"Influential" is also a word I don't bandy about lightly. In my book, to be influential means, at a minimum, being able to offer a fresh take on old stuff AND getting people to appreciate the innovation. When somebody makes you see things in a new light, or creates a niche where none has existed before, or blazes a trail that has others enthusiastically following in his or her wake, that's being influential.
So here are my choices, in no particular order. The fact that most of them have also become my online friends is incidental. Let's just say I gravitate towards like-minded folk--though some would object to my presumption. Sa presinto na lang ang paliwanagan, haha.
AnnaManila: With wit, charm, heart and grace, she shows by example how senior denizens like her can live active, fully engaged lives without fear of technology, modified mores or the disruptions of changing times. There's no better compliment I can pay Anna than to say that I'd like to live my senior years the way she's living hers now.
The D Spot: Like her friend Anna, Dine's big-hearted embrace of life and the roles it has assigned her is an inspiration. Any woman with the sass, poise and self-assurance to call herself SexyMom--prudes be damned--deserves emulation. What more if she proves herself worthy of the label with her thoughtful, practical posts?
The Philosophical Bastard: You're here, Paolo, not because I'm repaying you for the regular plugging you do for my blog. It's simply because you've always made me laugh and think hard at the same time with your wacky, where'd-that-come-from posts. The crazier you get, the more thought-provoking you become. That's a gift; don't lose it.
CokskiBlue: He sprang out of nowhere with a blog devoted exclusively (or almost) to telling his stories through video. His vlogging thus far has revealed a young man of sincerity, imagination, humor, passion and a big heart--qualities that also inform his entertaining videos. In barely two months, Coy has inspired a raft of bloggers to try video-blogging, and he's collected a lot of fans along the way. I am one of them.
Misterhubs: "Funny, poignant and beautifully written as always," I said of one of his posts. Have you read his ersatz Philippine Fashion Week review? Of a neo-ethnic creation with a fishnet for a cape, he quipped: "How Lapu-Lapu killed Magellan: heart attack by laughter." In place of so much low-brow pop-culture kibitzing, Misterhubs does his with catty, stylish flair. Memo to lawyers: write like him.
Project Manila: Rick Manzano's photo blog does something improbable: it conjures a Manila of tactile beauty, sturdy restlessness and gritty dignity. His images allow us to rediscover the more edifying corners of the city we've come to love and hate. For giving us a new pair of eyes with which to see our home, he deserves to be in this and other bloggers' lists.
ManilaGayGuy: This site's unending parade of images of men in various states of undress (never pornographic, mind you) may turn off some, but let's face it: when you're attracting some 7,000 unique hits a day from all over the world, and inspiring others to blog the way you do (that is, with an expert blend of the naughty and the substantial), you must be doing something right. Talk about influence, and Migs' hugely popular site wins by a mile.
FruityOaty: She writes long, snappy, quick-witted posts brimming with her brand of intelligent chatter and off-kilter humor. She can unearth the unexpected from something thoroughly mundane (Knorr's vegetable ad as an insidious plot to push MSG, anyone?). FruityOaty looks at daily life with tongue firmly in cheek, and the view she shares with us is wonderful.
The Vegan Prince: How many vegetarians are as articulate, smart, good-looking and devil-may-care (yes, all four) as Mark Xander of Dumaguete? Not everyone is ready to ditch being a carnivore anytime soon, but I'm sure many would queue for the chance to munch greens and breathe the same air with this guy. Vegan cool equals The Vegan Prince. Now where's my celery?
Wait--I just came up with nine! Never mind. Can you suggest some other blogs that deserve to be in my list? I'd be glad to check them out. Hurry, the contest deadline's July 28, and I'm leaving for Malaysia, Truly Asia tomorrow!
P.S. Paolo, I'm wrapping this up at 4:30 a.m. here. You owe me one for my loss of gym time later, dude. :)