Thursday, 26 March 2009

Filipino Transformers

I was chatting with Bryant, the fitness instructor at the Columns a few weeks ago. He was telling me about things he'd read about the upcoming sequel to the Transformers movie and joked about a Filipino version.

I don't know if he saw this online, but here you have it: the Transformers in a Filipino context!








And you can't stop with that!

I knew there was something missing. An online friend found it, though:

No Philippine version of the Transformers would be complete without a pedicab to transform!

Let's face it: Filipinos can't relate to the vehicles in the movie. There are few enough Filipinos who can afford cars, much less big American cars! So what they see in the film is completely alien here....

...hmmm, alien. Kind of like the Transformers themselves, huh?

Friday, 20 March 2009

Screwed

I was chatting online with a Filipino friend who works in Dubai last night.

I hadn't heard from him in a while and he told me why. He'd been stuck in Kish, Iran (a beach town) for forty-eight days!

He was only supposed to be there ten days, but stayed on for over a month because he was screwed. The Filipina he hired to renew his visa in Dubai took off with his paperwork and money...over one hundred seventy thousand Philippine pesos! That's roughly $3400 US! She essentially left him there to die. Hundreds of other Filipinos are also stuck in Kish for the same reason.

As is typical of Filipinos, she would always end her text messages and emails to him with God bless.

She represents the typical lying, cheating, hypocritical Filipino hiding behind their claim to Christianity. She is no different than the many evangelists in other countries in some way using religion to make money or cheat other people out of theirs.

What's even worse is this is the second time a fellow Filipino has done this to him over there.

So, if you are Filipino, working overseas, and reading this: don't trust your fellow countrymen with anything important to you. If it regards your livelihood, finances, or ability to stay in the country, do it yourself! Pass this on to all you know. Don't let the God bless fool you!

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

From the Headlines

This from the Reuters news wire yesterday:

Driving lesson on runway, pilot averts crash

Tue Mar 17, 8:59 am ET

MANILA (Reuters) – A Philippine plane with 80 passengers aboard was seconds away from a crash when a man teaching his girlfriend to drive sped across the runway as the aircraft landed, newspapers reported Tuesday.

The Cebu Pacific plane briefly touched down at Legazpi airport in the central Philippines Saturday but took off again as the van being driven by the couple crossed the runway, the Philippine Star newspaper said.

The man is the son of a local aviation official, who has been ordered suspended from duty.

"It could have been a disaster if not for the presence of mind of a veteran pilot," Legazpi Mayor Noel Rosal told the newspaper.


See what I mean when I say all those horrible things about drivers here?!

Nobody seems to know how to drive. Most people I know did not get their drivers licenses legally. All you have to do is slip a few hundred pesos to the people at the DMV and you've got yourself a license!

And here is a guy who can't even tell he's driving around on a runway that's in use, giving lessons in driving!

I gain my knowledge of the driving habits of Filipinos from observing their behavior at the intersection of Ayala and Buendia, where we live. At the average change of the lights from green to red:

-Four to five vehicles run the red light.

-Three or more make illegal left turns.

-Two will block the cross walk.

-Two to three jeepneys will simply stop just before or just after the intersection and wait until they can find enough passengers to make it worth their while to move on, no matter how many vehicles are behind them needing to move on. Usually a bus in the adjoining lane will do likewise (but not for as long), thus blocking two of the four lanes of traffic.

There's lots of money to be made here if the city of Makati were interested, especially on weekends when the offenses are even more egregious...but policemen don't work on weekends.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

BoA

BoA (Bank of America), itself virtually DOA, seems to have come up with a unique way to tap a source of revenue. We've been experiencing this newfound source of cash firsthand.

We've been trying to make a payment on a credit card.

Usually that is easy. Like millions of people, we have opted out of receiving unnecessary paper statements that cost money to generate and mail and mail back a check the old-fashioned way and now with just a few keystrokes and a click of the mouse our bills are checked and paid online. We've been doing this for several years.

Until now.

We've been trying for three weeks to pay a bill online. Each time the Bank of America online payment system is temporarily unavailable. Because the system has been unavailable for such an extended period of time our bill is now past due.

(An aside: In the internet/digital age, can three weeks (and counting) still be considered temporary? Just a thought...)

Calling Bank of America to make a payment by phone is now necessary.

Bank of America charges $15 to make a payment by phone. $15!!(Now that's an appropriate slogan, don't you think?)

And for us that call is an international call as well. Fortunately they don't charge each time you call, because it took us three tries to make the payment, being cut off during the call twice; once because we had run out of load on our phone and once due to being disconnected while the call was transferred. We've still been unable to be transferred to a representative of their website for assistance.

We've also been unable to have answered for us if we will be charged a late fee due to the bank's system being temporarily unavailable or not. Like insurance companies, they are usually not responsible for anything they do wrong or any of their systems not working, it is the customer who is responsible for not doing the job of someone at the bank or insurance company to see that things were done properly. This is, quite naturally, called service or customer service.

I would call it self-service, except that was what we were trying to do in the first place by simply paying our bill online (and on time, might I add!).

Clearly Bank of America has laid off everyone who kept the online payment system running. Three weeks is an awfully long time for a company of that size (well, the size they were a year ago, anyway) to be down.

At $15 per phone payment, all those former online bill payers are shoveling a lot of extra cash into Bank of America.

I have an idea for anyone with a Bank of America credit card: Cut it up, pay off the balance, and let them lose out altogether. They won't get the percentage of the sale when you make a purchase, they won't earn any interest on your balance, and they won't get you for $15 when you make a payment!

And should they ever call you, be sure you're temporarily unavailable.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Quickie?

Quickie?

Mr. Quickie, that is?

Sounds like the name a woman gives her husband, or a prostitute gives her regular client, if he's prone to premature ejaculation or just lasts a few minutes!

This Mr. Quickie is a business here in the Philippines!

No, not a male prostitution service either. Although I sense a great ad gimmick: Mr. Quickie: For the Woman on the Go! Women could stop in and just a few minutes later it'd all be over and they could be on their way back to the office or home to the husband who can't even measure up to the guy at Mr. Quickie. Oh, so sad.

Anyway, Mr. Quickie is actually not as exciting as the name could imply. Or perhaps it is more so, depending on your fetish.

Mr. Quickie is a shoe repair service.
So for all those people who crave shoes (And what stereotypical Imelda Marcos wanna-be doesn't?) Mr. Quickie could be very exciting. They'll restore those favorite shoes worn down from too much wear.

I'll still be cringing at the name of the place, though!

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

A Visitor

In mid-February Edson and I had a visitor from the US come to stay with us. His name is Flat Stanley, and he is a friend of Maggie, my dear, long-time friend Moira's daughter. He stayed with us so Maggie and her class could learn about places and people in other parts of the world. So, while Maggie, her class, and parents were freezing in the southwestern Ohio winter, Flat Stanley was enjoying the onset of summer in the Philippines!

Flat Stanley got to spend one weekend with us as we traveled from Manila
to Subic. Edson gave a lecture at a meeting of architects. Stanley didn't
know what an architect was until Edson told him they are the people
who design the buildings in which we live and work. Here's Edson with Stanley at the conference.
I took Stanley to the pool area of the hotel where the conference was being held. It was really hot and sunny!
Then we introduced Stanley to some more architects, Geronimo and Godesil. In this
picture Geronimo was giving Stanley a goodbye kiss.
After the meeting was over we drove back to Manila. It took several
hours, which was a good thing, as the scenery was so beautiful.


When we saw all these shoes we knew Stanley had to have a picture here! Can you
find him in the picture? So Imeldific!
When we arrived back in Manila, we introduced Stanley to Bryant, the fitness instructor at the Columns. Like all Filipinos, he was very friendly to Stanley. He taught Stanley how to do some exercises. Here he is spotting Stanley.As my friend Moira noted when she saw this picture, we sent him to you as Flat Stanley. You are making him Buff Stanley.

Flat or buff, we hope he was able to do well for Maggie!