I first heard about the information superhighway (or Internet to you) when I was studying at Parsons New York back in the ’90s. My dad told to me to check it out so we could communicate via email, but I didn’t get it then.
Back the ’90s, Internet was really new. My Mac looked like this
My favorite gadget was the Nintendo Super NES, where I played many games of Super Mario 3.
I remember calling my Dad long distance to ask if it was OK to spend $139 for it.
When I went back to Manila in 1995, Internet still wasn’t a big thing—pagers were!
I quickly subscribed to EasyCall 141. My pager looked exactly like this:
To send a message to someone’s pager, you had to call a 141 number and tell the operator your message.
How awkward it was to say “I love you” to an EasyCall operator. Can you imagine what those people went through, having to hear sappy messages all day long? They must’ve rolled their eyes a lot.
I also remember there were certain words you couldn’t use, like shit or crap. You were not allowed to curse on EasyCall.
My cellphone was a huge Nokia phone with antenna. It was as big as remote control.
Texting wasn’t happening yet, so pagers were still very popular.
I remember the first person I knew who was texting—Ariel Lozada, who directed my first fashion show in 1996.
I would watch in awe as he texted model Joyce Oreña, another early adopter.
When I finally got my phone to text I would text junk to Ariel—that would be the equivalent of people who still send useless email.
So that time, everyone still had the phone and pager combo or just pager and landline.
Take note: the word “landline” was new. Prior to cellphones, we just called it “telephone.” Walang landline.
Death of a pager
Then one day my assistant Melvin Mojica announced he was giving up his pager to buy a cellphone that could text instead. I was shocked because I couldn’t imagine giving up my pager.
We all had pagers: (from left) Rene Perrenoud, Ge Madriaga, Paolo Arévalo, myself, Paolo Raymundo and Melvin Mojica at my fashion show in Fashion Café, Glorietta, in 1999. (Photo: Eddie Boy Escudero)
It turns out Melvin was psychic.
And so it came to pass: more and more people dropped their pagers for a cellphone, and EasyCall, once an enviable company, died a natural death.
(To be continued)