BLOG-O-RAMA

MANILA, March 18, 2006
 (BULLETIN) BIKOY: BORN TO BE A BLOGGER - Annalyn S. Jusay (now blogging at www.annalyn.net)

Could it be that members of today's generation are blogging at an earlier age? After featuring the first Pinoy blogger last week, we now focus on another young pioneer in the person of Victor Villanueva who started blogging when he was only 12. Victor, more popularly known in the online world as Bikoy, is now 18 and is a sophomore at UP Diliman taking up Film & Audio-Visual Communication. Thankfully, he is still writing his thoughts away. His blog is a well-organized cornucopia of attractive images and interesting insights into his life as a State U student, traveller, budding man and artist. With his talent and devotion to the craft, there's no doubt that Bikoy is bound to be one of the enduring mainstays in the Pinoy blogosphere. More in the following interview:

Q. When and how did you start "blogging?" Do you consider yourself as one of those who started this trend in the Philippines?

A: Blogging wasn't exactly the word back then. If I remember correctly, blogging was unofficially reserved for the techies, you know, with all those technological or gadget or internet link updates. "Online journals" was the term more used for personal sites with daily to weekly updates about a person's life. So anyway, I started my "online journal" when I was 12 years old. I was surfing the net when I came across some online journals by Filipinos. And I found the idea amusing -- being able to publish a diary online. My very first online journal entry was dated October 20, 2000. My first online journal was hosted at http://www.diary-x.com. most of the online journals back then were by teenagers.

If I consider myself one of those who started blogging, not really. I came across several online journals even before I started my own. I remember browsing through http://www.diarist.net and there were already hundreds of online diaries before me, though I'm not sure who among them were Filipinos. But I don't think those sites are still alive.

Q. Age 12 is quite early for somebody to blog. What compelled you to blog during that time and how come it took you so long to tell your parents?

A. Well, ever since I appeared on 24 Oras because of my blog, my parents and relatives have come to know my blog already. I kept it a secret for a few years because during my first years of blogging, I wrote a lot about my personal life and a lot of things I don't mention to my parents.

Q. Did anyone influence or inspire you to blog?

A. Nakalimutan ko na yung mga unang online journals na napuntahan ko na inspired me to start my own. Yung kay Lauren Dado lang naalala ko (note: the first and youngest Filipino blogger featured in this column last week.)

Q. What are your online/blogging habits?

A. Before I go to sleep or right after I wake up in the morning, I log on the internet and start blogging about my day. I actually start by editing some pictures in Photoshop before I write an entry about the day itself.

Q. Do you think a blog is the same as a personal website? How do you differentiate the two?

A. A blog is a personal website in itself. It's just that a blog, for me, is a personal website that is regularly updated (daily, weekly...) with 'entries'. Kasi some personal websites I think, cannot be considered as blogs kasi they are just static pages. You know, parang biodata page minsan. I don't consider them as blogs.

Q. What do you like about blogging as an activity? What are its merits?

A. Well, I like how I get to write my opinion and have other people, mostly strangers read it. For 'free', you know, you get to reach an audience without publishing your opinion on print. I also somehow like, when I write about my life and when I do some random musings, how strangers get to read them and understand me, leave a comment saying they can relate. I don't know, maybe that gives me a sense of security or something.

Q. What's its downside?

A. Well, blogging is mostly a personal thing. And anybody can do it. You can just write anything about anyone. Sometimes, you can lie, sometimes you don't really know if the person writing the blog is actually writing something that's true, or if the persona he/she is using actually exists. For me, it shouldnt replace traditional news media. Kasi there are virtually no limitations to what a person can publish. There are no rules, no official structure. That's good because what a person can blog is limitless, but that can also be bad.

Q. How has blogging changed your life?

A. Sometimes, when some visitors don't agree with what I say, they start an argument. dati pinapatulan ko tapos nadadala ko sa school 'yung stress ng 'pakikipagdebate', ngayon hindi na. Di ko na pinapansin pag may 'troll' na nangbubwisit. In real life naman, i think the most evident change is 'yung ilang tao especially now in college, nakilala ako through my blog even before they meet me in real life. Yung tipong may ipapakilala sa akin for the first time, tapos sasabihin, 'oy di ba ikaw si bikoy ng bikoy.net ' or something to that effect. Tapos those friends in real life naman, they get to know me more and better with the words I write na hindi ko kinakayang bigkasin sa salita, kasi my blog also serves as a journal where I write down my thoughts na hindi ko siguro nasasabi sa kanila in person.

Q. Can you give an advice (or pieces of advice) to newbie bloggers or even those already immersed in blogging?

A. Keep writing. As much as possible, don't let a week or more pass without writing, kasi mas lalo kayong tatamarin. Well, that's how it went for me. Tapos, just keep writing, yun lang talaga. Sayang naman kung sisimulan nila tapos hindi na nila itutuloy after a couple of months or so. Don't just ride the fad, get immersed in writing a blog. "abuse" its potentials. Explore its benefits for you.

Q. What are your observations of the present Pinoy blogging scene? What changes have you observed, including observations of the present crop of Pinoy bloggers?

A. Well, the only change I perceive is that there are more bloggers now. However, Filipino bloggers and blog-readers, are still exclusive to people from the middle / upper class / overseas Filipinos. Kaya para sa akin, hindi pa rin ganun ka-genuine ang representation of Filipino social life ang nakikita sa Pinoy blogosphere, knowing na ang mas nakararaming Pilipino ay wala pa ring access sa internet at 'yung meron man ay karamihan, hindi pa rin nagbo-blog or nagbabasa ng blog.

Q. How do you see blogging 5 to 10 years from now? Where do you think is the Pinoy blogosphere headed?

A. I think many bloggers who blog now will lose interest after a year or two. Then they will be replaced by a set of 'new' bloggers. I can't be too sure though. As of now kasi, I haven't seen a lot of blogs which have been online for more than three years. Meaning yung mga naging bloggers nung mga 2000-2001, few of their blogs still exist. Kasi di ba, most bloggers right now are teenagers (bloggers sa Livejournal or Blogspot or Tabulas or Blogdrive), and not a lot of them are dedicated exhibitionist/writers, many of them will probably lose interest a year or two after the blogging hype.

On the other hand 5 to 10 years from now, some bloggers might also be more known, recognized or established. More prominent people will go into blogging as well. Blogs in general might be more accepted as a new form of media.

Blogs will also become another venue for commentators to air their opinions. Instead na TV, radio or print lang ang mga pinagkukunan ng kuro-kuro ng mga tao, blogs will emerge as another source of opinions. Tapos since it's 'independent' from corporate or major political structures or interests, malaki ang potensyal ng blogs to become a venue for more radical opinions or insider exposes na hindi kayang ilabas ng TV radio or print.

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Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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