Sunday, August 28, 2016

Geeks Invade Bohol at Geeks on a Beach 4 Tech Convention

Wazzup Pilipinas!

For the 4th time, Geeks on a Beach (GOAB) returns better and "awesomer" as the organizers once again gathered geeks to talk about investments, startups, tech and design. The event was held on August 25 to 26, 2016 at the Bellevue Resort located in Panglao, Bohol where the beach is just a few steps away from the pavilion where the convention took place.

I am delighted to be back for the second time and hoping to attend all the future events of GOAB not just to cover for this online publication but also to learn from these peeps who live and breathe innovation and technology. 

Since I am also in the field of technology being an Electronics and Communications Engineer whose career dabbled more into Information and Communication Technology, I take pleasure in hearing about the updates and developments in the ICT scene that is now penetrated as well by technopreneurs and startups with the vision to make a difference.

GOAB is organized by, co-organized by Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), and co-presented by PLDT SME Nation, Ideaspace, SmartDevNet, PLDT Innolab, and Smart.

We arrived in Bohol via Tagbilaran a day early, August 24, so we could settle down, do an early registration at the venue, and attend Techstars sponsored dinner at Muro Ami Inn and Restaurant. There was a Techstars APAC Regional Summit private meeting held on Aug 22 to 24, and the dinner was their concluding activity.

On the first day of GOAB on August 25, the event started with a few minutes of opening talks from the lead organizers led by Monchito Ibrahim of the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) and Tina Amper, founder of and GOAB, together with Earl Martin Valencia, Paul Amerigo Pajo and Michie Ang aka Michie Riffic, while also remembering Jim Ayson who was part of the original team who conceptualized GOAB.

The two-day event was hosted by the wacky duo of Albert Padin, Co-Founder and CTO of,  and Dave Overton, Founder of The two provided some form of comical breaks to an otherwise too serious mood due to the technical nature of most discussions.

We also had the opportunity to interview Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto before attending his sponsored dinner at the Cultural Center of Bohol.

The event was also attended by Senator Paulo Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV who also actively supports the startup community. Tina Amper, as always, utters a short message but we all know she is the woman of action behind the big event we know as GOAB. You can watch the speeches and the interview on the videos we are uploading at our official YouTube channel

My only disappointment at GOAB was that it was difficult to become omnipresent at the event since there were many interesting topics happening simultaneously as talks were divided into several break-out sessions. It would have been fun if there was an app that could broadcast the rest of the sessions on my smartphone while I sit at one. Knowing how innovative these geeks are, there might soon be one in the near future.

Now that would probably require better and faster Internet connectivity and a great audio and video equipment to shoot the scenes as they progress, thus this is why we need to have more of these kind of tech conventions so that like-minded individuals could brainstorm on the next big things in technology.

A press conference was held at noontime of August 25 for the benefit of the attending media who were present in Bohol on the first day. This is where key GOAB players were again gathered along with the new faces who now joined as partnered and sponsors of the event which includes Diane Eustaquio, Executive Director of Ideaspace Foundation; and Francis Oliva, Head of Community Partnerships, PLDT Smart SME Nation.

Jojo Flores, Co-Founder and VP of Operation of Plug and Play Technology Center, encourages everyone to inform the public about, a new umbrella organization launched to boost the local startup community by identifying who's who in the startup scene. Before, there was only a Facebook group where the startup community can communicate with each other but they seem to be still only a minuscule number since there are probably more out there that we are unaware of. The organization would inspire others to form their own startups and would also help the startups connect with potential partners and investors.

Meanwhile, during the talk of Khailee Ng, Managing Partner of 500 Startups, we learned about his interest in launching a Philippine micro-fund similar to the 500 Startups’ funds for Thailand and Vietnam where the VC brought in local champions as partners. However, Ng stressed that there is nothing definite yet as they discuss the idea with local startup players in the country. 500 Startups has done eight deals in the country so far. A local fund will allow them to do more.

Congratulations to engageSpark, a digital solution that lets non-techies at non-profits (and businesses) build interactive Automated Phone Calls and 2-Way SMS programs to engage the poor in developing countries, for winning the 2nd GOAB International Pitching competition which was held on the second day, August 26. They won USD 1K and will receive mentoring and limited consultation services from the event organizers. 

The judges who were all unanimous with their choice for winner were Diane Eustaquio, Executive Director, IdeaSpace Foundation, Inc.; ​Monchito Ibrahim, Innovation Consultant, DICT; ​Arup Maity, President, Blast Asia and Xamun, Inc.; ​Khailee Ng, Managing Partner, 500 Startups; Francis Oliva, Head of Community Partnerships, PLDT Smart SME Nation; ​Tong Hsien Hui, Investment Director, Infocomm Investment Pte Ltd (IIPL); and Marc Nager, Chief Community Officer, TechStars.

GOAB ended with several group photos on stage, and an after event party hosted by of Facebook, and an after party party sponsored by Brainsparks at the beach front of Bellevue Resort. We missed these parties since our group decided to go on a firefly tour at Maribojoc, and a fabulous dinner afterwards at Persona Mesa where they served fantastic dishes that are deliciously remarkable.

We spent the rest of our fourth day, August 27, at the beach of South Palms Resort were we stayed during our four days in Bohol. The resort has a beautiful long stretch of beach front aside from the two amazing pools. The accommodation, though not as grand as the more expensive resorts, was exceptionally satisfactory. I would definitely recommend this place to my friends and colleagues,

We had a seafood lunch before going to the airport for our 1:50 pm flight but would not really recommend the place since some of their dishes had "extra" unwanted ingredients. Yuck!

Overall, my GOAB experience was once again another sensational event filled with so many learning and collaborative opportunities for all the attendees. The event allowed many to connect with potential partners and investors. The best thing is that it also inspired many, including me, to become a lot more adventurous and willing to take risks.

Needless to say, I hope to see everyone, plus new faces, again next year for GOAB 5 which is rumored to be held at Samal Island of Davao. It will surely be another much better and "awesomer" event that will top this year's GOAB.

More photos can be found at our official Facebook page

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