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'Mahilig mag-Facebook' guy gets featured on TV for the fourth time as 'Notable Storyteller Awardee'

By Melanie Uson Published Dec 08, 2023 4:10 pm

It’s not every day that you get a full-circle moment in your life, but this guy experienced it multiple times in just 12 years—and in different versions of himself. 

Buji Babiera became a meme in 2011 after being featured on TV as someone who loved using Facebook. It was followed by another TV appearance as one of the witnesses of a road crash in February 2022. A month later, he got featured on TV again as a cycling advocate.

In a 2022 interview with PhilSTAR L!fe, he said he was hoping that his next TV appearance would be a “podcast host” version of himself. Little did he know that the next update to his so-called “multiverse” would be his most memorable so far.

On Thursday, Dec. 7, he took part in a live TV interview as a "Notable Storyteller Awardee," a title given to him for his work and passion for biking. 

In a Dec. 7 chat with L!fe, Buji, who is now a podcast host and content creator, recalled how his love for the sport earned him the Notable Storyteller Award. 

“I learned to love cycling during the pandemic. I used to think that cycling in Metro Manila was not possible until I tried it. I instantly fell in love with biking and thought that it would be great to encourage more people to ride a bike,” he told L!fe, adding that it was also the time he decided to establish his passion project, First Bike Ride, where he writes stories about all things cycling. 

“I never thought that it would reach audiences, touch people, and change lives,” he said. “From there, I eventually became a cycling and mobility advocate pushing for safer streets and decent transportation for everyone.” 

Buji also extends his stories to bite-sized videos across social media platforms, including Instagram and TikTok—where he currently has 1.8 million followers as of writing. 

He received the Notable Storyteller Award during the National Bike Day on Nov. 26, a feat that led him to his most recent full-circle moment. 

“It's from the Department of Transportation's Active Transport Project. They recognized me, most probably because I've been writing cycling and mobility stories since 2020 in my cycling platform, First Bike Ride, and because I also tell stories on my podcast Tambike Session,” he shared.

“I was invited by CNN Philippines' The Final Word show to talk about my recent award, my storytelling, and my background as a storyteller,” he added.

On the 'Buji Multiverse'

When asked about his unexpected TV appearances, Buji said he didn’t expect that social media users would find them so amusing that he became the subject of memes on social media.

“I never expected for Filipino netizens to be fascinated by my ‘Buji Multiverse,’” he told L!fe. “Some call them variants—from Mahilig Mag-Facebook variant to Saksi variant to Cycling Advocate variant and many others.”  

Apart from his features on TV, Buji shared that the viral posts have given him opportunities to get featured again in other platforms, including the podcast of veteran journalist-cycling advocate Howie Severino.

Clout and hilarious memes aside, he stressed that he’s happy with what he's doing for the cycling community. 

“I'm also thankful that what I do as a content creator was recognized during the National Bike Day awards. I'm more inspired to tell stories and to produce more meaningful content,” he continued.