The great F. Sionil Jose once lamented, “The Pinoy is shallow, mababaw ang kaligayahan.” The media, is to be blamed, he said, and writers for not being critical enough.
Some days I agree with the old guy, what with the number of mediocre blogs I have to come across with in my pursuit of read-worthy ones. With how commercialized blogging has become, poorly written blogs burgeon every day, and sadly, blogging has turned into a revenue generator more than it is a passion.
…Which is why I tip my hat to these Pinoys who write insights and stories in an approach that defies the status quo. At the end of the day, blogging is essentially still about writing, and writing well beyond proper grammar and spelling. In an age where shallowness can at times be the norm, these contemporary writers put the class and substance back to the craft.
|Some of Gay’s Round-the-world trip destinations in 2012
Photos by Gay Emami
As a Nuffnang Asia-Pacific Blog Awards honoree, a Lonely Planet featured blogger and a PHL360 crew, Nina has helped pivot the awakening of independent female traveling in the Philippines. Just Wandering chronicles her travel adventures through Southeast Asia and beyond from 2006 onwards – back when traveling was a concept that’s generally perceived as confined to the upper class.
|A peaceful scene at Ward Island
Photo by Nina Fuentes
But while she is best known for Just Wandering, her personal blog at evilmartian.org offers a refreshing respite from her travel-heavy posts and advertorials on JW, and lets us peek into the more intimate side of Nina outside traveling. I for one, find it to be very warm and engaging than JW in some instances, and a visit whenever I am in the mood for some soul-searching, never fails to stir up some sensibilities.
3. Dennis Villegas of dennisvillegas.blogspot.com
|Photo by Dennis Villegas|
|Siquijor at sunset
Photo by Dennis Villegas
A professor by trade, Dennis’ exceptional storytelling skills is seen in his accurate reportage of the Filipino life. His fearless, in-depth interviews with intriguing characters including Kristong Hari and the faith healers of Siquijor allow us commoners to have a glimpse of their lives and thoughts, outside of what is portrayed by the media.
Dennis tells a story as it is, without any judgments, biases or personal innuendos – something that’s also characteristic of the articles he writes for the Philippine Online Chronicles. This objectivity and ability to present interesting stories without resorting to sensationalism is perhaps, his blog’s biggest draw – aside from the absence of ads, chicklet, chatboxes or social media badges on his site, which makes for a seamless reading experience.
4. Eliza Victoria of elizavictoria.com (formerly Sungazer)
A seasoned and published poet and novelist (four books and counting!), Eliza bagged her first Palanca at 22. In the past, she worked for the Philippine Daily Inquirer and has appeared in several publications including Philippines Graphic and Philippines Free Press.
Eliza’s personal blog offers us a glimpse of the other side of the writing life (i.e. Writers don’t wax poetic all the time!). Here she shares her biggest passions: eating out and traveling with boyfriend J and friends, makeup, literature and movies!
Of particular interest are her movie reviews, which are refreshing, succinct and perceptive it is easy to mistake her for a movie critic (I wonder why nobody in that department has picked her talents up yet. She would make a wonderful, well-loved critic.).
5. Loi Reyes Landicho of The Professional Heckler
Remember that Dan Brown letter to MMDA Chairman Tolentino who recently made the rounds in Facebook? This guy is the brains behind it.
Written with wit and novelty, The Professional Heckler is a breather from the usual slapstick/ dumb comedy we Filipinos are so accustomed to. Loi’s satirical jokes have been included in many political humor books as well as national broadsheets, and often expose truths masked by reality. His blog has been awarded in the Best in Entertainment/Humor category in the Philippine Blog Awards for four consecutive years as well as the 2011 Globe Tattoo Awards.
If you need a good laugh, the heckler is the way to go. Just remember, bawal ang pikon!
6. Allan Barredo of Lantaw
Allan is what I would describe as an over-the-top blessed earthling – something his photoblog, Lantaw, vividly encapsulates. Not only does he take spellbinding, Nat Geo-calibre photos, he has excellent storytelling prowess too. He can make the grubbiest of places seem like paradise sans post-processing, and make you feel like you’re breathing the same space through words.
Lantaw easily transports one to a magical world that these days, only Pinterest can provide. His waterfalls and seascape shots in particular, are absolutely stunning. They compel you to see what is out there. Allan’s captures bear a certain humanity and untouched beauty that could make even the most cynical of cynics weep, and the soul, calm and renewed. If that’s not raw talent, heck, I don’t know what that is.
7. Lori Baltazar of Dessert Comes First
It was a search on Cyma that led me to DCF, and boy,what a cornucopia of gastronomic wonders that particular Googling sesh opened.
A fellow dessert lover, Lori considers dessert to be most interesting course in a meal. Unlike many self-professed foodies whose knowledge of food is oftentimes pedestrian, this girl knows how to talk the talk, and walks it – quite very well, in fact. Her skills go far beyond taking presentable photos of plated dishes. She writes with precision, vibrance and rhythm. Sensuality, even. Her great passion for food shines through each store she rummages through, every dish and story she shares. With the caliber she’s bringing to the table, I honestly think that her blog is one of the most low-key, most underrated food blogs out there.
|Photo by Lori Baltazar|
8. Nerisa Guevara of This Lady Is Cold
|Hand-churned vanilla ice cream with dates, Camembert and Chardonnay
Photo by Nerisa Guevara
10. Tutubi of Backpacking Philippines
One of the earliest purveyors of travel blogging in the country, Tutubi started Backpacking Philippines in 2006, and has since spawned a plethora of well-documented, accurate travel information (including one of the first posts on Calaguas in the blogosphere), itineraries, budgetary suggestions, off-the-beaten path spots, and detailed place-to-place directions – which is perhaps the best part of his blog. I always say that if it’s from Tutubi, you can be assured you won’t get lost.
Being an extensive backpacker and a GPS/ Google Maps enthusiast, the guy knows his coordinates and routes very well, be it via public commute or private vehicle. See, he even plotted the earliest coordinates handed by Taiwan re: the Taiwanese fishermen- Philippine coastguard dispute and came up with Batanes – well before news hit the big screen. Yep, kind of dorky, I know, but extremely cool too, wouldn’t you agree? You chiccas would be so lucky. If only he wasn’t anonymous.
(Two hints: He works in RCBC Tower in Makati and hails from Paete, Laguna.)
|Calaguas in 2008. Pristine and undeveloped.
Photo by Tutubi
But what sets Tutubi apart is his patriotism and political awareness that so clearly resonates with his blog posts and Facebook updates. In an age where many travel and eat for posterity and race toward stressful, tight itineraries, this guy brings the beauty back to journeys by promoting traveling with deeper purpose, not merely to finish a bucketlist well ahead of others.
11. Jenny Ong of Chronicles of a Nursing Mom
Photo by Stanley Ong
A staunch advocate of breastfeeding, Jenny’s Chronicles of a Nursing Mom outlines her breastfeeding journey and her fight against milk formula feeding. From proper latching to breastfeeding laws, Jenny’s blog is brimming with well-researched, factual information on breastfeeding (and most times inconvenient truths, too), all written unabashedly with heart.
Her relentless passion and dedication to inform and help moms and moms-to-be provide the best nutrition for their kids is simply admirable. If you are an expectant mom or a mom who’s intent on offering nothing but the boob, this is a highly recommended read. Much like Kellymom, Pinoy-style (You singletons are probably thinking, “What is she talking about?” You’ll have your turn, just you wait!).
The site also showcases Jenny’s three other passions: babywearing, cloth diapering and attachment parenting, all parenting ideologies that have once taken a backseat but are now making a huge comeback.