HerWord.com Features Filipino Bloggers

July 29, 2010
Creating a dynamic blog
Tips from Filipino bloggers
by Ana Santos

Maybe it’s fashionable, or maybe it’s because you can be your own little star. Or maybe, in a purely practical sense, it’s the effect of the global economic crisis. Whatever it is, everyone seems to be interested in turning blogging into an additional or alternative source of income.

Thinking of starting your own blog but you’re not sure if there’s enough room in cyberspace for you? Fret not. I talked to a mix of bloggers who are starting out and have established an online presence with a respectable following, not to mention a steady stream of income. See what advice they have to share about creating an on-line brand and a blogging voice that will stand out above the crowd.

Noelle de Guzman

A question Noelle is always asked is “What is a kikay runner?” In anticipation of this, Noelle has already posted the answer on her blog.

“Well, for me it means being a female recreational runner who, aside from being interested in all that sports science has to offer when it comes to helping me run faster, also likes looking good while doing so.”

When she first started racing and started falling in love with it, Noelle started a blog specific to running, thinking that this would keep her motivated to train towards running her first marathon in July.

While she has yet to make a significant amount of money from her blog, Noelle has gotten jobs sometimes hosting races. Her “sporty and speedy with style” presence is easy to spot so apart from running in a race, Noelle also works the track to score interviews with other runners.

“There are a lot of perks in terms of giveaways and other freebies,” says Noelle who is relishing the idea of doing what she loves and actually getting rewarded and  recognized, even if not paid, for it.

And you can make sure that part of her preparation is to make sure that she looks damn good running.

On building an on-line following:
“When you write intelligently and passionately about your topic, you can make yourself a trusted go-to source for it. I like when people tell me they learned something new from reading my blog posts, and will be back for more.

“I also try to date my posts as close as possible to the event they refer to so that people who were at that event and are maybe looking for information or stories about it can find what they’re looking for in my blog.”

On creating and sustaining rapport:
“I try to answer each comment posted, and maybe even ask a question about the commenter or add a comment of my own about what a reader has shared. It also goes both ways. When I visit the blogs I link to, I try to comment relevantly on their posts. Sometimes I may even write a post inspired by a topic I’ve read about.”

Hannah Villasis, TV Host of Tek Tok TV

“The Flair Candy blog is all about adventure,” gushes Hannah.

“I blog about anything that interests me—surfing, gadgets, sports, Formula 1, travelling, fashion and beauty, photography, and many others. I created my own personal brand when I started blogging and the ones who read my blog are often inspired at how I can juggle many things—a day job, attending events at night, travelling out of country on a budget, and how I push the limits when I go on my crazy adventures.”

Hannah’s 300 to 400 visitors a day can certainly relate to the carefree, vibrant way she lives her life.

“I think I give inspiration to my readers especially when they think things are impossible. I always make it happen and I blog about it.”

Recently, Flair Candy was awarded “Best Personal Blog” at the Philippine Blog Awards.

“A fellow blogger named Dhina Lieva (who was initially a stranger to me) nominated me for Best Personal Blog. I didn’t expect that someone who was not even a personal friend would nominate me. When I received an e-mail saying I won, I screamed!”

What started as a hobby now has become a source of income. Hannah earns from her blog through Nuffnang, Asia Pacific’s first blog advertising community and through direct advertising.

Advice to bloggers:
“Just keep on blogging. Make your blog a part of your personal brand.  Don’t be too serious and technical about blogging.  The more personal and real you are, the more your readers will love you.”

On building an on-line following:
“Interact with your readers.  Reply to their comments and personal email. Visit their blog and comment as well. Manage your social media networks well, as they are very important tools in creating and sustaining two way communication with your audience.”

Ken Tan

A group of young men started to question if the meaning of life could be found in the corporate rat race and realized that the answer was NO. The group firmly believed that they were not the only ones who felt this way and started an on line community of budding entrepreneurs.

That was the birth of EntrepBuff.com, a website that dishes out financial literacy information alongside pep talks through web videos.

“Our first attempt with web video content, Week By Week features the most passionate, innovative and locally-grown individuals in a five- to 10-minute talk about how it is to be a dreamer and a doer,” says Ken, EntrepBuff.com founder.

Though he admits that visits and hits to the site are still limited, Ken believes that EntrepBuff’s readers are more involved.

“Our audience is more educated and personally involved. Just take a look at a sample of a conversation that went on regarding a talk on passion,” says Ken.

On building an on-line following:
“If there is really something I’ve learned that is probably worth sharing with regards to building a following, it is about the importance of creating quality content. Content is king. And since I truly believe most of our stuff is quality, and we don’t always have new content (like for the past three months), we’re still getting a good amount of traffic.”

On creating and sustaining rapport:
“On conversing and creating rapport, I guess the old cliché applies—to be yourself and being honest. It’s a small and connected world and people know when you’re being pretentious, so don’t be. I think rationale people already understand that everybody makes mistakes, so kahit yung mga pagkakamali, dapat transparent.”

Kring Elenzano

“Funny is the new sexy” is the headline of Kring’s blog and sort of her bold personal statement.

Kring describes herself as never being the type to be pursued by a lot of boys in high school.  “I was always the funny girl, the one who had a lot of guy friends, but not a lot of romantic pursuits,” relates Kring who said this was the catalyst for challenging the whole definition of sexy.

“Why can’t funny be sexy,” she wondered. Kring started the sexyfunny blog and used humor and self-deprecation to endear herself to a reading public that just gobbled up her posts.

Kring, who now has hoards of Facebook fans and hundreds of blog followers, is often teased about having not just men but also women falling at her feet. Jovially she says, “I’m making up for all those years, I guess.”

Kring has pretty much made funny synonymous to sexy.

Advice to bloggers:
“Creating your own brand is very very important. And having a unique identity is necessary as well. You should stick to your image and your personality, because the market you will attract will most likely be interested in that. Once you change, you start to lose that following.”

On blogging and creating a blog personality:
“REPLY REPLY REPLY. And try to check out your readers’ own blogs as well.”

Nina Terol-Zialcita, Writer, Poetess, Political Communicator, co-founder Writer’s Block Philippines

On her way to attend a talk in the Podium, Nina suddenly found herself immobilized by a sharp pain in her back. She was immediately taken to the hospital where the doctor advised her to stop balancing her regular heavy bundle of books and laptop while teetering on her high heels.

Such are the perils of a high-powered woman who is constantly on the go and juggling not just her books but her many jobs, whilst still looking glamorous.

Nina is a political strategist/communicator working on new media campaigns of candidates. She simplifies her job description by saying, “What marketers do for marketing, I do for policies and policy makers.”

She is also passionate about changemaking or inspiring people to make their own contribution for the betterment of society in whatever way they can. “I’ve always had this notion that more than a strong citizenry is the foundation for a good society. Chanemaking is all about making a difference and touching other people’s lives through volunteering for a cause, donating, or personal involvement,” explains Nina, who stresses that you don’t have to be a big important person to make a difference.

On building an on-line following:
“To me, building a good network isn’t about the quantity of followers or readers, but about the quality of INFLUENCERS or GATEKEEPERS who refer to your blog or retweet and repost your entries. I’m not obsessed with the number of hits or readers that I get—it was never a priority in my nine years of blogging.

“Rather, I’m more interested in building a blog that will connect me to leaders, thinkers, and opinion leaders. For example, one of my blog entries in an old blog of mine, ‘Soul Work,’ was featured in Paulo Coelho’s blog. I thought it was a hoax when I first got a comment from ‘Paulo Coelho’ on my blog, but when he emailed me and gave me his private email address and soon reposted my entry on his blog, THEN I knew that I was on to something.”

On sustaining conversation:
“To sustain that conversation, you have to ‘listen’ to your readers and give back to them. Take note of comments, answer their questions using new blog entries, discuss topics that you think they’ll find interesting, share more of yourself, ask questions. Especially when writing a personal blog, your online dialogue with your readers should feel just like any other conversation. It should be sincere, truthful, and genuine. Nothing manufactured of overly planned, please. Just like many things, rapport is spontaneous. You can practice rapport-building skills, but you can’t fake it.”

Vince Golangco
Radio DJ – Mellow 94.7; Editor-in-Chief /Creative Director/ TV Show Host Tek Tok TV on the Global News Network (GNN)

If you don’t see Vince on TV hosting the tech and gadgets cable show Tek Tok TV, you’ll hear him every Saturday morning chatting up a storm on his radio show “G-Spot” for Mellow 94.7. If you still miss him, you’re bound to see Vince at various blogger events, documenting them, or hosting them.

Pretty good networking skills considering that Vince just moved back to the Philippines about two years ago from San Diego. He says that blogging and his writing skills opened a lot of doors for him. “Writing about someone is a great way to get to know them.” His friendly and easy-going manner also explain why he has been able to build a considerable following online in such a short time.

On building an on-line following:
“Interact, interact, interact! It’s all about talking to your audience. Make the first move and start a conversation with people through Twitter, Facebook or whatever social media you have. It’s a great way to introduce yourself and help people find out who you are.”

On creating and sustaining rapport with your audience:
“You need to appear friendly and approachable to most everyone. It will be more challenging to build relationships with people if you don’t seem accessible to them. Treat your viewers as friends, instead of fans.”

Ana Santos is a freelance journalist and the founder and editorial director of SexAndSensibilities.com, a website that pushes the envelope on the understanding of sexual reproductive health by making it sexy and sassy.

KIKAYRUNNER in Manila Times

Blogger talks about her blog
Monday, 21 June 2010
Sharing your thoughts online can be both fun, lucrative

A question Noelle de Guzman is always asked is “What is a kikay runner?” de Guzman has already posted an answer to this question on her blog www.kikayrunner.com, “Well, for me it means being a female recreational runner who, besides being interested in all that sports science has to offer when it comes to helping me run faster, also likes looking good while doing so.”

When she first started running and started falling in love with the activity, de Guzman started a blog on running, thinking that this would keep her motivated to train towards running her first marathon in July. And you can make sure that part of her preparation is to make sure that she looks damn good running.

While she has yet to make a significant amount of money from her blog, de Guzman managed to grab a number of gigs through it, “There are a lot of perks in terms of giveaways and other freebies,” says de Guzman relishing the idea of doing what she loves and actually getting rewarded and recognized, even if not paid, for it. Working the tracks, she scores interviews with other runners for her blog’s content.

Attracting online visitors
On building an online following, de Guzman offers this advice to other bloggers, “When you write intelligently and passionately about your topic, you make yourself a trusted source of information. I like it when people tell me they learned something new from reading my blog posts, and will be back for more.”

She said that she always tries to post articles on events as close as possible to the actual date that they would happen because runners may be looking for information or stories about them. “That way my blog serves as a practical guide,” de Guzman explains.

Creating and sustaining rapport
A blog unlike an ordinary website is interactive on a very personal level. On this, de Guzman offers this parting shot, “I try to answer each comment posted, and maybe even throw a question back on the person who posted the comment or add a comment of my own about what a reader has posted. It’s a give and take thing. When I visit other blogs and link them to mine, I try to comment relevantly on their posts. Sometimes I may even write a post inspired by a topic I’ve read from other blogs.”

Century Tuna Superbods Run 2010

The Age of Running
Wednesday, 03 March 2010
The Century Superbods turns a race into a must-do social event
BY ROME JORGE Lifestyle Editor

No longer is running just a sport. Now, it’s a showbiz spectacle, a commercial bonanza and a social affair. It is to see and be seen with elite athletes, celebrities and chief executive officers; to literally keep up with the proverbial Joneses; to come out openly as a Dri-Fit, Clima-Cool and Lycra-clad body-conscious speed freak decked out in heart rate monitors, GPS pedometers and iPod electronica; to celebrate among strangers and friends in sweaty, orgiastic physicality, and to beat the road, beat the time and beat one’s own age.

Gym instructor Noelle Frances de Guzman
Gym instructor Noelle Frances de Guzman

On February 21 at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, the Century Superbods Run heralded the coming of age of the Runner’s Era—the time when the most fundamental and inherent of sports became the trendiest, the latest and the most popular. Attracting runners in the thousands, it seemed everyone who was anyone was there.

The beautiful sport
The event began before daybreak with adrenalin pumping beats from a Brazilian batucada percussion band, pyrotechnical summersaults from capoeira martial artists and colorful moves from costumed dancers. All this was done on a stage worthy of a grand stadium concert.

There was running icon, coach Rio de la Cruz, and celebrity Century Tuna endorser Derek Ramsay onstage like rock stars flanked by 2009 Superbods contest winners Superbods 2009 winners Theresa Fenger Van, Victor Leaño and television host Reema Chanco.

Parts of the racecourse were as grand and as high-tech as the stage. The starting and finishing point was an enormous arch with video screens visualizing the race routes for the different race distances—3-, 5-, 10- and 2-kilometer distances—in computer animation. More importantly, it had large LED readouts by Timex that automatically announced one’s name, ranking and finishing time as one crossed the finish line. This was made possible by Championchip—disposable microchips supplied to each contestant that one laces on to one’s shoe. As with RunRio’s previous events sensor mats at the finish line and at various stages in the racecourse ensured an accurate and detailed recording one’s running stats.

Though the vast majority of runners enjoyed the marathon without incident, there were some glitches in the otherwise well-organized event. In his blog, running guru and race organizer Rio de la Cruz was commendable in his forthrightness. He was the first to concede, “We acknowledge that it was not as perfect as we had aimed for, due to issues such as unexpected bugs in the online registration process, an early gun start for 21- and 10-kilometer runners, with some 10 kilometers runners catching the tail end of the 5k runners and several runners who got lost along the route.” To complicate things further, there were some points in the racecourse where Taguig Global City failed activate its streetlights. Nonetheless, for most runners, the race was an enthralling experience—and not just for the natural high that running gave them.

There were quite a few showbiz stars such as Iza Calzado running and at every water station were gorgeous Brazilian and Filipino models handing out Gatorade sports drinks. Just as lovely were many of the average runners. Quite a number were decked out in black body-hugging compression body suits. Others brought along their unflappable feminine fashion sense, sporting pink tankinis, pink super short shorts, pink miniskirts and even pink hydration harnesses—all branded sports gear, of course. Regardless of fashion genre, the vast majority of runners were deadly serious, paying little heed to all the beautiful people among them.

As most 21-kilometer distance runners were just on their way to the halfway mark, they saw Kenyans and top Filipino runners going in the opposite direction and heading back to the finish line. Like heads of state, these top athletes were heralded by the sirens of a motorcycle motorcade to make sure no one got in the way. Ultimately, Eduardo Buenavista and Maricel Maquilan finished first in men’s and women’s category, respectively, in the 21-kilometer distance race.

Every finisher was a star with his own paparazzi. Dozens of photographers snapped pictures of every runner and posted it online at Photovendo.ph—but one of the many perks that come with a well-organized RunRio event. RunPix.info also supplied one’s standing and statistics online.

The finish line wasn’t even the end of all the hoopla. The after-race event area was nothing less than a fairground full of booths offering all sorts of goodies.

What the future holds
Aspiring models, after having participated in the run, were qualified to go to the Superbods Go-See to vie as Century Tuna’s next image models. The after-race go-see event was perfectly timed, with aspiring image model’s lean bodies still glistening and dewy with perspiration.

For the rest, there was food, drinks, magazines and other freebies made possible by the event’s many sponsors. On the spot, one could also buy watches, sporting apparel and even canned goods—Century Tuna, of course. Also noteworthy was the free shirt and racing singlet that came with registration; they were well designed. The many booths, the lively music and the triumphant mood of all those who finished the race made for nothing less than a festive atmosphere.

Even better was the fact that Century Tuna Superbods Run 2010 raised funds for the United Nations Children’s Fund, the World Health Organization and the World Wide Fund for Nature. With each step, runners made the world a better place.

The Century Tuna Superbods Run 2010 is but the first in the RunRio Trilogy. The second leg is the Nature Valley Run on May 30 and the third is the 2010 Timex Run on November 21, both at Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. Prepare for more; the Age of Running has truly arrived.

Trek the TEC 2010

Vertical Limits
THE GAME OF MY LIFE By Bill Velasco (The Philippine Star)
Updated May 03, 2010 12:00 AM

The running boom is spreading to more and more urban centers and creating more challenges for serious runners. Every month, event organizers try to outdo one another in presenting appealing events in distances varying from 2 kilometers to full marathons. But yesterday, The Enterprise Center (TEC) took the sport in a different direction.


Yesterday’s “Trek the TEC” was the first major attempt at a vertical run in the Philippines. The center’s two towers on the corner of Ayala Avenue and Paseo de Roxas provided a controlled setting for the run, which spanned a daunting 90 floors or about 2,065 steps. Runners went up one tower, then down to the third floor common lobby, where they crossed to climb the stairs to the rooftop of the second tower. It was a new challenge for the runners, adding a new thrill to an old staple.

“It was a different feeling for the runners because it was vertical,” says race director Donn Rabanes. “Building run-ups provide a different technical challenge for racers. Deep concentration and excellent physical conditioning are required to navigate the stairways of the building. At the same time, it was short, but intense.”

The most famous vertical run is the Empire State Building Run-Up in New York, which many Hollywood celebrities like Oprah Winfrey have tried. In Asia, the Taipei 101 Tower Run also draws international runners. There are also rare run-ups here in the Philippines, but this is the first competitive race of its type pioneered by a private entity. Despite the short preparation and lack of publicity, over 120 runners entered this new kind of race, a big departure from running on a stair-climber in a gym.

“With the rainy season coming, runners will be looking for a venue to train and compete,” adds veteran race organizer Adi de los Reyes, a consultant for Trek the TEC. “This building was perfect for the race. And it is challenging. When we tried the course, it took three days for my leg muscles to recover.”

Runners massed at the driveway of the building, then raced up one stairwell. Since they were being individually timed and released by batches of 50, there was no need to jostle and nudge each other at the start. Cameras were set up along the stairs, and images of the runners were projected onto a big screen in the ground-floor lobby, so the families and friends of participants could cheer.

TEC’s advantage is that it has scissor-type stairs, meaning that the flights going up are not the same stairwells going down. This eliminated the probability of runners heading in opposite directions from bumping into each other. On the other hand, it added a mental challenge to the competition, since runners could not see their place, and would have to guess how well they were doing.

Gerald Sabal conquered the field in 13 minutes and eight seconds to rule the men’s division and win the P10,000 top prize. Regie Lumag was second, just 11 seconds behind, and received P5,000. Joel edged Elmer Sabal for third place by one second, clocking 13:49. Salvador Loreto finished fifth.

In the women’s event, veteran runner Maricel Manguilan clocked 17:12 for first place (beating most of the men), almost four and a half minutes ahead of second-placer, TV personality Noelle de Guzman. Grace Jakosalem was third, followed by Anna Calvo and Ana Liza Pellicer. But nobody went home empty-handed, as organizers provided raffle prizes for everyone present.

“This is a great event, and we want to do more of these types of races among the Shangri-La Properties,” explained TEC Center manager Francis Fuellas. “It’s part of our vision to provide tenants and guests with a holistic, balanced lifestyle. This race was just a showcase of The Enterprise Center as a friendly environment for these kinds of events.”

The Enterprise Center is also one of the most technologically advanced buildings in the country. It prides itself on saving power by recycling its air, and having a rooftop garden to save on cooling costs, among other features. It will also be the site of more vertical runs in the future.