The Hashtag Campaign
When I started blogging in 1998, I was still working in the corporate world. The output was simply an online diary. It was just a secret journal so I even wrote under a pseudonym. Fast forward many years later, my online presence grew and my efforts are now collectively known as the Hashtag Campaign for Bacolod and Negros Occidental.
Being a Stay at Home Mom
Starting a family has its emotional rewards, so I chose to become a stay at home mom in order to better take care of the kids. However, I also wanted an avenue to vent my emotions and share about my mundane life. So I turned to blogging, thus my parenting blog, www.lovinglymama.com and eventually my lifestyle blog, www.sigridsays.com.
Eventually, however, I thought of reinventing my blogs and using them to promote good causes while at the same time making Bacolod City and the province of Negros Occidental known to the world. I thought that while I was just staying at home, the “www” of my blogs makes it connected to wherever internet is available on the planet. It was just a matter of promoting my posts in the right channels.
Promoting Bacolod and Negros Occidental
Writing about Bacolod City and Negros Occidental comes easy because I love it here and am proud to be a Bacolodnon. And with the little power and influence that I have, I have used it to bring something good to the city and province that I call my home.
- Negros Occidental Tourist Destinations
- Things to Do in Bacolod: One Day Budget Trip
- Bacolod City Guide
In my efforts to promote Negros Occidental, I was awarded 2nd place in the 2010 Negros Occidental Tourism Blog Contest.
Online Presence: The Hashtag Campaign
So from my tiny corner of the bedroom that can only fit my chair and my laptop, several hashtag campaigns and online advocacies were born. My informational posts became known and I have started hashtags that have been carried by others until now.
My first and probably most successful campaign is #Bacolodeats and it is ongoing until now. A few years ago, I realized that my family always dines in Bacolod restaurants. Out of habit, I would take photos of the dishes as well as the façade and the interiors of the Bacolod restaurants.
Many things have changed ever since. I remembered that five years ago, I would hear snide remarks whenever I would take photos before eating. Now that my list of Bacolod restaurants has become popular, people voluntarily offer their plates to me so that I could take photos before they actually eat. It has become a ritual already. And many restaurants have been blessed by this campaign, with owners thanking me for the efforts in promoting the Bacolod food tourism.
My husband and I are sort of non-conformists so when I became pregnant with our eldest, we have decided that we would be homeschooling our child. That was not a very popular decision among well-meaning people back then because it was something new. In our circle, we were pretty much alone.
When we finally enrolled our daughter in a home study program, I sought to network with other homeschooling families in Bacolod. It was then that I realized that we have quite a number of Bacolod families who are already into the same journey as us, but our paths just haven’t crossed yet. With the steady blog posts and Facebook shares using the hashtag, #HomeschoolinginBacolod, I was able to reach out to others and we set up the Bacolod Homeschoolers Network (BHN).
It’s a non-profit cooperative aimed at fostering camaraderie among homeschooling families based in Bacolod and other nearby cities. We have grown to more to almost 30 students and this online movement was awarded the 2017 GME Award for Social Media Campaign of the Year.
The #NormalizeBreastfeeding movement is not new. It already exists in other countries, however, there is no specific campaign for Bacolod City. So I started the #NormalizeBreastfeedingBacolod Facebook page, which is also supported by my mommy blog.
This page aims to make breastfeeding in public a common sight in Bacolod City. We have reached a point in our society where people get easily scandalized when they see moms feeding their babies the natural way but are more accepting of scantily clad models and celebrities on magazine covers and billboards.
It is my hope that eventually, the stigma that society has put on breastfeeding will be removed and mothers can freely feed their young anywhere, anytime, without fear of being ostracized here in Bacolod.
- Follow our FB page: Normalize Breastfeeding Bacolod
Growing up in the suburbs, I loved how we had a big parcel of residential land where my father has grown some fruit trees and ornamental plants all around the house. We had a really nice garden, the air was fresh, birds were chirping, and it was just nice walking around where there is green around you.
Now that I am married, we live in commercial area where I see that almost every week, a new construction site springs up. Sadly, the ones that are always erased from the picture are plants and trees—like they are a nuisance that need to be removed in favor of progress.
But I didn’t rant. Instead, I took photos of commercial establishments that had maintained trees and plants in their place of business. I used the hashtags, #GreenerBacolod and #MorePlantsandTreesinBacolod and encouraged business owners to have a garden or even just some potted plants in commercial areas.
Eventually, I saw businesses that started to put up even just potted plants in front of their stores. A Bacolod mall also kept adding plants and trees around their property. I feel so happy and accomplished for every new tree or plant that I see growing around the city while I lament every plant that is torn down for any reason.
The Greener Bacolod online campaign was awarded the 2016 GME Award for Social Media Campaign.
The Bacolod hashtag grew and also included #Bacolodevents, among other things. I kept using hashtags in my posts for a more unified online presence. Many have followed suit and their events turn up when the hashtags are clicked.
Products like food items, handicrafts, clothing, furniture, and home decor made by local artisans have greatly improved over the years. We can boast about their export quality as well as their design aesthetics, thanks to the training and exposure that they receive from the Assocation of Negros Producers (ANP).
It has been my personal preference to buy artisanal products made locally. I have done a series of blog posts on the products of the Negros Showroom and also featured the ANP several times.
Some of the Negros products and businesses that were featured on this blog are:
- Clara’s Barquillos
- Ading’s Gourmet Tuyo
- Sugarlandia Piaya
- El Ideal Bakery
- Jojo Vito Designs Gallery
- Bacolod Pasalubong to Bring Home
- Meganox Antioxidant from Sugarcane
- Merzci Pasalubong
Each Christmas, I would also encourage people to buy and give local products to support small and medium entrepreneurs using my social media platforms. Read: Christmas Gift Ideas from Negros Showroom. With this campaign, I use the hashtag, #BuyNegrosProducts.
A Rippling Effect
I may just be one Bacolod blogger who is also limited with personal and family requirements. But I believe that no matter where we are or what we are in life, we can do something good for our city and province. Big or small, eventually, it will have a ripple effect and reach other people wherever they are.
The continuous boom of Negros Occidental in terms of development and in attracting investors like the real estate giant Megaworld has made me prouder as a citizen. It also gives fodder to my desire to keep writing informational articles in this blog.
The hashtag campaign is just my own little way of making my beloved city and province known to the world. From my tiny corner in the universe, I have seen the effects grow wider and the influence reach greater proportions several years later. It has then encouraged me to continue the relentless pursuit of digitally promoting Bacolod and Negros Occidental. What campaign will it be next time? Let’s see.