Yes, indeed, MindanaoBob was on the road again this past weekend, along with his trusty sidekicks, Feyma and Aaron. We had a great time attending the Socsksargen Blogfest 2.0 in General Santos City this past weekend. I will be writing several articles about the trip, different aspects of the trip which are unrelated. Today, I will focus in on the trip itself, and the Blogfest, which was the reason for the trip.
We headed out to GenSan early on Friday morning last week, about 5 am. For this trip, we decided to take the bus instead of driving. I am happy we decided this, because I was surprised at how enjoyable and comfortable the bus ride was. It was a nice bus too, the Mabuhay Class liner from the Yellow Bus Line. The bus left out of Davao at about 5:30 and we were in GenSan by 9am feeling rested and comfortable. The bus had very good air conditioning, in fact, I found it cold on the bus, but refreshing. Friday was a full day in GenSan, and I’ll write more about my Friday activities in future articles.
Saturday, though, was the Blogfest. When we first arrived at the Sun City Suites complex, where the blogfest was to be held, I was impressed. This was my first time to see this new complex in GenSan, as it is only about a year old. Although it’s a partnership, Sun City is largely owned by Davao investors, and you could feel the Davao flavor in the place, as many of the shops in the complex are Davao based operations, so we felt right at home.
I went right away up to the second floor conference room, that was the venue for the Blogfest. My first impression was surprise because there were a LOT of people in attendance. I would estimate that there were 150 to 200 people in attendance. I was slated to be the first speaker of the conference, so I had some preparation to do, but nothing too drastic. Firstly, Avel, the host of the Blogfest, took me around and introduced me to a number of people in attendance. It was nice to meet all of them.
When it was time for my speech, I was a little nervous, but not too much. I’ve done public speaking before, so I am kind of used to it, although I believe you will always get a few butterflies at such an event. The topic of my speech was about the “History of the Internet in Mindanao, through my eyes,” and I talked about the developments I’ve seen over the years. I started out my history lesson in 1992 when I first got on the Internet, and ran up through present day. The Internet first became available in Mindanao in 1995, through Mozcom. I tried to keep the speech somewhat humorous, and even brought up people from the audience up to the stage to explain how they played a role in the development, even though they didn’t realize they had a role at all. But “through my eyes” they did. It was a lot of fun.
I met a number of dignitaries at the event too. Mostly they were people that I already knew online, but had not met in person. There were a few whom I had already met in person but was able to touch base with them again on Saturday. There were also a few people that I had never met online, but now have a new friend.
On Saturday night, we stayed at Sun City Suites hotel, compliments of the Blogfest organizers. I was quite impressed with the place! Nice, clean, fresh, beautiful design. The rooms are a bit small, but still very livable. From what I see in newer hotels, smaller rooms seem to be the trend, and I am comfortable with that. I have to really commend the staff at Sun City Suites, they are really attentive to the guest’s needs, and always friendly and efficient. I was very happy with our stay there. Additionally, there is a complimentary breakfast offered for guests, and that is available at Cafe Firenzo, a coffee shop that is adjacent to the hotel. The breakfast was great too! No complaints at all.
Overall, it was a lot of fun to attend the Blogfest, and I’d be happy to attend again next year. Very professionally run, upscale, great crowd, good speakers, all around a top notch event in my book. Thank you to Orman and Avel Manansala for all of the hard work they put into making Blogfest a first class event!
Update December 7, 2011: Here is a video that was carried on ABS-CBN news that shows me at the Blogfest.