Wired! Philippines

The Net, The Cyberflip and
the Philippine ISPs

by Joy Arrieta <joy_@hotmail.com>


The Internet today is continuing to grow globally at a steady rate: an estimated 60 million people around the world are predicted to get on cyberspace within the year. That's almost 170,000 people getting on cyberspace in a month.

Although the Internet has been around since the early sixties, the Philippines has been able to get on the net only in 1994. More than a decade ago, only a handful in the Philippines knew about the Internet and were actually on cyberspace. This was mostly on BBSs or bulletin board systems.

Here in the Philippines and anywhere else, cyberflips (Filipinos in cyberspace) have been taking the Internet by storm. Don't be surprised to find Filipinos on IRC. Every network, it seems, has a Filipino channel: Dalnet has such channels as #makaticity, #oi_pnoy, #manila, #filipino, #mla, #tropang_kwela; Undernet has a #filipino, and while this one channel is called #canada, you'll find that mostly Filipinos living in Canada chat here; Qdeck has #makati and #manila; Newnet has #manila and #filipino. A local server, Skyinet, has channels such as #real_people, #banana-republic and #ica-xavier.

Aside from cyberflips having invaded IRC, the Philippines is also starting to make itself a mark on the web through such sites as Yehey and EDSA, the Philippines' first search engines, a spin-off of Yahoo; PinoyMail, the country's first free web-based e-mail service (think Hotmail or Rocketmail) ; Trabaho.com , the country's version of JobSeek; Inquirer Interactive, the online version of the broad sheet; Erehwon Cybershop and Powerbooks Online, the Philippines' version of Amazon and Barnes and Noble, where you can order books online; and a number of other sites.

In newsgroups, there's alt.culture.filipino where you can follow threads of discussion that's all about and talked about by Filipinos.


So you think by the year 2000, every Filipino will be a certified netizen. Well, not all. Just a significant number of them.

Mosaic Communications started it -- it was the first commercial Internet service provider ISP in the country. That was in 1994, a year after a local academic and research network (known as PHNet) was formed by the Department of Science and Technology.

There are now over a hundred or so ISPs around the country. Cybercafes have also sprung up: a demand-driven alternative way of getting on the Internet for people who do not have computers at home or ISPs.

For a list of ISPs, cybercafes and walk-in access in the Philippines, click here .


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