The ultimate web portal to Cebu WEB WATCH

October 20, 2005 
The Wikipedia is the world's free encyclopedia. Why is it free? For the simple reason that readers are also writers - every single article at the Wikipedia was written by volunteers who felt confident enough to click the "edit" button and start writing about a subject. As such, the Wikipedia is not the most accurate or comprehensive encyclopedia in the world, but it is highly popular thanks to its accessiblity and update frequency. These days, even the SunStar frequently quotes from the Wikipedia.

Now, you probably knew all this. But did you know that there is also a Cebuano version?

The Cebuano Wikipedia already has more than two hundred articles, and is projected to reach 1,000 by the end of this year. Wa'y Blima! came across Vincent "Bentong" Isles, a teacher in Cebu City who is not just a regular contributor, but who initiated the project and got it off the ground. It seems like a lot of work to be doing for free, but Bentong is clearly happy to do it because he is a true believer. He freely admits to being an activist against the dominance of the Tagalog language, but not all members share his beliefs.

It's all very fascinating, so we were delighted when Bentong obliged us with an interview.

How old are you? Or is that confidential?

I've just turned 22 (but I look 40 ;-).

What made you decide to embark on this project? Were you a user of the English-language Wikipedia?

I had minimal knowledge of the English wikipedia back then. I even thought that the "en" in does not mean anything at all! Then I realized that a Tagalog wikipedia exists, which made me envious, so I learned how to propose one and now its running.

Congrats. How many of you are there? And you did you manage to get them involved?

Well, I think only five or six users there have been informed of the project's presence formally. That is to say they know it because I posted something about it in the forum I am in. The others (17 others!) came into the project by accident. In terms of publicity, the Wikipedia is really low. People just doesn't know it exists. I have written about it in BISAYA Magasin, but the target audience of BISAYA are older folks, so I think the article had minimal impact.

Can you tell me about your motivation for doing all that work for free?

It is just the thought that you are doing something worthwhile and giving it to the world. And much more than that feeling of doing something worthwhile is the fact that I view the Cebuano wikipedia as one arrow against the imposition of Tagalog in my country. It is but one small step in the shaping of the Cebuano identity which has been eroded by decades of Tagalog monoculturalism.

There is a lot of hidden resentment against the Tagalog language in Cebu, but few try to do something about it. Are there any other activists amongst the Wikipedia contributors?

As far I know, only Harvsz (the one who contributed the most) is another anti-Tagalog activist. One user <Edgar_Godin> is the editor of a national Cebuano magazine.

How do you plan to tackle the issue of a lack of standardized spelling for Cebuano?

We do have standard spellings. In fact, we have so many that it is a problem to decide whom to follow. As for the Cebuano wiki community, it is an unwritten rule that we follow the spelling system recognized by BISAYA Magasin with minor adaptations (esp. in the PAGKA and TAGA prefixes).

What is the main problem with a Wiki project?

The fact that not one person controls everything! I once spent a day editing one user's idiosyncracy of using 'na' instead of 'nga' but I just gave it up!
Other than people who use "nga" properly, what kind of members are you looking for?

Those who would work ;) Just an article a day would do. We even accept stubs. ;)

And there you have it. For your information, a "stub" is a snippet of information at the Wikipedia that doesn't quite make a full article, but might eventually become one. If you are a Cebuano and can string a sentence or two together, head to the Wikipedia and start adding articles.

June 29, 2005
Will Gloria go or will she stay? If she goes, who will be our next president? At this critical time for our country, one website of keen interest to the Filipino citizen is actually a blog. But not just any blog. It's the Archbishop's blog. Located on Blogger like any other blog, the blog does not say the blogger is the Archbishop, but it has Archbishop Cruz's headshot, and the profile very simply says the location of the blogger is in Philippines.

June 18, 2005
In Cebu we have the hopelessly disorganized Cebu Web Awards. In the Philippines we have the Philippine Web Awards - which is for rich folks, since you need a 2,500 peso application fee to enter. But in the real world, there are the Webby Awards. These are the Internet's equivalent of the Oscars. The best Anglophone sites are presented at a gala event, which this year was held on June 6. The award winners make great surfing. Our favorite this year is 10x10, a fantastically imaginative site which is also useful. Photos and keywords are collected from news sites every hour and presented in a 10 by 10 format. The full list of Webby winners is here. Happy browsing!

May 7, 2005
A toolbar is a little widget you add to your browser to make it more useful. There are many toolbars around; Google's is probably the most popular. But Alexa, who specialize in providing traffic data for websites, make an even better toolbar. It installs in seconds and it's free. If you're still using Internet Explorer, click here to start the download. If you've already moved on to the Firefox browser, click here.

Please let us know if there's something interesting out there that we should feature here for the benefit of Cebuano web surfers!

Site Copyright - 2004-2011

The ultimate Cebu City and Cebu Province web portal