Friday, May 28, 2010

Cut Him Some Slack

Among all the other things that rings the bell in the news lately about president apparent Noynoy Aquino, there is this thing about him that has been repeatedly featured and asked in every news program--his smoking habit and if he will be able to quit it now that he's off to become the next president.

Majority of times has he been asked about this and a lot of people had been advising even convincing him to quit this so-called vice that was even caught on cam for a lot of times--him with that cigarette on hand. Now when I learned about this, I remember telling a colleague that probably they're trying to see even compare Noynoy to US President Barack Obama. Just to recall, Barack had this deal with his wife Michelle that if ever he wins the presidency, he will have to stop smoking. A promise that was likewise made to be broken as he later admitted that he still haven't quit the vice. He still smokes but not in the presence of his kids.

To which my colleague told me, "eh that's a deal with a wife. Wala namang asawa si Noynoy." At the back of my head, I was questioning yes, he may not have a wife yet but he has a girlfriend and in that case, what could his girlfriend be be saying about this seemingly unstoppable vice?

The incoming president said while it is possible to quit, it will have to wait; after all becoming a president is a stressful job and smoking is among the easiest diversion.

I'd be biased as I confess I would also want a total cigarette ban. My dad used to be a smoker too yet, he was able to quit it since last year which gave us a really huge sigh of relief since we have long been reminding him to quit. It is also among my non-negotiables that I will not be entertaining suitors nor marry a man who is actually a chain smoker (who wants to be a young widow? I don't!). If I go on dates, even on a first meeting, I strictly yet unconsciously try to observe a guy (if he smokes) on his smoking habit--even if it's just a stick of cigarette, at the back of my mind, "you're just 26 and already a candidate for lung cancer." (Guys better take note of that or should I say beware just in case you get to encounter me.)

Dad's opinion was actually among the ones that I agree with. Instead of people trying to change the person's habits, why not change the system? There will be no chain smokers if there won't be manufacturers to start the whole thing with. He was precisely right at that--if not only for the reason that the government benefits a lot from these vice-starting businesses with the large amount of sin taxes they feed the government with.

And to think of it, regardless of how many reminders and pleas that people would say if the person himself won't be taking the initiative to change, words will just be useless. the effort still has to come from the person himself.

Who would not want to enjoy another year added to his life as a bonus for quitting such a lethal vice? And with such a vibrant, and charming lady to top it all, surely everyone would and I hope our incoming president realizes that too.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Hypermarket Horror

I got to do two things yesterday out of an inconvenience: get really pissed and utter two words: CUSTOMER CONCERN.

I am not disconcerted in admitting that I do get easily pissed even by trivial things at times however, this incident just made me call the shots that I had enough.

For such a long time, I had seen trips to the supermarket as an educating activity rather than a chore. I've already started to enjoy the whole thing doing it alone or even with mom. Not until this occurrence happened yesterday, May 22:

Just a few days ago, I went to the SM Hypermarket branch in Taytay with her to buy some stuff. As we all know, supermarkets now rely on bar codes which was supposed to make the whole supermarket trips and transactions a breeze; but then when I was in that establishment I can't say that my visit was convenient. The first thing I've observed was their aisles are actually in a tumult. Disorganized compared to how it normally was confusing the consumers in finding for the merchandise they need. You'll have to go to a different aisle. And despite the presence of signage, if you've been so used to the old set-up like I do, you'll get lost and pissed. Of course, there is this usual signage that says "Sorry for the serve you better."

While it was indeed inconvenient, I just decided to let go and accept the usual apology. However, there seemed to be something more worse than the first offense.

Our items were all packed and ready to be paid when the cashier informed me that I still had to wait as two of the items does not have a bar code. I took it fine again as it was a normal occurrence expecting that it will take us just a minute (I normally experience the waiting game in the counter for my change prior to this one). However, what really sent me almost fuming mad aside from waiting for ten minutes was when the cashier told me this:

"Ma'am wala po palang bar code yung dalawang items."

Call it negligence, or lapse on their part but while I knew I normally let some lapses pass, this time, I was unable to afford doing so and found myself saying these to her:

"Miss, pagka ganyang walang barcode ang produkto nyo, wag na wag nyong ilalagay sa mga shelves yan. Nakakaabala kayo mabuti sana kung saglit lang yang aberyang gawa nyo pero hindi. That's a huge customer concern."

And in my opinion it really was (there were a lot of those items in the shelf so probably those don't have bar codes either--talk about further inconvenience to other people). And while I normally shrug my shoulders and be quiet in the past similar instances, I suppose that yesterday, it was all fine for me to complain. There I was trying to hide that pissed feeling in front of the packed items trying to dig in for those two items that I was actually willing to pay for if not for the fuss.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to be on VIP mode but as someone working in an institution where clients and their feedback (positive or negative) are valued, it's a big deal. CUSTOMER CONCERNS ARE ALWAYS A BIG DEAL! And in the business where I am, I know how it feels for a frustrated, irate, disappointed customer when he goes through such inconvenience--even if I don't regularly face customers on the front line. I was the customer yesterday--more appropriately, the frustrated and disappointed one.

To the management of SM Hypermarket Taytay, if you chance upon this (And I really plan to raise this to your awareness), I hope you'll address this customer concern regarding your establishment merchandise strategy in the soonest time possible. I'm not really demanding for your explanations as it's a very, very pre-owned norm; but if you'll still insist on doing so, fine. Please don't let more customers get irate and fuming mad because of this inconvenience in your store.

Friday, May 21, 2010

More Than Just a Red Bee

Jollibee is really a celebrity!

I should say so. Here in the Philippines, it's a funny note that aside from mama, a child's first word would be Jollibee. If you're a Filipino child, your memories spell that red, smiling creature. Just a few days prior to this entry and being the Gleek that I am, I was indulging on Glee's Dream On episode because of the thing that Neil Patrick Harris will be guesting on the show. However, to my surprise, there was actually more to that.

If you'll watch closely, more than just a video of Artie Adams dancing inside the Eagle Rock Plaza Mall in Los Angeles, itreally caught my eye and sent my gossebumps up because they were performing in front of a Jollibee store! One of my classmates Joy Cabaltera told me of this (as she's a Gleek too!) and just like a positive wildfire, the said episode was featured by Janelle So in one of her Tweets.

It was something that was unplanned as said by Yahoo Southeast Asia's Charley Braga in her post as the scene caused a huge stir in both Pinoys and Glee fans. And who would not be thrilled? Seeing things like these are absolutely wonderful. And as to the presence of a Jollibee store in a US city like Los Angeles, California why not? Eagle Rock is known to be home to large Filipino community in California so no wonder that Jollibee is a landmark there too.

Back when I was still teaching, I recall my former student, Dorothy's fond description of Jollibee: "Oh, that's the red bee right teacher?" And as I type these down, if that conversation could have a repeat, I can tell her now, he's not just the usual red bee Dorothy--but a red, celebrity bee.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Lessons from Ink Stains

Finally, after what has been a long time I already went out to vote for the first time. Without weighing any pros and cons, I just went to jump in and took a leap of faith of doing something which I was supposed to have fulfilled years ago.

Now, more than just being excited about trying a hand at what is a new voting system in the country, election day was also a period of facing the sad fact about reality. The things and events that I normally hear and see on TV are actually for real--and I admit that witnessing such made me feel disappointed, annoyed and was left with a little amount of disgust.

And it was not an easy task--more different from what I've been thinking that things will be more convenient now. Talk about birth pains of a new system, it was one of those things that prove reality indeed bites. I braved the inconvenience of having to find my name which was not on the list but was accomplished with the help of PPCRV's volunteers, having to be patient with the long queue of lines in the middle of an exasperating El Niño heat and waiting an hour just to cast a vote in just less than ten minutes.

And having this ink stain had made me more conscious about my fingernail than before. It was like whenever I ride a jeepney to wherever I'm going I tend to look at people's index fingers just to be sure that I'm not just the alienated one with dirt on my nail.

But those were just birth pains. After all, the process is one thing new to everyone and so there still are glitches unaddressed. I would agree that doing things for the first time is kinda scary (and yep, it applies not just to sex but even to fulfilling a solemn duty). Having my ballot fed into the PCOS machine left me critically watching there; hoping that my ballot and my vote will be successfully counted. And fortunately it was.

As of this writing, I am content with the way things are going. Noynoy Aquino will soon be the next president and my choice of senators are kicking hard on their rankings. However, I'm only hoping that Mar Roxas will be the vice-president. Transmissions are not yet complete which keeps the white flag from being waved and it's a way probably that keeps everyone's hopes alive; because to be honest, I think my system isn't still convinced for a Noy-Bi tandem in Malacañang.

At least not just yet--for now.

photo above courtesy of Joell Lapitan

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Random Facts About Me (That I Didn't Include in that Facebook Tag)

One of the things that probably made Facebook popular is the thing about writing notes and tagging people--a feature that can be compared to Friendster's bulletins and surveys. Days ago, my friend Ryan tagged me in a random fact note he made.

Through that note, I found some funny things about him--from his fondness for Pol Medina's Pugad Baboy comic books and watching Marimar as part of his childhood activities to intriguing ones (what's the self-inflicted curse that makes him single till now?). Some people I know copied the note without being tagged so I also found out who the human counterpart of Spongebob Squarepants' Mr. Krabs is.

Of course I answered the thing for fun upon being tagged. yet, half of the things I wrote there were actually a bit shallow and so here, I'm writing what my other answers were supposed to be:

1. I learned to speak and understand Spanish without enrolling in any speech academy. My training was purely from reading Pablo Neruda's poems.

2. I can describe my personality based on three characters: Elle Woods, Andy Sachs and Lt. Amor Santander (go figure out who they are in case you aren't familiar yet)

3. As a kid, I was scared of mannequins with curly hair and of Ronald McDonald (still because of his red, curly hair and the seemingly-bloody lips).

4. Despite being a seasonal asthmatic, I own a dog and a cat. I even let them sleep with me in my bedroom (just hide them so mom won't recognize or else--).

5. Aside from chocolates, I love prawns and crabs.

6. I easily get pissed over trivial things--from too much Tagalog (read: TOO POETIC) to grammar glitches (so watch out with your use of its, it's, your and you're). And the feeling applies even to myself when I commit the thing.

7. For some reasons, I avoid munching on egg pies because it tends to ruin my mood--in as fast as two minutes.

8. People sometimes laugh at my conservative side, it's because I was a product of a private-sectarian school for 11 years.

9. I never ate tomatoes until I was 23.

10.I have a penchant for cheese but tried taking it in moderation after my friend, psychologist Zecillea told me that cheese mongers tend to have high sex drive. I want to prove her that it's not true :-p

11. As a kid, I loved watching Doogie Howser MD. Admittedly, I find Neil Patrick Harris cute back then--but now? Well....

12. My ex once said that aside from the glow in my facial feature, he finds my nape sexy. I don't really know why and it's weird.

13. Unlike other girls who splurge a lot on bags and shoes, I spend much of my paycheck on books and fast food.

14. I might be scared of going to hospitals and appointments with doctors but I am a huge hypochondriac.

15. Aside from being lovesick, three things to trigger my insomnia would be 1) to spill out a thing I'm hiding; 2) to tell me you're pregnant; and 3) tell me you're getting married.

16. I applied as a secret intern for a basketball team in junior year in college just to meet the guy I had a huge crush on.

CLARIFICATION: In my answer to number 10, somebody might have misunderstood my comment on someone's answer regarding becoming a cheese monger--thus the thought that I was dumb; but actually I have researched the definition of what it is even before I commented. Leaving the hanging sentence in my comment was not about seeking or asking for the definition of what a cheese monger is but because of the high libido joke which I decided not to say in the comment since I deem it to be kind of inappropriate.

It was actually fun knowing things about other people including friends. I enjoyed knowing things about Ryan as we only spent two weeks being together as office mates back then in Makati. Those facts were enough to leave me smiling even laughing as I read them. After all, despite being with friends most of the time, there still are things that one may not be aware of. In a way, being tagged and knowing things is one way to say good, clean fun.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Dinner With the Girls

Just for a change, I went out to dinner last night with my college girl pals Lord Apple and Joy. Lately, I've been seeing myself out for coffee dates with Joy and while it's been normal to the two of us, this time we decided to have Apple with us after all, these two girls are busy career ladies too--Joy with the family business and Apple being a copy editor.

Funny but the university was having its alumni homecoming as we were having our girls night out. We had a reunion of our own.

We've gone too far and things had changed the way I perceived it particularly to these two damsels. From dashing lady editors five years back in college, our worlds are now turned. Over dinner they were talking about politics and their stories to which I just listen. Joy is blooming nowadays and it made me happy just to hear her say earlier before dinner that she might be ending her single state anytime this year. Apple on the other hand has loads full of stories to tell about the family after all, she's also a mom and a wife. And I loved Apple's look last night--from those dashing glasses and that lips that I compared to Anne Curtis and Joy's new look too as she resembled a TV villainess hahaha! :-p

As for me, I decided to be the listener and I don't mind being that. After all, I don't have any other agendas lately except work which is my real primary concern. The other things, will just be dealt some other time--after all those things can wait.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

More Photos of the Wedding

The radiant bride

her dashing groom

At the altar--the start of a life together.

The newlyweds and the gorgeous bridesmaids--take your pick! :-p

Mr. and Mrs. Jeffrey Carandang.

I was able to speak with Barbie yesterday over YM and while she is dealing pretty well with marital adjustments, she told me that she's enjoying the life of being a newlywed and a wife as well. Just hearing those words, is enough to make me absolutely thrilled and happy for her.

*photos by Hanzel Florentin