archon-digitalIt was the year 1998, about 2 years ago that Bloggista went live on blogosphere. As a newbie blogger, one of the first things to do is to look for bloggers, particularly local Pinoy bloggers that you can network with.

The internet is a free world, however in order to survive, you need online friends to guide you, give you useful ideas and tools to help your blogging beginnings less painful 🙂

And so I met Archon Digital, the blogger behind that Banana Man avatar. At first, I thought he was not a Filipino, because most of the bloggers in his network are not Filipinos. I met him through Entrecard, being one of the then “die hard fans of entrecard” until the service sort of sucks people started leaving, including him.

Jon, as I have known him personally (yeah, we have had several coffee meetings way back then before he left the country – but now he’s back for good), is known to be a man of few words (but not in his blog posts though). He is reserved when it comes to giving opinions and criticisms, but once he does, it’s gonna be like “all hells’ broke loose.”

So it’s an honor to feature Jon in my Featured Bloggista project. Here are some of the “snippets” of an interview with Jonathan Cuevas, the blogger with an evil intent to dominate the world, and the creative designer behind the blog, Archon Digital.

QUESTION (Q): So how’d you like us to call you?

Jon (in the real world) Archon Digital (online)

Q: Age?

I’m only 19. Nineteen-dihan nyo na yun. Seriously, I’m 30 and happy about it.

Q: Can you share us some information about you, like your birthplace, your childhood, your favorite food, music, gadgets, etc.?

I was born and raised in Manila, moved to Baguio during my high school and early college years, moved back to Manila, studied for a while, worked, got married in 2001 and moved back to Baguio, worked there for a few years and then moved back to Manila in 2004.

Since childhood, I have always been a book lover and an avid reader. I’d stay up all night reading encyclopedias, the Almanac, maps, cold war novels and old stacks of National Geographic, Reader’s Digest, Newsweek, Time, Tom Clancy, John Grisham, James Clavell, Calvin and Hobbes and Pugad Baboy.

Part of that childhood was spent growing up in a printing press. Watching the stripper do his artworks and layouts manually with cutting tools and tape, working on film and type gave me the inspiration to become a graphic designer.  Me and my older brother, he is more known as Demiurge, would play newspaper during our childhood years and come up with spreads from printing press scraps and draw caricatures of what was happening around us.

Stuff we’d write or draw about were about my grandfather gardening, our little G.I. Joe’s catching fire (true story) and maybe some rants or hints to adults about getting higher allowances (aktibista / pakikibaka in the making).

During that time there were some really old PCs, an old IBM and an XT I think and they were my first encounter with PC hardware and PC-DOS or MS-DOS. I blew up and fixed those several times as part of the steep learning curve in tinkering with things related to hardware and software. I was also in a special journalism class during my elementary years so call me a nerd if you want to.

At some point, I remember having a former dark room as my own room. So I was like 9 or 10 years old with an all-black room that had my own sink and with stacks of full size sheets of paper, four to six stacks of C2S 180 lbs if I remember right, under a soft mattress as my bed.

Some fun facts about my life include taking the UPCAT while heavily drunk. I ended up taking Mass Communications Major in Journalism, minor in Advertising in UP Baguio but as soon as it came, I left and went on to do design work and play music. Took up a few more courses in Systems Design, Programming and Computer tech and the rest is history.

I am a techie and my idea of a work computer is having a KVM connected to three powerful PCs clustered together running virtual operating systems and applications so I can try everything from Linux to OSX and Windows. If I could take all that power to a tiny laptop I’d gladly do so and just be myself while having coffee in Harbour Square in Malate.

I am a musician, a bass player and that was how I met my wife. She sang in church, we are Christian, and I was sort of the case of the lost church musician that needed some rescuing. So she rescued me and we lived happily ever after.

Q: Your profession/work/career?

I started out working with graphics quite early and started earning on the side during my high school years doing business cards, certificates, IDs, streamers, posters and whatever stuff that printers can print on. I’d just about print on whatever machine I can get my hands on or even silkscreen posters and streamers by hand if I had to. Computers only had Windows 3.11 with either Print Master or Aldus Draw or Aldus Pagemaker. Back then, I didn’t have my own computer but somehow I managed to get jobs and get them printed.

During my college years I was almost if not totally self sufficient, taking jobs in design and playing small gigs and creating old school websites, those really ugly 90’s type of web design I had hosted on freespeech.org, angel fire and geocities.

Getting steady jobs in print and I.T. during and after college years, I always knew this would be my line of work. Freelance work in Manila-based printing presses and small agencies and after a few years working steady in a printshop in Baguio, I was hired by an international luxury hotel-chain and worked there for five wonderful years doing what I do best before moving to Dubai.

I am now working for the same company I worked for in Dubai but on an arrangement to work from home in Manila (or Dubai on some cases) as I missed my family very much and would prefer to stay with them and be here in our country.

Q: When did you start blogging?

I started blogging in early 2003 when I discovered Blogger. Blogger was not yet acquired by Google back then and for me it was the better alternative to Live Journal in terms of interface.

Q: How it started?

I kept a personal journal in Blogspot called “A day in a Pixel’s Life” where I blogged about personal things, music and my artwork. My work was purely designing for print back then.

Another blog was made as a work log so me and my boss would be able to know the status of each job and so blogged daily as a means to track our work.

After a few more blogs and website experiments, Archon Digital was born in 2007 as my means to express myself after a stressful workday.

Q: What is/are your blog topic/niche?

Personal Rants (as my evil overlord alter-ego, Archon Digital), Graphic Design, Social Networks, WordPress and the occasional political satire.

Q: How it grew or “boomed’?

Boomed? I’m not sure if my blogging boomed just yet. But blogging earns me enough to allow me to pay for several servers I use on multiple sites, experiments and applications. Some spare change after that allows me to pay for a few bills every now and then.

I regularly get direct job offers and offshore contracts through my site and so with this I can say blogging has helped me get more opportunities.

Q: How many blogs do you have?

I have a few blogs and communities I maintain using my identity as Archon Digital.

My main site is divided into the two major sections: Archon Digital’s Room 101 (My Blog) at http://archondigital.com/articles/ and the Studio at http://archondigital.com/studio/ (a blogazine and outdated portfolio).

There’s also Pinapaitan, Microblogging is Bitter Sweet (http://pinapaitan.archondigital.com/), an attempt at lifestreaming and where I’d normally write in Filipino.

Yaw Yan ArDigma (http://www.yaw-yan.com), a Filipino martial arts community which I am maintaining as a volunteer.

Kabayan Exchange (http://kabayanxchng.com/), a small Filipino blog network I started with some friends. Also open to Pinoys who’d want to have their own free blog.

The others, I can’t really reveal how many as they are experimental and mostly “automated” not really the type I’d brag about.

I also help out a few friends and organizations who are aspiring bloggers and try to provide them with the resources they need to get them started.

Q: Any blogging plans?

World Domination. To be able to come close to that goal I would have to quickly run through and have a few “minor” things out of the way.

One goal for this year is to let my blogging and other passive online revenue reach 3,000 USD monthly. It would be a steep climb from what I am earning online now but it is achievable. I know myself well enough to believe that if I put myself to something, it will surely happen.

“Pero, kahit maabot ko lang ang inaabot ni macho-guapito, videoke-master, Maestro Roel Bloggista na income sa blogging eh masaya na din ako.” (bloggista’s note: LOL!)

Updating my grossly outdated online portfolio is another goal. I am in the process of moving my portfolio to another personal site I am working on where they will be properly showcased and where I will advertise myself more as a web professional.

Archon Digital will evolve into a blogazine and you will be seeing more custom designed posts in the next few months.

Another goal is to be able to publicly release my WordPress themes. I’ve made a lot of custom theme work and custom sites for clients running WordPress, but being my own number one critic, I’d still wait for the right timing, which I base on when I feel my theme is 110% usable and acceptable for public consumption.

WordPress 3.0 is something I am looking forward to this 2010 and Thematic (http://themeshaper.com/thematic/) is one of the best platforms I have been using for theming.

Q: Any advice or message to other bloggers, pro and newbies alike?

Be responsible in what you write about and be careful about grammar as everything you write about would reflect on you as an individual and a professional online or offline.

Always take in mind that blogging is a very powerful tool and requires a lot of responsibility and anything you write about can backfire legally if not used properly.

To me blogging is a form of indie journalism and if you are really serious about blogging then take a few lessons on polishing your writing skills, understand the basics and the etiquette of professional journalism and news writing or have a true journalist mentor you.

Always be ready to adapt and learn. Make it a habit to always learn something new.

Have as much fun as you can. Get a life, walk outside, go to the park and learn to appreciate life around you no matter what your situation is.

bloggista-ima_75x75Bloggista Featured Blogger is a regular post special “showcasing” bloggers of different niches. If you want to suggest a blogger to be featured here, send me some details (see this post for info). We would be very glad to write a short article and publish it here.

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