Category Archives: Technology

GMA Network partners with SM


Digify, Inc., a subsidiary wholly owned by GMA New Media Inc., partners with SM Supermalls in a project that aims to deepen the mall’s engagement with its consumers through a digital platform. Continue reading

Philippines as an internet nation

Empowering underserved Filipinos

Tech giant Intel partners with Department of Science and Technology-Information and Communication Technology Office (DOST-ICTO) in a nationwide multi-stakeholder digital literacy movement formed to make the entire Philippines digitally literate. Continue reading

Smart’s innovation is first in the world

From the same telco that first introduced the electronic payment system (Smart Load), peer-to-peer load sharing (Pasa Load), mobile banking and payment solution (Smart Money) and electronic remittance solution (Smart Padala) among others, another innovative service was recently introduced. Continue reading

City Snappers in full force for Canon PhotoMarathon

IN AN array of 3000 photos, how can your photograph stand out and eventually win a photography competition?

The answer is very simple; avoid clichés and standout, the photo must make a strong impact at first glance. Stand out from the crowd by choosing compelling subjects, striking colors and unusual but strong composition. This is according to Jun Miranda, a member of Canon’s Crusaders of Light, a moniker given to the ambassadors to the camera brand.   Continue reading

SPINNR Radio, anyone?

IT has been a year since Smart Communication, Inc. introduced Filipinos to the homegrown, original music streaming app that is SPINNR. And the app that provided millions daily access to the soundtracks of their lives has gone far beyond the SPINNR experience it promised from its inception.

Now the country’s most preferred music streaming service turns one year and to cue in SPINNR’s milestone,  SPINNR Radio, another free service, was launched at 71 Gramercy  in Makati on Nov. 6. 

SPINNR has revolutionized the music consumption habits of Filipinos nationwide by introducing music streaming to the mainstream market through its very affordable package offers. With the addition of SPINNR Radio, the music streaming app has taken free music listening to a whole new level.

Subscribers can now free-flowingly listen to tracks or choose a playlist they prefer via SPINNR Radio without spending anything for the data or even  a music subscription.

To access SPINNR Radio: first, download the app to your smartphone via the Play Store/App Store or go to then log in and lastly click opn Radio.

SPINNR is a homegrown Filipino music portal and mobile streaming service that enables Smart, Talk ‘N Text and Sun Cellular subscribers to download and stream songs for as low as P2.50 per day or P49 a month without additional data charges. Spinnr apps are available on iOS and Android devices, as well as on the web via

PLDT Fibr Woes

I have been a SmartBro subscriber (using a Motorola Wi-Max indoor device) since 2006 until I requested for disconnection in September 2014. From July to September I had experienced intermittent Internet connection and there were times that I didn’t have any connection at all (read related article here). Continue reading

Does @SMARTCares really care?

“Probably SmartBro Call Center agents, given the kind of toxic working environment they are in, only hear their customers but not necessarily listen to them. And sadly, this becomes the reflection of the telco company as a whole. It is strange because communication service is their business. “

A recent trip to Singapore and Malaysia tells me that internet connection in the Philippines is completely crap. Our fastest way to the Web is not even an acceptable speed compared to what our Asian neighbors are experiencing. It’s safe enough to say that our internet speed is like the PNR Trains while theirs are like Bullet Trains. There’s a big gap – ten years is a very conservative estimate.

And let us talk about customer service. It is strange that the world’s biggest banks and multinational companies turn to the Philippines when it comes to business outsourcing because of competent workforce but it is sad that local companies fall short in producing customer friendly and efficient telephone operators to deal with their queries.

As someone who has worked in phone banking for global bank for almost five years, I have a fair picture of what a quality customer service should be. Hence my experience on the September 7 with Smart call center just made me ask: Does SmartCares really care?

I have a routine every Sunday. In the afternoon, I start reading articles online to prepare for my column that is published in Manila Standard Today. To my disappointment, my internet connection was busted. Actually, it’s a problem that I have been experiencing for more than a month now.

Whenever I come home from work, I turn my laptop on to do some stuffs online. And because my internet service provider is very reliable I just turn to my mobile phone to connect to the internet. I don’t have any issue with that apart from it drains my battery empty. I have another SmartBro LTE prepaid device but I can’t use it because I hardly buy prepaid cards because I have been a Globe postpaid customer for almost 8 years now.

Going back to my story, I dialed SmartBro customer service to seek help and to follow up on an issue that has been going for more than a month now. The operator gave me the standard and canned assurance spiel,” Pasensya na po sa inconvenience, finorward ko na po yung request niyo, paki monitor na lang po yung connection niyo.”

If that’s how they define empathy in addressing customer requirements, I don’t know what they teach in their training.

Since this is not the first time, I politely asked for a supervisor because I wanted assurance, a higher authority so to speak. The operator asked me: Bakit gusto niyo pong kumausap ng supervisor? Anong problema?

I wanted to be sarcastic and tell the operator, “Walang problema, bored lang ako kaya gusto ko ng kausap,” but I tried to be civil as possible and told the operator that I don’t mean to make him feel incompetent but I just wanted to escalate my concern that’s why I wanted to speak to a supervisor.

The operator declined my request 3 times before he said he would put me on hold to get a supervisor.  He got back to me six times saying all supervisors were unavailable and asked me six times “what’s the problem about.” Finally, I got pissed off and told him, ” My problem is my connection that I cannot use for more than a month that’s why I wanted to file a formal complaint and ask for a refund but after 46 minutes, I decided that I’m going to include you in my complaint for not listening to me and for brushing me away. Wala akong problema sa comprehension anim na beses mo nang sinabi na your supervisor will tell me the same thing. Anim na beses, hindi ako bingi.”

Finally, a supervisor took over the call. And I thought the problem would be resolved. But I have experienced the worst. I tried to be as professional as possible because I wanted the supervisor to listen to me and not just merely hear what I’m saying. After telling my complaint in bullet points, the operator suddenly said hello…hello. That happened suddenly like a system error. I could hear him just fine but he couldn’t hear me. What a coincidence, yeah? Because they couldn’t brush me away as I was patient enough to talk over the phone, they pretended that they couldn’t hear me. And that’s the service I got after being a loyal customer for eight long years not to mention that there was never a time that I missed my monthly payment.

I phoned them back after the line got cut off, and interestingly, when the operator was about to transfer me to the supervisor that dealt with my concern, the line went dead again. Very unfortunate, right? And this supervisor was just too lethargic not to call me back.

Will I call them back? Probably. But waiting on the phone for several minutes while the call is held on a queue is not a pleasant experience. And being treated unfairly just adds insult to injury.

I don’t know how many SmartBro subscribers experience the same. I don’t know how many hard earned pesos are put to waste because of the service they cannot provide.

This is the kind of service I am getting from Smart amid being a loyal customer. Probably, I’m just too lazy to get the service of other provider. You can’t blame me, from telephone line to cable TV, applying for a new one is just a slow process if not a total nightmare. And it is also so unfortunate that in our area, we don’t have much of a choice.

Consumer rights are not well-defined in the Philippines unlike in developed countries like the United States or United Kingdom. In the UK for example, when a consumer did not get the product or service he paid for, he can get an outright refund. Similarly, when he did not get an advance notice or what we call billing statement, he can call his bank and ask for a refund and he will get it within the same day.

As a customer who was inconvenienced and who pays for the service I can’t get,probably I was asking for too much – a refund and an assurance that I will no longer pay for anything for a service that I didn’t get.

I have recently established a small business that requires me to have another landline. I took the landline with internet package. The agent wanted me to upgrade it with Cignal cable as an Add On, I declined because having two cable TV connections is impractical if not useless. You see, they are only good at sales talk but they failed miserably to deliver. And guess what, my new telephone line is with PLDT still, the same company that manages Smart. I filed my application more than two weeks ago and I have not heard anything from them since then.

When all you need is your back-up phone

Mobile technology makes many parts of everyday life simpler, but what happens when your favorite iPhone or Samsung died on you when you truly need them the most, i.e., make that immediate phone call or simply post a “kodak” moment on Instagram? Continue reading

Animals,costumes, dance and music

by Nickie Wang

Funny animals, bright colored costumes, and lively music are the perfect ingredients for a musical play that appeals to children of all ages. And these are the same components that makes Virgilio Almario’s Dugtong-Dugtong na Sumbong (Ang Hukuman ni Sinukuan) a live musical treat to watch out for.

The story, which is adapted for the stage by Liza Magtoto, combines two legends: the mosquito encircling the human ears; and the dispenser of justice known as Mariang Sinukuan and her kingdom in Mt. Arayat. The production promises to be a fun and exciting feast where set pieces ingeniously transform into costumes that also turn actors into different characters right before the audience’s eyes. Continue reading

Venus in Twitter universe

by Nickie Wang

Maria Venus Raj’s fourth runner-up finish in the recent Miss Universe earned mixed reactions from people who tuned in to the most anticipated beauty contest in the world. She was almost kissing the diamond-studded tiara when something happened in the Q&A portion that made the panel of judges decide to give title instead to Mexican beauty, Jimena Navarrete. Continue reading

Intensifying campaign against film piracy

by Nickie Wang

A film pirate that records the movie you are watching might be just sitting next to you. This line sounds familiar, you always see this whenever you watch a movie in theaters.

In many years that I have been in and out of the major multiplexes, I have not seen any film scalawag who got apprehended by authorities for recording even just snippets of a movie. Yes, we have appropriate laws but they are loosely implemented by the concerned groups. Well actually, apart from this fact, our laws don’t have the fangs. Continue reading

A more vivid look into WW II

By Nickie Wang

There have been many stories about the Second World War. Some of them were told in moving novels, others were made into compelling feature films, and some historical accounts were retold in documentaries, and all of them had a vivid description of the brutal nature of a war. Continue reading

Streaming Brillante’s flicks

By Nickie Wang

Brillante MendozaBrillante Mendoza has directed nine films since he started making movies in 2005. Three of these films (Tirador, Foster Child, Masahista) were exhibited at the Cannes Film Festival, and two others (Serbis and Kinatay) were part of the main competition.

To win best director award at Cannes Film Festival, which is considered as one of the oldest and most prestigious film festivals in the world, is not an ordinary achievement. The honor puts his name alongside the best filmmakers in the world like Quentin Tarantino and Ang Lee.

Recently, Brillante’s film Kinatay received two more awards at the Sitges International Film Festival in Spain. The director wanted to receive the Best Director and Best Original Soundtrack trophies but he was in Paris on the day of the awards night. He was having a meeting with a big film outfit that is willing to distribute his film Kinatay commercially. Continue reading

Judy Ann is happy 24/7

By Nickie Wang/ Manila Standard Today

Everybody is wondering how is Judy Ann feeling now that her surname is spelled as Santos-Agoncillo. The answer is: contented and very happy.

judy_annA month after her much talked-about wedding with Ryan Agoncillo, Judy Ann made a recent public appearance and answered all the questions people are dying to ask her.

At the launching of Sun Double Unlimited at Crowne Plaza Galleria Manila in Quezon City, the young superstar threw nothing but smiles and chuckles as she officially resumes to endorsing products.

“I’m overwhelmed with all the trust these products are giving me. Being the newest endorser of Sun and the latest addition to the Sun family make me feel proud. I chose this product simply because it’s affordable,” Judy Ann said. “For a person like me who is starting to have a family, Sun [Double Unlimited] is very practical to have.”

As the newest face of Sun Cellular, Judy Ann endorses the Sun Double Unlimited offer that gives subscribers the flexibility of a cellular phone plus the practicality of a landline. These services all come in one sleek unit, all in one single payment and as Judy Ann said, “both in an unlimited service.”

“Sun is the fastest growing mobile network in town. Very much like Judy Ann, Sun continues to be more exciting,” said Joan Dueñas, Sun Cellular’s vice president for prepaid marketing, while introducing the actress.

Judy Ann’s new civil status allows her to take more endorsements that do not just cater to a particular market. She said that she is beginning to realize that she can now promote products and services that people of different age brackets can avail.

“It’s fulfilling in a way that I made a sudden shift. Before the products I endorsed were only for women. Now I can actually endorse products that young children or the whole family can use,” the 31-year-old actress said.

On her silent wedding

A month ago, Judy Ann and husband Ryan Agoncillo graced the front page of almost all the newspapers in the country. In a very solemn occasion and with a few friends and relatives in attendance, Judy Ann Santos and Ryan Agoncillo tied the knot on April 28 in San Juan, Batangas.

“It was a silent wedding pero it doesn’t mean na hindi makikita ng mga tao kasi utang ko sa kanila kung ano ako ngayon,” the actress explained. “We can’t believe na nakalusot ’yung wedding namin, all the people around us had to lie to keep the wedding secret. We realized that there are people who got inspired with our wedding, so we are very happy.”

The newlyweds also had to make it clear that there were two reception parties and the one held in Manila on May 2 was really part of the whole wedding plan.

“Hindi ’yun putok sa buho, we really arranged that party for those na hindi talaga makakapunta sa Batangas. Besides, the venue in Batangas was very small and it couldn’t accommodate all the guests,” she furthered.

Living under one roof

Just like George and Cecil, the couple’s latest television project that will be aired on ABS-CBN, Judy Ann and Ryan are facing new challenges in discovering new things about each other. Now that they are living under one roof, Judy Ann made a few revelations about her married life.

“I can say that I’m very happy that I married a perfect husband. Nakakatawa kasi isang buwan na pala kaming kasal. It only means that I’m very happy right now. The only thing na hindi ko pa nakakasanayan ay ’yung tawag ko sa in-laws ko. I used to call them Tito and Tita,” Juday (the actress’ nickname) shared.

While the couple temporarily lives in the house of the Agoncillo’s, Judy Ann revealed that there’s a special place that they are still trying to finish designing and furnishing. She did not give any other details about it but she said that the special place is located somewhere in South Luzon.

“We are busy with the new house. It has four bedrooms on the second floor and one on the first floor. It’s not that really big but it’s enough for people like us who are starting a family,” the actress said.

The Agoncillo couple is just like any other new couples who want to start building a home. Ryan and Judy Ann are excited to have an angel who will be a brother or a sister to Yohan, Judy Ann’s adopted daughter.

“Ewan ko parang puro hangin lang ang laman ng tiyan ko. But having a baby soon is our plan, pero kung hindi pa ibibigay, we can patiently wait,” she shared.

On her perfect husband

To walk down the aisle is every woman’s dream. The actress said that she had attended six wedding ceremonies and thought that she will never have the chance to exchange vows with someone who will be her lifetime partner.

“I thought I’m going to be an old maid kasi lagi na lang akong bridesmaid sa mga kasal na pinupuntahan ko,” she quipped. “Kaya when my time came to walk down the aisle, I wore my hair down, and chose a perfect gown. I felt like I was a fairy.”

When it was her time to tie the knot, she made sure that the wedding will go smoothly like the way she and Ryan planned it. As her face exudes a certain aura of happiness, she said that she has found a perfect match and a perfect husband in Ryan, who has become more caring and loving to her after the wedding.

“Masarap isipin na ’pag gising mo sa umaga kaharap mo ’yung taong mahal mo. We are taking small steps in enjoying the married life. Now that we are married, Ryan became more caring, mas maalaga siya ngayon,” Judy Ann said.

Although they already made this lifetime commitment, Judy Ann said that they still keep a personal space. As a Culinary Arts graduate, Judy keeps the kitchen as her territory or the place where she can explore and work alone.

“In the house I was telling about, nandoon ’yung dream kitchen ko. Ryan and I agreed na akin ’yun at sa kanya ang garahe,” she ended while still wearing a sweet smile as if her wedding just happened yesterday.

The fastest way to the web

By Nickie Wang

optic-fiberInternet is already a staple part of the lifestyle of this generation. Students and teachers, businessmen, writers, or even ordinary people depend on the internet as if it’s a lifeline.

Downloading and uploading are no longer buzzwords but already common terms used by many people. If the internet connection is slow, it would simply be a total nightmare even for anyone who’s just wandering over the web.

So what are the great benefits of a fast internet connection? The list is endless because a high-speed internet connection is definitely a boon to everyone.

SkyCable, the leading cable TV service provider in the country recently launched SkyBroadband with internet bundles that set to be the national standard for internet connection speed.

The company’s internet connection facility is pushing its limit by providing up to 12 megabytes per second (yes you have read it right, 12 mbps) downloading speed. It is the fastest residential broadband internet service in the country today.

“We have addressed our customers’ concern for speed. We have improved our broadband package. And now we created the fastest residential internet service connection in the market today. We basically created a service that is four times faster than the fastest residential DLS service available,” said Mr. Rodrigo Montinola, vice president for Marketing of SkyCable, during SkyBroadband party at Warehouse 135 in Makati City .

During the event, some laptops were available so that the media and other invited guests could  have a sample experience of what the SkyCable official was talking about. Everyone was amazed with how fast their internet navigation experience was with this groundbreaking development. Some of the guests checked out their emails, visited their favorite sites, and viewed streamlining video clips.

Formerly known as ZPDee Cable Internet, SkyBroadband was launched to align with the “Sky” brands that have been paving the way for groundbreaking innovations.

“We wanted SkyBroadband to be identified with SkyCable. With the unique advantages of these brands, we will be able to provide unparalleled communication and entertainment services to our subscribers,” Montinola furthered.

SkyCable did a test by downloading a 701 mb movie file using SkyBroadband 12 mbps package and the fastest residential DSL speed available which is 2 mbps. With Sky, it was completely downloaded in 55 minutes up against with DSL that took more than 8 hours to download the file. The company also tried to upload a 21 mb file and the result: its service uploaded the file in just four minutes while it took fourteen minutes for the DSL to upload the same file.

“They are actually incomparable because we are offering a faster speed, but we just want gto ive some numbers so people will actually think that when we say we are fast, we are really fast!” SkyCable official affirmed.

Montinola explained that SkyBroadband’s interesting advantage is that it uses big cable lines that can support higher bandwidth that can carry more data. With higher bandwidth, it allows subscribers to navigate the web faster and download huge files seamlessly.

He also mentioned that the speed that Sky provides is ideal for home networks and subscribers who use multiple applications in any given internet session.

SkyBroadband is initially available in Las Piñas, Makati , Mandaluyong, Manila , Muntinlupa, Pasig , Parañaque, Pasay , Quezon City , San Juan , and Taguig. For inquiries, contact its Customer Service Hotline at 631-0000 or visit its website at for more information.