‘Mahilig mag-Facebook’ guy in viral news segment now a cycling advocate

February 22, 2023 - 7:30 AM
Lester Babiera-feb-2023
A screengrab of Lester Babiera in an interview with "TV Patrol" in 2011 and Babiera in an interview with GMA's "Dapat Alam Mo" in 2023 (lester.babiera/Facebook)

(Updated; Feb. 22, 9:27 a.m.)  Remember an interviewee tagged as “mahilig mag-Facebook” by a news outlet several years ago?

He is now a cycling advocate.

Lester Babiera is a social media user who has appeared as an interviewee in news outlets four times in a span of 12 years.

The first was in 2011, when he was tagged by ABS-CBN’s “TV Patrol” as “Mahilig Mag-Facebook.”

The segment became a meme because of how he was identified.

Babiera said that during that time, he was asked by a friend if he had tried Facebook’s then-new video chat feature. His friend was a radio show producer.

“I agreed because I know how it feels to work in the media, and getting someone on cam can be difficult. I didn’t expect that he’ll tag me as ‘mahilig mag-Facebook,'” he said in an interview with PhilSTAR Life last year.

Babiera’s second TV appearance is on February 2022 with GMA’s “Unang Balita,” where he witnessed a road crash in which a drunk motorcycle driver crashed into a delivery truck.

“I was the cyclist who was almost hit by the drunk driver. So while I was waiting for the police investigation, GMA reporter Darlene Cay came to cover the incident,” he said.

“She interviewed me because I saw the whole thing,” Babiera added.

His more recent TV appearances now tag him as a “cycling advocate” and someone affiliated with the Bantay Bike Lanes Movement.

Babiera said he owns a cycling website called First Bike Ride. It has a Facebook and Instagram page as well.

The site promotes biking as a primary mode of transportation and shares stories “to encourage everyone to ride a bike.”

His latest appearance is when he was interviewed on GMA’s “Dapat Alam Mo!” on February 15 following the planned removal of dedicated bike lanes in Makati City.

READ: Instead of ‘sharrows’: Bike, pedestrian lanes, sidewalks other ideas for safer roads

The move has since been deferred to March after transport groups and cyclists protested the plan which would force them to share lanes with public utility vehicles.

RELATED: ‘Complaining works’: Move to defer Ayala Avenue bike lane conversion lauded

The “#MakeItSaferMakatiMovement,” which First Bike Ride is part of, said that it welcomes the latest initiative of the Makati government to “enhance measures to further protect bikers.”

“We have always believed that the Ayala Avenue bike lanes set the gold standard for bike lane width, protection, and servicing the mobility needs of not just cyclists, but of commuters and all types of road users,” the movement said in a statement.

“We believe that Makati should continue to lead the country in best practices,” it added.

“We look forward to working together to make Makati more sustainable, more equitable, and safer for all, especially for our most vulnerable road users,” the movement continued.

Meanwhile, Babiera’s latest TV exposure led him to compile his overall appearances and joke that there is a “new variant” of his name in the “Lester multiverse.”

“At nagbago na ulit ang [apelyido] ko (rolling-on-the-floor laughing emoji),” he wrote on Facebook on February 15.

“From mahilig mag-Facebook to Saksi to Cycling Advocate. Isa na akong Bantay Bike Lanes Movement. #ProtectedBikeLanesNow #MakeItSaferMakati #CommuterDinKami,” Barbiera added.

“Natatawa pa rin ako sa character development ko,” he said in an interview with Interaksyon.

Babiera’s first TV appearances listed his last name correctly but in his third one, he was identified as “Lester Bubiera.”

His fourth one, on the other hand, listed him as “Lester Barbiera.”

Babiera’s post has made its way to a Facebook group, where it has earned 1,900 love and laughing reactions.

“From ‘Mahilig mag-Facebook’ to ‘Bantay Bike Lanes Movement’ spokesperson. You can’t spell multiverse without ‘l e s t e r,'” a Facebook user said with emojis.

Babiera said he is hoping his love for cycling will lead him to be labeled as a “podcast host.”

“My friends are joking, telling me na baka next time, PBB Housemate na raw ako,” he quipped to PhilSTAR Life.

“[But] I have a podcast about cycling that will launch on March 10. It’s called ‘Tambike Session’. I hope I get to promote it on TV, too — that would be awesome!” Babiera added.

A link to his podcast can be seen in the replies thread of his tweet featuring his TV appearances.