There were two issues that cropped up recently here in the Philippines--both involving the technology sector, and top government leaders whose seeming stupidity is giving the country further embarrassment.The first instance happened right in front of Congress and in millions of television sets, when President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo delivered her annual SONA (state of the nation address).
ZDNet's Philippine bloggers, Melvin G. Calimag and Joel D. Pinaroc, discuss key ICT developments in their country
Joel D. Pinaroc
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
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 Association.
Despite being given the assignment to cover it, I was initially hesitant to go to the membership meeting last week of the IT Association of the Philippines (ITAP), a group that represents technology vendors in the country.It was just one of those regular meetings attended by group members, but I decided to attend anyway.
It's weird, but the last two weeks have been absolutely crazy for fans of a former band in the Philippines. Someone, it seems, has been sent by a mysterious organization to relay the information that the band is about to resurrect from the grave.
As we've written before in this section, journalists are quite fortunate to be given the chance to cover events outside of their home country. Two of the most common places we go to, like in my case, are Singapore and Hong Kong.
It's difficult to imagine now, but the Philippines was for a time the toast of Asia. Just visit YouTube and type the words "Manila, Queen of the Pacific" and "Old Manila", so you can view videos that can give an idea on what I'm talking about.
Except perhaps for some boxing aficionados in Thailand, the name Manny Pacquiao is virtually unheard of in the rest of Southeast Asia where soccer or football is the ruling sport. But in the Philippines, boxing is a religion and Pacquiao is the god of the highest order.
It may no longer be the king of the Internet, but Yahoo still casts a long shadow here in the Philippines.It wasn't surprising, therefore, when the company announced last February that it was opening a local office.
Not many good stories come out of the Philippines nowadays, so there's always a reason to celebrate when a piece of positive news comes up once in a while.One such story is the remarkable success of a project called JEDI (Java Education Development Initiative), which was first hatched and implemented in the Philippines but is now copied all over the world.
Like basic utilities such as electricity and water, technology has crept into our everyday lives in such a way that we have become so dependent on it even when we know that it's not a perfect system.If you make a random survey of the things that people can't live without, you're likely to find a cellular phone on the list.
Aside from its bountiful natural resources, the other main wealth of the Philippines is perhaps its people. Despite the poverty and corruption that still pervade in the country, the current generation of Filipinos has ably demonstrated they can surpass the achievements of their elders and raise the standard of living in the country.
Journalists are often invited to attend various events inside and outside the country. This month of May was particularly busy for me, as I was practically on the road almost the entire time.
In the Philippines, healthcare is almost an alien concept to half of the local population, especially to those living in remote villages. Would you believe that 50 percent of Filipinos die without ever seeing a doctor in their entire lives?
A few days ago, an e-mail with a subject line "Invitation to the exclusive launch of a new telco" greeted me as I opened my inbox. Not knowing the person who sent it, I mistook it first as a spam mail.
The current rice crisis gripping Asia and the United States has led experts to declare that the era of cheap food is over. That seems to apply as well in the low-cost IT labor sector, particularly in the electronics manufacturing, in the Philippines.
If you place the word "blog" in front of a mirror, it may read something like "gold". It may sound cheesy, but that seems to be the status of blogs right now--both literally and figuratively.