Category Archives: SIDETRACKS

A Day in Binondo

The streets are mad with red! Chinese New Year in Binondo, Manila is an opportunity for traders to display and sell different Earth Dog items this season. And I grabbed the chance to take a quick stroll between the busy streets. My friends and I came around noon at Quiapo and roamed around Binondo. Here are some photos I took with my new gadget. Kung Hei Fat Choi! Continue reading A Day in Binondo



In the presence of advance technology today, who would have thought that there are still Filipinos who have never lightened up their homes with electricity? Imagine how hard their life is, and imagine fortunate you are to enjoy the benefits of electricity while some are struggling because they have no access to it.

According to the United Nations (UN), access to electricity should be declared as a basic human right and urges all the countries in the world to make electricity available for all.

While this issue is still on debate, I, myself, who is a member of an organization which is a vanguard of rural development through rural electrification, firmly believes that indeed enjoying the benefits of electricity is a privilege that everyone should have. Though this remains a challenge for the Philippines for years, as we are limited with financial resources, the government never lost its faith in energizing the entire country from the smallest island to the farthest one by continuously capacitating the electric cooperatives and empowering the member-consumers-owners.

Undoubtedly, electricity plays an important role in rural development and in the absence of it, there is no progress, there is no economic growth and people are imprisoned with poverty. Statistics show that people who live in rural areas with no electricity are likely to stay living below the poverty line because of limited resources and opportunity.

While people who live in rural areas which has been energized, just recently, through the help of government’s sitio electrification program, experience a significant change in their lives. Records show that there is an increase in income for every household beneficiaries of the said program and this can be mainly attributed to the surge in production of their farm and higher employment rate in their area.

Brudland (1986) says that “Energy services are a crucial input to the primary development challenge of providing adequate food, shelter, clothing, water, sanitation, medical care, schooling, and access to information. Thus energy is one dimension or determinant of poverty and development, but it is vital. Energy supports the provision of basic needs such as cooked food, a comfortable living temperature, lighting, the use of appliances, piped water or sewerage, essential health care (refrigerated vaccines, emergency and intensive care), education aids, communication and transport. Energy also fuels productive activities, including agriculture, commerce, manufacture, industry, and mining”.  Apparently, the electricity serves as the main stimulant of economic growth and reduces poverty in the rural areas.

I feel grateful that I become part of an organization which was created for missionary and humanitarian purposes. While most millennials are having difficulty in finding their inner purpose in life and looking for ways on how they can make a difference, I unknowingly found mine, amidst my challenging and meaningful stay in National Electrification Administration (NEA). On the contrary with what most people think of millennials, I would be the living proof, that it is not always the monetary benefits that makes one stay in the workplace, because surprisingly, in rare occasions, it is the value or impact that you can bring to the society. It is always good to find a high paying job but it is very rare to find a fulfilling one. And even though I am not a front liner in implementing rural electrification programs of the government, I still appreciate the roles that I play in the agency no matter how small it (effort) is, because I know that I am one of the reason why some members of the marginalized sector have lights in their home.

Campus Devcon – STI Muñoz

The vogue of application development arrived at senior high and college students of STI Muñoz last September 27, 2016. Students enjoyed a two-hour seminar about the trends in game development, clean coding, hybrid programming, and bots, with the help of DevCon PH.

Little by little, students showed up to fill the entire venue, eager to know what can they expect in the first world of computer science in the aspect of leisure and entertainment, not to mention the business alongside it. Ma-Reiko Borras, a resident academic secretary and ICT coach of STI-Muñoz started the afternoon with her welcoming remarks. The first task of the students was to choose a team leader to represent their sections named after the sixteen regions of the Philippines.

Ma-Reiko Borras warms up the student body.

Ezekiel Ponciano, DevCon’s representative for the day’s event introduced Developers Connect to the crowd. Without much talk, the seminar finally started with its first speaker. An explanation of the life of a game developer was discussed by Denick Espares. He is an FEU graduate and has walked through paths of game development cycles. Denick has always been a game enthusiast. This pushed him to co-found a start-up company, NightOwl Studios, where he plays as the lead game designer. He introduced their newly developed app Velocity to the students, which they downloaded and played enjoyably.

A game application development starts with pre-production. A car that flies with automatic expandable wings and shoots bombs or a game character that uses earwax (which explodes on target) as a primary weapon. Anything is possible. The first part of creating a game is the brainstorming phase. All ideas are consolidated and analyzed for feasibility. This might be the most critical and busiest part of the process since this is where bugs are fixed and improvements to the game are constantly added. The main production phase, however, is where the real development starts. After coming up with timelines and due dates, everybody has to turn their berserk modes on.

A game is now ready to be played. It is now packed up and ready to meet its judgment. The Beta Phase shall then turn the tides up and down by developer bug-fixing and player criticism. Fortunately for a game to encounter few glitch fixes, a full market release is inevitable. Meanwhile, if a game becomes a hit or meets a significant applause from the public, it should be expected to offer support and release updates every once in a while.

Denick Espares, a fresh grad. Co-founder of their start-up company NightOwl Studios

The clarity of a programmer’s code is highly significant. Students must learn how to write their hard work in an effective and understandable manner. Edwin Richbald Salinas, discussed the way of creating clean codes. Ed is a software engineer and is currently the CEO of Convonaut. To him, a programmer’s coding technique reflects their discipline. Anyone who wants to become a developer must be capable of designing comprehensible scripts.

For newbies, early practice of clean coding can result to perfect codemanship. For existing programmers who did not begin with the right technique, it’s not a hard thing to apply. There are only a few pointers to remember.

A few tips include the use of intention-revealing names. Single character declarations can be made self-explanatory.

int x; //product of two factors

can be declared as:

int myProduct;

Another tip is avoiding disinformation. Short comments that define some operations can be made straightforward and non-confusing. For example:

//This array enlists alphabetically arranged employee surnames
$cars = array("Badiola", "Dela Cruz", "Cruz", "Delgado");

A careful review of your code can eliminate unnecessary comments that can leave false information. The code above can settle without a comment. Don’t worry about the array, it won’t judge you.

public Date dob; //date of birth

The code above is fine. But, the best suggestion would be:

public Date dateOfBirth;

The variable named ‘dob’ can stand for many things. Why not just declare it unambiguously? If you do, you make the world a better place. Another tip on naming convention applies to Classes. Class names should be a noun or a noun phrase in Pascal case. Reserve your verbs for functions. A lot of reading about Clean Code by Uncle Bob is available for purchase online.

Ed Salinas, shares about the perks of code clarity.

Humans can always get some help from artificial intelligence, whether for great use or just for fun. Jover Nuevaespaña, on “The Rise of the Bots”, talked about the new age of artificial intelligence. Bots are software applications that run automated tasks, they are abundant over the world wide web. Now, they can be run through stand-alone applications as well. Jover engaged the students to try his own creation, joverbot, by opening the commonly used facebook messenger app and chatting it up.

Since bots are easier to install, they can be distributed in a snap. Maintenance can also be a big advantage for bots since major updates can be done on the back-end alone. Although today, people are interested mainly in engaging with lots of messaging apps and find little time facing with a good bot. The time for bots to entirely meet the gen-pop can be declared transitional and shall eventually be valued highly, if not in a few years, within just a blink of an eye.

Jover Nuevaespaña, on The Rise of Bots

Kurt Nolan Lopez, the last speaker, is a Creative Director of Convonaut. He featured the use of the mobile app framework Ionic. Kurt is a freelance designer and application developer, he is a co-founder of Banyera, a start-up company which recently got in ideaspace.

Ionic app development can be very handy. It is an easy to learn hybrid programming. HTML5, CSS3 and AngularJS are necessary to come up with an Ionic application. On limited time, budget constraints, and small manpower, Ionic programming can offer its best for creation of small scale applications.

Ionic provides all the functionality that can be found in native mobile development SDKs. Users can build their apps, customize them for Android or iOS, and deploy through Cordova. Ionic includes mobile components, typography, interactive paradigms, and an extensible base theme. – source

Kurt Nolan on a quick Ionic programming run-through

Excitement still filled the atmosphere even after the lightning talks. The students were engaged in debate or what DevCon calls the “Birds of Feather” session. Two teams argued about which OS was better, Windows or Mac. One side of the team composed of one college student and two senior highs. The other team had two college students and one senior high.

Mac team (above from left to right) Ronan Nicolas Chua, Christian Matthew Alcaria, and Daniel Pangilinan. Windows team (below from left to right) Nathaniel Ocular, Jocelle Chua, and Arif Tabonawas (no photo)

Each team explained the benefits of owning a device with the said operating systems. They boasted on device capabilities on the aspect of customization, user-friendliness, security features, and affordability. They were judged by the four speakers. After a series of intense argument, the Mac team won the debate.

Nathaniel Ocular, second year CS student, speaks the good thing about Windows.
The teams with the speakers and Ms. Reiko. Mac team brought home awesome devcon geek shirts.

Indeed it was a very informative yet gratifying day for the students. Once again it was another successful day for Developers Connect, sharing knowledge around campuses like STI Muñoz. To know more about DevCon events, check out their website. To become a volunteer, fill out the online form here.

DevCon Summit 2016 is scheduled to invade MOA SMX Convention Center at November 16-17, 2016. Register now to enjoy unlimited talks from professionals around the globe and visit fantastic booths. See you there!