Reason for Staying

I started to be involved with Mozilla as some random university student trying to figure out what she’ll do after graduation. It took lots of effort to go outside my comfort zone and go run through the fields.

I remember most of what I did in my early years was to talk about WoMoz in front of crowds. It was my go-to role, not because I chose it, but because I am a woman. At some point I found it kinda uncomfortable since I kept on talking about women empowerment and all that and looking at my involvement, I haven’t seen a significant help or action from myself.

That’s when I took a step forward and tried out teaching basic programming concepts and web development for students via the Webmaker project (now Mozilla Learning Network). I organized an event that invites kids from 7-12 years old to participate. It was all new to me and I even topped it up a notch by seeking kids to participate (to think I am not really that great with kids). The huge challenge for us was to keep the kids interested since kids nowadays can be easily distracted. So we have to make sure that offline activities & online activities are included. Then out of nowhere while we were doing an activity, a kid burst out saying he would like to be a programmer because we made it look like fun.

That’s when I realized that what I was doing could totally change someone’s perspective on what they could become in the future. I am not just talking career-wise but how they decide on things after learning skills that they seem not to care at all.

Things like how to be mindful of their personal data online, passwords they use on their online accounts, process on how you get data from a site to another, programming, etc.

They seem to be too basic to some but there are still people who are still victims of being uninformed. Not that we would want to scare them off from the harms and complexity of the internet, but because we would want to educate and inform them.

As a Woman in Tech

Being a woman in tech actually has its ups and downs and I’d like to tell people how it can break or make you as a person. Below are some instances like obstacles and opportunities I overcame and took. I really hope more women will be visibly felt in open source projects, thus making me do this blog post.

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I remember the lines uttered by my uncle when I was taking college applications, “Bakit computer (course)? Hindi ba pang lalaki lang yan?” (Why take a computer degree program? Isn’t that an industry for men?)

In an old-fashioned culture like the Philippines, I sometimes find it annoying how stereotypes can mark you or what you can and cannot do as an individual. To think that those words came out from a family member. But that didn’t stopped me in pursuing that course and graduating from that course too.

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I was a member of a student organization way back in college. As a digital artist, I was assigned to create posters and certificates for an event. As a student, initially you’ll be taking these kind of things seriously. So while I was doing these certificates, it really made me so curious why an orgmate’s name was in the certificate that we will be giving away and underneath her name was the title “Mozilla Representative”, by that time I wasn’t aware that there’s a Mozilla Philippines Community.

So I did some research and actually tried to join the  Mozilla Student Reps program but as someone who is not really that great in meeting new people, I was kinda hesitant to be active and interact with them, especially those who are active and talkative in the thread are mostly men.

So months passed by, and I’m still inactive. My high school friend was asking me on what national or global organizations he could join. So I suggested to him that he should try the Mozilla Student Reps program. But with his personality, he quickly talked to one of the Mozilla Representatives and even got to volunteer in an event. That’s when I took the opportunity to ask my friend if I could join in volunteering for that event too, ensuring that I could go there with someone I know. Eventually they agreed to add me in that event. And that’s how I started with Mozilla.

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My first time to volunteer.

Isn’t it funny that you just need to take chances outside your comfort zone and opportunities will open up. You’ll never know what’s on the other side until you take that step outside the box.

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Have you met someone who actually encouraged you to improve yourself?

I’d say this, back in college I took a class where we are then tested to speak in front of the whole class and I just stood up there shaking, my mind went blank and all. And that was the time that I instilled to me that I’m no good in public speaking.

I was still an Firefox Student Ambassador (FSA) and a Mozilla Rep encouraged me to talk to an audience. Initially, I declined as I know how stage fright can make me freeze. But he insisted so I gave in and accepted. Little did I know that it will not just be my first talk outside our university, it’ll also be my first event where I’ll be talking in front of a huge audience. So imagine my horror.

A thousand student, listening to me. I was shaking the whole time I was waiting to be called. And this Mozilla Rep and some fellow FSAs tried to calm me down. Then I was asked to go to the stage. With a less shaky me, I was able to wing it. Overall, I think it went better than I expected. Funny how my first talk was also about WoMoz. (HMMMM….)

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WHATTTTTT?!

Sometimes you might say that you cannot do something but friends, family, or a colleague wil tell you the opposite. Other people might see your potential as an individual and you just have to trust in yourself.

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Surround yourself with people that will encourage you to be better.

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Those were some of my experiences as a woman in tech. There will be tons of obstacles and opportunities that will come. What will empower you to face obstacles, to learn from them, and to move forever forward to your destination?

It all comes down to YOU.

Mozlando

Traveled almost 24hrs from Manila to Orlando, fortunately I have company this time.

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Traveling from the Philippines with William, me and Faye.

 

I was invited by the Mozilla Foundation through Amira to participate in #Mozlando among with fellow Mozilla Club Regional Coordinators, Su Adams & Rodrigo Padula.

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MoFo volunteers: Su Adams, Tina Verbo and Rodrigo Padula

Mozlando Opening Plenary Session was awesomeness. The hall was filled with 1270 Mozillians from 212 airports. Imagine that! Not just that, Foxy plushies also welcomed us. Isn’t that adorable. Also, here’s a game, find all your MozFriends below!

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How to start a great week? A group photo, of course.

 

I then parted ways with Faye to meet Amira, Su, Caro, Andre, etc. to have lunch. Then we headed to the MoFo Work Meetings. Here’s my favorite parts throughout the week:

Everyone was assigned to their respective work teams. Where was I teamed up with Andrea, Amira, Erika, Gavin and Ali. Our team had some very uncomfortable conversations which required us to be very vulnerable with each other. And what we did required us to be brave in sharing our feelings and talking about Diversity and Inclusion to everyone.

We were also grouped again to build our own portals. Creative juices all around. Here’s a group photo of us with our awesome portal.

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We even asked the hotel staff to lend us some lights. Resourceful, right?

 

We also had a pop-up Mozilla Clubs meeting with Amira, Sara, Andre, Caro, Su, Rodrigo and I. We talked about our proud moments for 2015, What we are looking forward to, How Mozilla could support us Regional Coordinators and Club Captains and our Future Tasks.

 

 

Andre even suggested to have pop-up Localization Sprint for Web Literacy Basics I.

 

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Localizing is serious business.

 

Faye and I also brought foxfooding devices for our fellow Pinoy Mozillians.

All in all, another information overload event. But it was really nice to hear from Su that because of all that she saw, she is interested to be more involved in Mozilla. As a volunteer, it is really cool to actually meet in person these people who you’ve been talking to online, get to know them better, exchange insights about Mozilla and eventually talk about partnering with other communities.

Shout-out to Amira for the awesome opportunity. Also to Su & Rodrigo, my fellow MoFo volunteers. Andre, Caro, Sara, Julia, Simona and Phia. Mozlando was way more fun with you guys in there!

Photos I took during Mozlando can be seen here.

Mozilla Festival 2015

I’ve been a Mozilla Rep for almost 2 years now, and I’d say that this is my first time to be able to meet Mozillians outside our local community. I’ve always been that person who is not really that great with new crowd. So I must say, that being a facilitator for Mozilla Festival 2015 gave a huge opportunity to redefine or reassess what I can or cannot do. 
At the first pace of Mozilla Clubs, for somewhat reason, Ryan and I were invited by Amira to be one of the first batch of Regional Coordinators. Though both of us were hesitant at that time to be committed in this role, at first we were like, “How can we do this?”
  • We both are not that involved globally
  • We are busy with our full-time jobs 
  • We haven’t kept in touch with global volunteers/staff who are not visiting the Philippines.
But we both took our chances and got the role.
We also have lots of questions about the program and very much to our confusion, we tried to actually just wing it. Created our own event, invited student leaders/professors from different universities to be part of this program. Luckily we got an amazing response from these people who are interested in creating their own Mozilla Clubs. There were events left to right from different clubs. But as the time passes, we realized that slowly we are having inactive members, maybe because most of our Club Leads are graduating students, that of course they’ll have to focus on their studies first. But the question of sustainability for student driven Mozilla Clubs needs to be improved.
But of course, that is a different story let me accumulate more English first for that separate post. HAHAHAHA. So much for the unrelated part. Let’s get back on track.
So the participation team accepted my application to be part of MozFest 2015. And surprisingly, my proposed session got accepted too. So I kinda have to cut myself in half in order to attend both. But of course, I am only human and I am much in err. I didn’t know which of which to attend that I ended up hanging out more in the MLN side of the festival (real sorry Participation Team~! (Y__Y) ). 
Thanks also to Emma for guiding me on what MozFest looks like so that I won’t be such a noob when I arrive. 
The epic arrival
I arrived at the Heathrow Airport past 8pm London time, rode the tube from the airport then arrived at the Lambeth North station (Of course I opt the nearest station) and much to my freaking surprise it was cold and I have to open up my luggage just to get my jacket (Tropical country girl alert), it was windy and slightly raining. That was not even the worst part of the night my dear friends, the worst was when I walked to the hotel and ended up going on the opposite direction. And I was like, “Why in the world is the London eye getting closer and closer?!!!” then I decided to ask for directions. Now imagine my frustration, and at that time I was hungry AF. So tralala, I walked to the other way and half-way through, I realized how messed up I am as a lone traveler, it was 10:30ish in the evening and it is cold. That was too much to handle for me. HAHAHA. So I arrived at the hotel around 11pm. Tried to actually sleep after a 13hr flight and to no avail, I ended up searching for a place to eat. Luckily there’s this 24hr restaurant near the hotel called, Chilies, loved the curry by the way. And I was saved. Went back to the hotel room and slept.
1st day
Woke up early to actually have a quick tour in Westminster before going to Ravensbourne College to help in for some setting up and decorating then headed to have the social lunch (Thanks again Amira for saving me, and introducing me to tons of people). After lunch we started the facilitators festivities with some ice breakers. It was a good weird experience, I was overwhelmed (For a first timer in Mozilla’s global gatherings, who wouldn’t be overwhelmed?) with how many people I could meet in just a few minutes. Met the awesome Su (who I’ll be spending my awesome week in Orlando).
We were asked about our favorite ice cream flavors giving time to group with fellow vanilla people. *wink* Then we were given a piece of paper to write our goals for 2016, fold it into paper planes then threw them randomly. Then we picked the plane that got nearest to us and start talking to them, introducing ourselves, our contributions to Mozilla and our plans. It was quite interesting to meet people with the same interests as you. 
Again, we had another small group where we talked to people who already attended MozFest before. They enlightened us in how things work and how we could fully enjoy MozFest. 
Then after that we were told to join our respective spaces: Digital Citizenship, Journalism, Localization, Mozilla Learning Network, Participation, Science, The Global Village & Youth Zone. Now this was the tricky part for me, since I am a participation leader/facilitator for Mozilla Clubs, I almost wanted to cut myself in half just to be in both spaces. HAHAHA. Then off we go to our spaces, I went to the MLN space as this is where I know more people than the Participation (Regrets in not attending in Participation’s session *sobs*). After the session for MLN, we then started to decorate the MLN space. Then I realized that I forgot that I already booked a ticket for the London Eye and wasted money for not be able to ride it.
2nd day
The big day for me (Too egocentric, I guess?). I facilitated in a session called, How to increase digital literacy with women globally through on-going programs. Basically this session was created to improve how digital literacy works for women in a western point of view and in a non-western perspective This session focuses on how to create effective events that will make participants stay as a contributor and not just a mere attendee. We discussed on the ideal age bracket, ideal way to collaborate & learn, (insert more info)
Thanks Andre, Caro & Amira for helping me with the session. ❤ 
Dropped some Philippine goodies in both the Participation & Mozilla Clubs spaces. And nope, I wasn’t able to attend the MozParty that time, I was still jet lagged. Farewell karaoke 😥
3rd day
The day went by so quick, I attend some sessions. Met William to get the Foxfooding device then went straight back to the hotel to arrange my luggage. And off I went to the airport. I almost missed the check-in time since my packing skills are 0 EXP. Then off to another 13hr flight again.
But seriously, attending MozFest is one of the eye opening events I’ve attended. As I am very much focused in our local community, I haven’t even took a step back and assess on why I am here and what made me wanted to stay. In meeting these awesome people, exchanging better ways on improving each others local communities.
Shots I took in MozFest can be seen here.

 

Summer Maker Party for Kids

The Mozilla Philippines Community hosted a series of Maker Parties for Kids for the whole month of May at the Mozilla Community Space Manila (MozSpaceMNL). This Maker Party aims to teach kids the basics of programming, HTML & CSS.

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Group pic!

For the series, we created an agenda which we can adjust depending on the learning pace of the students:

Day 1: Basic Programming Concepts

Day 2: Basic HTML

Day 3: Basic CSS

Day 4: HTML & CSS from scratch

The huge challenge for us was to keep the kids interested since kids nowadays can be easily distracted. So we made sure to have offline activities & online activities.

On the first session, we made them introduce themselves as they’ll be seeing each other for the next sessions. Then we had activities that made learning fun and interactive. This recap may serve as a reviewer for your kids; we also added some resources that they can use to continue their learning.

What we did:

Robotic Friend
Disney Infinity Play Lab
Webmaker Appmaker

What they learned:

  • Convert real-world activities into instructions.
  • Practice coding instructions with symbols.
  • Understanding of the need for precision in coding.
  • Practice debugging malfunctioning code.
  • Algorithm – a series of instructions on how to accomplish a task
  • Coding – Transforming actions into a symbolic language
  • Debugging – Finding and fixing issues in code
  • Function – A piece of code that can be called over and over
  • Team collaboration
  • How computer programs work.

For the second day, we discussed about HTML. HTML is one of the three core technologies that build the Web and this is the focus of our second session of Summer Maker Party for Kids. Through our games and hands-on activities, kids learned and understand how the HTML works and use it to create their own webpages.

What we did:

What they learned:

  • Webpages- any page or document on the internet.
    g. a page where we can search answers: google.com
  • Browser – a software on our computer we use to access the Webpages on the internet.
    g Mozilla Firefox
  • HTML – stands for HyperText MarkUp Language and use to create webpages.
  • HTML elements – an individual component of HTML that is enclosed in a HTML tags
    g. Paragraph element
    <p>
    This is my paragraph.
    </p>
  • HTML tags – HTML codes that is enclosed inside the angle bracket < >.
    g. Paragraph tag <p> </p>
  • Container tags – HTML tags with closing tag.
    g Paragraph tag <p> </p>
  • Empty tags – HTML tags without closing tag.
    g Image tag <img>
  • Primary HTML tags <http://www.goodellgroup.com/tutorial/chapter3.html>

We also made them use the following as an exercise and home activity so that they won’t forget what was discussed:

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Ryan discussing about HTML

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The kids playing a relay game to freshen up what they learned about HTML

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The kids playing a relay game to freshen up what they learned about HTML

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The kids playing a relay game to freshen up what they learned about HTML

Participants doing their own makes

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Of course, group pic!

We then had a CSS discussion with the kids. Through our games and hands-on activities, kids learned and understood how CSS works and use it to upgrade their previous makes.

What we did:

  • Overview of CSS
  • Demonstration of commonly used CSS
  • Tag Tag Revolution
  • Editing their first Webpage using CSS
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Ryan helping the participants with their makes

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Tina discussing the mechanics of Tag Tag Revolution Activity

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Tina chit chatting with the kids while they were in a break

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Tina guiding the participants on their makes

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Wacky group pic

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The kids with the organizers

On the last session, we made sure that the kids will be able to create their own webpages from scratch. We also had a Scavenger Hunt Activity with the Kids to boost their minds.

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Volunteers for our last session

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2 groups racing to find the missing codes in the Scavenger Hunt Activity

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Last session group pic

We would like to thank all the parents who helped us into taming their kids. Also, to the volunteers who made the last session possible. To Globe Labs, for providing us a venue even though it was just a last minute notice. And lastly, to the kids who made such awesome makes. Thank you guys!

You can view their makes here (not all makes were included since not everyone were able to pass their makes):

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Maker Party FEU Manila

After the MozTour FEU Manila, we had the opportunity to conduct a Maker Party in FEU Manila. With the some idea with the Webmaker tools, the attendees deepened their understanding on what the Webmaker project is. In this session, we introduced the Webmaker tools and Teaching kits, which can be used by students for learning & outreach purposes.

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Ryan giving a demo on the Webmaker tools

After a few introduction of what the Webmaker project, Maker Party, and Mozilla. We did some demos on how to use the Webmaker tools. We got a lot of positive opinions regarding the statement “Making is always learning”.

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Students creating their makes

To give the attendees a hands-on experience of using the Webmaker tools after demonstration, we asked them to group themselves with their fellow students who were able to bring a laptop & an internet connection, and let them explore the Webmaker tools: (1) Thimble; (2) X-ray Goggles; (3) Popcorn Maker; and (4) Appmaker. As we roam around and guide them using the tools, we saw that they are enjoying the activity and most of them are interested in the Appmaker, tool.

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Making is learning indeed

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Participants collaborating on their makes and asking some questions to Ryan

After an awesome collaboration on exploring the Webmaker tools, we let the participants present their makes by telling us what their make is and its purpose. We out more awesome swags to the top 3 group who presented their work.

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You can view all photos taken during the event here.

MozTour FEU Manila

Along the busy sidewalks of the well-known University Belt, the Mozilla Philippines Community went to the home of the Tamaraws – Far Eastern University Manila for a MozTour last February 28. With the help of our awesome Firefox Student Ambassadors in the university and their club lead, Joma Miñoza, they were able to gather BS Math students to come and join us with the fun.

The team consisted of Robert Reyes, Kemuel Domanog, Ryan Ermita, Arjay Oboza, Fate Cabag and Tina Verbo (me), we were also assisted by our Tamaraw FSAs.

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Bob Reyes discussed about Mozilla

The MozTour started with Bob Reyes with an introduction of Mozilla, where he talked about the mission, projects and products. He also discussed on what the Mozilla Philippines Community is doing and how they can join us in promoting Mozilla’s mission & the open web.

Bob talks about the existence of a Firefox OS device in the Philippines

Bob talks about the existence of a Firefox OS device in the Philippines

Bob also discussed about Firefox OS, where he talked about its history, core technologies and its existence in the country with Cherry Mobile Ace. Students had this impressed reaction when they heard that it is being sold for just Php 999. He also gave a brief run-down on how easy to create a Firefox OS App.

Kemuel Domanog talks about the FSA program

After the Firefox OS discussion, Kemuel Domanog talked about the Firefox Student Ambassadors Program – how to be part of the program, its perks and what FSAs do.

Time for some giveaways!

Time for some giveaways!

We then asked a question to know if they are listening attentively and gave the awesome winner a shirt.

Ryan Ermita talking about the Webmaker project

Ryan Ermita talking about the Webmaker project

Then Ryan Ermita discussed the Webmaker project and the Webmaker tools, Thimble, Popcorn, Xray goggles and Appmaker – which made them excited about the idea that they could create a Firefox OS app with just drag-and-drop.

Before ending the MozTour, I talked about the WoMoz advocacy, the reason why such advocacy exists and how they could be part of it.

A student asking a question to the speakers

A student asking a question to the speakers

To finish off the MozTour, we had a Q&A to answer all their questions.

Group picture!

Group picture!

Pictures from the MozTour FEU Manila can be seen here.