Blogging tutorial, social media marketing tackled in first CBC class

by Maria Eleanor E. Valeros, #CebuBloggingCommunity

caption: The graduates of the first workshop, offered for free, by the Cebu Blogging Community with Mary Tinio Narvasa, community lead.

CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES — Local domain sellers may shut down anytime, so it’s safe to avoid them. This concern opened the recent Cebu Blogging Community class dubbed “Blogging Website Tutorial and Social Media Marketing” facilitated by community lead Maria Margarita “’Mary” Tinio Narvasa. This is the first workshop offered for free.

CBC member Richard Rene “Richie Blue” Bunalos shared how upset he was upon knowing his previous website is already dead because the provider just chose to fold up. “Not a word. It could have been more acceptable if they at least give a notice,” Bunalos shared.

To buy domains, Narvasa suggested offering $10.69 on first year and renewal, payment through Paypal, with free WhoisGuard. There’s also offering a sale of $.99 for dot com domains this April, with renewal of $9.99. However, one needs a debit/credit card.

Member-bloggers got oriented on whether to use Blogger or WordPress, citing the pros of Blogger being free, reliable most of the time, limited set of templates that one can modify (coding experience needed), added advantage of Google’s robust secure platform. But then Google runs the Blogger service and has the right to shut it down anytime too. With its very limited tools allowing one to perform only specific tasks on his/her website, there is a significant risk that one will lose search engine rankings, subscribers, and followers once one moves to a different platform; there is limited support available for Blogger, and that it has not seen any major updates since a very long time.

As for WordPress, this is not free but WordPress is quite secure. And since it is a self-hosted solution, the blogger is responsible for security and backups.

Hosting is P2500 per year at Hostgator. There is also a thing such as shared hosting, of which Narvasa herself offers monthly hosting with unlimited bandwidth.

WordPress themes are available on,,,, or simply Google “Free WordPress themes.”

To optimize productivity, bloggers are also given ideas where to source out uncopyrighted images:,,,,,, and Tools to help create amazing photo edits are on, photoscape, PicMonkey, and Photoshop Express.

Social media marketing for beginners is also very important to optimize presence in the digital format. This is meant to make bloggers understand the significance of building a brand by designing a simple logo, to choose brand colors and brand texts. As Facebook is still most preferred social media platform, bloggers are urged to create a page, no matter how small one’s following is, to always add a call-to-action meme to FB cover image; complete the About page as followers are keen on knowing more about the site, create more photos, links, events, and videos. Most of all to never ask people to Like one’s page in giveaways. Rather to only invite.

The first CBC workshop meant to assist bloggers in finding their niche online, increasing reader generation, traffic and interaction, was attended by 12 of close to 70 CBC members.###


Diamond Suites blogger, backpacker friendly

by Maria Eleanor E. Valeros, #newmedia specialist

caption: Front office **grabbed from

CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES — Diamond Suites Cebu, a businessperson’s hotel on Apitong corner Escario Streets here, embraces the significant contributions of bloggers and backpackers in moving the economy via information sharing and grassroots travel, respectively.

Recently, Diamond Suites Cebu hosted the first meetup and pool party of the Cebu Blogging Community. The bloggers group, geared at strengthening support for members, finds an ally in the hotel as the latter renews commitment to provide a venue conducive to discussion, debate, and relaxation. The hotel is also open to the current work culture of bloggers that party-mosphere is reward to “hours of brain-firing.”

Executive and marketing officer Keene Albert Tan introduced Diamond Suites’ management team who welcomed CBC headed by executive director/chief blogger Ruben Licera, Jr. with community leads Margarita “Mary” Narvasa, Chanel Marie Imperial, and Gay Aida Dumaguing.

CBC has just facilitated a renewal of its members, now reaching around 50, as well as talks on CBC rules and guidelines, syndication of blogs, netizen media writing and social responsibility.

Tan, an aspiring blogger himself, shared that it is important for them to partner with bloggers which he finds as significant as traditional media. In a chat during the pool party, Tan along with sales account manager Pearlyn Hortelano pointed out that bloggers are already an essential in making stories go viral. “Blogging is an essential tool in today’s means of positioning a brand, selling services, marketing strategies so we stand by our commitment to make the blogging community part of the Diamond Suites family,” this the duo underscored.

Backpackers have a special place too at Diamond Suites Cebu via rooms designed for “wash-up purposes” whenever the need arises. “We have guests who find it a necessity to see the countryside, so they don’t really stay that long in the city. Thus, we came up with a wash-up room for P1,500 good for six hours, the right package to meet their ‘fly-in, fly-out’ approach to travel,” Hortelano informed.

Diamond Suites Cebu has 102 fully functional guest rooms. It used to be 129 but the 27 condominium units already have permanent residents. Rooms vary from Superior, to Deluxe and Suite Rooms. At the disposal of the business traveler are complimentary internet, gooseneck reading lights and a work space, alongside an LCD television that guests can enjoy while relaxing on a plush bed with memory pillows.

Visit for pocket-friendly rates, exclusive use of pool on sixth floor (top floor), and other concerns.###

Bloggers group tackles credo, activism

caption: Cebu Blogging Community executive director and chief blogger Ruben Licera, Jr. leads discussion on Manifesto on Public Accountability for blogger-members of CBC and netizen media.

CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES — Cebu Blogging Community, which began September of last year as an informal group of blogging enthusiasts, initiated recently its first “Ultimate Meetup and Pool Party” at the Diamond Suites Cebu to gather its members, present a revised set of guidelines in both membership and in web logging, as well as social media responsibility.

Around 40 of the 50-member blogging group also agreed on a manifesto of public accountability for posts click-published on both its official community page and on bloggers’ respective social networking sites. This after the group underwent a renewal of membership and acceptance of close to 10 newbies.

According to CBC executive director/chief blogger Ruben Licera, Jr. the meetup is geared at accomplishing general objectives such as providing support to fellow bloggers and collaboration in covering various events. “It’s important that bloggers get to know each other during events, inspire each other as there could be varied aspects to write about in just a single event,” Lecera said.

The other is a specific objective to encourage transition from plain blogging to embracing netizen media reporting. This writer, former print media practitioner and now a CBC member, echoed a call for bloggers to ‘’go beyond personal logging.’ This after she attended the recent 10th Global Voices Citizen Media Summit at the Provincial Capitol graced by 300 international bloggers cum social media activists.

This writer shared that bloggers are called to go beyond the “it’s a personal thing” paradigm and take on serious blogging by tackling social issues in their posts (microblogging for example) to promote discussion, social good, empathy; and that these should espouse humanitarian interest.

“Social media activism may have started from a blogging experience while exploring the potential of internetworking but writers and blogging communities have to move from there to give meaning to open online expression,” this writer, in her presentation, quoted Manila blogger Tonyo Cruz who was one of the summit’s panelists.

“Yes, it might be a personal thing, expressing one’s personal views about issues but we have to agree on interview policies, perhaps; we can draft a unified statement to make certain disclosures more responsible and accountable. Digital natives, immigrants and creatives who have become bloggers look for guidelines from senior statesmen,” Tonyo Cruz accentuated.

CBC members agreed mutually to start small by adopting a Manifesto of Public Accountability using basic four points : to be honest with their blogs, to be fair always, to be accountable for items click-published, and to minimize harm. These are simple terms for a broad sense of journalistic principle.

“I think we don’t really have to go stringent or rigid since too few bloggers are journalists but we are adopting the Journalists Creed to guide us that a public journal is a public trust therefore we have to take full responsibility of our article,” Lecera reiterated.

As for CBC administrator Mary Tinio Narvasa, she cited that CBC gears at transpiring as the “wow group” when it comes to support for bloggers here in Cebu. “Blogging should be fun. This meetup looks at strengthening the group, devising mechanisms on meeting deadlines specifically for posts that require host-specific results such as movie reviews,” she said.

Further, Licera added that it is a specific objective to make CBC a cooperative so freelancers can avail of insurance policies at minimal cost.

The event was made possible through blogger-friendly entities like Diamond Suites Cebu, Flawless Face and Body Clinic, Cebu Teambuilding Services, Cebu Domain, and the Philippine Information Agency.###

Bikini open ‘strange to Bantayan’

by Maria Eleanor E. Valeros, #newmedia specialist

BANTAYAN ISLAND, CEBU, PHILIPPINES — Out of sight.Out of mind.

Bantayan Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Arthur Despi pointed out that because some beach resorts here rent out their spaces to private event organizers, the latter think they already have the freedom to stage any show they want even if such collides with local sensibilities.

“As for BCCI, the staging of a bikini open is out of sight and out of mind. I mean, it is not the Bantayanons’ spirit, therefore it is strange to us,” he said in reply to a concern that such an event may happen again now that the island has already risen after being ravaged by Yolanda.

The influx of tourists is expected already weeks to the observance of Lent. Bantayan Island has always been a favorite destination of domestic and international tourists alike because it has fine sandy beaches, 14 islets suitable for hopping, distinct fishing practices having the sea as a natural resource heritage, and interesting religious practices like feasting on meat on supposed fasting season. This is in relation to a past Papal Bull exempting the island from fasting because of oversupply of food stock in the old days.

The anxiety over staging of bikini opens stems from a past event that obviously scandalized the locals and brought the organizer, including celebrity guests from Manila, apologizing to former Governor Gwen Garcia for hurting local sensibility, emphasizing stomping on women’s dignity here. ###