The bloggers of Zamboanga
I was very happy to have visited — at long last! — Asia’s Latin City (from 17 to 20 October), and to have touched base with the bloggers of Zamboanga. I’d already met some of them online (and two of them ‘offline’ during the 2nd Mindanao Bloggers Summit last year), but seeing them all together in their own milieu was most gratifying.
The Zambo bloggers started becoming active and participatory in the Mindanao Bloggers Community around last year. They even sent tentative feelers to the MB core group as to the possibility of their hosting MBS3. This is a clear indication that they could very well be prepared for the opportunity to host the 4th Summit next year…
Present during the meet-up at the Country Food & Tea House (excellent choices of loose-leaf tea, by the way) were Yolynne, Ryann, Jerome, Pics, Jet, James (aka “John Lazy”), Cedric, and others. Some of those who came had never before met their fellow Zamboangueño bloggers. And this is why I found the meet-up gratifiying: because there is an apparent willingness to strengthen the local bloggers’ group in Zamboanga.
I was also able to meet a couple of Tausug bloggers, and they told us that they have a very active group of about 50, and they blog about Moro and Muslim topics, among others. Getting to know them, especially Nur Danial, was an eye opener for me, and has made my resolve to broaden the scope of the Mindanao Bloggers Community even stronger.
We’ll hear more about what’s been going on with the bloggers of Zamboanga Peninsula from Ryann Elumba, who will deliver a report at MBS3. Ryann is the blogger behind Hola Zamboanga!, and the one who designed the creatives for MBS2.
Last 19 October, I also went to Isabela City, Basilan. Another first for me! I’d like to express my gratitude to Yolynne for introducing me to RJ Ian, who took the entire day off on a Monday to show me his beautiful city. Thanks to RJ, I was able to visit some schools in Isabela and encourage high school and college students to take up blogging. We certainly need more man-on-the-street accounts of what’s really happening on the much-maligned island of Basilan.
I’ll certainly make a trip to the Zamboanga Peninsula again soon and, God willing, for a much longer stay. I’d love to be able to visit Pagadian and Ipil, as well as other places in Basilan Province. I’ve visited Dapitan and Dipolog back in 1996, but going back to those places to get acquainted with the bloggers there is on my priority list.
Muchas gracias, amigos de Zamboanga!