An Open Letter to Niantic and Pokemon GO from the People of the Philippines 2018

An Open Letter to Niantic and Pokemon GO from the People of the Philippines 2018

Before the latest game Pokemon Go was released can I still remember the moment I held my very first Nintendo console over a decade ago, in the summer of 2002. My relatives just got back from the States with surprises, I got a neon green Game-boy Color with Pokemon Crystal version. I spent my childhood watching the Pokemon series on TV and like most kids — I loved it! So imagine my happiness when I got my hands on the game and be able to realize the dream of being the very best like no one ever was.

The memories I have from the game from catching my very first Pokemon in Route 29 to beating the dragon specializing Pokemon Champion Lance in Indigo Plateau, and the countless times I had to reboot because of failing to capture the Red Gyarados in Lake of Rage and the Lapras in Union Cave (which only appears on Fridays by the way)— everything’s still fresh it’s crazy! I got caught up with games ever since.

Fast forward to September 2015, The Pokemon Company released the trailer for an upcoming smartphone game called Pokemon Go.

THE HYPE IS REAL and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! Pokemon in the real world is a dream come true for Pokemon fans everywhere. What’s even better is that a lot of people can play because it’s accessible via smartphone so thank you technology!

The Pokemon Go Experience

July 6, 2016- Niantic, the game developer launched the game in Australia and New Zealand on Android and iOS.
I freaked out. I jumped right into making a New Zealand Apple ID just to download and experience the game.


I couldn’t believe that it was really happening!
There’s a Charmander on my desk. On. My. Desk.

I chose Charmander as my starter Pokemon because Charizard is my favorite. However, you can also catch Squirtle and Bulbasaur throughout the game. I also heard that Pikachu can appear as a starter by ignoring the three basic starters. For instructions, click on this link: How to Get Pikachu as starting Pokemon
My first non-starter Pokemon catch: Doduo

Pokemon GO got me very excited so I went around the neighborhood to catch more Pokemon.
Slowpoke, Kakuna, and Nidoran (M)

Wild Pokemon in the streets of Manila!
Left: an Ivysaur and two Doduos are nearby. Right: a Geodude is nearby.

The blue/purple posts above are PokeStops where you can get free items (mostly Pokeballs) and the grey ones (like the one on the right) are the Pokemon Gyms. You can level up by gaining experience from stopping by the PokeStops, catching Pokemon, beating Gyms, etc. Going to PokeStops and Gyms are key to everything because from what I’ve heard from friends abroad, the higher your level is, the stronger and rarer Pokemon will appear.
Team Instinct for the win!

Upon reaching level 5 you will get to choose a team based on the legendary birds: Articuno (Team Mystic), Zapdos (Team Instinct), and Moltres (Team Valor). THIS IS SO COOL. I chose Zapdos because electricity easily beats Articuno and Moltres, hahaha!
Being on Level 5 also allows you to conquer and attack Gyms, so I went back to the one near our house and claimed it for Team Instinct.
Appointed my Slowpoke as my Pokemon Gym guardian.

I appointed Slowpoke as my Gym guardian because he was my second strongest Pokemon at the time (didn’t want to leave my best Pokemon lol). However, I lost when I challenged my own gym (for the sake of trying the battle feature) using my strongest Pokemon, Scyther which was really surprising. Scyther fainted and the only way to restore its health is by using potions that can be found in PokeStops. So be sure that you can beat the Gym before attacking it or you’ll waste potions.
I later found out that you can level up the Pokemon Gyms by attacking it (and letting it win) to gain “Gym Prestige.” The higher the level of the Gym, the more guardians you can put therefore the more difficult it is to beat. So it’s recommended to attack multiple-guardian Gyms in groups and with teammates!
Also, there are rumors that fighting-type Pokemon flock to high level Gyms!
Pokemon I’ve caught, from the highest to the lowest Combat Power (CP)

That photo above is my current Pokemon stash.
Left: Home ; Right: The next day at the SMART Tower

At around evening I noticed that I couldn’t see PokeStops and I can’t find Pokemon anymore, then I read something online saying they shut down the Philippine servers and region-locked the game. Needless to say, this was a downer.


Since then, fans have been waiting for the game to be up and running worldwide. It is currently live in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and just today, in Japan.
As one of the Community Managers of Smart and a huge Pokemon fan, I’m just as excited as everyone to play the game and we’re doing everything in Smart to make your Pokemon experience—and mine as well—more fun once it’s out.
To , we know that your engineers and technical team are working extremely hard to add more Pokemon Go servers worldwide. We’re thankful for that. We’d just like to let you know that a lot of people here are looking forward to relive our childhood, become Pokemon Masters, and fulfill the promise once and for all — to be the very best like no one ever was.

Paolo Umpa, a ’90s kid

Credits to: Dominic Tulay from the Philippines