Ecommerce Weather Report for Manila in 2017

This is a follow-up to my 2016 post.

Not much new in mid-2017 for online shopping sites, but Honestbee is doing the first grocery home delivery now in the Philippines. The dominant grocery chain is Robinson’s, but they don’t offer home delivery. Honestbee will mainly shop for clients at Robinson’s and other specialty food providers.

The Manila area is interesting for home delivery for 5 reasons:

  1. large, high-density urban population
  2. relatively low adoption of cars, full trains and buses, traffic jams (exacerbated by Uber contractors), typhoons
  3. large available workforce of “Honestbees” (concierge shoppers and delivery bees) at very low wages
  4. large nuclear families, lots of kids – moms should welcome delivery to the door
  5. restaurant chains (McDonald’s, Shakeys, etc.) deliver, but nobody else does.

Also some recent payment processing changes to checks, credit cards and Philippines Check Image Clearing System (CICS):

  • Checks are now settled in one day nation-wide using check images instead of returning paper to the issuer, requiring new checks with an updated waiver statement on the face. Checkbook holders can only use old non-waivered checks until June 30, 2017. (So checks issued for pre-pay of insurance, etc. after June 30 must be destroyed and re-drawn.)
  • Robinsons Bank ATM cards now use the EMV (Europay, MasterCard, and Visa) smart-card standard.

Robinsons Bank CICS Check Notice

Robinsons Bank EMV Notice

Robinsons Bank Debit Card Notice

Family Ties Bind Philippine Banks


  • Note: NAIA Airport cancelled the P750 (USD $17.00) airport departure fee a while ago, and still hasn’t replaced it. They seem to have working AC throughout the airport now, as this was the most pleasant departure that I can remember from Manila.

  • Some Manila hotels are using Hi-Wire Wifi as their wireless ISP (WISP.) They use a non-standard provider architecture: the same server for both the routing gateway and local/public DNS. That means that unlike most wireless ISPs, DNS access is also restricted until authenticated.
    To get online, you must use DHCP for their DNS server, or set your DNS and gateway to If your networking setting DNS is set to for example google DNS ( only, login will silently fail and it is beyond the ability of hotel IT staff to troubleshoot. 🙂
  • Fastest wifi in the Philippines! Shhhh…”
  • Gateway and San Lazaro Malls both have publicly available wifi if you know where to look, but still not Magnolia, which is undergoing major renovations despite being built only a couple years ago.
  • China Eastern Airlines’ hub, Shanghai Pudong Airport, requires registering your phone if you want free access. An alternative is the business lounge wifi if you can obtain the password. Most people would want to use their cell phone instead. (T-mobile USA seemed to work there, as I received travel update SMS.)
  • China Eastern Airlines’s main gate at Pudong seems to be Gate 16. The arrivals and departures display is obscure, but there is a small 2-screen display outside the store located across from Gate 16.

Les Paul Search Engine Traffic Volume 2017 guitar search volume analysis: “Many new players might opt for a Epiphone Les Paul over the Gibson equivalent costing at least hundreds of dollars more. However, the popularity of the Les Paul is clear to see, in related queries making up three of the top five top most searched terms related to Epiphone.

When looking at geographic distribution you can see the Philippines makes up the 5th spot by [Les Paul] search interest (this place was held by Norway for Gibson), highlighting the premium vs. standard marketing (and pricing). We think it’s a great thing that Epiphone guitars are accessible to lower income markets.”

Jollibee trading motorbikes for bicycles, to spare the air or …. ?

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