Upstarts, Gurus Split Philippine Web Awards

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Source: Reuters

By: Malou Mangahas

(MANILA) — Two porn sites emerged as the most popular in a poll among the small but sprightly Internet community in the Philippines, the land that bred the virulent computer virus, the love bug.

But because they feed on porn, the two unnamed sites were automatically disqualified in the Philippine Web Awards. A Web site offering the freshest rumors about movie stars — www.chismis.ph — was named this year’s most popular site by the award body.

Embattled Philippine President Joseph Estrada (news – web sites) likewise did not make the grade. His official Web site lost to an agency offering mapping information in the government category.

Kids barely out of college and senior Net gurus split honors Friday night at the Philippine Web Awards, the local equivalent of IT academy awards.

In faded jeans and sleek suits, hair dyed and gelled, the stars of Philippine cyberspace bagged cash, trophy and peer acclaim at the awards ceremony.

The Philippines has spawned a most incongruous community where mostly twentysomething techies and creatives bond — and battle — with mostly senior corporate bosses.

It is a village where starving, striving artists in grunge dressing mix — though not always in a match — with executives who came to awards night in stuffed shirts and gowns.

The awards honored “the best Filipino-created Web sites” in 2000, applying the criteria of content, design, links and overall impression.

Senator Ramon Magsaysay, named “Internet Man of the Year” for shepherding the passage last June of the Philippines’ first e-commerce law, lent serious relief by way of a brief speech.

Allowed two minutes to address the crowd, Magsaysay spent the first minute in prayer “for our country in crisis,” and the second lamenting that in over two-thirds of the Philippines more than 1,500 towns, computer access remains “sorely lacking.”

“Every Filipino,” he said, “should be able to access the Internet in time.”