With the boom in netbooks and laptops, the increase in wi-fi- spots (especially the free ones), the production of mobile internet modems, and the ability of cell phones to connect to the world wide web, going online now is no sweat.

This is undoubtedly a very good thing. After all, the internet has become such a huge and indispensable part of our life. It makes our work easy. It connects us with everyone. And it entertains us no end, of course.

However, the online life has its drawbacks, especially when abused. Sure, we may have multiple accounts and countless “friends” in the several social networking sites out there, but if we spend all our time in front of the monitor inside our room the whole day, we restrict ourselves to just those who are online. And not everyone has an active online life, believe it or not. There are still others out there who’d rather share an apple pie and some passionate chitchat with a friend instead of just staring at a Mac the whole day.

Been spending too much time online? Here are some suggestions on how to live a more “real” life.

Instead of signing in on Yahoo! Messenger or Skype, grab the phone—the dusty phone in the living room and not your cell phone—and call someone you haven’t talked with for a while now. Catch up, gossip, reminisce, share cool new songs and even sing a line or two, or reveal how you find Dennis Trillo so irresistible with his fake accent in “Adik Sa’yo.”

Instead of opening your Yahoo! Mail or Gmail inbox and forwarding green jokes or inspirational messages to your contacts, go old-fashioned and write letters. Nobody really writes and receives letters nowadays so imagine how fun it’d be to receive one. Write long letters to your old friends, relatives, batch-mates or even crushes. Use your trusted sign pen or buy some cool stationery and glitter pens if you’re feeling a little creative. Don’t forget the doodles—and maybe some actual pictures too. You can even personalize and go graphic-crazy with the actual envelopes. Another fun part is choosing some postage stamps, licking them and sticking them on the envelopes.

Instead of watching videos on YouTube, why not watch a movie? It’s always romantic watching one with your significant other. It doesn’t even matter if it’s a rom-com, a horror flick or a serious tearjerker; watching movies in a movie house—preferably with generously buttered popcorn—is always romantic. Single? Invite your friends and have a laugh trip with the latest blockbuster or the intriguing suspense movie. A big group is always bound to have lots of fun, even if you end up being thrown popcorn at for being rowdy. If you’re more active and creative, make your own movies! But instead of uploading it on video-sharing sites, plug your cam to the TV and have a fun viewing with the gang.

Instead of visiting online stores via Multiply, drag your lazy butt out the house and discover new finds on your own. Be brave and go to Quiapo, Divisoria and Baclaran for the first time. Discover bazaars. Go to remote malls. If you like reading food and restaurant reviews, go ahead and visit these recommended food joints. Why just drool over them online when you can actually taste them?

Instead of Googling your crush, organize a reunion with your college, high school or even grade school batch-mates—and hopefully come across old flames, or even fall for new ones! Bury the hatchet with some schoolmates, and strengthen the friendship with others. After all these years (plus the maturity you all should have by now), so many things have definitely changed. It’s always intriguing and exciting to find out about all the new things going on in other people’s lives.

Instead of going to imeem or iTunes, go watch a concert. It doesn’t have to be at the SM Mall of Asia concert grounds or the Ultra. Go to a small bar or a cozy coffeeshop with some talented acoustic performers and you’re sure to have a good time. For all you know, they’re future stars—and you saw them ahead of everyone else! Make it an even more memorable night by going onstage and jamming with the performers. Make a fool of yourself just to satisfy the gang, or flaunt your vocal gymnastics skills (and hope to be discovered). Don’t forget to record your little show. That’s something you can blog about or even upload once you’re back to your online life.

Instead of blog-surfing, go to the library and read. That will strain your eyes less. Or you can drop by National Bookstore and check out the many yummy books out there. Stock up on magazines. Support Philippine literature. Revisit the classics. The scent of books is something unparalleled and coupled with a nice drink in a quiet, perfect spot, you are sure to have a great, fulfilling time.

Instead of searching for new “friends” in Facebook and Friendster and then adding them, why not make new ones without the help of your computer? Go to a bar, a party, a friend’s family reunion, a book event, a mall show, a concert or whatever, and be extra friendly. Help someone who’s lost. Compliment a stranger on their cool clothes or style. Borrow the ketchup bottle from the other table. Ask for the time and say thank you. Let someone go ahead of you in a line. Chat with the cab driver. Smile at a complete stranger.

Instead of tweeting on Twitter, go to the zoo and look at the birds—and the scary lions and the sad elephants and the bored orangutans. It’s not every day that we see animals, and they can be so captivating and charming and funny and just a sight to behold. You might even want to adopt an animal or buy one after your trip to the zoo.