Lots of people know that I have lots of websites related to the Philippines. But, few people know that my connection to the Web in the Philippines goes back as far as it does.
Did you know that I had a website about the Philippines even before there was Internet available in the Philippines? It’s true. And, on top of that, did you know that I had the second website on the Internet that was related to the Philippines? It’s a subject that I had not thought about for years, until I had a visit from an old friend last week.
It all started in the early to mid 90’s. My recollection is not perfectly clear, but I think it was in around 1993, maybe 1994. I had been active on America Online, and also on Compuserve for a while, and was starting to hear of people mentioning the Internet. I didn’t really know much of what the Internet was, although it kind of intrigued me. Honestly, though, the Internet also intimidated me. I was a little scared to try the Internet, because I was not very technically savvy at the time. But, I kept hearing about it, and wanted to give it a try.
One day, I was at a computer store (Computer City in Portland, Oregon) and saw some software called “Internet in a Box” which claimed that it made it easy to get onto the Net. As I recall, the software was like $39 or so, and I decided to buy it. I installed all the applications, and found how to get everything working. In a couple of hours, I was online for the first time! I opened the browser, which was Netscape, and was on the World Wide Web. I was shocked when all this graphical stuff started coming up! There were actually pictures, not just text as I had been used to. I was hooked!
After doing some exploring on the WWW, I found all kinds of interesting information. There were not too many websites online in those days, but I sure enjoyed what was there. After a while, I found a website about Davao City. It was designed and put online by a fellow named Jon Belisario. I was really awed at the site, and was even more shocked when I learned that this Belisario fellow was just a regular guy who put this online. That did it for me, I wanted a site of my own too! I decided to put up a website about General Santos City, where Feyma is from. In just a couple of days I had figured out how to get it done, and my new website was online. At that time, there were only two websites on the Internet about the Philippines – one about Davao, and my site about General Santos City. At the time that I put that site online, there was not even Internet Access in the Philippines yet!
Jon Belisario and I each got lots of accolades for our perspective sites, we got full page write-ups in the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper (there was no online edition at that time), and other such honors. I met a lot of friends through my site. Jon and I became very good friends through our sites, etc. Jon is visiting here in Davao right now (he lives in the USA) and we have had some nice time to re-connect with each other. We have reminisced about the days when we had these websites, and have enjoyed every minute of it. We were the first two people in the world to have websites about the Philippines, and todays there are tens of thousands of websites related to the Philippines.
Ah, the good old days!