But the first Filipino to officially own the new device is none other than Globe Telecom subscriber President Benigno Aquino III.
Globe president Ernest Cu explained that the device was not a gift intended to get Malacanang's goodwill. He said President Aquino had been a long-time Globe subscriber and the new iPhone was given to him under the company's loyalty program.
"Even the highest official knows how to make the correct choice in terms of providers," Cu said in a press briefing Friday, when the iPhone was released in Manila.
Cu said the President's old mobile phone, the iPhone 3Gs he had been using for the last two years, was due for replacement in line with the provisions in his contract with Globe.
The President's iPhone was delivered by billionaire Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, chair of Globe's parent firm Ayala Corp., in person in Malacanang last Wednesday. This was two days before the iPhone 4S was officially launched in the Philippines.
Globe is the first telecom company to offer the Apple iPhone in the country. The Ayala-led firm enjoyed exclusivity over the device's three versions over the last three years. This exclusivity arrangement expired this year.