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Thursday, August 17, 2017

PH Team in Top 10 at “ International Olympics of Technology”

Posted By: The Mail Man - Thursday, August 17, 2017
Team Opticode

The Philippine Team composed of kept the audiences enthralled during the 15th Annual Imagine Cup at the Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington.

Team Opticode whose members are Christian Lou Cepe, Jasmine Pearl Raymundo, and Rochel Reyes from the Lyceum of the Philippines University-Laguna made waves with their mobile app, Minerva, a virtual assistant mobile application for the visually impaired that taps on the power of the smartphone camera to identify objects in the real world. 

“This is a most impressive accomplishment for Team Opticode. The Imagine Cup is the world’s most prestigious student tech competition and we’re extremely proud of the team for all they’ve accomplished,” said Microsoft Philippines Managing Director Bertrand Launay. “A top 10 finish among 54 other teams from 39 countries in the World Finals shows that the Philippines can compete with the best in the world.”

Imagine Cup is considered as the “Olympics of Technology” that brings together students around the world to develop solutions with regards to the world’s toughest challenges. The competition comes with a prize of US$100,000 and mentorship sessions by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

Team Opticode came up with Minerva, a mobile app that helps the visually impaired to identify objects that they have difficulty in seeing.  Using various cognitive services running on Microsoft Azure, Minerva identifies objects in the immediate environment of users. A user can simply point their smartphone cameras at an object, say a pizza, and Minerva describes it using the phone’s speakers.

Team Opticode hurdled the national and regional competitions in order to qualify for the Imagine Cup Finals in the US. 

This is a testament to the country’s growing pool of creative and innovative talents, mostly coming from the youth that swims like fish in water when it comes to the use of technology and science. 

“At the forefront of innovation are young creative people who see the world and flip it on its head. Team Opticode is a prime example of how digital transformation can be used to improve lives. These young upstarts are pushing boundaries and turning their visions into reality,” said Launay.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

AirAsia Philippines: GOAB All the way to the Beach.

Posted By: The Mail Man - Wednesday, August 16, 2017

AirAsia Philippines will be taking Geeks all the way to the Beach in this year’s Geeks on a Beach (GOAB) international tech and startup conference.

The GOAB conference, now in its 4th year will be holding its conference in Puerto Princesa, Palawan this August 24 – 25, 2017.
Pitching in with the effort to include corporate sector partners in making a synthesis with the technology startup sector, AirAsia will serve as the air transport partner of the annual event for the 3rd straight year. 

“For the third straight year, AirAsia is supporting GOAB as part of our efforts to support promising startups and grow the tech scene in the Philippines,” said Captain Dexter Comendador CEO of AirAsia Philippines.

AirAsia, is the largest, leading low-cost carrier in Asia with its own tech innovations such as web, mobile app, e-boarding pass and kiosk services. The airline has recently introduced flights from Davao and Cebu to Palawan last April 2017.

“By giving startups, creatives, and tech entrepreneurs a global stage for new learnings and opportunities for meeting potential partners, GOAB has more than made a difference and we are thrilled to partner with AirAsia, a truly Asean airline and a global brand,” said Tina Amper, TechTalks Founder, and GOAB Lead Organizer. 

This year’s GOAB international tech conference will feature the most creative, innovative and brightest minds in the startup industry and the corporate sector. Invited resource speakers include Yobie Benjamin of and, Chris McCann of Greylock Partners, Kay-Mok Ku of Gobi Ventures, Manny Ayala of Endeavor, Aldo Carrascoso of GylcoProX Biosciences, Prasad Vanga of Anthill Ventures, Robertson Chiang of Dragonpay Corporation Miguel Perez of Ayannah, Jason Torres of, and Chris Tran of North Ridge Partners. 

PLDT, Smart, Voyager, PayMaya, ePLDT, Smart DevNet, PLDT Enterprise, and PLDT Innolab, and Ideaspace are supporting GOAB as co-presenters while ASPACE Philippines is co-producer. GOAB is held in partnership with the City Government of Puerto Princesa, Palaweño ICT Association, and DOST-PCIEERD. 

GOAB is organized by, powered by, branding by Happy Garaje, and PR by PRWorks.   For registration or partnership information or further details, visit, follow on Twitter/Facebook Geeks On A Beach, or contact

For Media Inquiries:

Doris Isubal-Mongaya
PRWorks Inc.
M         :  +63 917 791 9545
E          :
Skype  :  dorismongaya
Viber   :  Doris Isubal-Mongaya

MiCab Positions itself as an Uber Alternative

Posted By: The Mail Man - Wednesday, August 16, 2017
 Lawyer Bong Suntay of PNTOA (third from left) and Pablo Sarmientro of Atomm holds hands with Eddie Ybañez and David Varcher of Micab to symbolize their partnership. Photo by Patric P. Tulfo. Business Mirror

The recent troubles by Uber with regards to regulation issues with the Land Transportation and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) have created an enormous gap in the transportation need of thousands in Metro Maila and Cebu where Uber has been operating. 

On the morning of August 15, LTFRB suspended Uber operations for 1 month due to non-compliance with its requirements. The detrimental effect on the riding public was immediate and the internet was filled with complaints from regular Uber users.

But another viable alternative is being provided by technology. Taking advantage of the wide use of smartphones, a new smartphone application was launched and is hopefully granted approval by LTFRB.

MiCab is a smartphone app that functions just like Uber and Grab that enables the user to hail a taxicab using smartphones. MiCab has been operating in Cebu and Iloilo for two years and now Metro Manila will be the next phase of its expansion of operations. 

The app was brought about by necessity according to Eddie Ybanez, its founder. He said difficulties of hailing conventional taxicabs in Cebu are worse than in Manila and that is why MiCab was developed to serve those who would rather take alternative transport.

MiCab’s operations were successful in Cebu where they have 600 accredited taxis and 200 in Iloilo. 

Having signed a formal agreement with the Association of Taxi Operators in Metro Manila (ATOMM) and the Philippine National Taxi Operators Association (PNTOA), two of the largest taxi associations in the country, MiCab is confident that they can also expand successfully in Metro Manila.

The features of MiCab are superior to the systems being used by both Uber and Grab. It has its own call and chat interface that gives users and the drivers real-time communications that enable the user/customer to know exactly where the taxi is located in the course of waiting for the pickup. Also, it has a built-in ticketing system, an electronic wallet for payment and has reward points for the drivers as incentives.

Unique with MiCab is that it uses existing taxicab units that enhance their abilities but does not require new cars to be deployed on the road thus, easing traffic congestion. An upcoming feature is a button wherein the customer can push with regards to dangers and threats. There is also no “surge pricing” unlike in both Uber and Grab. It has a Php50.00 booking fee that goes to the driver and taxi operator so that everyone benefits for its use.

MiCab is also into advertising that uses both traditional and digital media. Another future feature will have it tie up with a healthcare organization and even a logistics and delivery service.

The transport industry will thus have greatly enhanced its delivery of services not only in human transport but also of packages and cargo.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Parking Problems? Dibz to the Rescue!

Posted By: The Mail Man - Sunday, August 13, 2017
Dibz Founders Donald Saurombe and Livias Shoko

It is a given that traffic is a big problem in urban centers in the country. Another one is parking. How many meetings have been canceled or postponed because of difficulties in finding parking space at the venue of the meeting? How many man hours lost and business opportunities missed and not to mention the frustration that brings emotional stress with it.

Dibz is an app that will form part of the solution and is now the only available solution to the parking problem many encounters daily. A startup conceptualized last February 2016 by Dibz Founders Donald Saurombe and Livias Shoko aimed to solve these problems came into being.

Dibz will make parking and find parking space available to all those who need it. It functions as a form of “booking application” that can be downloaded to any smartphone or tablet and has Android and IOS versions.

Dibz is activated and the user indicates the destination. Dibz will automatically find a parking slot for the user. Upon reaching the destination an attendant will be available to point out where the available parking slot is upon scanning the barcode sent by Dibz on the smartphone of the customer/user.

When the customer/user is about to leave the premises, Dibz is again activated and the attendant will bring the car to the customer/user.

The customer/user pays for the service by loading credits into their Dibz account and each utilization debits an amount in the Dibz system. Dibz can be loaded using credit cards, Paypal, Dragonpay, Pay Maya and G-Cash. Dibz charges at an hourly basis.

Dibz started development last April 2016 and by November 2016, it was ready for use by customers/users. 

The initial coverage area for Dibz was Makati and the Ortigas Business District. Bonifacio Global City has recently been added to the Dibz service are coverage and Pasay City and Quezon City will soon be covered by its service.

The Founders of Dibz realized necessity was truly the mother of invention and sought out a solution to the problem having spent many years in the Philippines. There are also similar applications now being used in the US, UK, France and other areas in Europe. This is the first in the Philippines.

Dibz can be downloaded here for free. Initial download will give free Php100.00 credit to the account:

Saturday, August 12, 2017

From Business Suits to Rashguards: GOAB 2017

Posted By: The Mail Man - Saturday, August 12, 2017

It is the time that tech startups hook up with the mainline corporate community and no better place than on the beach. The 5th Geeks on a Beach (GOAB) is reaching out to the corporate sector to participate in the annual conference of international and local tech startups.

This is to bring synergy the startup sector to another level by infusing it with the best practices and wealth of experience. The synthesis would spur further innovation in the startup sector.        

“Our bigger goal is to bring the right minds together to connect and initiate value-centric conversations,” said Robert Cristobal, Chief Content Officer and Singapore-based Founder.

GOAB recognizes inclusivity in its endeavors and the corporate sector is seen as a much-needed addition to the community composed of geek powered startups that have shown innovation outside the box of conventional thinking and processes.

In GOAB conferences, the challenge for tech startups is to create and innovate products and services that will be solutions or part of solutions that will be useful in the everyday business, social, economic and educational obstacles that institutions face.

The corporate sector will also benefit significantly in the innovation aspect presented by startups. This will greatly enhance their ability to increase their bottom line potentials.

Also, with Palawan serving as the venue for this year’s GOAB conference, environmental issues will also be on the forefront of creating solutions that will address these concerns.

The opportunities presented by the event will be a first in the local startup community and will serve as a template for tech startups and corporate sector cooperation and coordination in the future.

GOAB is expected to draw an estimated 500 participants along with some of the biggest names in the tech, design, and startup industry sectors from across the world in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, the Philippines on August 24-25, 2017.

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI ), which has expressed interest in investing in startups will also have one of its directors, Engr. Ramon D. Escueta, grace Geeks on a Beach in Palawan as a keynote speaker. Engr. Escueta is the President of Asia-Pacific Business and Industrial System and Founder/ President of APSYS Solutions Technology, Inc.

PLDT, Smart, Voyager, PayMaya, ePLDT, Smart DevNet, PLDT Enterprise, and PLDT Innolab, and Ideaspace are supporting GOAB as co-presenters while ASPACE Philippines is co-producer. GOAB is held in partnership with the City Government of Puerto Princesa, Palaweño ICT Association, and DOST-PCIEERD. The official airline partner is Philippines Airasia and the official ticketing partner is Ticketbase. The silver sponsors include Payoneer, Zalora, PouchNATION,, Synergy 88 Digital, Uniform Solutions, Temasys, and AtoX Solutions. The bronze sponsors are NXTLVL Academy, LabPH, Spring Valley Corporation, North Ridge Partners, Amazon Web Services, Eastern Communications, Startechup, and Gobi Partners.

The media partners are e27, Tech in Asia, Bohol News Daily by, InnoPub Media, Geeks in Cambodia, Asian Journal Publications, Balikbayan Magazine, Mobile Ecosystem Forum,,, GMA News Online, and MyTV Channel Network. 

The organizational partners are the Philippine Software Industry Association, National ICT Confederation of the Philippines, UP CeBuinIT, Digital Commerce Association of the Philippines, Developers Connect, Science and Technology Advisory Council - Silicon Valley, Mynimo, Teradoor, Israel Chamber of Commerce Philippines, and the Cloud Security Alliance Philippines. GOAB is supported by Purple Cow, Orange Hub, and
GOAB is organized by, powered by, branding by Happy Garaje, and PR by PRWorks.   For registration or partnership information or further details, visit, follow on Twitter/Facebook Geeks On A Beach, or contact

For Media Inquiries:

Doris Isubal-Mongaya
Mobile         :  +63 917 791 9545
Email           :
Skype          :  dorismongaya
Viber            :  Doris Isubal-Mongaya

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Finishers given to ASEAN 50th Anniversary Delegates

Posted By: The Mail Man - Thursday, August 10, 2017

The delegates of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) each received a copy of The Finishers by Ezra Ferraz last weekend. This was disclosed by Department of Information and Communications (DICT) Undersecretary Monchito Ibrahim at the book launch of The Finishers last August 9, 2017, at Fully Booked, Bonifacio Global City.

DICT Secretary Rodolfo Salalima managed to get a copy of the book and upon its soft launch last August 1, 2017, at the DICT head office and reading it decided that it would be a good opportunity to show to the world the quality of the tech startup sector in the country.

The Finishers was the result of Ezra Ferraz’s exposure to a startup exhibition he attended last 2016.  Ezra then proceeded to write a book about Filipino Technopreneurs who have managed to “exit” from being startups. This will depict a “Filipino-centric” perspective o what makes a successful startup in the Philippine context.

“If our founders want to build a tech company in the Philippines, there is only so much we can get from the heroes of Silicon Valley. What would serve us best is our own success stories. By celebrating our entrepreneurs who have already succeeded here at home, we can learn what it takes to survive and indeed thrive in this unique business landscape,” Ezra Ferraz said.
The Finishers relate their experiences
The Finishers tell the story of 11 “exits” from startup status that represented a diverse set of tech enterprises.

“All these founders hail from different industries. They have different functional expertises. Some are Filipino born and raised. Others are balikbayan. Still, others are immigrants. Yet they all found common ground in the shared belief that you can build a world-class tech company right here in the Philippines,” Ferraz added.

The book launch featured the “Finishers,” and they related their experiences to the attendees of the event.

It was also noted that there must be more efforts in including more women in the tech startup sector as espoused by several attendees although 2 of The Finishers were women.

The effort of the DICT to present the book to the ASEAN delegates is aimed at promoting the Philippines as a hub of technology not only in the region but also globally.

Ezra Ferraz is currently working on another book that will present The Finishers in a more globally oriented perspective.  

The author of The Finishers, Ezra Ferraz with Techblade

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Towards Resilient Communities: Smart City Congress 2017

Posted By: The Mail Man - Tuesday, August 08, 2017

The first ever convergence of young technology practitioners, private institutions and, government stakeholders for sustainable and resilient communities and cities was held last August 4 to August 6 at the De La Salle University (DLSU) Taft Campus.

Its aim is to present technology based assessments and solutions that will be utilized in making current cities in the country more resilient and sustainable in several key areas such as:

1. City/Urban Planning
2. Traffic
3. Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM)
4. Governance
5. Use of Information and Communications Technology Solutions
6. Use of Microsatellites in Philippine Development

The participants numbering over 150 students from DLSU and other colleges and universities were presented the challenge of formulating and developing solutions that will use ICT in making cities and towns sustainable and uplift the quality of living.
Participants at the Smart City Congress 2017

The targeted youth participants that will craft the ICT-based solutions are composed of 25 teams that have undergone breakout sessions that will result in the development of the solutions. 

There were keynote speakers that presented the situationers with regards to current technologies available and projected trends in urban development. These were also meant to provide the participants with key areas that they can focus with regards to their developed solutions.

It was stressed throughout that solutions contain such features as the following:

1. Governance – that such areas in government services and functions be included (ex. Permits and licensing) 
2. Transparency in processes and procedures
3. Involvement and interactive features for the people
4. Infrastructure development
5. Safety and Security
7. Urban Planning

The Smart City Congress 2017 is the first of its kind in taking the initiative towards involving the youth and harnessing ICT for future urban and city management and development.



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