For the second time in a row, I’m nominated again for Best Cebu Blog Awards and even made it as one of the top 5 finalists in 2 categories: technology and personal blog. Yay! What an honor to even be considered as one of Cebu’s top blogs. I feel like I’ve already won. It would be nice if I would win though~

This year has been a crazy roller coaster ride for me because I’ve experienced my highest and lowest points in my blogging career. First quarter of 2014 have been very generous to me, but April brought some issues which led me to make a major overhaul. Did you notice the change in the web address? Anyway, I’m slowly recovering and on my way to a more “awesome” journey but I can’t give details yet.


About Best Cebu Blog Awards

The annual Best Cebu Blogs Awards is the first and only award giving body handled and organized by volunteer bloggers that recognizes high quality Cebu blogs and bloggers which are "at par" even with their foreign counterparts. It also acknowledges the important role played by Cebu-based Bloggers in delivering timely and relevant information from the Visayas, to the Philippines!

This year’s winners will be determined differently compared to the previous years as the committee decided to take out social media votes. Judging for the Best Cebu Blogs by Niche will be based on the below criteria:
  • Content & Relevance- 40%
  • User Friendliness - 20%
  • Authority - 20%
  • Social Media Presence - 20%
This year's judges include award-winning blogger and entrepreneur Nancy Cudis; Atty. Ethelbert Ouano of Cebu Bloggers Society Inc.; Estan Cabigas, another award winning blogger and renown photographer; and Vic Marion Madriaga of Cagayan de Oro Blogger

7 Best Cebu Blogs Winners by niche will be awarded this December 7, 2014 at the Avalon Building, Cebu Business Park thanks to the support of these amazing sponsors:

GOLD SPONSORS

Globe Telecommunications Inc.

The Best Cebu Blogs Awards Night Venue is at The Avalon by Primary Homes Incorporated, Your Reliable Partner.


SILVER SPONSORS
 
Greenwich Philippines

Krispy Kreme Philippines

DONOR SPONSORS

Starbucks Philippines
Payag Payag located at Talamban, Cebu City (near Family Park)

Island Grill Express available in Ayala Center Cebu and SM City Cebu


Cebu Projectors for Rent

MEDIA PARTNERS

Your trusted Blogging Organization in Cebu



OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHER:

Alvin Asayas Photography
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Cebu Fitness Blog

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9 Android Apps That’s Rocking My World Right Now

But before I give my list, please endure this long intro...

There’s this viral phot of Albert Einstein circulating on the internet about the day when technology will surpass human interaction creating a generation of idiots. Many believe the day has come, especially in this smartphone era. Einstein was a genius and there’s a big probability he may be right, but I want to hold on to my faith in humanity and in technology that makes our lives better.

There are many facets to technology --- communication, entertainment, productivity to name a few. I believe that, just like power and money, technology is neutral that serves as a magnifying glass of who you really are. The depth of my statement may sound crazy, but hear me out first.

If you are a lazy person with no self-control who only sees technology for entertainment purposes (for example), then there’s a chance you’ll be wasting a great sum of your life on things that matter less. But if you are someone who is driven and results-oriented, then you will see technology as a tool to help you achieve your goals. You see, at the end of the day, it all comes down to character.

There are so many things I want to do in my life and squeezing them in my 24 hours a day, 7 days a week time allotment would be impossible if not for the technological advancements since the invention of wheels.

I’m really thankful for smartphones. Not because I can play mindless games whenever and wherever I want, browse through hundreds of cat pictures via mobile internet, or share life dramas on Facebook, but because it helps me in almost all aspects of my life (personal, family, work, family, blogging etc.) like having your own personal assistant.

Android apps or mobile apps in general are heaven sent for me. They rock my world by helping me organize and systematize my life. Below are just some of the few Android apps that I really love using right now.

Here we go…

SolCalendar

SolCalendar is a calendar app for Android that stand-out because of its pretty interface and comprehensive features. It’s your planner, weather app, reminders and to-do list in one and syncs with Google Calendar and other popular calendar services.

   

I’m a visual person obsessed with organizing my schedule so the first thing that got me hooked to SolCalendar was the stickers feature. However, as I explore its other features, my quest for the perfect calendar app was over. SolCalendar effectively replaces paper calendars, post-it notes, planners, diaries etc.
 You carry them all in one app.

Features I love:
  • Real-time location based weather information.
  • Supports monthly and agenda view
  • Collapsible daily view within the calendar
  • Various repeat options for both calendar entries and to-dos
  • Allows you to set different time-zones per calendar entry
  • Robust reminder options

Google Docs and Drive

I have a regular 8 hour work from Monday to Friday and take long commutes to and from work. I manage multiple blogs and participate in various organizations. I also get invited to speaking engagements every now and then. I need to maximize my time.

With the Google Docs and Google Slides apps, I can write part of my blog posts or continue working on my presentation even when I’m riding a jeepney. It’s crazy, I know.

Link to Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Drive Android apps.

Google Keep

I use Google Keep as my idea repository. Whether it be a new marketing strategy for work, new blog post ideas, or existential Facebook worthy thoughts, I keep them all here in this app for later use.


Google Keep has OCR capabilities which means you can take a picture of a receipt or poster and it will transcribe the texts for you. However, you need to have internet or data connection for this specific feature to work.

I also use this app to transfer images or copy a bunch of texts from computer to phone and vice versa.

Evernote

I love attending seminars and I use Evernote to document the things I learn during those events. It is similar to Google Keep as they both serve as a note taking app, but Evernote is a much more sophisticated digital notebook.

  

The feature I love the most is that you can type notes while recording a talk. It really is a digital notebook because you can compile various forms of digital data like voice notes, texts, and photos on a single page for easier reference later.

It even recognizes your calendar entries and automatically flags a new note you created with the event name as it's title so you don't have to retype it.

SolCalendar, Google Keep, and Evernote has a few redundant features like to-do lists and reminders, but I use them for specific purposes to maintain harmony in my life. SolCalendar is all about schedule, Google Keep is for ideas and quick note taking, while Evernote is for seminars/conferences/summits/etc.

Line Camera

There are a lot of photo editing apps available in the Play Store but I prefer Line Camera because all I need for a photo editor is all here in this single app. Fun sticker? Check. Photo collage? Check. Filters? Check. Cute frames? Check. Multiple sharing option? Check. Purikura-like features and advanced editing? Check.

    


I don’t really like installing lots of apps because my phone is not that powerful (512MB RAM OTL) so if I can find a bundled version, I would prefer it over others.

Everypost

If you are looking for an app to update all major social media channels in one push, this is it! Best of all, it’s FREE!

Timehop

Do you want to know what you did exactly a year ago or five years ago? This app gives Throwback Thursdays a new meaning.


This app has nothing to do with productivity, but I really enjoy the nostalgia it brings by allowing me to browse through my past Twitter or Facebook updates and Foursquare check-ins.

Social media can be really noisy, filled with life dramas, but there are times when we’ve put something really insightful - a really nice piece of content - and it will be a waste if they will just get buried in the noise completely forgotten. Timehop allows me to rediscover the wisdom of my younger self which is why this app made it on this list.

Diaro

This is another digital note taking app that I like, but what makes it different is that your entries are pin-code protected. I use this as my digital diary, especially for those “emo” moments.

Nothing beats the stimuli writing with a pen and paper gives but I can’t always write. There are days when I feel really down or emotional and it is much easier to hide in the office CR bringing a phone compared to bringing a bulky journal. LOL

I am doing my best to avoid posting negative emotions and life dramas on social media. Additionally, I want to improve in the art of expressing one’s self through written words so installing this app helped me hit two birds with one stone.

I also think my life dramas and thoughts are much safer here than on a physical notebook. :D

It is so secure you can't even screenshot the app.

Google+

I am not very active on Google+ so what I liked about this app is the automatic backup feature for photos. While there are other apps that can do the same such as Dropbox, I opt for this one because I don’t have to create a new account. All I need is my Gmail account. Also, I can store an unlimited number of photos.

If I had to clear some space on my phone or in the event I will lose my phone, I don’t have to worry about losing my photos.

These are the Android apps I found most helpful to me. This list is not comprehensive and does not cover all possible features and uses so I encourage you to keep exploring.

Do you also have your own list of “must install” apps? Don’t hesitate to share them with me in the comments section below.

I used to be a fangirl for a "different browser", but by the time I quit the corporate world and started to work online, my choice is now Google Chrome. While I can’t say that it’s the perfect browser, I have a solid reason why I would still prefer this one over any other web browser.

Signing-in to Chrome rocks!

I might get a lot of raised eyebrows here especially from those who are concerned about Google getting their data but that’s a completely different topic which deserves it’s own blog post. Today I want to emphasize on the benefits of the sign-in to Chrome feature.

It’s your web. Take it with you.

Signing in to Chrome allows you to take your bookmarks, browsing history, installed plug-ins or extensions, and other settings such as your browser’s theme, saved passwords, and auto-fill data to other devices so you always have a consistent browsing experience. Say you have a two computers - one is a laptop, the other a PC (or Mac). If you use the sign-in to Chrome option, how you set-up your browser on your laptop, you will see exactly the same set-up in your PC and vice versa. This is very helpful in the event that the computer you are working on crashed and you need to use a different one.

This feature not only syncs your Chrome data and settings to other computers but it also works on mobile devices with Chrome mobile app installed with a few exceptions on syncing browser theme and extensions. You only have to set-it up once and anything you update on one device will automatically sync with your other devices.

Note that you must sign-in to Chrome for each device to start syncing your data. For mobile devices, you must make sure that the sync option is enabled.

Productivity Comfort Zone.

I believe that familiarity breeds productivity. Ever noticed how you tend to lose your rhythm when using other people’s devices? Right. I also feel the same if I use another browser or a different instance of Chrome - one which I am not signed in. How about having to install your extensions and sign-in to multiple websites (again) because you used a different laptop for example? This can be very frustrating if you can’t remember all your passwords. Chrome saves you the hassle as well as time by simply signing-in.

I work in the cloud. This means that all the tools I use in order to perform my work are done via the internet with my browser serving as the access point. Almost everything that I do, I do it over the internet so I have very few desktop software installed. Another reason why I love using Chrome is that there are a lot of browser extensions --- lightweight programs that extends the functionality of a browser --- I can install which helps me become even more productive and efficient in what I do. Other browsers also have this feature, but they can’t sync them to other devices. This is why I call Chrome as my “productivity comfort zone” because I have everything I need already set-up and I can access them anywhere.

Separate work from your personal stuff.

Aside from giving a consistent browser experience, another advantage of signing-in to Chrome is that you have the ability to create multiple instances of Chrome each with their own set of extensions and settings for different purposes. I use my laptop for both personal and work stuff and I really love the fact that I don’t have to logout-then-login for several websites just so I can check my emails, social media, etc. I can even open two or more Chrome instances at the same time so I can easily monitor both my personal and work accounts. 

Multiple instances of Chrome, each with their own set of settings
I blogged about managing multiple users in Chrome on our company blog. Please check out this link if you want to learn of three different methods you can access multiple Google accounts (or any other internet account) without the need to open or install another web browser.

So there goes my major reasons why I simply love using Chrome. To start syncing your browser data, sign-in to Chrome by following these steps. If you have installed Chrome in your PC or laptop, it might have already asked you to sign-in with your Google account. Be reminded that it is not advisable to sign-in to Chrome when you are using a public or untrusted computer. Follow these steps to log-out Chrome from a particular computer. If you want to completely stop syncing and remove your data from all devices, you can do that on the Chrome Sync status page.

To Chrome or not to Chrome.

It’s all a matter of personal preference at the end of the day. If you are like me who works in the cloud or you simply want to take your data with you anywhere you go, then go ahead and sign-in to Chrome.

If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to share them in the comments section below.
Alongside the rise of the BPO industry in Cebu is the increased number of running and sports enthusiasts. From fun runs to marathons, from casual MTB rides with friends to full blast triathlon, there seemed to be an abundance of race in the Queen City of the South every weekend. As one of those who recently caught the running bug, I was ecstatic when I learned about new startup Race.ph which officially launched last May.

What is it

Race.ph is an online registration and payment system designed for fun runs, marathons, triathlons, and other similar events in the Philippines. Basically, instead of chasing mall/office hours just to sign-up for an event, Race.ph makes the whole process more convenient by giving organizers the ability to create a website (in minutes) for their race and accept online payments. It was designed with the working class in mind.

While there are already existing online registration systems in place which are typically via Google Form or email, Race.ph is different because there is very little human intervention required on the part of the organizers particularly when confirming registrations.

Aside from offering web-based registrations, the website also serves as a portal listing upcoming races arranged chronologically.



It's not a revolutionary technology or a new idea, but somebody ought to do it and finally it's here.

How it works

Users can browse for any upcoming running events on the home page and find something that interests them or fits their schedule.

To register for an event, users need to create a Race.ph login account. They can register by email or choose to register with their Facebook account. Choosing Facebook registration will make the form partially filled with the user's Facebook information. Just complete the required details, indicate your payment method, click register and voila, instant confirmation!



The registration form for each event is conveniently located on the right hand side.

Runners can pay via Credit Card, Pay Pal, bank deposit or even through money remittance services. They can even opt to have their race kits delivered to their door steps!

Runner's information is saved so that the next time they register for another race, the registration form is prefilled for them.

Here's a great explainer video about Race.ph

   

For every event powered by Race.ph, a sub-site will be created which organizers can use to promote their event. On that page, users can find all essential information about the race. Organizers will be given access to the back end dashboard so they can manage and see real-time registration details. There is even a feature to export registration data to serve as master list.

Learn more about managing your running event through the video below.

Extra features

Organizers as well as other users can upload photos of the event so runners can view their pictures and will be able to search for them using their race bib number. There is also a blogging feature so runners can share their thoughts and experiences with everyone.

Proudly Cebuano

Race.ph is the brainchild of two Cebuanos Paul Ouano and Aaron Lee, who both share a passion for running. The service is currently offered for FREE so take your registration online now!

For inquiries, you can email them through info@race.ph or via mobile +639338602042. Don't forget to give them some love on Facebook and Twitter!
I found this really nerdy infographic designed together by Warm Gun and 500 Startups detailing the history behind the common UI symbols used in today's world such as the Power, Bluetooth, and Ethernet symbols.

The complexities of technology has made our lives much easier. Can you imagine a world without the internet, your phone, and other electronic devices?

Indeed, technology has become part of our daily life and because of that, most of us don't notice the very small details such as the fact that the symbols for power, play, pause, Bluetooth, USB, and Ethernet are all the same across all devices regardless of brand.

Now that I think about it, life will become very complicated if these manufacturers made their own UI symbols instead of utilizing standards.

The original infographic is quite large and I was having a hard time reading it so I cut it into readable pieces. Dear designers, I'm sorry if I massacr*d your wonderful creation.

Anyway, if you want to see the original version, just visit this link.

The Power Icon


The Ethernet Symbol

The Bluetooth

The Pause

The Play Icon

The USB Symbol

Sleep Symbol

FireWire

The origin of @

The story behind the Apple key

Wait Symbol

This blog post goes out to all the technology nerds and geeks out there.

If you are into any of the following --- blogging, social media, SEO, freelancing, and startups --- chances are, you are having a difficult time explaining to your family and friends what you do for a living. The unconventional nature of what we do is difficult for others to understand despite the world being so high tech now.

Anyway, if you are looking for like minded people who geeks out on the same things that you love, or you just want to surround yourself with awesome people, you might like this list of Tech Geek Cebu-based Communities.


SEO Cebu Facebook Group

There are a couple of SEO Facebook groups in Cebu but this particular group by far is the most active with 663 members as of this writing. Have some SEO related questions? A lot of people here are willing to help you.

Cebu PPC Folks

Another internet marketing community in Cebu that is very active in terms of meetups. The main objective of the group is to increase knowledge and mastery of PPC and related areas like analytics, conversion optimization, etc.

Google Business Group - Cebu

GBG Cebu is an independent community of volunteer business owners and Google enthusiasts that promote the use of web technologies (Google technologies in particular) for eCommerce. It is not part of Google, but supported by them. If you want to learn how to make use of Google tools for your business, this group is for you.

Google Developers Group - Cebu

GDG-Cebu is a sister organization of GBG-Cebu composed of both amateurs and professionals (technology users, specialists and developers) who are enthusiasts and regular users of Google technologies such as Gmail, Google+, YouTube, etc. Get updated with the latest Google tools for personal, professional, or business growth through this community.

TechTalks.ph - Cebu and Beyond

Anyone who is interested in technology and promoting the high-tech industry in Cebu, Philippines (and beyond) is welcome here. The group hosts events that will allow people to, network with tech enthusiasts and their friends, learn new things and share ideas, make social and business connections.

Drupal Philippines (Cebu)

Drupal developers, users and anyone who is interested to learn, share knowledge and collaborate with local community is welcome in this group. I haven't been any of their Meetups but the groups are pretty active. If you are looking to build a career in Drupal development, check out this group.

Cebu WordPress Users Group

If you are looking for WordPress work, some of the members post job postings here. The group is not that engaging both online and offline but if you need help, you can share your questions here and some members are willing to help you out.

Computer Enthusiasts & Builders United


"CEBU or “Computer Enthusiasts and Builders United” is a non-profit Computer Group / LAN Party group consisting of computer hardware enthusiasts, gamers, modders and overclockers in Cebu, Philippines. The group originated from iStorya.net’s Computer Hardware group, first called “iRig”, made by its active forum members, discussions and readers."

These are the active tech geeks in Cebu that I know of. If you have anything to add in this list, please do share in the comments section below.
Blogger page title seo
Title tags or the HTML element <title></title> (technically), defines the title of a document and gives an idea to your users on what your page is all about. Behind your overall content, the title tag is the most important on-page SEO element in terms of promoting relevancy for your desired keywords. A carefully crafted title is not only vital in helping a page rank on search results pages but is of equal importance when you want to drive traffic to your website using social media marketing efforts.

It is important to note that the title tag appears in three key places: (1) at the top of both browsers and in applicable tabs, (2) search results pages or SERPS, and (3) external websites linking to you specifically social media and social bookmarking sites. Hence, as a blogger, one must pay attention in making not only blog post titles that follow search engine optimization best practices but at the same time title tags that contributes to a good user experience. Below are some tips on how you can make SEO friendly title for Blogger/Blogspot.

Title Tags SEO Best Practices


The recommendations below are based from SEO experts across the blogosphere and are considered basics.

  • 70 characters is the maximum number of characters that gets displayed in most search engines results page. If your title tag exceeds this, your title gets cut off indicated by the use of ellipses (…). Therefore, it is ideal to compose blog post titles that are at most 70 characters long as much as possible including your blog's name. UPDATE: Title visibility in Google search results pages is not based on character but in width. Also, there is no rule that a long title tag is bad for your SEO. Keeping your titles between 65 to 70 characters is a best practice so that they will not be truncated and more readable to human users. If you want to create a title tag that is more than 70 characters long, that is perfectly fine.
  • Place important keywords on a prominent location (close to the front) of your title tags.
  • For inner pages or individual blog pages, place your brand/blog name at the end. By default, Blogger CMS’ uses this format – “Your Selected Blog Name: Blog Post or Static Page Title”. I will be sharing to you a very simple hack on changing the Blogger title tag on your template later.
  • Create compelling and readable blog post title tags that will drive users to click your post and even share it to their friends giving you more traffic as well as links.

Changing the Blogger Title Tag (Template Hack)


Here are the steps on how you change Blogspot’s default title tag formatting and help amplify relevant keywords to the most prominent location and help you improve your individual posts rank well on search engines especially on Google. The instructions are very easy but you might want to consider creating a backup first of your template before making any changes. Imagine a cat unexpectedly jumping at your keyboard and deletes everything. The horror. 

(1) Login to your Blogger account. On your dashboard, choose “Template” then click on the “Edit HTML’ button.

(2) Find the code that says:
<title><data:blog.pageTitle/></title>
(3) Replace the above code with the following:
<b:if cond='data:blog.pageType == "index"'>
<title><data:blog.title/></title>
<b:else/>
<title><data:blog.pageName/> - <data:blog.title/></title>
</b:if>
This code will place your blog title at the end part of every post title. If you want to remove your blog title for all blog post title tags, change  <title><data:blog.pageName/> - <data:blog.title/></title> to <title><data:blog.pageName/> only.

(4) Don’t forget to save the changes and you are done.

BONUS TIP: Optimizing Your Home Page


By replacing the default with the above code, all individual blog posts will now follow the blog post title first hyphen (-) blog name. As for your homepage, the title tag will only display your blog name. Ideally, your homepage should rank for your blog’s name while blog posts should rank for keywords relevant to its content. If you want your home page to rank for certain keywords, I suggest inserting them directly on your template rather than replacing your blog’s general settings and don’t forget to follow the best practices outlined above.
<b:if cond='data:blog.pageType == "index";'>
<title><data:blog.title/> - Insert your desired keywords here </title>
<b:else/>
<title><data:blog.pageName/> - <data:blog.title/></title>
</b:if>
Important note: When I say insert your desired keywords, I do not mean that you stuff your blog title with keywords to the point that it will look spammy. What I am trying to say is use that space to add more details as to what your blog is all about while taking into consideration what keywords you want your home page to rank for.

Of course optimizing the title tag is not the only thing you have to do in order to rank for those keywords. The Blogger/Blogspot optimisation tips discussed here are merely for title tags. Optimizing the title alone will not let you rank well in search. I will do my best to share other SEO tips and tricks for this particular content management system so stay tuned. If you have questions or any other reactions, feel free to comment below.

 This blog post was originally posted under www.geekgonegirly.com last April 1, 2014.

A friend once asked me what is a hash tag and I was having a hard time explaining it to her. This post should help her grasp the concept better and I hope it has the same effect on you.

What is a Hash Tag?

For most people whose level of social media addiction is not the same level as mine, the concept of hash tags may seem alien to them. When asked to explain what is a hashtag, I'd like to think of it as these three things: a search reference, a topic, and a keyword.

Hash Tag as a Search Reference

It is a link prefixed with a pound sign (#) followed by a word or phrase (e.g. #socialMedia) that when clicked allows you to see all published posts containing that particular hashtag in a single stream. Hence, hash tag is a means of grouping similar or related messages together, particularly on micro-blogging or social media sites like Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Google+.

For example, if you want to find Tumblr fan art posts, you can use the hash tag #fanart to help with your search. Likewise, if you want your posts to be easily searchable, you should use appropriate hash tags.


Hash Tag as a Conversation Marker
Hashtags first appeared and were used within IRC networks to label groups and topics. They are also used to mark individual messages as relevant to a particular group, and to mark individual messages as belonging to a particular topic or "channel".
- source: Hashtag - Wikipedia

Today, hashtags can be synonymous to Twitter conversations due to its mainstream usage. You can contribute or start a discussion among any Twitter users using it and a hash tag can become popular or trending allowing anyone to join in the conversation.

There are several ways hash tags are used as topic labels. Below are some of its popular usages.

- Events or conferences (e.g. #SMIS2013 for Social Media Influencers Summit 2013)

- Disaster updates (e.g. #sandiegofire. Hashtags were popularized during the San Diego forest fires in 2007 by Nate Ritter by using the said hash tag to identify his updates related to the disaster.)

- Cause (e.g. #PrayForBoston)

- Ask or share tips (e.g. #twitterTips)

- Twitter chats (e.g. #seochat)Context (e.g. #RandomThoughts)

Hash Tag as a Keyword

Keywords and search references are basically the same thing. However, on this part, let us focus on using hash tag as a keyword for its marketing and potential SEO value.

A hash tag is considered a metadata keyword that may be assigned to an image, a digital bookmark (link) or computer file. In effect, it allows someone searching for a particular topic, locate it quickly especially on real-time searches.

The effective use of hashtags can be very valuable to your social media marketing efforts. For example, you have a new blog post about weight loss and you shared the link on Twitter with the hashtags #WeightLoss and #DietTips. By using these hash tags, your blog posts can reach a much wider audience (beyond your followers). Not only that, you also enjoy the benefit of getting targeted traffic and increased visibility on that social media site. We cannot also deny the value of social signals to gain higher ranking on the SERPS.

There may be no concrete proof on the effect of hash tags for SEO but indirectly, indeed it is something one should not overlook. Here's two good ideas by +Ann Smarty on Using Hash tags for On-Page Optimization to help you get started.