As we left from Beijing little did we know that the world was changing and would be forever changed before we touched back down. Upon arriving in Manila I turned on the TV to check the news to discover that a 8.9 Earthquake had shaken Japan and a Tsunami warning was in effect across the pacific. It was concerning to hear and watch as the news unfolded. Apparently the earthquake was felt even in Beijing, but we had just missed it.
The Philippines were not highly impacted by any deaths, and we were fully safe from it’s affects.
After arriving we went out to dinner with Dux’s lead. Rather than stay out late we decided the best option was to get up before the crack of dawn to head to the fish market, and a morning excursion to manila bay and even a quick Jeepny and pedicab ride through the streets prior to the event.
The first SharePoint community event ever happened in Manila with Sharing The Point. I don’t know exactly when the inital thought happened, ’cause I’ve been wanting to visit the SharePoint communities in China, Vietnam and Philippines for a LONG time. In fact I feel like I’ve been saving both China and Vietnam for trips where I could really visit including north to south in Vietnam via train plus boat, and doing spice route or Tibet visits, but I would say it was conversations with Dux that really made me feel like we really needed to visit Manila.
The sold out Manila event was a huge success. Microsoft was concerned no one would show up on a Saturday. Over 150 registered and it seemed we had nearly that many show up if not more. One couple brought their child… pretty serious dedication. Reminds me of a few conferences I’ve been to. Ironically or not, we were pleased to see it was the family with the child that won the Kinect combo XBOX giveaway!
Above: SharePoint Community Experts Lunch following the event (Invitation) – A big highlight for me at the event.
None of us really had much of a connection with Manila in terms of community connections, that is until our experts luncheon event visit and we were going around the room in a post event experts community luncheon and I was adding a few of these experts and quickly found we have a lot of friends in common. Jocelyn a good Philippine friend of mine living in Singapore whom I’ve met a number of times at TechEd South East Asia, and friends with on Facebook and Twitter, was friends with many of the Microsoft folks and budding community experts. A few other common friends in Singapore Steve Sofian SharePoint MVP, and
Was fascinating going around the room and seeing the variety of people, but seeing that despite the fact that none in our group save Dux had ever been to the Philippines, and Dux had never been there representing or on behalf of any SharePoint initiative, we had at least one friend in common across the dozen or so experts gathered. While Manila has a .NET user group, it does not yet have a dedicated SharePoint User Group and we left with some serious encouragement and a local commitment by the local that they are going to make it happen.
I see a very bright future for the community in the Philippines!