Sunday, June 29, 2014

Fun and meaningful time at #BoomPH, the 3rd Social Media Day celebration in the Philippines

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The Philippine National Anthem playing at the start of #BoomPH's main event. Cool lights, huh?

Yesterday, June 28, hundreds of netizens trooped to the Samsung Hall at SM Aura Premier for the 3rd Social Media Day in the Philippines. Social Media Day (#SMDay) is an annual global event launched by Mashable in 2010 "as a way to recognize the digital revolution happening right before our eyes," where people and communities are encouraged to organize local meetups in their respective cities.

In the Philippines, in Metro Manila in particular, the first such event was organized in 2012 by Tweetup Manila (@TweetupMNL), an online community of people who I can say are genuinely into social good, be it about disasters, rescues, and many more. It's their passion, one that's good and one that brings even more good.

Anyway, yesterday was the third, which was dubbed #BoomPH, short for "The Best of Online Media in the Philippines." Since 2012, #SMDay has gradually made its way into the Filipino consciousness and this year, more and more communities have joined in and staged their own celebrations in cities like Baguio, Cebu, Davao, and General Santos. And I'm sure there were more. The official worldwide #SMDay may be June 30 but hey, it's best celebrated on a weekend, right?

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The Samsung Hall lobby decked with all sorts of banners and booths.

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Here's to social media for social good!

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T-shirts for Php 300 and cute watches for just Php 200. What's even better is that 50% of net proceeds will go to charity.

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Hala bira! Drumbeaters keeping the mood festive.

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Food sellers were aplenty, among them Binalot and the revered Ilustrado. There was also Bronuts, Moon Leaf, The Burger Company, Nestle Ice Cream, Tanduay Ice, and some more.

At #BoomPH, the venue, from the lobby to the main event area, was lined up with booths from sponsors, food sellers, and from those appealing to people's kind hearts to help the less fortunate. It kicked off with a pre-event program with drumbeaters, acrobats, musical numbers, videos, and panel discussions.

The playing of the Philippine National Anthem signaled the start of the main event. It was cool how they chose the Radioactive Sago Project version commissioned by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, replete with the cartoon music video. Cool lights as well!

Chuckie Dreyfuss of 80s That's Entertainment fame hosted the event while Tweetup Manila's Ros Juan and Tonyo Cruz delivered the welcome remarks. Later, a retrospective video clip celebrating Philippine internet's 20th anniversary was played.

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Luis Domingo, executive director of Emergency Research Center and Smart's #SafePH partner, shared practical tips on making an e-balde, or emergency balde (bucket) for the home for better preparedness for disasters. (Photo stolen from Ros Juan)

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Cartoon music video accompanying the National Anthem.

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Host Chuckie Dreyfuss.

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Tweetup Manila's Ros Juan and Tonyo Cruz.

There were more panel discussions that followed involving different cause-oriented organizations, media outlets, and government agencies while Jonathan Yabut delivered the keynote. Yabut, if you remember, won the first ever The Apprentice Asia.

He made a lot of good points in his speech, which centered on how people have become "selfiesh," a play on selfie and how self-centered we have all become. Yabut also expressed his disappointment with Filipinos for their penchant for complaining on social media without actually contributing to anything concrete to help address whatever it is they're complaining about. (Oh yes, I'm guilty about that a lot of times already, though I can say I've mellowed already.)

He cited that "Blood-stained Singapore" blog against Filipinos and how people just vented their anger online and yet how no one leveraged on social media to actually do something about it. Despite glorifying ourselves as the social media capital of the world, we're way behind other countries in terms of mobilizing people to action. Shame how we were able to rally in EDSA 1 and EDSA 2 without social media back then.

Yabut stressed that we need to be more inclusive in our engagement, not exclusive of other communities, and that we need to let go of online elitism. He likewise said that despite social media being effective in mobilizing and moving people, someone else has to act on it. As such, we need to collaborate with government agencies, NGOs, and corporations. Someone has to be accountable.

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Jonathan Yabut says we must let go of online elitism.

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Yabut during his keynote.

There were various prizes given away, not to mention the little fun and games offered by sponsors at their respective booths. These sponsors, like Microsoft, BPI, Pinoy Exchange, Muni, and Pringo, to name a few, likewise showcased their respective products and services. A Fujifilm Instax mascot was also roaming around the venue at one point. He was so cute we just had to take our pictures with him.

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Cute wireless photo printers from Pringo.

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My Bibe and Paul Pajo with Mr Instax.

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I wanted to bring him home. The cats would love him, I guess.

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It's a wrap! #BoomPH organizers and volunteers onstage.

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Shane Tarung performing.

There were more musical numbers after the main program and soon after 3 DJs took turns in keeping the crowd busy on the dance floor. By this time I already left. Signs of aging, if you may.

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Boom! These peeps put the boom in #BoomPH.

To the organizers, volunteers, and partners of #BoomPH, congratulations! Till next year.

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