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The Philippine Internet turns 18: Is anyone still counting?

Since the 25th Anniversary of Philippine Cyberspace went by mainly unnoticed last August, I thought I’d get a head start on next month’s anniversary of the coming of the Internet to the Philippines by calling it early. Yes, the Internet turns 18 in the Philippines on March 29, 2012. It was way back in March 29, 1994 that the switch was turned on.

The events of the that day are more clearly defined than other tech milestones. So there’s no need to scramble to put it all together. Among others, I wrote about the events of the day in a newspaper feature ten years ago, and I’ve been luckily able to piece it back together and put the story online last August. The story was “The Day The Philippines Hooked Up to the Net” and I serialized it in 6 parts on this blog. The original sidebar article was the untold story of network engineer Benjie Tan’s role, and that is included here as well.

Check out these links:

The Night Benjie Tan Hooked Up the Philippines to the Internet  

The Day the Philippines Hooked Up to the Net (Parts 1-6):  

The question is, is anyone still counting? Today’s internet is as much a necessary a household utility as power and water that we have taken it for granted. I don’t see anyone whooping up with joy at the anniversary of Meralco’s powering up the first light bulb in Manila. So maybe it’s just as well.

But the passing of Steve Jobs in late 2011 fueled an interest in tech nostalgia – the chronicles of the late 70s hacker culture that spawned the duo of Jobs and Wozniak has been happily re-admitted into the tech zeigeist. No doubt this look at the past was also spurred by the runaway success of Walter Isaacson‘s best selling biography of Steve Jobs.

I’ve always thought the Philippine Internet pioneeers that sweated out the details deserved as much adulation as the pirates of Silicon Valley. Every hashtag that gets tweeted and retweeted today on an iPhone or Blackberry is thanks to the early foundations laid by those guys. They went off and built the ISPs that brought the online culture into the country that has slowly wormed its way into the mainstream.

Just think about that the next time you shoot that umpteenth picture of your lunch and post it on Instagram. The Ayson Chronicles