Friday, November 16, 2007


Now this may seem to be a shameless self-promotion, but please bear with me a second.

As many of you may already know, our fellow blogger Ajay is also a writer at Manila Bulletin, in which she covers the local blogging scene for her weekly column, Blog-O-Rama; it comes out every Monday.

And for its November 19th edition, she is featuring Wish You Were Here and her interview with me.

When asked what it is about blogging that I love and how I'm able to sustain it after all these years, I responded that blogging inspires me to keep learning and that's what I basically love about it. In addition, I said, "Much to my delight, my readers are incredibly sharp and fond of sharing their knowledge so, they make blogging an even more engrossing experience for me."

Unarguably, it is each and everyone of you who fire up my enthusiasm; hence this
upcoming Manila Bulletin feature is in many ways a recognition of and appreciation for all of you -- my blogger friends and readers, including those silent visitors -- who fuel my blogging energy each and every day.

A heartfelt thank you to all of you.

Maraming salamat po!

* * *

Update: November 19, 2007

The interview was published in today's edition of Manila Bulletin.

You may click here and download the scanned version courtesy of Pusa of Manila Daily Photo, or you may click here to read the online version of this Blog-O-Rama feature article by Ajay.

Many thanks y'all!

* * *

Many readers complain that Manila Bulletin's URL of the interview keeps changing. Hereby reposting the featured article:

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Manila, as seen from the eyes of Señor Enrique

Señor Enrique is Eric Isaac, a Pinoy IT professional who formerly lived in New York and has come back to Manila to bond with the birthplace he loves.

His affair with the city is depicted in his blog where he takes artistic snapshots of mundane matters and other facets of Manila we didn’t know about. Most often, the photos tell a thousand words and that has made him relate to a growing number of readers who are either homesick or connect with his experiences. He coined "Wish You Were Here" as if writing on a postcard, " to share with Stateside friends observations about life in Manila." As a bonus, his site garnered the hotly-contested Photoblog of the Year plum in the 2007 Philippine Blog Awards. Let’s get to know more about Senor Enrique in the following interview:

Q. How did you discover blogging? How did your blog come about? Why is it called "Wish You Were Here?"

A. I started blogging way back in the mid-’90s, but it was meant as a private journal amongst some of my colleagues and friends in the industry; I was then a senior systems engineer at an IT company that specializes in Internet infrastructure design and web hosting. We shared information on current and emerging technological trends, as well as personal updates on this one blog site.

"Wish You Were Here" I started during the latter part of 2005. My original intention was to use it as a medium wherein I could share with Stateside friends my observations about life in Manila. The title, pinched from one of Pink Floyd’s hits, I used as a standing invitation for them to come to Manila and visit me.

Eventually, the site began to attract some local and homesick Pinoy bloggers (expats living abroad) who became regular visitors. Incidentally, some friends from the States did fly over to visit me.

Q. What is it you love about blogging? How do you sustain your blogging after all these months and years?

A. Blogging inspires me to keep learning. Most of my readers, much to my delight, are incredibly sharp and fond of sharing their knowledge so, their fine attitude made blogging an even more engrossing preoccupation.

Manila has also gone through various transformations during my many years of absence, including the changes of street names, which made the city’s landscape seemingly foreign. I had lots of catching up to do, as well as getting myself reacquainted with the city’s multi-faceted charms -- landmarks, culture and history. And every time I make a new discovery, however trivial and mundane, I would always blog about it, which also appealed to many readers, especially those who used to live or visited Manila often.

Blogging also gives me the opportunity to be of service to others. A prime example of which was the article I posted about the brand of shoes I favored as a child, Ang Tibay Shoes, which made mention of the true rags-to-riches story of its founder, Toribio Teodoro. Subsequently, some of this man’s great grandchildren came across my article and introduced themselves in the comment box. The end result: they held a party to meet one another for the first time.

In another development, some of my features on Rizal Avenue in particular and Manila in general have become resource materials for some of the Ateneo’s anthropology students, as well as for human interest/lifestyle writers of our local broadsheets. Actually, I was hoping one of these writers would someday discover my Ang Tibay article because not only would it make a wonderful copy, but it will also showcase the power of blogging.

But the most poignant were those emails and comment postings from our OFWs who said they visit my site to assuage their homesickness, while others were appreciative of the way I present Manila which they could proudly share with their foreign friends.

Essentially, it is my readers -- both known and unknown -- that fuel my blogging energy. They all inspire me to constantly update the site, because much like merienda foodstuffs offered to guests, I must post new entries to make their every visit a pleasant experience.

Q. Design/visual appeal versus content: which is more important to you? How do you deftly combine the two?

A. Since I haven’t replaced or updated my site’s template for almost two years now, it may appear that I favor content over design. Not so, for the current template remains to serve my purpose.

I’m quite cognizant that my site is only one of the many that an average reader would visit on a given day; therefore, I have to present a site that is easy on the eyes and extremely navigable to boot. Moreover, besides the aesthetics of the template, text presentation is also an important element to keep in mind. This I learned from my early online experiences which predated the Internet. At that time, there were only bulletin board systems (or BBS) -- loosely organized and independently-operated. The dial-up modem available at that time was only clocking at no more than 50 kbps; thus a new style of writing came about in which brevity became de rigueur. To date, I see to it that my paragraphs contain fewer sentences compared to the usual paragraphs found in print publishing.

I also keep in mind that bloggers are mostly of above average intelligence; thus the overall aesthetics and content of my site must somehow appeal to their senses, which inspires me to constantly improve my writing and photography skills.

Q. Your opinion on blogging as a creative pursuit as opposed to a commercial one (earning money from blogging)?

A. I have nothing against earning money from one’s blog site, and I wouldn’t mind making money from my blogging efforts, either. Actually, I have some ideas for some articles and photo essays but they remain relegated on the back burner because they require a certain amount of money to produce. This is how such generated income would come in handy. However, my preference has always been to strike a lucrative deal with a corporate sponsor (with a global reach like Starbucks or Nikon). I’m just not fond of those Google ads that tend to litter a site.

Q. You write well and also take good photographs. What productivity and creativity tips can you share to other bloggers?

A. First and foremost is a desire to be of service to your readers; second is the enthusiasm to share your discoveries; and third is the appetite to keep on improving your skills. These are the primary elements to embody. And then simply trust the universe to provide you with rest -- ideas, decisive moments and various auspicious opportunities -- that you can share with your readers.

Q. Name a photography trick or technique you can’t do without.

A. I don’t leave home without, at least, taking along my point and shoot digital camera. That is because I never know when an opportunity might present itself that’s worth sharing with my readers.

As for doing street photography, I shoot first and ask for permission later. This is not meant to be discourteous; however, sometimes if you asked first, the subject will tend to pose for the camera which can only make you lose the charm that comes with candid shots. Of course, I don’t take any picture that would somehow compromise or embarrass a subject, but nonetheless, more often than not, the local Pinoys don’t like their pictures taken without them wearing a beatific smile while looking right at the camera. So a method I use as an option is to linger around the environment and take their pictures with their much-studied poses so as to appease them, and in between, look for and take those alluring decisive moment shots.

But nonetheless, I would recommend to any blogger who is also a budding photographer to check out the affordable workshops at FPPF (Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation). This organization offers some of our finest local instructors such as Ador Pamintuan, Ed Yap and Ed Santiago (one of our country’s well-respected photojournalists).

Q. Can you name a few places you’d like to go to in the Philippines or outside the country because of their photographic value?

A. There are so many in-country, but I would love to someday document every barangay in Manila -- its points of interests and some of its colorful residents. As for outside of the Philippines, Antarctica has always fascinated me despite my aversion to cold weather. It is one destination that would make me jump up to pack my bags and jostle those standing in my way.

Q. One important lesson or lessons you’ve learned in blogging which you didn’t know when you were just starting.

A. That for your every regular visitor who posts a comment, there may be another hundred or so who regularly come to enjoy your site, but are much too shy to leave an imprint.

Q. Plans for your blog.

A. I’d like to keep focused on life in Manila, but expand it by featuring more of the city’s charming personalities -- both public and regular characters -- who give the city its unique sense of identity.

(For comments and inquiries, email

* * *

posted by Señor Enrique at 6:41 AM


Blogger g_mirage said...

There's something about your blog that makes the reader come back...regardless of which region they are. And as I told you before, your photos and wording 'pushed' me to take the op and start my own blog...too ironic that I am so late to begin this stuff.

To Ajay, kindly give my regards to Sirs Nestor Cuartero, Roque and Kiko(if he's still there or still alive).

And SenorE, the right side of your page proves how much you deserve this piece on a Broadsheet. Congratulations!

November 16, 2007 8:09 AM  

Blogger Sidney said...

Great !
Tell Ajay to print some more copies of the Manila Bulletin with your interview so that we can all have our personal copy! ;-)

I guess 2007 will be a memorable year for you. The photoblog of the year, countless prizes and awards, your pictures published in major photo magazines, an interview in the Manila Bulletin, etc.
You got it all... congrats... well deserved!

November 16, 2007 8:57 AM  

Anonymous cacofonix said...

pengeng autograph!

November 16, 2007 9:23 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Your kind words are always appreciated, Sidney :)

Come to think of it, you are one of the only two or three regular visitors who used to drop by my site during the early years of Senor Enrique ... hehehe.

Thank you once more, my friend!

November 16, 2007 9:32 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Coming from a professional writer as you, G. Mirage, I'm always honored by your encouraging words.

I think, in a lot of ways, we all inspire one another here, and that may be the magnet, so to speak, that pulls us to get together even for a brief moment of the day.

Many thanks, G. Mirage, and God bless :)

November 16, 2007 9:36 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Naku, pinap[alaki mo naman ulo ko, Cacofonix ... hehehe. I'm not quite there, yet. Many more candles have to be burned :)

Many thanks, ha!

November 16, 2007 9:40 AM  

Anonymous bw said...

Congrats Eric - well deserved. It's now up to you how high you want to soar hehe :)

November 16, 2007 10:43 AM  

Blogger mimi said...

wow! abangan ko po yan.. ^_^

November 16, 2007 10:57 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Yes, please, Mimi. Sa Monday edition daw yan.

And of course, maraming salamat, ha!

November 16, 2007 11:20 AM  

Blogger pusa said...

wow congratulations señor! i'll definitely buy a copy on monday =)

November 16, 2007 11:24 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

And your constant presence and preceptive comments greatly enhance this site, BW.

I just wish that I hadn't given up on golf because I'm confident that I could have asked you for tips to make me a respectable contender ... hehehe.

Nonetheless, as always, thank you very much!

November 16, 2007 11:28 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Maraming salamat, Pusa!

November 16, 2007 11:37 AM  

Blogger ScroochChronicles said...

Wow!! I'll make sure to get myself a copy. I can't wait to read that interview :)

November 16, 2007 11:48 AM  

Blogger miss imagineer said...

tama sila mr. enrique, you've got this something that makes your readers come back.. when i was still working, visiting your site has been my morning / lunchbreak ritual (march '07 - september '07). i'm now a bum currently searching for a new work but then i still get to feel the anticipation of what your next entry would be, the moment i'm in front of the pc each morning. among my three favorite blogs, yours would be the most frequently visited. =) just consider me as one of your silent visitors...but in this case i can't afford to shut up and miss congratulating you for that well-deserved 'spotlight' in manila think they have that article posted online? hehe too bad we only buy broadsheets every sunday of the week. do hope i could still get to read it.

i wish i had your passion in writing... keep it up! you'll always be an inspiration for me. GodblessYou! =)

November 16, 2007 11:49 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Thank you so much, Miss Imagineer.

I think you'd enjoy reading what my response was to Ajay's question, "What important lesson you've learned in blogging which you didn't know when you were just starting?"

Check back here on Monday pm or Tuesday. I'm certain there would be an online version of the interview, and I will post the URL as soon as I get it.

Again, thank you very much!

November 16, 2007 12:20 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Many thanks, Scrooch!

November 16, 2007 12:22 PM  

Blogger luna miranda said...

wow! you're a autograph din, S.E. :-) i'm looking forward to reading Ajay's column. reading your blogs is always a pleasure.

November 16, 2007 2:08 PM  

Blogger ScroochChronicles said...

nga pala, i awarded you on my site :)

November 16, 2007 2:24 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

That's truly sweet, Scrooch. I'm honored, really!

Thank you very much :)

November 16, 2007 2:50 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Far from a celebrity, Miranda ... hahaha. But more seriously, want you to know that I do appreciate your visits.

Many many thanks!

November 16, 2007 2:57 PM  

Anonymous kyels said...

You truly deserve the mention Kuya Eric! I find your posts informative and I don't get bored reading 'em ... Talaga!


Keep it up!

November 16, 2007 3:24 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Many thanks, Kyels! Same I can say about your blog -- I learn something new every time I visit it :)

November 16, 2007 5:25 PM  

Blogger jon go said...

congratulations eric! it is obviously a very well-deserved recognition! i am very happy for you! :)

November 16, 2007 5:31 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Maraming salamat, Jon, and many thanks as well for your friendship!

November 16, 2007 5:51 PM  

Blogger Aura said...

My Congratulations to you !!

I can understand why your readers keep on coming,aside from having interesting subjects to post,its also because you also take time to answer each readers comment in a very personal way.

Have a nice week end!

November 16, 2007 8:25 PM  

Blogger Ai said...

Hello Senor Enrique, Congrats! sikat ka lalo ngayon ah. How i wish to read the column. Do they have a website so I can read the whole interview?
You deserve to be featured naman eh. your blogsite is so addicting. Love ur photos and insights. Kudos to u Senor!

November 16, 2007 8:47 PM  

Blogger NOYPETES said...

...As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story....Nasa iyo ito at sa blog mo! Congratulations Eric!

November 17, 2007 12:43 AM  

Anonymous LAR said...

Isa lang ang ibig sabihin niyan... ASTIG ka! Ibang klase ka talaga! You deserve the best because you're one of the best! Congrats, Eric! :)

November 17, 2007 12:52 AM  

Blogger ROMY said...

My most sincere compliments to you Sr. E, Thank You and more power!
I look 4ward to reading the interview online.

November 17, 2007 1:30 AM  

Anonymous cheryl joy said...

I enjoy reading your blogs, with wonderful photos that go along with. Keep up the good work. More power to all of us bloggers!

November 17, 2007 1:57 PM  

Blogger dave (",) said...

You really are on a roll this year, Señor E!

True, the comments add value to your blog, but you do have a way to bring them out from your readers.

November 17, 2007 9:57 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Thank you very much, Dave. As you know by now, I learn much from you and enjoy your writings as well. I wouldn't be surprised if someday you may end up teaching in a university.

November 18, 2007 6:24 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Thank you, Cheryl Joy, for you visits and kind words. Yes, more people ought to recognize the wonderful effects of blogging ... and more power to the bloggers, indeed :)

November 18, 2007 6:26 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Thank you, Romy. Please check back because I will post the URL as soon as I get it from Ajay.

November 18, 2007 6:27 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Maraming salamat, Lar, pero dapat ko din talaga bigyan halaga kayong lahat na astig kong mga barkada dito sa blogosphere!

November 18, 2007 6:29 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Maraming salamat, Pete!

As you already know, not only I, but a number of readers look forward to your straight-forward and witty comments that enhance this site :)

Also, you are among those whose talents and experiences I respect so I will always bear in mind these words of wisdom. Thank you again, Pete!

November 18, 2007 6:32 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Please check back here Ai, because I'm sure there will be an online edition of it and I will post it as soon as I get it.

Many many thanks for your kind words, Ai!

November 18, 2007 6:33 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Hi Aura,

I just feel that it's only proper that I respond to everyone's comments, besides, I enjoy doing so ... hehehe. It's like those quaint and interesting conversations I have with good friends over lunch or dinner.

Thank you, Aura!

November 18, 2007 6:35 AM  

Blogger pusa said...

hi senor, just finished reading the article! :)

great interview! blogging way back in the mid-90s wow! :)

i thought they're going to print a photo of you LOL, i'll have it scanned and send to you if you dont have a scanned copy yet

November 19, 2007 11:57 AM  

Blogger pusa said...

pakisabi na lang po ang inyong email add para masend ko un scanned copy or email nyo ko sa :)

mabuhay ka señor enrique!

November 19, 2007 12:09 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Many thanks, Pusa!

My email:

You must have a giant scanner ... hehehe!

Thank you!

November 19, 2007 2:19 PM  

Anonymous lino said...

wow! congrats!!! :)

November 20, 2007 12:13 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Maraming salamat, Lino!

November 20, 2007 5:18 AM  

Blogger JayAshKal said...

I just read the interview Senor Eric. Spot on and much deserved congratulations!

What I like about your blog is that you respond to every comment. Its like having a conversation with you... much appreciated your remarks. But obviously love the info and wonderful pictures as well.

Mmmm... like most photographers, you have an aversion to have your photo taken (I presume because I did not see any on the print???). Any way I know some Isaacs downunder, they are Pinoys of Iraqui-Jewish descent and lived in Bicol. So you can picture a foreign looking middle eastern guy (his name is Dave, who is also an IT person like most of us here in Sydney!)who speaks Tagalog with an accent and speaks Bicolano!

We always pit him on new comers to test their English conversational skills (Pare, marunong ka palang mag Tagalog pinahirapan mo pa kami!)... Heheheee....


November 20, 2007 8:09 AM  

Blogger JayAshKal said...

Sorry Senor (more comments), I think the charm of your blog is that you always find positive news/things to say about us Pinoys and Manila. Unlike Carlos and others, who runs a business out of it; (no offense Mr Celdran) yours come across as an altruistic enterprise. Again congratulations.


November 20, 2007 8:15 AM  

Blogger ScroochChronicles said...

Great interview! Congratulations :)

November 20, 2007 10:08 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

These exchanges of information and comments, as I've said, Mario, is an activity closest to those wonderful conversations I enjoyed over dinners and lunches in Manhattan among friends.

Nonetheless, I remain in awe of blogsites in which their authors choose not to engage in acknowledging or reponding to their readers' comments and queries. Very disconcerting, I think.

My mother told me that there is quite a number of Isaacs in Bicol and Batangas, but I never got to puruse this yet. Someday soon I will, for I'd be interested to trace my genealogy.

Also, my love for Manila is something like a disease that I'd wish would infect as many people as possible. In this way, everyone would be more enthused to preserve its remaining glory, as well as pass on its history to the next generation.

And should I find myself wallowing on the city's bad side more so than its good, then that would be the time for me to pack up my bags and grab a one-way ticket to Antarctica ... hehehe.

Many thanks for your visits and insights, Mario. Much appreciated, indeed.

November 20, 2007 10:42 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Thank you, Scrooch ... and many thanks as well for your continued visits :)

November 20, 2007 11:03 AM  

Blogger joe said...

Was out in Vegas for the first time these past few days Eric. Wow, another milestone for you... kudos! Keep it up.

November 20, 2007 10:58 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

And I'm sure you had a wonderful time, Joe. Did you see any of the shows they have? I've always wanted to visit Las Vegas as well even if just to see those two German illusion masters Siegfried & Roy. But I guess they have stopped doing their shows since the freak accident, huh?

Maraming salamat, Joe!

November 21, 2007 3:51 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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