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SubSelfie: Of and For the Millennials

Apple Gamboa and Lian Nami Buan. photo by KATHLEEN MAE I. GUERRERO

THE NOISY and distracting environment was silenced by their voices of love and dedication for stories. Journalism alumnae Lian Nami Buan and Apple Gamboa never felt short for words; they both share a love for their craft not even the pressure and restraint of the newsroom can take away from them.

As part of the journalism field, Buan and Gamboa’s drive to change how things are viewed in the world continues on and off-duty through their stories. However, these were limited by the airing time of the media outlet they used to work for.

Soon, they also ventured in the online world to air their voices out. Their blog SubSelfie became their tool of release.

“By telling the story, mabibigyan natin ng pagkakataon ‘yung talagang may direct capability to help [people] better,” Buan shares. “[Katulad ng] pagsingil ng accountability sa gobyerno, we didn’t directly help the community but we help pave the way for the government to help them.”

Stories for millennials, by millennials

For Buan and Gamboa, working for a media company and writing stories for news programs can be very time-consuming and demanding. Although adventures beyond the newsroom allowed them to encounter many people with different compelling stories, both of them knew some of these stories will never be able to make the cut due to the strict formats their news programs follow.

“Two days akong nag-immerse sa isang community tapos two minutes lang ‘yung ibibigay sakin. Ang dami kong kinausap doon; ang dami kong gustong ikwento,” Buan says.

Their passion for writing, backed by their unfading Artlet spirit, soon inspired them to pursue an avenue share their narratives without hindrances and setbacks. Through the suggestion of their colleague Bam Alegre, they, along with other colleagues, materialized SubSelfie.com.

SubSelfie.com became more than just a blog for them—it serves as their passion project. Digging deeper into their own experiences and taking selfies in the form of articles instead of pictures are what Buan and Gamboa incorporate in their stories. Their works recount adventures beyond the newsroom. Each is written with an effort to transform into a relatable and significant narrative.

“We value SubSelfie because it gives us a platform to write what we actually want without restrictions, na minsan mapapagalitan din kami sa opisina kasi dala pa rin namin ‘yung pangalan nila,” Buan says.

Making “me” into “we”

Buan narrates how their blog’s name SubSelfie is a word created by Alegre. Sub means “to go deeper” while the word selfie represents the millennial generation.

“We like to think na parang we make a fair job at representing a millennial voice […], ‘yung ugali ng millennials na makuda and may sense, nabibigyan namin ng platform. [I]t’s millennials ranting with value. I think our blog stands for [its name] kasi lahat naman ng [blog posts] namin ay first person. So ‘me, me, me’ pa rin pero we strive to tell something that is of value to everyone else,” Buan explains.

SubSelfie’s associate editor believes that using the first-person narrative in their stories creates a closer and personal touch to their readers. Their stories such as We are the Yayas of the World and My Father’s Promise leave a heartfelt material that captures the audience’s emotions.

“I think may power [kapag] first person ka magsusulat. Kunwari depression, as in sinasabi ko sa inyo na ‘Guys, ito ‘yung pinagdadaanan ko.’ It speaks more to the person na parang ‘Uy, it’s her story,” Buan explains.

Writing stories that leave an impact to their readers is what they value most. Knowing how their readers can relate to their stories encourages and gives them purpose to continue writing.

Ganun talaga ‘pag maraming nagme-message na helpful ‘yung article. It’s a big thing that we get to touch people’s lives. Parang may purpose ka na mabuhay. [T]hey might think that we’re trying to change their lives pero ‘di nila alam [na] nabago din nila ‘yung buhay namin,” Gamboa says.

“[P]ag may nag-message sa’yo, [you begin to think] ‘This is why I’m doing my job.’ It’s for this and not for anyone else,” Buan adds.

A fresh sound

In line with the issues transpiring in the country, being critical and aware are something both of them do. “You have to respond to time so parang nakakahiya namang magpa-cute in this volatile times. [Y]ou have to step up bilang journalist,” Buan says.

More than writing about events that leave an impact to the country, they also promote inclusivity for the millennials.

“We advocate for always listening to young people kasi they have fresh ideas and they’re living in this very interesting time,” Buan says. “Marami kang matututunan mula sa mga bata and I think that’s a very important thing to protect—[t]he voice of the critical youth. F CRISTINA ELOISA A. BACLIG and LORRAINE B. LAZARO

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