Before influencer was a word widely used these days, there were bloggers and bloggers were actually the reason why influencers even existed.
When I started blogging more than 14 years ago, being popular or being called an influencer or making money with it wasn’t really on my mind. I just wanted a place where I can write, express how I feel, and share my thoughts, experiences, discovery as a single mom with a child with autism, and as a woman in general.
2007 was the year I started blogging publicly. 2008 is when I started getting invites for events on my email then but it was very few. There weren’t a lot of bloggers back then and niches was hardly a word. A blogger is a blogger, you write about your life or everything under the sun. Back then bloggers were frowned upon by the traditional media and even PR and brands. Only forward-looking brands saw the potential in tapping bloggers for their brands.
In 2009 bloggers getting invited to events started to pick up. Back then people were snotty about bloggers as saying they are people who don’t do anything but sit in front of their computers like it was a bad thing and that we don’t have a life at all. Today, and each time I remember that I can’t help but say in all caps: “Hey look! WE ARE ALL IN FRONT OF OUR COMPUTERS NOW!”
But honestly, I am grateful to have discovered blogging even before everyone else has. I was at the right place at the right time.
Today is a great day to share with you things I was able to achieve as a blogger :
Becoming a brand ambassador/ model/ influencer
Being one of the Philippines blogging industry pioneers comes with these perks. I think my first brand ambassador stint was in 2009 with Nestle Fitness. I formed my team comprising of readers of my blog and my team competed with other teams. Our major prize was a bunch of designer clothes from Philippines top designers and Chanel, Hermes , 7FAM, ! Magazine and newspaper features and a lot of media mileage. That was my first super celebrity moment! I became friends with Risa Mananquil-Trillo who wasn’t married back then, became friends with Mitchi Calica-Sotto who was so generous to give me with a lot of clothes I wear for my special events. They were part of the judges back then.
After that, I got more and more projects, one I can’t forget also was being one of the 6 Neutrogena Fine Fairness brand ambassadors. This was my most favorite stint. Because of this, I became friends with celebrities Solenn Heusaff, Isabel Roces, Patty Laurel, who were all not married and have babies back then! OMG , I remember when we did our vision board I think all visions came true! Hello ladies. Of course, I have blogger friends joining me there like Hannah Villasis, Phoebe Ann Ramos, Jane Kingsu Cheng and are good friends too. This project actually bonded us.
Honestly, when I was a child I dreamt of being an actress and I wanted to see myself in front of the TV. Who would have thought that blogging can actually give this dream to me? As a blogger, I was able to work as a “model” or a brand ambassador working side by side by the celebrities I only see on TV for brands I actually buy and use! It was so surreal.
Having the so-called celebrity status who would have thought people would actually want to have a photograph with me or people would recognize me even when I am in a public toilet and ask to have a photo taken with me!
Becoming a resource person
I get tapped as a speaker and resource person to talk about blogging for a number of conferences, workshops, and seminars. The topic I usually get asked to talk about is how to make money blogging !
One of the conferences I remember that I was a speaker at was the iBlog 7 Summit . Back then I got slammed and bashed really hard online and offline. I unmasked people who were nice to me in person but snakes online because they were part of the people bashing me for what I said in my talk. Some were bashing me for what I look. In fact they even talked about my armpits! Back then there were a couple of “purist” bloggers who don’t believe in making money with their blogs. Well, they’re not bloggers anymore. They’re gone I am still here, who won! Let me take a bow!
In 2019, before the pandemic lockdown, I got to speak again at the last iBlog Summit. The topic was, Is Blogging Dead? I was one of the panelists who said it wasn’t and it will never be. The discussion was brought about by the rise of YouTubers, Tiktokers, Instagrammers what we call now Influencers.
I had an engagement for Go Negosyo, It was nerve-wracking because it was in a mall, so everyone passing by can hears what I say. I was a guest on CNN with surprise Atty. Harry Roque back then when he got a good head above his shoulders and was not the spox and a die-hard you know what.
Recognition for my advocacies
I write about a lot of advocacies I support. One of them of course is raising awareness on autism. My first and best award I got from blogging was the BEST IN ADVOCACY BLOG. I used to write a lot about my journey as a single mom of a daughter with autism.
A lot of people were reading my blog and asking me for advice and a lot of things being a PWA parent. A lot of those people I still get in contact with these days. I am actually thinking about families with autism these days as a lot of therapy centers and play areas are closed. Those PWA who were used to a schedule must have been struggling right now. My heart all goes for you!
Not to be bragging about it but I think a lot of bloggers back in these days would agree that I also pioneered advocacy bloggers in the Philippines. It all started with typhoon Yolanda in 2013 when I started raising funds for the typhoon victims and got recognized by Habitat for Humanity for my efforts. Since then they started their Online Champions comprising of bloggers and online celebrities to help them with their humanitarian efforts.
Free All-Expense Paid Trips
I love to travel and I spend my own money to do it. I actually do one big solo trip each year mostly on my birthday month and go abroad or locally to a place I’ve never been by myself. So it is such a great opportunity to get invited to trips locally and internationally for free!
I have three favorite international trips I will never forget. One was in 2015 with Laneige where they sent me to Singapore . The event was attended by media from 10 countries including Korea, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, and Singapore, and we had a lovely acquaintance dinner upon our arrival at the newly-opened The South Beach Hotel, Singapore where we stayed for the whole duration of the event. This is where I saw in person Song Hye Kyo, the longest-time Brand Ambassador of Laneige!
My second favorite trip was my Mekong River Familiarization Tour by the #TourismMekong we visited 3 countries (Malaysia, Thailand, Laos), crossed borders, slept in luxury accommodations, made new friends from East to West and to off-the-beaten-path. I was with 10 other bloggers from Australia, U.S.A., Norway, Thailand, France, and China. Such an amazing experience!
My third favorite trip was my first time in the USA . This was because of Organique Acai Berry who had a California tour and they took me with them along with Regine Tolentino and Ricky Lo. You can read about this #EarthintheUSA adventure here.
Gained Friends for Life
All the experiences, places, and things cannot compare to the value of friendship I made through this journey. So proud to say that I am still friends and in touch with the first people I met when I started blogging. They have been supporting me secretly and even publicly throughout my blogging journey. Some I inspired to become bloggers and doing well, some have taken a different path. As the cliche goes, as long as there is one person who believes in me, I won’t stop blogging!
Meeting with Hollywood celebrities and Pop Music idols
Two other favorite meet ups were Dean Cain a.k.a. Clark Kent a.k.a Superman of Lois and Clark. Ian Somerhalder a.k.a. Damon Salvatore of the Vampire Diaries . Madonna was one of my favorite Pop Icon and was so glad to have seen her show here in Manila. There’s so much more but they’re at the top of my list! The list goes on and on.
Being a blogger for more than 14 years is an achievement in itself. I know a lot of those who started at the same time as I are not doing it anymore. I am proud to say that I am a full-time blogger for more than 14 years and this is my bread and butter and has kept me living the life I have right now!
A lot of people have come to me for advice on what to blog or what to do with their blog and even before the pandemic ask me if they should quit their job and focus on blogging. I tell them that if you are passionate about it you don’t have to think about it. Just do it and the rest will follow.
It is not true that if you love what you do you will never have to work a day in your life. What’s true is if you love what you do you will love working on it every day of your life, and that’s what blogging is to me. It is work, a lot of work, but I love it and I am thankful for being a blogger.
My last piece of advice to everyone is if you want to keep blogging is:
Evolve and stay relevant. You have to learn how to adapt and keep abreast with the trends be it blogging like SEO or influencer marketing.
Integrity and Consistency. Never bend your morals just to get a project. Stay true to yourself. You will get the right readers and the brands to work with.
Engage and build relationships with your readers, with the brands and PR you work with. As my friend Analisa Solomon said on my Facebook survey “Brand loyalty and returning customers will sustain the brand amidst all challenges.”
I do hope you learned something from me! If I did I will appreciate a comment or a share!
Stay gorgeous everyone!