23 January 2011

The Evolution of my Blog

I have been renovating this blog recently, and I think I have been satisfied, at least for now. I have mentioned before that I started using the labels feature in the blog, so that there is some sort of index in here. Come to think of it, after 5 and a half years of writing, there have been a multitude of posts on various different topics, and the labels should give it some structure, and allow me and others to simply pull up some posts if I need them, instead of searching through the archives.

And after spending several hours going back to all of my more than a thousand posts and labeling them, the final label cloud has emerged. It seems that there's four big keywords, and they somehow characterize what this blog is about: grad school, personal, random, and travel.

Yes, I started this blog back in July 2005 as a way to chronicle a new chapter in my life: graduate school. I started it back in Manila, and I don't think I will be stopping until at least after I graduate. The contents of this blog is highly personal in nature, and after some thought, I realized that I have been writing this mainly for me, instead of for an audience. I needed a way to download thoughts from my head, and this was the perfect way to do it. And given that my thoughts range on a variety of things, my thoughts can be pretty random, and therefore my entries covered a range of topics. Finally, travel is something that I really love, and therefore that is also a big feature in this blog.

I realized how my entries evolved. I put labels on my posts in reverse posting order: that means that I started working on the newer posts and worked my way backwards. As I got to my posts in 2006, I realized how dumb-sounding and personal and substance-less they were, compared to my posts now. Sometimes, I got the feeling that I was posting then just in order to have something to post. I had a lot of posts that simply said what I was doing that day, it sounded more like a mundane diary instead of a blog that is actually worth reading. Slowly, however, things changed.

Before, I just mentioned briefly a book that I was reading, and put up a photo of the title cover. Nothing else. But around 2008, I started making it a dedicated post, which eventually ended up as my Book Reviews. And I also consolidated the entries where I would chronicle my trips, so that they're easy to find in one page.

I also noticed that I became more opinionated as time went by. Sometimes, I would just rant about lots of stuff, ranging from politics to religion to philosophy. I guess that is a good thing, since simply blogging about one's daily activities and writing about what happened that day is boring at times. On a grand level, I saw how the purpose of this blog evolved. In the beginning, it was what I intended it to be: a diary of the whole process of getting a PhD degree. Thus, I had a lot of posts about what classes I was taking, and what papers I was writing, and so forth. Eventually, this blog became more than that. I don't see this blog as a diary of a student in grad school anymore. Instead, this perhaps is the best thing that one can have if one wants to have access to my brain. This is a brain that is located inside a body, a brain who wants to see the world while it is in existence in this world, and at the same time, while getting a graduate degree.

So if you're reading this, I am glad that you are. Thank you for your continued patronage.

(Parading the Colorful, from my Cusco Series)


  1. First of all thanks for giving me the titles of the books that are required reading in the Philippines – there must be a reason for it, so I’ll place them on my reading list. I enjoy reading your blog because it has a diversity of subjects and is articulate. As you know I love traveling so I always look forward to reading any type of travel whether it is overseas or next door. I have not looked at your old posts because I read many blogs and have little time, but I’ll go and read some from your tabs. I think that as the years go by we change, and we better change as we encounter obstacles or achievements and learn from them. We also meet different people or read articles or books that give us a different perspective that the one we may have so we keep slightly altering our way of thinking. I am not religious but I like the Buddhist philosophy. The idea that life is like a river, it is there but it changes, can turn its flow, goes around obstacles, but keep running down smoothly without stopping, going over rocks and staying cool. It is the journey and your blog has its own journey. So congratulations on having kept at it for over five years, that is an achievement in itself.

  2. Vagabonde,

    I wholeheartedly agree with your approach to change. Many people do not want change, and try their very best to resist it. Just look at the way people reacted when someone told them that the earth wasn't flat, or that the earth actually revolves around the sun and not the other way around. The scientists were all met with fierce resistance. On the other hand, acceptance of change is a better road perhaps, since nothing is permanent in this world anyway.

  3. Wow...6 years ! Congrats! Keep going !

  4. Sidney,

    Thanks! I plan to keep on going!

  5. Bueno, me uno a las felicitaciones por la perseverancia en el tiempo.
    Me alegro sinceramente de que este espacio te haya servido como registro de tu crecimiento personal, y de la evolución que tú mismo has ido experimentando. Los posts no se volvieron más "opinionated" por sí solos, sino que, de seguro, esto refleja que tu misma opinión comenzó a cambiar.
    Saludos, y feliz de leerte :)

  6. Kami,

    Thank you! I suppose you're right, people change, people grow, and writing is no exception. Once again, thank you for the comments, I appreciate them, even with the help of Google Translate.


  7. Not many people document their lives in this way. I do, but never post online... :D Perhaps when you get the coveted "lifestyle upgrade", you could consider branching-off a travel blog since this domain won't be relevant anymore. :-)

  8. Priyank,

    I still don't see myself as a full-time traveler, that I am afraid I won't have enough stuff to post if I branch off a travel blog. Besides, there are plenty of things I wait on, not only the degree, so I'm sure I'll find something to make it relevant. :P

  9. Even though a lot of your entries are personal in nature, you do voice your opinion and that's what make it interesting in my opinion!

  10. Zhu,

    I am glad you find my blog interesting!

  11. Hi LIW,

    This new layout is pleasing to the eye. Makes your visitors want to travel too.

    Have you thought about getting a book out that contains some of your blog posts? After all, it would be like an autobiography of sorts. ;)

  12. Prab,

    You know what, I never thought about that. But now that you mention it, I think the idea is neat, but I am afraid that I don't have a consistent way of writing yet. As I was labeling my posts a few months ago, I realized how much I changed my writing style. Although when I read José Saramago's blog, there were variations in writing style too. We'll see, honestly, I've never contemplated the idea, but it'll probably sit in my head for a while.