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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! =)

Urbanities: a twisted version of a bipolaroid urbiculture.

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A twisted tree for a twisted mind.

A twisted tree for a twisted mind.

Hahaha! I had fun rereading this one!

I wrote and published this crazy blog post more than three years ago in my Friendster blog. I just couldn’t believe how psychotic I can be when it comes to free-form writing, hahaha! But I’ve mellowed down through the years (I no longer write that way).

I hope you’ll have fun reading this as I had.

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URBANITIES: A TWISTED VERSION OF A BIPOLAROID URBICULTURE.
Sa uacás…

The mist has risen.

Yo trabajo en un centro de llamada. La contabilidad que nosotros trabajámolos es sobre la seguridad de salud para los estadounidenses. Es por eso, tengo el privilegio a usar el sitio de web del dicho trabajo…

www.medcohealth.com

It has helped me a lot.

It vivisected my innermost thoughts, hidden desires, and unnoticed urges. For free. My uncontrollable and swinging misdemeanor, my hyperactivity, and to what I thought was my close brush with dementia quite a couple of times… all this I thought were just passing behavioral fancy (if there ever was a term).

At last (and at least), I now confirm that I ain’t one of you.

Society disdains people who don’t conform. Those who violate urbanities are sanctioned, punished. The most common is imprisonment. Those who have difficulty in conforming are secluded in thick-walled buildings, whose rooms are custom-built to contain the unthinkable and unspeakable rage and loathing and unfathomable dreams of the “distorted” psyche. These establishments are better known as (gulp!) mental health facilities. Locally, it’s more popularly known as mental hospitals. Or Elsie. Or Manda.

This revelation is not to confirm that I’ve gone totally crackers (“How do I love thee? Let me smash your face…” / Come live with me and be my X-ray fish). No. It’s just to confirm my state of liberation. The freedom from what’s chaining me to the stinkin’ ground. Yes, like that forgettable line in an old Bush (British grunge band of the late 90s) song, I’m now pissing on self-esteem. If I can’t have it, then I WON’T TAKE IT.

I’ve longed for psychiatric treatment eversince I realized that my peers have been calling me a weirdo, whether they meant it or not. But I couldn’t get any out of shame and because of my walletophobia. I’ve been yearning for Prozac (or its generic, Fluoxetine), but I don’t know where and how to get some (Jonathan Davis, help me).

I had to say this. I thought that my Catholicism would save me from my misanthropy and that kinda stuff — well, I know it can, and would, but due my mixed-up emotional and mental instability, I couldn’t wear it into my spiritual fiber. Christianity teaches that God helps those who are willing to stand up on their own. The problem is, I am uncertain of where, or more aptly, HOW, I stand. I was an atheist for more than two years, no thanks to my fragile curiosity. I know how sorry and putrefied that ideology is. It isn’t even an ideology — it’s downright arrogant stupidity, and stupid arrogance.

I tried to socialize, but I felt alienated. At least now, I have come to the realization that socializing, the urbane way, is just a mere pushpin. Yeah, that’s what all it is. If you disagree, then you’re a lying crappy li’l cretin. That’s what we all are in this world.

Going back to my dilemma. My pusillanimity in relation to maintaining good social relations took its toll on the relationship itself. I was able to create friendships, though they’re quite a few (I’m the complete opposite of my wifey), but lotsa puzzled looks. The “weirdo” tag has been like a signpost sticking on top of my cranium since I was in the 3rd grade.

But y’know what? Come to think of it, I kinda liked.

However, eccentric behavior came to a halt when, quite abruptly, I started raising a family that was never planned. But everything turned out not to be OK, but great! Havin’ a family is perhaps the greatest thing to have ever happened to me, counting all the hardships and trials. All that shit is worth it whenever I look into the happy and contented eyes of my wife, daughter, and son.

But still lingering within the recesses of my cerebral cortex is that fuckin’ itch that never puts my soul to rest. It keeps me wide awake at night — well, that was when I was still on a day job — and restless in my endeavors. For the past two years, for two damn years, I’ve been sterile in my craft. Until a few days ago, when some chuckling witch forced me outta my shell once more… rainy days are here again. Ellipsis, ellipsis, fuckin’ ellipsis.

The Muse beckons not daily, not weekly, not a fuckin’ regular status, but even rarely. I never had a “disturbance” for quite some shitty time. In fact, I even tried to forget the whole idea, thinking it’s all but frivolity and a waste of time, especially that I’m a family man now. I regarded it but a big joke. Writing is a big joke. And the joke’s on those who read them. The writer gets the last laugh.

The Muse took animal form. For the first time, this Muse of poetic fame became tangible right before my very eyes. The Muse rebuked me for not feeding my emaciated ego. So there she was, with whip in hand, ready to punish me for my frigidity.

It took a couple of days before it dawned upon me that I am, at 26 years of age, getting old for all the crap that what I’ve been trying to pretend is me. So one crisp morning, while I was walking home from work, looking for a bus which will take me to San Pedro, La Laguna, I contemplated on my “private future”. I walked, my gait guided by a built-in CDman inside my head, playin’ my fave tunes. Every soul I bump upon in crowded Mutinlupà Market a faceless gargoyle on the attack, the bag on my hand carrying my “baon” my shabby scabbard sword. Conan the Barbarian I’m not, but I’m a listless warrior in my own right. Under the Alabang viaduct, I walk in the middle of the asphalt road; each bus on either side and in front of me, are horrid but lazy, easy-to-slice-like-quickmelt-cheese monsters awaiting my final strike (i.e., when I come aboard their “bellies” to take a seat where I continue to smirk at the faceless throng and their search for subsistence).

In the bus, I asked myself, “What in the name of motherfuck am I doin’ here?!” Like that “creepy” song that still enjoys airtime in alam-mo-na-’yan/i-memorize yan. radio stations being enjoyed by sun-and-soot baked bus/jeepney drivers, I whisper to myself: what the hell am I doing here? I don’t belong here…

I’ve got kids, and a lovely, caring wife. A happy house. A god-fearing home. But they are not me. They are a part of me, but they still do not reflect who I really am, and vice-versa. There’s another part of me, a very charitable one, one who wishes nothing but to nourish a very hungry and thirsty ego. There’s a side of me who calls for unity, eager to negotiate with a demanding id. And there’s a sicker side of myself who wishes to outwit a being whom he regards as a dimwit, an inutile being (actually, with no offense to my spiritual conscience, it really is) — jolly ol’ super-ass-life-ego.

Reality check. Back to medco.com. How did it help? It’s just a website. That’s all it is, churning out prescription benefits as well as interesting health info. I always access it at work. Not only did it aid me during my calls, but it helped me a lot in analyzing my mentality. I was able to verify and confirm stuff that were just hunches before. Now that I’ve confirmed some disorders, there are reasons for my fears after all. Mission accomplished. Hurrah.

Kidding aside, I think I should commence another chapter in my uninteresting, Beavis N’ Butthead life, such as: how deal with — and self-treat my bipolar disorder, ADHD, hyperthyroidism, social phobia, hemophobia, and other cute stuff (my bestfriend in Dubai, weirdonextdoor — do visit her FRIENDSTER, she’s on my account, her name’s Rachel Nazaret, and she needs psychohelp too ever since another pal of mine, Mike Lim {don’t visit his FRIENDSTER} fooled her for some slut somewhere in the Metro — said if you don’t know what it’s called, or if you don’t want to name it, call it STUFF). Treatment shall be done in this, whazzit called? blog?, for all you urbanites to chow down. And for y’all to realize how charitable I am in feeding my ego for free (say what?!@*)

Also, I’d like to stress that I now change the definition of urbanity in my turf. I hate those things that are urban. I feel it takes away something that what ee cummings used to perceive as civility. To those who have the quality of an urbanite, I say bullshit to it! I know it did cause me to have all this mental, uh, STUFF that prompted me into writing this.

Henceforth, urbanity here shall be regarded like this: it’s about people like me… and peeps like you. Yep. Like you, oh tired, sleepless one… come with me, take my hand, and let’s have a walk down the asphalt road of dark urbanities…

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NOTE: I copied the above post from my Friendster blog because I have many things to do today. I don’t have much time to write something new. =(

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