’ve worked in or studied other epidemics. Please take seriously and pass on to family and friends.”
Some coronavirus advice I've gleaned from folks who've worked in or studied other epidemics. Please take seriously and pass on to family and friends…
1. Many countries like UK are currently in containment phase. But likely at some point infection will start spreading via local transmission. At that point, top priority is to slow the spread, and what we do as individuals and communities will be critical.
2. Fortunately risk of serious illness is low, especially for children. But risk is higher for elderly and people with existing health conditions. Everything we can do to slow the spread will help protect people at higher risk, and less people overall will get infected.
3. There are practical things everyone can do to reduce the risk of getting infected. These need practice, so start doing them now. You may still get infected, but it is worth really trying to avoid infection, because the more we slow spread the better. Slow the spread, buy time.
4. Stop touching your face. Especially stop touching your eyes, nose or mouth. This is much much harder than it sounds, and takes practice. But if you start practising now, you will quickly get a lot better at it.
5. Wash your hands often. Wash with soap and water for 20 seconds, or rub hands with alcohol hand gel. Especially wash hands before eating or touching food.
6. If you or a friend or family member takes any prescription medication, make sure you have a good supply, e.g., at least 4 weeks worth.
7. Don’t panic buy enough food to survive a zombie apocalypse. But do buy a few extra provisions. Do it a bit at a time, add a few extra things in when you normally go shopping. Have 2 weeks worth of provisions, including some chocolate or other treats. Don’t forget about pets.
8. When local transmission does start, keep your distance from people, at least 2 metres. Especially people showing symptoms, but some people may carry the virus and transmit without symptoms, so generally keep some distance where you can. Stop shaking hands etc.
9. While a mask seems like a good idea, it can give a false sense of security. There isn’t a lot of good evidence that shows a mask to reliably prevent infection when worn by the public. But they are useful to put on a sick person to reduce their spreading of the virus.
10. If you or a loved one becomes sick, follow the practices of the day. Call ahead before going to a Doctor, fever clinic or hospital and get advice on what to do. Think through now how to take care of sick family members while trying not to get infected.
11. Talk things through with friends and family. Be prepared that some people will be very willing to talk about it, others may be reluctant or frightened. But general advice is that it’s a good way to prepare emotionally for life not as usual.
12. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like this will be over quickly. The new coronavirus may be with us into next year. It might even become a seasonal infection, returning each winter. This is probably going to be a marathon, not a sprint.
13. If you end up stuck at home for a couple of weeks, don’t forget about skype/facetime/google hangouts/etc., a great way to catch up, check in and hang out with friends and family.
14. If you manage a business or organisation, cross-train key staff at work so one person’s absence won’t derail our organisation’s ability to function.
Momblogger, my online name is more popular than this blog. I never imagined that blogging would open doors to a new life, a new career , a new normal as a social media practitioner. This blog post is a throwback. Six years ago, the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) selected me, Mom Blogger as “the Best Blog”. My past recognition was mostly about this blog’s grief journey so this award is memorable.
Tired with my hectic day yesterday, I sipped fruit tea at the gym’s lounge. I didn’t realize I fell asleep until a phone call from Noel awakened me. He prodded me to check my email, and I told him I will do it once I reach home. Maybe he could not contain his excitement because he then told me I received an award from the PUP Mabini Media Awards. Still dazed from my catnap , I asked “Are you sure it’s me?”
Noel said : “Yes, mom blogger… check the email”
I checked my email and indeed it was true but I still remained skeptical . I was only addressed as “Mom Blogger” on the letter. Maybe because I am known for my social media name more than my real name.
In 2013, the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, through the College of Communication, launched its first media recognition called the PUP Mabini Media Awards. With over 40 categories in five media flat forms – television, radio, print, advertising and online media –the award giving body commends outstanding programs and individuals in the said fields.
We are proud to announce that from more than 12,000 voters, you won the Best Blog
In this view, may we invite you to the awarding ceremonies on February 13, 2014, 2:00 p.m. at the PUP Bulwagang Balagtas, NALLRC. The awarding ceremonies coincide with the 3rd Young Communicators’ Congress of the College of Communication.
I sent an SMS to Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) Dean Edna T. Bernabe to verify if indeed the award was true . I finally got a confirmation at around midnight today.
I didn’t realize the Awarding ceremonies and the 3rd Young Communicators’ Congress would be this huge and grand. I nearly teared as I walked down the aisle because of the awesome music. I recorded my reaction in my Bubbly Audio post.
I was told by the Dean that the students decided on the nominees. The selection of winners came from the voice of some 12, 436 students of PUP who voted by their Student Information System (SIS) account. I am grateful to the PUP students for recognizing my work on social media. My role as mom blogger is to nuture not only my family but the community so that the future citizens will have a better future. This fourth award is such a big honor because I did not have to solicit and ask friends to vote for me (unlike other nominations where popularity voting counts). The last honor given to me was seven years ago as “Winner, Best Website, Blogs Category- 10th Philippine Web Awards- November 23, 2007”.
Thank you so much , PUP community.
The other winners:
In the new media category, the other winners were : ABS CBN – Best news portal ; Google – Best Search Engine and Facebook- Best Social Media.
Kudos to all the awardees of the 1st PUP Mabini Media Awards.
( I will get the complete list of winners but here are some of the photos I took)
Bubble Gang, Best Comedy show
Kim Atienza for Best Television Educational Program – Matanglawin
Best Radio News Program : Gising Pilipinas!- DZMM
Best Radio Public Service Program: Aksyon Ngayon- DZMM
Best Radio News Commentary Program: Dos Por Dos- DZMM
Best News Program Host: Ricky Rosales
Best Public Service Program Host: Julius Babao
Best Radio News Commentary Program Host: Anthony Taberna
Best FM Radio Program: True Love Conversation (TLC)- 90.7 Love Radio
Best Male Radio Jock: Papa Jack- 90.7 Love Radio
Best Female Radio Jock: Nicole Hyala- 90.7 Love Radio
AM Radio Station of the Year: DZMM- ABS-CBN
FM Radio Station of the Year: 90.7 Love Radio- Manila Broadcasting Company
PUP Mabini Awards for Print:
Best Broadsheet Newspaper: MANILA BULLETIN
Best Tabloid Newspaper: Pilipino Star Ngayon
Best Entertainment Magazine: Yes Magazine- Summit Media
Best Fashion and Lifestyle Magazine: Candy Magazine- Summit Media
PUP Mabini Awards for Print:
Best Blog: Pinoy Mom Blogger
Best Online News Portal: www.abs-cbnnews.com
Best Social Network: Facebook
Best Search Engine: Google.com
PUP Mabini Awards for Advertising:
Best Inspirational Advertisement: Hurray for Today- McDonald’s
Best Family- Oriented Advertisement: Kuya- McDonald’s
Best Advocacy Campaign: Choose Philippines- ABS-CBN
PUP Mabini Awards for Television: (News and Public Affairs)
Best Television News Program: TV Patrol- ABS-CBN
Best Television Magazine Program: Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho- GMA
Best Television Public Service Program: Wish Ko Lang- GMA
Best Television Public Affairs Program: Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO)- ABS-CBN
Best Television Documentary Program: I Witness- GMA
Best Television Morning Program: Umagang Kay Ganda- ABS- CBN
Best Television Male News Anchor: Ted Failon of TV Patrol- ABS-CBN
Best Television Female News Anchor: Jessica Soho of State of the Nation- GMA News TV
Best Television Male News Reporter: Jay Taruc- GMA News TV
Best Television Female News Reporter: Gretchen Malalad- ABS-CBN
Best Television Magazine Program Host: Jessica Soho of Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho- GMA
Best Television Public Affairs Program Host: Mel Tiangco of Power House- GMA News TV
PUP Mabini Awards for Television: (Entertainment)
Best Television Drama Program: Be Careful with My Heart- ABS-CBN
Best Television Comedy Program: Bubble Gang- GMA
Best Television Variety Program: Eat Bulaga- GMA and Tape
Best Television Educational Program: Matanglawin- ABS-CBN
Best Television Entertainment Talk Program: Gandang Gabi, Vice- ABS-CBN
Best Television Reality Program: Pilipinas Got Talent- ABS-CBN
The death of someone we know always reminds us that we are still alive – perhaps for some purpose which we ought to re-examine. Mignon McLaughlin
I am saddened that Juned Sonido, a fellow blogger and one of the co-founders of BlogWatch passed away on July 7, 2019. I didn’t get to read the sad news until Monday morning when I checked my phone. Our friendship dates back 13 years ago when I was still new in blogging. “A celebration of life” is probably the best phrase to describe what I am writing here. Remembering his life through my blog posts and photos is like looking back at history in Philippine blogging when bloggers met up for the first time. Bloggers were referred to as “new media publishers” then “emerging media” and today, “influencers”, “content creators” . I searched for my old blog posts with mentions of “Juned” and found these. Some of the photos are from Facebook and friends. I am more detailed in the years before BlogWatch because most of the activities can be read at his articles at https://blogwatch.tv/author/juned-sonido/ and his blog at http://baratillo.net . Perhaps I will write a separate post on his advocacy and musings.
This marked the first time I met Juned Sonido. Bloggers in Metro Manila met up at the 1st Philippine BlogCon (Meet the Bloggers) . I was pretty excited about this meet up. No formal program was planned, just meet and greet fellow bloggers. I don’t have a photo with Juned but I was struck by the name of his blog, baratillo.net. I talked on “Content is Still King”. Abe Olandres talked on “History of Blogging in the Philippines & Professional Blogging” while Jayvee Fernandez on Blogging as New Media vis-a-vis MSM. Marc Macalua talked of “SEO and Blog Make-Over”. How exciting it was to meet fellow bloggers.
December 23, 2006 – Christmas Blogger Meetup
Abe Olandres organized the longest EB I have ever attended. I went home midnight. I thought I was only going to stay for 1 hour. Quite a number of bloggers were present including Juned and my daughter, Lauren. The 20 bloggers present in this meetup must have enjoyed the conversation so much.
June 24, 2007- Dinner and Conversation with the Band of Bloggers
I still remember the dinner parties at our house. They were fun and less costly. But, now it seems to be a thing of the past.
It doesn’t have to be that way, Juned. I told him. Though technology and urbanization indeed has made things so much more convenient for us, dinners and great conversation should never be a thing of the past. I had just moved to our new home and I used it as an excuse for a party. Together with my daughter, we hosted a housewarming party for the Band of Bloggers like Jayvee, Abe, Gail, Marc, Sasha, Aileen, Rico, Marc , Sharms and Juned. At the same time, it served as one of the small intimate gatherings for my 50th birthday celebration. Perhaps we had such a great time, that we ended at 2:00 PM
July 4, 2007- Taste Asia Food Fest at the SM Hypermarket
This is probably the first time bloggers met in one big place. Brands and companies now tapped bloggers to their events. The Taste Asia Food Fest laid out laptops as well as food.
July 17, 2007 – Start of New Media Publishing
By this time, PR started to invite us to their clients‘ product launches. The benefits of blogging not only spread the word on my advocacy but brought friendships and adventure in this “new media publishing”. One time, Juned and I attended an anti-dandruff shampoo event. He muttered, “I don’t need this”. The question that went through my mind that time was, “Why is there a need to launch another anti-dandruff shampoo?” Because inviting bloggers were so new back then, we often stayed together. Sometimes Juned and I would ask ourselves, “what are we doing here?”.
September 9, 2007 – Helping my daughter in a group’s focused group discussion
For the love of my daughter, I gathered five bloggers for a focused group discussion for her Psychology 118 study over at my house for a Friday night dinner. It was such a short notice and knowing young bloggers, their friday night often gets fully booked. Am I glad that Dine, Shari, Juned, Rico and Sasha took time off from their busy schedules for a round table discussion on why bloggers blog.
At that time, Juned and I have the same reasons on why we blogged.
1. I blog to point things out. Anything worth pointing both tho beautiful and not-so-beautiful, the exciting and the mundane; A perfect ice crystal or the drip-drop and sloosh of the monsoon as it makes its way to the house.
2. To chronicle events. To record things for posterity and probably more i importantly to record events from your own perspective.
3. To move people or a group a desired way. It could be political and then again it could be not. The important thing to remember is the personal need to motivate, convince and a maybe even inspire.
4. To satisfy the Ego.
Blog and Soul Movement
Photo via Aileen Apolo
The Blog and Soul Movement initiated by Jayvee brought us together again. I remember this was such a busy week. Bloggers were in demand to talk in a bloggers kapihan and then this new movement. The goals of the Blog and Soul Movement : (i) Blogcentric; (ii) Skills enhancing; (iii) Fun and (iv) altruistic.
October 7, 2007 – Nintendo Wii Games are Fun
If I didn’t know what the Nintendo Wii Games Console was all about, I would have thought my daughter together with Juned, Jayvee were loonies waving their “wands” about in front of my TV set.
Those were the days, when bloggers would hang out at our house and I allowed them to sleep over. The podcast taping materialized at 12 midnight after they played Wii. For the first time in a long time, I slept at 4:00 am
October 21, 2007 Thank You Day Concert
I took this photo when Geiser Maclang called bloggers onstage during the “Thank you day concert” . It was thoughtful of them to acknowledge the bloggers and even called us on stage to stand beside the hosts for a countdown of the Sweet Shower. I guess it was their way of saying “Thank You” for the online viral campaign of the National Thank You Day.
March 9, 2008- Butch Dalisay and Writing Tips
For the month of March, I invited Butch Dalisay to talk on Creative Non-Fiction for bloggers at the Kape Isla in Serendra. This was also an activity of the Blog & Soul Movement.
Here were the tips that I gathered from the two hour conversation with Butch and the 22 bloggers in attendance.
1. You are your first audience. You have to please yourself. If you are not happy with your blog, then who else will read it?
2. When you think of your readers, you write for a reasonably intelligent reader. Your reader is just smart as you are. That’s the reader worth going forth.
3. When you write about yourself, it’s never just yourself. It can’t be. Who the hell are you anyway? Why should your life be so interesting to people? It could be interesting only up to a certain point. There’s got to be a point when you are no longer talking about yourself. Or even when you are, there are points others can relate to .
4. Educate , enlighten and entertain. Have a way to make them accessible and funny. Using self-deprecating humor makes your reader feel relaxed and that’s what creates a bond.
5. Find the image that will capture the idea rather than express the idea itself.
6. Move towards one syllable words. The simpler the word the better. It is not the fancy word that carries the story.
7. Read authors you want to emulate. Stop reading authors that don’t write as well as you. You won’t grow.
He added that “Blogs are here to stay. Standards will emerge. People and readers will develop a sense of good and bad. Someone will not set these standards. People will be discerning of the writer and the reader.”
It’s been eleven years since we talked Butch Dalisay. Is his prediction of blogging still relevant today?
2008 Philippine Blog Awards
The Philippine Blog Awards started in 2007 but it was only incorporated in 2008. I was the first President & CEO of the Philippine Blogging Inc. and Juned took over in 2009. The other officers are Gail Villanueva and Jayvee Fernandez. It wasn’t easy getting sponsors that time since bloggers were still so new. At that time, the awarding was open to all Filipino bloggers who have full ownership of their blogs. This implied that blogs belonging to blog networks or corporate blogs couldn’t be included because of ownership rights. The awards paid homage to “grassroots bloggers” who built up their blogs from their own efforts.
August 8, 2009 – Meeting Secretary Mar Roxas
The buzz at that time was that Senator Mar Roxas was likely to run for the 2010 Presidential Elections. He saw the potential of bloggers and new media to promote his advocacies. I was really hesitant about the whole meeting idea because first of all, I don’t like politics. Second, I felt uncomfortable having to “chikka” with a senator. But I was with fellow bloggers like Juned, Sonnie. Abe and others
December 10, 2008 – Orbit Event at Chef Laudico Bistro Filipino
December 18, 2008-Department of Tourism/MTV 2009 Plans
Secretary Ace Durano and MTV present to bloggers a sneak peek into DOT and MTV Plans for 2009. Happy Slip (Christine Gambito) was also present during the dinner
January 9, 2009 – Another meet up with Mar Roxas
I found myself once again with Mar Roxas and other political bloggers last f at the Balai Ni Mar in Cubao’s Araneta Center
April 19, 2009- Blogging & Blog Marketing: Conversations that can lead to Conversions
I thought we were supposed to be an observer/participant of the Bloggers’ round table discussion on Blogging & Blog Marketing: Conversations that can lead to Conversions at the Internet Marketing Course specifically called Winning Internet Marketing Strategies & Tactics at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) . We ended up seated as panelists on blogging, blog advertising and blog events. It was during this panel, that we laid out what bloggers are:
Bloggers are diverse: We come in all shapes & sizes, and different backgrounds, interests & motivations
Despite the diversity, bloggers have one big thing in common: passion
Bloggers follow a personal code of ethics (e.g. advertising, blogger events, etc.)
For most bloggers, online reputation matters
When working with bloggers, authenticity of the advocacy & commitment of the company/proponent is important (i.e. “one shot advocacy events,” hard sell to bloggers)
Money is generally looked down upon as a reward/incentive
When working with bloggers, companies should strive to make an impression and make sure the blogger has a story to tell after the event
October 10, 2009 – 3rd Philippine Blog Awards
Juned took over as the President of the Philippine Blog Awards.
September 4, 2010 Embassy of the United States in Manila invites bloggers
The government inviting bloggers was slowly catching on. It was a matter of time that the embassies in the Philippines would invite bloggers to their reception or events.
August 2011- Tatt Awards
We didn’t often see each other that often in media events of brands
ASEAN social media coverage
In January 2017, Juned, Sonnie and I were hired as consultants for the Committee on Media Affairs and Strategic Communications, led by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) for the the ASEAN 30th Summit and Related Meetings . 2017 was a busy year for us and we saw each every week for work.
February 2017- BlogWatch Core group meeting
Juned was part of a public consultation held by the Presidential Communication Operations Office . It was a town hall themed event and had participation from attendees on-site and online — via Facebook and Twitter. Around twelve of us were resource persons given five minutes to give our comment on the draft policy.
Though we communicated online, I did not want to disturb him after I found out he was hospitalized late last year. Knowing Juned , he avoids talking about himself but I should have followed my instincts. A few days before I left for the farm this weekend, he was always on my thoughts. Perhaps , this is why I wrote this post.
I am filled with regrets, with questions of “why? If only? I should have” , “why God? ” but I am also aware that all these are part of my grief talking . He also leaves behind the people who loved and cared for him, for truly, it is in us that Juned will live on. How? Because we – the ones who were touched by his grace – will share with the world, the parts of us he was able to influence. This is what a man truly leaves behind when he passes.
And though these memories may bring back pain, they bring back memories of joy. All these because pain is the price I pay for someone who touched my life.
Yes, I am comforted with the knowledge that Juned will be forever alive in my heart and in my memories.
Juned, you know, I love you. Every life you have touched will forever live on. Until we meet again my friend, I will carry your precious legacies within my heart..
Below is the last photo I took of Juned. I want to remember him this way: thoughtful, kind and insightful. You will be missed, Juned.
I would like to end with a quote from Thomas Campbell.
To live in hearts we leave behind Is not to die. ~Thomas Campbell
Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live. ~Norman Cousins~
How time flies. My blog , Touched by an Angel (aboutmyrecovery.com) is now 13 years old.
Losing a son felt like the end of the world to me . I wanted to die along with him but I had to remember that I still had two children and a husband to look after. I knew I had to transform my pain to something that will help not only myself but everyone around me. One night as I sat down on my couch, I found out there was no use making sense of my son’s death but there is hope in making sense of my life. I pondered “What can I do about it now?” “How can I help?” or “How do I pick up the pieces and go on living as meaningful as possible?
When I look back at my grief journey, the turning point came when I became a blogger. It must have been my angel that touched me that one night.
That is why I chose to call my blog, “Touched by an Angel”.
Looking at my first post in 2006, I merely wanted to give hope to parents, siblings and grandparents that there is a new normal after a loss of a child. I did not know how to blog and merely wrote a few sentences. This is ,my first post :
After being online for the past 10 years, I felt it was time to start a blog. Not that blogs are commonplace but I felt I have a lot to share especially with regards to my grief journey and the transformation that has taken place in the past year.
I chose joy over sadness. It is said that grief is inevitable but misery is optional. I realized that it did no good to sit in my misery pit. It does no good for the loss of my son to lead to the loss of two.
What does do good is doing good. I decided to lead the second part of my life differently and better than I would have imagined in the name of my son, Luijoe. I know that as I reach out to bereaved parents , the world is changed in some small way for the better, and then the actions taken become my living tribute to my son. And then Luijoe is never entirely gone.
Indeed, it was a choice between joy and misery. I transformed my grief to joy in doing something meaningful. I know I would always be grieving for life but I wanted that pain to move to a positive resolution.
Never in my wildest dream did it occur to me that this new life without my son would open doors to an even more meaningful life. I hope you will indulge me a bit more if I talk about the past 12 years.
The recognition (4 major awards plus two more from a telecom company) helped promote this blog so I could reach out to more who may need comfort.
Best Blog, 1st PUP Mabini Media Awards
February 13, 2014 read more?
The Mabini Media Award is quite unique because it covers all that I am today. It affirms the evolution of my journey as a blogger and a bereaved mom to an active mom blogger who advocates constructive engagement on family and social issues.
Three years after I started this blog, an opportunity presented itself to me to be part of the Automated elections in a 2009 training. I grabbed the chance. I felt sad that the democracy that we fought so hard in 1986 was getting fragile. I felt the same heaviness in my heart as I saw the corruption slowly destroying our country. What will happen to the country that my children will inherit one day? I wanted to be part of the change of transformation of governance.
I chose to be a citizen advocate making change happen, one blog post at a time, one tweet at a time. Being part of that positive change is a meaningful life to me. Blog Watch is so much a part of my life aside from this blog.
Do I miss my beloved Luijoe? Of course , I do. Is there sadness or a tear now and then? Yes. But there is a big difference. The sadness no longer steals the joy away. The awful pain and emptiness lessened as I treasured the memories of the moments spent together, not dwelling on the times which will never happen. That pain is giving me courage to focus on my purpose in life. To live a meaningful life as a citizen advocate, to make a difference by advocating social change for good.
I’d like to thank all of you for being part of that change, of being part of my community.
Hopeline hotlines 02-804-HOPE (4673); 0917-558-HOPE (4673); or 2919 (toll-free number for Globe and TM subscribers).
Did you know every 40 seconds, someone dies of suicide? The World Health Organization (WHO) states that close to 800 000 people died by suicide every year, which is one person every 40 seconds. We cannot avoid reading about suicide in our social media news feeds or private group chats. Let me point out the phrases “died of suicide” or “died by suicide” as neutral ways to explain the death. These phrases replace “committed suicide” or “completed suicide.”
Social media use and depression
Growing evidence showed that social media can influence pro-suicide behavior. The 2012 study on “Social Media and Suicide: A Public Health Perspective” (David D. Luxton, PhD, Jennifer D. June, BA, and Jonathan M. Fairall, BS) cited the role social media, might have in suicide-related behavior. The rise of pro-suicide, social media sites may pose a new risk to vulnerable people who might not have been exposed to these potential hazards. Media also plays an influence on suicidal behavior, and suicide methods used. Cyberbullying and cyber harassment are prevalent problems. An increase in publicized cases of suicide in 2011 involved social media.
Another paper came out on “Increases in Depressive Symptoms, Suicide-Related Outcomes, and Suicide Rates Among U.S. Adolescents After 2010 and Links to Increased New Media Screen Time” (Jean M. Twenge, Thomas E. Joiner, Megan L. Rogers, Gabrielle N. Martin) in 2017. The study discovered that adolescents who devoted more time online such as social media were more likely to report mental health issues. Psychiatrist Dr Dinah Nadera says “that sense of lack of social connectedness is very, very prevalent…. They’re connected but they can’t seem to have a trusted person”. Without experimental evidence, one is unclear that the rise in new media screen time causes the increase in mental health issues after 2011. Three earlier studies, however, provided evidence that “screen time in social media use, may cause depressed mood rather than vice versa, at least among adults.” The research concludes that adolescent mental health issues rose since 2010, among females. New media screen time is both associated with mental health issues and increased over this time period.
The relationship between social media use and depression remains a controversial topic. A study in 2018 by San Francisco-based social innovation group called HopeLab did not find a correlation between use and self-reported depressive symptoms. Despite the lack of conclusive studies, I cannot stress enough that our digital well-being matters. It is best to disconnect when called for and create healthy habits for ourselves.
WHO says suicides are preventable
There is hope. WHO believes suicide is preventable with timely, evidence-based and often low-cost interventions. We need a comprehensive multisectoral suicide prevention strategy for national responses to be effective. This is where Mental Health Law (RA No. 11036) comes in. The law provides affordable and accessible mental health services to Filipinos if implemented well.
Social networking sites for suicide prevention can facilitate social connections among peers with similar experiences. Know of legitimate sites to increase awareness of prevention programs, crisis help lines, and other support and educational resources. A Facebook page called “Anxiety and Depression Support Philippines” (ADSP) is a mental health support group run by volunteers. The page has closed Facebook group where people can vent their feelings, meet new people, ask questions without judgments.
Natasha Goulbourn Foundation (http://www.ngf-hope.org) started Hopeline, a depression and suicide prevention hotline to help those suffering from depression. The numbers to call are ?02-804-4673 and ?0917-558-4673. Globe and TM subscribers may call the toll-free number 2919.
10 years ago, I added a Suicide Prevention page (https://aboutmyrecovery.com/suicide-prevention/) in my blog to save a life. What if each one of us do their share in saving a life by educating ourselves and our community? Let us take advantage of current suicide news to educate people and/or ourselves about suicide and mental health instead of spreading hate and fueling stigma. Use social media for good.
Suicide prevention is everybody’s business
warns about sharing any photos and videos that describes the suicide and
self-harm related content. Why? It could trigger other mental health warriors.
It could encourage copycat self-harming or suicide. None of us can fathom their
pain so let’s stop judging people who suffer from depression. Stigma, surrounding mental
disorders and suicide, means many people thinking of taking their own life or
who have attempted suicide are not seeking help and not getting the help they
need. By raising awareness and educating the public, we can SAVE
person talking about how they feel reduces their distress; they also see other
options and are much less likely to attempt to suicide. Talking the situation over with a caring person helps
whether you’re in a crisis yourself, or worried about someone else who is.
You don’t have to wait until the deepest point of crisis or until you have a life-threatening problem before you
Hopeline hotlines 02-804-HOPE (4673); 0917-558-HOPE (4673); or 2919 (toll-free number for Globe and TM subscribers). The Department of Health manages the Hopeline. Support is out there.
My sister Myrna moved to the US in 1984, and I missed her so much that I often wrote long letters. I took a look at some of my letters and was surprised to read about how I also talked about the political situation in our country in 1984.
Allow me to share some snippets of a letter I wrote on September 1984 (Italics are current comments)
September 8, 1984 (about inflation and gas scarcity)
I have managed to save 3,000 pesos but this is only worth 1,500 early last year. Well, it’s better to save than have no money at all. (Inflation Rate in Philippines averaged 8.41 percent from 1958 until 2018, reaching an all time high of 62.80 percent in September of 1984 )… It’s no joke buying food nowadays.
There’s another bad news…gasoline supply until Thursday unless the government will give gas dealers a share of the tax included in the price of the gasoline…oh well, the government really worsens the situation by requiring additional taxes. There’s going to be an increase in taxes again— the vehicle registration tax (up by 200% to 600% depending on the type of vehicle) and road’s user tax. What road are they talking about? How I wish I were a policy-maker or a big shot in government so I can contribute to the alleviation of this crisis…if only…that’s why I love Butch because he is also as concerned with me regarding the plight of the country. I dream that someday (when we get married ) he’ll be a top government official (assuming the system of government is changed) and we’d be actively participating in development programs if ever!!!!? I feel so helpless when I recommend policies for projects and yet implementation has yet to be realized. I’m optimistic that things will be for the better not in the short term but in the long run…it will take more than 10 years to be fully recovered.
Today’s Saturday and as usual Butch didn’t come. Well, maybe he couldn’t get gas. I wonder what would happen if gas ran out..there’d be no more economic activity and more havoc…ah shit the government.
September 10, 1984 (Typhoon Nitang)
I continue to hear/read so many unfortunate incidents regarding Typhoon Nitang, such as
a pregnant woman was found dead but lying on a tree (In Negros Occidental)
A farm tractor (this is heavy) was found 5 kilometers away
A betamax machine in Surigao was found 3 kilometers away. Of course, out of order
Hospital with no roof in Surigao
There was so many unbelievable stories. The wind must have been so powerful almost like a tornado (remember Wizard of Oz). The government now has a good excuse for diverting present political/economic problems. As Marcos said “Let us think of our country first and ourselves, last”. Look who is talking. Everyday, donations come in.
In our house in Cebu, our garage roof and the roof of the house for the workers were also blown away.
September 25 – on the September 21 rally
What is new here? I learned the bakeshop wasn’t operational for 9 days since they didn’t have water and electricity for days.
Well, heard about the September 21 rally? They threw water at the rallyists. The water came from the canal..yuk!.
Other disasters…Mayon Volcano eruptions and another earthquake in Ilocos.
September 28 on UP Barricade
Today and yesterday, UP was barricaded by students all over the entrances. I had to sleep over at Butch apartment for two nights because I had lots of work to do.
The present situation is really tense . I feel the tension around. Last night, while I was at Butch apartment, I listened over the radio about a violent rally at “Welcome Rotonda”. I knew Butch was there and it really made me nervous hearing all the casualties..some students were shot!. The son of Dean Nemenzo was even shot. Fortunately Butch arrived. What a relief. It has been violent since Sept 21.
As for Butch, he’s planning to go to Cebu this sem break. He’s planning to make pamanhikan this sem break. Hopefully. I feel so restless already. I want to settle down . I feel the need. But I also feel scared. What with another devaluation next month. If ever we get married, I’ll make it very very simple so that expenses are minimal.
-end of snippets-
All of these were sent in one email. There was so much happening in one month: the inflation, the scarcity of gas, the devastation of Typhoon Nitang, September 21 rally, the devaluation of the dollar, increase of road taxes. It was like writing a diary and sent in one mail. I am looking forward to the other things I wrote during the Marcos regime. To be continued,