How we lost the webby
By Walter Ang
November 29, 2000
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Nov. 21, Tuesday
The 3rd Philippine Web Awards night is in three days! The team behind Tsinoy.com is excited. We keep asking each other what outfit we plan to wear. I think to myself, "This must be what actors go through before the Oscars or the Famas." But those people get sponsored clothes. We have to dig through our closets that smell of mothballs.
Nov. 22, Wednesday
What to wear? What to wear? To complement our site, we consider wearing Chinese-inspired outfits. The girls could wear cheongsams and the guys could wear Mao-collared shirts. But everyone might think we're the program sellers from "Miss Saigon"!
We wonder what it must feel like to go up the stage, wear the crown, receive the scepter in your hands, have someone drape the sash ever so gently over your torso and drape the cape over your shoulders. No, wait. That would be a beauty pageant. Perhaps they'll give us damaged hard drives spray-painted a shiny golden color.
Nov. 23, Thursday Morning.
An idea hits us: Let's all wear black! Very chic! Afternoon. A new problem. No, our server did not crash. This problem is bigger. What to do with our hair! Someone suggests, "We could get haircuts from Frank." Those of us on tight budgets ask incredulously, "Provost?!" The response being, "No! Frank's Haus of Beauty. Beside Aling Nena's Carinderia! Over there by the corner!"
Nov. 24, Friday 9 a.m.
The day of all days is here! No one gets a new hairdo. Not everyone is wearing black. But so far, we've all got great hair. It feels that something is missing though.
We figure out what's missing. After a late lunch, we rush over to the nearest supermarket to look for one of those instant hair color sprays.
We find one! It comes in a little plastic bottle with a little black applicator comb. It's called Manic Blond. We buy it (of course!). We are having lots of fun and the awards haven't even started yet!
We wonder if reporters will flank around us at the awards show to ask questions (read: delusions of fame). We scramble to practice our answers. I hear someone say, "I wonder if they'll ask what the essence of a woman is?" There goes another beauty pageant question!
We wonder if we can bring in placards and streamers with "Tsinoy.com: Global Village of Chinese and Filipinos" emblazoned in big bold letters.
We start putting on streaks of Manic Blond into our hair. All thoughts of preparing streamers instantly vanish. Hair is much too big a matter to set aside.
We have some time to kill. We try to visit all the sites included in the finals. Some are so-so. Some are incredibly wonderful and creative. Tsinoy.com rules! (You've got to love your own!)
Still adding Manic Blond to our hair.
We squeeze into a car and drive off to Makati Shangri-La where the awards night will be held. We have to get there early because they're giving away free shirts to early birds!
We get our tickets from the booth. We look for our free shirts. Where are they?
We rush off to nearby Glorietta to have a little dinner. We'll be rushing back to the hotel so we can mingle and hobnob with other finalists. More importantly, to get those free shirts!
Doors open. Success, we get our free shirts! Little black numbers with the Webby Awards logo at the back.
Dear diary, I sat beside Carlo today. No wait, that's the hotdog commercial! What I mean is, I sit beside Cynthia Alexander the singer! Sitting beside her is Gerry Kaimo, the guy who created pldt.com!
The whole Tsinoy.com team is so giddy at getting the free shirts and finding good seats that I don't even realize I am sitting next to celebrities until about 10 minutes into it. Most of us are excited since it is our first Webby Awards night. Tsinoy.com won Best Culture Site last year. This year, we're nominated for Best Community Site.
The show begins with a cheesy dance number. We think it's hilarious. We make fun of it and say it's an interpretative dance. (It's not.)
JM Rodriguez and Joey Mead are hosting. Joey is beautiful! Even the women in our team are semi-drooling. Upon seeing Joey, our Web technologist tells me she wishes she were a man. The hosts say winners should limit their thank-you speeches to a maximum of 10 words. Interesting rule, but will anyone be able to follow it? We'll see.
The Community Category is up next! We are blown away! (We thought the categories would be announced alphabetically!) We get an adrenaline rush and our stomachs hurt a whole lot in anticipation.
They announce the winner for the Community Category. It's not us. Our faces are frozen in a mixture of shock, excitement, disappointment, resignation, anxiety and heaven knows what else.
Minds still reeling. Trying to recover from the news. Some team members take a nicotine break. The tension is mind-numbing.
The fact of not winning has been digested somewhat. We settle down to try and enjoy the rest of the awards night.
Pldt.com wins People's Choice Awards for Weird/Humor Category. Gerry Kaimo goes to get the award. Where's Cynthia? She's not beside me anymore. There's another lady in her place taking a video.
Barbie's Cradle play their set. Every time I see Barbie, I get an overwhelming urge to rush over to her and hold her up. She's so tiny and frail and pretty, like a little fragile fairy girl.
My friend's friend wants to get Barbie's autograph. I give her a sheet of paper from my notebook. She thanks me profusely. Then she rushes off backstage to catch Barbie.
I hear a thank-you speech that's less than 10 words. "Thank you for the P100,000 cash prize!" He didn't get any money, though.
Joey announces the winner of the Best Personal site -- LuvKo SiInday ?- but pronounced "luv" like "louvre." Even the way she pronounces words is dreamy We louvre the way she hosts!
Tsismis.com wins Yehey.com's most visited website of the year. I overhear a lady exclaim, "Tsismoso talaga ang Filipino!"
Cynthia is back! She is clutching a plastic shopping bag. Now I know where she went.
Most applauded acceptance speech is from namria.com.gov.ph: "Yes Virginia, we defeated Erap!"
All the winners go onstage for their photo-ops. Brown Beat All Stars start their set. Lead singer Skarlet (Myra Ruaro) is wearing a plaid kilt/skirt and scarlet shoes. We mingle and try to network with their music in the background.
Tsinoy.com doesn't go home empty-handed. Someone from our team wins a set of CDs in the raffle!
A guys wins the grand prize, a new personal computer. We hate him.
We ride into the night.