University of Santo Tomas – Building a Thomasian Silicon Valley in U-belt

University of Santo Tomas – Building a Thomasian Silicon Valley in U-belt

Imagine walking to school in the University Belt and suddenly you see drones humming through the air with different errands to run. One drone accompanying a student playing audio lesson notes before the exam. Another drone seems to be delivering food products somewhere. There’s also a drone facing traffic in Espanya seemingly collecting data about traffic, this data will be fed to a data-center inside UST which will be used by students and faculty who will study how we can improve traffic conditions. You get to the classroom and you put on your VR headset for your virtual class which will give you a microscopic view of the plant cell your class has been studying.

It is now possible, the technology to do this exists, we just need more people looking towards what can be done with these technologies. We need our students here in Ubelt to unleash their creativity with what can be done. Gone are the days when we complain about the traffic, the government or pollution. All the worst problems being faced by our society can now be taken care of with innovation and outside-the-box thinking.

It has been more than two-months since we decided to start our own startup community in our beloved Alma Mater, the University of Santo Tomas. Two weeks after our last event held in UST entitled You Start Up where we exposed the students to the startup community.

We build this community in the hopes of opening minds and sparking ideas, we need people coming together with their own version of tech and business applications. I know a lot of Thomasian Alumni will support this cause. As one of them I know a student with enough vision, a great idea and a heart for execution, perseverance and down-right determination will be able to change our society.

Through this community (The UST Startup Community) I know someday students will be more free to talk about their ideas and inventions, and everyday we’ll come up with new innovative applications for technology. We’ll be able to discuss these ideas with our friends and find like-minded individuals we can work with. We can even change the passive Filipino passive complaining mentality and start our own pro-active, solution-oriented culture where everyone can work towards a common goal. For us Thomasians, we will start here in UST.
Dreams don’t care about politics. Some may say that it’s not politically correct to say that we can build another Silicon Valley in U-belt but we’ll still keep it as a goal anyway. I’m not saying that we’ll recreate another identical Silicon Valley, we’ll create our own a better, Filipino version of it. It’s really cruel how our society has been telling us for so long to stop dreaming, to just play safe and to go with the flow. I say it’s about the right time we start dreaming again, building organizations, inventions, putting up our own companies and changing the status quo.

“Those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are usually the ones who do.” – Steve Jobs

This also serves as a retreat letter to Nicole Alsace Cablar who will be having her retreat next Saturday. (Al by the way is one of the student volunteers from UST TAG who gave her time and dedication to the first major event of USTartup, she is also now a member of the collaboration team). Al you are one tenacious individual, I salute your passion and your drive. You have inspired me to do more too. Keep growing and you’ll find out soon enough that with people who believe in you, nothing will be impossible. So to Al and all your classmates and Tag Mates, including Diane, Souichi, the other Dianne, Ed, James, the student volunteers that I had the honor of working with, I know you guys are crazy enough and I know that together we can create our own Silicon Valley here in Ubelt and someday soon change our world for the better.

Peace and Love!

Be more efficient in website design and development: Acquire the skill of frameworks

Be more efficient in website design and development: Acquire the skill of frameworks

Expectation Level: Beginner-Moderate

Why use frameworks?

As web developers part of our job is to use the tools available at our disposal to create amazing work.

Clean and tidy code

Standardizing the way we do web design

The main goal is to make the process more efficient. Efficiency is different from the word fast, because efficiency is about doing things faster but also providing a better overall result.

Exp: I entered a phase back in college when I didn’t believe in frameworks. I made excuses not to use one. I would rather create my own from scratch! I thought those who use frameworks are  not at all that great. It felt like cheating to me. I wanted to learn the basics from scratch. In the end I learned but not as efficiently as it would have been if I used frameworks.

Using frameworks is a step to being a better developer. It’s not cheating, it’s humility. You humble yourself enough to use other people’s work, to study it and get what you can from it. Website development can’t be done by one person. Just as scientists rely on each other’s research as basis for their own research, web developers and designers must learn from each other to advance together.

“Don’t just aim for becoming better, aim for versatility”

Being well versed in frameworks will give you more options for your projects. More options mean you get to shift gears when needed, you provide your clients with the best set of tools for their particular needs.  So in short:

“Don’t Re-invent the Wheel”

Things to consider in selecting a web framework

  • What you need
  • Speed of Execution
  • Versatility of Functions

List of web frameworks

  • Bootstrap
  • WordPress
  • MVC – Codeigniter

Questions to ask when using frameworks

  • How to acquire?
  • How to install?
  • What are the features?
  • How can I use this with my development style/process?

Case Study: Bootstrap

  • CSS solutions
  • Javascript Functionalities


  1. Sample websites made from bootstrap

Creating frameworks from frameworks

You can create your own tools from existing frameworks. Based on your way of doing things you can either select a base framework add part of your design process to it. In this regard the possibilities are limitless.



Skill Acquired: Frameworks (Active)

Skill Description: -50% on time spent on projects. +50 project efficiency. +2000 experience acquisition. +20% resources for allied units.

There is no best framework out there. There are great frameworks to be used for various situations. Don’t stick to one, try as many as you can, as early as you can. This will allow you to arm yourself with an array of tools that will make you a versatile web designer. So keep working on yourself, stay humble empty your cup and walk forward with others, before you know it you’ll be creating your own framework.

What kind of frameworks would you like to learn? Tell me in the comments section below!

Potato Diaries: A modern UST Office for Admissions Website

Potato Diaries: A modern UST Office for Admissions Website


It’s been almost three years since we were tasked to do the University of Santo Tomas Office for Admissions Website back when I was in third year college. It was when I started my journey into the world of computer technology and websites. It had been a long way since then and yet we still have ways to go.

I will never forget our office in the Office for Admissions back then, every time our classes were finished I would go directly to the office and start working on the website. We would work tirelessly day in and day out just to deliver an excellent product. We were new to the technology but with the great opportunity of being able to prove our talents and skills with the project, we persevered.


Together with two other students from Engineering IICS and 3 other UST students from CFAD and AB we were able to arrive at the concept of a parallax website. The website was launched in January 2013 and had received good feedback since its launching. That was the moment I knew I had to go into website development. Together with 4 of my colleagues we started Potatocodes Inc., a tech company that aims to honor God and help change our world with smart ways of doing things.

Today we are excited to share with you the experience of being able to go past what we have created back then. We were tasked again to create a modern website that will exceed the last one. This was a real challenge due to the fact that we need to outperform and outdo ourselves. We present to you, the new University of Santo Tomas Office for Admissions Website! (yep! Just click the link)


For the new UST OFAD website we decided to go with the modern HTML5 video capabilities and loop an outstanding video production created by Suncraft Studio. Balaram Ochangco from the original OFAD website team is part of the company together with Russell Pua who’s also a thomasian talent in the field of Video Production. We just knew we had to put the video as the centerpiece for this website.

The vision is to create an admissions website for our Alma matter that will surpass expectations and bring forth a new standard to website design. With the talent and wit of our Head Designer Mhariell Mosqueriolla, we were able to create a new take to university websites as we were able to introduce the Thomasian life with a clean and modern website interface.


The website was launched early last week in the middle of the final preparations for the last USTET. It was a challenge launching the website but the heart of everyone who believed in the project pushed our team forward to persever and deliver the website.

What can you say about our journey with the UST OFAD website? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

The Potato Diaries: How we created a website for the Thomasian Alumni

The Potato Diaries: How we created a website for the Thomasian Alumni

It’s been one year since we graduated from our beloved Alma Mater. The prestigious University of Santo Tomas. We could never have imagined back then that we will be able to put up our own tech company Potatocodes Inc. and serve our alma mater by providing our services to them.

After a year of going into business and providing websites we had the privilege to work with the UST Office for Alumni Relations. We would like to share with you this story.

oar banner

After months of hard work and late night coding, we were able to launch it last September 29, 2015. We were delighted to be able to help the great vision of uniting the Thomasian Alumni in the modern space of the web, we present to you the new University of Santo Tomas Office for Alumni Relations Website! (click the link to go the website.)

It has been a heartwarming experience to work with the Office for Alumni Relations Staff.

Ma’am Fides Carlos and Ma’am Cherry Tanodra the Assistant Director of office has been coordinating with us right from the start. As Ma’am Cherry had put it, the thomasian journey doesn’t end upon graduation. Being a thomasian is a lifetime experience. Everything started with their vision of providing a portal for alumni to be informed and updated with the events UST has to offer.


The website is all Thomasian inside and out! From the clean yellow interface to the inner codings created by Thomasian programmers it’s truly a website for the tiger university. The website was designed by Mhariell Mosqueriola the Head Designer of Potatocodes Inc. Some students from the new UST IICS who interned in our startup were able to help out in the creation of the website.


I couldn’t be more proud of my team, as I know everyone gave all their hearts to deliver the project and to deliver it with excellence.

Undertaking the project was a challenging task for us since we know that fellow Thomasian Alumni will be viewing the site.

In the website you can find latest news and updates, inspiring thomasian stories and some articles to help you grow more in your careers. You can also explore the perks of having a thomasian alumni card, details of different alumni chapters and how you can be part of different projects of the UST Alumni. You can also update your records and share your own story for a chance to be featured on the site.

The website has been prepared for more enhancements in the future, like the thomasian spirit it will keep evolving to address the needs of the Thomasian Alumni.


We learned from this experience how the UST Staff can be all-heart when serving their fellow Thomasians. Everyone just literally gives more than enough to be able to finish the job with excellence. This pushed us to do our part as well and go the extra distance. In the end, UST is not just a community, more than just a second family and home, it’s part of who we are.


Working with technology is hard, it will take a lot of your time and it can be frustrating. But if you really love what you do, you will be able to help more people and give more. The Alumni Website is just the start, we will continuously pray to be able to serve our Alma Mater and our country with what has been given to us.

Share your passion with us. Comment Below!

10 big companies started by college students

10 big companies started by college students


Familiar with Yahoo, Google and Facebook? Well, these are just some of the well-known companies around the world founded by college students. Yes, college students who showed that they can rise up in the global platform.

It wasn’t an overnight success. It came with a high price. Some dropped-out from college and some went through years of missed opportunities. Having a company is not a piece of cake where money will just flow in like liquid once it’s up. It takes patience, faith, and belief that what you’re doing is worth the risk. made an infographic of the top 10 valuable start-up companies launched by students. And below are the people behind these big names that we’ve been hearing in social media, newspaper, or television:


1.  Microsoft – Bill Gates and  Paul Allen

Bill Gates was a college dropout from Harvard University.  He opened Micro-Soft together with Paul Allen and sold MS-DOS, an operating system to IBM in year 1981.


2. Facebook- Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook was founded in the year 2004. Mark’s reason for creating facebook was to use it in college, and never thought that it could be a big hit. “[I thought that] over time, someone would build a version of this for the world, but it wouldn’t be us — it would be [a large existing software company] like Microsoft,” Mark said in one of his interview. Today, Facebook has almost 400 million visitors a month and making him earn millions of money.


3. Yahoo- Jerry Yang and David Filo 

11 years ago, Jerry and David who both has doctoral degree in electrical engineering at Stanford University took gamble in making Yahoo out of their hobby. The website started out with a list of their favorite websites which soon became a long list, and decided to create categories and subcategories for it. Eventually, they decided to change their website to Yahoo, an acronym for Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle.


4. Reddit- Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian

Steve and Alexis were room mates back then at University of Virginia. It was in 2005 that Reddit sprang up as one of the first start-ups from Y Combinator program, and a year later Conde Nast acquired it and Ohanian, a multimillionaire.


5. WordPress- Matt Mullenweg

It was in 2003 when Matt, an undergrad from Houston University partnered with Mike Little and Michel Valdrigh to create an open source content management system that now serves thousands of websites around the world.


6. Google- Larry Page and Sergey Brin 

Google started as a research project of Page and Brin when they were at University of Stanford as PhD students. Did you know that Google’s real name is Googol? Page and Brin’s first $100,00 paycheck was under Google Inc. and so they have to run and create a bank account after Google Inc to en-cash the cheque.


7. Time  Magazine- Britton Haden and Henry Luce 

An American weekly magazine published in New York was founded in 1923. They first called the magazine as Facts and changed it to TIME with a slogan- Take Time- It’s Brief.


8. Napster- Shawn Fanning

Shawn Fanning a graduate from Northern University started the revolutionary Napster, a file sharing service. After 2 years it was shut down and acquired by Rhapsody- a digital music service.


9. Dell- Michael Dell

Michael Dell created Dell during his undergrad years at University of Texas at Austin. He dropped out of school and focused with his business after getting his $1,000 capital from his family. He agreed to go back to school if his business’ sales would prove to be disappointing. But with the first month, he sold  $180,000 worth of PCs and never returned.


10. Tripod- Bo Peabody and Brett Hershey

In 1992, Bo co founded Tripod- one of the first social networking sites. It was initially created for college students. However, in 1998 it was sold to Lycos.


Infographic by


essaymama, inforgaphics


 “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great”- Zig Zilar.

It wasn’t luck that brought Zuckerberg, Page, and Dell on the top. It was their belief that what they’re doing is something of great worth. I guess putting up a company is not about the amount of one’s starting capital but rather the amount of passion and time one is willing to shell out for his/her dreams. It’s not easy. It will take months, maybe years. But one thing’s for sure, as long as we don’t give up, we can make it happen.

Find this article interesting? share it with your friends or leave comments in our comment section!

Photo credit: google photos

How to protect yourself from someone mining your  Personal data

How to protect yourself from someone mining your Personal data

Data Mining has been around since the start of the computer age. Data Mining is a phenomenon where useful information can be extracted from a bunch of data. From simply figuring out the season for the best sales of diapers from a grocery store’s operation, to more complicated stuff like prediction of stocks.

Data mining can be useful in many occasions. It can improve sales, create more opportunities for businesses and provide help to where it is needed and whoever needs it.


Did you know that anything accessible from the internet can also be mined?

Websites can be mined for pictures, links and text.

This includes all your personal info from your social media accounts.


This means that all your pictures, all your relations and all your preferences can be extracted by someone and used for their own purposes.


By using a simple script hackers and other baddies can easily extract loads of information in a short amount of time.

This leads to a lot of despicable things including but not limited to:

  • Spam – The email addresses can be mined, this can be used by a certain someone to set up a mailing list where they can send spam mail as much as they would like.
  • Account Theft – including bank theft – this exploit leads to vulnerability for your personal accounts. Keyloggers can be secretly injected in your systems to quietly record keystrokes and steal passwords. This is particularly harmful when it comes to online bank accounts. A similar case had happened with a group dubbed Carbanak. You can check out the article here.
  • Botnets – Similarly your computing resources can be used like a puppet for evil deeds. You can read our article about Botnets here.
  • Scams – Having your information out in the open, scammers can use these as leverage to get close to you and make you believe things that they will tell you.

There are many other nasty things that can be done through data mining. The point is, many of the internet baddies start with Data Mining. They collect information as much as possible before starting their operations.

Spreading this information can help people become aware of the danger.

This calls for us to be aware and take precautionary measures against such things.

Don’t fret!

There are simple steps you can take to avoid being vulnerable through data mining. Just by changing some settings in your accounts you can take measures to avoid these scenarios.


Check this article on how to change settings on your Facebook account to be more secured online.

This article about changing your twitter settings to become more protected.

With just a little bit of effort you can help make the internet a little safer.

Do you have any more ideas on how we can make ourselves safer from data mining? Share your ideas in the comments section below!

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