Pinoy Mozillians at the Mozilla Asian L10n Hackathon 2016

A delegation from the Philippines (known internally within the global L10n Community as the Tagalog Team), composed of four (04) Mozilla Reps, were invited to participate in the Mozilla Asian Localization (L10n) Hackathon 2016 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia over the weekend.

The Philippine delegation is composed of Kim Domanog, Kevin Ventura, Frederick Villaluna and myself. Each of the L10n Hackathon delegates from the country have their own specific task to accomplish that weekend — based on team discussion that we had as preparation for the event since a couple of weeks ago.


Day 0

The team left Manila (MNL) lunch time of Friday, 26 Aug 2016 via Malaysia Airlines MH807 (B738 – 9MMLM). With a minimal delay ex-MNL (something not new), our flight landed in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) minutes past 1700H.


The queue at the KLIA Immigration Hall was very long (as in, veeerrryyy long!), even if we were lined-up at the ASEAN Courtesy Lane. It took us almost two (02) hours to finish the Immigration process (biometrics capturing, etc).

Read somewhere that unlimited 4G internet connectivity is FREE in Malaysia during weekends, thus I opted to just buy a SIM Card at the airport (cost with prepaid load is MYR20 or around PHP230). Beware: telco staff at airport kiosks will try to sell you “prepaid SIM cards packaged with data connection” with its cheapest rate around MYR40.


From the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), we took the KLIA Ekspres towards KL Sentral — tickets for this ride were provided in advanced by the Mozilla L10n steering committee. The awesome thing is that the turnstile at the train station accepted the QR codes in the emailed train tickets to us! Travel time via train from KLIA to KL Sentral is around 60 minutes.

At KL Sentral, we made a train switch and took the RapidKL towards the nearest station to our place of stay. Using the automated ticket machines (similar to the ones being used now in Manila), we were surprised that instead of train tickets, the machine dispensed a blue RFID chip (token).

After more than eight (08) hours of travel, we finally arrived at BackHome Hostel, just in time for the team’s welcome dinner.


Fellow Asian Mozillians at the welcome dinner.

Day 1

The L10n (Localization) Hackathon happened at iTrain Kuala Lumpur. Equipped with a RapidKL RFID card (handed to each participant the night before) and instructions on which train to take, we reached the venue just before 0900H (after a 10-minute train ride, plus walk for a couple of blocks). Sumptuous breakfast welcomed the L10n Hackathon participants at the venue.

Saw this awesome whiteboard art at the hackathon venue.

Met a lot of old Mozilla L10n friends and got acquainted with new ones over breakfast.

Who said that contributing to L10n is boring?

Who said that contributing to L10n is boring?

The hackathon started with each of the participants introducing themselves, then followed by updates from the L10n Drivers. One thing new (compared to yesteryear’s) in this L10n Hackathon: teams were given more than ample time to meet, discuss and actually work on the plans they had prior to attending the meetup.

One thing that was lacking on the first day of the L10n Hackathon: coffee. The caterer at the venue had milk tea and juice (not to mention the stash of Plus 100 in the fridge), but for our team, lunch wouldn’t be complete with a coffee (guess it is a Filipino thing).

Pit stop. We went out of the hackathon venue after lunch to find a cafe (we found one a few blocks away). Then we clicked this group selfie with the Petronas Tower on our way back to iTrain Malaysia.

Pit stop. We went out of the hackathon venue after lunch to find a cafe (we found one a few blocks away). Then we clicked this group selfie with the Petronas Tower on our way back to iTrain Malaysia.

Before we went to the dinner venue, the team visited the Petronas Twin Towers.


Testing the front camera of my ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser 5.5S :-)

The first day of the L10n Hackathon was capped by a dinner at the Songket Restaurant (good food plus a cultural presentation).

Day 2

The second (and final) day of the L10n Hackathon was a Sunday. Given that our hackathon schedule is pretty tight, our team decided to wake up early to visit the Batu Caves in Gombak, Selangor. This cave, temple and tourist spot is around 13 kilometers away from the hostel (same distance between Magallanes and Alabang Exit along South Luzon Expressway in Manila). We took Uber and the fare was just MYR12.14 (PHP140).


Each of the teams had the opportunity to received guidance from the L10n Drivers and were given the entire day to work out their plans and finish the tasks at hand.

For the Tagalog Team, we dedicated much of our time formulating the Style Guide. During the team discussion, we saw the urgent need to have a better glossary (online) tool that may be used by both new and seasoned localizers. Thus, we came up with the idea of Project ATOMPH (App for the Translation Of MozillaPH).

The Asian L10n Hackathon weekend was capped by a team dinner at Precious Old China restaurant at Kuala Lumpur’s Central Market.

After dinner, our managed to swing by the Petronas Twin Towers (again) to have a more decent group selfie (nighttime) ;-)

Group selfie with the Petronas Twin Towers on our last night ni Kuala Lumpur for this trip.

Group selfie with the Petronas Twin Towers on our last night ni Kuala Lumpur for this trip. (Using my ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser 5.5S selfie camera).

TRIVIA: We decided to call the glossary project ATOMPH, since #Atom was trending in the Philippines that day (due to the sudden resignation of broadcast journalist Atom Araullo to pursue personal endeavors).

Journey Back Home

The team, with the exception of Kevin — who opted to take the earliest possible flight of 0800H — were supposed to take the 100H flight out of KUL to MNL. But as they say, what’s two (02) hours between friends? We all decided to leave the hostel at around 0530H, take the early train to KL Sentral and onwards to KLIA, and put ourselves on Go Show Standby for the 0800H flight back to MNL (Kevin’s flight) via MH806 (B738 -9MMXR). Luck was on our side today: we were all accommodated in the earliest MH flight to MNL — but we only have around 75 minutes left before boarding call. Same with the experience when we arrived in KLIA, the queue at the Immigration Hall was very long (even if we’re lined up at the ASEAN lane). With a couple of minutes to spare, we managed to be at the boarding gate to the surprise of Kevin!

Our plane landed in MNL minutes past 1200H. End of the Mozilla Asian L10n Hackathon 2016 for the Philippine team.

Side Notes

  • A lot of Chinese visitors at the KL airport were thinking that the term ASEAN refers to “Asians” that’s why they queued in the ASEAN Courtesy Lanes at the Immigration Hall.
  • The Philippine delegation had their accommodation at BackHome KL under a shared dorm style room — which is totally kewl! The four of us stayed in a room with double-deck beds, together with a delegate from Indonesia and Japan (total of six per room).
  • Welcome dinner was held at LOKL Coffee Co., which is located right next to BackHome KL (owned by the same people). Guess what? The cafe’s chef is Pinoy!
  • The L10n Hackathon venue is near Intercontinental Hotel Kuala Lumpur, the venue of MozCamp Asia 2011 — the first time I set foot on Malaysian soil.
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