I have learned from my journalism GE class then in UP that we have something called as the 'CNN effect.' This refers to the impact of that popular 24 hours news channel in decision making of different countries (especially the US) during the final days of the Cold War. Aside from that, the popularity of the 24 hour news channel eventually paved the way for more 24 hours news channels all over the world. (Here in the Philippines, we have the ANC.)
So how is it related to Bob Ong? The oh-so great Filipino author that is now revered by mostly teenage readers.
This is because the country is currently feeling the wave of the 'Bob Ong effect.'
Ever since I got hold of his first book, I was simply mesmerized on the way he wrote. He spoke directly to the point. He had freely expressed his thoughts, views and feelings without any inhibitions (except that he has yet to reveal his true identity).
From that day on, I instantly became his follower. Which did not just happen to me but to millions of other teenagers out there who do not really read books but because of their 'love' for Bob Ong, they were more than willing to be his 'followers.'
Aside from making the 'Internet generation' to sit down on a corner and read his books, Bob Ong also opened up lots of opportunities for aspiring and deserving Filipino writers. Like what he said in 'Stainless Longganisa', the book industry is quite skeptical and conservative before when it comes to publishing 'out-of-the-box' books that are 'yet to be tried and tested' for 'commercial viability.'
But he was not discouraged. He had instead seen it as an opportunity. That single bold step he took forever changed the way books are being published here in the Philippines and paved the way for some sort of a 'renaissance' in contemporary Philippine literature.
The first seeds were planted on the web through his now defunct website Bobong Pinoy. And so, after it had bore fruit on the 'mainstream publishing platform', its effects had went back to its roots: the internet.
The 'internet generation' that had been affected by the 'Bob Ong effect' is now ruling the web by their websites, blogs and profiles that somehow mimicks Bob Ong's way of expressing his thoughts, feelings and views. Oh yes, they are copycats. But mind you, very beautiful copycats. Some of them had even improved Bob Ong's style of delivering direct to the point, satirical and funny lines.
Some of their posts had elicited so much discussion and reactions from its visitors because of its ticklish, controversial and juicy topics. Some of which had even their blogs published into a book that contains some of their best posts - which I'm eying on in the not so distant future.
But some would say that he was not the first one to do so. That this 'Bob Ong effect' is nothing but the true Filipino 'expressionism' lying under our skins. Yes, but we were too timid to show it off. We are afraid of what other people would think of us. Yet all these years, we were all thinking about the same thing.
Maybe Bob Ong saw this. That's why he took the risk and the rest is history.
I guess, he would be far from the so-called 'standards' when it comes to being a great literary person. But I think that would be too unfair. He do deserve to be placed in the roster of great Filipino authors like Nick Joaquin, Jose Villa Panganiban and F. Sionil Jose. Maybe even with Francisco Balagtas.
Simply because Bob Ong made a nation of non-readers into a book loving nation. He had been able to reach out to all strata of our society. He made a CEO and a tinapa vendor laugh and cry over the same lines in his book.
I believe what makes him different from other authors is that he does not want to be placed in a pedestal. He is very humble and does not take all the credit for what he had done. He also does not want to monopolize his niche but instead encourages more gifted writers to come out in the open and write good books. He may be an 'established name' but he is not afraid that other authors would someday 'get away his crown.'
He may not know it but definitely, the 'Bob Ong effect' is on.
Photo source here.