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.
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!
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!
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. =(
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! =)