The GOAB Story

By: Robert Cristobal

Panglao Island, Bohol.   In a beach resort hotel surrounded by rich local culture along the highway a few kilometers off Panglao Island Circumferential Road, history was being made – for the 4th time around.

Depending on which perspective you would look at it. But the most laid-back international conference known to many as GOAB and to some as Geeks on a Beach has done it again. This time with a louder bang. Albeit the organizers would probably see it as the best and most encouraging feat so far, GOAB has delivered true to its promise – fun, connections, business by the beach, chill by the sea, food & a more bustling community.

Tina Amper, the brain behind bringing the greatest minds in the startup space to the beach had previously mentioned that GOAB 3 would be her last. But most good things on this planet are just unstoppable once it began to take its course. And Tina, along with the rest of the GOAB team behind her was just ecstatic that GOAB 4 was a success.

The power duo from Sym.ph, the chief GOAB Geeks, Dave Overton and Albert Padin made the event more engaging through their hosting prowess. Looking at the schedule which appeared filled to the brim,  the community was presented with a wide variety of topics ranging from starting up your startup, funding, digital marketing and collaboration.

Mark Deutsch, the chief creative and branding Geek behind GOAB did not disappoint with his upbeat and unique take of  “geeks that rule the world”.   Doris Mongaya as PR geek and event consultant,   Leah Doris Doria as Onsite Event head, and the on-point volunteers and organizing teams were some of the magical people behind GOAB’s success.

Add to it the uber quality and varied backgrounds of the attendees and speakers made for a wonderful concoction of a productive and fun event.  As Chief Content Officer, yours truly had a fantastic time collaborating with these original swashbucklers.

Not to forget,  government support was quite visible in GOAB 4 with the very presence of Honorable Sen. Bam Aquino, a proponent of the startup bill; along with Monchito Ibrahim, Program Director, eInnovation at the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Bohol Governor Edgar M. Chatto, and others.

The international community was also visible with delegates from USA, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia to name a few. Facebook’s Internet.org was in town to promote “free internet” which everyone in GOAB kept asking – how does this work? Another huge addition to this year’s success story is the partnership event with Techstars which was held at the same venue two days before.  At the invitation of TechTalks.ph to hold their summit along with GOAB, Techstars held their APAC Summit in Bohol – a private gathering of 100 Startup Weekend organizers and startup leaders in the region.

This part of Bohol had probably never been saturated with this much crowd from the tech community before. RJ Ledesma, a household name in the Philippine entertainment culture was present – this time to be the media voice for the startups. His Bloomberg show Bright Ideas shot episodes on location in Bohol during GOAB.

So what did all of us learn at GOAB 4? The startup agenda in the Philippines is emerging and thriving with more supporters coming in. And whatever GOAB was able to do successfully – it is still and will always be part of the bigger effort that the whole startup community in the Philippines needs to accomplish.

Not surprisingly, a day after GOAB 4, everybody is already talking about GOAB 5. Don’t miss it for the world. See you in 2017!

p.s. Save the dates!  August 24-25, 2017 at a beach near you in the Philippines! TBD.  Where do you think GOAB5 should be held?  Vote here!

Organized by TechTalks.ph and the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) and co-presented by PLDT SME Nation, Ideaspace, PLDT Innolab and SmartDevNet, the 4th annual GOAB gathering was held on August 25-26 at the Bellevue Resort Hotel in Panglao, Bohol, Philippines. For details, visit www.GeeksOnABeach.com or contact hello@GeeksOnABeach.com

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