Hello Google Philippines, mabuhay!

With a media invite that played around with the numbers 1-2-3 but no clue as to what’s being unveiled in the event, Google must have picked the perfect date today to kickoff the new year by announcing its new office in Manila, in line with its ongoing efforts to provide and improve its services for users and businesses in the Philippines.

I actually thought Google’s already holding office here, what with its localized services – the ingeniously and sometimes funny translations when you Google (that “Sinusuwerte Ako” button is a giveaway), Google Maps with a Filipino user interface, Chrome Web Store, YouTube Philippines – and the more recent Free Zone which is a global first. Our Filipino online community must be growing so strongly for Google to consider maintaining an official presence here, its fifth in the Southeast Asian region.

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Julian Persaud, Managing Director of Google in Southeast Asia, revealed statistics that show why the Philippines is a key country in the region in terms of its digital economy and tech-savvy population – 33 million online Filipinos – with Internet use expected to grow exponentially and likely to double in the next 3 years (ADMA 2012).

Google Philippines will be under the helm of its newly appointed Country Manager, Narciso Reyes, an Internet veteran with over 16 years of digital marketing and finance experience in Asia and the US.

Gracing the kickoff as special Guest of Honor is Undersecretary Manuel L. Quezon III, speaking in behalf of the President, sharing everyone’s excitement on Google’s deepening investment in the Philippines.

And oh, Google Philippines is also tapping into local talents, so check its job listing for updates.

Carl C. Lozano (aka Daddy C or CCLozano) is an Operations Management and Customer Service Professional, currently the General Manager of HSNI and Founder of IGersManila Philippines, one of the pioneering communities in Instagram, open to Filipino Instagram'ers (IGers) and phoneographers around the world, with its longest running photo challenge - the #IGersManila #9pmhabit - becoming the daily visual storytelling habit that continues to yield positive interaction online and offline. Keep the good vibes rolling! #KTGVR

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