The Story Behind Our Awesome Planet
November 12, 2008
(Original version: October 10, 2008)
Dear Our Awesome Planet Friends,
In those times, the art of blogging is new. The only thing going for me is my love of photography and my love of anything related with technology. I am not a writer (at that time). The only things I ever wrote were my engineering related papers ( I am an Electronic Communications Engineering graduate) and project related documentations in P&G. At the onset, the only thing on my mind is to write for my newborn son, Aidan, a little bit of his parent's history and his childhood days.
What Burns My Passion?
A lot of people have been asking me why I blog. I wrote an entry on this topic in my blog post: Why Blog? In a gist, OAP is a written dedication to our sons, Aidan and Joshua, so that they would have a documented history of their childhood. I hope that through these pages, our family's adventure and significant milestones are immortalized. I still can't forget the first time we brought Aidan to El Nido Palawan playing in the waters of Shimizu and Entalula Island; and our first time in the island of Balesin . I love sharing the excitement of learning that we are giving birth to another baby boy, waiting for Baby 4's birth, and finally giving birth the La Maze way in Makati Medical Hospital.
***UPDATE 9/22/11: The Balesin island cannot be visited anymore and membership will by invitation only. The island is now owned by Alphaland Corporation. ***
I was tempted in the past to turn OAP into an online magazine but I decided to keep OAP as a family blog turning it to something like a virtual heirloom that will be handed on my sons. My wife Rache is now blogging at Mrs Awesome Planet hosted by Sanrio Town and my son Aidan just created his first blog post.
If time would allow and destiny would be so kind, I aspire to be a respected food writer and historian like Doreen Fernandez, a National Geographic photographer like George Tapan, and a successful pro-blogger like Darren Rowse. Even though I am not there yet, I hope that my journey will inspire at least one soul to strive hard and be the best that he/she can be. In the end, even if I don't become famous as Doreen, George or Darren, as long as I know that I left this world a little better, I think I made my mark!
My Many Firsts
Throughout my close to four years of blogging career, I'm proud to have shared the food and travel secrets of the Philippines. I predicted two dessert craze in the Philippines: the Cupcake Craze when Sonja first opened in Serendra and the Frozen Yogurt craze with the first Cold Spoon outlet in Angeles, Pampanga. I introduced a lot of people to the Great Bulacan Sale when we first discovered it in July 2005. I witnessed the excitement of seeing the first Filipino to climb Mt. Everest by my friend Romi Garduce (and finally, God willing, the first Filipino to climb the 7 Summits in 2010.)
I was fortunate to witness the early beginnings of Carlos Celdran's Intramuros Tour, Ivan Man Dy's Chinatown Food Tour, and Tina Decal's culinary tour of Quezon. Together with Joel of Market Manila, and Lori of DessertsComesFirst, we pioneered Food Blogging in the Philippines. I also wrote the first blog posts on most of the Viaje del Sol destinations in 2005. Our Awesome Planet will always be remembered for its post on the virtual tour of the Mall of Asia and the opening of the first Imax in the Philippines. Also, I'm particularly proud of sharing the most comprehensive Awesome Calendar of the Philippines.
Most OAP readers love these unique OAP articles:
Secret Online Multiply Stores in Manila,
The Holy Bread of Padre Pio,
Top 10 Awesome Restaurants of the Philippines,
Top Ten 10 Cool Things to do in Boracay!, Boracay's Mystique..., Top 5 Bora Resto!,
Boracay 101: A Bora First Timer's Guide To Boracay's Best Restaurants, Must Try Food and Gimmick Places
The Day Gary Vaynerchuck Rocked my Internet Marketing World,
Nothing Beats an Antonio's Dinner in Tagaytay,
Bistro Filipino by Chef Laudico -- Best Filipino Fusion Food,
I lust for Boutique , The Essential Guide to The Boutique, and
The Definitive Guide to T-House, Tagaytay.
I'm a die hard Green Archers Fan!
Turning Full Time in 2008.
To understand why I decided to go full time on my blogging career last May 2008, you got to read these four sentimental blog posts: Romi's Everest and My One Big Dream, What's your Everest?; Paalam Julia -- Your Spirit Lives on; Summer of 2008: Love for Philippines, Rogin E update, and Taking OAP to the Next Level; and Why Blog. Recently, I wrote about achieving my 1,000 Blog Post blogging milestone. I was inspired by the Holy Spirit when I attended the first Kerygma Feast last November 2007 by Bo Sanchez and it gave me the courage to pursue my calling.
So What's Next for OAP?
I'm preparing for 2010 which is the biggest turning point in the Philippine's History. For the first time, we will elect the President that will turn around the development in the Philippines. For the first time, Philippines will be in the tourist consideration of the world's travelers when Bohol, Palawan and Bicol will win in the New 7 Natural Wonders of Nature contest. This is also the time that Romi will be the first Filipino to climb the 7 highest summit in the world! I predict that Internet Marketing Businesses will boom in the Philippines in 2010. Lastly, I will be able to publish my OAP book: 100 Awesome Experiences Only in the Philippines! Together with OAP friends, we will write history as it unfold in the next 2 years.
Live an Awesome Life,
Text and Photos by Anton Diaz. Copyright 2008.
P.S. Why Our Awesome Planet? I felt that the Lonely Planet Guide was not representing the Philippines very well. I wanted to share food and travel discoveries in the Philippines that was never published before. Usually these are secrets of different places that are only shared through word-of-mouth. Also, I felt "Lonely" was a little negative so I branded the blog with a more positive twist -- Our Awesome Planet.