The internet is now becomming so common that virtually everone who considers themselves a techie has an internet account and an e-mail address. But before the age of internet, there was a virtual network that already existed being a online community which we call a bbs or electronic bulletin board system. Modem speeds started at around the 300 baud rate verses the present 33.6k baud rate with a few even offering 56k connects. The first known bbs started around 1986.
Before Fidonet Philippines
During the period of 1988-89, a few local bbses used Fido software and connected to each other simulating the real international Fido Network to start a local echomail network with a few conference areas1. If you logged on a bbs and left a message on one of the echomail areas, it was then sent to the other bbses. Each bbs got their mail from another bbs. There were about 3 to 4 networks each consisting of say 3 to 8 nodes. Sysops then used IBM XT or AT computers, modems started ranged from 1200 to 2400 baud.
Some of these earlier bbses were Lighthouse BBS (Peter Que), Phoenix BBS (Randy Gonzales who later made a antivirus scanning software called VSCAN), Night Chambers BBS (Rex Smith), Oilers BBS (Rick Nuqui), Gateway BBS (Efren Tercias / Lope Auxillos), Psyche Net (Charles Asunsion), Foxcorp (Johnson Sumpio). Several were operating 24 hours but most operated during the night which was the peak time for bbsing. Fido was the common software used but new developments started and sysops shifted to the more attractive Quickbbs (later know was Remote Access or RA). Maximums also started to attract sysops.
But softwares were hard to find as there was no real international link to the outside world. Some budding programmers made their own bbs software like Dewy Lim who made a software for one bbs and Roberto Verzolas PDAF BBS who used his customized clipper-based bbs software called Andromeda. Local magazines like PC Digest (now PC World Philippines) helped to promote bbsing with the magazine featuring the sysops and informing readers of the many wide and exciting ways to link a computer to a bbs. There were eb (eyeballs) but most of the ebs were purely technical as it was mostly of the male gender but there were a few noted female bbsers then.
Scan International BBS was the most popular bbs then opered by Eddie Manala Jr. as he had 2 nodes and had the only bbs games doors online in town. He was using wildcat software and got his files from the USA via direct long distance calls to bbs networks in the USA. Sysops had to spend their own money to provide the latest equipment for their own bbs and didn't have the resources to spend on expensive long distance calls to get the latest files.
Good things are bound to happen, so when Bill English, an American serviceman who was stationed at Subic Base logged on to one of the local bbs, he was convinced by one of the sysops to setup his own bbs and join the local network. Billboard BBS was the first bbs in Subic. It became the most popular bbs since Bill English was able to call up bbses in the USA to get tons of new software and files and calling the bbses in Subic and Clark were toll free. Now Fido software came in more versions and new softwares such as Quickbbs and many others came through his system.
Billboard was able to convince a friend (Norm Joseph) who was stationed in a US naval base in Japan to open his own bbs called SpaceCom. Norm Joseph was eager and he linked up to Billboard. This was the start of international link for the Philippines. Many bbses begun to sprout from Subic Naval Base and Clark Air Bases operated by several US military personel stationed there. In Manila, bbses then started to also to mushroom spreading to Cebu where Jojo Sybcio operated his own bbs and polled Manila at his expense.
The Start of Fidonet in the Philippines
Norm Joseph eventually found out there was a real Fidonet international network and we were reorganized and merged into Region 63 of Japan in the Fidonet international nodelist for about 2 years. We were able to get a lot of echomail confrences from Fidonet International but problems cropped up as our entries in the Fidonet International Nodelist disappeared once in a while only to reappear later. Incoming internaional netmails and outgoing international netmails were non-existent with this set-up.
The Start of Fidonet Philippines
The birth of Region 64 (Fidonet Philippines) in Fidonet thus began in March 13, 1992 when the Philippines was officially listed in the Fidonet International Nodelist. The first Regional Coordinator (RC) for the Philippines was assigned to Carlos Legaspi of Twilight Zone BBS by the Fidonet Zone 6 Coordinator (Z6C) Honlin Lue of Taiwan.
Networks where divided into North And South Metro Manila, Cebu Network and the Subic and Clark Networks. Network Coordinators (NC) distributed to hubs and from hubs they distributed file echoes and message echos to their nodes. The internet was then beginning to be popular in the USA, eventually it was found that one can send email to the internet via fidonet.
Links lost with the Closure of the US Bases
But all good things come to an end and with the closure of the US bases came the sad news that the Fidonet intenrational links that most had taken for granted would be gone. Sysops found ways to bring back international links via the old reliable floppy disk mailing method. Mail and files were sent via floppy link to Bill English who was now stationed in JAPAN. It was a thankless job for sysop who had to manually copy messages and files by sending the floppy disks via postal mail.
Again some sysops and Pinoys based in the USA and members of Fidonet heard about the problems we had in one of the international fidonet conferences ASIAN_LINK. Generous people like Gloria Tufo and David Schepper who operated their own Fidonet BBS in Arizona USA helped by polling lond distance and sending some of the intenratnational fidonet message conferences to Manila. Evnetually, sysops had to find alternative ways to feasibly operate the international Fidonet links thus the birth of a cost sharing scheme which in turn evolved into Cybernet Philippines (CyberPhil).
This history was only added on April 15, 1999 and has yet to be updated. To
make the information posted here as accurate as possible, Fidonet Philippines
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