Thursday, May 31, 2007


Songs Turn Oldies but Goldies, IT to Faded Glories

Posted By: Efren ES Ricalde @ 8:06 PM
Comments: 0


Twenty seven years ago, the number one hit tune was You Shook Me All Night Long - AC-DC . Developing my RPG programs will not be completed without the piped-in music like Another One Bites the Dust - Queen, Fame - Irene Cara, The Rose - Better Midler, Lady - Kenny Rogers.

Previous years to that, the most popular songs were
My Sharona - The Knack, Ring My Bell - Anita Ward, Honesty - Billy Joel, Reunited - Peaches & Herb. Top 1,2,3 were London Calling - The Clash, Dance the Night Away - Van Halen, and Highway to Hell - AC/DC, respectively.

Today, those songs turned to oldies but definitely goldies.

In 1980, I attended a month long S/34 courses at IBM Philippines at Paseo de Roxas. These courses are GS Systems Analysis Techniques, S/34 Systems Design and Implementation, S/34 Workstation Coding, and S/34 Workstation Programming Workshop. The course was offered for P8000 inclusive of 2 snacks, lunch, materials and lab exercises.

Manuals were thick and that was the only thing
that I remembered about the course. I even brought with me some of the manuals to Brunei hoping that it maybe of use.

Now, with Java, OSS, and new IBM SW technologies, the S/34 is certainly obsolete. High tech then was made to "Faded Glories".

And forgotten, but not in my blog. Never.

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Al Gore's Book : "The Assault on Reason"

Posted By: Efren ES Ricalde @ 4:34 PM
Comments: 0


The astronomical increase in revenue of the major TV stations weeks before the election were contributed by the massive political advertisement. Excluding talks shows, it was very noticeable that the political fora at Plaza Miranda were replaced by 20 to 30 second commercials allegedly paid by the friends of the candidates.

Here's an article published at Time Magazine on Al Gore's book "The Assult on Reason". We see parallel local political realities, over-indulgence in TV and transformation of "well-informed citizentry" to "well-amused citizenry". Here's some excerpts from the 16 May 207 issue of Time Magazine :

Not long before our nation launched the invasion of Iraq, our longest-serving Senator, Robert Byrd of West Virginia, stood on the Senate floor and said: "This chamber is, for the most part, silent - ominously, dreadfully silent. There is no debate, no discussion, no
attempt to lay out for the nation the pros and cons of this particular war.
There is nothing. We stand passively mute in the United States Senate."

Why was the Senate silent?

In describing the empty chamber the way he did, Byrd invited a specific version of the same general question millions of us have been asking: "Why do reason, logic and truth seem to play a sharply diminished role in the way America now makes important decisions?" The persistent and sustained reliance on falsehoods as the basis of policy, even in the face of massive and well-understood evidence to the contrary, seems to many Americans to have reached levels that were previously unimaginable.

A large and growing number of Americans are asking out loud: "What has happened to our country?" People are trying to figure out what has gone wrong in our democracy, and how we can fix it.

Those of us who have served in the U.S. Senate and watched it change over time could volunteer a response to Senator Byrd's incisive description of the Senate prior to the invasion: The chamber was empty because the Senators were somewhere else. Many of them were at fund-raising events they now feel compelled to attend almost constantly in order to collect money - much of it from special interests - to buy 30-second TV commercials for their next re-election campaign.

The Senate was silent because Senators don't feel that what they say on the floor of the Senate really matters that much anymore - not to the other Senators, who are almost never present when their colleagues speak, and certainly not to the voters, because the news media seldom report on Senate speeches anymore.

Radio, the Internet, movies, cell phones, iPods, computers, instant messaging, video games and personal digital assistants all now vie for our attention - but it is television that still dominates the flow of information. According to an authoritative global study, Americans now watch television an average of 4 hours and 35 minutes every day - 90 minutes more than the world average. When you assume eight hours of work a day, six to eight hours of sleep and a couple of hours to bathe, dress, eat and commute, that is almost three-quarters of all the discretionary time the average American has.

In the world of television, the massive flows of information are largely in only one direction, which makes it virtually impossible for individuals to take part in what passes for a national conversation. Individuals receive, but they cannot send. They hear, but they do not speak. The "well-informed citizenry" is in danger of becoming the "well-amused audience." Moreover, the high capital investment required for the ownership and operation of a television station and the centralized nature of broadcast, cable and satellite networks have led to the increasing concentration of ownership by an ever smaller number of larger corporations that now effectively control the majority of television programming in America.

In practice, what television's dominance has come to mean is that the inherent value of political propositions put forward by candidates is now largely irrelevant compared with the image-based ad campaigns they use to shape the perceptions of voters. The high cost of these commercials has radically increased the role of money in politics - and the influence of those who contribute it.

That is why campaign finance reform, however well drafted, often misses the main point: so long as the dominant means of engaging in political dialogue is through purchasing expensive television advertising, money will continue in one way or another to dominate American politics. And as a result, ideas will continue to play a diminished role. That is also why the House and Senate campaign committees in both parties now search for candidates who are multimillionaires and can buy the ads with their own personal resources.

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Tennis Tournament at Brunei Shell

Posted By: Efren ES Ricalde @ 3:37 PM
Comments: 0


Yesterday, I was looking for some document of the early meetings of the MaSci Foundation when I chanced upon old pictures and clippings from Salam, the official publication of Brunei Shell. Below, in one of the tournaments, I partnered with Mando and finished runner up.

Tennis games in Brunei started immediately after office at 4PM and ended at about 9PM, if it didn't rain. We usually played at Brunei Shell Recreation Club at the back of the head office in Seria. Sometimes, I also played at the Panaga Club, about 5 blocks aways from the HQ. By the way, tennis was a seven day a week sports activity!

My first tennis instructor was Jess Belamide, a Cebuano working at SES department. Oh, we played till 11PM even if was drizzling. He was so patient to teach tennis though it was not really the scientific way of hitting forehand and backhand. He sliced the ball most of the time.

As soon as I picked-up the game, we joined tournaments in both clubs. Jess was not really keen to join the tournaments, that I partnered with a very good friend , Mike Basubas (now the president of furniture manufacturers' association in Cebu) and later on with Mando Oteyza as shown in the photo.

Playing at Makati Sports Club last week, upon the invitation of Rotarians Mong, Bert and Andy reminded me of the hard court surfaces in Brunei. Tennis is the same everywhere - warm people, happy heart, lots of water, raucous laughter, missed shots, could-not-forget winners and disappointed loser.

Tennis is best for you than badminton - call me at 0918 844 7024.

Love 40!

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Business Advice from Ernie Del Rosario

Posted By: Efren ES Ricalde @ 1:14 PM
Comments: 2


The first month of the year is when we usually scout around for colleagues and partners to review and comment our business plan.

Since 1999, GSI has been working closely with UNISYS on a GIS project and had been interfacing with their key account managers and technology experts. Ernie Del Rosario, one of the technical experts of UNISYS, was our focal point person and had been advising us on how to move forward with the newly signed contract.

A day before January 4, 2000, I called Ernie requesting for his insights on the GSI's business plan for new millennium. The next day, he replied with the following heavyweight punches:

1. Starting resource positions are very poor predictors of future industry leadership (So don't worry if GeoSpatial does not now have the mountains of cash or command legions of talented people. These should not hamper its ability to win a preeminent position in the Spatial Intelligence industry)

2. Too often competitors are judged in terms of resources than resourcefulness (For GeoSpatial to get into the future first is more of a function of its resourcefulness that resources. Resourcefulness stems not from an elegantly structured strategic architecture , but from a deeply felt sense of purpose, a broadly shared dream, a truly seductive view of tomorrow's opportunity. Maybe you should first do a scan of the GIS battlefield and find a niche where to put your dreams on - a sweet spot of the SI (Spatial Intelligence) industry in the foreseeable future.) Who was Bill Gates in the late sixties vs who was IBM then? Only the the dead dream not.

3. Most companies are over-managed and under-led. You should not fall into this trap. Beware of overbearing controllers and HR heads. Remember once I reminded you to develop leaders than managers? Leaders you develop (and let freely fly), managers you hire (and put in a corner). Leaders know which forest to hack through, managers know which machete to employ, how many machete-wielders to deploy and how sharp the machetes should be to efficiently hack through the possibly wrong (managers don't care) forest.

These three strategic key points became GSI's development and governance pillars to effectively develop and deploy project and solutions.

Eight years has passed, I have yet to invite Ernie Del Rosario from his post in COMELEC for coffee. We hope GSI can once again snatch his valuable time to have a look at the company he steered towards leadership in ICT/GIS and institutionalized good governance. Ernie, GSI has been calling you.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Windows (The Bill Gates' Software) In Filipino

Posted By: Efren ES Ricalde @ 9:58 PM
Comments: 0


Out of the many JPGs I received, the Windows Filipino version is the most interesting and amusing. Unfortunately, I could not anymore track down the source of the images.

The translation reminded me of my ES11 class under Dr. Pacheco of College of Engineering, UP Diliman. Well, he conducted our
class in Filipino.

So, a traditional mechanics book describes an object in equilibrium as :

"Summation of vertical forces is equal to the summation of horizontal forces".
Then he described that state of equilibrium in Filipino as :

"Ang suma ng mga pwersang pababa ay katumbas ng suma ng mga pwersang pahalang".

Who says Filipino is not an effective language to develop the nation's competitiveness!

And what about those who read Liwayway, Kislap, Ang Taliba, and Bulaklak, took Speech 1 in Filipino...?

Well, I am sure they are not contact center agents.

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Developing a Strategic Mindset

Posted By: Efren ES Ricalde @ 7:29 AM
Comments: 0


My second tour of duty in Brunei ended on a Friday, an ominous day of 13 June 1997. Like a soldier returning home, I must move on and stay in the country to recirculate, be with my kids and create an enterprise.

Business 101 in Brunei providing ground zero experience in marketing, selling and basic finance were good enough to start camping out and plan to execute a business.

Planning was easy. More coffee even make it easier. Hmm, how to execute was the huge wall to tear down to get the business going.

One of sisters, Joy was doing her MBA at Ateneo and reading a lot of books and case materials to prepare for her thesis. And I got hold of her book on strategic management. For the next six months, I was reading the book and helped Joy write her thesis. The thesis should have been titled "Constructing the Launch Pad of GSI".

The strategic mindset is key to starting up an
enterprise. It separates boys from men and determines the winners of daily skirmishes in corporate battlefield. Strategic management maintains the entrepreneur's "eyes" focused on a wide angle view of the enterprise to telephoto view of specific components of the business.

But that's my own internalization of the strategic management. What I learned from
SBEP at UAP is best described in Wikipedia :

Strategic management
is the process of specifying an
organization's objectives, developing policies and plans to achieve these objectives, and allocating resources to implement the policies and plans to achieve the organization's objectives.

It is the highest level of managerial activity, usually formulated and by the Board of Directors and performed by an organization's Chief Executive Office (CEO) and executive team. Strategic management provides overall direction to the enterprise.

“Strategic management is an ongoing process that assesses the business and the industries in which the company is involved; assesses its competitors and sets goals and strategies to meet all existing and potential competitors; and then reassesses each strategy annually or quarterly [i.e. regularly] to determine how it has been implemented and whether it has succeeded or needs replacement by a new strategy to meet changed circumstances, new technology, new competitors, a new economic environment., or a new social, financial, or political environment.” (Lamb, 1984:ix)[1]

Strategies after strategies, charts to many more charts - GSI slowly emerged from several McDonald's, Jollibee and UP campus meetings in January 1998. Its first name was a mouthful - Geomatics and Environmental Management Consulting (GEMC). Several of my classmates and graduate students of MS Remote Sensing of the UP College of Engineering participated. One of those who attended the initial brainstorming meetings was Abigail Ramos now with WWF.

Making GSI's strategic framework rock solid for my colleaguesto execute, there could be a third tour of duty in Brunei - being a diplomat.

Another dream to dream about.

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Monday, May 28, 2007


Extinction Benchmark - Three Species Every Hour

Posted By: Efren ES Ricalde @ 5:24 PM
Comments: 0


Since, Saturday I had lined up three articles for posting. Until now they are still queued for publishing awaiting some JPGs for insertion. Suddenly I remembered an article I read at on the speed by which species extinction is occurring. Therefore, this post.

Last week, I attended the forum on "Biodiversity and Climate Change" held at the auditorium of the National Institute of Geological Sciences. It was conducted on the occasion of the 2007 International Day for Biodiversity. To protect biodiversity, mitigation measures were propose which include reforestation of denuded lands, protection of the 20,000 sq km coral reefs, restore 500,000 has of mangrove forests and protection of remaining forests.

How fast must we put our acts together before it's past tipping point?

Indeed, it was a shocking news from that the earth is fast losing its species. Here's a copy of the article :

UN Urges World to Slow Extinctions: Three Each Hour
By Alister Doyle

Wednesday 23 May 2007

Oslo - Human activities are wiping out three animal or plant species every hour and the world must do more to slow the worst spate of extinctions since the dinosaurs by 2010, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

Scientists and environmentalists issued reports about threats to creatures and plants including right whales, Iberian lynxes, wild potatoes and peanuts on May 22, the International Day for Biological Diversity.

"Biodiversity is being lost at an unprecedented rate," UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement. Global warming is adding to threats such as land clearance for farms or cities, pollution and rising human populations.

"The global response to these challenges needs to move much more rapidly, and with more determination at all levels - global, national and local," he said.

Many experts reckon the world will fail to meet the goal set by world leaders at an Earth Summit in 2002 of a "significant reduction" by 2010 in the rate of species losses. "We are indeed experiencing the greatest wave of extinctions since the disappearance of the dinosaurs," said Ahmed Djoghlaf, head of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. Dinosaurs vanished 65 million years ago, perhaps after a meteorite struck.

"Extinction rates are rising by a factor of up to 1,000 above natural rates. Every hour, three species disappear. Every day, up to 150 species are lost. Every year, between 18,000 and 55,000 species become extinct," he said.

"The cause: human activities."


A "Red List" of endangered species, however, lists only 784 species driven to extinction since 1500 - ranging from the dodo bird of Mauritius to the golden toad of Costa Rica.

Craig Hilton-Taylor, manager of the list compiled by the World Conservation Union grouping 83 governments as well as scientists and environmental organisations, said the hugely varying figures might both be right, in their way.

"The UN figures are based on loss of habitats, estimates of how many species lived there and so will have been lost," he told Reuters. "Ours are more empirical - those species we knew were there but cannot find."

UN climate experts say global warming, blamed mainly on human use of fossil fuels, will wreck habitats by drying out the Amazon rainforest, for instance, or by melting polar ice.

The World Conservation Union also said that one in every six land mammals in Europe was under threat of extinction, including the Iberian lynx, Arctic fox and the Mediterranean monk seal.

"The results of the report highlight the challenge we currently face to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2010," European Commissioner Stavros Dimas said.

Europe's goal is to halt biodiversity loss by 2010, tougher than the global target of slowing losses.

Another report by a group of farm researchers said that global warming may drive many wild varieties of plants such as potatoes and peanuts to extinction by mid-century, wiping out traits that might help modern crops resist pests or disease.

The WWF conservation group and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society said that whales, dolphins and porpoises were "facing increasing threats from climate change" because of factors such as rising sea temperatures.

A survey in Britain said climate change might actually help some of the nation's rare wildlife and plants - such as the greater horseshoe bat and the turtle dove - to spread to new areas even as others faced threats to their survival.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007


Project Apollo 13 - Getting Out Of Crisis

Posted By: Efren ES Ricalde @ 7:58 PM
Comments: 0


Built on rock solid business model and innovative strategies, GSI has survived several corporate crises. The first crisis sparked off from a non payment of about P4M by a partner was resolved on a day-to-day basis. That was easy, we moved on and contained the business ills.

The second one was rather too punishing caused from a very poor cash flow from government projects. That was almost a point of no return. But, GSI must not fail.

Night after night I was watching war movies to learn how platoon leaders and generals were able to turn around a defeat to a victory. One of the Vietnam War movies, "We Were Soldiers" caught my attention as it showed great leadership and precise decision making process. Based from Wikipedia -

"We Were Soldiers is a 2002 war film that dramatized the Battle of Ia Drang which took place in November 1965, the first major engagement of American troops in the Vietnam War. It was directed by Randall Wallace and stars Mel Gibson. It is based on the book ‘We Were Soldiers Once ... And Young’” by Lieutenant General (Ret) Hal Moore and reporter Joseph Galloway, who were at the battle."

DVD after DVD, I have consumed most of the most war films. What about other crisis situations than war? Then I remembered a failed lunar landing - the Apollo 13. A 1995 movie of the same title was shown but I never had a chance to watch it. I prefer to play tennis, read and play the guitar than to watch a movie.

So, I got hold of the DVD, and watched it four times, almost memorizing the sequences of events leading to a "successful failure". With insights on averting disastrous failure, I wrote the strategic framework "Apollo 13 - Turning Around GSI" in May 4, 2002.

The crisis led to a lot of confusion and dissertion that made so many information buried in mud.

As in "Houston, we've had a problem", our team accepted the fact that we are in the middle of a ferocious storm - waiting to be wiped out by the shear force of Category 5 wind. We defined the problem - financial.

Setting up the roadmap and action schedules to hit the ground, a mind set of "Failure is Not an Option" permeated the company.

We looked back and analyzed why we must NOT fail. We quantified the values GSI has generated and the goodwill it has contributed to the society .

It was interesting to note that GSI trived in crisis and chaotic business environment because it was formed in the middle of the Asian Economic Flu of 1997.

Therefore, GSI has been resilient at very start.

Next step we hurdled was to make an inventory of "What Good Things Have We Got". And we found many. Those were
good enough to set things moving and confront the crisis.

Days turned to weeks, weeks to months, months to years - grinding slowly at the start in mitigating the crisis until speed was achieved to comfortable do business with confidence.

Looking back, it was GSI's clear vision of the future as well its adherence towards honesty, integrity and hardwork that saved us from the black hole of failed business. Our clients, suppliers and partners did not turned their back on us.

As of today, GSI is still owned by us. No external fund was infused by banks, investors or financial insitutions.

Without COO/EVP Gemma Pelagio, CFO Annie Fabre, COB Hermes Dorado, Ambassador Encomienda, Engr Tato, and SBCorp "Failure is Not An Option" would have been rewinded to "Houston, We've Got a Problem".

To my fellow entrepreneurs and the SME space, I am looking forward to share with all you the details of this blog to assist you mitigate and adapt to business concerns and crisis.

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Derecho Classical Guitar

Posted By: Efren ES Ricalde @ 3:59 PM
Comments: 3


The ukelele was the earliest stringed instrument I ever played. I was influenced by my late uncle, Tito Ariste who played the harmonica as well the ukelele.

My love for the instruments grew during our visits to Arumahan, Lemery, Batangas in 1960s and 1970s. The magic of music is often heard from a neighbor and a relative across the street who played the banduria and guitar to the tunes of rondalla music.

At Manila Science, my parents bought a nylon stringed guitar (approximates that of a classical guitar) at Raon Street in Avenida Rizal. It played good music till my sophomore year at UP Diliman, later it was replaced by a good looking classical guitar.

Then in Brunei, I got a brand new Made in Japan Yamaha classical guitar from a local shop in Kuala Belait. It became a permanent member of the Kuala Belait Catholic Church choir. So every Sunday from 1981 to 1988, I played the guitar either for church choir, Filipino Community Cultural Presentation for the Sultan's Birthday - playing and singing "Anak" and jamming with Alan Smith who was an office mate at Brunei Shell.

The better guitar came into being when an expatriate from Brunei Shell sold his Aria Classical Guitar - that was a beautiful and sweet sounding guitar. My ignorance of guitar during that time made me miss to identify its specification like type of wood used. Sadly, I lost the guitar in Brunei in 1996 to a dishonest Filipino after sequestering it. At his most recent visit last April, Pg Redzuan planned to assist me locate the Filipino who is now working at Brunei Shell to recover the guitar.

So, for many years I missed playing a classical guitar until GSI bought one at Yamaha store in SM Megamall in 2001. Used by the member of GeoMinstrels, the GSI band, the classical guitar proved to be a reliable instrument. With some polishing and varnish work, it will easily beat those that are on display at JB Music store.

Searching for a quality classical guitar was my pre-occupation that started in the first quarter of 2005. While attending an IBM Forum in May 2005, I tested several guitars from Spain, Japan, Mexico and US at the Yamaha store at Plaza Singapura on Orchard Road, Singapore. Prices ranging from US$500 to $2000, I was not convinced of its value considering that the sound was exceptionally good.

One summer afternoon when I was searching for a classical guitar instructor at UP College of Music, I was introduced to Tabo Derecho, a luthier or guitar maker. He played his Derecho Guitar made in 2003 and I was impressed of its clear tone and presence. A week after, I met Tabo at my office and played his guitar. I owned it the next day and has been an occupant in my GSI office. With a new teacher, Eugene Apa, a son of a luthier, I have been discovering innovative ways to produce better tones and music.

For two years, my Derecho guitar has been continuously producing quality classical guitar music!

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Programming The IBM 360

Posted By: Efren ES Ricalde @ 7:46 PM
Comments: 2


On my junior year at UP College of Engineering at Diliman, one afternoon after collecting the book allowance from GE Scholarship fund at UP Admin building, I took a DM bus in front of the Oblation, got off at Raon and walked towards Claro M. Recto. There, on the strip between Avenida Rizal and FEU are second books for high and college students.

From a pile of second hand books mostly medicine titles, I chanced upon an easy to recognize title - it hase "IBM 360" on its spine. Excited, I pulled it out and browsed through its contents. Jackpot, it was one its kind in the Philippines - "Programming the IBM 360" by Clarence B. Germain, copyright 1967 and published by Prentice-Hall.

Lifting from the Preface, the books contains "As far as practical, the coverages of PL/I, COBOL, and Assembly Language are independent of each other so that the reader may omit topics at will. The book is written for 360 Models 25, 30, 40, 50, 65, 75 and 85."

Its maiden journey in the academic world was at my ES26 (Fortran Programming) class at UP Engg. The machine problems solution in Fortran IV are punched on 80-column IBM cards and processed on an IBM 360/40 of the UP Computer Center beside the chapel.

After which it has gone a long way. After UP, I used it to assemble lessons in teaching Basic Computer Systems (BCS) at Data Center in Avenida and also computer school of Vince Vargas and Dr. Paul Aquino. Teddy Tiu, my former champion at IBM now with AutoCad was one of my COBOL students at a special computer class from Dr. Aquino's office.

During an interview in January 1981 for a designer/programmer post at Brunei Shell, the book was an excellent material for the Programmer Aptitude Exam. Then in July 29, 1981 it was in a check-in box full of books on a PAL flight to Brunei Darussalam. For eight straight years, it stayed with we in several company houses in Panaga, Seria and W51/2, W21 Kuala Belait.

Today and forever, the book will now be part of the digital world - in my blog.

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Biodiversity and Climate Change

Posted By: Efren ES Ricalde @ 4:18 PM
Comments: 3


  • Today, I attended a Forum on "Biodiversity and Climate Change" held at the auditorium of the National Institute of Geological Sciences. It was conducted on the occasion of the 2007 International Day for Biodiversity. With me was Hermes Dorado, our Chairman of the Board.

    We attended the forum as coping with climate change is one of GSI's corporate social responsibility pillars and a component of the company's Strategic Program named "Modernizing the Philippine Archipelagic State 2015".

    Dr Ed Listanco, Director of NIGS opened the forum by situating climate change based on geological perspective and the anthropogenic cause of climate change.

    A paper on "Climate Change and Biodiversity" written by Dr A.C. Alcala of SUAKCREM, Siliman University was distributed. The highlights of the paper are :

1. Climate Change is not a new Phenomenon

  • at the peak of the ice age 20,000 years ago, the sea levels was 100-120 meters lower than what it is now as large as volumes of water were held in ice
  • The earth slowly warmed resulting to rise of sea level. The present sea level was reached 6,000 years ago
  • The carbon dioxide concentrations fluctuated in past but the trend in rise has been dramatic during the period of 1900 to 2000 AD.

2. Natural Causes of Climate Change

  • continental drift
  • volcanic eruption
  • earth's tilt
  • comets and meteorites
  • ocean currents

2. Human-induced causes

  • use of fossil fuels
  • deforestation
  • human activities that increase production of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases
In less than 300 years since the industrial revolution, humans have burned a
large amount of oil, gas, and coal as source of energy. According to the
conclusion of climatologist, the primary reason for rapid changes in
temperature, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases is human use of fossil

3. Effects/Manifestations of Climate Change

  • Trapped heat from the sun and increased temperatures on ground and oceans
  • Heavy rainfalls in some areas and droughts in others
  • Glaciers melts and spring comes earlier
  • Rise in ocean levels and salt water intrusion into land
  • Changes in ocean circulation
  • Permanent stratification of ocean waters
  • Changes in weather patterns

4. Quantitative Measurements of Changes

  • Total global temperature change since 19th century is 0.6 degree C
  • CO2 concentration in atmosphere before industrial era (1750) was 280 ppm +/- ppm
  • CO2 concentration was 367 ppm in 1999, 377 ppm in 2004
  • 280 ppm was exceeded during the past 420,000 yrs and not within the past 20 million years
  • Oceans absorb about 1/3 of human-induced CO2, uptake declines with absorption

5. Experts' Predictions/Conclusions

  • Possible rise in global temperature could be from 1.4 degrees C to 5.8 degrees C by 2100
  • Large climate related impacts predicted, for example, hurricanes and typhoons would increase in severity
  • End of Ice Age, the disappearance of Glacial Ice in the North Pole
  • It will take centuries for CO2 level to come down to the pre-industrial level of 280 ppm from the 377 ppm today
  • With more CO2 absorbed by oceans, efficiency of building calcium carbonate skeletons by marine organisms is lessened/prevented, thus could lead to extinctions

6. What are we to do?

  • Change energy consumption patterns
  • Increase sequestration of CO2 already in the atmosphere by implementing Kyoto Protocol, reforestation of denuded lands, protection of the 20,000 sq km coral reefs, restore 500,000 has of mangrove forests
  • Protect remaining forests
  • Adopt measures to increase soil storage of rain water
  • Conserve natural marshes
  • Avoid reclamation in coastal areas and building structures on reclaimed areas which are vulnerable to rising sea levels
  • Strenthen foundations of buildings in reclaimed areas to decrease risk to sea level rise and coastal erosion
    I have attached a program showing the list of other speakers.
    A plenary discussion followed and I asked two questions
  • 1) Is CDM a priority strategy considering that the Philippines is not a major contributor to CO2 emission? Should we be more focused on adaptive measures to sea level rise?
  • 2.) Considering that Philippines is an archipelago, should we now make an inventory of our islands before they are drowned by the sea level rise? Indonesia is doing it now before it is too late. Hermes mentioned the strategic importance of island inventory as it is the basis of the country's boundary lines.
    Finally, a 14-point Forum Resolution was formulated which will be posted on for comments. I look forward that we will all read the resolution and submit our own reviews and recommendations.

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Monday, May 21, 2007


A Blog to More Blogs

Posted By: Efren ES Ricalde @ 10:35 PM
Comments: 0


Last week, I finally reorganized my home blog MaSci to GSI to include those activities, issues and creative efforts I wish to share. Ryan, our Web designer, enhanced the home page and it is ready to go.

Dropping some of my interests such as carpentry, gift wrapping, frame making, etc, a final list was made:

1. TENNIS - Oh, without tennis my life as an entrepreneur would have been spent most of the time taking pills and resting in the hospital. Hitting a ball either cross-court forehand or inside out forehand is executed properly and consistently during practice. And it follows naturally during games.

There is something I wish to share with you - tennis sharpened my skill to make my competitor irrelevant and discipline to hit a winner!

2. PHOTOGRAPHY - Good photographs are made not taken. I am not referring to the use of image processing tools to create excellent shots nor making artists out of PhotoShop operators. Photography made by an artist needs creativity not software tools, imagination not experimentation and a great deal of abstraction not manipulation on PCs.

Visualization and photography assembles various components of a event effortlessly creating myriads of opportunities to arrive at a unique picture. It is similar to shooting a winning photo by capturing a fleeting moment.

3. POEMS. My users at Brunei Shell commented that I can paint a picture to describe a solution while my parents used to advice me to be more direct to explain something. That's how I learned to write poems - explaining in words to basic minimum. Hmm, that does not compute!

4. eGOVERNMENT - Developing several information technology solutions for the government gave me an opportunity to explain why the Philippines missed the boat unlike IT leaders such as India, Singapore and Vietnam who are now riding high.

Moving forward, let us have leaders and champions to act as conductors, enterprise architecture not information strategic systems plan to serve as music sheet, knowledge experts not bureaucrats to perform as musicians and we have a symphony called eGovernment.

If and only if (the usual Geometry iff) a harmonious, normalized, and focused egovernment team rides the boat (no lawyers, zero kibitzers and politicians), "this nation can be great again".

5. THE DISCIPLINE TO LEARN - Bad news - fewer people are reading, students are not performing well is aptitude exams. Good news - lesser TV viewing, more reading, minimize computer games and Nintendo, more creative efforts to make your own toys than plastic Toy Kingdom stuffs, engage in competitive sports, play a musical instruments are the ingredients for success as a student and entrepreneur.

The Discipline To Learn are for parents, brother and sisters, tutors, house helps, teachers, DepED, guardians, principals, out of school youth, school administrators, UPCAT reviewers, board examinees... and many more.

Eleonor Roosevelt said, "The world belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." Dream that we will build a community of happy students and entrepreneurs.

Finally, we will say to each other, "Success belongs to those who are disciplined to learn."

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The Great Leap For IBM

Posted By: Efren ES Ricalde @ 10:07 PM
Comments: 0


As a company, our second most important innovation was a major shift to IBM technology, ie, the five pillars and Linux. The "creative destruction" happened in a blink. And the following blog item described how a brave maneuver was executed.

A Comment To Buell Duncan's Blog

Trackback URL:

Dear Buell,

As the leader of GeoSpatial Solutions, Inc or GSI (, I have a wonderful experience to share about Java and Linux.

Prior to joining the IBM ISV program in September 2003, GSI is a 100% Microsoft shop for six years. Our SI projects were developed primarily in VB and .Net. In that that period of time our company did not grow.

Overnight, upon signing the ISVA contract, GSI was transformed to a 100% IBM based solutions provider. But there were many challenges in that shift. These were: fear of the transition to a new platform, lack of confidence to market and sell IBM based solution, and uncertainty of generating business.

With those mother of all challenges, GSI got over the hill. How - IBM assisted GSI. It changed the GSI business model, i.e., from delivering SI solutions to deploying repeatable solutions, introduced the SSM to monitor opportunities and sales, provided joint sales and marketing initiatives, and joined in solutions architecting activities.

Now,we have strategic wins and created many applications using IBM technology, Java and open source. GSI is deploying PRC LERIS, eMindanao Portal, eCREBA Portal, and eNTC Portal. All those applications are developed using the IBM Five SW Brands, eServer, Java and Linux.

From zero growth during the 6-year Microsoft era, GSI grew 5x in one year and 10 months of being an IBM partner.And still growing. Out of the eCREBA portal, a fulfillment company is formed - CGI (CREBA-GSI Inc). CGI is 50% owned by GSI. (For your information, GSI is NOT anymore a partner to CGI.)

GSI is completing a MOA with a major bank in the Philippines. The partnership aims at providing an On Demand GIS service, a component of eCREBA. For 2005, GSI envisions to start portal and GIS projects for the energy, environment and banking sectors.

After attending the IBM PartnerWorld Conference at Las Vegas last February 2005, I bought an interesting frame in New York which says : "JAVA - Give me enough coffee and I will rule the world". It seems that's a lot of IT leaders drinking coffee!


Efren E.S. Ricalde
President/CEOGeoSpatial Solutions, Inc
Posted by eericalde on Aug 18 2005, 05:19:00 AM EDT

Reply from Buell Duncan

efren, thanks so much for taking the time to share your experience. our goal is straightforward...ensure this mutual success between geospatial and ibm continues to grow and for the long term!! you are a great example of taking advantage of real shifts in the market and what can be accomplished when we work together.
Posted by Buell Duncan on Aug 19 2005, 10:48:00 AM EDT

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Tennis Then and Now

Posted By: Efren ES Ricalde @ 4:25 PM
Comments: 0


On the playground of the MaSci (Manila Science High School) is where I had the first glimpse of tennis right on the courts of Philippine Columbian.

Thirty-nine years ago, I wouldn't miss tennis at MaSci. The usual 7AM flag ceremony is conducted on the playground beside the tennis courts. So as we were singing the national anthem, the tennis match was suspended as players at the other side of the fence stood still to finish the anthem. Never did I dream that I would be involved in the sports of tennis.

Four years later, our IV-Einstein senior class homeroom was located at the second floor of the Bordner Building. That time I had a vantage view of the tennis courts. After my bag is settled on my designated seat, the window on the northern part of the room was the usual hangout to watch tennis. Players were all in white attire and used wooden rackets. Sometimes a ball or two flew over the fence to the grassy patch of the playground. Those became marked balls and were used for softball games if the sports equipment room was locked.

Volleyball and pingpong were the popular sports in MaSci. Occasionally there were softball and basketball. Rizal Memorial Stadium, a jeepney ride away from the school not tennis was a usual hang-out to watch softball games, not tennis.

In May 1971, MaSci was slowly fading away after graduation so was tennis.

Then I bought Shine, my first tennis racket at a Raon sports shop. Head, Wilson and other brands were quite expensive. During Saturdays, An office mate, Ed Mateo and myself had our Tennis 101 drills at the rooftop of EEI building at E. Rodriguez Ave now C5. In 1979, I finally landed on a tennis court at Rizal Racket Club in Pasig using a red Head racket. Occupying the 12 to 1pm slot, we literally owned the courts.

Serious tennis started in Brunei in August 1981, my first month in Brunei Shell Petroleum. Oh, I had the luxury to play in two clubs, BSRC (Brunei Shell Recreation Club) and Panaga Club. My gear consisted of a Spalding racket and Puma rubber shoes. Game schedules were 5PM to 9pm almost everyday including weekends. With the absence of a professional trainor, our ground strokes, volleys and serves were not polished. But game after game of tennis made my stay in Brunei most enjoyable.

Going back to the Philippines, Meralco Tennis Club, became my home court. Jimmy Ledesma, a class A player with excellent ground strokes, was my first professional trainor. Since 1994 I have been playing tennis with Jimmy. And tennis I did learn.

Since 2003, Onay Cruz has been my trainor. A faulty forehand and weak backhand were corrected and improved. Now, I enjoyed every stroke and every game of tennis.

Playing tennis was not about a mighty forehand nor a powerful serve. The game is built around the players's ability to focus, patience to practice, quick mind to make decisions and anticipation to hit the ball early.

Tennis being a great sport, built my resilience to deal with very demanding and stressful business environment.

Here's a challenge, play tennis and learn to focus. Enjoy!

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Friday, May 11, 2007


Ali Baba And The Six Thieves

Posted By: Efren ES Ricalde @ 7:08 PM
Comments: 2


Speak no evil, hear no evil, see no evil. In grade one was where I learned that quotation from my teacher and former principal, Miss Honesta Cruz of Rafael Palma Elementary school.

Forty three years later, though I did not speak evil, however I heared evil and saw evil. And the evil was a of bunch of thieves right inside our office. With apologies to Ali Baba And The Forty Thieves for the thirty four unaccounted thieves.

That in broad daylight, these gift bearing thieves in business suit and barong tagalog attacked by gaining our trust and confidence with sweet tounge, little intelligence and slight of a hand.

With a swift scoop, they stole a lot! Our savings, work, allowance for our children, money for a new car, vision, our sweat, early retirement, a white "genius" elephant and our dreams were lost drying our eyes of its tears and tearing our hearts apart.

But before that happened, I had warned my folks that "I thought I saw a thief" and I named them all. If it were not for the two knights in shining armour in rescue, the thieves would have cleaned everything including our honesty and integrity. What a sigh of relief when a fortress and moat was built by the knight in golden armor and a phalanx of spears from the knight in platinum armour were mounted. We are secured.

But thieves beware.

Sometime in1983, a bully neighbor turned thief was knifed dead on a basketball court two decades after he stole my wooden gun toys. That time, being so poor my parents could not afford to buy a toy so I have to make one out of scrap wood. He got my toys but not justice even though the killing was witnessed by everybody watching the game.

Working in Brunei at about mid-1996, a similar bunch of thieves attacked me and my close friend, Pg Redzuan. Months later, the car bearing the thieves met a horrific road accident. The car was total wreck as it was sliced into two. A tragedy struck the thieves like a lightning bolt felling a tree in two pieces.

And what would probably happen now that we lost a million times that of Brunei? Well, maybe a bunch of thieves turned to a heap of dust on a basketbal court or ionized in the middle of the road.

De ja vu?

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A Man Of Exceptional Intelligence and Integrity

Posted By: Efren ES Ricalde @ 11:47 AM
Comments: 0


We could not imagine what GSI is today without the opportunity given to us by Gabriel Leiva because GSI could have been a vanishing dot on a radar screen just like a crashing jet plane.

Sometime in the first quarter of 1999, as we were in middle of a negotiation for the PhP 22M contract to develop a computer system, I was called by Gabriel in his office. Without hesitation, he asked, "Do you have any enemies in the industry?". "No!", was my immediate reply and explained that GSI was just 10 months in existence and we are not even known in the industry.

He was referring to an email sent by a company engaged in... (my lips are sealed). As quickly as he retrieved the email, its content was read to me. It seemed that the sky has fallen flat on my head when I heard the company was advising Gabriel not to sign the contract with GSI. He continued to read the email, "(Efren) will sell the company, not finish the project and ran away with the money".

Seeing that the color of my face changed from red to pale white and outspoken to speechless, Gabriel stood up and exclaimed, "Do you think I will not sign the contract. Don't I trust you?" Still motionless from the shock of the email, I replied, "Please, give us this opportunity and we will deliver".

Knowing the email sender, I was scared to death that they will strike again to win a contract fraudulently. The persons mentioned in the email were known in the industry to rig bids and corrupt public officials. But common good prevailed. The dark clouds of greed and deception were all wiped out by Gabriel's single stroke of honesty and integrity.

All negotiations were done at UNISYS office in Makati. Several technical discussions with key UNISYS guys, Vic Monroy and Ernie Del Rosario, were conducted professionally. Prior to any technical proposal evaluation and contract negotiation, we never had coffee, lunch or dinner with any UNISYS officer or staff. Maybe, GSI then has no budget for marketing!

After probably about 20 revisions of the contract , a final agreement was reached and a version for signature was circulated. That was the big break that made GSI.

Looking back it was the triumph good over evil, prayer brigades over corrupt corporate giants and David over Goliath.

Since the project contract was signed, deliverables completed and GSI fully paid, I can tell the whole world that Gabriel, during his entire stay at UNISYS, was such a man of honesty and integrity. Even in my next lives, I would not probably be able to pay back the value that he has created for GSI and for our country.

A straight "A" Peruvian/Canadian student with PhD in naval engineering from Germany, Gabriel Leiva is best remembered when said "The fun has just begun." each time I shared with him a successful milestone. So, for each passing year, it was "Not good enough", so he said. During his stay in the Philippines, I had several tennis games with his beautiful and intelligent wife Jocelene, a French with MA in Germany. She was an excellent singles player.

After his tour of duty at UNISYS Philippines, he moved to UNISYS Mexico and now settled back in Canada.

Viva Gabriel! Mabuhay ka!

(Years later, the same company influenced and manipulated the result of a bidding conducted by a government agency. With letters and meetings protesting the outcome of the bid, the agency declared a failed bid. But the company managed to do the job indirectly with another government agency. Hmm, the usual birds of the same feathers corrupt together.)

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Tuesday, May 8, 2007


Wanted - Public Servant

Posted By: Efren ES Ricalde @ 1:42 PM
Comments: 0


Found, a public servant. My father, Ric (as he was called by his office mates, I call him Tatay) was a public servant. For over 30 years years, he served the government.

While studying to earn a degree in accountancy at FEU, Tatay worked briefly at the Bureau of Lands as a rod man, moved on and stayed until retirement at the Insurance Commission. IC was previously at Escolta. On several visits to the office, Tatay allowed me to walk the floors. There were no aircons but ceiling electric fans, no PCs (obviously) but massive typewriters.

Tatay's payday was on a Friday. So, at around 5:30PM our brother and sisters were all sitting outside the house waiting for him to walk from the bus stop at Camagong Street, just 2 blocks across our house. We all jumped with joy whenever we saw a small manila paper bag as we eagerly welcomed him by the small bridge across the three foot open canal. Soon, we were feasting on pansit (noodles) bought from Plaza Miranda or bibingka from UN Avenue.

While serving the government, Tatay lived a simple life and sustained the family financial needs of 8 children with his salary and Nanay's (mother) income from her small sari-sari store.

Today, some of those who occupied similar position as my Tatay have several houses and cars. Some were even suspended and investigated of corruption by the Ombudsman. He retired from IC without experiencing the benefit of owning a car even an owner type jeep. He built a house in Makati using the proceeds from the sale of a property in Better Living subdivision. Food on the table was not plentiful during the construction period. The house was finished in 10 years after five phases of construction.

Developing IT systems for the government since 1999, I encountered government servants like my father. Some were not.

A proud son of a government employee, I detest corruption and all forms of dishonesty because I knew that hard work and integrity spell success and happiness.

Wanted : Public Servant. Any more taker? Me!

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Monday, May 7, 2007


Victor Arellano, The Victor

Posted By: Efren ES Ricalde @ 7:06 PM
Comments: 0


Lolo Tibo, my grandfather from mother side came from As-is, Bauan, Batangas. The Batanguenos from As-is were known for hard work, honesty and entrepreneurship.

Most of the sidewalk vendors selling eyeglasses and other stuff on collapsible shelves along the stretch of Rizal Avenue, particularly the span between Carriedo and Raon streets, were from As-is. As I walked along Avenida Rizal to buy science pocket books from Alemars Bookstore in the late 60's, I often passed by Ka Juaning, one of the vendors.

Victor Arellano, one of Lolo Tibo's nieces, exemplified not only an ideal "ala-e" but a very successful professional of As-Is. His father, Lolo Tino, was a puto-kutsinta vendor and a stevedore at the Manila pier. When we were in living San Andres St, I remembered buying puto from Lolo Tino. His booming voice signalled his presence in our duplex house at La Paz, Makati. And hours and hours of listening to his stories of hard work and love for his children consumed most of my day when he was around.

While Lolo Tino was working in Manila, his son Victor was a very conscientious student studying in Batangas to become a teacher. And he became one. The last time I visited him, he was completing his PhD.

Victor visited our house each time he was in Manila. No matter what the schedule was, he ensured to have a session with my father, Ka Iking. He confided to me that Ka Iking was his advisor. That explained their lengthy meetings as I sat beside them during my elementary and high school years.

Today, Victor is a manager of the Port Services Division, Philippine Port Authority, PMO Batangas at Port of Batangas. A victor serving the government is a man of intelligence, honesty and hard work. A Victor to many victors. Our country needs more Lolo Tino and Victor!

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Spatial Intelligence for Competitive Advantage

Posted By: Efren ES Ricalde @ 3:32 PM
Comments: 0


Frederick the Great, a renowned Prussian general, cited the importance of foreknowledge in his quotation - "It is pardonable to be defeated than to be surprised". With the ubiquitous information and communication technology solutions, it is easier to gather intelligence and leverage intelligence for better performance and global competitiveness.

Technology affects competitive advantage if it has a significant role in determining relative cost position or differentiation. In his book “Competitive Advantage”, Porter identifies that a “firm than can discover better technology for performing an activity than its competitor thus gains competitive advantage.”

Geographic Information System or GIS is one of the technologies. GIS is a computerized database management system for capturing, storing, analysis, and displaying of spatial (locationally defined) data. Its primary function is to store, access, analyse and visualize spatial data thereby creating information to spatial intelligence.

Spatial intelligence provides direct benefits to businesses as a result of improved use of data for operational, management, and planning functions as well as synergy effects resulting from improved data integration, both for data internal and external to the enterprise itself.

Changing our paradigm to maintain competitive advantage in providing quality solutions to our customers is a logical stage in this business transformation process.

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Friday, May 4, 2007


Good Governance and Computerization Go Together

Posted By: Efren ES Ricalde @ 6:59 PM
Comments: 0


In October 2006, I visited Korea to attend "e-Covernment Experience & G2G Collaborative Program" forum sponsored by the Korea IT Industry Promotion Agency (KIPA).

Aside from technical presentations, we also visited the City of Gangnam where its e-government solutions were shown to the participants. Seeing almost a paperless transaction processing of city services through information kiosks, I was awed by the city government's commitment to serve its constituencies.

Looking back in January 2001, I talk about "Transforming LGU to eLGU" in a conference on Best Practices on Local Governance at the University of Asia and the Pacific at Pasig City. Six years has passed and the transformation has barely moved forward. Citing the e-government brochure of Gangnam, "A Progressive City Making the Dream Come True", our eLGU roadmap needs to be revisited to come up with an architecture and deployment strategy based on best practices from our ASEAN neighbors.

Moving on and working with new partners from USA, Japan and Korea, GSI aims to pursue the development of eLGU solutions immediately after the May 14 election.

Thus, we are looking forward to write a sequel to an article published in the The Nation Today about a conference on "Best Practices On Local Governance" :

“Good Governance and Computerization Go Together

In this computer age, many offices, even in the local government units (LGU’s), are trying to have their operations computerized not only to speed up their operations, but also to organize and to bring in more revenues.

However, bringing in technology to the LGUs in the “new economy” is not enough. The LGUs must have a “solutions framework” to be successful e-LGU ( electronic LGU), said Efren Ricalde, chief operating officer of GeoSpatial Solutions, in his speech” Transforming LGU to e-LGU” in the forum on “ Best Practices on local Governance” held recently at the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) in Pasig city. The forum was sponsored by Geospatial, a geographic information system, and the UA&P.

He stressed that among the most important aspects of computerization is educating the employees. ‘If the people concerned, or the LGU employees, are not given education on the merits of computerization, they will not see the need in implementing the project, and render it a failure,” he told TODAY.

He said that an employee can just pull the plug of a computer being used for the issuance of licenses and continue with graft practices if the employee is not enlightened on the need for computerization.
At the same time, Ricalde said that computerization aids in good governance because the LGU can efficiently deliver its services to the people.

He stressed that the benefits the LGUs can derive from computerization are endless, among which are increased operation efficiency, higher customer service level, and the capability to rapidly, deploy new technologies, services and business.

The LGU functions from the regional to provincial down to the barangay level can be accessed electronically by the residents. These include the revenue generating functions such as the treasury, business permit and licensing, real property and tax administration, public transport and public market administration.

The regulatory systems can also be linked electronically, such as the tax mapping and zoning , police and crime information, and engineering operations. The same with the administrative support, such as the health services and civil registry, and resource management. (The Nation Today, March 21, 2001, L.Resureccion)

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  • "MaSci to GSI" is a compendium of experiences from childhood to present. M2G shares my insights and knowledge on education, hard work, integrity, honesty, creativity, transparency, and aspiration of a Filipino. M2G maps my journeys and adventures as a boy, student, dreamer and entrepreneur.
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Location: Pasig, Metro Manila, Philippines

Efren, President/CEO of GSI, is an experienced public speaker and an avid tennis player, photographer, a beginner classical guitarist. He was the former Chairman of Philippine Geomatics Association (PhilGeo) and is an active member of other IT associations. He has a diploma in Strategic Business Economics from the University of Asia and the Pacific, units in MS Remote Sensing in UP Diliman, BS Geodetic Engineering at UP Diliman and an alumni of Manila Science High School.







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