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Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Culture Shack is the 2011 Philippine Blog Awards BEST PERSONAL BLOG and READERS' CHOICE!

What do you think? 

We've seen rock stars do it in concerts. As a song progresses to its resplendent chorus, someone high-voltage like Mick Jagger or Chester Bennington lick their lips and prop their hips, preparing to thrust themselves into the crowd. Just as they hit the song's climax - a resonating scream or a goosebumps-inducing belt - they run towards the audience, jump and land on a sea of pumped-up fans where they will be passed along from one fan to another as they bask in the glory of being held up by the people who absolutely adore them.

While I will probably never get to experience crowd surfing in my life (or even if I did, I don't think anyone could sustain my weight even in a crowd), I consider winning the 2011 Philippine Blog Awards Best Personal Blog and Readers' Choice Award the next best thing. Though not as ancient and wrinkly as he is , I truly felt like Mick Jagger in a lot of ways throughout my journey. I feel a lot of people lifting me across the an ocean of people as they shared and liked The Culture Shack on Facebook and Twitter. It was a rock star moment for me and I am humbled by the overwhelming support.

Somehow, I am more astounded by the support that my blog garnered than getting the award itself. But what I was most touched by was when the people of Albay started to get involved. Somehow, Albay Gov. Joey Salceda managed to get word of my blog entry through the efforts of Mr. Rhondon Ricafort, Aldin Navarra and Mel Balino, all of whom I am Facebook friends with.

It's simply amazing how a couple of willing people could start an online wildfire so big that it burned its way to the Philippine Blog Awards! It happened almost instantly, once Gov. Salceda himself posted it on the link to my blog entry on his page onslaughts after onslaughts of "Likes" started pouring in from all over Albay and the Bicol Region. It was something that I was not able to fully process easily and something I was not used to.

Ate Sheena and Jessa holding TCS's two trophies.
There I was inside a seedy internet cafe, watching The Cuture Shack spread like an epidemic on Facebook. I had my mouth opened the entire time. In a matter of minutes, my blog that didn't have a fighting chance managed to get hundreds of likes from people who don't even know me! 

Jessa delivering my acceptance speech 
They even put up a "Liking Station" in our college just to help me boost my votes! Thanks again, Mr. Rex Eduarte for that amazing thing yiu guys did.

It was all magical, and even to some extent divine, how everything turned out. And I couldn't help but be eternally grateful to everyone who supported me. As giving back the support you all have so fervently given, I dedicate to you all this blog post.

The awards night for the 2011 PBA was held earlier at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati City. I wasn't able to attend since I was attending to my sister who has dengue and we had a midterm exam earlier today. Thankfully, my friends, Jessa Jarilla, Sheena Ferrer, Maricar Brizuela and Dunhill Jasareno, all Bicol University College of Arts and Letters AB Journalism graduates, were so kind enough to attend the event on my behalf.

Here is the short acceptance speech I prepared that was read earlier tonight by Jessa:

First of all, I would like to apologize for not being able to be there with all my fellow bloggers and event organizers tonight due to circumstances beyond our control, which me and my classmates refer to as “midterm exams”.

My sincerest thanks to the organizers of the 2011 Philippine Blog Awards for making this incredible honor possible. As a neophyte blogger, being a finalist in the Readers’ Choice Category, Bloggers’ Choice Category, Best Culture and Arts Blog - National, Best Culture and Arts Blog – Luzon and Best Personal Blog – Luzon in a prestigious nationwide blogging event like this is something unthinkable for me.

The Culture Shack started last year as nothing more but my attempt at self-expression and catharsis. Just like how a schoolboy would sketch doodles for hours on his desk while a teacher discusses a very uninteresting lesson, I used my blog as an escape from my occasionally dreary life.

Unlike most bloggers, I don’t usually get to travel to a lot of places, attend big parties or events or get to write about things that a lot of people would consider “bloggable”. I’m essentially just a 21 year old Journalism senior from a small town in Bicol. I often asked myself, “I would love to blog but would blogging love me?”

My life isn’t exactly filled with high-speed car chases, or dodging bullets from Angelina Jolie. I live a very simple life. But simple doesn’t have to be boring. In the words of Jason Mraz, “If all is ground, then go make a mountain out of it.”

Through my blog, I was able to convert everyday experiences into something that readers could enjoy, learn from or relate. I’d like to believe that turning your simple life into something that would stir a positive effect on readers is something that is “bloggable” and worth telling. I think it’s safe to say that The Cutlure Shack bagging the Readers’ Choice and Best Personal Blog Award proves just that.

Please allow me to indulge as I thank the following for making all of this possible:

Thanks to my mom, Marilou, my dad, Larry for supporting me in all my endeavors, no matter how silly they may be sometimes. My siblings: JP, Patricia and Samantha for getting their friends to support my blog. I’d like to thank my Titos and Titas especially Tita Bingbing  for all taking care of us while our parents are abroad. I’d like to thank my brother from another mother, Carlo who has always been my biggest supporter. To my topnotch and supportive friends – Henor, Franco, Jessa, Reynard, Eric, Jonalyn, Mel, Ched, Julie, Jessha, Cervin, Caryl, Rey, Edda, Lorena, Marjo, Nico, Pau, Golda, Camille, Earl, Zandro, Ira, Xyza, Jelly, Ate Anele, and Amira – for being there for me no matter what. Thanks to Budyong, the official student publication of the College of Arts and Letters, for making me the writer I am today. Thank you to Albay Gov. Joey Salceda for his unwavering support for my blog and his faith in my capabilities. My sincerest and most heartfelt thanks to the people of Albay and Sorsogon who have tirelessly promoted my blog. Thank you for Bicol University and the BU College of Arts and Letters for acting as my sanctuary for the past three years. Thank you to Rhondon Ricafort, Dex Baldon, Ritche Asagra, Goldimyrr Repolles, Rex Eduarte, Ariel Guban and Bicolano Blogger Republic for pushing me further to pursue this. I would like to thank every single person who has liked my blog on Facebook. You are awesome and we are eternally indebted to you. This is, above anything else, YOUR award, not mine.

Mabuhay ang Albay! Mabuhay ang Bicol University! Mabuhay and College of Arts and Letters! More power Philippine Blog Awards and Filipino bloggers everywhere! Salamatunon tabi sa indo gabos!

I'm still crowd surfing right now and I don't intend to go back onstage.


  1. By the way... JESSA!!! How awesome! She's such a model!!! ^_^

  2. Hey congratulations bro. You deserved it. And Jessa is such a sweetheart. It's like I've seen him before. o.O

  3. congrats!

    next target:
    change your blog theme/color/template.

    Masakit po sa mata, peace! :D

  4. Congratulations!

    sharing my photo coverage of 2011 Philippine Blog Awards -

    Awards Night -

    bloggers photos -

  5. Congratulations! I hope to read more of your past entries soon. :)

  6. Congratulations! Well deserved win. I am a new blogger and I got inspired by reading your speech. Keep on writing and inspiring. I would definitely be coming back for more. :)

  7. i like your posts.. keep posting.

  8. Hi, Wawan! Thank you. I'm glad that my blog was able to push you into creating your own blog.

  9. Congratulations! It sounds like an early Christmas present for you! ^_^

    I would really love to read all of your entries, because you seem like an interesting fellow (why else would you win, right?). I had to stop though because my eyes strained. I think it must be the small white (or the hot pink/strong blues/greens) text on the black background? I think it will be in your interest to make your blog text easier to read.

    Anyway, I tried my best to read more entries, and I must say, your award is well-deserved. Have a good one! :D


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