Saturday, December 23, 2006


That’s all I can say. Wow.

It’s now officially less than 24 hours away before Christmas. That time of year. Where everyone’s jolly and merry and spreading good cheer. It never really hit me until now. Have I been working that hard?

Wow. It's been a week of rants and raves.

I rant.

I have been working like a sheep dog this past few days, been pulling overtime, chasing never-ending deadlines and trying to balance family life with daily brainstorming sessions and client presentations. The fact that it’s almost the holidays makes it even worse. Nonetheless, I have no choice. And so, I toiled, leaving behind two rascals with the Playstation during their holiday vacation, a spouse clamoring for a shopping chauffeur, and two toy poodles begging for a yuletide groom.

I have squeezed my brain of all its juice and worked my ass off. I have endured 3 hour sleeps and 3 hour travels. I have hustled, bustled and dazzled clients in looong presentations. All in the 2rd week of December. I have undergone corporate apocalypse while most people fight their way to the last pair of jeans on a midnight sale. I have, lamentably and disappointingly, left the Midnight Oil flickering, burning slowly on its last flame. I never knew what to expect when I return. I, for sure, thought that it’s the end. But…


I have worked hard and now I am reaping my rewards. And what wonderful rewards awaited me. What astounding accolades. What pride. What gratitude. What joy.

I rave.

A couple of days ago, one of the most prestigious award-giving bodies in the Philippine advertising industry proclaimed the winners of the 2006 Araw Values Award, awarding chosen local advertisements in print, radio and TV based on creativity, and the following cornerstone values:

  1. Love of God and respect for religious beliefs.
  2. Commitment to truth, honesty and justice.
  3. Love of country and respect for national customs and traditions.
  4. Reverence for family unity and the inviolability of marriage.
  5. Respect and care for human life and dignity and the rights of all.
  6. Respect for law and authority and the promotion of self-discipline.
  7. Concern for and preservation of environment.

The criteria? 45% values message. 45% creative excellence, and 10% credibility.

I had 4 entries from my previous ad agency. All of which won.


Winning a creative award is special. Bagging a Clio, Ney York Ad fest, One Show pencil or a Cannes Lions prove that you are up there, in the higher echelon of creative geniuses. Sure. But winning a Values award means that you are not only creative with your work, but you are also sending out a message of hope, truth, unity, respect and aim to uplift human morals and principles. You be the judge. Which one takes harder work?

My entries were mostly TV and radio ads. The client, Manila North Luzon Tollways Corporation, is a private developer of public highways and infrastructures. The project is the newly renovated North Luzon Expressway. I could tell you more about the project and bore you to death with the details but let’s just say that the ads promote road safety and responsbile driving, and show how a highway’s makeover can change the lives of the motorists, and give the country's economy a much needed lift.

And then, there’s another.

Fearing that my newly-found blogging friends got turned off by seeing the same post over and over every time they visit my blog, I recently visited my site with less expectation and more apprehension.

Alas, to my surprise, there are two things that are waiting for me. An invitation for an interview with Mirriam College students for their thesis – “Blogging in the Philippines”, and an award. You read it right, there’s another award. A recognition coming from the international blogging community. As I feared the worst, I wasn’t prepared for what I saw. Therein lay my reward, a shining trophy cast in gold – my first Eddie.

Mga kababayan (My fellow countrymen), this brown man has made his mark in the world blogging scene. You are now visiting, and reading the post of the recipient of this year’s Eddie Awards’ Rookie of the Year.


I owe it to a lot of people. First, to my countrymen (if this the first time you're reading this blog, please refer to previous posts and comments about the Philippines. You'd understand why I'm not being sarcastic and cheesy), for making me who I am. And the Philippines - a beautiful, colorful country. If not for her, I could’ve been a bland, shallow-minded person. Everything I learned I owe to experience. Everything I write I get from observations. Everything I proclaim are mere facts, the truth. All I do is ad words.

I also owe it to my friends in the blogosphere. Both local and abroad. To my brother in law, the Aquariandog for inspiring me to create a blog of my own without the need of persuasion. For Blair Mitch, a jolly good colleague whose posts about food inspires me to eat well, drink well, and well, be merry. And to all my newfound brothers and sisters – I could never stress it enough – for believing in me, reading my sometimes senseless posts, and accepting me as part of their blogging family. That’s Dirk, Meander, Skeet, Kat, Kate, Schaumi, Smalltown rn, and many more. To my fellow awardees, Whim and The Wizard. Thank you also to The Nameless One, eventhough he never returned my comment on one of his posts. To Mr. Novak, a very funny writer. To Erica and Cinderella, whose posts are as beautiful as they are. And to all those I forgot to mention, just holla (did I just say holla?) so I can revise.

This award is for all of you. Once again, thank you for keeping The Midnight Oil burning.

I couldn’t wish for a better Christmas. Now, if I could only hang this trophy on my Christmas tree…

By the way, did I say WOW?


Dirk_Star said...

Uh, create a table in word.

Copy Eddie Award numerous times and paste in table cells.

Cut out individual awards.

Glue on ardboard.

Use ornament hooks to bedeck your tree.

I Can not imagine a more festive way to decorate a tree...

Merry Christmas!

Now take some time off work and spend some quality time with the family.

Kat said...


russkal said...


Great suggestion. I am printing one already. And yeah, I'm devoting my time with the family now. Took the whole Christmas week off.

Merry Christmas!


Thank you. I shall persevere more.

Merry Christmas

Cinderella said...


You are so deserving of all and any award! You are such a positive soul, you reflect that light on others. It is a joy to visit your blog. We understand you are a busy man, you never fail to deliver on your posts.

I wish you the happiest Christmas ever and thank you for becoming part of my blogging family. It's wonderful knowing you!!

xoxoxoxo Thank you so much =)

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

Congtratulations on all of your awards! I'm going to say it too, wow!

We are so lucky that Dirk found us and we have such a wonderful blogging family.

Have a Merry Christmas!


Poch said...

EY RUSS! Don't know how I got here (as it happens in the blogsphere), but what a pleasant surprise! Enjoy your time off, and I'll be sure to drop in on you in the real world to congratulate you again.

russkal said...


Thank you too. The pleasure is all mine. When I started this blog, I never once intended to write for an audience. I thought I will just write because that's what I enjoy doing. That it's a good release from work stress. That I'd just write for myself.

Now, 2 and a half months after, I find myself in the company of nurturing, intellectual, interesting people I now call family.

If that doesn't deserve a WOW, I dunno what is.

Big hug to you and your kids! (I wanna say hugs to your husband but he might think I'm a fag and kick me in the groin, so...)


The beauty of Christmas is that it's universal. It touches people the world over regardless of age, social status, sex, nor race. Much like our blogging family, isn't it?

Thank you and may your home be filled with the spirit of Christmas this Holiday Season.


Hey there! There goes another wow... blogging is such a great way to meet interesting people, don't you think? you should've seen my first post when I confessed that I misunterstood its concept.

And oh, check Mrs. So's blog too, while yer at it.

Happy Holidays to you and your family!

skeet said...

Congratulations for the regonition of what you do so well, my friend! I already knew you were a winner, of course, but this makes it's super-official!

Merry Christmas to you and your family, and may 2007 bring great and joyful things.

Enjoy your restful holiday!

russkal said...


Thank you for being so kind.

I wish you all the best this Christmas and a prosperous New Year!

The Wizened Wizard said...

(Slow to get here... our holidays are spreading over about eight days as kids come when they can...)

A banner week for you, Russkal, and the Eddie is well-deserved! I have no first-hand knowledge of your work that earned the Araw Values Awards, but after reading the criteria, you should feel very proud indeed! Congratulations! It's heartening to see that such important values are being recognized. (Somehow I can't think of anything comparable happening in the U. S. of A. Oh sure, people talk about values...) I'm proud to be a tiny part of your community.

As they say north of the border, "GOOD ON YOU!"

russkal said...


Oftentimes, ad agencies are hell bent on creating award-winning ads that values are neglected. They trade it for being creative. They shock. They mesmerize. Throwing anything else, like values and good morals out of the window.

I say, why trade, when you can do both?