Friday, November 14, 2008

Other Voices

When I started blogging over two years ago, I had then the gall to feel rather special in the blogosphere thinking I was the only one from the Lianga area writing about life and living there on the Internet. I should have been slapped in the face for even entertaining such a presumptuous thought.

The truth is, there are many other voices in cyberspace speaking for and about Lianga and its environs. Many of them were even doing so already even before I even contemplated taking my first tentative and hesitant steps into the world of Internet blogging. They may not have been techno geeks or cyber-savvy in any way but they were nevertheless pioneers who took advantage of the fact that the World Wide Web had come to Lianga and just used it the best way they could.

Most of them use social networking sites like Friendster, Multiply and Facebook to meet new contacts, exchange pictures and information or simply to maintain a tangible link with friends and relatives living or working far from home. But they also tell stories of what is happening at home, the minutiae of what is going on in the community and in their lives.

Others even blog a bit on the same websites, sharing their problems and joys, posting pictures of themselves and the members of their families together with maybe a poem, song or two. But whatever they did,and what they posted on the Net was always touched and flavored by the Lianga that they all knew and which was so much a part of their lives.

More recently, I have come in contact with those who have taken great strides in putting their own communities within the Lianga area into cyberspace. Foremost among them are Jun Abines and the guys behind www. diatagon .com , the website and forum that aims to bring together people from that barangay of Lianga and those with sentimental ties to it from wherever they are all over the country and the world. The site even hosts separate forums for other web surfers from the whole of the province of Surigao del Sur and from all of its other component towns and municipalities.

The Diatagon website and forum is already fast becoming a favorite virtual watering hole for many Diatagon natives and those who trace their roots to it. I know that for a fact because many of those who are regular visitors to this blog were either referred to it by that website or came to know of the latter because I have it on my list of favorite sites to visit.

I have always felt that Diatagon was and remains a vibrant and bustling place where the people are always on the go and things were always happening, The website is therefore a fitting tribute to the energy, pioneering spirit, tenacity, industry and perseverance of the residents of this coastal barangay. Not even Lianga can boast of a website and online forum named in its honor on the Web and a lot of Lianga natives should be asking themselves why that is so.

Mark Borders, an American expatriate who is married to a girl from Lianga, is another of those voices from Lianga on cyberspace. He writes about his experiences in St, Christine, a barangay just a few kilometers north of Lianga. His blog offers a candid view of life there through the eyes of a foreigner trying his best to help the community he has chosen to be his new home.

I am sure there are many others out there, chatting, posting pictures, writing poems and even blogging on the Internet about Lianga and our part of Mindanao and the Philippines. I may not know them or may not have yet bumped into them and their work on the Web. But I know now that even in the cold, impersonal and sterile environment of cyberspace, I am not alone. I have friends and allies there.

Like me they are all simply telling the world one simple message. That we are here too. We exist. We have stories to tell. And we would like to share these stories with anyone who is willing to listen.....or read them, wherever they may be.


Jun Abines of recently nominated this blog for Best Blog (Personal Category) in the 2nd Digital Filipino Web Awards where it became a finalist together with thirteen other blogs from all over the country. I would like to thank Jun for the vote of confidence but blogging about Lianga has been a personally rewarding experience for me and that fact alone by itself is for me worth more than any official recognition of my meager efforts by others. Thanks again, Jun, and to those who regularly visit this blog.


  1. Anonymous7:22 PM

    hi benjie,
    i am novy colorado from personally would like to thank you for including barangay diatagon in your articles.i've been reading your blogs everytime i have the chance to do it but its only now that i earned enough courage to personally send you this message.
    as a youngster growing up in diatagon,i frequented the LNSF then("eyeing" those cute girls,and i should say there were plenty of them,hahaha)or at least playing basketball in lianga gymnasium.
    when i first bumped into your blog site,i recognized your last name right away.your father was one of the more prominent names that i came across.i also happen to remember some of my friends.clemencia cruz,rhoda cunanan,armenia egypto,and of course boni cotiangco and amando pandi who were my classmates in DCHS.(WHERE ARE THESE PEOPLE BY THE WAY?)
    benjie,lalaine guazon-casulla happened to mention you in the diatagon forum could bet that you have positive feedback for those diatagonians who read your blog.i surely would recommend to our fellow diatagon forum members your site.for when you talk about lianga,you're almost talking about hits close to home.
    thank you again and more power to you.

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