Something picked up from my Google Reader: Marketmanila, one of the Philippines’ top food blogs, is going on an indefinite sabbatical. ” I have decided to take a month or two off, and when that time has passed, decide whether to return to blogging about food on a much less active basis or to call it quits for good,” said the Marketman.
In five years, Marketmanila’s stats are certainly impressive, with 2,700 posts logged and an Alexa traffic rank of 73,942 (which effectively puts it among the top 73,000++ websites in the world). I am truly amazed at the number of blog posts he’s written because in my five years of blogging, I’ve only made 1,001 posts and I feel I’ve worked like a carabao already.:D I guess that when you pursue something with such a passion, blogger burnout is bound to happen. And in such a case, it is well-advised to take a much-deserved rest. It is true that we can only blog ardently at the expense of other things in life we need to do, and sometimes, difficult choices have to be made.
I’ve featured Marketmanila in my Manila Bulletin column Blog-O-Rama and while looking for it in my Gmail archives, I found it creepy that I submitted the column on September 2, 2006 (!) and four years later, on September 2, 2010, Marketman would announce his sabbatical (or not) from blogging.
Here’s the transcript of that article and email interview entitled “The Marketman’s Passion for Food”
The blog world only knows him as the Marketman. For someone who “once flipped hamburgers and fried thousands of pounds of French fries” as a sideline in Boston, his website is surprisingly about the good life, and good food. It seems there is no restaurant, no hideaway, no nook in the world he will not visit in order to indulge in his all-consuming passion for gastronomy. And for sure, his countless readers are grateful enough to learn about treasured recipes, tips, latest foodie discoveries, and insights on global cuisine which the well-traveled Marketman abundantly shares in his site, aptly titled “Marketmanila.” It has become so popular that even foreign readers are taking notice, and has decidedly given dining in Manila and the much-neglected Filipino cookery a new face. More in the following interview:
Q. Please tell us something about yourself
A. I once flipped hamburgers and fried thousands of pounds of French fries at a fast food outlet to help fund my undergraduate degree in Finance when I lived in Boston. I worked as a corporate banker and management consultant and “retired” in my late 30’s. I say exactly what I want to say and I often get kicked by my wife under the table for saying it… Despite being totally logical and rational by nature, I am a LEO and DRAGON and I read my horoscope…
Q. What compelled you to start a blog?
A. Food is a personal passion second only to my family. In 2004, I discovered several other interesting food blogs and I thought I could do an interesting one based out of Manila. I never thought it would go on this long or reach so many readers around the globe. The final push to do a website came from good friends.
Q. Please tell us something about the design and concept of your blog and the blogging system you are using.
A. I wanted Marketmanila to be as “clean” as possible. Lots of white space, lots of content, little if any clutter. I wanted to have several photos per post. I use WordPress to blog, but to be honest, since I consider myself a technology-deficient individual, I got an expert to help me create and maintain the site.
Q.You write almost daily, if not everyday. What motivates you?
A. I am obsessive-compulsive by nature. Once on a roll, I like to roll even faster, better, more often. Though I often have several dozen posts in my “backlog,” I find that I blog best when I blog about something that is very current – unique produce I spotted at the market that morning, a dish that tasted brilliant at lunch or a service fiasco that got me so hot and bothered that I tapped out a thousand words before pausing for a Diet Coke.
Q. What advice can you give aspiring and existing bloggers on blogging successfully and consistently? What do you think are the qualities of a good blogger?
A. Readers are looking for the “personality” of the blog. If it is one they like, they come back repeatedly. If the personality of the blog doesn’t suit them, they never come back. However, as a community of readers grows, you need to feed your blog often if you want it to grow and prosper!
Q. There’s no Google AdSense running in your blog. Why?
A. I always thought taking advertisements or having a commercial side to Marketmanila.com would ruin its “personality.” I once toyed with the idea of using the phrase “Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch?…Marketmanila is fresh, finicky and free.” I want the freedom to write exactly what I want, and I don’t want ads to stifle my freedom.
Q. Do you still see yourself blogging five years from now? How about blogging full-time?
A. I didn’t think I would last more than 300 posts but I have just written my 700th post in roughly 20 months of active blogging – that’s about 1 post a day. I hope I will have evolved into other areas in 5 years. No, I would never blog full-time, though I am close to it now!!!
Q. What do you find most fulfilling about blogging? Any memorable feedbacks from your readers?
A. I have learned a phenomenal amount from my readers and have personally pushed myself further food wise than I could have ever imagined. Readers not only correct my posts when I am wrong or have minor errors, but more importantly, they provide valuable new information about how a dish is prepared in their province, town or home. They introduce me to new ingredients and methods of preparing a dish. They give interesting suggestions, ask good questions and often know much more about a topic than I will ever learn… I also feel like I am becoming a part of their day…how bizarre is that???
Q. What do you think are the elements of a great food blog?
A. A good food blog makes you salivate. It unlocks a special childhood memory or taste. It gets your heart pumping a little faster when you read a rant. It gets you to try and eat or cook new things. It has superb photographs. And it must possess the personality of its author. My friends who know me well and who read my blog say it reads exactly like I talk.
Q. What do you think is the role of your blog in promoting Philippine cuisine?
A. With over 1.5 million page views in the past 20 months, I hope many Filipinos and foreigners alike, at home and abroad, see many classic and invented Filipino inspired dishes prepared with care and the best ingredients. I also hope to bring a bit of home to Thousands of readers who now call a foreign country home.
Q. Plans for your blog?
A. No plans. Not sure where this will all lead…