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Melodic melancholia

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Problems are supposed to make us strong.

We lost our maids. Nobody’s left to take care of our four kids ages seven months to nine years. Our apartment unit’s a big mess.

We still couldn’t find replacements.

Our issue with CHMI and PAG-IBIG Fund is still unresolved. The new house which we bought in Calambâ, La Laguna that was sold to us by CHMI is in danger of being cancelled. We’ve already paid more or less P100,000 of equity for that house. That is what I have to iron out today, the deadline they gave me.

Our two youngest boys, Jefe and Juanito, are still in Bacoor, Cavite, being taken care of by my wife’s relatives. But they’re contacting Yeyette; they said that they couldn’t take care of them anymore. Our two eldest, Krystal and Momay, have to fend for themselves alone in our apartment. We leave them there at night so that we could go to work. But, my golly, they’re too young…

My boss already talked to me about my performance and attendance. My performance is not that good because –he’s right– it has something to do with “dedication” issues; I have a hard time balancing my life as an employee and as a writer-historian. And I’ve been absent for a couple of days because of my domestic issues.

My wife’s performance is also under fire. She works in a call center, outbound. She was given a quota. She’s having difficulty in meeting them. For the past few days, her voice is not cooperating with her. Today, she completely lost her voice.

Our credit card debt is ballooning. I was supposed to pay everything today, but then…

…just a few minutes ago, my wife texted me that she lost her wallet with more than P4,000 and other valuables to a pickpocket while she was inside a jeepney on her way to assist Krystal and Momay in preparation for school.

My wife needed to see a doctor regarding her throat problems. But her medical card is inside her stolen wallet.

Both Yeyette and I freaked out last week because of these problems. We almost separated. We’ve patched things up, though. But our domestic troubles aren’t over yet.

Who will take care of our children? I still haven’t had enough sleep for days.

And then depression sets in.

Worse, the Muse seems to have forsaken me; I do not feel the “itch” in my hands anymore…

Problems are supposed to make us strong.

Spanish for English

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Thanks to midfielding1 (a YouTube user who uploaded the video), we can now listen to President Manuel L. Quezon giving a speech in Spanish! See video below (at 3:02):

President Manuel Quezon learned English in only 18 days (and not three months as I wrote in the comments box of that video in YouTube, my mistake; three months was actually the time it took for another great Spanish-speaking Filipino, Claro M. Recto, to learn and MASTER the English language). Quezon’s primary languages were both Spanish and Tagalog. But like most Filipinos of his time, he was more articulate in Spanish.

Yes, I said MOST Filipinos. Because you see, it is not taught in our classrooms that when the US invaded (not saved) the Philippines in 1899, they killed around 1,250,000 Filipinos — that is about 1/6 of the population during that time! And they murdered more Filipinos in such a short span of time compared to those who perished in more than three centuries of Spanish rule! And worse, more Spanish-speaking Filipinos also perished in the last world war. Those who survived either migrated to Spain or to the US. And the few remaining are now regarded as a very small and almost forgotten minority.

Today, there are more or less 3,000 Filipinos who use Spanish as their primary language, i.e., they think in Spanish (the 1990 census declared that there were 2,660 Spanish-speaking Filipinos).

In my family, there are only two of us who use Spanish: me and my dad’s sister, María Rubia E. Alas. Before us, the last member of the family who spoke in Spanish was Tía Rubia’s maternal uncle, Windalino Évora y Bonilla of Unisan, Quezon province. Uncle Carding was also fluent in French (another cognate of Spanish); he died in 1997, the last Spanish-speaker of Unisan town. Sadly, the rest of the family seem not to care about the language anymore. But I am trying to conserve it by teaching it to my children: my nine-year-old daughter Krystal is already conversational; my five-year-old son Momay can speak and understand the language moderately; my second son, Jefe, who is already two, can comprehend the language (I can already give out orders to him in Spanish); And I plan to make Juanito, who is barely a year old, a pure Spanish-speaker. Actually, my children’s primary language is Spanish. But since their playmates and our neighbors and my wife’s relatives all speak in Tagalog, I’m having a hard time maintaining the language up in their psyche.

Going back to President Quezon, one main reason why he learned English that fast is because of his Spanish. Although English is a West Germanic language, it is also a cognate of Spanish. Countless words in Spanish resemble those in English. Take the following words for example:

Biblia / bible
botón / button
mantener / to maintain
mártir / martyr
política / politics
responsable / responsible
sufrir / to suffer
teléfono / telephone
televisión / television
tolerar / to tolerate

Many proper names in Spanish also have their English counterparts:

Jesucristo / Jesus Christ
Clara / Clare
Juan / John
José / Joseph
María / Mary

That is the reason why the first generation of Filipinos under the American Occupation were much better speakers and writers in the English language compared to our generation. National Artist for Literature Nicomedes “Nick” Joaquín (1917-2004) is regarded as the greatest Filipino writer in English. But his primary language was Spanish. The quintessential poet in English and another National Artist for Literature, José García Villa (1908-1997, son of Simeón Villa, a physician of President Emilio Aguinaldo and a close associate of General Antonio Luna), also had Spanish as his first language. The Philippine Star’s Máximo Solivén (1929-2006) also spoke in flawless Spanish. And who could ever forget playwright and thespian Wilfrido Mª Guerrero (1917-1995) whose “Wanted: A Chaperon”, among other plays, is now considered a classic? Guerrero is a descendant of Lorenzo Guerrero (1835-1904), another native hispanoparlante. He first wrote in Spanish before shifting to English. And many of his plays were even staged in the US!

The abovementioned great men of Philippine letters had previous notions of Spanish, a daughter of the Latin language, therefore a basis by itself of English. That is why the English of the early 20th-century Filipinos were much superb compared to ours.

And that is why teaching Spanish in Philippine schools is crucial to the government’s efforts to make Filipinos fluent in English. The 24 units of Spanish should be brought back to colleges and universities. Imagine… Spanish has been with us for more than three hundred years. English for just a hundred or so. But why put so much importance to the latter? Isn’t it that Spanish is a global language, too? English was never ours in the first place. But Spanish is something that is already ours…

“Spanish is a national, Filipino tradition, for not only has it seeds in our history but roots that saturate the very core of our national soul and being, for it is the “open sesame” to the enchanted cavern that keeps like enduring treasures the highest thoughts and the deepest feelings of our race since the dawn of civilization.” –Claro M. Recto–

What are you lookin' at?

Special thanks to Inu Yasha (a reader of FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES) for sharing the MLQ video to us! =)

The Call of Call Center Agents

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Got this one from my wife’s email inbox. At first, I thought it was just one of those chain letters you won’t hesitate to delete.

The following “speech” has been going the rounds in emails and various blogs in the local internet scene. It was said to be a speech from a young politician who once tried applying in a call center just for fun. But the joke was on him when he wasn’t accepted due to his hilarious accent and politically incorrect English. Since then, he’s been waging a one-man war against BPOs.

Chillax. It’s a joke.

I still do not know the veracity of this speech’s content. It was said to have been delivered last August 17, just a few months ago. I didn’t hear it from the news, though. But it must’ve been disturbing to many call center agents and other BPO workers who have read it because the figures mentioned sounded as if it were taken from one of Arroyo’s SONA speeches.

Here is the controversial speech from Sectoral Representative Raymond “Mong” Palatino. You be the judge whether his arguments do hold water or not:

CALL CENTER AGENTS

THE CALL OF CALL CENTER AGENTS

Mr. Speaker, distinguished colleagues, I rise on behalf of fellow young Filipinos denied of their dreams and were forced to enter the illusory world of call centers.

The tale of Filipino youths setting aside their childhood dreams to enter the call center industry is fast becoming a common story. More and more young Filipinos are being lured into working in a call center regardless of their educational background. A starting salary of P15,000 on average is indeed attractive, not to mention the signing bonus and incentives for good work performance.
As the global financial crisis sweeps ominously into Asian shores, the Philippine government has continuously promoted and relied on the Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) industry to provide opportunities to millions of jobless Filipinos. The number of jobs generated grew robustly from 99,000 workers in 2004 to 372,000 workers in 2008, most of them in their 20s.

For the government, the BPO sector is a major contributor in terms of revenues and employment generation. From $350 million in 2001, revenues generated from the BPO sector surged to $6 billion in 2008. The government was quick to conclude that the BPO sector is poised to benefit from the global recession.

This has prompted both the administration and the vanguards of globalization to brand the BPO sector as the “sunshine industry.”
But there is a need, Mr. Speaker, to bust the myth surrounding the so-called sunshine industry. For behind the seemingly innocuous statistics and improving figures lie tales of exploitation, false hopes, and dim working conditions inside the call center.

Totoong mas mataas ang tinatanggap na suweldo ng isang call center agent kumpara sa isang regular na manggagawa. In reality, foreign companies are exploiting our cheap labor. The average annual salary of a call center agent in the Philippines is $3,964. This is lower than Thailand’s $4,874, Malaysia’s $5,199, and Singapore’s $16,884. Kung totoong tayo ang binansagang “Offshoring Destination of the Year” noong 2007, bakit kakarampot lamang ang sahod ng call center agents natin kumpara sa ating mga kapitbahay?

Companies in developed countries benefit immensely from this set-up. By taking advantage of highly-skilled and low-value labor in poorer economies such as ours, foreign firms gain an estimated net savings of 20-40 percent on labor costs.

Despite the relatively decent pay and seemingly rich rewards, job tenure in the call center industry, as labor economist Clarence Pascual puts it, is “as transient as the phone calls that agents make or take.”

This is evident in the industry’s high attrition rates or the proportion of the workforce that leaves a company or industry. The Call Center Association of the Philippines pegs the turnover rate in the country at 60-80 percent, the highest in the world.

According to a multi-country survey conducted by Callcentres.net, full-time call center agents stay in a contact center for a brief 22 months, while part-time agents stay for an even shorter 10 months.

This is an international figure, Mr. Speaker. In the Philippines, where most of the call centers are outsourced, offshore and non-unionized, the situation is even worse: 60 percent of call center workers stay in a company for only a year or less.

As more employees leave the industry, the demand for replacements becomes constant. According to an article in Newsbreak magazine, for every employee hired to fill in a new seat, another two employees must be hired to replace the seats vacated by those who left. How apt, Mr. Speaker, that this industry is marked by “hellos” and “goodbyes.”

The culprit: poor quality of jobs at the call center. A survey by the Call Center Project based at Cornell University in New York shows that the high attrition rate is caused by a low job quality in call centers. The study revealed that 67 percent of agents found in 39 percent of call centers work in low to very low quality jobs.

The Call Center Project survey points out that worker turnover and quit rates are higher as job discretion or the agent’s “sense of control” becomes lower and monitoring on the job becomes more intense. Low job discretion and high performance monitoring contribute to employee stress and rapid job burnout.

Mr. Speaker, distinguished colleagues, the job of a call center agent is not that all fancy nor ideal. For it is in the very nature of the call center job to be exploitative.

Call centers-vendors in indsutry parlance-provide services, such as customer service, sales, technical support, on behalf of client companies. They compete for accounts from companies that ousource some of their functions. In this competitive arena, the agent is stuck between two contrasting interests-he or she must keep costs low for the client while ensuring profits for the call center.
In this set-up, quantitative targets are laid down by clients to reduce costs and increase productivity, giving them the upper hand. In the call center industry, everything is measured.

Thus, call center agents work the phones for the entire duration of their work shift. Unlike our jobs, where we have time to read newspapers or chat with our officemates, the job of a call center agent is one of isolation. The calls just keep coming in, and one has no choice but to pick up to phone.

Moreover, one faces punitive measures, such as forced leave, suspension or even termination, for failing to meet productivity targets, which serve as basis for staff assessment and promotions.

To ensure the targets are met, clients even enforce remote monitoring of actual calls. Supervisors track an agent’s use of time, from call handling time to time spent on “after call work” and break time. Recorded calls are scored for quality on a monthly or weekly basis. A low score translates to a corrective action memo, which can cost one’s job. Consequently, monitoring becomes a constant source of anxiety for workers.

Since monitoring and evaluation are done remotely, penalized workers do not have enough opportunity to appeal disciplinary actions. A 22-year old agent says in their company, even tenured workers issued with corrective action memos get terminated.

According to a survey by the Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research, only a 10-minute per day period is allowed for personal use, such as going to the restroom. This becomes difficult for the workers since a cold workplace temperature encourages frequent urination. Female agents, thus, usually suffer from urinary tract infection.

Since the United States is the biggest market of BPO industry, this requires call center operations during the evening. The call center sub-sector is changing the nightlife of Manila. Bars, restaurants and convenience stores are open every morning to accommodate the night workers.

But the graveyard shift has become a major source of difficulty and dissatisfaction for a lot of agents as their day-to-day routines are turned upside down. Medical specialists point out that disrupting the body clock can cause manic depression and heart problems.
Weekends and holidays are also rarely off, since the calendar being followed is that of the clients, resulting in very rare family time for married agents. Meanwhile, compulsory overtime or extended time is also prevalent.

The Department of Health has warned against this work schedule, aggravated by an intense and exhaustive workload. DOH warned that persons working in the graveyard shift are vulnerable to various diseases, including hypertension, cardiovascular illnesses, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted diseases. Foreign studies have even shown that graveyard shifts can increase the risk of cancer among women workers.

Noong isang taon, Mr. Speaker, ibinalita sa TV Patrol World ang pagkamatay ng isang call center agent. Siya ay si Dingdong Flores, inatake ng hypertension habang nasa trabaho. Siya ay na-coma bago pa mahatid sa ospital.

The DOLE has made separate studies on health risks associated with call center work. Both studies show high incidence of eyestrains symptoms, muskuloskeletal symptoms, voice disorders, hearing problems.

Since most call centers employ first-time and young workers who are hesitant to complain, these health problems may even be an underestimation of the true state of health among workers.

Such health hazards explain high rates of absenteeism in the industry. Consequently, call centers have adopted punitive attendance policies. In some call centers, eight absences over a six-month period constitute grounds for termination.

While they are entitled to sick leave, workers find difficulty in securing the supervisor’s approval.

BPO employees are also deprived of socialization opportunities with family and friends. Dr. Prandya Kulkarni, who writes for United Press International Asia, adds that young BPO workers, who receive high salaries, do not have the maturity and emotional capability to handle their wealth. This “sudden wealth syndrome” has led to such high-risk behaviors as loose sexual practices, drug addictions and alcohol abuse.

Another alarming reality in the call center industry is the absence of unions. Unionism is covertly and overtly discouraged, if not forbidden. Foreign employees warn that if unions in call centers will be allowed, they will leave the Philippines. Workers’ contracts clearly stipulate that forming or joining a union is prohibited.

Such a repressive practice, Mr. Speaker, is a clear violation of the Philippine Labor Law, where it is stated that every worker has the right to form and join a union. Isn’t it ironic, Mr. Speaker, how our call center workers are rendered voiceless in a voice industry?

Habang inilalahad natin ang mga suliraning ito, habang inihahanda natin ang ating mga sarili sa pagtatapos ng araw na ito, magsisimula pa lamang ang araw ng libu-libo nating manggagawa sa call center. Nawa’y huwag dumating ang panahon na ang isasagot ng ating mga kabataan sa tanong na “What do you want to be when you grow up?” ay maging isang call center agent.

Anong klaseng mga mamamayan ang mahuhubog ng sistemang ito? Anong klase ng kaalaman ang ating ikikintal sa ating mga kabataan, na siyang mamumuno sa ating bayan? Paano nila paglilingkuran ang bayan kung ang tangi nilang alam ay tumugon sa daing ng mga dayuhan?

Nakakabahala, Mr. Speaker, ang kuwento ng isang manggagawa na tatlong taon nang nagtratrabaho sa call center. Ayon sa kaniya, “a plague is raging among the youth working in the call center industry” and that is apathy. Dagdag niya, nabubuhay ang mga call center agent sa isang mundong batbat ng kawalang-pakialam. Ang tangi nilang sinusunod ay ang dikta ng orasan, ang dikta ng makina. Tila hindi na sila kabahagi sa mga isyung panlipunan.

Sa kasalukyan, kinakaharap ng BPO industry ang kakulangan ng skilled workers, ng mga kabataang mahusay mag-Ingles. The government is now tinkering with the educational system to address the needs of the BPO industry. President Arroyo has mandated the use of English language as the medium of instruction in schools.

But such measures can only do so much to address employment problems in the country.

At the minimum, the government should ensure the implementation of our labor code, which aims to protect our workers and guarantee their right to organization and humane working conditions.

Call centers should respect our labor code. Bukod sa pagtuturo ng American accent, dapat ding ipaalam ng mga kumpanyang ito sa ating mga aplikante ang kanilang mga karapatan bilang empleyado.

Ngayong nauuso ang call centers, napapanahong bumuo tayo ng batas na magtitiyak sa kanilang mga karapatan. Sa kagyat, ito ang ating maiiambag sa libu-libong kabataang pinasok at balak pasukin ang BPO industry.

The government should not use the seemingly rosy statistics of the BPO sector to conclude that we have a strong economy. Ultimately, it is dangerous to exaggerate the importance of the BPO industry. The government should put more emphasis on propelling the domestic economy as a whole rather than making public institutions and laws serve the needs of BPO companies.
Thank you Mr. Speaker, distinguished colleagues.

Related link:
The chain letter containing the above speech acknowledges the below link as its source:
THE CALL OF CALL CENTER AGENTS
Privilege Speech of Rep. Raymond “Mong” Palatino
Delivered on August 17, 2009

Bye, LA Times (APAC Alabang)…

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This is where I spent some of the most enjoyable years of my employed life!

This is where I spent some of the most enjoyable years of my employed life!

I should have written this blogpost last Sunday, but was too busy (with idleness, hehe!).

APAC Customer Services, Inc. was my first and last call center. I signed my contract there on 29 October 2004 (¡hahaha! ¡tandáng tandá pá!). I could still remember that cold almost-Halloween night (APAC’s HR people were designing the lobby with Halloween decors). I was unemployed then; I just lost a job because of a lingering illness. Worse, me and my wife Yeyette weren’t living with our folks anymore. We’ve been living on our own since we eloped 10 years ago. Thus, I desperately needed that job. That is why when the contract was shown to me, I couldn’t keep from smiling. I almost cried while silently uttering words of gratitude to the Lord who I used to bash when I was still an atheist a year before that. Sucked to be me.

The salary offered to me back then was P13,000 with a P2,000 allowance. It was already a very big deal for many first-time call center kids back then. I was assigned to a health account: Medco Health Solutions.

MEDCO

Wave 1! Find me!

Wave 1! Find me!

I even had the chance to form a rock band in Medco which we named Snakes of Eden. It joined two battle of the bands within one week; we won both! And I don’t know of any other amateur band which made a similar accomplishment!

Left to right: Pepe Alas, Aris Andaluz, Richie Ramos, Jeff Pascual, Lee "The Stalker" Atanoso, & Pol Agbagala

Left to right: Pepe Alas, Aris Andaluz, Richie Ramos, Jeff Pascual, Lee "The Stalker" Atanoso, & Pol Agbagala

Through the years, my salary increased. And our way of life progressed. During my almost five-year tenure with APAC, we were able to complete all of our furniture and other necessary appliances. Not to mention more kids, hehe!

UNICARE

In late 2006, I was transferred to another health account: Unicare. I spent only six months in that campaign, but I made more friends there compared to Medco (and my salary increased up to P16,500, hehe!). The account is perhaps the most difficult one in APAC. I think that’s why that campaign’s management have thought of doing regular fun events too make up for all the stress. Too bad, I have no photos of myself with my Unicare homies. =(

LA TIMES

In mid 2007, I transferred to LA Times. It was in LA Times where I found my true family in APAC. In that campaign, I was able to utilize my Spanish. For many, Unicare is the liveliest account in APAC. But for me, the bond that LA Times CSRs developed for each other is priceless and timeless.

It was in LA Times (and sister campaign Boston Herald) where I met my comrade-at-arms Arnold “Arnaldo” Arnáiz, as well as my best homies: Yhanki Peralta “de Salinas”, Will “The Tool” Tolosa, Rafael Salinas, JJ Pertierra, Jordan “Erap” Estrada, Errol Baky, Louie Mendoza, Rosey Patricio, Din Velilla, Christine Moral, “The Big Boss” Levi Soledad, Miguel Satuito, Sheila Déximo, Janis “Miley Cyrus” Santiago, Mechel “Pokwá” Egama, Mike Adzuara, “Mommy” Ruth Toribio, Kenjie Lituco, and many others (o hayán, nabiguián co pa cayó ng exposure, ¡hahaha!). Sa LA Times din acó naguíng millonario, ¡hahaha!

Grabeng catuwaan, lasiñgan, inuman, at waláng humpáy na sayá ang dinanas co sa APAC. Parang nasa college lang acó, ¡hehehe! And during times of calamity, APAC people are always ready to help out with its various outreach programs. Not too mention lively events and parties that made work-life balance a breeze and more fun!

But good things don’t really last on earth. In the end, I got burned out with the call queues. And last year, my wife got pregnant for the fourth time. Thus, I had to augment the P75,000 salary which APAC was paying me every month as an easy-going Spanish-speaking rep (naaah, I’m just playing folks, hahaha!). Besides, our campaign wasn’t doing any good anymore.

When my TL JJ Pertierra invited me to apply elsewhere (where the prospects are much better, I heard) I joined him. I accepted the offer; but JJ stayed with APAC. My last day with APAC was on January 15 this year. I started working for an eProcurement company also in Alabang. APAC couldn’t even match the employee perks that I’m getting now from my new company. But up to now, I still miss “home” and its fun environment.

I badly need a fun environment because I easily get downtrodden which is very bad for me…

Several weeks ago, I heard that LA Times was about to close shop in APAC and move to another call center. Last October 5, when we were going back to the Metro from a memorable trip to Taal, Batangas), Arnold and I were reminiscing our LA Times homies, and we’re both saddened that the account is about to close early next month. And that our barkada has transferred to other call centers and accounts. We toyed with the idea of a reunion (I also remembered Arnold and Levi’s communication in WITH ONE’S PAST about that LA Times reunion). And so the next day, I started sending out invites to our LA Times peeps who are in my Facebook account:

As you may now know, LA Times is about to close shop in APAC on the first week of November (is it on the fourth?). It is going to be the end of a wonderful, productive, and colorful era. So much has happened during its brief but fruitful stint: friendships were formed; gangsters were organized; beautiful relationships flowered; babies conceived; loans transacted here and there; payroll inquiries and other controversies; tears and struggles and victories; and so much more.

It is saddening that it has to end this way. But as they always say, only diamonds are forever. So before LA Times bids goodbye to the “august halls” of APAC, Arnold “The Penis” Arnáiz, “Operations Murderer” Levi Soledad, and yours truly, Pepe “El Guapito Inn” Alas, invite you to our beloved account’s swan song this coming Saturday, October 10, 2009! Showtime begins at 7:00 AM onwards! It will serve as our long overdue reunion! We’ll have booze, food, orgy, and more booze! This will be held at Fastbytes, Northgate Cyberzone, Alabang, Muntinlupà City. We have many establishments to choose from: Bacólod Chicken Inasál, Samurai, Plato Wraps, etc. Basta, ‘pag nagquita-quita tayo, sacá na tayo magdecisión cung saán (malamáng sa guitná tayo ng Fastbytes, ¡hehehe!). Call up your wavemates and spread the news! Time’s running out! Calimutan na rin ang mga away at tampuhan. It’s all in the past. Ang importante ay ang ating reunión. Sacá na ang sapacan ‘pag may lasíng ná. c”,)

RSVP. Please let us know who won’t be able to come… but PUH-LEAZE DO COME! ¡Umabsent na ang dapat umabsent, LOL! At yung mga may importanteng lacad, cahit isáng horas lang cayó tumambay, OKs na yun. May picture taking din casí tayo, hehe… I believe there’ll be more than a hundred of us! Fastbytes won’t be able to believe this, hehehe! At yung mga nasa ibáng bansâ (Rosey Patricio, Mirai Virtucio, etc.), mag-online na lang cayó. May WiFi namán sa Fastbytes. Magdalá na ang mga puedeng magdalá ng caní-caniláng mga laptop (I’ll bring mine) para macasama niyó namán camí. =) Sama na rin natin ang mga “neighbors” — Boston Herald, ¡hahaha! Patí na rin ang LAT Cubáo.

For inquiries, contact Señor Don Simón De Anda (Arnold): (****)***-****, or Señor Don José Mario Alas y Soriano (Pepe Alas): (****)***-****. Oo, Sun ang SIM namin dahil camí ay mga Sunofab!tch. So spread the good news to every one! Icalat ang mensajeng itó sa inió-inióng mga email accounts, SMS, Facebook, Friendster, Multiply, picha pie, atbp. ¡Matindíng album din itó sa inióng mga Facebook ‘pag nagcátaon!

Nawá’y lahát tayo ay macasama dahil sa opinión co ay hindíng-hindí na mauulit ang reunión na tulad nitó. Don’t worry: there’s no entrance fee. Bro. Berns will even give you money! =) As long as you’ve been part of LA Times –cahit yung mga nag-AWOL at yung mga isáng lingo lang na tumagál sa LAT– invitado. RAIN OR SHINE, We’ll all go to Fastbytes this Saturday morning – onwards!!! Let’s make this final LAT event a truly memorable one that we’ll all cherish when our hairs turn white – or when some of us start losing our hair (sorry “TL”, hehe). Just one more quibble: KKB ang event!

It was a very hasty preparation because I was actually thinking of Arnold who was about to go back to Cebú the following week (but he didn’t). He’s part of the founding batch of LA Times in APAC back in 2004 when I was still with Medco.

Nevertheless, the reunion was a success!

I was surprised with the turnout! Even soft-spoken TL Anna Alto (Arnold’s fantasy, LOL!) was there! And some LA Times people who I no longer know (those from earlier batches) also attended. The reunion happened in Mongolian. It was Jordan and I who chose the place. Punó na cas¡ yung ibáng establecimiento. At sacá bawal na paláng mag-inuman sa labás ng Fastbytes. Ewan co cung bakit.

Grabe, nalasíng talagá acó; walá yata casíng Cerveza Negra, eh. Pati si La Esposa co na hindí namán tagá-APAC nakiloca na rin sa reunión, ¡hahaha!

Thanks to La Esposa mía, I am now a certified social animal. Dati, loner talagá; ngayón loser na lang, ¡hehehe!

This is perhaps LA Times final reunion.

Well, it’s time to say “Goodbye, LA Times”. You’ll always remain right inside my pulpy heart. Take care. I know we’ll miss each other’s company. The memories will always remain…

To the people of LA Times APAC (both Alabang and Cubáo) — take a bow! Thank y’all!

Special thanks to “Mr. LA Times” Arnold Arnáiz for the touching YouTube videos of our happy selves!

May God bless us all always! =)

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