Meet the Cebuanos behind 'loudbasstard'

by Cathy Rose A. Garcia, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Jun 26 2013 11:36 AM | Updated as of Jun 27 2013 01:36 AM

MANILA, Philippines - With a name like "loudbasstard," you can be sure no one will forget your product.

Loudbasstard may look like it's just a piece of artfully-cut bamboo, but it is actually a sound amplifier where you can share your music. Each piece is hand cut, dyed and packaged in Cebu.

Loudbasstard is a brainchild of two Cebu-based entrepreneurs, Koh Onozawa and Franz Ignacio.

Loudbasstard founders Koh Onozawa and Franz Ignacio talk to ANC Pipol host Ces Drilon.

In an interview with ANC Pipol host Ces Drilon, Onozawa and Ignacio talked about how they met and how they got the idea to create a stylish bamboo speaker dock.

They met in Cebu two years ago, after much prodding from their mothers who were close friends.

Ignacio, who was in Cebu taking time off from his job in New York, initially didn't want to meet Onozawa. But when they finally met and hit it off immediately.

"It took a while before we realized we can do something (here)... We both quit our jobs to stay in the Philippines," Ignacio said.

"We wanted to do something that would keep us in Cebu," Onozawa added.

As they brainstormed for ideas, Onozawa's French girlfriend did something simple, she took her phone and placed it in a glass cup, which amplified the sound.

"We were in this cool spot in Cebu where there's a bar, overlooking Metro Cebu. We were just like, 'Man, I love this place. Let's stay here.' And thinking about what to do, we were writing, he was sketching, my girlfriend took her phone out and played music in a cup... She literally let it sit inside a cup. That blew our minds," Onozawa said.

And the idea for Loudbasstard was born.

The Loudbasstard sound amplifier is made in Cebu. Photo by Cathy Rose A. Garcia for ABS-CBNnews.com

Ignacio said they wanted to create something similar, but something trendy that would attract the youth.

"We wanted to work with something similar that would amplify the music but we wanted something that was nicer, cleaner...That's how the idea was born," he said.

Both men come from families with design backgrounds. Ignacio worked for Christie's in New York and his family is involved in furniture exports. Onozawa, a Filipino-Japanese whose family is involved in architecture, worked in Japan,

They experimented with various materials for the sound amplifier, but settled on bamboo.

"We started off with the material, what we can do with the material. We had numerous materials but we ended with bamboo because my family's in bamboo," Ignacio said.

Ignacio wanted to merge Cebuano craftsmanship and modern design, while Onozawa wanted to incorporate a social empowerment aspect in their venture.

The result was the Loudbasstard, which merges technology, industrial design and sustainability, in October last year. The two men credit design mentors and fellow Cebuanos such as Vito Selma and Kenneth Cobonpue for helping them get their product off the ground.

As for the name, they admit some might get offended by it.

"It goes back to the trip to the mountains, when we were driving down, we were so hyped. I said, 'this is going to be such a loud bastard,' and then we were like, that's the perfect name... we added an 's' to the name to make it music oriented," Onozawa said.

Ignacio added, "One of our main goals was to have a name that sticks in your head. When you hear about it, you don't forget it."

The two friends hope to bring Loudbasstard to the US market soon.

"Our main focus is to bring it to the US and we're tryng to do that... by October," Ignacio said.

"By targeting the US, we can make it more well-known around the world," Onozawa added.