Filipino developers flock to Foursquare Hack Day Philippines

Foursquare Hack Day Philippines was a day of fun, competition, and some serious location-based mobile app development.

The highlights:
Makati - Dec 1, 2012

On December 1, the elevators leading to SMART' Communications 12th floor cafeteria "Sadoce" at its Makati HQ were jammed with software developers headed for Foursquare Hack Day Phliippines (an event also known by its Twitter hashtag #4SQHackPH).

For that Saturday, the cafeteria had transformed into an enormous "hackerspace", with its tables filled with developers, laptops, power strips, and energy drinks, eager to hunker down for a day of coding with the Foursquare API.

Judging from the numbers alone, the event was a huge success - 119 developers showed up (comprising 26 teams out of the 46 that had registered online) to compete for cash prizes and free accounts to pricey developer cloud services. It was one of the biggest local hackathons assembled at a single venue. But apart from the competition, the developers also came to hear a talk straight from an actual Foursquare engineer how Foursquare's Connected Apps API could help them create great location and venue aware apps.

Organized by SMART Developer Network (Smart DevNet) and WebGeek Philippines, Foursquare Hack Day Philippines was actually the very first Foursquare-themed hackathon held outside of the USA, New York-based Foursquare usually has its developer events in NYC, but SMART had especially flown in Foursquare platform engineer Sajid Mehmood for the occasion.

"It's my first hack outside of the US," noted Mehmood later.

SMART and Foursquare had partnered on projects before, such as enabling the first Philippine Foursquare badge (The SMART #LiveMore badge that debuted during the 2012 Lady Gaga concerts) but the Hack day was their first joint event. In commemoration of the Hack Day and Foursquare's first Philippine event, the SMART badge was reactivated for just one day on Dec. 1 giving some attendees the chance to add the Smart badge to their virtual Foursquare badge collection.

Ace mobile developer Ken Daganio, WebGeek's Evangelist, was the emcee of the day and introduced the speakers for the event. First to speak was Chito Bustamante, the Group Head of Product development in SMART. He never let the audience down with their expectations; but he boosts them up, his words of encouragements started off with questions such as "Who among you is a part of a hackateam?", "Who here is an entrepreneur?", "Who among you guys work from 9-5?” and "Who among you guys are searching for a job?". He also asked ‘how many hackathons participated within the year’, and he exclaimed, “I think we need to do more”. After all of the awe-inspiring words, he then discussed SMART’s goals and contributions regarding the promotion of internet and mobile community.

Next in the row is Cyril Vendivil, a Junior Developer on SMART platform services. Vendivil focused about the SMART’s Network API which has SMS Sending, MMS Sending and Location Based Services. After all of the discussion, he never missed to show the audience a quick demo of an application which used the API.

It is the moment to meet the third and last speaker, Sajid Mehmood, a Software Engineer at Foursquare who centered his attention on the Foursquare Platform. He introduced the audience regarding the basics of the Foursquare API. He discussed and ran series of information which developers’ application can gain when using the API. Sajid Mehmood also led the participants an overview; he also showed what methods and developments were used in the Foursquare API to create each of the applications presented.

Ken guides the participants towards the rules and regulations of the event; he also acknowledged the sponsors. Later then he presented Hackathon’s theme, “It’s more fun in the Philippines”. After all of the introductory addresses made, the nine-hour event started with the theme bannered on front. Both Sajid and Ken talked to the teams to give them insights and entertain some of the participant’s questions regarding the event criteria.

All were full after the dinner and prepared their selves for the demo night at 8pm; the teams were prepared and all hacked for nine hours.

Cleverness and intelligence was seen in Filipino developers and geeks, and it was witnessed by many during the event. After nine hours of developing, innovating and resourcing, each teams demonstrated their apps on stage one by one. The event’s panel of judges were Internet Pioneer’s Migz Paraz and Dave Quitoriano, William Yu of Novare; Sajid Mehmood from Foursquare; and Bryan Bibat, VP for Technology of DevCon Philippines.

The teams presented their works for maximum of three hours (per team) and two minutes of question and answer thrown by the judges. Hours of excitement turns to its peak.

Team Triple A (AAA) composed with Aci Cartagena, Danielle Padilla and Mikko Asis grabs the first place and hits the grand prize. Their winning-app was “PicXplorer” which instantly creates a “More Fun in the Philippines” poster from photos posted on venue near your location or a pinned location.

The grand prize winner romped off with P30,000 in Cash, plus the following services and dev tools:
Atlassian OnDemand (worth over $900)
GitHub 1-year Silver (worth $600)
Corona SDK - Pro (worth $324)
Pivotal Tracker $500 Credit

Next to the top is Team Zinder part of them were Dexter Brylle Matos, Marco Padillo and Hybus Ursua; they empowered social good app namely “8 Small Things”. The app mainly aims to “make Philippines more fun by doing little things associated to the United Nation’s Millenium Development Goals for 2015.”

The Second Place team won:
P20,000 Cash
Atlassian OnDemand (worth $900+)
GitHub 1-year Bronze (worth $300)
Corona SDK - Indie (worth $199)
Pivotal Tracker $500 Credit

Next in rank is Self Servants, they were Melvin Fetalvero, Jason Sia and Mai Cervantes bringing their pride “It’s More Fun in The Philippines Experience” app which enables users to grant quest-like location based experiences. The app is described by the team as An Alternative Reality Game which brings famous experiences in to the Philippines Context”

The third place winners won:
P10,000 Cash
Atlassian OnDemand (worth $900+)
GitHub 6-months Bronze (worth $150)
Corona SDK - Indie (worth $199)
Pivotal Tracker $500 Credit

This is a press release.

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