Proud parent here. My youngest son, Kirk Marcus, is the lead guitarist for the band endeared with the name “Sound of Heaven” or simply SOH, which he formed together with his best friend Luigi (guitars), tagged along Kurt (bass), Zaraji (drums), and Leila (vocals) later, all Grade 8, to join this year’s Battle of the Bands at Mater Carmeli School of Novaliches. And the family’s so proud that the band made it to the finals. As a kid I always dreamed of becoming a rockstar (until theater acting got the better of me back in college), I sure hope Marcus gets to fulfill his.

The wife and Luigi’s mom’s been busy acting the band manager part, from scheduling studio practices and hiring a coach, to shortlisting songs and picking outfits. I helped out with the photoshoot and did SOH’s tarpaulin, which would’ve won the best band tarp (turned out to be bigger than most on display at the school lobby), if there ever will be one, hahaha. While they didn’t win (actually the kids didn’t really want to win because they want to qualify to join again next year) SOH surely has won our hearts with the rawness of their music, resonating the pure, youthful vibes uniquely theirs!

Here are the videos of their performances, captured with an iPhone 5s and edited with iMovie for iOS.

The bigger iPhones are here!

It’s become an annual gadgetry watchdog of sorts, even for Instagram’ers who are on the lookout to upgrade and improve their phoneography. And when Apple officially announced the much-rumored and highly-praised iPhone 6 big duo, its fastest iPhone roll-out ever, it’s only a matter of weeks before these huge iPhone-siblings are expected to get locally introduced, just in time for the snap-shooting-fest of the holiday season. The new iPhones are both equipped with the Retina HD touchscreen display, now with enhanced iSight camera featuring Focus Pixels for faster autofocus, enabling quick photo and video snapping.

As expected Globe Telecom, my network of choice and the first to bring the iPhone here in the Philippines, has already put up its iPhone 6 page at where you can register your interest for getting either the 4.7 iPhone6 or the bigger 5.5 iPhone 6 Plus. Smart subscribers need not worry, as it has likewise posted its own page at

If my guess is right, we should be snapping strikingly color-rich photos and steadier videos with the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus by November 2014, until then, we all know what we’re saving up our Christmas bonuses for.


Pre-order for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus starts November 7 while the official local release will be on November 14 for both Globe and Smart.

Spare Uber please

I have a car but I don’t drive. And when my driver went on emergency leave for over two weeks, it’s as if I was left with no choice but to commute to Makati daily for work. I live in North Caloocan, way past Fairview and almost bordering San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, that translates to about 3 hours of exhausting commute to and fro. While no cab will agree to take me straight to Makati, why I hop on an aircon bus until I reach a “taxi-friendly” spot, I was glad to have discovered Uber Manila through a friend’s tweet. Eager to try out the ride-sharing service, I downloaded the Uber app, and with the sign up credit of 300 pesos, excitedly requested my first ride. And in less than 5 minutes, I was fetched by a Ford Everest (UberBlack) that got me to my appointment ahead even in rush hour and then a Toyota Vios (UberX) on a sleepy drive to Eastwood City. This cash-less, hassle-free riding experience got me addicted to Uber. Uber is commuting in stylish comfort–there’s this excitement of having to wait or guess what car’s picking you up or riding on a different car every request–and of course the convenience of credit card payment. Compared to taxi apps, Uber turns out to be even more reasonably priced, tipping is not even required. If only Uber’s available where I live, I’d give up my car and not ride a taxi ever again. But then it’s quite understandable that Uber now only serves select areas.

To think that this is not exactly a new service, which has been quietly introduced here almost a year ago, enjoyed by credit-card-toting commuters, even car owners like me, who knew of the service by word of mouth or social media, with the originating company continuing to make headlines in countries that are traditionally taxi-riding, such as ours the Philippines. And last Thursday, social media was abuzz by news of Uber Manila being shut down, as its partner car fell in the first sting operation conducted by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Wednesday October 22. [Rappler]

And by Friday, a normally difficult day for commuting, what with the rush hour traffic affecting almost all key business areas in the metro, I was getting worried that I’d be forced to hail a cab, as I was having a hard time requesting an Uber car from afternoon until evening and I couldn’t help but think or suspect that the service must have been suspended, or worst shut down.


But before 9:00pm clocked in, I was able to catch a Vios, that would’ve arrived at my office in 15 minutes, but got lost as our building’s not that easy to find at night, yet it didn’t bother me because the driver has been calling me for directions (who by the way spoke very good and straight English) and was apologizing for the delay. I was just relieved that Uber got stung but not dead.


It was a long ride to Quezon City but my driver and I forgot the time and the traffic having discussed his company’s legal technicality problems with LTFRB. I agree when he said Uber Manila’s here to stay as it addresses or eases the problems faced by commuters every day, which our government unfortunately has been having a hard time solving. Pretty much like how those UV Express FX started out, vehicles thought to be mostly colorum, but now’s even part of the transport service being offered in various malls. The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) sided with Uber, advising the LTFRB to “find ways to reasonably assist transport services” but you can’t help but take notice of the clamor of users for the government to simply spare Uber.

Now when or how do I get that MINI Cooper, Uber please.

Snap-Filter-Collaborate via @IGersManila’s #TheColl

At the 16th Philippine Instameet that coincided with the 10th Worldwide Instameet, we announced the relaunch of @IGersManila’s Collaborators otherwise known as #TheColl. While we remain an open community (and global at that), the #TheColl relaunch aims to recognize our fellow Instagram’ers who have been supporting @IGersManila’s collaborative projects and events and address the need for tiered membership, opening up three (3) levels of fellowship to our ever growing community, as we continue to work with partners and sponsors in a variety of campaigns. And in our first ever #TheColl #MusterDate this year held at A SPACE MANILA last 18-October-2014, we welcomed a new batch of members and discussed the mechanics of being #TheColl, including the different badges/pins and corresponding goals, detailed in this video:

If you have been an avid follower of @IGersManila, you’d know that it’s one of the pioneering Instagram communities not only in the Philippines but across the globe, known for its longest running daily photo challenge #9pmhabit and the hashtag #IGersManila tagged with over 4 million photos and videos. Join @IGersManila’s Collaborators #TheColl by applying here.

At the 16th #PhilippineInstameet and #WWIM10

Last 04-October-2014, we heed the call for Instagram’s 10th Worldwide Instameet or #wwim10 (which coincides to the celebration of its 4th birthday over the weekend and in recognition of the various communities it produced across the globe) by way of @IGersManila’s 16th Philippine Instameet held at the Track 30th of the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig. I used Meetup to announce and organize invites and attendance to this instameet and I must say it did help us big time, so we’ll be using it for our upcoming events.

The seemingly gloomy afternoon did not stop fellow Instagram’ers from trooping to Track 30th by Magic Hour (the sun’s still shying low though by 4:00pm), where we did our customary mugshots, circle of energy, and the classic “Porky Adobo” (that’s open sesame with a twist for the uninitiated). My co-moderators Ed Calaycay and Petim Maminta later grouped the over 50 participating IGers into five, assigned each with leads, and tasked everyone to name their team, come up with a cheer, and form the letters of IGERSMANILA with their creatively snapped photos of subjects they see around the park. The work they presented later as we convened at McDonalds for snacks, were as expected simply awemazing! Check out this video:

Collaged snapshots of the 16th #PhilippineInstameet and #wwim10:

Another exhaustingly interactive yet fun Instameet, everyone attending went home with the official giveaway goodies sent by the Instagram HQ. We also took the opportunity to explain the mechanics of / answer questions about, the upcoming 3rd Philippine Instagram Photo Exhibit and announce the relaunch of @IGersManila’s Collaborators #TheColl. We’re still an open community, but if you want to level up your membership to @IGersManila and have fun while doing it, check if you’re qualified and apply here.

IMMAP 2014: Digital Transformation

Spent the past two days at the 8th Internet and Mobile Marketing Summit or IMMAP Summit 2014, representing my company Home Shopping Network Inc., of which I’m currently the General Manager for contact center operations. IMMAP, established in 2007, is comprised of Internet and mobile marketing professionals and practitioners of the industry. While the summit’s target audience are digital marketers or advertising agencies, businesses regardless of type or size, are sure to benefit from the ideas and best practices shared by speakers. That is, if the aim is to adapt to its evolving customers and the ever changing consumption landscape, as well as ensuring continued growth through digital marketing strategies that actually work.

I was particularly interested in knowing who the “Pinoy Digital Consumer” is, presented by Nielsen’s Carole Sarthou on Day 1, and finding out how to best serve him/her, who now spends most of waking hours on a mobile device. Good thing I was able to catch the panel discussions on “E-Commerce and Logistics” participated in by speakers from ACommerce, Xend, Island Rose, and EZtap. Day 2 offered an eye-opening keynote on “Crowdsourcing” by Rappler’s Maria Ressa and “Slaying the Elephant: Digital Transformation from the Inside Out” by DigitasLBi’s Christopher Lee Ball in the morning, which I’m sure to apply in strategizing our social media campaigns through my web services team.

Missed the afternoon sessions as I have to be at the office for an appointment, but all in all, two days well spent on picking up great ideas for companies wanting to evolve with customers who are becoming more mobile and tech-savvy. Overwhelming ideas but of great value to business for keeping up with the digital era.

Manage your photos with QuickPics

If you updated your iPhone, iPad, or iPod to iOS 8 (like I did on day one of release), you must have panicked when you realized some of your photos seem to be missing–though they’re not, actually. But gone is the simplicity of the camera roll, replaced with new folders that are supposed to keep your photos and videos effectively organized. If you miss the ease of your old media library and have hundreds, if not thousands of precious photos to scroll, then the QuickPics Photo Manager is the perfect app for you. With the all-in QuickPics app, you can snap photos, name and tag, easily find and sort, edit and share, or even send or save to the cloud.

If finding that one photo have you scrolling with frustration, then the QuickPics Photo Manager got you covered, but you should use it to take all of your photos moving forward, allowing you to immediately name and tag each photo you snap.


Use the app to name (if you prefer, otherwise photos are archived by date) and tag each photo (including old ones), even add multiple tags, for easy searching and sorting later. With its slide selection feature, you can select hundreds of photos quickly and tag them all with just one click. Aside from names and tags, the app also allows finding and sorting photos by date, so you can instantly get to the photo/s you’re looking for.


QuickPics Photo Manager comes with the Aviary photo editor, which has basic editing features yet powerful enough for your phoneography needs, such as filters (effects), frames, stickers, radial and linear blur, adjustment controls, typography among others.


Once you’re done naming/tagging or editing your photos, the app lets you directly share to your favorite social networks, insert photos into your email or text messages, and sync with your cloud storage of choice (iCloud, Google, or Dropbox).

QuickPics Photo Manager is currently iOS-only (used to be US$0.99, FREE for a limited time), but an Android version is currently in the works. Go to for more information.

#ReadyForTheX at the 5th Philippine International Motor Show

Nissan Philippines, Inc. (NPI), the sole national sales company of Nissan in the Philippines, invited IGersManila to its unveiling of the all-new Nissan X-Trail, showcased along with its other exciting vehicle lineup, at the 5th Philippine International Motor Show (PIMS 2014) held at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. Together with fellow moderators and tagging along a few of our #iCoss Instagram’ers, our group we’re fetched (with Nissan Urvans like VIPs of course, though I had to use my car) from 6750 in Ayala Center to the venue. And as soon as we’re inside PIMS–which by the way is brimming with energy from motoring enthusiasts to professional and amateur photographers (and camera-phone-wielding visitors like us) who can’t get enough of the shiny cars on display and the beautiful ladies modeling them–we’re quick to snap as many of the scene-stealers as we can then went straight to Nissan’s #ReadyForTheX event.

IMG_7777Group shot courtesy of @darthmao.

These beautiful ladies opened the #ReadyForTheX event, each modeling the Nissan vehicles on showcase: Almera, Altima, Sylphy, Patrol, and of course the star of the show, the all-new Nissan X-Trail.

The all-new X-Trail is Nissan’s contender in the compact SUV segment, which has seen much success in key markets such as the US, Japan, China and Australia. First seen in the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, it has since covered solid ground, and is set to launch in 190 countries.

The launch of the all-new Nissan X-Trail in the Philippines is actually one of the first in the ASEAN region. Having been introduced in the country back in 2003 and in 2008, and you can still see them braving EDSA traffic, proof of its durability, after years of anticipation, Nissan will finally make the third generation X-Trail available by November 2014. And if you happen to be at this year’s PIMS, Nissan’s making the X-Trail available with an awesome introductory price for each variant, so reserve yours and get exciting freebies!

Chris Schneider of Monster Radio RX93.1, did a great job of hosting the #ReadyForTheX event. I joined (or got caught on stage haha) one of his contests (spelling the X-Trail with different words) and I actually won!

Thanks to our daily icebreaker activities at the office, doing the spelling-twist was actually easy. I remember saying “tantalizing” “ill” and “love” quickly, as if I’m doing it to win that X-Trail behind our back.

IMG_7750Snapshot above courtesy of @iamkebok.

And yes, that spelling contest got me these cool Nissan USB drives. Now I’m seriously considering the all-new X-Trail for my next car, in Fiery Red! It’s also available in Pearl White, Diamond Black, Brilliant Silver, and a Special Copper Blaze edition that is available for the 4×4 variant. With a suggested retail price of PHP 1,375,000 for the 2.0-liter 4×2 variant and PhP1,580,000 for the 2.5-liter 4×4 variant, Nissan is already accepting reservations for the all-new X-Trail.


Nissan is also excited to announce a limited-time offer for the all-new X-Trail with its introductory price set at PHP 1,350,000 for the 4×2 variant and PHP 1,550,000 for the 4×4 variant which is the same MSRP as the second-generation X-Trail. This offer will run until October 31, 2014.


The all-new X-Trail emerges strong, bold, and still heavily reflective of its outstanding on- and off-road capability. It delivers an unprecedented, full sensory driving experience within a shell that is sharp, stunning, and well-engineered.

From its boxy predecessor, the all-new X-Trail shows a shift to a more modern crossover appearance – its design begins with distinctive V-motion front grille that is complemented by LED daytime running lights and boomerang-shaped tail lamps – making it the most stylish X-Trail yet.

Built and assembled in Nissan’s Kyushu plant, the all-new X-Trail’s design undeniably embodies an attractive styling. It is fit for on-road driving, but with its 210 mm ground clearance, the all-new X-Trail has more off-road versatility than its competition, giving it a good balance between performance and value for money. For easier ingress and egress, the all-new X-Trail has doors that swing wide up to 80 degrees.

Inside, the all-new X-Trail has a much bigger cabin. The interior now has a more functional layout with luxurious panels, brushed metallic accents and soft-touch surfaces. The 4×4 variant comes with multi-function switches in the steering wheel that controls the meter, audio, cruise control and hands-free phone connectivity.

The audio system has been enhanced by a 5-inch LCD monitor with CD/Tuner/MP3/AUX/USB and Bluetooth functions. Fronts seats up front slide and recline with adjustable headrests. The seat backs of the second row seats has a 40:20:40 split and comes with slide function, adjustable headrests, center armrest and walk-in function, while the third row seats have a 50:50 split with manual singe folding function and adjustable headrests.

“We are proud to launch the all-new X-Trail at PIMS because it is a model highly anticipated by Filipino fans. It’s sleek, stylish, comfortable and loaded with a lot of new features that shows Nissan’s brand of innovation,” said Antonio Zara, President and Managing Director of NPI.

This stylish urban compact SUV is a powerful machine that delivers propulsion, exudes a rugged character, and sits at the summit of its segment – dauntless, defiant and firm.

Powering the all-new X-Trail is two of Nissan’s powerful but fuel efficient petrol engines. The MR20DD 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder DOHC 16-valve engine is capable of providing 144 PS and 200 Nm of torque powers the 4×2 variant. Meanwhile, the QR25DE 2.5-liter 4-cylinder DOHC 16-valve engine produces 171 PS and 233 Nm of thrust powers the 4×4 variant. Both engines are mated to Nissan’s latest technology XTRONIC transmission.

The third generation X-Trail also incorporates world’s first features such as Active Ride Control and Active Engine Brake that make a huge statement in the compact SUV segment.

The Active Ride Control system continuously monitors the road surface and effectively alters suspension damping to control the vehicle’s pitch – managing the body roll during high-speed cornering. Meanwhile, the Active Engine Brake system assists in speed adjustments to ensure a smooth turn when stepping on the brake pedal.

Exciting features of the all-new X-Trail include Around View Monitor available in the 4×4 variant – it allows a 360-degree real time and synchronized view that helps the driver maneuver around obstacles while parking; the Hill Start Assistance system – when stopped in an incline, maintains the brake pressure for a maximum of two seconds after the driver’s foot has left the brake pedal, enabling the driver to switch the foot to the accelerator without the vehicle rolling back. NPI

Get #ReadyForTheX, follow Nissan Philippines on Facebook for updates.