28 November, 2008


Every Wednesday and Saturday, we require courier services in the company I work for.

Our messenger who is the one in-charge of readying all packages and documents that need to be sent to our main office wasn't in one Saturday so I had to call him to inquire about the courier's number so we could make a follow-up since it's nearly 12 noon but the package had not been picked up yet.

Minutes after I hung up, I received a text message from our messenger. The message was in English and Filipino. Translated entirely in English, it read, "Miss _____, please make sure there are LEVELS on the package."

Dumbfounded, I re-read the message. LEVELS?! Do we stack these packages up depending on some variable, weight or size, perhaps?

So I turned to my colleague and read the message to him. He then burst our laughing. "LABELS," he stated simply.

Oh. Okay. Then I laughed.

26 November, 2008

The Underground River - Palawan

The Puerto Princesa Subterranean National Park, more popularly known as the Underground River is purported to be the longest underground river in the world. It is also often times called the St. Paul's Subterranean River National Park, or the St. Paul Underground River because it is located in the Saint Paul Mountain Range on the northern coast of the island of Palawan.

Recognizing the park's representation as a significant habitat for biodiversity conservation, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization or UNESCO named the Underground River a World Heritage Site on December 2, 1999. It is also nominated for the New 7 Wonders of Nature competition.

The park is almost two hours from Puerto Princesa City. When we arrived there, there were many tourists waiting their turn to traverse the Underground River. To kill time, I snapped some photos and ate some chips. My iPod was also a great help. The waiting was terrible. I did not keep track of the time but it was maybe about an hour.

The color of the water is amazing. It's green! And it looks so clean.

Our turn finally came. We eagerly rode the kayak and while it traverses the river, I happily snapped pics. Hmm, what's to expect inside?

There's graffitti as detailed above.

And stalactites and stalagmites. There were cool formations like the Holy Family and some that looked like vegetables. Sadly, I wasn't able to take any clear pics as it was too dark.It was cold too. And boy, the place reeked of bat shit I was doing my best to not sneeze lest I disturb any bats and they would come flying at us.

While the boatman gave jokes and explained what this and that formation is, I just listened to my iPod. It's a cool tour but seeing the same thing over and over again eventually took the novelty off it. Would you believe I was even able to take a nap for a few minutes?

Then we were on our way out. I snapped out of my sleepiness and forced myself to stay awake. To do so, I just looked forward to going out. Is this what people mean when they see "the light at the end of the tunnel?"

And finally we were out. Hurray!

20 November, 2008


Okay, a definition of terms first.
landmark: Noun. A prominent or conspicuous object on land that serves as a guide; A prominent identifying feature of a landscape. (definition taken from dictionary.com)

Landmark: Noun (proper). A mall in Makati.
Working in the sales and marketing department of a hotel, we go out for client meetings at times. Sometimes, we also visit travel agencies when they request for contracted rates. This is to ensure that the travel agency is an established one and not a fly-by-night tour operator.

One day, I was scheduled to visit a travel agency. I called first to verify its address and ask for directions.

Me: Hi. This is (my name) from (name of company). I am scheduled to visit your office today. May I have your complete address, please?

Travel Agent: (in Filipino) Ma’am, our address is (states their address).

Me: Okay. May I ask for the nearest landmark to your office?

Travel Agent: (in Filipino) But Ma’am, we are very far from Landmark.
What?! Good heavens. I hope he is not like that to his clients else he will make a mess of their itineraries.

Of course I do not mean Landmark the mall. I mean the nearest known establishment or building to their office so I can easily pinpoint their location. Geez.

18 November, 2008

Snapshots taken on our way to the Underground River

These pictures were taken during our trip to Puerto Princesa, Palawan. While in the outrigger boat, I had fun taking pictures of the beach. It was a wonderful day. There were the blue sky and the sunny weather to complement my cheerful mood.

Oh well, I just love the waters... and the sky... and the greenery. I love nature... Too bad I can't be surrounded by it in the city. :(

Thank heavens for trips such as this.

14 November, 2008


I was watching the news last night. As was the case these past days, Jocelyn "Joc-Joc" Bolante hugged the headlines.

This interview though shows that a lot of my countrymen are clueless about what's happening around them.

A reporter for media giant ABS-CBN was asking people about their opinion on the case. Or what they know of it. One respondent's answer really made me laugh.
Respondent: Ah, 'yon ba 'yong... Ano nga ba?! Ah, 'yon 'yong PESTE-LIZER scam ba 'yon?

LOL. Peste-lizer for FERTILIZER? Nice one.

10 November, 2008

Err... Just another amusing phone call :P

I had another funny phone call today.
Caller: (in the vernacular) Good morning. May I please speak with _____ (name of my colleague).

Me: I am sorry, Ma'am but _____ is currently engaged in another phone conversation. How may I help you?

Caller: Oh.

Me: Would you like to leave a message? Or would you rather have a return call?

Caller: (after 3 seconds of silence). Can I not speak with her now?

Me: Ma'am, as I said, she is currently attending to another guest. Of course, you can not speak with her yet. Are you willing to wait? Because if you are, the moment she's done with her ongoing call, I'll transfer your call to her.

Caller. Okay.
LOL. Pray tell me. How can one speak to a person who is otherwise engaged in another phone conversation?

Oh, yeah, via a conference. That is, if all callers are concerned about something. In my caller's case though, she obviously isn't concerned in my colleague's ongoing conversation with a different guest so a conference won't work.

06 November, 2008

Come to where the view is great

Our second day in Palawan started with our waking up early to prepare for our Underground River tour. I still was sleepy so I slept in the van. Nearly an hour after, I woke up not because I wanted to but because the ride got bumpy. Ate Alma, our tour guide, explained that the road to the Underground River had not been totally fixed. True enough, we saw some men working on it. She also said that the road used to be hell that the now two hour drive used to be a half day travel. Whoa.

Not appreciating being bounced back and forth like some ball, I curled up in the back seat (I had it all to myself) and plugged in my iPod as Manong Driver was playing really corny, barriotic songs (trust me, you don't wanna know the songs' titles. Besides, I myself don't know what some of those songs were).

Later, we had a stopover in Buenavista viewdeck. The view is really great! I was told that what I was seeing was the South China Sea. I took my camera out and snapped some photos. Lovely.

Don't you just love the view of the sea and all these greenery with the azure sky and scurrying cottony clouds as their background?

05 November, 2008

BPI makes amends… too late

So there is still something (or rather, someone) good left in BPI’s lousy customer service. Minutes after I blogged about how its customer service sucks, I received a phone call from L. Hmm, they must have heard the voice mail I left - the one that reeked of sarcasm out of sheer frustration over their inability to act on my request despite my follow-ups.

L updated me on the status of my case. He said they are still working on it. I promptly told him to please do so and just keep me posted. I also relayed to him how it was too difficult for me to get hold of a CSR that I’d given up on trying to contact them. He apologized.

Wednesday, the 5th of November. At around 3PM, I got a call from BPI. It was L. He was calling to inform me that the chargeback had been facilitated. I said I would check later and sincerely thanked him.

After office hours, I proceeded to a BPI ATM. True enough, there’s a Php7,000 chargeback to my account. Finally.

Sometimes, it takes just one person to make a difference and in BPI’s case, this is so true. L was the only one who was able to help me with my request.

But there are still questions on my mind. Would he have acted on my case if I hadn’t been persistent? And reasonably demanding (hey, they don’t walk their talk and I only became demanding when I have had enough) about it? Would BPI have given me the time of day if I myself did not insist on a concrete action? Why had it taken too long? Why let the customer complain before cleaning up their act? Instances such as my flaring up would have been avoided if they were upfront about it and they did what had been promised to me. Simply put, they should have meant what they said. And acted upon it.

In fairness to BPI, they did act upon it. Too bad they acted too late.

04 November, 2008

BPI Customer Service Sucks!

Hell started last October 26, 2008. I just got back from Singapore and since it’s the deadline for my condo fee, I hurried to a Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Automated Teller Machine (ATM) to withdraw some money. I withdrew Php7,000 and the money was promptly dispensed by the machine but I was too busy sorting the contents of my wallet (since I just got from Singapore, my wallet was a mess, with my Peso currency mixing with Singaporean Dollar and US Dollar currencies, as well as receipts) that the machine ate up my money. I stayed for 10 more minutes thinking the machine will dispose it but it did not. I checked my balance but it had already deducted Php7,000 from my account. To be sure that no money would be dispensed when I left, I withdrew Php5,000 from the same account.

When I got home, I immediately called 89-100 which is BPI’s Customer Service Number. It took me nearly 30 minutes to be attended to as their voice over said they are doing a system upgrade and they will only entertain lost card reports. Huh? My case is not a lost card but this is urgent. This is money lost! After what seemed like eternity, SC (I am not posting any names here) answered my call. She verified my account and told me that as a safety precaution, if the money was not gotten in like 10 seconds, the machine will eat it up but it can be credited back to my account in 3 working days. That was a Sunday so I was supposed to get it back on Wednesday. She also advised me to check it on a Monday night as maybe it will be credited back by then. Before I hung up, she gave me a reference number.

Monday night came. I still did not have the amount credited to my account. Fine. It’s too early to check. But I called their office to make a follow up, just in case they forgot about it. I was assured they didn’t.

Wednesday night came. I checked my account. It still wasn’t there. So on Thursday, I called BPI’s Customer Service again and on my first call, I encountered the rudest CSR I ever encountered in my life. She was unhelpful and a complete (feeling) smart ass. The gist of our conversation was:

Me: Hi, can you please check this Reference Number for me?

DS: (after verifying my account). Is this money that has not been dispensed?

Me: No. (then I reiterated what happened).

DS: Can you call back? This is the lost card extension.

Me: I know. But there’s no extension for my case. Besides, I called the same extension twice and the Customer Service Reps (CSRs) whom I spoke with were able to help me.

DS: (sounding like a complete a**hole) Please call back then dial 000.

Me: Why can’t you help me? It always takes a long time before I get connected to a CSR and now you want me to call back?

DS: Because this is the lost card extension. I can’t access your file as we have separate systems.

Me: How come others who took my previous calls on this extension were able to help me? Are you just making excuses so you will not be able to assist me?

DS: (she rattled again that the extension is for lost card and she can’t access the system for my case, blah blah blah blah blah)

Me: (knowing it was all futile and she was just wasting my valuable time) You know what, I will indeed just call back but not before getting your name. I really am going to complain about you. Please give me your complete name.

DS: (giving it to me grudgingly).

Ha! Such an ass!

So I called back and spoke to S. She was nice. Again, she got my account details and I recapped my case. After hearing it, she told me she had escalated my case to an officer for faster processing and she will just give me a feedback. She got my mobile number too.

Monday, the 3rd of November came. I checked the ATM before I went home. The money had not been credited back to my account yet. Damn. So I called again. This time, I spoke with L after trying to contact them for like 30 minutes.

Me: Hi. Can you please check this reference number?

L: (after verifying my account details). May I know what your complaint is about?

Upon hearing that, I flared up.

Me: What?! Why is it that every time I talk to you BPI CSRs, I am asked the same question. You are maybe the 5th person I spoke with regarding this one. Previous CSRs who took my calls should have logged it in your system so I won’t repeat myself each time I call. Maybe that’s the reason why I still don’t have the chargeback. For how can you act on a complaint when you don’t even know what that complaint is? And one more thing, you have a very rude CSR there. And another one who had the gall to tell me that she escalated it to an officer and that she will just give me a feedback but completely forgot about my case the moment our call ended.

L: I am sorry, Ma’am. Blah Blah Blah…

So I had no choice but to again recap my case. He then again asked for my account details. God! I felt like a recorder. A broken one at that that kept on repeating itself.

Me: (after giving my account details) You know what, I was actually really nice on my first phone calls but you’re really stretching my patience. Please don’t promise anything if you will not be able to act on it because it is frustrating to be told that it will be fixed in 3 working days but when I checked, it still isn’t there. In fact, a couple of days more and my case will run on its 9th working day already. Clean up your act, will you?

L: (sounding very apologetic) I know you have heard this already but I will do something different for you (then he kept me on hold for like 30 intermittent minutes which made me think: Aren’t you supposed to go back to the person you are talking to on the phone in 3 – 5 minutes just so s/he will know that you’re still there? I was on hold for like 10 minutes with only dead air for company) .

When he got back, he gave me a new reference number which is supposed to speed things up.

And so we bid adieu, with him promising to give me a feedback. Again, he got my mobile number. This time too, he got my office number.

Tuesday came. No phone call, not even a single SMS. Before I headed home, I checked my account. Tough luck. It still wasn’t credited to my account. By that time, I was already royally pissed. Damn.

So for the nth time, I called their Customer Service Number.

What’s worse than having a complaint? Not having someone to complain it to of course as I called BPI at 06:00 PM but had to give up at past 07:00 PM as I kept on getting the “all our phone bankers are busy at the moment and we will attend to you shortly” message. The anime that I was watching had already ended and shows had changed from ABS-CBN’s Deal or No Deal to TV Patrol World and GMA’s Family Feud to 24 Oras but I still wasn’t able to get hold of any BPI CSRs. I was even able to finish 2 computer scrabble games and my dinner in that span of time!

BPI, please define shortly for me.

I was so pissed I couldn’t help but poke fun at their voice over.

“Welcome to BPI Express World of Convenience.”

What world of convenience? Oh, you mean INconvenience? And did you say express? You must be deluded!

“Please have your account number ready.”

Yep. It’s been ready since an hour ago. And the Reference Number too. How about you? When will you be ready to take my call?

“To maintain the quality of our service, your conversation with our phone banker will be recorded.”

Errr… what quality of service? There is none to maintain as you don’t have that.

And since I wasn’t able to talk to a CSR even when I waited for an hour, I thus just opted to leave a message.

Me: Hi. I’ve been trying to call your office for an hour now but all phone bankers must be busy. Can you please check this reference number for me? It’s X-XXXXXXXXX. My contact details are there. Hopefully you can get back to me ASAP. Your failure to do so will gain you another trophy – another testament of how your Customer Service sucks. Thank you.

No kidding. I did leave that voice mail. Because their Customer Service does suck. BIG time.

Now I only have to wait to see if they’ll get that trophy.

01 November, 2008


Overheard in Cebu's airport a couple of weeks ago.

Woman: (in the vernacular). We bought a lot of CHOCOLATE-SES to bring home. I will give them out to my friends.
LOL. Just how many CHOCOLATES are needed for it to be called CHOCOLATE-SES?

That many, huh.