PHILIPPINE WEB AWARDS: The Oscars and MTV rolled into one (an article in the Phil Daily Inquirer)

Originally published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on November 25, 1999, written by Pamela Angela Salomon Pastor. Original URL: http://www.inquirer.net/2bu/nov99wk4/2bu_main.htm

PHILIPPINE WEB AWARDS
The Oscars and MTV rolled into one

By Pamela Angela Solomon Pastor

IF you think that that the Internet community here in the Philippines is made up of geeks and nerds, bite your tongue. The 2nd Philippine Web Awards last Nov. 17 proved that notion wrong. The New World Hotel’s Grand Ballroom was transformed into a futuristic venue for an explosive audio-visual experience. The place was packed with people–and there were no geeks or nerds in sight. What you could see was a big bunch of different people–from yuppies, college students and executives, to celebrities, musicians, webmasters, members of the press and techie people–enjoying the awards night which was hosted by actress Pinky Amador and TV personality Mari Kaimo.  And if you think that this event was only for cyber nuts, and that you’d be bored out of your wits, you’d better bite your tongue again. The 2nd Philippine Web Awards–which was organized and managed by the WS Expositions Management Group and produced by the WS Computer Publishing Corporation–is dubbed as ”the major event for the Net generation.” It’s definitely major. Think Oscars and MTV put together.

All throughout the night, big names in the music industry provided the Netizens with entertainment. Kulay, a group that has made waves not only in the Philippines but in the UK as well, got the adrenaline going with their hits. The crowd went wild over their flip-hop performance. Marc, Mike, Myrene, Diego and Raymund–better known as Sandwich, NU Rock Award’s Best Group–gave a performance that could equal the acts from Woodstock ’99.

The night of the awards was the end of a six-month search to find the best Filipino-made sites. Out of the original 1,100 nominees, 89 finalists were chosen to vie for the Webby Award for each category.

The judges for the 18 categories are celebrities and big names in the arts, media and the IT world. Artist Robert Alejandro, columnist and TV host Karen Kunawicz and Cosmopolitan Philippines editor in chief Myrza Sison were the judges for the Arts/Design, Print and Weird categories. For the Family/Personal and Children/Education categories, the judges were The Web Philippines editor Heinz Bulos, columnist Tonette Martel and talent manager Girlie Rodis. Gerry Anigan, project manager of Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc., IBM Philippines president Ramon Jocson, Mari Kaimo and Atty. Francis Pangilinan judged the sites for Business, Computer and Government categories. For Health/Science, Environment, Travel–Joel Desini, president of the E-mail Company, vice president of WS Fiesta Online Dave Quitoriano, and Wong, Chin Wah, editor of Computer World Philippines. For Home/Hobbies, Games and Sports–president and CEO of Wolfpac, Communications, Inc. Albert dela Cruz, Mia Goloy, editor of PC World and sportscaster/writer Quinito Henson. And for Film/Celebrities, TV/Radio and Music–guitarist/vocalist of River Maya Rico Blanco, country manager of 3Com Philippines Gil Edeza and musician Bo Razon.

Aside from the 18 websites that won that night, there were also 18 sites–one for each category–that were given the People’s Choice Awards. These were the nominated sites that were voted online by the most number of Net users from all over the country. Inquirer On-line got the People’s Choice Award for the Print category. A plaque of appreciation was given to Pinoy Pulis Help Online–a Philippine National Police Website. The awards night had winners who won multiple awards. ABS-CBN got three–the Compaq special award, the Webby and the People’s Choice award for the TV/Radio category. Lakbay.net got the Webby for the Travel category and Hewlett-Packard special award. Aside from being the Most Popular Site of the Year, the Provincial Government of Bohol also got the People’s Choice for the Government Category. Mike’s World was not only hailed Website of the Year by The Web Magazine Philippines, it also received a Webby for the Family/Personal Category.

The 2nd Philippine Web Awards was also a chance for young web designers to shine. Twenty-one-year-old Cheryl Oliva Fuerte got three awards for three different sites. She studied web design in ’96 and started generating websites in ’97. ”May pagka-vain kasi ako, gusto agad matuto kung pa’no ilagay ang picture ko sa web,” she candidly shared. She received a Webby for the Film/Celebrities category and two People’s Choice awards–Inday@Unforgettable.com (www.indayworks.com) for the Family/Personal Category and Noni Juice–the Tahitian Health Drink (www.nonijuice.com.ph) for Health/Science.

”I’m glad that there’s finally an award-winning body that gives due recognition to websites created by Pinoys,” Cheryl said after the awards night. ”Winning the Webby and being recognized for my talents are very rewarding but that shouldn’t be the goal.” This young web designer has created 10 sites and that number is still growing. Her advice to aspiring web designers? ”Work from the heart, design with passion and share your talents.”

The 2nd Philippine Web Awards was entertaining, fast-moving and a great graphic and visual experience–just like what any good website ought to be.