Check out this very cool open source electronics prototyping platform. -> http://www.arduino.cc/
Everything about arduino is open-source. From the design down to the software. And it is painless
to program. Programming is done in a C like language and uploading the code to the microcontroller
is just two clicks ( Verify/Compile and Upload ).
The only problem is that there is no local supplier in the Philippines, I have to get mine in Singapore ( sgBotics ).
But since everything is open, it creates an opportunity for anybody to create it locally. They do have a
design for a one-sided PCB, easy to construct ( for a hobbyist ) arduino, that uses the serial port ( Arduino Severino ).
Anyway, I am using my arduino now to control my hobby robot. If anybody has an arduino or is contemplating to get
one,.. now is the time to speak up
Btw, arduino uses AVR's atmega168.