How A Not So Ordinary Article Became The No. 1 Read

Hundreds of comments, thousands of shares, top reads for the last 7 days, top 5 reads in the last 30 days, who would’ve imagined that a simple story about a high school student’s experience bagging in a SM supermarket immersion would generate this much attention.

What started out as my friends just thanking me for using their picture quickly escalated in a matter of days into the talk of the down. I was honestly surprised as my parents were telling me how much shares it was generating. At the start, I was also shocked that my article was actually getting comments. Then, on one night, my friend just messaged me to check out the Carlos Celdran post and the rest is history. Suddenly, overnight, my article became the top reads of not only the day but also the week.

(The article is seen here: http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/131783/my-stint-as-an-sm-grocery-bagger)

Was the number one read for quite some time!! Really shocking and surreal!

Was the number one read for quite some time!! Really shocking and surreal!

Social media has truly transformed the way we live our lives. In a matter of days, my SM immersion article had gotten so much attention that my friends would talk about comments that I never even heard of. For instance, just the other day, when we were debating about education, my friend found a way to use my SM immersion article as an example.

Humbling and Lesson Filled Experience

It’s honestly been a really humbling and at the same time, lesson-filled experience. It showed me that there will always be people who disagree with you. There will be people who will berate, criticize and find fault in every word of yours. Yet for every hater, there are just as many or even more supporters.

I also realized that there will always be trolls and people who will hide behind anonymous usernames. Honestly, it’s much easier to understand and respect the opinion of someone when they don’t hide behind an anonymous username. It’s really sad how some people just want to provoke others by giving senseless hate comments that doesn’t really lead to any discussion. I guess this is the reality of life and we just have to let them be or better yet, imagine that they don’t exist.

What I found particularly annoying and enraging was how people would attack Xavier School as a whole. Xavier School may have its flaws but at the end of the day, what school or person doesn’t?

Proud to be Xaverian!

Xavier School has given us students so much opportunities that have only helped us grow in the long run. Truth be told, this experience just made me even prouder to be a Xaverian especially when the Xavier community started defending Xavier. The bonds and connections Xavierians have are simply amazing and this whole experience was a testament to it!

Like a lot of my teachers and school administrators have said during the past week, this is a challenge to us Xaverians to prove all the haters wrong, to show them that we truly are men for others. At the same time, we shouldn’t allow all these harsh criticisms stop us from pursuing our dreams and really make a difference in this world.

Maybe the silver lining truly is that we can still do more to help make not only the lives of our fellow Filipinos better but also the culture of our country as a whole. The response to my article has really got me thinking as to what more I can do to help make our country a better place.

Sometimes we have to simply stick to our beliefs but at the same time we must also be willing to be open. There are always two or more sides to an issue and people will always have different views. Every person may perceive things in a different way and this is what makes the world so beautiful.

In a way, I actually found it really cool how everyone was talking about an article I wrote. In a democratic country, we have freedom of speech and it is only when we exercise this freedom of speech are the full ideas heard. At the same time, this was also a reminder to me that sometimes, we should know our limits and there are times when it is right anymore to just directly and intentionally attack others.

A Dream Come True

Having my article used by our school director during our batch-mass homily and also having my article mentioned during a general assembly by our school principal was really awe-inspiring and surreal. It just goes to show how much impact a simple article can make.

It was also really comforting seeing how my teachers, classmates and friends would ask me if I was okay. Some of my friends were even jokingly saying that they could be my bodyguard if ever I needed one. No doubt, in a way, this experience made me even closer with all my friends!

These types of moments are little wonders that really made this experience so surreal and heart-warming. It showed me that no matter how many haters are out there, there will always be people I can go back to and rely on. And this is what makes life worth living!

Thankful for the opportunity

I’m really fortunate to have been given the opportunity to write for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the top newspaper in the country. Not everyone gets this type of opportunity and I guess, getting all these comments is part of the job description. Like my class adviser told me last week when she first heard of the comments, “Those comments are part of the job description. This experience will only prepare you for the future if ever you become a journalist.”

They say that life hits us when least expected and without a doubt, I am now a firm believer in the fact that life truly is full of surprises. I really just wanted to share my experience with others and what I learned during my SM Immersion. All the attention it got and comments it received were things I never would’ve expected.

Even in my wildest dreams, I doubt I’d ever dream about this scenario but it happened. This is reality and this reality has taught me more than I could ever ask for.

To end, I’d just like to say that the SM Immersion was still an incredible experience where I got to experience what it was like to be an SM employee and at the same time, get a glimpse in the lives of the workers through our conversations. And no matter what others have said about the immersion, all I can say is that all the comments and remarks and the attention my article has gotten has only made the experience even more meaningful and memorable for me!

This truly is a reminder of how interconnected and at the same time, how different everyone in the world is and why it’s vital that we remain true to our core values and fight for what we believe in while still remaining humane and open minded!

The total number of shares is more than the total number of views of my entire blog as a whole!

The total number of shares is more than the total number of views of my entire blog as a whole!

-David Ongchoco

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9 thoughts on “How A Not So Ordinary Article Became The No. 1 Read

  1. simplycess

    Hi David! Moments after I read your blog about the SM immersion, I saw the pdi version reposted in fb by Carlos Celdran. Couldn’t help but leave my two cents in his page. As for you, I think you are pretty grounded and seemed mature for your age (I said the same thing to you during our brief encounter in iblog9). Just keep going, keep the good stuff, and just learn from the rest. Stay grounded:)

    Reply
    1. doitchoco Post author

      Hey Cess!

      Thank you so much for the kind words! Yes, it has definitely been a learning experience like no other that I will never ever forget! These moments are the experiences that pushes me to strive to make an even bigger ripple in this world! 😀

      -David Ongchoco

      Reply
  2. phoenixeyrie

    I became aware of your PDI article after a friend posted his thoughts on your detractors (including and most especially Carlos Celdran). So I decided to check what all the hullabaloo was all about.

    I won’t say anything more about your critics. That is their right, I suppose.

    But as someone who once served the Republic for more than a decade trying to make a difference in the lives of the anawim… you, sir, restore my faith in young people in this country.

    May you never tire of the struggle. Always keep St. Ignatius’ prayer in your soul.

    Also, give your parents and elders a hug. They brought up an exceptional young person. I bet they’re awesome people themselves.

    And your teachers in Xavier, too. My mentors at the Ateneo were crucial in my spiritual and moral formation. I’m glad to see the educators in a fellow Jesuit school have the same impact on their charges.

    Reply
    1. doitchoco Post author

      Hi phoenixeyrie!

      Thank you very much for the kind words! It’s highly appreciated! The road won’t always be straight or smooth but as long as there is hope, there is definitely a chance for a better tomorrow for the entire nation as a whole!

      Yes, I will! It’s the endless and countless support we get from the people around us ranging from our family, friends, teachers and even people we don’t know that allow us to grow and become the best person we can be!

      -David Ongchoco

      Reply
    1. doitchoco Post author

      Hey Angel! Thank you for the comments! Will definitely do! The few people I am able to inspire are enough reason for me to continue writing! 😀

      -David Ongchoco

      Reply
  3. Arnold Lau

    I wish you wouldn’t call all your critics haters. There are people out there amidst all the senseless comments who have offered respectful criticism and disagreement of the implications of your perception of the people you worked with at SM. Supporters are nice, but it’s the people who directly challenge you that you really learn and grow from. Like you said, you always have to be open. Never allow yourself to become completely surrounded by people who affirm your beliefs. In particular, it sounds quite silly to me when other people say they support you primarily because you are a fellow Xaverian. People should back up one another and establish their beliefs on the basis of their quality, not on the basis of peer support.

    It’s nice that you’ve been thinking more about what you can do to be a man for others and make a difference in the world. But you have to realize that the morality of helping others is not as simplistic and clear as high school makes it sound. This will become apparent in college. It is very possible to help a little bit but end up causing harm indirectly. In Ateneo, for example, in liberation theology, you will learn that it is possible to help but not really help at all, to change the world only superficially. You always have to reflect upon your actions and your thoughts, and the acid test of what you believe will be the world out there beyond your immediate circle of friends, family, teachers, etc.

    Reply
    1. doitchoco Post author

      Hi Arnold!

      Yes, if you read my blogpost carefully, I stated “there will be people who will berate, criticize and find fault in every word of yours.” What I was honestly trying to say is that the haters were the ones who berated, criticized and found fault in EVERY word without really analyzing it or giving sensible comments. I’m open to criticism and the ones that were well thought of actually led me to reflect and think about my values which I later on stated in my blogpost so I’m very sorry if it sounded as if I called every commenter against me a hater. Thank you for pointing it out, will put a clarification in the post 😀

      Secondly, it was just nice that the school was behind me on this. I never really expected any of this and yes, quality still matters over quantity but the initial surge of support from the Xavier community was just really inspiring. It’s a bit superficial but sometimes, these are the things that you remember when you look back at these experiences. And from a wider perspective, a lot of the Xaverians who commented weren’t really in support of me per say, they were supporting the school for at the end of the day, a lot of the hate on Xavier was unwarranted. People were bashing Xavier when in fact, Xavier is one of the few high schools who offer these types of programs. Would they rather have Xavier not send us to these types of programs? Because essentially, the gap and divide from classes will still be there right from the start even without these immersions so I don’t understand how people can say that the immersion program is making us look down on others and objectifying the workers. But like I said in my blogpost, sometimes, it’s just best to leave these haters alone.

      Indeed, even in high school, a lot of us are still stuck in our own little world and the opportunities to help others are very limited. Yet at the same time, I believe it is never too early to start. You have numerous orgs like Habitat for Humanity, Hands on Manila and more often than not, with the connections of Xaverians, we can start our own drives, charity events or service programs. Yes, it won’t be easy but if you are willing to go through the hard work and pain, it’s possible because there are always people out there who are willing and want to help out but just don’t know where to start.

      However, you’re right, college is a whole different beast and I won’t be able to say anything about it since I haven’t stepped into the realms of college but it’s nice to hear about your insight regarding college and I honestly can’t wait to be pushed further from my comfort zone and challenge my beliefs!

      And sadly, I will concede to the fact that we can’t help everybody but at the same time, it’s that glitter of hope that maybe the people we do help directly will pass on our actions and help others. As a single person, we definitely will not be able to change the world, but if we are able to inspire others to do and get more people to make a difference then we can change a bigger portion of the world. Besides, libre mangarap diba? 😀

      -David Ongchoco

      Reply
  4. Reini Azriel

    Hi David! I just wanted to congratulate you. Though we weren’t really close and such during CC, seeing this makes me feel honored and proud since you’re my friend and a co-CCer pa! Seriously. :)) Critics would always be there when you’re on top or something, but remember that more people are pleased with what you’re doing. Prove those critics wrong! 😀 Again, congrats and keep up the good work! Kudos! 🙂

    Reply

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