Becoming The “Leche Flan” In Digital Halo-Halo Hackathon

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Becoming The “Leche Flan” In Digital Halo-Halo Hackathon

 

If there is one thing that would best describe the past 4 months, it would be “goodbye social life.” I’ve been trying to cope up with my new work and that includes sacrificing my blog and my makeup artistry career. But that’s totally fine. I am deeply committed to the work that I have right now.

 

I have been auto-declining some invitations for my blog and photo shoots. I even came across this Digital Halo-Halo Hackathon that Ms. Janette Torral tagged me to her post. I kind of felt that this is something not for me but it’s worth checking especially that it came from Ms. J (I mean, who am I not to check something tagged by a Ms. Janette Torral?! Duh!)

 

While reading the description, I kind of felt lost as to what the hackathon was all about. And since I already mentioned the hackathon, I felt that it was a very technical term only applicable for technical people like IT, web developers, etc. only. Obviously, not for an advocacy blogger like me. But when I read “I am inviting talented, creative, and passionate individuals to join this competition on November 24-26 to build great online initiatives,” I found hope. It wasn’t stated that it’s required to have a knowledge about IT or graphic design So I applied.

 

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The next problem that I faced was how am I supposed to ask my manager to approve a 3-day leave despite the fact that I am not yet regularized and I have no leave credits yet. But as what I’ve learned from the networkers I’ve been working with, when you visualize, it will materialize. True enough, an arrangement was made to accommodate this event.

 

So the first day came and I saw at once Ms. Janette Torral whom I’ve worked with for last year’s iBlog Philippines where I was one of the speakers (Read more: Blogging “Positively”: Blogging For HIV Awareness). I also saw one of my fellow Bicolana bloggers and friends whom I had the chance to share the stage with during Digital Influencers Marketing Summit 2015 speaking about “Pro Bloggers As Online Lead Generators and Propagators.” It was a night of reunion with colleagues and also a night of learning.

 

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I also learned so much from Claire Deevy (Facebook) who discussed “Random Hacks For Kindness” as well as from Tawanda Kanhema (AJ+) who gave so much information on how to make viral videos.

 

It was on Day 2 that I finally felt that it’s the end for me. I mean, it’s the day when we will be grouped into groups and I was so scared since I’m an introvert. But as they say, the show must go on.

 

Fortunately, I was grouped first with Liberty Baldovino, a 50-ish granny who, at first glance, will not pass as a granny. We “clicked” instantly. And by the way, she owns an awesome blog called TheYouthfulGrannyVA.Com.

 

Then were two young men from Cebu. They’re Dexter Rustia and Gabriel Sumalinog Patalinjug. They’re both web developers. And from the day that I first met these guys, I can say that they’re so passionate about what they’re doing. And they proved such passion during the whole hackathon.

 

Also part of the group was Raymond de la Cruz. He’s the assigned Graphic Designer for our group who made most of our ideas fully-realized and presentation-worthy. He was so polite and during dinner that we were at one table, I saw him pray before the meal and I was so guilty I needed to pray while I was eating. LOL

 

Then came last was Seth Tujan Abangan. But being last didn’t make him any different. In fact, he was the leader of the group. Personally, I find him the leader I wish I can be. He’s very calm but exudes the authority that you will acknowledge at once.

 

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Photo was taken by Tawanda Kanhema. Meet the team: In The Mix

This was the time that I was already anxious if I can work with these people. I mean, you add a granny with four straight men, I was thinking that they might be homophobic or wouldn’t understand the causes I advocate myself into. Unfortunately, they proved me wrong. They were so accommodating and friendly. They even let me speak on behalf of the team to share my experience with bullies.

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Then the hackathon began. It was the time that our broad ideas were trimmed down to a very specific problem and a solution. At first, we thought of making a game that would cater to the deteriorating values of Filipinos. We had mentors over mentors who gave feedback to our project. We wrote all the feedback and we thought we’re off to go. Then we decided to take a break.

 

 

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Here are some of our esteemed mentors. Second from the left is Ms. Kassy Pajarillo.

 

 

But as they say, hackathons are usually characterized by tweaking the pivots that were first presented. True enough, after our break, Seth, Dex, and Gab presented another idea. And that’s what we worked for the last hour. (You’ll have an idea of that later on with the video of our presentation.) All of the feedback that we had for our first project were all gone. Good thing, one of the mentors, Kassy Pajarillo, was still there. And despite the mentors already leaving, she stayed to test our ideas.

 

 

The third day came. It was excruciating yet sweet. Our team was so calm while we can hear other teams seemingly excited with what they’ll be presenting on the pitch night. But with the diverse talents that we have, our team was able to push through with the presentation, the prototype, and the pitch.

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In The Mix team. I’m the one wearing blue at the center. Next to my right side wearing green polo was Mon, then Dex, Gab, Seth, and the youthful granny, Liberty.

 

 

Seth directed us all throughout the preparation process by leading the team. He made the guide for the presentation. Dex and Gab focused on the techie stuff. And when I say “techie stuff,” these were things that a not-so-techie person like me wouldn’t understand. It included terms like UI, UX, AI, and more. Liberty, being a teacher and an editor, made use of her expertise and built the content. Mon created the graphics and the slides. I framed the oral presentation. As per Ms. J, I can make use of “shock and awe” technique–and I did.

 

 

Watch for the full presentations of the 6 groups here:

Skip to 47:00 if you would like to specifically watch our presentation.

You can also check the transcript of my pitch here.

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At the end of the competition, our team was declared as the winner.

 

 

Just like food, we were grilled by the judges to test our ideas. And we were very thankful that they did that. After all, nice recipes are made by grilling. And we were grilled in a manner that we made something “appetizing” for the country and for the digital space. I always regarded and took pride that I am one of the 25 chosen cream of the crop for Digital Halo Halo Hackathon. But after that night, we’re more than cream of the crop. I can say that we’ve managed to be the sought-after “leche flan” (crème caramel) in a “halo-halo.” Diverse as we are, we still managed to be as one to be the one. And we’re set to take off our ideas any time soon.

Becoming The “Leche Flan” In Digital Halo-Halo Hackathon

Joemar Belleza
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Joemar Belleza

Blogger-In-Chief at Bakla Po Ako, Confirmed!
Joemar is the Blogger-In-Chief of BaklaPoAko.Com. He is currently a graduate student in University of the Philippines Open University. He also studied at Maquillage Professionnel School of Makeup Artistry and School of Fashion and the Arts (SoFA). He is a bold advocate of education, environment and LGBT issues. An earner, dreamer and a lover. Before he was once a dream-sprouting seed. Now he's a tree in his renaissance and will always be evergreen. Hear him speak with his intelligent guide for gay news of the Philippines and worldwide, Bakla Po Ako. Confirmed!.Follow him on Twitter @belleza_joemar. Gay it forward!
Joemar Belleza
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About Joemar Belleza 315 Articles
Joemar is the Blogger-In-Chief of BaklaPoAko.Com. He is currently a graduate student in University of the Philippines Open University. He also studied at Maquillage Professionnel School of Makeup Artistry and School of Fashion and the Arts (SoFA). He is a bold advocate of education, environment and LGBT issues. An earner, dreamer and a lover. Before he was once a dream-sprouting seed. Now he's a tree in his renaissance and will always be evergreen. Hear him speak with his intelligent guide for gay news of the Philippines and worldwide, Bakla Po Ako. Confirmed!. Follow him on Twitter @belleza_joemar. Gay it forward!

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