By: Francis Lloyd Sauza
Photos by: Kiko Cabantug
HAVING patience in life can be so hard, whether it’s with people in your life or if you want something in life badly but you’ve been waiting for it so long. Sometimes people have to wait years or even longer before they get what they’ve been working toward.
Just like the case of the 27-year old Ilonggo food blogger and business process outsourcing (BPO) operations manager, Francis “Kiko” Cabantug. His courage to live his dreams will give people courage, inspiration, and freedom to start living out their own dreams. He’s a living example of what some people feel is impossible – having patience. “I don’t want people to think it’s that easy. Blogging should be more of a passion rather than monetary reasons because it’s a long way to go. It will even take years before you get recognized and established. I started blogging way back in 2012. [And] until now I don’t [even] consider myself among those in the top tiers but because I love food, I continue to share my food finds. I am hoping that my blog will take me to a certain height in the future wherein I can drop my day job and just focus on eating and writing. I cannot compare food blogging to the money I earn from my job. The money I earn from my blog cannot sustain me that’s why I have a day job. I don’t even get that much form paid ads in blog. However, I do get free food from restaurant invites and receive gift certificates that I can use in the future.”
Just like Kiko, trust that things will come to you when they are meant to and know that when you have truly been patient the rewards will be better than you could have imagined. “Commit to your passion and be patient. Best effort is necessary to be successful in blogging. You may not see returns in the early stage of blogging but keep going. If you can grow your blog to an optimal then it can be very lucrative but it will take time and a lot of effort.”
SOMETIMES IT IS OKAY TO BE SELFISH
They say if you’re in a plane and it’s going down, you have to put on your own oxygen mask before you put on anyone else’s. Kiko believes that sometimes, it’s okay to be selfish. Being selfless all the time can be detrimental to your mind and body. Simply put, you can’t take care of others if you aren’t taking care of yourself first. Hence, his blog, Greedy Glutton was made. “I think it’s pretty straightforward. Greedy started when I was in high school. I would normally hide from my classmates if I am eating chips or Indian mango because I don’t like sharing. [And] Glutton because I really love to eat. Filipino food is the best. Tocino will always be the first on the list. To be specific, Pampanga’s Best Tocino. I can eat five cups of rice or more if you prepare Tocino for me. [And] then Batchoy. I born and raised in Bacolod before I moved to Manila for college. I grew up eating delicious Ilonggo food every day because of my parents. [And] when I moved to Manila, I hankered for flavors that I grew up loving which started my scout for the best restaurants in Manila. I love to share my restaurant experiences through review sites like LooLoo that started my passion for writing, thus, getting my own website.”
Just like Kiko, do one loving thing for yourself today: Treat yourself to a massage, sleep in, or meditate. People think it’s being selfish, but it’s the good kind of selfishness, the kind that enables you to give your truest, most authentic self to be of service to others. Actually, there’s not going to be a day when we don’t think about food. Thus, it’s important to remember that we aren’t what we eat and our flaws do not define us.
THE GREATEST WEALTH IS HEALTH
Kiko loves to eat and discover new places for food. In spite of this he believes that it’s still important to take good care of yourself no matter what. Our body is our temple. Therefore, we need to treat it like our sanctuary. “Food is satisfying but health should be the priority. I don’t set rules for myself with food but I do compensate with a lot of exercise to balance things out.”
Good health is something all the riches in the world can’t buy. We are always the first ones to get down on ourselves. We are our own harshest critics. And a big part of our journey is learning how to love ourselves. That means doing something good for your body. When you are kinder to yourself, everything will change for the better.
LEARN HOW TO COMMUNICATE
When you learn how to communicate with others there’s no problem you can’t solve. It doesn’t mean you’ll always agree with other people and it certainly doesn’t mean that they will agree with you. But none of that matters if you possess the maturity and the patience to work through your differences. Think about how much more peace there would be on this planet if people would just talk through a problem instead of using violence.
Kiko believes that it’s important that you learn how to communicate if you want to get along in the world of blogging. “I want to be reliable. I don’t want to write everything that’s nice about the place and set aside the opportunities. I am constructive with my criticisms and I make sure that the restaurants get feedback from me. Responsible media is the byword. Do not bash or write hate posts about a certain place. Direct your feedback to the manager of the restaurant through a call or email. Do not just copy the menu and write it on the blog. Talk about the food in details. That way, you can really encourage readers to be customers. [And] when you visit a restaurant, talk to the chef or the crew and know more about the restaurant and the food. This gives you better understanding about the place and what they offer. It’s easier to write with knowledge. Be constructive and post great photos. I do get a lot of invites from new restaurants and some established restaurants that are launching new dishes. [And] I write about all of those invites through blog or social media platforms because that’s the reason why I got invited in the first place. I also like to go out and explore, so there also times that I spend for food. [And] with the restaurants that I tried on my own, I only write about great experiences. More than that, I love to recommend and get feedback from people about their experience in the restaurants I suggested. It makes me happy when they give me two thumbs up with recommendations.”
DO SMALL THINGS WITH GREAT LOVE
Even the smaller tasks in life deserve all your heart. Something as simple as a hug or saying “thank you” should be given the same level of love and care as bigger actions. In short, as long as you do everything in your life with all your heart your impact will be more profound than you could ever imagine. This is also true when it comes to blogging. Kiko shares a piece of a challenge in carrying out a sensible blog post. “I do know a lot of bloggers who also have a day job. The stress at work is the major roadblock that I can personally identify. It’s hard to write when you’re exhausted from work. It’s important that you don’t send out an article that’s half-baked. It’s every blogger’s challenge. Aside from writing, you also have to deal with photo editing.”
START TO VIEW THE WORLD AS A FRIENDLY PLACE
We live in a global community, which expands more and more each day with the rapid advancements in social media. It’s so amazing for Kiko to wake up to encouraging messages on Facebook and Instagram from his blog readers all over the world and realize that he has friends and readers wherever he goes. The amazing thing is that this is true for all of us. When we start to view the world as a friendly place that nurtures and supports us, the universe opens up to us and the possibilities are endless. “Take advantage of social media platforms. Be a blogger and a microblogger at the same time. It will boost your exposure. Actually, a lot bloggers are now slowly shifting to microblogging. This type of blogging has the capacity to send the word out in seconds because it uses social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Using the right hashtags can connect you directly to the right people. Read articles about blogging and reach out to other bloggers too because that’s how you get recognized. Moreover, I always look forward to events. It’s nice to gather around a table with people who share the same passion. Imagine sitting down for hours talking about food. It’s also the perfect time to learn about their best practices. It’s a celebrated gathering. Picking from the local pool of food bloggers, I go for Pepe Samson and The Bald Baker PH. These guys are pure quality in what they do.”
Just like Kiko, be open to making new friends today. As there are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t met.
Like the writer on Facebook.com/FrancisLloydSauza