Why they love sunstar.com.ph

Eric Estrella, a Cebuano, left for Texas over 26 years ago but through www.sunstar.com.ph, he still gets to experience the yearly festival of festivals that Cebu is known for – the Sinulog.

“The Sinulog makes me proud to be from Cebu. I’m truly 100% Cebuano,” he said in a comment left on the Sun.Star website section that carries articles, photos, videos, and graphics on the celebration that is as festive as it is religious.

Estrella, who last joined the Sinulog in 1984, said he is glad that although he is far away, he is still able to feel the Sinulog spirit through the pictures and videos posted on the Sun.Star website.

Melinda, a Cebuana now residing in San Francisco, California, is thankful for Sun.Star’s video stream and video clips of the Sinulog solemn procession that is celebrated every third Saturday of January.

“To all the Sun.Star staff and contributors, thank you for sharing! Keep up the great work!”

Watching the videos made Melinda feel that she was right there among pious devotees, who chant prayers as they follow the procession of the image considered sacred and miraculous by devout Catholics in Cebu.

“Awesome” and “simply amazing” are what Carol of Chicago used to describe Sun.Star’s well-written articles on the history and origin of the Sinulog.

“Thank you for the beautiful photos and videos. It brings back memories,” she said.

Eric, Melinda, Carol, and thousands of others who log on to www.sunstar.com.ph to get their daily fill of Philippine community news and events inspire Sun.Star website personnel to come up with ways to combine different media like text, photos, videos, and graphics to provide visitors a rich and diverse browsing experience.

Since it started posting updates about Cebu’s grandest festival, Sun.Star has received thousands of comments on its Sinulog blog. The messages are expected to hike up in the coming months as Sinulog 2011 approaches.

The Sun.Star website’s election section Philippine Votes 2010, on the other hand, became the sounding board of visitor voters complaining about the non-availability of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) precinct finder as election day neared.

Emilio Maloles echoed the frustration of countless others who were not able to access Comelec’s online precinct finder.

“It just does not work. Has Comelec even tested its own precinct finder,” Maloles wondered.

Other comments left on Sun.Star’s election special extolled or criticized the various candidates for president or vice president, Davao City mayor, Pampanga or Misamis Oriental governor, Bacolod City representative, and other national and local posts.

After election day, Sun.Star website readers asked for partial results of voting tallies in their areas.

Visitors nevertheless were one in saying they appreciated the Sun.Star website’s election special because it provided them access to poll-related news.

In its 10 years of operation, Sun.Star Network Exchange (Sunnex), the department that manages www.sunstar.com.ph, provided timely updates to its online community of readers, and gave them a venue to air their views on pressing issues of the day.

The advent of Facebook and other online social networking sites like Friendster, Multiply, Facebook, and Twitter allowed for an expanded promotion of Sun.Star website content.

Not only that, Sun.Star visitors can follow or like Sun.Star’s pages in these online sites and get access to timely updates from the Sun.Star website while logged on to their social network accounts.

In Facebook and Twitter, Sun.Star accounts have over a thousand friends and followers who are all praises for the website.

Anthony Orais Leuterio, Julius Judilla, and Hermilo Tongson are just a few of those who asked Sun.Star to continue providing them with “great news every day” through Facebook and Twitter.

Others like Evelyn Rivera and Mariz Hernandez say Sun.Star’s accounts on Facebook and Twitter allow them to share website content with their friends and contacts.

Said Hara del Mar Alviola Bell, a Cebuana now residing in England: “Pasalamat jud ko sa Lord nga adunay Sun.Star nga website sa internet kay dako kaayog gikatabang sa akong kinabuhi diri sa England. Updated jud intawon ko sa matag adlaw-adlaw nga balita sa diha sa Cebu. Mao kini ang tambal sa kamingaw sa Cebu ug sa akong mga anak nga si Juneross, Mathwell and Jorrel…More power, more success to Sun.Star and God Bless you all!”

Amara, one of the pioneering advertisers in the Sun.Star website, is confident with the partnership it has with the company, saying Sun.Star’s readership and online following are impressive indicators of quality journalism that the people have come to depend on.

“The Sun.Star website is a favorite among Cebuanos who look for reliable news in a mouse-click… It makes us widely accessible to our discriminating market from here and everywhere in the world,” said Dee Nicholas, Cebu Holdings Inc. marketing supervisor.

Albert Winston S. Rabor, an overseas contract worker in Surabaya, Jawa Timur, Indonesia, liked the Sun.Star website’s video contest for Cebuanos abroad.

“(Video contest) will give us a chance to show to the world how Cebuanos spend their time at work…at leisure time, where we gather to hear mass on Sundays, play sports, or have a good time with beer and lechon.”

Referring also to the video contest for overseas workers, Marcio Monteclaro, now based in Nigeria, West Africa, said it is nice to hear that Sun.Star has not forgotten Filipinos abroad.

The Sun.Star website considers the ramifications of a global audience as it strives to deliver content to its visitors. From comments of www.sunstar.com.ph visitors, it is wonderful to hear the website is not so far off the mark.