The Philippines joins China and 31 other countries in officially welcoming the Apple iPhone 5 today, December 14, 2012.

As shown in the company's official website, there are only two formal or Apple-sanctioned channels for the 2012 flagship handset locally, namely Globe Telecom and Smart Communications.

apple iphone 5 philippines launch

These two giants currently offer the much-anticipated smartphone to consumers via their postpaid plans and prepaid kits. If you're already at wits' end trying decide which carrier to choose, you'd do well to study our Globe vs Smart iPhone 5 comparison tables.

Last night, a few hours before the 14th officially broke, Globe and Smart - as expected - clashed yet again for iPhone 5 release date dominance not only in terms of the grandeur of their launch events but also in the effectiveness of their complementary digital and social media campaigns.

I was fortunate to have attended the two events leading to Globe iPhone 5's formal announcement at Glorietta Vibe in Makati City.

apple iphone 5 philippines launch
The first one was the Globe-sponsored #5for5 #TweetMas Tweet-up held at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and hosted by my fellow #GlobeiPhone5 Ambassador Chuckie Dreyfus. This meaningful gathering allowed some of the most active Pinoy Twitter users to bring donations for victims of Typhoon Pablo in Mindanao and to converse with one another on how they could further utilize social media to help those in need.

apple iphone 5 philippines launch

The Tweet-up was followed by the star-studded Pamasko ng Globe concert event, which the public got to enjoy for free and where the official countdown to #GlobeiPhone5 release began. Pamasko ng Globe was the company's way of saying 'Thank You' to all subscribers and partners who supported the brand for the whole of 2012.

apple iphone 5 philippines launch

The first part of the show was hosted by Kapamilya stars Nikki Gil and Robi Domingo while Amazing Race Asia tandem Marc Nelson and Rovilson Fernandez handled the remainder of the program. At around 10PM, Miss Kris Aquino, Globe's newest and biggest celebrity endorser, came out on the stage to talk about the benefits of the company's system upgrade. "I believe Globe," she told the crowd, "I stand by them. An all new network in 2013!"

apple iphone 5 philippines launch

Some of the biggest and most talented Pinoy entertainers today including Billy Crawford, Jed Madela, The Company, UP Streetdance, Christian Bautista, Zia Quizon, and Zsa Zsa Padilla graced the show to entertain the audience. Kapamilya leading man, Paulo Avelino, likewise performed a couple of songs to serenade the girls.

apple iphone 5 philippines launch

At exactly 12 midnight, the countdown to the handset ended, the confetti flew, and Mr. Peter Bithos, Head of Consumer Division at Globe Telecom, officially introduced the Globe iPhone 5 via a short promotional video.

I'm grateful to Globe Telecom for getting me as one of their #GlobeiPhone5 ambassadors. Really, I'm just so thankful for the company's continuous trust and support. I welcome this title because I know that it will allow me to share with you guys how the Apple iPhone 5 bundled Globe mobile services can help all of us become better in our field of expertise.

Through my blog, TechPinas.com, I get the wonderful opportunity to bring the latest news and reviews about gadgets and technology to my fellow Filipinos anywhere in the world via the internet. And if you ask me, the only way to do that well is for me to actually experience these gadgets and services for myself first to see if they are any good and are worth sharing and recommending to my readers. Hence, it's inevitable for me to lead a life that's always on the go, always on the hunt for the latest, and always eager to learn from people who are the forefront of technology. My Apple gadgets including the iPhone and the iPad, powered by Globe's mobile data services, allow me to maintain this active lifestyle with utter efficiency while apps like Facebook and Twitter let me share my experiences and converse with my TP Friends in real time.

The Other Side Of The Fence

Although I'm a Globe iPhone 5 Ambassador, I felt that it is my responsibility as a tech blogger to likewise cover Smart Communications' iPhone 5 launch event, which took place at the Atrium of Resorts World in Taguig City.

I know that I also have readers and TP Friends who are Smart subscribers and I wouldn't want them to feel that I care about them less. So I sent my younger brother, Val Marvin of BallersPinas (who's a very hard-working sports blogger), to witness #SmartiPhone5's release and grace the invite on my behalf.

apple iphone 5 philippines launch

According to him, Smart's event - aptly named "Smart Christmas Midnight Rush" - was likewise successful. DJ's played dance music throughout the evening and celebrities like KC Montero, Jinri Park, Aubrey Miles, Troy Montero, and Sam Gogna among others graced the #SmartiPhone5 launch.

apple iphone 5 philippines launch

Some Smart subscribers who pre-ordered their handsets via the company's website the week before finally got their hands on their units while Smart representatives continued to accept new iPhone Plan subscriptions during the event.

apple iphone 5 philippines launch

apple iphone 5 philippines launch

I also want to thank my friends at Smart for the invite and for accommodating my younger brother. He said he had a blast. In fact, he's happy that he won a new smartphone via raffle for the media. (Yes, of course, I'm letting him keep the handset.)

apple iphone 5 philippines launch

While Globe and Smart's iPhone 5 launch events were happening concurrently, the two companies also saw themselves in a tight and all-out hashtag battle on Twitter. Various celebrities and online personalities (like Mo Twister and Julie Anne San Jose) were tapped by both companies to giveaway iPhone 5 units to help propel their hashtags to the top position.

At 11:57 PM last night, Smart Communications had the top two trending hashtags locally while Globe Telecom had more related trending hashtags, effectively doubling Smart's output.

apple iphone 5 philippines launch

For the entire day today, which is actually the official launch date of the Apple iPhone 5, Globe Telecom's #GlobeiPhone5TwisterPrize couldn't be dethroned nor uprooted from the Top Trending position. It's been on the number 1 spot for almost 24 hours now.

apple iphone 5 philippines launch
Which company won the iPhone5 hashtag battle? You tell me.

So there you go, TP Friends! That's TechPinas' complete and exclusive coverage of Apple iPhone 5's formal release in the Philippines, a true landmark in Pinoy tech history. Seen from two perspectives, written in the most fair way that I can do it.