Rome's Story: When a Bisaya Blogger Blogs in Binisaya

 

What do you want to do today?

“When a Bisaya Blogger Blogs in Binisaya” by Rome Nicolas

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While others still seek employment even months after graduation, I was lucky enough to land a job a month before leaving the university. A Cebu-based IT solutions company hired me as a programmer. In spite of my two-year contract with them, I managed to leave the company in six months after intentionally failing the evaluation to void any financial obligation.

Quarter life crisis came early. At that point, I thought I no longer see myself as a programmer for the rest of my life.

I got my BS Computer Science degree from the University of the Philippines Cebu, one of the best universities that offer IT education in the country. I was also lucky enough to pass the DOST scholarship examination back in high school that financed my college education.

During high school, around 2006, I was already seeing myself writing in Binisaya. Due to my mother’s weekly subscription of Bisaya Magasin, the Cebuano publication of Manila Bulletin, I was encouraged to contribute to the magazine one day. After months of rejections, I managed to publish one childish poem that I think was only accepted as a motivation for me to continue submitting literary pieces like short stories, poetry, essays, and eventually a tech column.

A youth-centered section of the Bisaya Magasin called Young Blood Writer opened my eyes to the literary world of Cebu. I met several local writers, many of them with laurels and awards attached with their names, and joined writer’s workshop across the country to have hopefully improved my writing.

In 2010, when I was already in my second year in the university, I was awarded as the Labing Masaarong Bag-ong Magsusulat sa Bisaya (Most Promising Young Writer of Bisaya Magasin) by the Cebuano publication.

Around the same time, I started meeting fellow students and teachers to create the UP Cebu’s Creative Writing organization which was called TINTA. Until today, it is the student arm of the UP Cebu Creative Writing Program and the literary arm of the UP Cebu’s student publication.

It was also during college that I discovered there are blogging organizations in Cebu.

Cebu Blogging Community (CBC) has inspired me to professionalize blogging, which was my hobby back in high school. My literary contributions for Bisaya Magasin are available online because I also post them on my blog.

In one of the challenges in CBC back in 2015, we had a 30-Day Blogging Challenge. For the entire month of October, we were asked to publish one blog each day. During the middle of the challenge, there were additional challenges like optional topics we needed to blog about to gain extra points. As a competitive challenger, I managed to complete all the tasks and eventually won the blogging challenge.


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I was that kind of blogger with so many blogs attached to my name. To wit, here are the titles of the blogs I created, so far: akongpanaw (personal blog in Binisaya), zuprome (personal blog in English), Oble Square (TINTA’s blog), Juan Cebu, Balakista (balak in Binisaya), Payag ni Kulas (literary works in Binisaya), among others that I’ve lost in memory lane.

After years of free blogging using various platforms such as Multiply, Blogger, and WordPress.com, it was in 2016 that I decided to move to a self-hosted WordPress blog I called Basta Bisaya and it cost me around P1,000 for my annual hosting and domain.

Just like some of my previous blogs, Basta Bisaya is a blog I write in Binisaya. I envision it one day to become the go-to blog for my fellow Bisaya who wish to read Binisaya articles related to Events, Art, and Entertainment.

With so many new blogs sprouting like mushroom today, mostly in English, here I am writing in Binisaya. It’s a day-to-day challenge to write in my vernacular language but my friends have told me many times that reading my articles in Binisaya made them think that I am twice my actual age. For the record, I’m still 26.

In fact, becoming a blogger in 2019 may not be as trendy and as awesome as it was 10 years ago. My friends from CBC started a new organization called Cebu Content Creators to embrace this digital change. As content creators, it is the time to welcome Instagrammers, Youtubers, and podcasters into the ever-changing online creation landscape.

While I thought programming ended when I left my career as a programmer, I was wrong. Now that I’m blogging in WordPress, I still see myself tinkering technical problems from time to time. This led me to become one of the community organizers of newly-founded Cebu WordPress Meetup.




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ABOUT THE STORYTELLER

Rome is the blogger behind Basta Bisaya and co-founder of Cebu Content Creators.

After graduating with a Computer Science degree from UP Cebu, He worked a good job as a software engineer--but despite the stability of a good salary, he was beginning to question if this is what he wanted to do with his life.

Story Nights: Cebu is founded by Rachel Arandilla on June 2018 and is a non-profit association that started in Bratislava (Slovakia) by Hon Chong, and has then grown steadily and we now organize storytelling events in Bratislava, Vienna (Austria), Budapest (Hungary),  Chandigarh (India), Manila (Philippines) and Cebu (Philippines).