Category: blogs


jesse robredo was a blogger pala from october 2007 to august 2009 — take that, tito sotto!    the blog Oddball has 31 entries that i intend to copy-and-paste and save and comb through.  i hope it will tell us, or hint at, his thoughts on the economy, the peso-dollar exchange, VAT, the energy problem, foreign affairs, china, america, trapos, the pork barrel, at kung ano-ano’t sino-sino pa.  too bad he stopped blogging after that last entry on cory’s death.  i guess we all know why.

thanks to raissa robles and commenter @noggy for sharing.

“The Filipino is Worth Blogging For” and indie publishing

The Filipino is Worth Blogging For is the title of a book katrina and i are self-publishing and launching on thursday july 19, along with the main attraction, katrina’s first book: of love and other lemons, essays personal and political about being girl-woman-pinay, otherwise known as ka-women-an (hyphens mine), in this day and age in this macho-pa-rin country, the kind of essays i would have wanted to write for my generation but never had the courage to, just because my parents and sibs would have disowned me.  a must-read for all girls, young and old, and their fathers sons brothers lovers too.  the essays are illustrated with new and previous works of artists met, friends made, in the last two years.

… an honest, moving portrait of a young woman who cannot but train her critical eye on the world even as her life splinters around her and who realizes, not without cost, that “the most personal things that informed our real lives, kawomenan could not respond [to].” Where the writer breaks into a lyrical mode, the reader becomes privy to the intimate and the hidden that the persona shares with a beloved. No mere intermissions, these privacies serve as yet another act of resistance when held in counterpoint to the weight of the public and political that inform her life, small acts but no less significant. By turns brave, bewildered, unsparing, and vulnerable, the essays strive to reinvigorate kawomenan by accommodating the experiences and aspirations of a new generation of Filipinas. — from the foreword by Mabi David

while katrina was wrapping up of love…, this second book happened on the side.  the title had come first, inspired by the slogan “The Filipino Is Worth Designing For” on t-shirts of the cobonpue-layug-pineda group at the height of the naia-1 controversy.

joel remembers when it came to him, The Filipino is Worth Blogging For! that at once he bought the domain name, for a support marketing website.  then we sat on it, haha, naghintayan, until i realized that it was i who had the luxury of time while awaiting the foreword and blurbs for my edsa uno book, so i plunged in.

the hard part was going through more than a thousand blogposts over 4 years and choosing the events / issues / people that katrina and i had both blogged about (without repeating each other), and finding that with some rearranging, under new categories and in chronological order (rather than newest blogpost first), narratives are revealed of recent and current history, social and political, as it unfolds in natural time.  a leap from the computer screen into the pages of a book, and it works (if i may say so myself who shouldn’t)!

… this collection fairly crackles with inquisitive and insightful electricity, and serves as engaging, persuasive testimony regarding the merits of following the writings of these authors in venues online or otherwise.  — from blurb by blogger Jaime Oscar M. Salazar

Binabasag nila ang pagkamanhid na namamayani sa lipunan, ipinaparamdam ang samu’t saring porma ng pang-aapi at panlilinlang. Kung hindi ka man sang-ayon sa isang tindig, hindi mo naman maikakailang may punto ang kanilang pag-iisip.  — from blurb by blogger Teo Marasigan

why indie publishing

mainstream publishing houses can make it easy for you, in a sense, put out your book at little cost to you, if any, but usually you have to make pila for who-knows-how-long — unless you’re part of the canonized circle, or very well-connected — but you get only a rather small share of sales, far from commensurate to all the time and energy and creativity you poured into your work, unless of course you’re already a sikat bestseller, in which case you get a better deal, someone correct me if i’m wrong.

the alternative is to do it yourself.  you put out your own money to pay artists who will layout your book and design your cover.  meanwhile you find a printing press, preferably one that’s known to do good work for indie publishers, like benny jalbuena’s corasia, and you choose the paper you like or can afford, and you negotiate prices, and talk serious deadlines, so you can plan your launch.

of course you’ll try to keep expenses low.  you’ll make tawad the artists — helps if you know them personally, mga kindred souls ‘yan — but make sure they’re also into digital technology, because the printing press will expect a usb stick or hard drive containing all the book data.  you’ll choose cheap but presentable paper; you might even keep the number of pages down as the cost per book goes up the thicker the book, and the fewer the number of copies you want.  if you’re lucky the printing press will ask for 50 percent down lang, the rest to follow as the book sells.

you’ll get your money back naman , and possibly turn a small profit in the long run depending on how you price your book — what profit margin you’ll be happy with — and, most important, how you sell it.  you could get into the bookstores, directly or through a distributor, but they’ll want anywhere from 40 to 55 percent of sales (yes, without any puhunan on their part, at least the ones we checked out) which would mean your book gets quite expensive, unless you’re willing to forego profit and just make bawi your puhunan, then it gets just a little expensive.

the alternative is to sell it yourself, which means turning on your most shameless and yabang self — your book is worth buying and reading, you’ll even sign every copy, who knows it might become a collector’s item!  at the launch, get as many of your family and friends and friends of friends to come and buy.  it helps a lot if you give away copies to writers and columnists in the hope that one out of ten comes up with a rave review for the papers and/or the internet.  it helps a lot, too, if you have a website for your book, where you can promote it and  post contact numbers for orders.

we learned all that when we published lola concha’s book, revolutionary routeslast year.  i didn’t want to be edited by a publisher whose concerns would be different from mine, and i wanted to be sure it would look exactly as i envisioned it, which meant katrina working closely with the artists to the very end.  and i wanted to price it cheap while making a little for my work, so i did the index myself, and a cousin did the editing, gratis et amore, and i asked for and got donations from family that covered printing costs and a sosyal launch sa filipinas heritage in makati, lots of food and drinks, lola concha style.

in contrast, of love and other lemons is a katrina project — sampid lang ang the filipino is worth blogging for — all expenses ours, so we’re doing it the way katrina’s indie-publishing friends do it.  in a launch-friendly venue, chef’s bistro in q.c, which doesn’t charge for events in the hope that those who attend will order some of their good food.  katrina’s buying the first 100 or so bottles of beer to get the ball rolling. :)

the good news is, mang benny has texted, tapos na katrina’s book, and worth blogging for is almost done, delivery on wednesday, what a relief!   see you at the launch!

blogging in the wind

political blogging used to be fun in the philippines.  when i took the plunge in september 2007, the pinoy blogosphere was a completely different “place,” kind of like a plaza miranda where you could mount a soapbox and sound off on your opinions and ideas re government and religion, politics and economics, culture and society, at any time of the day or night, and if you talked sense, especially if you kept abreast of current events and opinions offline and online, and you had something to add to the discourse-on-nation across blogs, AND you had an open mind and could handle comments and criticism, that is, you were receptive to other intelligent even if contrary points of view, THEN the blogosphere was an exciting, dynamic, mind-expanding space to be.

my timing was great, because the next two years would prove the best of times for political blogging.  those were the final years of gloria arroyo’s ten-year reign and dissatisfaction was at an all time high.  i had been blogging a month when glorietta exploded;  in november was the coup attempt and take-over of manila peninsula by trillanes and lim; early in 2008 the nbn-zte deal was exposed and we all met jun lozada; and then there was JPEPA, and sulpicio, and E-VAT, and ces and the abu sayyaf…. by then radikalchick had started blogging too.  there was such a lot to blog about, so much that wasn’t being said in/by mainstream media.

in may 2008 nick of put up the group blog Filipino Voices. “noted” blogger mlq3 didn’t join FV (i guessed he was busy enough with his own blog, daily dose and his weekly tv show, the explainer; nor did i, when nick invited me, as i was in the middle of book projects and had  time only for my own blog) but manolo’s super-endorsement carried a lot of weight and nick was able to get the top bloggers posting regularly, and it was phenomenal —  everyday there was something new, sometimes two or three or more posts, and the traffic generated was awesome, and the comment threads were jumping with serious debates and arguments over government policies and political issues and everything under the sun.

yet, in just a little over two years FV folded up. in august 2010, jcc posted Filipino Voices About To Write #30

Filipino Voices, is in disarray if not dead. What used to be a collective voice of well-minded Filipinos embracing the new media and the digital space is now hobbled on a sickbed about to fold. Nick Cugtas owns the blog and for a couple of years or three, it has attracted a power-pack writers that have promising potentials and literary erudition. I have found hard-nosed, incisive and well-meaning writers; Dean Jorge Bocobo, Dean De La Paz, Jeg, Blackshama, Caffeine_Sparks, Benign0, BongV, Lila Shahani, Rom, and lawyers, BenCard and Abe Margallo. I also found The_Cat and Leytenian at times entertaining, and a lot of other visitors and commentators who do not fail to put in their five cents worth and snippets of their own genius about the country, her people and the politicians that bled them dry. As they come with different backgrounds, the debate was often more intense, passionate, eloquent and civil, though sometimes hostile.

this from benignO whom i found on twitter :

I think everyone started to get disillusioned with the inconsistent way Nick managed the site. DJB, left because he got too annoyed with me (to answer your question # 3) specifically after I posted a piece entitled “Kahol ng Bayan” which he found offensive. Perhaps I myself had behaved like an ass many times which eventually turned Nick off to me — and it was particularly heightened at the point when Noynoy declared his candidacy. The disparity in quality of work at FV too varied widely as some put in half-baked articles while others took the time to craft really well-thought-out pieces.

also in august ricelander posted WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO FILIPINO VOICES 

Filipino Voices was once a lively if unruly battleground of some of the best minds in the blogosphere and for a time a favorite stopover of many like-minded bloggers. Although traffic had visibly ebbed down over time, it remained quite a vibrant meeting place. So when it fell quiet all too suddenly, it is only fair to inquire whatever happened?! After all, it was a favorite hangout too no matter that it was not always in amiable spirit. It’s like, hey, where is everybody…? because you find the house once full of people all abandoned and padlocked without a farewell, y’know, something like “we’re done with our mission and we need to move on” sort of thing. …  Such a waste though. Any serious blogger knows how difficult it is to rake in so much traffic such as what FV had already gathered for itself.

such a waste indeed but i wasn’t surprised.  FV had lost its appeal long before that.  the “wisdom of the crowd” never quite showed up; it was impossible to tell who was winning, if any, what argument, and, as young blogger marocharim lamented on FV early in 2009, its elitist slip was showing.

When are people going to write for the poor, the downtrodden, the laid-off, the fired, the underpaid, the hungry, the sick, the ill… those people who are as sickened about everything as we are, yet don’t have the benefit of blogs or computers to do what they can of it, no matter how small?

and pretty soon, things were getting personal, a lot of ad hominem attacks by full-of-themselves know-it-alls who couldn’t stand being contradicted; and homophobic attacks on reyna elena who fought back by putting up his own group blog, barrio siete, and raising a ruckus over the question of credentials; and suddenly there were new bloggers posting little more than cut-and-paste stuff, contributing nothing to the discourse except echoes; and someone started dissing anonymous bloggers and commenters, demanding that they identify themselves or forever be under suspicion of sinister motives or shady political connections; at kung ano-ano pa.  i’m not sure at what point nick started seriously moderating FV, but i remember complaints galore, and then cory died, FV turned yellow, and then died, too.

ricelander recalls:

FV was strongly supportive of President Noynoy Aquino in the last elections and this hounding issue was generally ignored if not denounced as black propaganda. I could imagine Hacienda Luisita would be a raging topic of debate on its comments section now. And I could imagine how badly beaten they at FV would be defending the controversy.

so where did all the FV bloggers and their readers go?  some went back to their solo blogs, but it wasn’t like pre-FV times, when mlq3’s daily dose kept track of the discourse separately unfolding — noynoy was prez by then and manolo had been wooed and won; neutralized, at the very least.  some of the bloggers i see posting in a couple of group blogs, benignO’s getrealphilippines and cocoy’s propinoyproject.  some just went the way of social media, along with the huge FV traffic, i suspect, exchanging views mostly with like-minded ones, where the occasional catfights are just so tame compared to FV’s at its peak.

this is all to say how silent, if not kind, the blogosphere is these days, in contrast to the arroyo years.  you would think that there’s nothing to question, nothing to criticize, the aquino administration is doing a great job.  but since it’s not true, in fact little has changed so far, i figure that most bloggers choose to give the president the benefit of the doubt until, well, who knows, until his term ends?  meanwhile, radikalchick and i get a lot of brickbats about being negative, we must be anti-pinoy daw because we have little good to say about the presidency of cory’s and ninoy’s son, and why daw are we not practising journalistic ethics,  as in, presenting both sides of an issue, rather than being so critical.

it’s the pits, having to explain, more than once, on facebook, that we aren’t journalists.  our blogs are opinion blogs, we don’t have to interview people before we write about or comment on their public statements and actions.  i dare  criticize on the strength of my long years as a multi-media writer grounded in psychology, astrology, and philippine history and politics.  katrina was invited to write for gma news online and recently for the glossy Rogue on the strength of her merits, not as journalist/reporter like ressa, but as literature & philippine studies scholar, teacher and writer, and pop-culture critic.

ah for the good old rowdy days of FV.  at least no one called our blogs “funny” then — yes, “funny,” which can only be a put-down? — and if katrina had written THEN what she recently wrote for Rogue upon the editor’s request, a critical piece on manila’s literary and publishing scene, she wouldn’t be getting comments like “but we knew that na” and “it didn’t need to be said” (meaning, i suppose that it’s all okay).  rather, bloggers would have weighed in, added to the discourse, in agreement or disagreement or anywhere in between, and most certainly, indie writers and self-publishers would have happily chimed in and shared stories  and do-it-yourself tips, and that would have been a blast.

our problem is not only that few dare be truly critical today but also that we can’t, we don’t want to, we don’t know how to, deal with and learn from criticism, whether as object thereof or as friend, supporter, admirer, of the object thereof.  we only know to take offense.  the thinking, if it can be called that, might be that criticism doesn’t help anyway, the powerful are too powerful, and since you can’t beat them, join them na lang.  never mind that it’s a flawed and evil system, entrenched across all sectors, that continues to favor the few and oppress the many.

the most twisted yet of spins vs. the kind of critical thinking and writing we do is that it’s nothing but crab mentality — pulling down, putting down, people and institutions, instead of focusing on the good that they do (heh, kind of like PR writing).  but what if the alleged good they do isn’t really good for nation?  what if the bad they do actually outweighs the good, what then?  okay pa rin, basta merong good?

it’s clear to me that katrina and i are not the crabs here.  the crabs here are the ones affected and offended by the kind of criticism we dish out, and, instead of engaging us on issues, they try to pull us down to their level.

contrarily, katrina and i blog purely to share our perspectives and opinions on national affairs in the romantic hope of raising the level of discourse on nation and nation-building.  and we do so as free spirits, free-lancers.  we belong to no political orgs.  we are neither RJ nor RA.  we parrot no one’s propaganda, we toe no one’s line.  so, yes, i suppose we’re “funny” that way.

calling out ressa

a public apology via social media is in order, methinks.

in case you’re not on facebook or twitter, check out this sequence of tweets over radikalchick’s opinion blog going to the dogs, a follow-up on lito zulueta’s Who will watch the watchdog? that was in response to luis teodoro’s Rule makers and rule breakers — all still about questions that, after promising “uncompromised journalism,” refuses to answer, questions re its clear bias against impeached sc chief justice corona whose trial begins today.

thanks to j.o.m. salazar aka randomsalt for finding all the relevant tweets and putting them in sequence via storify:

Rappler CEO Maria Ressa implies blogger guilty of libel 

Tweets exchanged between @angel_alegre, @maria_ressa, @radikalchick, @randomsalt, and @wolverinabee regarding a blog post by @radikalchick on a recent Rappler story re Chief Justice Corona and the University of Santo Tomas. Read that post here: <>

angel alegre @maria_ressa interesting pov on teodoro-zulueta (and ressa) case: [12 jan]

Maria Ressa @angel_alegre funny @radikalchick never asked me before she wrote and am only a tweet away. Guess that separates the pros … [12 jan]

Maria Ressa @angel_alegre I suppose every news group that did a story on memes is paid? Careful abt assumptions. They tell more about the observer. [12 jan]

Maria Ressa @angel_alegre Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but the crowd decides. Thanks for sharing! [12 jan]

KatStuartSantiago @maria_ressa ask you about what exactly? [13 jan]

Maria Ressa @radikalchick Ask for an intvw – before making libelous charges based on assumptions alone. Wouldn’t publish without it.

J.O.M. Salazar @radikalchick Is @maria-ressa accusing you of libel? [13 jan]

katstuartsantiago @randomsalt it seems that is a question for @maria_ressa to answer, don’t you think? [13 jan]

J.O.M. Salazar @radikalchick True. Just startled a pro like @maria_ressa would so readily invoke libel given how it’s been used to harrass journos. [13 jan]

KatStuartSantiago @randomsalt friday the 13th kasi. :) tchaka walang ibang kumu-kuwestyon sa kanila.  [13 jan]

Maria Ressa @randomsalt @radikalchick Would say it’s malicious and unfounded, but would not go as far as filing case. Too much over too little. [13 jan]

J.O.M.Salazar @radikalchick If @maria_ressa bristles at being questioned, she proves her own thesis about PHL power-distance index.  [13 jan]

Maria Ressa @randomsalt @radikalchick Just expected better, I guess. A charge deserves a response bef publishing. [13 jan]

J.O.M. Salazar @maria_ressa Seems to me @radikalchick’s questions are less malicious than say, “Who’s lying, Corona or UST?” @rapplerdotcom [13 jan]

Maria Ressa @randomsalt I actually answer questions. But the questions need to be asked first. [13 jan]

J.O.M. Salazar @maria_ressa She did ask questions. I’m puzzled you think such questions are necessarily malicious. @radikalchick [13 jan]

Maria Ressa @randomsalt sorry, received no questions. Would’ve answered. Did intvws yday with several bloggers. @radikalchick  [13 jan]

Rina (wolverinabee) hhhmm. interesting developments between @maria_ressa and @radikalchick. hoping for healthy, and ultimately instructive discussion. [13 jan]

Maria Ressa @wolverinabee @radikalchick always, hopefully :-) [13 jan]

katstuartsantiago wow. you invoke libel, call my writing malicious & unfounded, and THEN you end with “always, hopefully” and a smiley? wow, @maria_ressa [13 jan]

we missed ressa’s second and third tweets because she didn’t tag @radikalchick — bakit kaya — so for a while there, after reading re-reading radikalchick’s piece, we could only assume that ressa had found offensive these questions that katrina had raised:

… unlike Teodoro, i don’t think there’s anything petty at all about the issues that Zulueta raises here with regards transparency. in the same way that they call out Zulueta for being a UST professor writing for the Inquirer, why can we not question Teodoro for his own link to the CMFR and Business World? why can we not insist that everyone – especially the media personalities who are calling themselves watchdogs — be transparent about their own biases and links to each other?

so for transparency’s sake: i owe Lito Zulueta for getting my feet wet in arts criticism, and publishing me in the Inquirer’s Arts and Book section in 2009. I stopped writing for the Inquirer in 2010.

now let me dare the Ressas and Teodoros of this world: what are the personal links that exist for you? who are you friends with, and can you at any point critique them privately or publicly? does it matter at all that Teodoro is co-writer with Vitug in a CMFR book like Media in Court(1997)?

or maybe, we wondered, it was this that offended?

… a love affair exists among those who are holding the fort of “new media” | “online media” — self-proclaimed and otherwise. if anything i am reminded that in media, as with the literary world, and maybe every aspect of this Pinoy culture, what keeps the status quo are friendships: ones that run deep, ones that are unquestioned from within. the question for Ressa and Teodoro really is whether or not theycould have at any point disagreed with Vitug on this and any story? the question for all of us who blindly want to be invited into the bubble of middle class media and sort-of-NGO work is how many questions will we then fail to ask?

all valid questions.  by no stretch of the imagination is any of it libelous or malicious or unfounded.  it is critical, yes, and is that bawal na ngayon?

moreover, ressa’s insistence that she should have been asked/interviewed first before publishing, as a pro would have done daw, had us falling from our seats in shock.  ano daw?  ano siya.  sacred cow?  and since when have opinion blogs fallen under her purview?

then came J.O.M.’s storify and the second and third ressa tweets: “I suppose every news group that did a story on memes is paid? Careful abt assumptions. They tell more about the observer.” … “Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but the crowd decides.”

so where did katrina suggest/assume that “every news group that did a story on memes is paid”?  not here, surely:

rappler has quietly revealed itself to be about helping out government instead of being a critical voice that at the very least asks: how much was paid BBDO for this campaign and is it worth it? i guess no questions like that for “uncompromised journalism” now tagging itself as “citizen journalism.”

katrina was asking how much BBDO got paid, not rappler!  double vision, ressa?  slip of the tweet?  kneejerk defense?

so later she backpedals, but not to take back the libel accusation, and only after using the M word: “Would say it’s malicious and unfounded, but would not go as far as filing case. Too much over too little.”

too little?  she sullies katrina’s good name and the quality of her writing with the L word and the M word, and then says it’s “too little” to file a case over?  after she had deemed it big enough to tweet in no uncertain terms to her 74,782 twitter followers???  and i assume THAT is her “crowd” that will “decide”???  incredible!  yeah, like kris :(

irresponsible na nga, patronizing pa, looking down condescendingly on katrina from her cocky perch up there, wherever, in the dizzying heights of cyberspace obviously, giddy and gaga over her “popularity” and the support and adulation she’s been getting from her friends and cohorts (silence=support) in mainstream and social media?  yeah, she’s so back in the big-time now, we hear she even has links to, i mean, gets leaks from, the palace, no less.

check out benignO’s post World Bank report on Supreme Court ‘ineligible funds’ inappropriately leaked to Rappler? that i posted on my facebook wall, to which political analyst malu tiquia and journalist nini yarte, among others, reacted:

Malou Tiquia : what seems to have been ignored was that the WB project was implemented in 2003 under CJ DAVIDE, whose son was endorsed by PNOY during the 2010 elections. Unfortunately, the WB fund was audited during the Corona watch. The head of the Project Committee was even another Justice and not Corona.

Stuart Santiago : reading the inquirer version now, malou… hmm, kay corona ibinunton lahat, no? grabe.

Malou Tiquia : some in media created/abetted/supported the 2010 winner; media is ensuring they picked the right candidate unlike in 2001 when they allowed themselves to be used to oust Erap. If only media plays its role, then all of us will be served well. Now, if they would still blame Corona under command responsibility, the incumbent leader in the Executive Branch should be subjected to the same rigor too.

Nini Yarte : So it was a leaked story after all from a tainted source at that. No wonder rappler did not bother to get the reaction of people mentioned in the article. I was looking for the reply of JRSP to WB’s demand letter in the report, given the seriousness of the matter, there was none. So much for fair and objective journalism. If rappler’s advocacy is to bring down corona, it’s fine with me. But, mind, that’s not journalism.

Nini Yarte : … It’s a goldmine to us journalists, a scoop. But even when it’s a leaked story, the good practice, ethical, if you will, in journalism is to inform people that will be adversely affected by the story that such and such a report will be published and would they care to comment or give their side of the story. If they refuse to comment, that in itself is reported. The WB story is too one-sided for comfort. Now, if rappler wants to become like wikileaks, okay with me. But wikileaks does not brand itself as the bastion of good journalism. :)

trial by publicity, and rappler is part of it.  too bad.

like i’ve said on facebook, okay lang naman, kanya-kanyang diskarte.  but ressa should get down to earth, learn to respond rationally, and not cry bloody libel like a baby, when faced with criticism.  i know from experience that the blogosphere can be unforgiving of major lapses, lalo na pag ayaw umamin ng isang nagkamali o ayaw mag-sorry ng isang naka-offend.

i’ve been an independent and active political blogger for more than 3 years now, radikalchick for two.  we have built up our credibility slowly and patiently.  our comments sections are open to all (we only delete spam and trash), as are our twitter streams.  we are quick to apologize, to admit to mistakes, and to express thanks when a reader points out an error or gap in our reasoning.  we are also quick to thank anyone who offers new info/links/perspectives that raise the level of discourse.

we know to be careful, to self-edit, dahil nakataya ang pangalan namin.  we do not hide behind pseudonyms or orgs.  our blogs are us, up close and political.

a public apology would soothe radikalchick’s ruffled feathers some.  of course, we’re not waiting with bated breath.  given my own history with ressa, i don’t know that she’s up to it.  and then again, who knows.  she might see the light.  hope springs eternal.