Gus Vibal is a man on a mission. He is also, for someone literally born of the world of traditional publishing, a maverick. Mr. Vibal is the founder of WikiPilipinas, an online encyclopedia of Philippine-related content. It is patterned after the online, free-content encyclopedia, Wikipedia, wherein any registered user can write, edit, copy, use, and distribute content within the prescribed format.
Mr. Vibal is heir to the well-known publishing house owned by his family. After college in U.P., he went to work for major U.S. publishers and was at the cutting edge of the internet publishing industry and the dot.com boom (later bust). After making his mark and his bundle in the U.S., he choose to return home. Time for social payback.
He founded Filipiniana.net, driven by a desire to preserve old and rare books and other scholarly materials on the Philippines and make this treasure trove freely available to the Web 2.0 generation. The site is a digital library and online research portal that houses the most comprehensive collection of Filipino- related documents that are in the public domain. Starting with Vibal’s own personal collection, the site has grown to include Filipiniana from sources such as the National Library, Instituto Cervantes, the University of the Philippines and the Ateneo De Manila libraries.
Now Mr. Vibal has his sights set on a bigger goal. WikiPilipinas is envisioned to encompass “all knowledge areas on Philippine history, culture, sports, politics, media, entertainment, religion and business” and is geared to be “the largest Philippine knowledge database”. Its an ambitious undertaking, but if anyone can pull it off, it would be Gus Vibal. He has the zeal of a visionary. He also has what Google co-founder Larry Page calls “a healthy disregard for the impossible”.