Interview with Janette Toral, Founder of DigitalFilipino

Janette Toral

Janette Toral

Janette Toral might fairly be called the "Mother of Blogging" in the Philippines. She is the founder of the Philippine Internet Commerce Society, where she served as president for 5 years (1997-2002), and lobbied for the passage of the Y2K Law and E-Commerce Law (Republic Act 8792). She owns two professional online communities, where knowledge sharing and business matching are usually conducted, the Club and Philippine Software Process Improvement Network.

I was very disappointed to learn that I had missed out on a chance to meet Janette Toral, the warm and gracious founder of, when she was in Houston, Texas earlier this year. Fortunately, I was able to get her to give us an interview here at

“Janet, do you formulate ‘SMART goals’? If so, can you give us an example or two? If not, what helps you stay on track to accomplish your goals?”

“Yes. This includes attaining 100 club members in the DigitalFilipino Club; to have 100 active bloggers in our blog network at any moment; and to help out 100 start-ups in our upcoming virtual accelerator / incubator program. So far following this 100 rule allowed me to foster a reasonable and realistic level of relationship with the people I deal with.”

“You work really hard to educate, encourage, and assist people in starting their online businesses – your dedication and professionalism have always impressed me. I wonder, do you think it’s important for bloggers to have specific, measurable goals beyond ‘make money online’? Do you believe it’s really possible to earn a full-time living as a blogger?”

“I think it is possible for bloggers to earn and make money online if they are always open-minded to do experiments and learn from it. This can be from writing to rendering other forms of services, such as blog marketing; consulting; tech support; training; or trading.”

“You mean there’s no magic, one size fits all formula?” I laugh. Janet gives me a smile that says she knows I already know the answer to that one. “So, Janet, what are your goals for In the ever-changing world of the Internet, the fact that it has grown and thrived for twelve years is just amazing. What’s your vision of the future and how you’d like to see it evolve?”

“The goal of is to help foster the growth of e-commerce in the Philippines. This has range from educating the public, SMEs, to helping individuals earn online. To further evolve, I am launching a startup accelerator / incubator program with the intent of helping 100 startups take-off.”

“Amazing! That is so exciting – I imagine you have bloggers and entrepreneurs beating down your door to be a part of that! What is your ‘life goal,’ Janet?”

“Helping others become successful is my life goal. By improving myself continuously, I do my best to ensure that I’ll be able to share something useful to the people I meet that they can take away and use in their undertakings.”

I suspect Janet, like my grandmother, possesses one of the greatest talents of all: The ability to truly appreciate the talents of others, and to genuinely want to see them succeed and reach their goals.

For your chance to learn from Janet and take part in the Blog and Social Media Entrepreneur Program starting November 24, 2011, enter the contest here. If you don’t win, you can still sign up at http://digientrepreneur­.­com.

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About Holly Jahangiri

Holly Jahangiri lives in Texas and claims to channel the spirits of Edgar Allan Poe, O. Henry and Erma Bombeck. She has known since fifth grade that she wanted to be a professional writer. Holly is a technical communicator whose imagination is allowed free rein in her short stories, children's books, and poetry. You can visit her personal blog, "It's All a Matter of Perspective," at

About Holly Jahangiri

Holly Jahangiri lives in Texas and claims to channel the spirits of Edgar Allan Poe, O. Henry and Erma Bombeck. She has known since fifth grade that she wanted to be a professional writer. Holly is a technical communicator whose imagination is allowed free rein in her short stories, children's books, and poetry. You can visit her personal blog, "It's All a Matter of Perspective," at


  1. Go Janette! you simply rock…lots of my Filipino friends are your fans,i am too.
    mexican appetizers recently posted..A Simple Quesadilla RecipeMy Profile

  2. my Filipino blogger friends are in awe of her.she is really an amazing woman

  3. I want to be a good blogger as Miss Janette Toral, i love gadgets, that;s why i want to blog about digital technology too. Thanks for this great inspiration from our beloved Filipina Blogger.

  4. Excellent interview, Janette Toral is an important incentive for new bloggers. The internet is a world of opportunities, and to achieve success in the network, we must be aware of the news.

  5. I love that she has been able to bring together internet users in the Philippines. Internet usage in developing countries in generally low, and though people are excited about the possibilities, they are generally unwilling to invest themselves into it. I’ll say congratulation and good work to Janette!
    Jovie Onyema recently posted..Welcome to Tinapa: Africa’s Premier Business and Leisure ResortMy Profile

  6. I first ran across Janette when I started blogging 3 years ago and have been a big fan since. I did not realize that she had been involved with blogging and the Internet programs as long as she has been. More power to you.

    @Kira, the Filipino blogging community is massive, and I probably interface with about two dozen Filipino bloggers over the last few years. They make up most of the P50 Allied Bloggers Blogging group I think which I am a part of, their site is here >
    Justin Germino recently posted..3 Games That Should Exist for the iPadMy Profile

  7. Even though the Philippine blogosphere is not that organized compared to other blogging societies. Ms. Toral has shown to us that nothing is impossible by her valuable leadership. I am really honored to be able to talk to her in the blogging world.

    Kudos Ms Janette!
    Kira recently posted..SEO and Social Media Presence with RSS SyndicationMy Profile

  8. Thank you Holly for the opportunity to be featured. Many thanks as well to friends who supported this article by leaving a comment. Cheers!
    Janette Toral recently posted..Lessons Learned as a Blog and Social Media EntrepreneurMy Profile

    • Thank you, Janette! I thoroughly enjoyed getting the chance to chat with you a bit, and appreciate your doing this interview on short notice, as well as helping me to spread the word that it was here. I think what you do for others deserves to be promoted and supported. You are making such a significant difference in people’s lives.
      Holly Jahangiri recently posted..The Best MedicineMy Profile

  9. Interesting and thought provoking things by Janette.

  10. Janette is a very generous woman. She helped me jumpstart my blogging and was very much willing to give comments and suggestions.
    Alwin Aguirre recently posted..Of Shueblig and Halo-Halo — At The PenMy Profile

  11. I have been following Ms. Janette a few years back. In fact, I have been itching to take her online coaching about Social Media and Blogging. Yes, there are a lot of resources online, however, having a coach can make the learning fast, fun and will definitely keep you on track. Anyway, if I can, I might be able to avail her training next year. 😀

    Great interview you have here Holly!
    Tristan recently posted..Freelancing – Are You IN or OUT?My Profile

  12. Thanks for the introduction to a “woman making a difference” in HER world! 100 at a time seems like a lot, so I wish great success in achieving it!

    The picture grabbed my attention, too. Was that at a Purple Rain event? I went to school with Prince.

  13. nice work, stuff like this is what we all need,

  14. Thanks for the interview, helps me know Janette better. She is doing a very cool thing. I’ll have to follow her blog more.
    Heidi Caswell recently posted..Level Up?My Profile

  15. sounds like a great idea to grow e-commerce in the Philippines, wish you all the best with the campaign.

    recently posted :
    EAv: RCNCT

  16. Interesting blog post, thanks for sharing. In my blog surfing, I run across a lot of Pinay bloggers, and I wondered what the force behind them was. The one critical comment I would share is that there is so much more to blogging than making money, and I would have liked to learn more about Janette as a person. What is the goal of her online money making? What does she hope to do with the money she makes?

    • I think that’s a great question for Janette! I imagine she’ll visit, and, I hope, reply – as her time allows. She was very gracious to do this interview on such short notice, yesterday (the time difference was not working in our favor) and she was on deadline, herself. THAT is the kind of person Janette is – she doesn’t just say that her goal is to help others as some kind of PR stunt. I have watched her, over the years, giving a hand to the humblest of beginning bloggers and to the most experienced bloggers, and she truly makes everyone feel significant and valued. I have seen her deal with pressure, criticism, and fame – and she strikes me as very genuine and down-to-earth. That’s why most people who know her love her.

  17. You both have lovely smiles. Hi Janette! It’s wonderful work that you’re doing. Hi Holly! This is a great, very upbeat, interview. I am happy to see you two working together.

  18. Nicky Overgaard Pedersen

    Clearly, SMART objectives fueled by passion does the trick!

  19. Rex Jarvis says:

    Great post, everybody needs goals in work and life. – Way to go.


  20. Emma Geraln

    Great article, thanks 🙂
    Emma Geraln recently posted..My Second Life DJ Schedule 17th October to 23rd OctoberMy Profile

  21. Go gals!!

    Cheers John

    CEO #EAv Venture Capital Index



  22. Nice article, Janette is doing really good job.

  23. Janette comes across as a very genuine person. And she seem to know a lot about blogging. Good referral!

  24. I’ve known the power of blogging for years… happy to see women like you two mastering the art!
    Debbie Ducic recently posted..The Predictions of Wall St. Do They Determine Your Future?My Profile

    • Sounds like a meeting of the old-timers club in here, Debbie! 🙂 I keep trying to remember when it was, exactly, that I started blogging – and I know Janette’s been at this for 12+ years. I think it was 1998 or so – whenever Blogger was still owned by Pyra and still in beta. I remember doing some vanity surfing and wondering “What the–?” when I found myself quoted in the HindustanTimes as a “veteran blogger.” One of my very first posts was a personal musing on just what it meant to “blog” and that got picked up by a tech columnist halfway around the world. I don’t think there WERE any “veteran bloggers” at that point – we were all just finding our way in a new medium, at the time. Veteran online user, maybe – I think my first logon was to Compuserve in 1981 or so.

  25. Impressive. It Goes on to show that Blogging is indeed coming to a more mature platform now. Such interviews and articles are great to highlight the power of Blogging.

    I am and I will continue to be, as much as I can, an active member of this ‘movement’. Thank you for such a great piece of information. We need to support this.
    Hemant recently posted..Love, An Emotion So Scarce…My Profile

  26. Go Janette! I work for an agency managing a technology park in Italy and we are currently running a program that funds ICT startups. I really appreciate what you’re doing for supporting entrepreneurship!

    • It’s great to see all the positive energy here – to know there are people out there so dedicated to helping others meet THEIR goals, too. It’s easy, some days, to get stuck in a bit of a negative rut: the economy stinks, jobless rates are high, cost of living never goes DOWN, etc. – but then, you read things like this, and remember there’s hope and energy and so much positivity working in the world. I think we all need reminders. Thanks for commenting, Mefance.
      Holly Jahangiri recently posted..An Engraved Invitation to the Writers of Creative Copy ChallengeMy Profile

  27. Rohit Verma says:

    Though I have invested in Janette Toral on EA,I didn’t Knew who she was.Thanks for introducing us to such a nice and kind hearted woman.”I laugh.Janette gives me a smile” while reading this article i felt like i was watching it on TV.Great work Holly.

    I would love to connect to connect with both of you on any social network.

    Rohit Verma

    • Thank you, Rohit! Janette and I were exchanging emails and facebook notes live as I was writing this – this wasn’t just pulled together from replies to a questionnaire, and I was getting a little slap-happy by the time I got this done, but we were having (well, at least I was having) a blast doing this. And there’s a story about me and my purple feather boa – – so when I saw her profile photo, I just begged her to let me “steal” it, because it’s just so PERFECT and it did make me laugh… I can only hope that everyone Janette has helped over the years is half as good to her as she is to others.

  28. Chris Voss says:

    Awesome Article – keep up the good work!

  29. Cool blog post, but would you consider explaining some terms you’ve used?
    SMART goals? We’re forced to do this in my school, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-related. But I don’t know if this is the same meaning you’re using, and either way, I can’t imagine many other people would.
    Also, what’s Y2K law?

    It’s something worth considering in the future.
    Zagorath recently posted..If you could go back in time, what would you change?My Profile

  30. Janette it’s good to know you got your communities blossoming, great work – Cheers! MrBill
    MrBill recently posted..when is SPAM just canned meat?My Profile

  31. Great interview- inspiring words from J. 🙂
    Suzie Cheel recently posted..Suzie’s Healing JourneyMy Profile

  32. Congratulations Holly for your great, inspired presentation:

    “Janette Toral might fairly be called the “Mother of Blogging” in the Philippines. She is the founder of the Philippine Internet Commerce Society, where she served as president for 5 years (1997-2002), and lobbied for the passage of the Y2K Law and E-Commerce Law (Republic Act 8792). She owns two professional online communities, where knowledge sharing and business matching are usually conducted, the Club and Philippine Software Process Improvement Network.”

    For years, Janette is a great, live example of a successful great work, open mind, inspiration. I hope she will have the results the desired with his DigitalFilipino Club and with any other project started. Thank you for the “Holly need comments” message!
    WordPress website recently posted..Defining the Luxury Market and the Affluent SocietyMy Profile

  33. I am honored to interact with Janette in the social media space. Great article Holly.

  34. Fellow Texan here, great read. Thanks for the article 🙂

  35. A very different approach from my own, but valid nonetheless … food for thought!
    Simon Harris recently posted..Talking Barça Podcast 2 – Racing Report and Viktoria Plzen PreviewMy Profile

  36. Very interesting… Wishing the best for you.

  37. I enjoyed reading this inspiring interview and look forward to following both brilliant, intelligent ladies via our many social media connections. Nice work Holly and Janette!

  38. thanks Holly and Janette, inspiring work

  39. Janette is one of my investors on Empire and mentioned this interview. so I came over to see what is was about. Loved the subject about blogging. I will be teaching a class soon and this has given me inspiration to include the online business, or I should say not include, but stress blogging and online business more. Thank you.

  40. Nice read … Inspiring … Thanks to Janette

  41. Janette Toral is a remarkable person to be able to help so many others succeed.


  42. An inspirational interview. Keep blogging and rocking.
    Wayne Hurlbert recently posted..Harvesting Intangible Assets by Andrew J. Sherman – Book reviewMy Profile

  43. Good interview – new inspiring person to meet 🙂 shared forward?

  44. Looking for blog(s) in the Philippines about green, sustainability, climate change. Any suggestions?
    Erik van Erne recently posted..UNESCO World Day for Audiovisual Heritage 27 October 2011My Profile

  45. Great interview
    Erik van Erne recently posted..UNESCO World Day for Audiovisual Heritage 27 October 2011My Profile

  46. Holly, aloha. Thanks so much for this introduction to Janette. She is indeed doing amazing work. What I appreciate is that she sets her SMART goals and then focuses on pushing them forward.

    Her mission of assisting people in the PI with the online world is fantastic. To me, that is one of the beauties of the internet–no matter where you are, you can start and run a business. To have someone like Janette and her community there to assist, means there is a much greater chance the people will succeed.

    Kudos to Janette for her work and again, Holly, thanks for the introduction to her. Aloha. janet
    Janet recently posted..What’s Your Dream?My Profile

  47. Ms. Janette Toral is one of the most popular and respected icon in the Philippines Blogosphere. One of my favorite writing projects of Janette is the “Top 10 Influential Blogger”… I love reading this Interview, thank you for sharing, Holly! =)
    JoMi recently posted..OCCUPY TIME SQUARE: A U.S. MARINE VS 30 NYPD COPS VIDEOMy Profile

    • JoMi, that’s actually how I first met Janette. I think it was back in 2008 or 2009? I loved the way she annually encouraged bloggers to build up their blogs, their following, their relationships with each other – and gave them the recognition they deserved.
      Holly Jahangiri recently posted..Consider the sourceMy Profile

  48. Great interview Holly. This is actually your first piece I have read, and I don’t know if you could have picked a better subject on blogging. It is amazing how active the Philippines are in so many areas of technology. There are at least a hundred foundations to improve their tech prowess there, and here in America all people learn is how to Facebook. Janet sets a good example for other Pacific island nations. Technology is a way to connect the un connected, and I’ve actually had an epiphany reading this interview regarding my own writing. That’s what engaging content does though, it makes you think.
    Adam Justice recently posted..The Best Way to Promote through Social Media: Influence TreeMy Profile

    • Adam, you found us! Thank you – that’s exactly the kind of thing I crave hearing, as a writer – “I’ve actually had an epiphany reading this” – I will now sleep with a smile. I’m exhausted. I hope no one here will think me rude, but I’m going to go ice down my aching hands and sleep. I’ll reply in the morning – but I am so grateful to you for reading and making this a conversation, instead of a one-way broadcast.

  49. Interesting and well written!

  50. great article!

  51. What a beautiful interview 🙂
    Gabriel Flores recently posted..I’d Rather Watch a Leader…My Profile

  52. Love it! From a fellow Texan, thanks for the great post. Love Janette and I loved this post.

  53. I like the way you wrote this up like a live interview. Your questions asked shined a light on why you admireJanette Toral. 🙂

  54. Great post. I love the idea of setting smart goals. The notion of reaching the 100 milestone of start-ups was particularly interesting. Best of luck, Janette!


  55. I am so blessed to be connected to both Holly and Janette… I have learned so much from both of you with respect to social networking and blogging. Great interview! I have always said that if we all shared the best of who we are, our stories, our talents, our passions, the world would be a better place. You both prove that what I say is true.
    Darren Sproat
    Darren Sproat recently posted..Recognize the Abundance in Your LifeMy Profile

  56. Janette Toral is one of the foundation of Blogging here in the Philippines. She always gives advice and always encourages you to work beyond your comfort zone. I remember her telling me that, “We (bloggers) should always think of the next level. We can’t always be just a blogger.”

    Great interview Holly!

    Best regards,

    Jhong Medina
    Jhong Medina recently posted..Irving Park Road in Chicago renamed Dr. Jose Rizal AvenueMy Profile


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