Originally published inFilipinas Magazine, August 2007
Digital Filipino (www.digitalfilipino.com) is a celebration of the Filipino on the worldwide web. Built by Philippine technopreneur Janette Toral as a promotional vehicle in 1999 for her book DigitalFilipino: An E-Commerce Guide for the eFilipino, it has grown into an e-commerce resource and chronicle, with links and resources for shopping, podcasts, outsourcing, job search, blogs, a researcher forum and mobile communications.
The site itself covers a lot of ground for the Internet beginner and the web-savvy. It offers tips on choosing a web hosting service, advice on gaining web search visibility, discussions on the Philippine e-commerce law, corporate social responsibility for IT companies and a profile of the young Filipino Internet user.
Toral is a writer, Search Engine Optimization consultant, trainer, blogger and policy lobbyist. Her organizing skills put together â€œThe Digital Filipino,â€ which also holds online and off-line seminars and get-togethers. She is also part of the group that put together iBlog, the Philippine Blogging Summit held at the University of the Philippines.
Regalo Service (www.regaloservice.com) is a Philippine one-stop gift service offering a wide array of products from select suppliers. It also provides gift wrapping for the online shoppersâ€™ loved ones. The site is well organized and items, such as bags, art work, fashion, publications or personal items, are sorted by category, occasion, demographic of recipient and brand.
The website offers a gift registry for weddings, bridal showers or special occasions. Gift certificates are also available for those who donâ€™t have a specific gift in mind. The gift reminder is a great addition for the last-minute shopper.
Although Filipinasâ€™ catalog gets a lot of orders for dictionaries and books teaching Tagalog, hereâ€™s one site thatâ€™s geared for the on-the-go learners. Manuel Viloriaâ€™s website at viloria.com offers podcasts that provide the correct pronunciation of Tagalog words and phrases. Learning any language requires oral and audible interaction, something which you canâ€™t get by reading a book alone. The advantages of Viloriaâ€™s site are that itâ€™s free to use and uses common conversational phrases, songs and stories. Viloria also offers simple visual presentations via www.youtube.com.
Winner of the 2007 DigitalFilipino.com Web Award for Travel and 2002 Philippine Web Award for best travel site, Lakbay Pilipinas (www.lakbaypilipinas.com) is an online travel portal that presents the beauty of the Philippines to travelers everywhere. Its goal is to provide the best information on Philippine travel destinations, festivals, hotels and restaurants and preferred travel agencies. The site also has helpful tools such as a currency converter and weather forecasts. Its blog (www.lakbaypilipinas.com/blog) gives tourists a personal look through travel journal and photos.
Melo Villareal, site publisher, was originally an accountant but left the corporate world to pursue photography, travel writing and web publishing. â€”Raymond Virata