On the brighter side of things

Summary:Since I started writing this blog, I've noticed that I've written mostly about negative topics about my country, the Philippines. Not that I regret discussing them, but I feel rather guilty in that readers from the region may get the impression that nothing is virtually working in this country.

Since I started writing this blog, I've noticed that I've written mostly about negative topics about my country, the Philippines. Not that I regret discussing them, but I feel rather guilty in that readers from the region may get the impression that nothing is virtually working in this country.

Here, the media tends to look on the bad, filthier side of things--looking for juicy stories on corruption and scandals that could titillate and grab the attention of readers. Being a member of this group, I must admit that I'm sometimes guilty of this.

However, some good things are happening in this country. And there are good people, particularly in the ICT field, that this nation has produced who are now making a name inside and outside the Philippines.

In fact, there's a Web site that's entirely dedicated to trumpeting these achievements as a way of compensating the depressing developments that regularly come out in the papers. The site, goodnewspilipinas.com, "highlights the good in the Filipino and the Philippines" and is a pet project of Singapore-based BBC business news anchor Rico Hizon.

One of the positive news recently is the report of research firm Ovum citing the Philippines as one of the fastest growing broadband markets in the world. The report covered countries from Asia-Pacific, Western and Eastern Europe, and the Middle East & Africa.

Ovum included the Philippines alongside Indonesia, India, Ukraine, Ireland, Thailand, Vietnam, Russia, and Turkey as the Top 10 countries with the highest broadband growth. This is significant because a greater number of Filipinos are now enjoying the benefits of ICT.

There's also the group of local techie boys who are now bringing their talent outside the Philippines, although this development is no longer new since many Filipinos have held similar feats in the past.

But just the same, it is still a source of pride for the country every time this happens, as in the case of Joselito "Jojo" Anonuevo, who was recently appointed as senior director of bsiness development for Yahoo Southeast Asia.

Jojo, a computer science graduate from the University of California at Berkeley, is fondly recognized here as employee number zero of Oracle Philippines, because he directed the establishment and operations of the software subsidiary while still based in Redwood, California, in the early 1990s. He got to hire the first employee of the local office before he went back to the Philippines and eventually joined the company.

In his new role, Jojo will be based in Singapore and will become a key member of Yahoo's regional team, overseeing the company's strategic partnerships across Southeast Asia. He is also expected to help Yahoo provide locally relevant Internet service for people and advertisers across the region.

Another IT whiz kid doing good outside of the Philippines is Winston Damarillo, who has entrenched himself as a "serial entrepreneur" by founding successful start-up firms based on the open source platform.

Damarillo has created a number of open source software development companies, including Gluecode which he sold to tech giant IBM in 2005 at a still undisclosed amount, and LogicBlaze which was acquired by Iona Technologies in 2007.

He currently sits as chair of DevZuz (formerly knows as Simula Labs), an open source "marketplace company", and Exist Global, a software engineering services company being headed by American Steve Nathan. His latest baby is a SaaS (software-as-a-service) and Web 2.0 incubator called Morph Labs, which is based in the Philippines.

Lastly, there's Diosdado "Dado" Banatao who is arguably the most famous Filipino to ever make it big in Silicon Valley in the US. This Filipino engineer's claim to fame is his invention of the semiconductor industry's first single-chip graphical user interface accelerator which significantly enhanced the performance of today's PCs.

Like Damarillo, Banatao is a serial entrepreneur and engineer, having finished his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Mapua Institute of Technology in the Philippines and a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Stanford University.

He co-founded Mostron (PC Motherboards), Chips and Technologies (PC Chip Sets, eventually acquired by Intel), and S3 Graphics (originally 2D graphics chips, renamed to SonicBLUE). He also founded and is now the managing partner of Tallwood Venture Capital.

Banatao has gone a long way from his humble beginnings in Iguig town in Cagayan province in the Philippines when he walked barefoot to a local public school just to attend classes. Now, he flies airplanes and drives high-performance cars for his every day transportation.

Topics: Asean


Joel has been a media practitioner since 1996, starting off as a reporter and eventually becoming editor of a pioneering IT trade newspaper in Manila. He is currently one of the content producers of a Manila-based developmental website.


Melvin G. Calimag is currently the executive editor of an IT news website in the Philippines. Melvin has been covering the local IT beat for the last 13 years. He is currently a board member at the IT Journalists Association of the Philippines (CyberPress), and also serves as a charter member with the Philippine Science Journalists Associ... Full Bio

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