I fondly remember something I did around five months ago when I was still clueless on how to go about this blogging thing. I wrote with only my close friends as readers, and was elated when I reached a record-high (during that time) of 35 unique pageviews for the day when I wrote about our annual high school reunion's twelfth year, which used to be my only "trip" for the previous years. I loved to write, but honestly, the fact that the readers were next to nothing almost caused me to lose my motivation to blog.
And then, I applied what I did to DIY itineraries to the blog. In creating DIY itineraries, I spend days to research on the internet just to have the perfect trip that I have in mind. Basically, the two situations were somewhat alike - I create DIY itineraries to places which were all new to me; which I didn't have a firsthand experience on what to expect. But researching made it possible for me to find my way and end up enjoying the trip. Same with the blog, I was clueless and didn't have actual prior experience, so I had to research on my own to find my way, and hoped to enjoy everything that would happen.
I entered relevant keywords on Google, it led me to the Pinoy Travel Bloggers' group, and it also led me influentialblogger.net's invitation to join the Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs for 2012 Writing Project. Thankfully, both required 20 blog posts to qualify, and as soon as I completed the 20 blog posts, I joined and prayed to be accepted in both. Hence, it was last May 2012 when I became a member of Pinoy Travel Bloggers, and was also considered qualified in the masterlist for the possible nominees for the Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs for 2012.
Everything went well, and as I continued to explore, I was happy to follow more blogs and meet bloggers online. I got featured as a featured traveller in From a Traveller's Desk, and it was really thrilling as it was my first time to be featured in another blog. Since June, I consistently joined the Pinoy Travel Bloggers' blog carnival, and was really happy and grateful to be the host last August with the topic "Where Would You Travel Given a P 1,000 Budget?" which was so apt for a super spendthrift me - during my third month as a member. Last July, I was also able to be one of the 10 finalists for the El Nido Resort's free getaway to Apulit with my "Marriage Proposal" entry (which was really from my heart, by the way). Also last July, when I finally decided to create posts on the history on why I started blogging with the posts "Oh Yes, Love Conquers All is a Travel Blog!" and "The Untold Story at Mt. Apo", for the first time, I was able to receive more comments from readers. With the passing of time, fellow bloggers gave me awards such as the versatile blogger award and the Liebster blog award. I am really, really thankful for all of these - but to be honest, since last May, my greatest wish and prayer was to be a part of the Top Emerging Influential Blogs for 2012. Why? Because I only have one chance in this recognition for this blog, ever! It's either I make it on the list, or forget about it for the rest of my life.
Luckily, and thankfully, bloggers mentioned me. Among them, there are those whom I met and constantly interact with online, but what really made me so humbled and thankful are the bloggers who just wanted to join the writing project, saw my blog on the masterlist, and included me in their Top 10. Nothing beats the feeling of reading yourself from another's perspective and knowing that they only had kind words to say for the blog. Frankly speaking, as I have a childlike attitude, whenever I read an entry which includes the blog, I share it as much as I could, and I couldn't sleep because I can't seem to get over with it and read the kind words over and over again.
And the judgment day came last September 29. Even if I win or not, I had a free slot at the Digital Influencers Marketing Summit where the winners will be announced, because I joined the writing project. Anticipating the very useful information that I will learn from the summit, finally having the chance to see fellow bloggers in person, and knowing the fact that the registration fee was P 1,000 yet for me, it's free - even if I win or not, for sure, I will go. Nonetheless, I kept crossing my fingers that I win, either as a Top Emerging Influential Blog for 2012, or win in the raffle.
I had been suffering from cough and colds for a week prior to the event (that's why the blog has been somewhat idle) and even on the event itself, but since I had been praying for it for four months already, I made it a point to attend no matter what. And thank all the heavens, I made it! The blog was announced to be one of the Top Emerging Influential Blogs for 2012! I was so thrilled! But then, that excitement was mixed with a feeling of nervousness. In contrast to how clear I am in expressing my thoughts in this blog, I am surely the type to get nervous speaking in front of people, and in that case, in front of roughly around 200 people, who all saw me for the first time! Basically, all of the things I said were all already mentioned somewhere in this blog - save that I delivered the message in Tagalog and with a really shaky voice.
|Thank God I saw this online last May, and I qualified!|
|Yearly, the writing project presents more challenges.|
|Ms. Janette announcing the blog as one of the winners - I love how the header made by "him" was projected in front of everyone.|
|telling a brief history and thanking everyone for the recognition|
|with Ms. Janette Toral and Mr. Tof Salcedo, while accepting the certificate|
Words wouldn't be enough to express my gratitude to the readers who believe in this blog, especially to the first person who believed I could do it (whom I couldn't help but mention in the speech). I believe God loves me so much to test my faith at Mt. Apo, and to reward me with a one of a kind love story which would never be found in any other blogs on earth (unless it would be a fictional blog). Some people ask me for secrets on why I have readers and followers, but the truth is, it's still too vague for me to comprehend. I know that my tips and itineraries are worth reading, but people reading my post such as "My Most Emotional Adventure So Far" which forever remains as my second most viewed post of all time still remains a puzzle for me. It might be entertaining because it was part of the love story, too, and emotions were very clear. Regardless, I'm really thankful that people enjoy their time in this blog, no matter what I write about. I remember Miss Janette saying that some of the winners in the Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs for 2012 had multiple personality, and I couldn't help but laugh since I could really relate.
The Digital Influencers Marketing Summit was really a great experience. It was great to meet one of the people I look up to, Ms. Janette Toral, in person. It was great to meet fellow bloggers as well. It was my first time to meet a fellow Pinoy Travel Bloggers member. It was great to meet Mommy Gigi, one of the bloggers who mentioned this blog in her entry.
|with Ms. Janette Toral|
|with Mr. Jeffrey Rilles of Traveling Morion, first co-PTB I met in person|
|with Mommy Gigi Beleno, who nominated the blog :)|
More than that, the Digital Influencers Marketing Summit made it possible for a newbie me to learn from the experts. All the things discussed about SEO, cybercrime, influence, and advocacy, were really helpful for me who started from nothing but travel memories and the passion to write. At least now, I can be more guided.
My sincerest thanks to Ms. Janette Toral and the sponsors, who made the event possible. Thank you for the recognition as one of the Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs for 2012. Thank you for the iTunes gift card that I won from the Week 1 of the Writing Project. And as if the blessings weren't enough, I also won in the raffle! Congratulations, too, to all the winners, and to Ms. Janette for a successful event. Everything that transpired that day was surreal and yes, I was able to stay awake for 24 hours because of the extreme happiness and thankfulness.
Thank you dear readers for seeking the thrills with me. We still have a long way to go and I hope you keep on being with me seeking life's adventures. As I am still somewhat sick and in need of rest right now, I found it really hard to complete this blog post but I badly want to publish this just to say THANK YOU.
Now that it's done, I can go back to rest for awhile. I badly need to rest so I can be at my 100% come Friday. Why? I'm going to experience my first-ever solo plane ride. I'm going to experience my first ever birthday trip, and yes, I will be welcoming my birthday on the plane to Singapore, alone. I'm going to spend two jam-packed days in Singapore and Malaysia, with the least budget possible. As always, I already have the itinerary with me but I'm going to test it first before I share.
Until then, I will have to rest for awhile (if I can control myself to write). I hope you're still there when I get to write about the trip. Oh, and the recognition as one of the Top Emerging Influential Blogs for 2012 was the greatest advance birthday gift that I have ever received. All that I could wish for in this birthday is a safe and enjoyable trip, for me to share something good when I come back. (And for those who love the love story, yes, after months, I will be spending my birthday with him, so I badly hope to get well by then! ^_^)