My GOAB Experience in Palawan » Manila Bulletin Technology



by: Wilson Chua

Geeks on a Beach is an annual fun gathering where startups, Venture Capitalists, local and national governments, professionals and media come together. We had fun, exchanged notes, met and made new friends, had beer, had more beer, and got drunk (mostly).  It’s a party atmosphere with serious business on the side.

I left the parties early (missed Paul Pajo’s bottles of wine). And yet I was able to walk away with several important benefits:

Touching Base with OLD friends

At Geeks on a Beach, I had the opportunity to meetup with old friends like: Tina Amper, founder of (organizer of GOAB), Robert Cristobal (Frame 316), Chris Tran (VC of North Ridge Partners), Calen Legaspi (Orange and Bronze Software Labs), Emmy Lou Delfin (DICT), Dick Chiang (Dragon Pay), Atty Jocelle Batapa-Sigue (National ICT Board Member), Goldy Yancha (IdeaSpace), Jonathan Defensor De Luzuriaga (PSIA president and Spring Valley CEO), Jason Torres (Mashup Garage), Paul Pajo (SmartDevNet), Arup Maithy (BlastAsia) and Jorge Azurin (

Making New Friends

GOAB also gave me the opportunity to meet the movers and shakers of the digital world. People like Jojo Flores (Partner at Plug and Play Technologies) , Aldo Casrrascoso (GlycoProx Biosciences), Christian Blanquera (Galleon.PH), Yobie Benjamin ( , Dindo Marzon (exMozcom, Now Voyager), Jackie Chua (Synergy88 Digital), Ceeli Martinez-Miranda (GrupoMM) and Catski, Rusell Pili ( PCIEERD), Anelyn Binancilan (Mindanao Dev’t Authority), Chips Guevara (PhilDev), Miguel Warren (Payoneer), Micah Asistores (A Space), Derya Tanghe (NXTLVL academy Inc), Michelle Leong (1010Life), Stephanie Caragos (NICP President), Jet Montablan (Palawan ICT), Arnold Moralejo (Cerebro Labs), Geric Laude (Card Pioneer), Cam Krejci (PhilSmile),Dana Cruz and Erika Ison (Boldrimpact), Sherrill Lagman (Voyager) Caspar Oostendorp (Vinca Business Services), Jacinto “Jhaze” Asuncion Jr (UP’s Enterprise), Edison Go Tan (Elinnov), Natasha Dawn Bautista (QBO), Artie Lopez (Brainsparks) and Randy Manaloto (PepTarsus).

Learning New “stuff”

Crowd drawers were the sessions on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. I learned what UJO, IPFS, POPA was all about from Griffin Anderson  and John Lilic (Consensys). (Nose bleed from all the techie terms). Mario Berta (Flyspaces) gave an awesome presentation on how to sell to corporates. He did this in his sando and flipflops and somehow got away with it

away with it.

“Bitin ako” from Gian’s presentation on Ai Chat and Bots. I wished he had talked more about the meaty technical stuff. But it was nevertheless enlightening just the same.

Highly informative and thought provoking ideas from Arup Maithy and the panelist at the Digital Transformation session.

goab 2

Fresh Scoops of the Day

Citem provides support to startups for designs. DICT support the technology side of the startups with their ‘No-limit’ startup research grants (not loans, not equity investments). The fund is for basic research, prototyping for startups.

DOST provides funding for technology and innovation. DOST also has a program to help bridge the research output to the market. You need to be partnered with a state university to be eligible for DOST funding. DOST has the SETUP (Smart Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program) for SMEs that are in business for at least 3 years.

DICT is promoting digital startups through the SeedPH program. DICT also has the Philippine’s Startup Challenge for college students. Ms Emmy also shared that the ASEAN Telecom Ministers’ organization is holding the ASEAN startups contest. They are looking to send three startups to go to Singapore for the program. All expenses paid. Meanwhile the DTI has Go Negosyo Centers. Learn more about it here:


I likewise had the opportunity to cover Christian B.’s press con on and being acquired by Sterling Paper Group of Companies for 3.5 x annual revenue.


Paul Pajo shared Lambda Online schools. I think it’s a paradigm shift in online education given their study now pay % of income later. I also interviewed Cam of PhilSmiles for their ERP system that helps schools manage their students tuition, enrollment etc.


Indulging ourselves

My wife and I went to Nuat Thai in Palawan near One Manalo place. It is truly the best in spa massage. We got treated to awesome ribs by Dick Chiang (we have an arrangement you see. In PH, he treats, in SG, I return the honor). Noki Nocs for their famous halo halo. Morning swims at the private pool at Princesa Gardens Resort Hotel. Had Pad thai while overlooking the ocean with Geric at Golden Elephant.

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