As the local proponent and administrator of Bikol Sentral Wikipedia which was launched on November 24, 2007, I spearheaded several meet-ups of Filipino Wikipedians in the region, dubbed as Naga Meet-ups and organized projects promoting the local Wikipedia prior to formally joining Wikimedia Philippines on February 21, 2012. I was present in all 8 meet-ups of Filipino Wikipedians in Bicol Region and in 2 other meet-ups held in Metro Manila. My first edit in a Wikimedia project was on August 1, 2006.
Together with two other prolific Bikol Wikipedia contributors, Gil Gregorio and Ramon Olaño, Bikol Community was formed on October 19, 2009 and was officially recognized by the WMPH on April 27, 2012 as the first Filipino Wikimedia Community to promote Wikimedia projects in the native languages of the Bicol Region.
Prior to its recognition, the Community promoted the Wikimedia projects at the following events: 74th National Book Week Celebration (11.24-26.2008) at the Camarines Sur Polytechnic Colleges in Naga City, in celebration of Bikol Wikipedia’s 1st anniversary; National Conference on Bicol History and Culture (10. 21-23.2009) at the Holy Rosary Minor Seminary in Naga City for the Mga Harigi kan Kulturang Bikolnon exhibit; likewise, I encouraged the members of Bicol Region Librarians Council (BRLC) to use online resources particularly Wikimedia sites at the Regional Conference on Reinventing Library Management in the 21st Century (4.17-19.2012) at the Divine Word College in Legazpi City, Albay.
As one of the two WMPH scholars, I participated in the 2012 Philippine Wikimedia Conference representing the Community. As one of the speakers at the conference, I talked on Building Regional Wikimedia Communities and was nominated for the Board of Trustees at the Annual General Meeting.
Through my initiative and logistical support, Open Web Day ADNU (6.30.2012) was conducted at the James J. O’Brien, SJ Library, a member of BRLC, in Ateneo de Naga University in Naga City. At Canaman Municipal Library, also a member of BRLC, the first Bikol Edithon (8.15. 2012) was conducted as an event part of the 428th Foundation Anniversary Celebrations of the local government where I am presently connected.
The 5th Bikol Wikipedia Day (11.24.2012) was celebrated through holding Wiki Takes Naga, the second Wiki Takes the City in Southeast Asia, in collaboration with partners Ateneo de Naga University and Parasurat Bikolnon Inc. in cooperation with the City Government of Naga. It was supported by Bigg's Diner, Triboo Bikolano, MyTreatCity along with minor sponsors Green Earth Café, Ramashinta Resort & Spa and Mudbugs Sports Bar. Wikipedia gained media mileage as the event was covered by local television and cable channels ABS-CBN 11, GMA 7 and GNN TV 48.
In my personal capacity, I initiated two events earlier this year: Naga Wicnic 1 and Legazpi Photo Walk. Having been invited by City Government of Naga to participate in the Bikol Arts Festival, the first Naga Wicnic (1.6.2013) joined by local writers at the Naga Eco Park. This resulted in the Bikol Wikipedia Exhibit and Bikolano Digital Heritage project proposal which I and Dindin Daliva, a fellow volunteer, submitted to the Board. On January 14, I had a scheduled meet-up with Filipino Wikipedians in Cebu however my flight was cancelled due to a typhoon warning signal. Legazpi Photo Walk (1.12.2013) with local photographers was conducted instead. Holding a Wikipedia Takes Legazpi was then conceived.
As an advocate of “Tsinelas” leadership, I call for a “free, open and vibrant” Wikimedia Philippines which upholds transparency, accountability and integrity. As a representative of Philippine Wikimedia Communities, my agenda include the promotion and development of Wikipedia in Philippine languages through cost-effective and innovative projects and through partnership with local government units, the Academe, non-government organizations, and the private sector.
I have earned units in Doctor of Education in Teaching Filipino Language and Literature at the University of Nueva Caceres, and I hold a Master’s degree in Filipino at the same institution as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Literature at the Ateneo de Naga University. In 2010-2011, I served as a member of the Board of Directors of Canaman Central School Alumni Association Inc. (CCSAA), and Sumaro Bikolnon Inc., a cultural organization based in Naga City. Currently, I am the chairman of the Board of Trustees of Parasurat Bikolnon Inc., a non-stock and non-profit organization that promotes the promotion and development of the Bikol languages through publication, research, the Academe, broadcast and electronic media. I am also presently connected with the following organizations: Apolonio B. Sto. Tomas Foundation Inc. as an incorporator and a Trustee; ALEGRO Volunteers – an advocacy-centered volunteer group composed of multi-talented individuals who are committed to support the delivery of the different programs and projects of Atty. Leni. G. Robredo (ALEGRO); and Movement of Imaginals for Sustainable Society through Implementation, Organization and Networking (MISSION) – Naga Node.
I authored Antabay sa Antabay sa Ortograpiya nin Bikol Sentral (2012) – a guide to Central Bikol orthography, spelling and diacritics now being used in Bikol Wikipedia, and edited Canaman: Gira kan Banwaan (2010) – the first book to use Bikol Wikipedia as a reference. I write poetry in Central Bikol, Rinconada Bikol, Tagalog and Filipino and edit the An Tambobong Nin Literaturang Bikolnon literary folio which featured a Bikol Wikipedia article in its first issue entitled Ani nin mga Rawitdawit (Enero-Marso 2010). This year, my first book entitled “Bungkaras” will be published. It is a collection of Bikolnon poetry on running, one of the passions.
Aside from writing, I am also into running. I have supported and joined different running events and have even spearheaded several runs for a cause. Since 2010, I have organized/co-organized the following benefits and community runs: CCSAA's Dalagan para sa Eskwelahan (12.29.2010), Caceres Runners Club's Dalagan: Tabang para sa CDO-Iligan (12.29.2011), Tribute Run for Sec. Jess (8.26.2012) and Dalagan para sa Malinig na Pirilian (5.10.2013). My next endeavor is Parasurat Bikolnon's Ruab para sa Aking Parabasa to be held this coming August.
For inquiries, I can be reached through irvinstotomasyahoo.com.