We lifestyle bloggers have it so good. We get to try out a new restaurant; we travel free of charge; we spend the night in posh hotels; we lounge around by the pool like a beauty pageant candidate; we shoot a photo here and there, here and there, like we have all the time and fun in the world. Then, after experiencing the good life, we write about it. Just write. Very easy.
Let me debunk the “easy” part. Dahlings, blogging is a job, and just like any legitimate job, it takes some work. Many times, it’s a lot of work. That’s why it’s called “work”, silly you. If you ask bloggers what’s their job, they will say “I’m a blogger”. It’s like this. Let me count the ways (and means.)
We get an invitation to a restaurant. You get dressed so you’ll look presentable (expenses: clothing, make-up, accessories). You leave your house or present appointment so you can be at the venue on time (expense: personal time). You take your car (expense: fuel) or take a cab (expense: taxi fare). Travel to the destination (expense: personal time). Meet and greet and make chika with the host (expense: laway, small talk and personal time). Time to eat, but wait! There’s more! Picture, picture!!!! (Expenses: gadgets, personal time, drool because you’re hungry na). Eat. Enjoy. Burp. Meal is over and we say our goodbyes and make beso-beso at the door with the host. So, is it the end? No. Wait! There’s more. We start to write our blog now and edit photographs, and post our blog and photographs.
Let’s say that I’m a blogger with a family and I snag an ex-deal at a resort with the agreement that I present the resort as a family-friendly one. Any hands-on mother and wife knows how life is with children. Personally, my utmost admiration goes to Sigrid Lo of Sigrid Says, Lovingly Mama and Marriage Markers (with husband Dennis Lo) for being a paragon of cool and efficiency when coming out with her blogs. Her two young daughters are posed prettily in their coordinated outfits and Dennis sports a carefree look that says “all is well in the world.” Well, there’s no such thing as perfection even with well-brought up smart kids. I’ve seen the youngest throw a tantrum after an Ilog River boat ride, her frantic wail filling the spaces in the din, and the mother trying to keep her emotions in check as her daughter runs screaming in the opposite direction. The kid must have been tired from traveling for two hours or so, and riding the 1 1/2-hour river boat ride around noon. Just imagine how it was during the ride back home.
Just imagine how it would be for a two-day overnight stay at a resort where the parents have to pack for four, keep boredom at bay, take a plane or boat ride, feed the kids, and not forgetting that despite this “free” vacation, there’s really hard work to be done during and afterwards. So, smile, Siobebe. Pose this way, Dindin!
Here’s my story.
A new hotel in Bacolod opened and I was offered a free night’s stay in one of the standard rooms. As an independent writer, I am given free rein in choosing my story angle and what to focus on. I brought my mother with me for the stay-cation, so, naturally, the angle was a mother-and-daughter weekend.
My mother was 86 years old then and rather helpless without a companion. I was the perfect companion, of course, because I was the caregiver, the beautician, the stylist, the photographer, the Production Assistant, even the butler (“Would you like a cup of hot water, Mama?” “Shall I take you down for breakfast now, Mama?” “May I get you some fruit, Mama?”)
My dear mother with the sure signs of Alzheimer’s Disease proved to be a handful and I ended up being more exhausted than when we checked in. To look good in photos, there was the matter of packing the right outfits right down to coordinated accessories. We looked very pleasant and cozy in our pictures which I posted immediately on social media, but, boy, oh boy, the numerous shots I took just to get them right. Here, reality bites. The breakfast was a healthy, substantial spread of dishes meant to fill even a stevedore’s stomach, yet, I didn’t enjoy it at all because I was here and there taking pictures, interviewing the chef and the waitstaff, on top of making sure the madam was well-fed and didn’t have soup dribbling down her chin. I am not exagerating when I say that after this staycation, Ijust wanted to stay home. Well, you know I couldn’t because…I…had…to…start…writing…my…blog…for…the…hotel.
Once upon a time, there was this idiot who said that we bloggers write nice things about something – a product, a restaurant, a hotel, or an experience – because these are all given to us free-of-charge. Free of charge, he says? Let me remind idiots and would-be idiots that there’s no cash payment involved here, so, guess who’s paying for our gas or taxi fare? Who’s buying our nice togs and accessories? Who’s picking up the tab for our upgraded gadgets? It’s us, rumored free-loading bloggers who also pay for our website.
If we say nice things about our sponsors wouldn’t that liken us to advertisers only that the latter get paid in cash. We do not begrudge this difference, but we just want to set things straight with the evil forces.