Partnership in digital transformation

Published July 5, 2022, 5:41 AM

by J. Albert Gamboa

WASHINGTON D.C. – Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) maintains one of its headquarters in this capital city of the United States. The Elon Musk-owned firm is about to start its Starlink satellite broadband operations in the Philippines after it got the green light from the National Telecommunications Commission.

SpaceX senior executive Rebecca Hunter, who is based in this city, said the Philippines will be the first Southeast Asian nation to access Starlink’s satellite internet technology. She heads the company’s government relations office and her linkages with Filipino officials were made possible through Ramon Garcia Jr., executive chairman of Philippine Stock Exchange-listed DFNN Inc.

In a related development, DFNN has partnered with another American firm, Nautilus Data Technologies, to develop our country’s first green data center that will be located at the Freeport Area of Bataan. Their timely collaboration was forged in an era when digital transformation is at its peak, having been triggered by the pandemic’s restrictions on consumer preferences and movement.

With Starlink’s Philippine operations commencing in the third quarter of 2022, customer needs for high availability and resiliency in their applications are expected to skyrocket. Thus, it is imperative to have data centers that are fully equipped in terms of power, network, and cooling for additional tolerance to failures in order to be truly competitive in the current business environment.

Nautilus created the world’s most innovative water-cooled data center design that set a new standard for energy efficiency, environmental sustainability, and global scalability. Its founder is Arnold Magcale, a Filipino-American tech industry expert and US Navy Special Forces veteran who served in the management team of Exodus Communications – where he launched one of Silicon Valley’s pioneering data centers.

DFNN Chief Operating Officer Ricardo Banaag disclosed that connecting the entire technology ecosystem is of great importance in creating value to both business and stakeholders. “In this case, providing for a sustainable data center will ensure resiliency in the face of rapid growth and demand,” he added. And he knows whereof he speaks, having served as president of Intel Microelectronics Philippines as well as country manager of IBM’s global network.


Here in the District of Columbia, I met with two Filipinos who have risen through the ranks in their respective fields. One is a diplomat who was formerly a Malacañang protocol officer, while the other is a journalist who recently moved to Washington DC.

Jaime Ramon Ascalon is the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Philippine Embassy along Massachusetts Avenue, the US capital’s so-called “Embassy Row.” The diplomatic mission’s second-in-command  next to Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez, Ascalon served as consul in Brunei and deputy consul-general in San Francisco before his current assignment. He also had previous stints with the Office of American Affairs and the Office of ASEAN Affairs, both based in the home office at the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Hannah Dormido is a graphics reporter and cartographer at the Washington Post, the most widely circulated newspaper in the DC metropolitan area with a large international audience. Before joining the Post,  Dormido worked at the Bloomberg News bureau in Hong Kong and led the Asia editorial graphics team at the Financial Times of London. As a cartographer, she developed a unique mapping style using hand-drawn dots and circles known as “Dormi-dots” – which was named after her by colleagues within the cartography community.

These accomplished Filipinos are graduates of the University of the Philippines Diliman, with Ascalon obtaining a degree in political science and Dormido majoring in journalism. Godspeed to both of them as they rise further in their stellar careers.

J. Albert Gamboa is a Life Member of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX). He is the Chairman of the FINEX Media Affairs Committee and the Editor-in-Chief of FINEX Digest. The opinion expressed herein does not necessarily reflect the views of these institutions and the Manila Bulletin. #FinexPhils