- The Bicol region is not just known for its spicy cuisine; it is also known for having builders in the web3 space that hosts events outside Metro Manila.
- Some of the Bicol-based firms include metaverse-focused marketplace Ownly, blockchain solutions firm SparkPoint Technology, web3 educational platform SparkLearn EdTech, and MetaSaga Warriors Developer MetaGaming Guild.
- While the prestigious events that happen in Bicol include the Bicol Blockchain Conference, which will happen in November; and the Albay Multimedia Arts Convention, which happened in September.
When we talk about web3 events, firms, and communities in the country, we cannot deny that most of them reside in the national capital region.
However, when the play-to-earn industry boomed in the country, the Axie capital of the Philippines was in Manila; it was Cabanatuan.
This is one of the reasons why the #CryptoPH Community lives the decentralized nature of web3. And today, let us look around at the web3 projects and activities in the land of Daragang Magayon, the Bicol Region.
The Bicol Region is the Philippines’ fifth region. Located at the southern end of the Luzon Archipelago, it is known for its spicy cuisine that uses chili and coconut milk. Some of the known personalities that are proud Bicolandia products are Leni Robredo, Ely Buendia, Catriona Gray, and Kyline Alcantara. Even BitPinas writers Shiela Bertillo and yours truly are Oragon—from Albay and Catanduanes, respectively.
What are the crypto-focused firms and web3-related events that are born and raised in Region 5?
Ownly, headed by CEO Ismael Jerusalem, is one of the known startups in the community, as it started as early as 2019 as CryptoSolitaire. CryptoSolitaire was a platform that allowed users to buy and sell digital playing cards that were minted as NFTs. It is also a P2E game and one of the winners of the Decantraland Game Jam in 2019.
In 2020, it was rebranded to Ownly, a metaverse-focused platform that claims to give creators and collectors opportunities to optimize ownership and utility through NFT use cases.
“Ownly is created to be a meeting place of artists, gamers, and collectors in the crypto and NFT space,” the website read.
In 2021, the startup introduced Mustachio Quest, a P2E game that belongs to Mustachioverse. It is a hand-drawn two-dimensional profile picture (PFP) avatar with unique mustach, it later became a three dimensional playable version.
It also launched its token, $OWN, in the same year. At the time of this writing, 1 $OWN values ₱0.00040238, according to CoinGecko data.
For this year, Ownly was involved in some activities, such as the largest blockchain-integrated physical art in Asia, in partnership with Lei Melendres and Meatspace; a meeting with local exchange Coins.ph, DTI Region V Office, Albay LGU, local business owners, and Bicolano startup founders that discussed the possible integration of blockchain into the region; partnerships with Coins.PH, Polygon Guild Manila, Tezos Philippines, and MetaSaga Warriors; and attending the Tech Investment Show in Thailand.
In its mid-year review, Jerusalem shared that the startup is planning to use onchain technology, which will make games more open and fair, reducing the chance for cheating.
“We’re gearing up to fuel our growth by raising funds for a pioneering endeavor: the development of Ownchain – our very own Onchain Blockchain Gaming platform. This initiative embodies our commitment to evolving and enhancing the gaming experience by leveraging the power of blockchain technology,” Ownly said.
Launched in 2018, Sparkpoint Technologies is one of the first crypto-focused firms in the country. It offers blockchain-based solutions and claims to develop platforms and products that help non-web3 companies “maximize their true potential.”
“We aim to fast-track mainstream adoption of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency by developing products, services and solutions based on it. From ideation, to development, and execution, SparkPoint will be in every way to realize your goals,” the website read.
It has a product called SparkX a non-custodial crypto wallet. In 2019, the wallet integrated the instant exchange Changelly, allowing users to convert coins within SparkX.
SparkPoint also has $SRK as its native token. It has a total supply of 114 billion and is an ERC-20 token. As of this writing, 1 $SRK is valued at ₱0.00992599.
In its midyear report, the firm admitted that the current bear market has affected its limitations, including its goals. Thus, the rest of 2023 will be used to lay the right foundation as 2024 approaches.
“Due to the prevailing market situation since late last year, SparkPoint has undergone a substantial internal realignment of goals, which will continue to be reflected throughout the end of this year and into the first half of 2024. We will diversify further our SparkTech.Dev services, not only limited to Web3 and Blockchain-related solutions, but we will also include Web2 and general IT services, which still has the big market in the PH industry,” SparPoint assured.
SparkLearn EdTech was launched in 2022. It considers itself as a learning platform that provides its audience with the information and training content they need to adapt and expand the organization they belong to.
“Whether you’re an established training team or just getting started with digital learning, we seamlessly integrate and maximize your reach to deliver great learning experiences,” the website read.
Recently, SparkLearn was one of the organizers of “Building on the Internet Computer Protocol (ICP) Blockchain: A Hands-on Workshop for Bicolano Developers,” which targeted helping Bicolano developers understand blockchain technology and learn how to build decentralized applications.
Its CEO, Melissa Mesias, will also be the guest on the 26th Episode of the BitPinas Webcast on October 5, 2023. She is expected to discuss the growing crypto ecosystem outside Manila.
The MetaGaming Guild (MMG) is a community-governed gaming guild that focuses on giving scholarship programs to its members. A scholarship scheme involves the guild or the manager who owns the assets and the scholars who play the game using the manager’s assets. The manager will then earn a certain percentage of the scholar’s earning.
Since its creation in 2021, MMG claims to have a growing scholarship program, with 50% month-on-month growth. As of this writing, the guild reported to have 1,500 active scholars.
Its platform is also considered a “launchpad for gamers,” as it gives access to exclusive and early-stage game tokens, according to MGG. It also offers automated NFT yield to its members.
Earlier this year, the guild introduced its flagship game, the MetaSaga Warriors. It is a roguelike NFT dungeon crawler game, but unlike other prior NFT games that required players to purchase a token first before they could start gaming, MMG’s MetaSaga Warriors took another approach as they implemented free-to-mint NFTs into their game. Meaning players can start without spending.
“MetaSaga Warriors began as a simple idea back in December 2021. It all started with a vision — a vision of a unique and captivating web3 gaming experience. The initial steps involved sketching and conceptualizing the in-game world,” MGG said.
The official date of its launch was on September 29, 2023. It is available on both desktop and mobile. However, it is only available on Android devices, but will soon have an iOS version.
MMG was also active in attending multiple events around the world. It joined multiple local anime and technology gatherings such as AniGaiden, SLTCFI IT Week, and CONQuest 2023.
It also attended the Tech Investment Show 2023 in Bangkok, Thailand; KOR-ASEAN Content BizWeek 2023 in Jakarta, Indonesia; and was part of the Philippine Game Dev Expo, one of the most anticipated gaming-centric events this year, at SMX Convention Center.
In its midyear report, MMG shared that the earning mechanism for MetaSaga will be in Q4 next year. It also said that it is eyeing web3 e-sports tournaments in the future.
MMG has its own native utility token, the $MGG, which is valued at ₱0.081023, as per CoinGecko.
Bicol Blockchain Conference
First held on November 14, 2022, the Bicol Blockchain Conference is the BBC for Oragon crypto enthusiasts. Last year, this “all-things-blockchain” event was aimed at creating a specific field of knowledge that may help the audience in their areas of interest.
The BBC 2022 also showcased “Bicol’s Oragon Spirit In Tech,” as it looked forward to featuring the projects of the local startups which push blockchain adoption through education and upskilling, and gaming. The speakers were:
- Andy Agnas, CEO & Founder of Sparkpoint
- Michael Mislos, the Editor-in-Chief of BitPinas
- Melissa Mesias, the Co-Founder and CEO of SparkLearn EdTech
- Gail Cruz Macapagal, Country Director of DynaQuest and Founder of Women in Blockchain
- Morris Perico, the COO of MetaGaming Guild. Janice Ariño Filipay/Filipcoin Founder and CEO
- Atty. Enrique V. Dela Cruz, Jr., a Senior Partner DivinaLaw
- Harvey Javier, CTO of SparkLearn EdTech will also be joining us as a speaker
- Ismael Jerusalem, CEO and Founder of Ownly
- Denley Mirabueno, Finance and Risk Professional
Meanwhile, for BBC 2023, the official date will be one November 17, 2023, with the theme “Empowering Industry Innovation Through Blockchain.” As of this writing, the speakers who are introduced are:
- Harvey Javier, the CTO of SparkTech
- Ismael Jerusalem, the CEO of Ownly
- Kristian Quirapas, the CEO of Vulcanic Labs
- Melissa Mesias, the CEO of SparkLearn
- Nelson Lumbres, the co-founder of ICP Hub PH
“The Bicol Blockchain Conference 2023 is the perfect opportunity to learn about blockchain technology and its potential to revolutionize your industry. The conference will feature keynote addresses from leading experts, panel discussions, breakout sessions, and a showcase of blockchain-based products and services,” the website read.
Albay Multimedia Arts Convention
Just last month, the Albay Multimedia Arts Convention hosted its sixth rally for the past seven years.
According to its organizers, the convention played a crucial role in influencing the adoption of the Philippine Creative Industry Development Act (RA 11904), which acknowledges and boosts the immense potential of the Philippines’ creative sector, with the Bicol Region exemplifying the nation’s artistic excellence.
“These events serve as a foundation, ensuring that emerging talent is well-equipped to be competitive in the ever-evolving creative industry, whether their passion lies in art, design, or any other creative discipline.”
Moreover, AMAC 2023 was considered “the most monumental iteration yet” since its inception in 2016 by the organizers because web2 and web3 firms participated as sponsors, and the local government also recognized the said event.
“What began as a modest gathering with a few dozen attendees in 2016 has seen exponential growth year after year. From hundreds to thousands and now tens of thousands of attendees, the Albay Multimedia Arts Convention has established itself as the largest event celebrating creativity in South Luzon,” AMAC shared.
On the other hand, AMAC 2022 was said to focus on exploring the fusion of art and technology, as it featured well-known artists in the NFT space.
It also offered various activities, including an art fair, exhibit, music jam, photowalk, and art talks by notable speakers. Among the speakers are artists specializing in NFTs, discussing topics like illustration, fine art, branding, and spoken word in relation to NFTs.
This article is published on BitPinas: PRIDE OF BICOL: A Look at the Blockchain and Web3 Projects and Activities in Region V
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