Blogfest Soccsksargen 2.0: Fun and Beyond Personal
It was a much unexpected weekend for me. I wasn’t expecting to go to back to Gensan that November—plane fares have gone up and we weren’t allowed to file a leave since it was a Thanksgiving (the busiest day in the US). However, with our bosses nodding for a vacation and the 13th month pay coming, I was able to push through with my trip to Gensan to attend Blogfest Soccsksargen 2.0 (or Sox Blogfest). It was organized by the Manansala brothers, Avel and Orman, together with the rest of Soccsksargen Bloggers of south-central Mindanao which was held on 26th of November, 2012 at Sun City Suites in the city of General Santos.
Most of the blogging conferences such as in Luzon and in the Visayas tackle about anything in social media, its implications in the society, a tool for business, trending, photography, and just about anything. However, Mindanao has a different advocacy to push on—improve Mindanao’s image from the unfairly tagged “war-torn and poverty-stricken” island into a destination for business and leisure. It is indeed a challenge since it is still an ongoing struggle between conventional stereotypes and new media that fights for fairness—and Sox Blogfest is one of the venues to promote with. Sox Blogfest goes beyond personal blogging—it went into different facets of social media and advocacy, something Mindanao needs. The theme of this year’s Sox Blogfest was, “The Emergence of Blogs and Social Media.” To me, it meant going beyond the conventional uses of these two tools.
Delegates from different parts of Mindanao, even as far away as Iligan, were present on the venue. I was the sole delegate from the Visayas.
Starting off with Bob Martin’s history of internet in Mindanao, in which we may see him as one of the first prime movers of promoting the whole island on the internet. The American shares the same passion for the island, that he has created several websites, Mindanao Magazine (www.mindanao.com) in particular.
Following Bob is the undersecretary for Malacañang’s communications group and columnist Manuel “Manolo” Quezon III–talking about how the state of social media influences the Filipino society. The locomotion sets in for the rest of the day.
Jack Madrid of Multiply Philippines provided insights on how is online marketing doing in the Philippines, with Multiply as an example of online entrepreneurship.
One of the guests was Honorable Mayor Darlene Custodio of the host city. She featured how the local government utilizes new technology and social media in their works. In the conference, she was particular about getting all of the public schools online and how it may be used for ease of information flow in this vast city.
The sun was up high and the heat outside was somehow unbearable. People have listened as more speakers, along with that sumptuous lunch (I simply love their eggplant parmigniana, kudos to Sun City!)
Raffy Tima of GMA gives an insight on how we as individuals should be responsible for what we post in our social media accounts such as in Twitter, Facebook or others, and its implication to moving the society, influencing or even cyber-bullying—“Think Before You Click!”
Perking up the afternoon was Mae Paner, also known as “Juana Change.” She used her talent as a director and theater actress and the power of online video (yes, she is a vlogger, video blogger) in order to move people to change on how the government and the society of this country. Her videos are satirical—comedic yet laced heavily with social issues that affects us all. In the end, she said that “change of the society starts from us individuals.”
Abe Olandres of Yugatech comes in as he talks about the latest tech gadgets and trends that may soon affect on how the Philippine society treats social media. This is the technical part of the conference, as Abe explains the trend in the Philippines–the latest that may become effective tools that Pinoys may use and change the society by technology.
The US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas Jr., sent a message to the Gensan people through Deputy Atache Cynthia Cook about the works in US Embassy Manila and how it embraced social media as part of communicating to the people (especially to those who are asking about the US Visa).
Wrapping things for this loaded day was Flow Galindez of Ang Sa Wari Ko, a partner for Red Whistle, World Food Programme and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in encouraging every Mindanaoan in partaking to any social-inclined advocacies in aiding their fellow citizens away from poverty and ignorance.
In this year’s Sox Blogfest, social media trends and beyond personal blogging has been the unifying topic for most. As the conference ended, it hopes that it would lead more Mindanaoans to blog not just about themselves, but on how they can help Mindanao overcome its negative tag that has belittled its full potential and better understanding of the three people’s of Mindanao.
To Sox Bloggers and most especially to Kuya Avel and Orman Manansala, congratulations for having a successful, full-house event dedicated to the Mindanaoan cause and for the rest of the nation through new technology!
More photos of Sox Blogfest 2.0, click here.