November 1, 2008

Change we can; change I did

Blame it on Barack Obama; his charisma so affecting it made a non-American like me imbibe his campaign slogan (A Change We Can Believe In) very literally. Blame it on the 2nd Mindanao Bloggers' Summit; wanting to apply my learnings from the event, I just thought changing my blog's title should be on top of the must-do list.

And what timing is more perfect than re-titling my blog Redeemed Spirit on the day when we, the living, annually redeem the spirits of our dead. Never mind if All Souls Day actually falls on November 2nd. The mix-up is forgivable; there is no telling of the difference anyway. I wish Congress will just legislate for Halloween, All Saints Day and All Souls Day to be collectively known as The Days of the Dead (and perhaps declare this a holiday for all ghost employees of government). The Mexicans, they call this very same period "Los Dias de los Muertos".

Back to the blog re-titling case. Well, blame nothing. It simply occurred to me when I was writing my take (excerpts appended here) on the just-concluded grand eyeball of Mindanao bloggers. After all, being a newbie in blogging I have been constantly experimenting on the look and content of my blog, so why not change the title as well; see if it "fits" better. It is not much of a change anyway as Daxi Weida remains as its main author.

It also helped that a fellow blogger whom I've met for the first time at MBS2 (despite her being my co-alumni of UP Kutang Bato), also changed her primary blog's name after the summit. I share her reluctance in attributing the move to MBS2's influence, but I have to admit there are values that I hold that were "redeemed" as a result of my participation in the Summit.

These are just a few of the realizations (for a newbie like me, there are many) I learned from the Summit:
  • There is a need to counter-balance all the negative publicity Mindanao has been getting from traditional media; and the Mindanao bloggers are among our best options.
  • A blogger does not have to showcase all that are bright and beautiful about Mindanao to let everyone know that many things are indeed bright and beautiful in Mindanao. This one has always been a position of mine. I am happy that this was reaffirmed during the Summit. The overarching need to blog about the good side of Mindanao was qualified as blogging aggressively, truthfully and responsibly. We do not deny that there is war, but there is more to war than the exchange of bullets and mortar fires; "there are stories of resilience, stories of hope, stories of dreams, stories of humanity" that come out of evacuation sites [Walter Balane]. We also do not deny that besides war there are issues that we face on poverty, hunger, corruption and (mis) governance, environmental concerns and even traffic problems. Which for me make Mindanao no different from the rest of society for other people, local and foreign, to avoid. And by objectively blogging about these Brooklyn side of Mindanao, a blogger in fact is furthering the advocacy for the eventual fulfillment of progress this land has been promised eons ago.
  • Blogging the Mindanao consciousness means blogging truthfully and objectively on any thing that matter for a blogger from/of Mindanao.
  • I finally was able put living faces to many of the Mindanao bloggers whom i only got to read in the blogosphere; most of these faces are young; and these bloggers got talent!
  • One can actually make a living out of blogging; and I am not just talking here of entrepreneurial blogs.
  • There are limits to the extent where digital photos should be enhanced (read: Photoshopped) and posted to portray a real, actual, or true situation. This realization I had after a short chat with noted Mindanao photo-journalist Bobby Timonera. Prior to our little exchange, I wanted to bring to the floor the question about the "ethics" of Photoshop-ing or digitally enhancing photos. This question, and all others that relate to it, has always nagged me every time I get to see astoundingly beautiful pictures in magazines or in the internet. I found the question timely to ask after Bobby talked about photo-blogging and related how he "shifted" from being a sensationalist to becoming a photographer of the good, the beautiful, and real side of Mindanao. It was rather unfortunate that the question never did get to the floor (the moderator had to traffic forum time), for Bobby himself admitted it was a very interesting subject matter to discuss.
To borrow from my friend Jinky: "Everyday is a learning. . . sometimes we fail, sometimes we succeed! What's important is, we continue to emerge as a learned individual. I came out from MBS2 a learned individual". When we learn, we change. Change we can; change I did. Welcome once again to Redeemed Spirit.



  1. Kuya Ariel,

    I like the new blog name. I agree with most of your sentiments. Also, feeling ko pinipeke ang pictures if phinophotoshop.

  2. Salamat, Psyche... "Digital art" na raw yun pag ni-photoshop, hindi totoong photograph, ani Bobby. It (esp. over-enhancing the colors, textures etc.) should be avoided lalo na if mag-photoblog about Mindanao images. Kaya, as he advised during his talk, a photoblogger should really learn the craft of photography para maka-capture ng maganda (at totoong) images.