Websites run the gamut of knowledge from A to Z. With thousands of newsites coming out everyday, surfers must know the best deals that suit them.

In this issue, the Varsitarian features two distinct websites perfect for the Thomasian’s growing craze for the cyberspace. Both tackle culture, arts, lifestyle, and more important, faith. They provide relief, to the mind and soul from the chaotic and often stressful sites in the Net.

Pinoyexchange.com

Almost two years old, Pinoyexchange.com is the product of a desire to cater to the Filipinos’ love for conversation. The creator, Dr. Michael “Batang Uliran” Nolledo, contacted his relatives in Manila to supervise the development of the site.

It got exposure when its moderator, Jude “Kaboom!” Turcuato, became a commentator of the University Athletics Association of the Philippines.

Pinoyexchange.com or PEx, according to its member, Greengrin, is a “community of some 22,000 minds from and of various disciplines, interests and expertise.”

The site grows as more and more topics in the arts, sports, entertainment, places, food, issues, lifestyle, technology and others attract visitors to sign up for free membership. The site’s main targets are people 18-35 years old basically constitute the age group of students. An average of 300,000 weekly page views attest to its being one of the leading Filipino sites.

Virtual gorging

On the other hand, Galing.com promotes the Christian faith by its reader-friendly features. Its major strength are its feature stories on individual encounters with faith.

PEx makes the most out of Manila’s famous ins and outs. The site contains reviews and messages from its members on almost any topic under the sun. Looking for the best crispy pata is just a keyboard away in the forum section on “Food and Drinks,” where all the restaurants and their specialties are listed. There are also discussions on the bright and dark sides of entertainment districts in “Travel and Lifestyle,” “Music and Radio” and “Movies and TV” sections.

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Those seeking the latest high-tech gadgets or those who simply need help in computer troubleshooting are most welcome to the most frequently visited forums of “Hobbies and Recreation,” “Technology Today,” and “Electronic Gaming.”

“Realm of Thought” and “Arts and Literature” are spots where all artistic and philosophical souls converge. Issues and ideas are well generated in the forums “Local and Foreign Issues”, “Classifieds”, “Family, Friends and Society”, “The Working Filipino,” and “Buhay Pinoy.”

Since PEx is chiefly an online community of chatters, expect a lot of bashings and foul-mouthing from an uncontrollable number of harsh members. These people abound in sections frequently visited by students such as “The Academe,” “Campus Chat,” ”Small Talk” and “UAAP Games.” Note that school bashing is a favorite hobby here and among the targets, UST is no exception. Last year, for example, The Varsitarian became the subject of a heated debate over which is the best student publication in the country.

Live bands and the latest concert grooves are also a major attraction for the gig-freaks. Through PEx, they can plan events through an events calendar.
Users may also purchase tickets online through PEx.

Contests and promotions, job openings, and outreach-oriented services like the Chosen Children’s Village Foundation (CCVF) combine to form the uniqueness of the site. PEx also provides a search engine supported by altavista.com and two powerful sister sites, iayala.com and myphilippines.com.

PEx is considered one of the pioneers in the local forum scene, along with LegManila.com.

Although it lacks pictures to complement the site, PEx boasts of thought-provoking and humorous social commentaries. In addition, the site has saved itself from the usual fancy and appalling graphics that have become a trademark of most local web designers.

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Cool and Catholic

The simple, yet catchy appearance of the page gives the impression of good taste, a far cry from the mediocre sites using heavy, flashy, and hidden image.

In contrast, although appearing text-heavy, PEx’s black, gold and white integrate the site’s beguiling look.

Connection is also not a problem. PEx can be downloaded in less than 10 seconds for an average 56K modem.

Handy pulldown menus make it easy to navigate.

Soul searching

In this age when technology has drastically controlled the people’s way of life, three techno-yuppies took the initiative of changing technology’s course to “save the world and have a blast while doing it.”

Galing.com is a pet project of University of the Philippines graduates Bamm Gabriana and Lizza Villanueva. The idea, according to them, was “giving something back to the Father, for the way He turned our life around-making it worth living once again.”

Behind this creative ploy is the capacity to reach to the youth on the very serious topic of spirituality. Although the content basically rehashes the same message about God’s grace and glory, the site’s approach, design, and technique are something really appropriate for the young. Like Pinoyexchange.com, which focuses on the extremist rants and raves of the youth, Galing.com also presents interesting and motivational features. It includes success stories on today’s most popular and most sought-after celebrities, written in the inspiring manner.

The site also features “How to,” “Galing News,” “Galing ni God”, and “Be A Hero.” It also has Feedback and Forum sections.

The site is basically “idiot-proof.” The site is of the what-you-see-is-what-you-get sort, with icons for sending the page direct to a friend using java script without mouseover tricks. The use of very light colors and low resolution graphics adds to its identity as a site for spirituality.

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Bridging the gap

The use of the information superhighway still remains a big challenge for both web users and developers. Considered as the fastest growing medium in history, it has surpassed in only five years what the radio and television have achieved for 38 and 13 years, respectively, reaching a total of 50 million users.

With the birth of websites that are not only informative but also educational and inspirational, another area of competition in the Net has been started.

The development is a knockdown to non-prolific sites because the new sites are more than the surf-and-browse type; these are places online going beyond technology, linking people of different classes, interests, educational and financial capabilities, establishing a community that works for the good of every member.

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