When I started blogging in 2006, my sole purpose then was to chronicle every adventure and misadventure I have wandering around the Philippines and our neighbors in Asia. As it progresses, it morphed from a simple travel blog to something that advocates tourism, environment and change. In the process I learned that blogging is one great means to inspire other people, to influence friends, to encourage change and to make a difference.
Last year, when Super Typhoon Pablo ravaged and flattened my hometown of Cateel in Davao Oriental, I used my blogs along with social media to speak out and let our little voices be heard. I maximized the use of all social networking sites to gather relevant aid we can send to our distressed hometown of Cateel.
The birth of Help Cateel Movement that I started on Facebook along with my fellow Cateelenos was a great manifestation of how social media can influence change to better the lives of the many. Our cry for help and our plea for unity posted on social networking sites encouraged the spirit of bayanihan not only in the country but across the world. It was shared and spread out tremendously that help immediately poured in. People responded to our call. Aid and support was unstoppable. The spirit of volunteerism touched many lives. Different nations cared. What we thought to be the saddest times of our lives was a chance to feel to very essence of humanity. There is love in this world.
Today my town, my family and so our people back home are slowly getting up, moving forward from Pablo’s onslaught. Pablo demolished our homes. Pablo raped our nature. Pablo assaulted our innocent children. But Pablo left us with one greatest lesson will never forget for as long as we live – that even in the greatest time of despair there are and there will always be people who will care, who are willing to help.
SOCIAL MEDIA was a great part in proving that. SOCIAL MEDIA took part of that call. SOCIAL MEDIA at its best.
The story I posted on this blog “CATEEL, CATEELEÑOS AND TYPHOON PABLO: Tales of Survival, Resilience, Hope and Compassion” – took me three months to finish it. It was really hard to write something so painful yet so full of hope – full of inspiring stories that inspired our people – that inspired me even up to now. It is not just a story of a Cateeleno but every Filipino who survived a monster that of Pablo. It is a tale of challenges and survival, of bravery and heroism, of love and compassion, of resilience and hope. A story of every brave and resilient FILIPINO.
Last night, I as went up the stage to accept the award as Blogger of the Year and Social Media Advocate of the Year in the 2nd Davao Media Excellence Award, I held back my tears for I know this is so close to my heart. This award is not only a win for me but also for those who helped us during the times of our great battle. This is also for those unsung heroes who risked their lives, who unselfishly gave up their most precious time to be with us in the darkest hours of our lives. This award proved that we are heard, we are loved.
For our brothers and sisters now suffering from the wrath of Super Typhoon Yolanda, we can feel you. We really do. But please believe us – you’ll get through this. You will survive just like how we survived Pablo.
And so I speak in behalf of my people and all those who survived Pablo conveying my deepest gratitude to all those who’ve help us survived and move forward from that horrific 4th day of December. Thank you. Thank you.
To GLOBE, thank you so much for this recognition. This is so special to me. I share this award to my family, to my fellow volunteers at Help Cateel Movement who are my fellow advocates of hope and change, and to everyone who sheltered us with love and compassion. Cateel, para ngini kanmo!
Kamayong tanan, SALAMATAY GAYUD! From The Travel Teller, with love!
Henrylito Tacio (Sunstar Davao) – Reporter of the Year for Print
Stella Estremera (Sunstar Davao) – Feature Story of the Year for Print
Renato Bartolo (Mindanao Times) – Columnist of the Year
Bing Gonzales (Mindanao Times) – Photojournalist of the Year
Vina Araneta (ABS-CBN Davao) – Reporter of the Year for Television
John Paul Seniel (GMA Davao) – Feature Story of the Year for Broadcast
Allen Doydora (DYRD/Sonshine Radio) – Reporter of the Year for Radio
Olan Emboscado (www.thetravelteller.com) – Social Media Advocate of the Year
Olan Emboscado (www.thetravelteller.com) – Blogger of the Year
The Davao Media Excellence Award is initiated by Globe to provide an opportunity and venue for print and broadcast journalists as well as bloggers to be recognized in their fields of work. The Blogger of the Year Award is given to a blogger with the best body of works/posts on the identified social concerns. On the other hand, Social Media Advocate of the Year Award is given to individual with the most influential works/posts posted/published on various fast-emerging social networking sites and has great impact to the people’s daily lives.