JULY 4, 2008
(STAR) By Wilson Lee Flores ( Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. — British writer and inventor Arthur C. Clarke)

How true is it that the world’s richest billionaire, Warren Buffett, doesn’t use a cellphone and doesn’t even have a computer on his desk? And that the world’s second wealthiest billionaire, Bill Gates of Microsoft, prefers to use a Palm Treo?

I’m no techie but I cannot live without my cellphones — a Palm Treo 680 and a Nokia 6500 Classic — which I use for my small realty business and my writing. I haven’t decided yet on what laptop to buy so I can write anywhere, anytime.

Ever since taipan Lucio Tan joked about my not bringing a camera along during a presidential state visit, saying, “A journalist who doesn’t bring a camera is like a warrior who doesn’t carry a sword.” Now I always carry a digital camera with me.

What about the gadgets of the country’s top business leaders?

Manuel “Manny” V. Pangilinan

The big boss of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Group, PLDT and Smart Communications uses three cellphones: a Nokia E90, Nokia N77 and Nokia N92. For his desktop computer, MVP uses an Acer vPro, and a MacBook laptop.

Dr. Washington sycip

The 87-year-old founder of Asia’s biggest auditing firm SGV Group and the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) prefers to use two old-model Nokia cellphones — one for the Philippines and another for the US. He spends over half the year traveling overseas on business and uses an iPod Nano.

John Gokongwei

The 82-year-old founder of JG Summit Holdings, Inc. and Sun Cellular, says, “I use a Nokia 3110, Vodaphone 810 and Huawei U636 — all given by suppliers. I like a cellphone that’s tri- or quad-band. Yes, I use a laptop, a Toshiba Portege slim type. I have no need to change or upgrade this unless the specs cannot accommodate the Bloomberg terminal anymore. I get updated on the stock markets globally via the Bloomberg terminal installed on my laptop. This is my second Toshiba Portege, which I like because it’s super slim so I can carry it when I’m traveling.

“I have an iPod Classic 80G, my camera is a Canon Ixus. My Casio, the latest model, I have given to my grandson Justin Pe. I also have a Samsung camera. I’m always traveling, so a camera is important especially when I want to buy the property and also to record my travel.”

Teresita Sy-Coson

The chairman of BDO Universal Bank and vice chairman of SM Investments uses a Nokia N95 for its large memory while her laptop is an IBM notebook. “Other gadgets I use are an iPod for music and a camera during my leisure time. I always bring my cellphone when traveling because it keeps me in touch. New and advanced gadgets have truly given us more speed.”

Andrew Tan

Founder of Megaworld, Empire East and Emperador Brandy, Tan likes easy-to-use cellphones and checks his e-mail daily at 6 a.m., even when he travels. “My laptop helps me carry on my business functions and stay in touch with my executives when I’m abroad.

“My cellphone has Cybershot function and the pictures I have taken — those of my family, tourist attractions and residential and office buildings that interest me as property developer — are very crisp and clear, and will always be dear to me.”

Sharon Tan

The low-key daughter of Philippine Airlines chairman Lucio Tan owns RFID Technology Resource Institute and is also part-owner of Royal Elastics footwear. She uses a Nokia Communicator and a MacBook. “I use the Mac for storing music, audio books, seminars, and photographs and transferring them to my iPod. I chose a white laptop after using a black IBM ThinkPad for five years. Last year I purchased a Nikon D40 and used it on trips to Dubai, Las Vegas, and Africa.”

Lance Y. Gokongwei

President of JG Summit, Cebu Pacific Air and Sun Cellular, Lance says, “I have a Nokia 6300 on a Sun postpaid subscription. I’m happy with my phone, it’s easy to use and I’m used to Nokia interface. I use an HP laptop and an iPod Nano, which is important for when I’m on a treadmill or when on a plane. I also use a Blackberry so I don’t have to carry around a laptop when I go abroad. When I travel with our kids (ages five and two), I have to bring a portable DVD player and their favorite cartoons to keep them entertained.

“I would like to see e-books like Amazon’s Kindle or devices for mobile on-demand video become much more affordable and accessible.”

Fernando Zobel De Ayala

Chairman of Ayala Land, Inc. and Ayala International Pte. Limited, he uses a Palm Treo Centro and a MacBook Pro.

Jaime Augusto Zobel De Ayala

Chairman of Globe Telecom, Ayala Corporation, Bank of the Philippine Islands and CEO of the Ayala Group, he uses a Blackberry, a Nokia E90 and a MacBook Pro.

Manuel “Manny” Villar Jr.

The Senate President and self-made realty billionaire of Vista Land says, “I am currently using an iPhone. I appreciate its touch screen, its big memory and iPod capability for my favorite music. The phone to keep in touch and the iPod to unwind.

“Yes, I have my Apple laptop to store important files and I always upgrade to have the most efficient gadget. Aside from the iPhone, I also have an iPod Touch because the former gets inundated with calls. I also carry a Sony digital camera.

“New gadgets today enable us to multitask and maximize the use of our time and manage our busy workweek. Wi-Fi capability makes information available almost everywhere so during a lull in the Senate, I can check the news and stock updates, or the whereabouts of my children. I just hope gadgets will become more affordable to give the common people equal access.”

Wilfred Steven Uytengsu

The president and CEO of Alaska Milk Corp. uses a Blackberry Curve. “I was a long-term Palm user but converted when it got stolen. I’m interested to see what the Blackberry Bold offers. The iPhone is also an amazing piece of technology, but I still find it less compatible for business purposes. I use a Sony Vaio laptop, my third Vaio. I upgrade every two and a half years as processing speed improves.

“I have an iPod Nano, a Sony W-120 digital camera, Canon 350D, and an older Sony Handycam. When I travel, I always take my Blackberry, Sony Vaio, iPod and Sony digital camera. The key is having one charger that can charge all of these and just change the tips accordingly.”

Samie Lim

President of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and CEO of Automatic Appliances, Lim uses a Nokia 6600 Classic for its size. “After finally learning how to use my current cellphone, I am looking forward to the Nokia E66! It’s slim, has a 3.2-megapixel camera and lets me access my e-mail wherever there is a Wi-Fi signal. I just started learning how to use a computer and bought a laptop called EEPC by ASUS. I always travel abroad with my cellphone and camera and come home with hundreds or thousands of photos. Some say that we have become too attached to and dependent on technology but technology has made our lives easier.”

Jon Ramon Aboitiz

This leader of Cebu’s preeminent Aboitiz conglomerate uses a Blackberry 8800, Nokia E61, and IBM Think Pad X61 laptop.

Atty. Felipe “Henry” L. Gozon

The CEO of GMA 7 says, “In general, I’m not much into gadgets and reading their brochures is too time-consuming. I’m using a Nokia E51 and Nokia 6500C. My favorite is the Nokia E51 because I’m used to it. I can’t imagine now a day without my cellphone. I don’t use a laptop because I have not learned how to type. I really don’t have special gadgets aside from an iPod.

“I hope they will invent, develop and produce machines or gadgets that can transport people from one place to another like in Star Trek. That will save a lot of traveling time, energy, expenses, etc. Another is a machine or gadget that can think and a robot that can do some of the work that people have to do.”

George Siy

The honorary chairman of Anvil Business Club and CEO of Marie France/Facial Care Center uses Treo cellphones and an Asus laptop. “I enjoy using digital videocams with card memories to capture events. Gadgets help us be productive during leisure time and also to have leisure at work.”

Helen Yuchengco Dee

The CEO of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) and the country’s biggest insurer Malayan Insurance Group uses a Nokia E90 for its keyboard. “I do not have other gadgets and I don’t like gadgets. When I travel, I only bring my cellphone.”

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Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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