My PyconPH 2018 experience

python conference travel

Pre conference

Stephen Speaks in the Passenger’s Seat

The day started with a mixup. I was supposed to go with my friends. But due to a flight schedule mixup, I ended up going alone in the morning.

I almost got an offer by the flight crew to give up my seat in exchange for a free round trip flight. But someone was quicker than me.

Fortunately, the in flight entertainment made up for it. Stephen Speaks, a singer who was popular in the Philippines in the early 00’s, was in the flight. He performed “Passenger Seat”(how apt) while telling us that it was his first time playing inside an airplane.

Glorious PC Master Race

Since I had the afternoon to myself, I decided to check out some PC shops around the area. I found a popular cheap gaming mouse, led strips and case fans for my PC.

Work Work

Bugs in the production build at work were found late in the afternoon. I had to work a few hours in order to fix it. I wasn’t in the mood for fixing bugs. But I don’t want to worry about them in weekend either. So I forced myself to squash that bug. I worked diligently for 2 hours with an hour of rest in between before finishing the job. I was then able to slide into vacation mode.

Big Bad Wolf Sale

I had a heavy lunch at Wendys earlier so I wasn’t hungry in the early evening. I waited for my friends to arrive at 8pm. They didn’t have dinner yet so we went to KFC.

My friends was interested in the Big Bad Wolf sale, which was now in its last weekend. I checked the books there but I didn’t find anything interesting enough to buy in physical form. I figured that the good ones were probably snagged in the first days of the sale.

After my friends bought some children and women tech books for their love ones back home, we went back to our hotel to sleep.

First Day

So it begins…

Our breakfast consisted of a buffet of pancakes, chicken adobo and scrambled eggs.

The data science keynote speech introduces the audience to real data science methods being used around the world. It’s interesting from someone who doesn’t work in the field.

There was supposed to be a session about Natural Language Processing but the speaker wasn’t able to make it. So they substituted the session with an introduction to Python.

Finally, there was a talk about Hive Swarm that I frankly tuned out because it wasn’t relevant nor interesting to me.

Tech Discussions at Lunch

During lunch, Matt told some preselected people to show topics that he wanted to discuss. People who are interested in discussing about the topic can eat their lunch with other like minded people.

It was a cool setup which encourages people to interact with other people who they don’t know but have the same ideas to discuss.

I joined the “Building a tech community” discussion because I was interested in promoting my local JS community. I met a lot of inspiring people in this discussion.

  • Al Sweigart, the author of [Automate the boring stuff with Python]() and other Starch press books.
  • Takashi Someda, CTO of Hacarus Inc.
  • Iqbal Abdullah, CEO of xoxzo

We went out for a bit to get some Horton’s coffee. My friends were not impressed with their offerings. I can offer no comment since I am not a coffee person.

They sold [PyconPH 2018 t-shirts]() later in the day. The design was an allusion to Monty Python’s The Knights Who Say Ni. I liked it so I bought one for myself.

Boardgames!

One of my friends invited me to join her meeting her friends for a night of drinking and boardgames at Onboard Game in Circuit Lane, Makati. We played with known games like Munchkin and some new ones like Concept.

Second Day

Late!

I woke up without a hangover and a hungry stomach. We our sweet time eating our breakfast that we were late to the conference. I was disappointed that we missed the keynote for this day from Younggun Kim, the former director of PSF.

When we got ther around 10am, we were given a cool hang bag and stickers upon entering the main hall.

My friends still think that the coffee offering was diluted so we went out to grab some coffee just before lunch. We went to VC cafe, an anime themed coffeeshop. I was very into anime back then so this place hit me with nostalgia. It was impossible to not to take some pics in the shop.

So it ends…

I attended Brian Baquiran’s talk about Data Visualization. I recognized him as one of the members of Phackers, a Slack group for Philippine CS/IT professionals. I was glad that the talk was beginner level. He focused on what and why to use a particular visualization as opposed to discussing the how.

The last session that I attended was Sony Valdez’s talk about Video editing using MoviePy. But instead of a straight talk about the MoviePy Python library, what I got was a fun presentation about creating memes.

After conference socials

We were invited to eat dinner at Manan Comfort Food restaurant with the organizers and keynote speakers. Their crispy pata and sisig were cooked just right. It was nice discussing community topics from a diverse background of people.

Afterwards, Matt and Mickey gave us a tour around Legazpi park and and and recommended the Curator Coffee place for those who love coffee and coworkin.

Post conference

Buying the monitor, or the failure of getting one…

Since the conference is over, I am excited to buy the Acer Predator XB271HU monitor. I have been eyeing this monitor for a long time since my PC can support showing great graphics. I boarded the Grab car to Dynaquest, giddy with excitement.

Then I found out that they don’t have one in stock on hand.

I was devastated since buying this monitor was one of the main reasons that I wanted to go on this trip. I already know that there some stores that might have it but they are too far away to be able to return in time for lunch.

With a heavy sigh, I resigned myself that I will not be able to get it at this time. Next time though, it would be different.

The best beer I have tasted to date!

![Spektral beer]()

The next stop was a beer lounge co-owned by a friend of ours. Josan was a former head of design of the company she help create, Aestra. Nowadays, she is more focused on making her beer lounge work, Spektral beer lounge.

She offered as a generous serving of one of their offerings to taste test. It was a Radler mix of Wheat Ale and Kalamansi Jasmine Tea Soda.

I don’t drink beer that much but this was the best beer I have tasted to date! The taste was solid. This means that the the beer and soda tastes don’t mix into some muddled amalgam. They just taste good together.

I wished we had some beer lounges in Cagayan de Oro. We egged her to open a branch in CDeO but warned her of the capriciousness of the customers there.

She told use that she would think about it. Can’t wait for it to come!

Itadakimasu

One of my companions have been craving to eat in a Japanese restaurant so Josan and her husband, Brian accompanied us to one nearby.

Oishinbo offered some interesting menu choices but I went with the Zaru Soba(cold noodles) since I never had tried one before. The noodles and the sauce were good but I still prefer the hot version!

Bye Makati

We boarded our return trip early in the evening. Our flight was delayed a bit but it was only for 15 minutes. We arrived home around 10pm.

Thoughts

Conference

The main takeaway that I got from the conference was that it was more important to meet and converse with people than attending the sessions. Most of the knowledge that I got from attending a session will be usually be forgotten but the relationships that you create when you interact with people will expand your network.

Makati

I assumed Makati would be similar to Manila. But it was not. It has a more urban feel and there are a lot less people around.

Thanks

I would like to thank Matt and Mickey for accomodating us in the event. It made it a lot easier to convince the other guys to go with me :P