Thursday, March 29, 2012

August 1997: Internet Commerce Expo Manila

WS Expositions organized the Internet Commerce Expo Manila 1997 (ICE Manila 97) at the Shangri-La Hotel Makati City.  This event introduced the WS Group to Fiesta Online, known for in 1997

2003: Level Up!

Level Up! Games licenses the Oz World and Regnarok online games.  These become popular among young players, increasing growth in Internet usage at home and in cybercafes, and promoting e-commerce through oline ordering of credits.  The company is adopting the Korean model of multiplayer online gaming.

LevelUp! in 2005

2003: PICS SME IT Excellece Awards

The Philippine Internet Commerce Society launched its PICS SME IT Excellence Awards in the 2nd E-Commerce Congress and recognized Godiva for its efforts in adopting ICT and Internet use.

Godiva in 2001

2004: PLDT vs. PLDT

The dispute over between the Philipine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) and Gerry Kaimo peaked on January 29, 2004.  A judge of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court denied the request by PLDT for a preliminary injunction.

PLDT accused Kaimo of infringing on the intellectual property of the trade name and "engaging in unfair competition for using the trade name."

This is not yet the end of the story, which started on in September 1999 when PLDT filed a 1.35 million peso lawsuit against Kaimo.  Kaimo expected PLDT would appeal the case to higher courts, while preparing his own 50-million peso countersuit against PLDT.

PLDT in 1997

1997: Internet Commerce Expo

The WS Expositions Group organizes the Internet Commerce Expo in September 1997.  This shows that Internet commerce deserves its own events.

The ATM network Bancnet operates an ISP for its member banks.  This made use of the existing connections between the Bancnet system and its members.

1998: San Miguel Draft Beer

San Miguel Draft Beer goes online. This is the first full e-commerce site operating from the Philippines.  The proponents were World Port (an Internet services consulting firm), IBM, San Miguel Coporation, nd Equitable Card Network; with the support of Intelligent Wave Philippines, and Infocom Technologies Incorporated; working with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the E-Commerce Promotion Council of the Philippines (ECPC).  This showed that the Philippines is capable of facilitating online commerce.

San Miguel Draft Beer in 1999

1994: Portal Inc.

Binary Systems Holdings, Inc. puts up a commercial online service, called Portal Inc. ( that offered "a commercial online service (much like that of Delphi, Computerserve, even AOL) which, like the humble BBS, was the precursor to the ubiquitous Internet Service Providers we have now. (The system) was a proprietary online system with its own viewers (precursor to the browsers), email, etc. It started as a commercial online service that was available to its subscribers, 24 hours a day".

This ran along the same lines as EMC Online. The systems back then were "proprietary" since no unified standard for online systems has emerge, prior to the world Wide Web and today´s standard HTML-based interfaces.

1999: Auction

Auction sites flourish, following the trend in the US, with popular services such as eBay.  These include, which closed and reopened as; PinoyAuctions, which was acquired by ABS-CBN and merged with PinoyCentral; and Bidshot, which offers SMS-based bidding.  These make use of a C2C (Consumer to Consumer) model where the buyers and sellers transact directly and the website merely facilitates the meeting of the two.

E-store also began its e-commerce store operations.

Bidshot in 2009

2001: PhilDAC

Various developments heated up the issue over the PH domain.  The group opposed the dotPH and Joel Disini organized PhilDAC (Philippine Domain Authority Convenors). dotPH president Jose Emmanuel Disini sues Fernando Contreras, Jr., president of PISO (Philippine Internet Service Organization) and ISP

2001: is found guilty of selling and distributing securities user an illegal pyramid scheme.  It was selling expensive websites.  During this time, Multi-level Marketing (MLM) schemes became popular on the Internet. 

2001: Yahoo Computer Services

Yahoo Computer Services, a local company, loses to Yahoo! Inc.  This is the first time a Philippine company enters into a domain dispute with a foreign corporation and a well-known Internet brand.  This shows that the scope of the well-known Internet names is global, and Internet companies are concerned about misuse of their name even for local domains.

1988: The Science and Technology Advisory Council

The Science and Technology Advisory Council is formed to coordinate "expatriate human resources in key development programs of the country."  Its electronic network STACnet is important because it bought interest to the fledging Philippine Internet from around the world.  The first e-mail sent from the live connection at the University of San Carlos was addressed to STACnet.

1992: Dr. William Torres, Father of the Internet

Dr. William Torres was the managing direct of the National Computer Center, the government agency promoting computerization in the country.  At that time, the US academic, non-profit Internet was of the NSF (National Science Foundation) network.  The NSF was headed by Steve Goldstein.  The two met and Dr. Torres was convinced that a full-time Internet connection was necessary.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

1994: First Live Internet connection

Setting up the first live internet connection was a cooperative effort of different groups.

Dr. Torres approached the Manila Electric Company (Meralco), and the Philippine National bank, since thy were well-funded entitles. Both declined to fund the project.

DOST Secretary Ricardo Gloria heeded Dr. Torres´ proposal for the Philippine to connect to the Internet  He included it in the Science and Technology Agenda for National Development. (STAND).  Dr. Rodolfo Villarica of the Industrial Philnet was formed. Dr. William Padolina became DOST secretary and oversaw the project.

Philnet started out with an email connection for "Phase I", performed through a dialup  UUCP (Unix to Unix Copy Protocol) connection made between the Ateneo de Manila University and the Victoria University of Technology in Australia.  De La Salle University and UP Diliman joined the dialup network to receive international e-mail through Ateneo gateway. This connection used UCCP to bcd up mail to and from the Internet from the participating institutions.

The DOST made a grant of Php 12.45 million to the IRF to implement Philnet "Phase II", for a direct, liv connection to the Internet.

The DOST contracted Computer Systems Network Corporation (ComNet), a networking equipment vendor to implement the network linking the various and universities and organizations  Arnie de Rosario then chair of the Ateneo Computer Science Department, informed the chair of ComNet, the late Dr. Willy Gan about the project. Dr. Gan drew up the PHnet network design and convinced PLDT to deliver the facilities in time for the March 29, 1994 launch in Cebu. This was to coincide with the E-mail Conference headed by Dr. John Brule, a fried of Dr. Villarica and a visiting professor at the University of San Carlos.  Benjamin "Benjie" Tan headed the technical part of the project.

Later, Philnet is renamed to PHnet to avoid naming conflict with another group, a "philosophers´network"

1994: Philippines' first internet link

March 29, 1994: The historic activation of the Philippine´s first internet link with a permanent TCP/IP connection. This was 64 Kilobit per second line using PLDT and Sprintlink, the IP service of US telco Sprint.  Benjie Tan did the activation on the router co-located at the PLDT premises in Makati City, while Richie Lozada of Ateneo handled the Cebu end. This was in time for the target date, the dad of the E/Mail Conference led by Dr. Brule, held at the University of San Carlos.

The 64 Kilobit per second line run by PHnet is upgraded to larger capacity links, until the point where PHnet buys service form Bayantel´s Internet service instead.  This is when the institutional members of Phnet shifted their uplinks to commercial ISPs.

2003: PLDT Cyber Madness

PLDT offers the Cyber Madness promo. It partners with dealers to offer computers on an installment basis when tied up with a dial up or DSL broadband subscription.  This expands their consumer base beyond customers who already have PC´s, and aim to improve the low domestic PC penetration which hurts Internet expansion.

To this date low credit penetration due to low income is a barrier to e-commerce adaptation. Traditionally, Internet commerce systems ave been dependent on credit cards. Fraud concerns also stop people from using their cards on local sites.

PLDT in 2009

2003: Online Fraud

Online merchants outside the counter block transactions originating from the Philippines and some other countries.  This measure is intended to prevent credit card fraud by blocking customers en masse, instead of addressing fraud on a case-to-case basis.  One merchant with this policy is the domain registrar, which now blocks IP connections from the Philippines.  Their blocking strategy affected local domain owners who used them to register domains.  The Philippines is known among merchants to ave high incidence of online fraud. in 1999

2000: B2B Business Exchanges

B2B Business Exchanges started operating, to offer services for corporate buyers and sellers.  These include Bayantrade, formed by a consortium of large companies; SourcePilipinas, from the Yapster group; B2B Price Now; and PhilBX (Philippine Internet Business Exchange) from the SSI group.  These systems allow companies to achieve savings and increase efficiency by bidding and procuring online.  Since the companies involved have existing relationships, this avoids the B2C (Business to Consumer) problem of Philippine e-commerce where payment systems are not well developed.

Bayantrade in 2000

2000: The E-Commerce Law (Republic Act 8792)

The E-Commerce Law - Republic Act 8792, was signed into law on june 14, 2000.  It has a scope much wider than the "e-commerce" in its name, as it also covers digital signatures and "hacking" activities.  The salient features of the E-Commerce Law are listed here:

E-commerce Law - Republic Act 8792

1996: The start of internet banking

In December 1995, Urban Bank announced its plan to start a virtual bank.  In 1997, the bank introduced its Home Virtual Banking service.

First investment bank website (information) was BPI Family Bank (
(December 1996)

Today, many banks offer transactional services over the Internet, allowing their customers to access their bank accounts and services.

1989: PH Domain

Jose Emmanuel "Joel" Disini administers the PH domain, the top level domain for the Philippines.  He obtained the rights from then-administrator of the global DNS services, Dr. Jon Postel.  He operates an e-mail service called the E-Mail Company.

This was formally assigned to him in 1990.

More info here.

2001: Blogs and Online Journals

Blogs and online journals became common.  These are text-oriented sites that reflect the daily opinions or chronicles of their publishers.  They add fresh content from a a personal point of view, as opposed to the corporate view espoused by mainstream websites.  Blogs allow bits and pieces of information from the Philippines make their way to Filipino readers abroad.  Online games (not gambling) become available with local servers,  Mindgate offers, which provide action and shooting-oriented games.  Surf Shop operates, offering boards and card games. 

1999: forum started operations.  It became one of the largest online communities in terms of message volume, users and mind share.  iAyala, the Internet venture arm of Ayala Corporation, made an investment in 2000.  Several other forums followed.  The site remains the most steadfast Filipino online community.

June 1996: The Philippine Internet Service Organization (PISO)

The Philippine Internet Service Organization (PISO) was formed with Albert Velasco of (Mailstation Net) as the first president.  This was the fruit of discussions among ISP officers since late 1995.  The ph-isp mailing list served as the online forum for these initial discussions.  On August 20, the officers and trustees were inducted in MalacaƱang by President Fidel V. Ramos.


February 1998: Asia Pacific Regional Internet Conference on Operating Technology

Local ISP´s  IPhil Communications, Mindgate Systems and Worldtel Philippines host the third APRICOT (Asia Pacific Regional Internet Conference on Operating Technology).  This technical conference was held at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel.  Internet Engineering experts from all over the world came to hold technical sessions and tutorials.  This conference has been held every year since 1996, and is hosted by a city in the Asia-Pacific region.  The event is also an important face-to-face social gathering for industry professionals.

APRICOT in 1996

1996: ISP Sky Internet

ISP Sky Internet ( put up an IRC chat room called "The Lounge" which became popular among the local community.

The cCyberspace Live ISP/online service established "eForums", the first local web-based forum and discussion system.  This was a precursor to the web-based bulletin boards that became popular in the late 90´s.

Sky Internet in 1996

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

1996: Internet censorship

Internet censorship started to spark interest among governments and legislators around the world.  The Philippine Senate called for a hearing on pornographic materials on the Internet, and summoned Internet pioneers to testify.  DOST Secretary William Padolina declares that he would rather "err on the side of freedom" when faced with censorship issues.

1995: Ayala Corporation

Companies connecting to the Internet became aware  of their corporate image.  Ayala Corporation - which would rather be a dotcom player - started its website. 

Even while top companies like Ayala Corporation ( got press coverage went online, countless smaller companies have also built an online presence.  Many of these started out as extensions of the personal page built by company staff members who were the first to go online among their peers.

1995: G-Spot

Cebu City ISP GSILink puts up G-Spot (, the first public Filipino search engine. It indexed keywords from websites using the Open Source software engine, but required users to manually add sites to its catalog.  This showed that Filipinos wanted to look for content located within the country, which could not be satisfied by foreign engines of the time.  No Filipino search engine has been able to do actual indexing of local content, until Google started offering country-specific searches.

1994: ("SCF") soc.culture.filipino

Chuck Gardner puts up the first high profile website, the soc.culture.filipino ("SCF") homepage. It is now located at This is the home page of the SCF newsgroup. Various Filipino-made web sites started going online showing the potential of Filipino content on the web, and inspired other webmasters to build their own sites.

1993: E-Mail Company

The E-Mail Company launches EMC Online (, the first online content service in the Philippines which allows its subscribers to forge a strong and dynamic online community via online chat and forums. This online service originated in the Macintosh platform using the First Class software and was originally run separate from the Internet. Along with the forums system that emerged later on, it promoted a self-contained community where everyone communicates on the same system.

E-Mail Company in 1997

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