Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Blog Camp In Cebu - No Campfire Horror Stories

My trip to the Cebu Blog Camp 2011 gave me the chance to stretch my limbs and introduce some movement into the rippling folds of fat I’ve accumulated through my stationary work situation. What did I think of it (the camp, not the exercise)? Was it worth the monumental effort of using a crowbar to pry my existence from the computer chair?

The Sugbuanons did not fall below expectations. They delivered exactly what they promised. There was little room for drastic last minute program digressions that would have made visiting bloggers appear polite and pleasant only to leave trails of virtual discontent.

When they said they’d offer insights into photography and travel for bloggers, they did just that. By the end of the day, I was again entertaining the grand delusion that I could ride a bus into the sunset to the distress of my paranoid blood relations, discover hidden retreats where there are no Jollibee outlets, learn to ask “Where is the toilet?” in 101 dialects and add my voice into the teeming mix of Filipino travel bloggers.

I must say though that I did entertain other hopes (a.k.a. ulterior motives) when I attended the camp. Since I work for a foreign internet-based company, I needed to find out if any of the speakers would mention the words internet marketing in the same sentence.

In the various blogging events I’ve attended, the Filipino bloggers I’d met were schooled in the belief that one should blog just because of one’s passions and interests. I’ve never attended an event in Vis-Min that taught bloggers to treat blogging as a real world business. That sometimes makes me think real Filipino internet marketers prefer to stay under the woodwork where they can secretly burp to the tune of five figure dollar incomes, away from the all seeing eye of the internet’s version of Big Brother.

Is internet marketing (IM) a forbidden topic in blogging events? Is IM the equivalent of horror stories told  around campfires? No one really wants to hear them and have nightmares of Big Brother taking away blog page ranks and contextual advertising accounts.

The last two speakers, Coy Caballes and Reuben Licera, social media management experts, came closest to approaching the topic that must not be named. Licera in particular was perhaps the father I never knew and would have given me the right guidance to taking baby steps in the traffic laden streets of Facebook, where crazy virtual drivers on steroids can run you over and cause death by social media, if he had more time.

By the end of the day, I could not resist the itch to ask why no one had yet said anything about future plans of teaching Pinoy bloggers IM that I made an effort to overcome my fear of men in shades and approached Philippine Blog Awards top man Juned Sonido to ask. He said plans for IM seminars might be in the works and that they have not consciously been avoiding the niche at all.

For the record, there are ethical ways of marketing online so future blog campers perhaps do not need to fear getting raided and rounded by Big Brother’s agents in ninja suites. I’m looking forward to those seminars Mr. Sonido.


  1. I've registered for this but I missed it because I'm still in Davao. Have you also attended the World Bloggers Day event in Cebu? Was it better than that on Cebu Blog Camp?

    I've never been to blogging seminars and I really don't know what to expect. But I just thought one thing that the purpose of this kind of seminar is to make EB or eyeball. hehe.:-) See the people you meet online in person.

    But if registrants pay for fees, then I think IM should also be taught by bloggers who became successful, somehow share their success stories and their knowledge. Trouble is, seasoned marketers or bloggers still have the urge to make money out of the newbies.

  2. Hi Nonoy. I wasn't able to attend the World Bloggers Day. I only had time for one out of town event this year ;)

    It is an interesting experience to meet people whose blogs you read online. My table mate Philip was in a bit of an awe finally seeing the faces behind the blogs he's been following.

    Naturally, IM seminars should be run by bloggers who are already experts. What you said is true though. I have yet to meet IMers who will teach for nothing :)

  3. Hi, I know i've been to this blog before - many, many moons ago. hehe.

    I had the chance to meet up with Cebu bloggers before way back 2008. We organized thru Istorya.net. I was still based in Cebu then. Of the 6 or 7 people who attended, only two earned bucks online.

    Here in Manila, IM is included even in the iBlog. The first day is for the IMs and money bloggers, the second for the personal bloggers.

    Nowadays, entrepreneurs use IM to get more mileage/exposure for their products or services, even to the extent of 'almost' spamming.

  4. Hi Ceblogger. Thanks for coming back :)

    Yeah, that's the thing. I heard that in Manila there are more educational activities for IMers. I wish we could have the same in the Vis-Min region.

    The truth is that my boss is educating me enough about IM but I'm eager to know if Pinoys know as much or even more. Is it possible that Pinoys know but consciously take the non-marketing path?

    It's true there are a lot of IMers who go all out to aggressively sell but I know a couple who take the straight path.

  5. thank you so much for leaving that comment, i intend on keeping my optimism haha :) how cool that you attended a blog camp! :) personally, i have so much to learn about blogging! like IM so i think it's a good idea for their to be talks about that.

  6. Hi Reg. I agree! Although IM is pretty tough, I think we Filipino bloggers should be given a shot at it.

  7. I like it very much!

  8. Very interesting I did not even know that such camps existed, but great story


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