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Friday, September 30, 2011

PEBA Conquers Al Laith!

"One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure." - William Feather

When quizzed where Al Laith can be found in Saudi Arabia, most expatriate workers especially Filipinos would pass for  the  next question convinced that some remnant from old civilization has finally been discovered from obscurity. Talking about obscurity, not too many information Google or Bing is able to dispense apart from a similar description that, yes, not a majority of Saudi residents both locals and expatriates know which part of the peninsula the town is located, and  its being a sleepy and dusty town 180 kilometers south of Jeddah.

Normally, going to places as quiet as Al Laith does not appeal to big city dwellers, hmm, unless you have suddenly developed a dislike for large shrimp and fish for which the town is known for. Compensating for the town's 'ghostly' attributes however, is the existence of the National Prawn Company - the pride of Al Laith and one of the largest prawn farms in the world. The sprawling company  alone, I heard, is a city within the city, and the invitation to visit the place couldn't come any better.

As planned originally, a group of PEBA bloggers from Jeddah along with TFC Mideast correspondent Charles Tabbu, will invade the place to witness and cover some sort of events I understand, that will take place Tuesday night under the auspices of NPC. If one wonders how did we get the invitation, well, the PEBA president Mr. Nereus Jethro Abad is one of the top managers at NPC and himself the program director of the said event. So there we go, with the media in tow, supposedly.

Always a formidable leader that he is and the most punctual too, PEBA founder Mr. Kenji Solis came at the meeting place the earliest, tagging along with him a protege and another potential talent in Mhel Mante, whose off day coincided with the trip. Pepe Cabrera and I just managed to skip from duties for this adventure. And along came Mr. Charles Tabbu in his best outfit,  sporting a bravado befitting a media man. But to some extent, the guy's entrance was far from being climactic. He had the trip cancelled the last hour because on the same night he flies to Riyadh on a company obligation. And who says we were disappointed?   Not at all, because it was not the end of the road for bloggers who wanted to be interviewed and get seen on TFC (thank Lord only those with Tagalog accent made the shortlist).

Not wanting to miss a perfect broadcast material, it didn't take long before Mr. Tabbu had the SACO parking lot converted into an instant workshop for broadcast journalism. Fifteen minutes later, the Jeddah bloggers were all but hesitant to banner their new-found profession as they  geared up for a shooting and interview mission . By then,  Mr. Tabbu was already stripped of his camera and other media paraphernalia, and oh yes,  his press ID has been turned over to some aspiring journalist too. It will be an understatement to say that our mission is nerve-wracking, not only because Mr. Tabbu wouldn't accept anything less than excellent, but because we were expected to be interviewing people in a broadcast quality setting. We didn't pretend anymore to have wanted to see him off to the airport because we wouldn't have much time left to rehearse our role to pull off our stunt convincingly. Indeed, to a novice, this was one heck of an assignment. 

If we could have dragged more with us, there was still room in the Nissan 4x4 that the NPC sent to fetch us, courtesy of Mr. Abad. Ibrahim the Sudanese driver jokingly warned us of everything Badu (Bedouin)  that would greet us there. He seemed to loosen up a bit understandably because the road is something else. We hit the road at around seven, though a little late. Just a tidbit how it's like negotiating a road to Al Laith (at nighttime) - the highway is a stretch of nothing but black, no sharp curves, except for ubiquitous road signs warning of "camels crossing", as though half of Saudi Arabia is inhabited by camels. If the driver ceased to be impressed by the lengthy drive, in which case hunger and/or sleepiness trumps virtue, the "distance to destination" road signs are as equally as ubiquitous to encourage him that the tape is  getting closer. The seemingly never ending stretch of excavation ironically helps motorists with its well-lit detour and arrow signs. 

Al Laith here we come! First off, it won't take much persuasion for one to agree that the adjectives appended to the place fit the scenery. If you're used to drive in Jeddah, you tend to obey traffic rules even in dead hour. But don't get terrified when upon entering the town, the traffic lights though working are constantly in red. There is no dereliction of duty insofar as traffic enforcers are concerned, in fact you'll find no one. It's just that the number of vehicles plying around town center are too scant to count let alone manage. Small roundabouts instead dot the street corners, perhaps their efficient way to manage traffic. 

During business hours most shops are conspicuously empty, save for a vendor or two. Seems like desolate lots forever await their tenants that never came. Most outlying streets don't  have streetlamps. I even joked that this similar setting is perfect dump site for salvage victims. And that's for some first impression folks. Wait till you hear first-hand accounts from Filipinos who swear to have loved their city. Truth be told, I didn't hear anyone of them complaining of homesickness, because the Filipino community especially at the NPC is a close-knit  family in itself, as shown in the level of camaraderie in the air.

At the venue, we heard that the program will be the closing ceremony of the Messengers of Peace and the Boy Scouts of Saudi Arabia Jamboree hosted by the town of Al Laith. But I'm not really sure as to my information, though I tried to grab one of the program brochures only to see it in full Arabic texts. The program was to be highlighted by a video and cultural presentation prepared by the Filipino talents of the NPC that sponsored the event. 

Even in Jeddah, I've never seen the over 400-year Philippine history portrayed in a single presentation. So that explains why a Rizal, a Lapu-Lapu and Marcos duplicates fight off for your attention at the dressing room. The distinctively Masskara outfits of Bacolod, the Ati-Atihan of Aklan,  the Tinikling and Igorot dancers were not to be denied of the spotlight if only for their creativity and colorful costumes.

Moments captured in sequential order:

History books say one of the earliest Philippine settlers are the Malays who drove out their Indonesian predecessors who earlier had the land's native black people or the Negritoes driven out to the mountains. To me, the settler with a spear dons a shoulder strap resembling a bullet cartridge, or perhaps it's time to brush up my history? Bad location and my grumbling midsection did not help my cause either.

Who doesn't know the story of Magellan and Lapu-Lapu in the battle of Mactan? These two guys try to overpower each other, although in the end the favored protagonist wins to the dismay of Magellan fans whose excellent swordplay is  no match to the muscular Cebuano. Got no idea if Magellan got the revenge backstage.

Dr. Jose Rizal, the Philippine national hero in his most chinito version. The book he cuddles is enough for you not to mistake him for some Korean popstar our girls back home go gaga over.

Nope, they are not  Japanese soldiers aiming their rifles at the perceived 'traitors'. In fact they are Rizal's assassins and history says they are Spaniards. Too bad for Rizal, he fell flat to his back almost hitting the narrator.

Andres Bonifacio  is the face of the Katipunan. Though he was no threat to Rizal, yet his avid fans still pose a challenge to the latter's title. Manong acted out his role convincingly that sent chills up my spine. The Saudi audience also could be seen erupting in approval though you don't expect them to be googling what KKK really signifies.

It is a fact that Saudis are not Uncle Sam's biggest fans. Not until he takes center stage that drew immense cheers from the audience. The portrayal didn't come any better in an Obama-like swagger, neck arched high- an Obama signature, and yes the skin color complemented the trick. Just I got a little problem here, I thought FDR was the wartime president.

The face has some resemblance. The slightly over-sized barong did not matter as much. This is Ferdinand Marcos, arm poised to pull off a Hitler, I mean a Martial Law declaration, I guess. Yes, even without the table in his office and the dreaded 1081 in his hand, the Martial Law got declared. Later I learned Marcos is an Ilonggo. He  speaks just like me. 

The emergence of basketball as the most popular sport in the Philippines. These guys did a great job emulating Caloy Loyzaga's era when the country  once placed fifth at the Olympics. Except of course that when you play defence you don't smile a lot and trick the dribbler into glaring at your forehead when it emits some fierce light.

Arguably the most famous Filipino is Manny Pacquiao. Volumes have been said about this southpaw from Gensan, hence a real Filipino pride. He is immensely wealthy and famous. He graces magazine covers and rubs elbows with  Hollywood celebrities. Our protagonist above may be no match to the real Pacquiao, but he swears he will give the guy a run for his (Pacquiao's) money when they both belt out "Sometimes when we touch", of course diction is 50% of the criteria.

I'm still perplexed whether it's some sort of sticks made of rolled cardboard or real wood used in modern arnis. But what impresses me is their precision and grace. Even locals were transfixed at the spectacle. If one day they started to trade their sandals for an arnis in a fight, then we are convinced we left a legacy there. By the way, Mr. Abad how many off days you gave the guys to practice their stunt?

Can somebody tell me is this an Igorot tribe? I'm a little lost (read as dummy) when it comes to indigenous costumes. The dance though was gorgeous. The costumes rarely a staple in the nearest flea market, and that says a lot of the effort. I'm also convinced some moral police present had their orientation taken seriously, re some exposed skin/abs here are not to be taken either seriously .

A war dance. I thought the costumes and props were meticulously crafted, and that's where the audience's attention was drawn to. A tremendous amount of talent is what I see here. Making a shield and  cleaver duplicates ( I heard they're made of carton) could use up a week's time? The warrior prays that his cleaver doesn't break or he has a straw in his hair left for his arsenal.

This is what we call a Maglalatik dance, another hit to the audience. Latik in the southern part is always associated with coconut, hence the props. Our protagonists in yellow seem to be racing to outshine each other with each pulling off separate moves. Kuya in the center obviously is the leader/choreographer. "Please don't copy me", he says to the left. "Look I have made my bra into a choker!"

Another distinctly Filipino "Sayaw sa Bangko" or chair dance proved to be another showstopper.  I thought if Mang Pula is a lot heavier than Mang Azul, then there goes the show. This is the show's part when I prayed not one of them loses his balance and hits the floor. Overall the dance was fantastic as much as the skills  were superb.

Oh yes, this is almost the highlight. To say that the audience was mesmerized is simply an understatement. The skills, the steps, the beat, the synchronization all made up for a fodder for all eyes to get fixated to. That uniqueness I think gives Tinikling a more well-deserved status worthy to be called as national dance. 

The Ati-Atihan of Aklan is a festive and colorful street dance. It is almost as old as history. Ati refers to a person with black skin and kinky hair. Their features are more similar to the Aborigines and the locals of Papua New Guinea. They were thought to be the first inhabitants of Panay and Negros islands. Given the scant supply of charcoal in the KSA, our three protagonists had only their necks and faces painted black in a quasi dalmatian spoof minus the bark, but with a bite.

Move over Mardi Gras. The Masskara Festival is uniquely Negrense. Sounds familiar huh? I'd been watching this on the streets of Bacolod since I was a kid. Oh dear, it brings back a lot of memories. Thanks to these four guys who did justice well enough to the grandeur that is Masskara. Dazzling costumes, along with some abs, and oh yes some cleavage too can come in a package.

The entire cast appears onstage eliciting loud cheers from the audience. And who would not? The show did not disappoint. In fact I could have slipped through the rows and collected ten riyals from every one in attendance.

If there was one surreal and proudest moment we had, this was it - the Philippine National Anthem being played in front of a packed Saudi audience. I heard some choked up while the anthem is being played, I thought I was alone. I later heard myself from the video I recorded, belting out  as if I am in a trance. :-)

He is not kind of reciting some Boy Scout oath. This scout official demonstrates a profound respect to the Filipino flag while the Philippine National Anthem is being played. It was odd to see him the only one standing in the front row where dignitaries are seated. It took a while however, before others realized the faux pas and followed suit. Breach of protocol? No. It was a miscue for they heard the song for the first time other than theirs when Ittihad and Hilal lock horns in the pitch.

The dignitaries at the front row to their amazement at an all-Filipino male crew's ability  to put up with  lack of female counterparts, yet the moves still turn out to be graceful. If Saudis eventually decide to incorporate Hair Dance in their own all-male shows then we have a really big problem here. Blame it on some hip-swaying skills by the Filipino talents that drag some audience into confusion, but the talents certainly will not be denied of the rapturous response.

Hear ye, hear ye! This one could paint a thousand words! Might as well be entry material for this year's PEBA photo contest? Anyone?

Man of the Hour Pepe Cabrera steadies the lens as Engr. Ahmed Al Balla, Managing Director of the National prawn Company heaps his appreciation on Filipino talents and citing their great contribution to the company, in an interview.

Despite the unanimous hesitation to stay longer, we agreed to Mr. Khaled Al Aldali's invitation to experience their state-of-the-art digitarium, where we were basically treated to a barrage of shooting stars and celestial bodies that adorn the galaxy, live as shown from their own satellite. I don't know if I described it right. We were then ushered to  their own screening room (not quite inferior to that of Megamall's), and had a taste of 3D experience. That explains why we got dazed even more, this time starving stomach didn't take the blame.

PEBA people and Filipino managers at NPC pose with Mr. Khaled Al Aldali, NPC's Head of Corporate Social Responsibility. After the photo ops, the group headed straight to the restaurant where talents and volunteers had almost staged a rebellion in a fit of starvation. We feared Marcos, Magellan and Pacquiao could cause a melee as it was almost 12 midnight sans dinner.

The talents minus their costumes still manage to smile once confronted with a lens. This time PEBA founding chairman Mr. Kenji Solis initiated the trick that essentially calmed the starving souls down. Once served, 26 basins of kabsa got wolfed down mercilessly, with the sexy part (thighs) competing with chicken wings flying around oral cavities. I have to admit though, that was my best dinner in quite a while. 

Three and a half hours later we were safely back home. Thanks to our dear PEBA president Mr. Abad, for taking good care of us and credit also goes to Ibrahim who ferried us back to Jeddah safe and sound. My gratitude goes to God for His protection and provision, all the glory belongs to Him. Indeed, what an adventure it has been!

**pictures courtesy of Mhel Mante, the event's lensman whose stamina was truly unbelievable. Good job Mhel!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Somalia: Hell On Earth As The Rest Of The World Forgets

"Is it because Somalia does not equate with Japan's status as being too glamorous to suffer a catastrophe? That the people of the Horn do not matter as much as people from traditionally 'important' nations?"

Djokovic had won his third slam in a year. "Mad Men" dominated the Emmys in the nth year running. The pop world goes gaga over Lady Gaga, until when, I have no idea.. And Sarkozy came to Tripoli and treated like a rock star. Yet there is no dearth of sobering news as the world economy is in tatters, at least in the West, for now. More and more Americans are getting poorer. Greece is likely to be tossed off of the EU for its irreparable economy that further sends the bloc into economic doldrums. The world has plenty to talk about - mostly those that titillate our senses, and sending others of importance to oblivion.

Had it not been for Gadhafi, the world would have completely lost account  of what is happening in Africa. News that centered around the tyrant's demise albeit virtually had all media outlets around the world screaming in unison. For all its oil's worth and  bisexual innuendos pertaining to one of Gadhafi's sons, even the resignation of Steve Jobs from Apple's top echelon, was poised to upstage even the more hellish scenario further east at the Horn of Africa. Still few would choose to read or google about the famine in Africa.

These are not scenes told with exaggeration. It will break your heart. Somali families trek through the desert for weeks to get to the nearest UN refugee camp on Kenyan border some 50 miles away. Babies born along the way had their baptism of life's cruelty the moment they emerge from their mothers' wombs. Lucky if they make it through arduous journey and if their mothers are strong enough without having to eat anything to continue the journey. And my eyes welled up on this one - a mother had told of her little boy she left on the desert road because he was too weak to walk because she knew then he wouldn't survive. She had to be strong for her other children whom she thought stood a chance to survive in a long journey that took them forever.

Carcasses of dead animals along every single patch is a sight in ubiquity. As both humans and animals struggle to stay alive, there is nowhere near a tiny hint of vegetation that can bring them little hope. People fight off one another for a scant supply of drinking water. Given the situation, children and weaker ones do not stand a chance to survive longer. Even when herdsmen wish to sell off at knock-down prices what is left of their livestock, nobody would buy them for chances are they would soon be dead. A man who along with his family survived the trek to the refugee camp swears he used to be rich in their community but has given up little hope, looking at the loosed skin hanging from his emaciated son.

Some survivors who made it to the camp  have brought with them harrowing tales to tell.  Other families according to them were being stopped by Al Shabab militia  on their way to Kenya, telling them to go back and pray to Allah for rain. "For there is dignity dying in your own country than in another land", the militia's leader preaching at them. And for all its notoriety, it is hideous to think that this terrorist group is preaching dignity to its people when for all other reasons, this group has created famine for not allowing aid agencies to function in its own country so that thousands of lives could be saved in the process.

It's been two years running that drought has gobbled up the livelihood of people in Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia and parts of Kenya and Djibouti. Save for Somalia, the aforementioned countries have tackled their problems without so much chaos because there exist a functioning government in those states. By contrast, Somalia has had no functioning government since 1991 that paved the way for anarchy to rule, compounded by the Al Qaeda- linked militia Al Shabab's presence that has virtually taken over the control of most of the country. 

The drought at the Horn of Africa is said to be the worst in over 60 years. Its natural arid land somehow has taught the people how to cope with scarcities from rain, but a prolonged dry spell unprecedented in the region has caused international aid agencies to sound an alarm of a looming humanitarian catastrophe. It's been three or four months that various aid agencies had unanimously asked world donors especially rich countries, to take seriously if not prioritize the widespread humanitarian catastrophe besetting the region. Indeed,  bulks of aids came trickling albeit haphazardly, but not in a manner tangible enough to cope with the needs of the refugees. Given the scale of this humanitarian disaster, sadly some rich countries do not seem to see it as emergency.

For God's sake, thousands are dying and will surely be dead if the UN fails to respond appropriately. How many rich countries have so far pledged to make a difference in the lives of those still living that refuse to die just yet? Okay, even rich nations have their own share of problems ranging from inflation to unemployment, or perhaps a regular movie ticket that has gotten more expensive, but seeing a tent city supposedly for the living  juxtaposed in an equally crowded burial ground for the unlucky, does that not bother them? Is it because Somalia does not equate with Japan's status as being too glamorous to suffer a catastrophe? That the people of the Horn do not matter as much as people from traditionally "important" nations?

Why all this time only one famous celebrity in Yossou N'Dour, himself an African has come forward to rally  support from his continent out of compassion for the needy? Has George Clooney ultimately grown weary of rallying support from Hollywood, that none from among the megastars seems to be aware of what is happening to another class of human beings down there at the Horn? 

Don't get me wrong, famous celebrities are not bound by any contract to use their fame and power to be able to raise awareness on any world problem. And if anything, that is the least they could dispense from their wealth to save others from perishing. They have the power to effect change and be a catalyst for the world to act. But judging on a slow and disappointing response, it is very discouraging that very few people actually know the real situation, with which to some extent they describe it as "hell on earth".

Obviously, the miseries of others easily get swept under the rug,  for we are not in any way affected by their plight. That is the coldest and most irresponsible reaction any sane human being could demonstrate towards a fellow human being. And if  the scenes of  untold of miseries unfolding on television  do not rend our hearts, and instead we opt to hop on another feel-good channel for us to escape reality, and still we unhesitatingly parade our left-overs in a fast-food chain for all to see, so that we escape being branded as glutton in public, then shame on us, because we heap scorn on ourselves.

How many people around us have the temerity to flaunt their wealth and excesses, yet their next door neighbor hardly had a meal on their table? How many people we know that easily forget their humble beginnings when luck comes by, so that they readily had a bout with amnesia? Yes, life is truly unfair. Some have the gall to show off their fortune, others their so-called fruits of their labor, but just the same there is no dignity gained from a lavish display of ostentation when most people around us die of deprivation

Jesus in his teaching has warned, "For what profit is it for a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul?" (Mark 8:36) And in Luke 12:15 he warned his disciples, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." And for the least of our brothers, he declares, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for the least of these, you did not do for me." Then they will go to eternal punishment. - Matthew 25:45,46.

Each one of us is human enough not to be moved by the conditions of our fellow human beings in Somalia. It is a feeling that we all should embrace and not turn a blind eye to. So, if your conscience dictates you to bless others and be blest, you may click HERE to donate a little of what you can share, or at any link located on the side bar of this blog. Thank you.

Friday, September 2, 2011

On Blogging And Winning (My PEBA Experience)

"The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try nothing and succeed." -  Lloyd Jones

Before I could even decide the title of my blog , and as I am computer illiterate, the whole concept of blogging  was completely foreign to me. I did not even know what  to write or if should I actually write. I would say my foray into blogging happened by accident. Let's say I did not have the luxury of time  in front of the computer, for in the first place I did not own one. In our company accommodation, I have a colleague who has been blogging since early 2008 but I never had any idea what he was up to. On off days and after work, much of his time centers around blogging, blog-hopping and facebooking while I am contented to while my time on TFC. 

Typically, one major reason why I opted not to buy a computer was that, I hated it to get addicted to it apart from its being expensive. But thanks to a little Ramadan bonus, I finally decided to buy one for myself in October 2009 -- a rather cheap brand but at least I would not be waiting till my colleague complains of spine-breaking stint in front of his computer before I could finally check my email.

Not that I am the type that can easily be influenced or gullible for that matter, but the prodding of my colleague to get me on the bandwagon just appealed to me. Essentially, creating a blog is one thing and writing a post is another. And I have to admit, I am the least confident person you will ever know, so much that even in high school I would sit at the back row and never participate in recitation, never wanting to be at the front of the pack and drawing attention. So, in essence, my first blog post would be my first piece of essay in my whole conscious life. Still, I did not know what to write and not confident to write. So, my colleague helped me out on my first post and it turned out to be a video of Efren Penaflorida campaigning for support for the CNN Hero of the Year Award.

On my second post, I remember I wrote at least four paragraphs about typhoon Ondoy, and to my surprise, a blogger by the name of IsladeNebz had left his comment. And to tell you, his comment was so sincere that it helped me grow some confidence. And that was the start of it. One post bore another until I met some great bloggers on the blogosphere whom I truly admire for their great personality on top of their great writing skills. That time also coincided with the PEBA fever and everyone on the blogosphere seemed to be hyped-up by these award stuff, and most bloggers I've known were also nominees. (I've been especially a fan of IsladeNebz, Palipasan, The Pink Tarha and FrancescaInFrance.)  As expected, all of them ran away with top awards.

Joining contests may be last in my bucket list, let alone essay-writing contest. So it never occurred to me finding myself  writing an entry to a theme I feel strongly about. Lacking in confidence and only few blog posts to brag, I was wondering if I could write effectively that would resonate with readers. Apart my strong views about the theme, I also had my experiences and lessons in life to rely on as my inspiration to write an entry. To be able to share my story through blog is already a rewarding experience, but getting a recognition for your work, to me it is really something. 

Luckily for me, my entry was officially recognized as one of the nominees. And to be counted alongside others whose entries were masterpieces in their own right, was a life's trophy in itself. I would say my goal did not stop there, for obviously I became too ambitious to have wanted to land in the top ten. The nominee banner that hung on the side bar of my blog would have done me a great deal of contentment, but PEBA had another thing in mind. A week or so before the awards night, came a really great surprise when I received an email from PEBA, informing me that my blog will receive one of the awards. And mind you, the awards night coincided with my birthday, so the timing didn't get any better than that. 

Over lunch, my mind vacillates between the pros and cons if ever I decided to send one of my siblings on my behalf. As financial considerations weighed heavily on my decision, I was faced with a dilemma whether to skip the awards night or not. Sending a sibling or two from Bacolod to Manila (and back) by plane is really costly and wouldn't help my family tide over on Christmas. Finally, I texted my sister at the spur-of-the-moment decision. Her reply was, "are you serious?" kind of thing. For the record, none of my other nine siblings has ever traveled by plane, so I kind of anticipated the shock it gave them. It's just that, I had a really tough time explaining to them about some 'strange' things that confronted them. By the way, apart from fulfilling my obligations to them, they had no idea what I am up to let alone this thing called blogging. So to make things rather simple for them to understand, I said I joined a contest and won something and that they should receive my prize.

Watching my big sister on live stream holding up my trophy was a surreal feeling, so to speak. The occasion marked so many firsts in our humble lives. Not that I felt overwhelmed by its grandiosity, but to someone who  barely had college education and be mentioned in the same breath as the finest bloggers I really admire, to me that was crazy. On arriving home in Silay City, my two sisters have not run out of stories to tell. Maybe not so much about the glitz and glamour at the venue, or the freebies that they took home with them, not even the dizzying skyways and colossal traffic that confronted them, but on feeling proud of the recognition I received.

The hype over PEBA  2010 might have faded in days, yet the greater cause greater than PEBA itself will have lingered in the hearts and minds of those wonderful people behind it. The noble goals they set may have not been reached in its entirety, however we OFW bloggers, could not find a better and more visible platform than this, that allows us to champion our common cause and getting our sentiments heard, so that we don't fret if our collective voice seems not to matter in a bigger stage. The PEBA that I know is one that, from my point of view, offers multidimensional agenda by not only tapping raw talents through blogging, but more than anything, to be able to help OFW communities around the world one way or another, and serving as a voice  by raising  awareness in  matters that concern the OFW diaspora in general.

Without a doubt, this year's theme "Ako'y Babalik Hatid Ko'y Pagbabago"  resonates  with all OFWs who have left their families hoping for a brighter future. If there comes an opportunity that we feel compelled to share our thoughts, stories that inspire, or even lamentations from frustrations so that they serve readers  a lesson, then this is the best time. Here at PEBA, every story is unique, every thought and aspiration  of ordinary OFW like me is provided a platform to get read and  inspire others. So, if you are a blogger and the prospect of getting your story published through PEBA amuses you, then this is your time to shine. Another milestone waiting to be added to your already accomplished  resume could be just around the corner.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Silay City, Negros Occidental, The Philippines

Some of the photos above courtesy of Arnaldo Arnáiz Díaz

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