Now that my October travelling spree is over, I’m finally back home … back to blogging. You’ll probably notice my online activity rising because I’ve cleared up my schedule for the next month so that I can do some major work on my blogs (actually, it’s more like I wont be going anywhere because I’ve got no more money left to spend). During the first week of October, I spent a week in Manila to take some pictures for a new blog I’m developing. While I was there, I bought a one week MRT/LRT unlimited flash pass (for P250) and visited many spots in Metro Manila. Though, the highlight (and main agenda) of my trip was actually attending the 2009 Philippine Blog Awards, in which Explore Iloilo was nominated under the Best Travel Blog category.

Mixing with the other bloggers

The 2009 Philippine Blog Awards was held last October 9, 2009 in PETA Theater, Makati. It’s a good thing that my trusty friend, Eric, offered to come with me to the event since I didn’t know how to get the venue (and I didn’t personally know any of the other bloggers). I had a print out of the location  of PETA Theater from Google Maps, just in case. When we got there, Eric introduced me to some of the organizers and other bloggers. We made some quick visits to the booths of the sponsors and got a lot of freebies. The other bloggers were very friendly and approachable, which was great because I feeling like a newbie in their world when I came in the door. I was quite amazed at the variety of people there, I was amusing myself by guessing what topic or niche people there were blogging about just by looking at them.

Eavesdropping on the Interviews

Just before the awards night started, some people were getting interviewed behind where I was seated. I could hear what they were discussing, and I was particularly attentive when the interviewer asked about the blogs nominated under the travel blog category. The interviewer was asking this blogger, what blog he thinks will win the award. The blogger replied a very safe answer, that he couldn’t decide because the nominees are all so deserving and stuff but mentioned a few particular blogs that stood out. The interviewer then became more specific by asking the blogger’s thoughts about the other nominees in the travel blog category, including Explore Iloilo. The blogger then said that although they are exceptional blogs, it’s an award for the Best Travel Blog, and for him, the winning blog should be able to feature travels on a wider scope (more places) and not just concentrated in his hometown.

I didn’t mind it because I actually agree with his opinion. Technically, Explore Iloilo is qualified to be categorized as a travel blog but I don’t think it’s fit into winning an award for the best travel blog because it is, I dare say, handicapped in that category because it is only centered on one place and the style of writing is declarative rather than of a personal nature. I’m hoping that next year the organizers of the Philippine Blog Awards will include a Best Locale Blog Award, or something to that tune, as one of the main awards.

The Philippine Blog Awards Night

The program proper was loads of fun. I was amazed at how big the blogging scene is in Manila and the level camaraderie between bloggers. It seems like a its community of its own, though you could make out bloggers in the same niche seated together and having their own sub-groups. When the award for the best travel blog was being announced, I was actually more excited seeing the text Explore Iloilo on the widescreen than the possibility of winning the award.

I was rooting for Eric’s blog (Byahilo) to win because his blog has reached the widest audience and has been the most influential among the nominees. But of course these awards/judges have different ways of quantifying a winner for the Travel Blog Award. Langyaw – Sojourns and Off-the-Beaten Path Travels was named the winner that night for the Best Travel Blog Award. I’ve already been reading his blog and it is really cool because of his excellent pictures and more personal take on his travel blog.

Going off so soon

I had to leave before the awards night ended because I needed to go home at around 9pm for an early flight the next day. Before I left, I loaded up on the food bar first, hehe. I went home alone because Eric stayed to let the program finish. The PETA theater was far from the MRT/LRT stations so I had to take a jeepney home. It was my first time riding the jeepney in Manila at night during this particular trip. I made it a point to avoid it since I’ve heard that it is dangerous for newbie-looking people like me. I also did not want to take a taxi because of the unscrupulous reputation of taxi drivers in Manila preying over their passengers for the ride. I was resolved with the jeepney because they said it was only one ride to where I was staying but I was so nervous the whole time (especially when it passed by Sta. Cruz / Quiapo area). Lucky me was able to endure the whole thing without holes in my body.

I was left with just a few hours to sleep for the early morning flight I mentioned about. At the time, me and my siblings had to go to NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) at around 3:30am for our next trip – three days and two nights in Hong Kong and Macau!

Souvenirs from the 2009 Philippine Blog Awards

Explore Iloilo winning two awards in the Visayas leg of the Philippine Blog Awards

A week after the Philippine Blog Awards Night in Manila, the Visayas leg of the awards was held in Cebu City on October 18, 2009. Although, I wasn’t able to attend because I was at the time spending the week in Boracay, I got word from Sinjin and Bernie that Explore Iloilo won two awards: The Best Visayas Locale Blog and Globe Tatoo Awardee. I’m really ecstatic about that! and am grateful to everyone who have always been there to support me and Explore Iloilo.