Monday, January 28, 2008

Week #6: Bloggers on Books and Reading

Nino raised this question in his blog “Are books on the way out?”, a thread he followed from Tropophilia that quoted Steve Jobs as saying, books are dying. With the launching of Kindle, this has become a topic of concern for booksellers and booklovers. Are books on the way out? Torn and Frayed in Manila thinks so in his post “Twilight of the books”. He writes, "I can't help thinking that this is indeed 'the twilight of the books'." He quotes New York Times' concern, "What will life be like if people stop reading?”. Indeed.

On the parallel side of an imaginary universe, other bloggers do not seem concerned about the books vs Kindle, books vs. YouTubes, books vs. technology debate. Toni in her blog Wifely Steps starts a book carnival urging her readers to finish this sentence in their blogs "If Books Were Food...". She herself writes, "The Book Thief by Markus Zusak would be a pumpkin soup with pieces of bread, a glass of water to wash it down..." Dr. Emer of Parallel Universes writes about A Thousand Splendid Suns as tasting "like Tandoori Chicken, the only Punjabi food I love. Very spicy and very hot, it can move you to tears while eating..." Intention To Treat writes If books were food, "then JK Rowling would be a great chef, and the Harry Potter series would be...worth lining up for and making reservations." I tried out this game, but could only come up with "If books were food.. then I wouldn't mind being a bookworm." I was never good with imaginary games.

On a more serious note, Dave Llorito writes a review of After the Neocons: America At The Crossroads by Francis Fukuyama. His review almost tempts you to read the book yourself.. almost. But he explains the "neocons" (new conservatives) very well, that it's almost as if you know the subject. But he writes, "It’s a must-read for all those who want to understand the nature of America’s foreign policy after 9/11 and figure out where it is heading for." A big concern for us because we are always blindly following the US tail.

And in a separate parallel universe where books are not only food but also oxygen, Jessica Zaffra of Jessica Rules the Universe has 30 posts in her Book categories. You might want to check out her "literary" choices.

So are books dying? Can't answer that. But Torn and Frayed says that the Philippine population"is largely 'alliterate'; people who can read but choose not to." And he quotes Samuel Jackson as saying "people in general do not willingly read, if they have something else to amuse them."

So because it's a loop, back to Nino's Reading and Kindle, "Are Books Dying?".

Monday, January 21, 2008

Week #5: Mindanao bloggers

I have heard a lot about Mindanao's Top 100 Bloggers, the Mindanao's bloggers convention held last December, Davao being the next silicon valley of the Philippines, etc.. So I thought I'd take a look at the top 100 bloggers and choose the ones I like. Sure it made me decide to visit Davao this year, but I think all we really want to know about Mindanao is.. what's it like there? So here is this week's featured Mindanao bloggers talking about THEIR Mindanao.

The Good Life by benhurjun

In his header description, Benhurjun writes "This blog contains adventure tales, travel stories and those little trips that make living a little exciting.... "

It is about travel and adventure tales, a mixed writing of the past (childhood memories) and present (travels to other countries). The memories are best because of its Philippineness. It would be better though if the names of the barangays, mountains, rivers, towns, were named and given life. Nice writing though.

Cantilangnon ini by Cantilangnon

Cantilangnon ini is purely written in the Cantelangnon dialect. Cantilan is a place in Surigao del Sur, and this blog is about the blogger's everyday life (um, monthly?). Although this blog hasn't been updated since November 2007, I thought I'd feature it here for its use of the dialect. If you visit the site, you'll know why.

Davao Diaries by Dava Maguinda

Well-written blog by a Davao journalist. The title describes what the blog is about: Davao, diary. But get this, 2 posts in 2005, 51 in 2006, 59 in 2007, but 3 so far this January. If Falling In Love With Butuan is a sign of what's to come this year, then we're in for a good read.

Davao's Food Huntress by Davao's Food Huntress

With the list of restaurants in this blog, you'll never go hungry when visiting Davao. Light reading, but very informative about Davao restaurants, prices and food. Yum.

And for those who never leave their homes without their laptops..

Davao WiFi Hotspots, a blog about Davao's Hotspots! How nichy can you get?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Week # 4: Blogging the Philippine Environment

We only have few Filipinos blogging exclusively about the environment, let's estimate 1 environmental blog for every 50 food blogs or 100 personal blogs. How can that be, when the Philippines has been tagged as a "biodiversity superstar" by the Conservation International, meaning many of the world's species of plants and animals are endemic to the Philippines. Filipinos love nature, and treks and the beach and travel.. and food (all connected to the environment), yet do not blog about the environment?

The issue raised by GMA-7 alone about the Philippine National Shooting Team and other Gun Clubs shooting Philippine wild ducks and other wildbirds (which is illegal by the way) didn't raise the expected questions and concern in the bloggers community. Unlike the 2008 Blog Year Awards does.

But back to the environment. Here is a list of the few Filipinos blogging about the environment:

Samu’t Saring Buhay, although updated only monthly now, there is a full archive of information about the Philippine biodiversity and environment.

Layas, has few entries but are long and informative with lots of photos. It is more a report on the state of the environment, from the Philippine wildlife (birds), to the Tubbataha Reefs.

Romy Ocon's Philippine WildBirds with his selected bird photos. In his blog, Romy says this: "There are close to 600 species of Philippine birds, and about 180 of these are endemic to our islands. Many of these species are threatened or near-threatened. By photographing these magnificent winged creatures in their natural habitat and sharing the pics through the web, I hope that in my own little way I can help raise awareness for the protection of their habitat. I wish that the children of our children will still be able to behold their beauty long after our generation is gone."

For Philippine bird wildlife appreciation (non-blogs):

We have the Largest Eagle in the World, and back in 2004, a new bird species was discovered in the Babuyan Islands. In 2005, a Philippine Eagle-owl was born in captivity, which was a world's first. For more about Philippine birds, visit the Wild Bird Club of the Philippine's website.

Some of the dangers our wildlife faces (more blogs):

CJ wrote at Blogging Out Loud, "It's a Bird! The Philippine Duck - Anas luzonica - Hunted and Killed".

Yeez wrote the same on his Multiply blog, "Goodness Gracious, Help Stop Wildbird Massacre". Allsummers had the same reaction from the GMA-7 news while Nino reacted to the post. If we can have this kind of chain reaction (positive or negative) to things that really matter so the issue can be resolved by those who can implement the laws. That's what blogs are for!

Edible Garden reports Josef's speech last December 2007 at the Dutch Embassy about the Illegal Hunting of Wildlife (Birds) in the Philippines. Josef has started a petition to stop the illegal hunting, especially by gun clubs. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species lists the Philippine Duck as one of those endangered. You can search other red listed species in their site.

The North Philippine Times' has an Environment Watch update and reports around the Cordillera, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon.

This website reports the plight dolphins, turtles, and divers face against the illegal use of dynmaites.

A Distress Call for the Philippine Environment posted by Vina Veron Cruz at aenet, although not dated, doesn't mean the problem is long past.

Tutubi writes in his website about the film, Endangered Tales of the Philippines, which shows the biodiversity of the Philippine flora and fauna and the extinction it faces. The film interviews the scientists involved in the fight for the wildlife preservation.


Visit the website of Haribon Foundation and the World Wildlife Fund-Philippines for more information and what you can do to help.

It also pays to know the Philippine Environmental Laws. Another site provides a list of Philippine Laws on the Environment.

Sign a petition or start one at Care2.

Hoping for more Filipino environmental bloggers and watchers..

(If I missed a Filipino environmental blog somewhere, please let me know.)

Monday, January 7, 2008

Week #3: Money-Making Blogs

Here are some Filipino bloggers who are into the game of making money online. Maybe we can learn some few lessons from them. They admit to playing the game, they write about it, they give advice to making it and they give tips, and they make us envious and think, why didn't I think of that? (although it's hard work like any other). This is a phenomenon that hit the western world years ago (remember those annoying ads and spams and networking stuff?) and reached its peak because now, they're calling for content quality. Now the online money-making game has hit our country in the name of SEO and PPC, and unfortunately about to reach its peak, too. Or maybe not. However, Yuga has predicted that the Adsense craze may die out this year. Like in the network marketing business, the early bird always gets the worm.

Make Money Online - From Mindanao's top 100 blogger, Lady Influence experiments with keywords to increase the blog's SEO: "payday loans", "consolidate debt loans", "making money online", and on her other sister websites: "sex", "sexual diseases", "money", etc.. This site claims to have made it to the 2nd page of Google search ranking which increased the site's ECPM rate. The site is a good example on how to use keywords effectively on your blog.

Make Money Online: Make Money Online with a 13 year old - see the trend? That seems to attract searchers a lot. Carlocab is a (now) 14-year old blogger who's making money. This site is Google's #1 result when you type "make money online" on your search. The site gives tips and advices, and also shows you how to get rich. Last year, Carl was part of a controversy when he came in 4th in the Top Ten Emerging Influential Blog of 2007 and his identity was questioned by other Filipino bloggers.

(Because this controversy raised too many ethical issues, here's a quick rundown: Ethical issue was raised by Noemi, Yuga took a neutral stand, and so did Connie. The fireworks in the comments on Connie's post are extremely hilarious which Manuel seems to sum up well.)

Teens Make Money With Kirby - Targets teenagers, uses lots of teens keywords, money, online games, you get the picture. Another example of how to use keywords effectively to making money online (I seem to have used that a lot in this post too!) . This is also a lesson on choosing your target demographics well.

Since there will be more bloggers jumping into this online money-making game, I thought I'd make an exception and include an article by a non-Filipino blogger. Her advice on how to add content to your blog and still make tons of money is so relevant to this post. I'm sure Filipinos wanting to write blogs with this intention can learn lots of tips from Lorainne's must-read post: 10 Really Rad Righteous Blogging Tips.