Check out the photos taken in Cagayan De Oro, Davao, Cebu, and Manila.
November 20: Cagayan De Oro City
Stephanie Caragos of Syntactics referred to the whole experience as our version of an Amazing Race. Upon arrival in Cagayan De Oro last November 20, I proceed in getting some work done and set-up for the event. Stephanie took Cannie and Abby Lim of VirraMall.com for breakfast and Del Monte Bukidnon. While Aileen Apolo, the Philippines Country Consultant of Google.com, and Jonas Delos Reyes of Yehey.com went to Xavier University.
The interesting thing about the Cagayan De Oro participant is the mix. Mostly women, a lot have no website yet but are eager to look into e-commerce. This is especially after knowing that they can accept payments online already. On the other hand, I had a glimpse of the SEO community of Cagayan De Oro City who attended the event just to catch up with Aileen Apolo.
That evening, Abby, Stephanie, Cannie, and I had an hour of nice foot spa. To think that is only P250 pesos each. We also had a nice dinner at Bigby's. Afterwards, we rested and set to take a road trip to Davao City at 3 am.
November 21: Davao City
Despite the challenges we had in resting inside the van, we were all excited upon reaching Seagull, dubbed as Mindanao's Baguio because of its cold temperature and nice breakfast service.
Upon reaching Davao, I was already occupied setting up the logistics in Rachero Grill. Definitely, our Davao event would not be possible if not for Rodney Jao of LaneSystems. Friends from the Department of Trade and Industry joined. I'm also glad to catch up with club members Chris Cubos of Fwendz, Oliver Robillo, and Dennis Agulo of Cerveo. Davao City Councilor Peter Lavina also passed by.
Most of our Davao participants are service providers, mostly male. I am hoping to see more SMEs next year to join special forums like this. It is great to catch up as well with Leng Nedtran, one of my staff back in my Compulab consulting stint days. After the event, Cannie and I visited Rodney Jao's office and had seafood dinner in Marina. We catched up with the rest of the team at BluGre Cafe and had durian coffee with Cannie. What I love about Cagayan De Oro and Davao is the abundance of free Wi-fi in a lot of locations - which is hardly existent in Manila.
November 22: Cebu City
Our flight to Cebu was scheduled at 11:30 am. Upon arrival at the airport, we managed to eat a durian ice cream and durian cake. Enjoying it with friends made it all more fun.
As we got in Cebu, Abby and I went straight to Rajah Park Hotel and got into our suite. Frederick Amores, my club member in Cebu, made the necessary arrangement to invite participants and introduced their new organization, Global Cebu. It is great to catch up with other club members too like Dann Diez and Gary Maningo.
Our Cebu participants got a good mix of both service providers and entrepreneurs. This is one stop where we got more women-related questions like - how being a woman gave an edge, one way or another, in managing an IT business.
That evening, Cannie, Aileen and I joined a friend of mine, Danny Arcenas of RuralNet, and had a seafood dinner at Saang's Restaurant. We rested immediately that night to prepare for a 6:55 morning flight.
November 23: Manila
We arrived in Manila before 8 am. I immediately went to STI Academy in Las Pinas to give a pitch for the school to join the Philippine Schools Cyberfair 2007. Afterwards, I went to our Manila venue at Racks Restaurant. The presentation of Ma. Regina Bundang of RegaloService.com summed up the various challenges that women go through in running a business online. In fact, if not for her presentation, I would not have known of this product - Author's Avenue Leatherbound Journal, which I have been looking for quite sometime now.
I had three club membership sign-ups during the event and for the first time had more women in the forum/meeting than any of the past club eyeballs I had. Club members like Joan Pinon, Gwen Nava, Tracy Chia, Manuel Viloria, Ida Bata, Charlie Gaw, Marla Vital, Tony Tinsay, Rona Quezon, Chris Tumpalan, Erick Kalugdan, and Cristina Chung took the time to attend and network with one another.
It was a tough, fun, demanding, and tiring week. However, I hope we were able to communicate our message across clearly - that women can indeed use the Internet to do business online. Especially now when you have more and more pro-active policies being put in place to support it. Ituloy AngSulong Pilipina!