This year, the Pinoy Expats/OFWs Blog Awards is running on its third year. Its birth in 2008 has been a spark that ignited a different kind of fire in the blogging world. Finally, OFWs and expats have another avenue to tell their wonderful stories. Finally, a stage has been set for them to show what they have as OFWs... changing, not only how the Philippines look at them, but also how the world looks at Filipinos. The PEBA rounds up the global Pinoys and stirs them to action. This is an ongoing revolution and we here in The Kablogs Journal, are more than happy to be a part of it. In this issue, we present to you the founding chairman of the PEBA, Mr. Kenji Solis, as he talks about the humble beginning, arduous journey, and the great future of this prestigious award.
1. What is the Pinoy Expats Blog Awards about?
The Pinoy Expats/OFW Blog Awards or PEBA is a yearly project that aims to recognize and honor the exemplary work of Filipino bloggers overseas. PEBA wishes to present these Filipinos' blog work to more people and bring their creative talents to light. This award-giving body highlights inspiring blogs so that others may learn from them. We are running on our third season now.
2. How did it come about? Whose idea was it and who were the initial persons behind the PEBA?
Our blog , Thoughtskoto, was nominated in the Bloggers Choice Awards. We are also aware of the Philippine Blog Awards. My wife and I then started looking for OFWs in the roster of best blogs but we didn't see many. Aware that there are many bloggers around the globe that are linked to our blog, we decided to make an award for these wonderful and onspiring bloggers. We started with a handful of volunteers. I tapped the support of some bloggers to be my partners in our first run. Among them are Pete Rahon, an OFW based in South Korea, Lionel Gonzaga, an OFW in Dubai, and NJ Abad in Jeddah. The online nomination, judging, and awarding were all done successfully.
3. Was PEBA patterned after other award-giving bodies?
I guess not. We make our own criteria and mechanics, as well as guidelines. The matrix we defined in 2008 was modified and simplified in 2009 so there's an easier and faster deliberation of winners. We are being mentored by Ms. Noemi L. Dado, the first president of the Philippine Blog Awards (PBA), Ms. Janette Toral, the founding chair of the Top 10 Influential Bloggers Awards, and Ms. Aileen Apolo, the Google representative in Asia.
4. What makes PEBA different?
I'd like to answer that with a quote from the 2010 opening entry of PEBA president, NJ Abad: "PEBA will not just be an organization that will give annual awards for exemplary blogs but it will proactively act on issues that will make difference in people's lives, especially the young children, and the OFW's and their families." We are a non-profit organization. So all the money that will be given by the sponsors are being spent cautiously in the awarding expenses, scholarships for outstanding yet poor students, and to KABLOGS, the social arm of PEBA in helping distress OFW's around the globe.
5. What is the goal of PEBA?
First, we present the exemplary OFW bloggers to showcase their talents. We are collectively gathering the best posts from winners, as we are planning to compile it in a book, have it distributed in every Philippine embassies in the world and every libraries in the Philippines. We want people to read our stories, the real life abroad, and our insights and expectations from families and the government. Second, we are helping young children achieve their dreams through education through sponsors. We at PEBA believes that education unlocks the door of opportunity, so to alleviate poverty, we want to help a good and deserving student get a good education. And lastly, PEBA will proactively engage in issues that concerns OFWs and their families.
6. What is the importance of PEBA to OFWs and their families?
As stated in the the PEBA president's entry, and last (but not the least) in our goal, PEBA wants to make a stand on issues that directly concerns OFWs and their families. Last 2008, we established the blog awards. By 2009, we have already emphasized the OFW's role in our country and the goodness we are doing around the world. This 2010, we are making a stand on one of the greatest issues that an OFW is facing - disintegration of the family. It's a sad reality. I don't know how we can stop it but we are doing something to somehow alleviate it.
7. What is the greatest hurdle you had to overcome to stage the PEBA?
Getting volunteers, getting great and good people who will work and spend their precious time for doing something without receiving anything. I am just grateful there are great people that grace PEBA. The About Page of PEBA is full of people I have great respect and admiration, and I have a profound gratitude to each of them. There are also people not mentioned there that support PEBA all the way. To them, my heartfelt gratitude as well.
8.What are the unforgettable moments of PEBA 1? PEBA 2?
In PEBA 1, a blogger based in London won't accept defeat. He won the most popular blog award but he didn't land in the Top 10. 10% of the popular vote really won't lead you to the top, but he won't accept it. I tried to explain, but he refuses to listen. I let it go. In PEBA 2, meeting the officers of PEBA for the first time. I haven't meet, NJ, Pete, Noemi, and others in real life, but during the awarding, we were all there! We communicate and have conferences and chats virtually, but during the awarding, it's the first time we were together in a real setting. That's really something for me.
9. What are your hopes and dreams for the PEBA?
I hope more and more OFWs will blog. I am seeing the KABLOGS roster growing everyday from the short lists of 75 when I first started it. It's more than 200 now. I hope more OFWs will make use of the wonder of the internet. It alleviates boredom, it leads you to think, to create something unique and special. And PEBA came in to recognize that. We honor each and every OFW blogger. And I dream one day, that when we are old and slow, the rising generation before us will read our stories and musings, our sadness and joys, our successes and failures. PEBA will make sure that we will be a witness to them. As they read our stories, they will be strengthened, and they will learn, so they'll know better as they live their life.
10. How do you see the PEBA 5 years from now?
I'm excited to see PEBA in the future. I hope to see it as an established award organization, like the Oscars, lol! We are finding and adding the best people bloggers every year. This year, we added three more people to the PEBA officers. They have their own strengths and they add fresh ideas to what we have currently. We are doing okay but we keep adding more so we produce better results.
Given the rising number of OFW bloggers in the world, the PEBA is aiming high this year. PEBA 2010 will make sure it becomes successful in honoring and paying tribute the many fathers, mothers, and children who took, and are taking, leaps of faith to provide for their families. And as long as an OFW blogs, PEBA is here to stay.
11. How has the PEBA changed you as a person (as its founder)?
I don't know. I am still the same me, small, simple, affable and kind. Hahaha. That's my wife's line! I am grateful for the many great people I've known and befriended along the way. They make me a much better person because of who they are. They maybe OFWs, bloggers, businessmen, politicians, and advocacy people, I am truly grateful for helping PEBA where it is now.
12. If PEBA stands for another acronym, what will it stand for?
This is a suggestion from the maker of the original PEBA logo, Mr. Ion Gonzaga, a website designer based in Dubai. PEBA as in Pinoys Exemplify the Best Attitudes!
We're sure this is one revolt you'd gladly join. See you all in the nominees list! Good luck!