2015 Waray Wikimedia Forums at Greater Tacloban

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The 2015 Waray Wikimedia Forums at Greater Tacloban was a series of events that were conducted last November 26 and 28, 2015 as part of the 5th Regional Assembly of Philippine Association of Court Interpreters at Tacloban and Palo in Leyte, Philippines. The whole event was organized by Philippine Association of Court Interpreters Inc (PHILACI), an association accredited by the Philippine Judiciary. The Wikimedia Forums were made possible through the efforts of the Sinirangan Bisaya Wikimedia Community (SBWC) and supported by the PhilWiki Community as part of the series of Waray Wikimedia events that started from November 26, 2015 to December 2, 2015. Those events include the 3rd and 4th Waray Wikipedia Edit-a-thons. The forums were funded by PHILACI and generous donors from SBWC.

The main focus of the forums was promoting the Waray Wiktionary since participants were interested in legal translation although other Wikimedia projects such as Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons and Wikivoyage were presented. Resource speakers for the forums included Michael Ong, Jojit Ballesteros and Bel Ballesteros.



Pre-event preparations
Due to the success of the 2nd Waray Wikipedia Edit-a-thon, Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros, a journalist and at the same time a court interpreter, invited the Sinirangan Bisaya Wikimedia Community (SBWC) to present the Waray Wiktionary at the 5th Regional Assembly of Philippine Association of Court Interpreters. Eileen herself is a member of SBWC. SBWC through its coordinator Michael Ong accepted the invitation and the Wikimedia people who were confirmed to talk to the forum included Ong, Jojit Ballesteros and Bel Ballesteros.
Actual events
Wikimedia Forum in Tacloban
On November 26, 2015, Michael Ong gave a presentation to the participants of the assembly of PHILACI at Hotel Alejandro in Tacloban City. His presentation started at 5:00 pm and ended at 7:00 pm. Ong highlighted the projects conducted by the SBWC in the past.

On November 28, 2015, Jojit and Bel Ballesteros, the volunteers from Manila, flew to Tacloban City. Arriving at around 7:30 am, they were greeted by Michael Ong at the Tacloban Airport. After eating breakfast, the team went straight to Tierra de Milagros Resort in Barangay Arado, Palo, Leyte, the venue of the Wikimedia Forum. Jojit started his talk at around 10:00 am and presented Wikimedia projects such as Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, Wiktionary and Wikivoyage. The highlight of his talk was the Waray Wiktionary, which is still in Incubator. A project currently in Incubator means that the project is in its test phase and does not yet have its own subdomain unlike the Tagalog Wiktionary, which has its own subdomain (i.e. http://tl.wikitionary.org). The purposes of highlighting the Waray Wiktionary to the participants are to inform them of an online tool which might be useful in their line of work and to encourage them to actively contribute to the test wiki. Once there are active contributors in the Waray Wiktionary, there is a big possibility that it will be out of Incubator and have its own subdomain.

In between Jojit's talk, Bel Ballesteros and Michael Ong assisted in answering questions from the participants. At around 12:00 pm, the Wikimedia Forum ended and then the project team were given certificates of appreciation and tokens for being resource speakers of the event. Lunch was served after the event.

Outcomes and impact[edit]

During the forum, it was learned that some of the participants were not fully aware of Wikipedia that came as a surprise from the resource speakers. Most of the participants were new to Wikimedia projects. Because of this, Jojit had a lengthy discussion about Wikipedia, an actual demonstration of uploading pictures in Wikimedia Commons and a Wikivoyage presentation on how to help travelers of their respective hometowns. Michael Ong emphasized the importance of contributing to the Waray Wiktionary. Bel Ballesteros reiterated the dynamics of Wikipedia.

These forums definitely increased the reach of Wikimedia because there were participants who were not familiar with Wikimedia projects. Through these forums, they were informed that there are online collaborative projects such as Wiktionary that will help them in their daily work, especially translations, as court interpreters. Hopefully, they will contribute to these projects and help increase the participation in Wikimedia online projects.

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