No-code communities are thriving around the world, driven by people excited about the potential to build products that solve problems, and motivated to learn. Here’s the story of how Crystal built a no-code community of product-building enthusiasts in the Philippines during the pandemic!

Hi, I’m Crystal Camarao! I'm the founder of Estel, we’re a no-code product studio. We use Adalo, Bubble, Webflow, and more to make apps and websites for our clients. I've been creating websites since I was 11, which inspired me to pursue a degree in computer science. However, while I enjoy coding, I just knew it wasn't the career for me.

After graduation, I tried out all sorts of things: I was in law school for a couple of years but eventually dropped out. I also experienced living in Japan and being a paralegal, and later taught English there. I then came back home and did digital marketing for our family business.

With the onset of the pandemic, our family business hit a downturn, I started freelancing as a web designer. During this time, I learned more about how awesome Webflow is. I also discovered Adalo when I researched how to build my side project, Three Things Daily, as a native mobile app using no-code.

From interest to advocacy

Things just fell into place after that because one thing led to another. I grew my freelance biz into a team and now we're a no-code agency, and at the same time I started No-code Philippines. I'm now deep into the no-code movement and I'm enjoying it. I have a great passion for no-code and love seeing how it's empowering people.

After becoming so interested with no-code, it didn't take long for me to observe that there was no community here yet in the Philippines. There are those for development, UX design, product, etc. but none specifically for no-code. So, I started No-code Philippines.

In the Philippines, a lot of people haven't heard about no-code or haven't realized what they are doing is no-code. I know now that growing the no-code movement here is not only for its potential but because there is a need to fill a gap.

At the same time, No-code Philippines aims to nurture the no-code movement here. We know the importance and value of having a supportive community around you.

Empowering the no-code community in the Philippines

No-code Philippines seeks to empower the no-code and low-code community in the Philippines. We're made up of no-code and low-code enthusiasts and professionals living in or residing in the Philippines.

We facilitate regular meetups where members can casually hang out with fellow no-coders. Even more importantly, we host and organize public events such as workshops where anyone who's interested can learn no-code. For example, we did one on Adalo in partnership with UXPH and Complab. We're also doing one on Webflow soon.

A landmark event for us was during the Philippine Startup Week, the largest startup conference in the Philippines. We gathered no-code and low-code experts from the Philippines to talk about why startups should know about no-code and low-code.

Organizing our first hackathon

Our first challenge, or ‘hack-a-thon’ project, happened last month, with over a hundred registered participants from all over the country. It was sponsored by Glide and the participants were asked to make a Glide app.

We started with a Launch and Workshop event and ended with a Demo Day event with eight participants showcasing their apps to a panel of judges. For most of the participants, it was their first time to use Glide or even try out no-code.

It has been rewarding to see what No-code Philippines has achieved in only a few months. I'm excited and inspired to do even more for the no-code movement here.

No-code Philippines grew out of my desire to have more no-coders in the country and support them. I like to think of it as my personal advocacy. The community is absolutely free and I have no plans of monetizing it. I may raise funds in the future, but it will continue to function as a nonprofit.

How I built this community

The website was originally built using Wordpress to save on hosting but, even with plugins, I was unable to achieve what I wanted. So, I ported it over to Bubble and I'm super glad I did! Bubble can be very customizable and flexible and I love that about it.

I also use a bit of Integromat to automate things like the welcome email. I'm a big fan of Integromat! We use Discord and Telegram as our community channels and Zoom for events. I also use Notion for docs. For the newsletter, I use Mailchimp, and for social media scheduling, I use Later.

Community building really is challenging, but it's easier when you have a good network. I'm beyond grateful to have had the support of my friends. For example, when I was just starting No-code Philippines, the first members were friends I met back in college. They made up half of the people who attended the first monthly meetup.

Another example is my peers from Complab, who help out in almost every event. I wouldn't have grown No-code Philippines without their support. If you're thinking about starting a community, you're going to need to be committed to it. Make sure you have the time and resources to not just start but also maintain it. In my case, since the community is free, the time and resources are out-of-pocket.

This brings me to the need to have a proper motivation for it; otherwise, you might come close to feel just about giving up. It can be hard and the work never seems to be finished. But, as long as you go back to your "why", you'll find it to be a very rewarding and fulfilling experience.

Thanks for sharing your journey with us, Crystal!

You can follow her journey on Twitter.


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