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Edwin Lacierda (photo by Richard Reyes)

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The Black and White Movement (PDI Photo)





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Public Profiles

By Ruel S. De Vera
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 15:07:00 01/22/2011

Filed Under: blogging, Internet, Computing & Information Technology

AT the cold, digital heart of social networking is the fiery urge to make connections of varying degrees. It all has to do with gathering like-minded folk and, on the occasion, do something together. Blogs serve the same purpose, connecting otherwise unconnected people because of a shared ideal or emotion. Sometimes, blogs can change lives or turn around a nation?s destiny.

In that sense, the Black and White Movement blog (blackandwhitemovement. blogspot.com) is the most obvious and oldest of the blogs aiming to organize and mobilize others for social change.

The blog was assembled shortly after the organization itself was created. The year was 2005, and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was still president of the country. The wave of consternation and outrage at what she and her administration had been up to was spreading. The blog itself explains: ?Vicente R. Romano III, or Enteng, as we call him, convened the Black and White Movement in 2005 to demand accountability and transparency from the government regarding shocking allegations of cheating by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the 2004 elections.?

The Black and White Movement swiftly attracted more members and soon was leading marches and other forms of public demonstrations criticizing the Arroyo administration and asking Arroyo to step down. Perhaps the most familiar member is former singer Leah Navarro, who was among those who gave the Black and White Movement a familiar face.

The Black and White Movement blog itself is a venue for the organizing and outreach elements of the movement itself. This was the site?s most important function, as the different planned events and demonstrations were posted so others could join in.

The Black and White Movement?s blog maximized its ability to reach the right people to do the right thing. The blog posted the group?s statements and opinions about various social issues and the many moves of the Arroyo government. They also posted content from various other sources, achieving its most number of posts in 2006. The blog itself has slowed down after the election of Benigno Aquino III, but the blog states it still holds a membership in the thousands.

Sometimes, a blog can lead us to strange and unusual destinations. Sometimes, it leads to a presidential campaign victory and perhaps a controversial cabinet post. Such is the story behind San Juan Gossip Mills Outlet, better known as the blog of Edwin Lacierda (lacierda.blogspot.com). A lawyer and a law teacher, Lacierda began blogging in 2004 and showed immediately he had a wicked wit as well as a gift for critical analysis, writing about the events of the day ? or whatever caught his fancy.

In an early post, he talks about the origins behind the blog: ?This blog is called San Juan Gossip Mills Outlet for the simple reason that I have resided in San Juan for a third of my life now and all we hear from friends and acquaintances are facts wrapped in the edible nature of gossip. It is an outlet for people who are so tired of their dreary existence, not to mention people who would like to write but do not have the sufficient anonymity to post a blurb or two.?

There is a Black and White connection here as well, as Lacierda was among those who convened the group. He was often seen on television being asked to give his opinion on political and legal developments, and soon was named campaign spokesperson for Aquino. After Aquino was elected, Lacierda was named presidential spokesman.

His San Juan Gossip Mills blog was left idle in 2008, but it remains a repository for Lacierda?s often acerbic commentary. The fierce spokesman now tweets when he is not in front of the Malacañang Press Corps, and has already become a bit of a lightning rod for controversy for his run-ins with members of the press.

But there are also times when the unexpected rewards years of patience and devotion. That brings to the stage Bleachers? Brew (bleachersbrew.blogspot.com), run by sportswriter extraordinaire Rick Olivares. While he also writes for a broadsheet and various magazines, Olivares has devoted considerable effort to making sure this sports blog is updated constantly since its start in 2006.

Here is the blog as the artifact for gathering those with the same devotions. Whether writing about games here or abroad, about what goes on on the court or off it, Olivares has already been running what is simply the best sports blog in the country.

But that isn?t all. A serious follower of football, Olivares has been shadowing the Philippine National Football Team for years, chronicling the various obstacles and learning experiences encountered by the team ? later to be known as the Azkals.

Olivares was there from the very beginning. When the Azkals impressively qualified for the Suzuki Cup and blasted defending champion and hosts Vietnam 2-0, Olivares was there to deliver the definitive coverage of the Azkals? achievement through Bleachers? Brew. Fans, old and new, flocked to his site and crowded around the bleachers for the best seat in the house.

Though there?s no empirical way to back this up, it is easy to believe that Bleachers? Brew gave the Filipino sporting fan an intelligent and yet inspired destination to visit, whether to catch the latest scores or to see the Pinoys do the impossible. ?



Copyright 2014 Philippine Daily Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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