Happy Birthday Janette Toral!

As chief proponent of the Electronic Commerce Act of 2000 and founder of the Philippine Internet Commerce Society, she is among the pioneers of Filipino personal online media. Towards the end of the 20th century, she pulled me out of a plucky little university seminar and plunged me into the thick of the Internet industry. If it weren’t for her, you might not be reading my blog today.

Happy birthday to my discoverer and mentor, the Digital Filipino, Janette Toral.

Progress and Tyranny

So I was invited to three parties tonight — one by the Philippine Internet Commerce Society in Ortigas, one by b5media at the Mall of Asia, and one by PLDT Business Solutions at the Fort. You know the IT industry is booming when you have three tech parties on a Thursday night.

I’m a vice-president of PICS, so I went to our party first. As CICT Chairman Rey Chua presented his bullish outlook for the industry, someone from the prosecutor’s office kindly informed us that we all had to go home before Gloria’s new midnight curfew.

Nothing like a taste of tyranny to dull the taste of progress.

The other two parties were in other parts of the city; between the rains and the traffic and the checkpoints, I couldn’t possibly attend either and still beat the curfew. On my way home, I got stuck in traffic near the EDSA shrine, where I served as stage marshal for EDSA II.

Look what that got us. We do stupid things in our youth.

I thought I was helping to bring about revolution seven years ago. As I’ve watched more and more smart Filipinos empower themselves in a disintermediated millennium — from pioneering veterans like Janette Toral to hot superstars like Abe Olandres to promising ingenues like Alodia Gosiengfiao — I’ve come to realize that real revolutions come from ourselves, not from our leaders. Tonight, I saw the repercussions of a false revolution dampen celebrations of a real revolution. The past has a funny way of dragging down the future.

On behalf of PICS, I’d like to thank everyone who came to our party tonight despite the insane circumstances. Talking shop with you guys helped keep my mind off this stupid curfew, if only for a few hours.