Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Life so far

My editor wasn't happy with my brief bio because it was too brief; rewrite, he asked, hence, this unexpected run of egotism. I hope this does the trick so we can go back to our regularly scheduled program.

Who is Dominique Cimafranca?

The short answer is: I'm Davao City born and bred, with a smattering of Dumaguete summers thrown in for variety. I spent my five years of college in Cebu City, after which I wandered, a little dazed, into Metro Manila. Such a footloose life left me confused, and so I spent the next ten years bouncing around these cities. Jobs with two IT multinationals sent me careening to other countries and other continents, but home base has always been the Philippines. After twelve years, I grew bemused with the burlesque of Big IT and decided to retire: first to Dumaguete, where I ran a pharmacy, and then to Davao, where I now teach at the Ateneo de Davao University.

That, of course, is a quick account of the places I've lived in, not who I am. Let me try again.
The long answer is: I was a computer nerd before the term came into vogue. I took my first computer programming class when I was 12, and I got my first computer, an Apple ][, when I was 14. My parents mistook my love for computer games for a desire to be a computer engineer, so they shipped me off to the University of San Carlos where I received my degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering with honors. What I really wanted to be was a journalist.

As detours go, it was most fortuitous. I enjoyed the math and the degree and the subsequent license afforded me the chance for a stable job. I taught at the University of Asia and the Pacific for a time, and there I helped to start their IT program. Tiring of academe, I
shifted to the industry when I joined Digital Equipment Corporation in 1995. I did so at the right time as the Internet was just getting started in Asia. I set up web servers, firewalls, and ISP networks in Manila, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Dhakka, Karachi, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen.
In my first and only attempt at industry musical chairs, I moved to IBM in 1997.

With its size, IBM afforded me new frontiers. I went through several positions: e-Business consultant, technical sales for Emerging and Competitive Markets, and IT architect and technical lead for the Systems and Technology Group. I have seen customers froth, proposals implode, and projects collapse. On other occasions, we manage to save the day...and we go back into the fray the very next.

Eventually I grew tired of the game and seized an option unthinkable to most: I retired early from IT. I moved back to Dumaguete and there I ran a pharmacy; on the side, my friends and I worked to bring in the first major call center into the city. In my spare time, I wrote for the weekly newspaper, I joined the National Writing Workshop under Mom Edith Tiempo, and I rode my mountain bike to the waterfalls and beaches of Negros and Bohol. It's not a bad way to live; everyone should try it sometime.

At some point, even an earthly paradise can get tedious. Partly by accident and partly by family need, I found myself back in Davao. Again, as life detours go, it wasn't bad at all: Davao's urban pace is midway between the easygoing amble of Dumaguete and the frenetic dash of Cebu and Manila. While in Davao, I consulted for the International Open Source Network, co-edited the weekly literary journal of the Davao Writers Guild, and wrote fantasy and science fiction stories for Manila genre rags. Is Davao the place to settle down? Maybe.

This semester I began teaching at the Ateneo de Davao University. I started with a class on Information Security for the Computer Studies Division; then they added a class on Open Source Technologies. And then the Humanities Division called, and now I also teach New Journalism. Strange, I know, but that's how life and its detours go.

More detailed, yes, but does it really answer the question? Okay, one more time.

The short short answer: I am Dominique Cimafranca. I am a geek and a nerd.

Hello. A pleasure to meet you.


  1. I'm impressed.
    (I left a reply to your last comment on my blog......I'm sure most Americans won't get my joke.)

  2. Thanks, Bob; this assignment came at a good time. Helps put life in a positive perspective; moreso that I'm marking another year soon. ;-)

  3. maybe in another 5 to 8 years, i'll join you in such a life. minus the teaching. it's what i'm doing right now and i don't think it's my kinda thing. :D

  4. "a smattering of Dumaguete summers" I like Dumaguete summers. And Dumaguete anything. :)

  5. I always thought you WANTED to be a programmer too. :)

  6. @Junkie: heh, of course you would. ;-)

  7. Scratch that. I like Dumaguete EVERYTHING. Hahaha.. (Wait, is there a difference?)

    Oh yeah, Paddy promised me that he'd show me your pharmacy when I visit for Christmas. Maybe I'd buy pain killers or something. Or more Cherifer. :)