Last month of October, I became officially 5 years old as a blogger. Fancy that!!!
Never even realized it until WordPress called my attention with a simple anniversary greet. Indeed, it has been 5 years since my very first blog – Hello, World (October 16, 2012). I had just retired from the military – after 34 long, memorable years of honorable service – and there was nothing much to do back then. Still raring to be of service, I embarked on a journey that I never imagined would bring me to new adventures, provide me new friends and pave the way to a new life.
Here are some of my more significant blogging numbers during the last 5 years, after 334 posts and more than 2.4 million views later: (to read the posts, just click on the articles in color)
10 Dec 2012 – After 2 months of blogging, my first article to hit above 500 with 852 hits. The article was about the destruction unleashed by a freak storm that hit Mindanao. (Super Typhoon Pablo Makes it a Blue Christmas for Davao).
10 Jul 2013 – First article to hit more than 1000 @ 1,292 hits. One of my first attempts at Travel Blogging. (Basking in the Waters of Bluewater Panglao)
14 Oct 2013 – First article to hit above 2000 hits in a day @ 2,257 hits. This was an article on the fast-rising sport of women’s volleyball. (It’s Aly vs Angeli in Shakey’s Finals!!!)
24 Oct 2013 – A sports article would make 5,293 hits!!! The article was on the exciting UAAP Basketball Finals for 2014 with the Teng brothers, Jeric and Jeron, pitted against each other. (Tengs for the Memories)
4 Nov 2013 – I took 6,191 hits for the day; but it’s a combination of two topics – the Bohol earthquake (A Grateful Bohol Salutes Its Heroes) and women’s volleyball (Is Women’s Volleyball Ready for the Limelight?)
And then all hell broke loose. On Nov 11, 2013, one of my articles on Super Typhoon Yolanda went viral with 812,094 views in a single day!!! A Survivor’s Story brought the house down, and for the next few days my blog numbers would just stay north of 50,000 marks. (And that’s when the dollars started coming in!)
Other popular topics with views hitting the thousands and up include:
Things Will Get Worse Before They Get Better (14 Nov 2013), an article I wrote – still on Yolanda – for the Rappler. What Have You Done For Our Yolanda Victims? (16 Nov 2013) would follow on the same subject.
Historical Fiction: China’s South China Sea Claim (26 May 2014), a reblog on the Spratly Island conflict, an advocacy I am involved in. This was followed closely by Can the Philippines Really Bully China? (27 May 2014).
I Dream of Peace (20 Oct 2013) was my take on the Mindanao peace efforts. This is an advocacy close to my heart. An Incomplete, Unfinished Peace (21 Feb 2016) came after an invitation to visit Northern Ireland as a result of our small peace initiatives and write-ups. There are many similarities between our Mindanao conflict and the IRA experience in Northern Ireland. We can certainly learn from the encouraging progress in their peace efforts.
Ateneo Lady Eagles Believe They can Fly (15 Mar 2015) was a Cinderella story of the Ateneo women’s volleyball team. The growing popularity of women’s volleyball would manifest itself in La Salle Outlasts Ateneo for the UAAP Women’s Volley Crown!!! (7 May 2016), and a year later, UAAP Volleyball Season 79 Rocks!!! (13 May 2017).
An Open Letter to My Fellow Miami Heat Supporters (23 Jun 2014) was a reblog after Miami’s demise in the NBA 2014 Finals. Philippine Cage King Caloy Loyzaga Passes Away (30 Jan 2016) was a tribute to arguably the best basketball player the country ever produced.
The Philippine Basketball in Review was a 7-part series on how basketball evolved in the Philippines. It takes us back to the early years when it was introduced by American colonizers, until the present-day PBA. It is an interesting read for all basketball fanatics and wannabe cage historians in the country. Students researching on the country’s cage history have referenced this in their papers.
Mayweather-Pacquiao: Mirror, Mirror On The Wall, Come May 2, Who’s Gonna Fall? (1 May 2015) drummed up the much-celebrated Pacman- Money May fight. While the fight itself turned out to be a dud, the hype drummed up provided the record-breaking numbers.
The Grandest Granola of Them All (6 Feb 2016) was a refreshing new subject, on a new addicting product created by my daughter, Bianca. Her granola has been featured time and again in many foodie blogs. You have to try it to believe it!
Unmasking the Philippine Sports Mafia (19 Mar 2016) delved on the challenges we face in Philippine Sports. With more than 3T shares on its very first day, it demonstrated the massive support for the need to reform Philippine Sports. This would be followed by A Sad Day for Philippine Sports (Dec 2016) and more blogs on the continued demise of Philippine sports.
Golden State’s Small Ball in Business (12 Aug 2017), using the basketball philosophy of the Golden State Warriors in today’s innovative business strategies, drew attention from my businessmen friends and Linkedin connections.
And then the summer series has also been receiving great raves. The series includes exciting experiences in shipwreck-diving in Coron (Sept 2012), snorkeling and diving for corals in Balicasag in Bohol (May 2015), or simply lazing on the beach in Malapascua in northern Cebu (Mar 2015). We also had other extreme escapades in swimming with whale-sharks in Oslob, Cebu (Mar 2016), conquering your fears while canyoneering at Badian, Cebu (Jun 2016), or even exploring new frontiers and new finds in Candijay, Bohol (May 2017).
There were other blogs worth noting, The series on the Gilas campaigns, the women’s volleyball games, the NBA series, etc. All these have made my life in retirement even more exciting.
Looking back, blogging opened up new doors for me. It paved the way to my eventual entry with Habitat for Humanity. This was after the Haiyan disaster. It established for me precious contacts with sports personalities, later leading to my appointment as consultant for the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC). It provided the linkages with people who had similar advocacies and viewpoints in the peace initiatives, climate change, the Western Philippine Seas issue and others. It kept me active in the security field, eventually taking me to my present position in the security sector right now. These valuable inroads would not have been possible without the influencing power of the blog.
And I’d like to thank some people for their contributions in developing my interest in writing. First, there was my Grade 6 teacher in a small, obscure school named Ermita Catholic School, Ms Chan (I wonder where she is right now). She was the first person who prodded me to write. She helped me develop confidence in myself. She inspired me to study harder, to compete, to grow. Then there was VAdm Serapio Martillano, then Deputy Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Adm Martillano was a perfectionist who could spot the minutest mistakes in hundreds of pages of reports. His work ethic and his high standards would develop my writing skills even further. Finally, there’s my upperclass in the Academy, Sir Dan Jimenez, PMA Class 77. S’Dan had the ability to make words laugh or cry, live and even die. He was a creative mentor, a wise adviser, and a great friend.
Writing – and blogging – has certainly been good to me. Next ish, I shall endeavor to talk about why I continue to write and my lessons in the 5 years of blogging.
Below are some more interesting blogs for your reading pleasure.