Tag Archives: Philippines

Back to reality.

2 Apr

Or at least back to Semarang. 

I flew out of the Philippines Friday night. Said goodbye to all the cats except for Tiny. He must’ve been sleeping somewhere on top of the ceiling escaping the heat. I’m gonna miss round little Blitzy. She’s been a good dog of late, only eating cat poop when no one is looking. Lol. 

I only had one mango this summer. Regrets. 

I spent the weekend in Jakarta with Shirley. Booked at a nice serviced apartment in Menteng. It was when I was browsing stuff at Grand Indonesia that I realized that I could have bought a bag for the price of that one night stay. Lol. But yeah, not really regretting it. We got to watch the midnight screening of Get Out and went back to very comfortable lodgings. The only regret that it was only one night instead of two. Lol. 

So anyway, I’m back in Semarang. I regret checking in one of my bags because it took like half an hour before I could pick it up. No fun waiting. 

Work again tomorrow, but at least for this week I’m only doing invigilations and teaching only one class. Not gonna be busy until I start checking papers, that is. Nevertheless, I’m happy with some respite. 

PLDT: Where the least efficient way of upgrading internet services is via the online application system. 

29 Mar

I don’t want this blog to be a repository of my gripes. However, even something as basic as getting a decent internet connection is so fraught with frustrating wrangling that one cannot help but compare how shitty services are in the Philippines and this is why we can’t ever aspire for better things as we are getting left behind by our Southeast Asian neighbors. 

Anyway, I was gonna write/gripe/complain about internet services. Just a background: I live in a small town in Cavite, where the only service available was with Smart. We subsribed to a Canopy internet connection. It was slow and shitty, but one gets used to it. Years later, Smart merged with PLDT and our Canopy connetion was  upgraded without my consent to PLDT Ultera, which is an LTE connection. Now, it was (a bit) faster but it came with a very unpalatable catch: there is a 30-gigabyte data cap. I’d understand if it were for mobile data, but home wi-fi? It’s ridiculous and mind-blowing. Okay, not so much because you can top it up for a pretty penny, but you can only do it twice every billing cycle, for a grand maximum of 50 gb per month. Once you use it up, maybe you’ll be better off imagining like it’s the early 90s and there is no internet and the blackouts stretch for hours every night. Anyway, believe me, I’ve come to that point where I was totally cut off because the quota was maxed out and due to my house’s location in the boondocks, I couldn’t even use mobile data. I called customer service to ask if I can somehow get connected again and they said no, I have to wait for the next billing cycle. 

And then all of a sudden the Canopy connection didn’t seem so bad anymore. 

Anyway, a family with multiple mobile devices and a Netflix subscription cannot live on 50gb alone. Even by myself I cannot do that. So I opted to upgrade to another subscription, Plan 1299 which comes with a landline and no data caps. I go home to the Philippines usually only one to three weeks at a time, and I get so lazy going anywhere, so I took advantage of PLDT’s online application system. I filled up the forms, uploaded the necessary documents, and even left money in case (wishful thinking) the phone and new connection gets installed. After all, they said they’ll get back to me in a few days, maximum a week. That was December 27, 2016. At midnight, March 28, 2017, after several emails asking for updates, a representative got back to me writing that due to prolonged process or aging for more than 30 days (are they talking about cheese???), my application had been cancelled and that I should just apply again. What the fuck, really, it took them three months and another nagging email from me this morning to tell me that? 

Okay, I just wrote another grumpy email in response just now (foregoing the expletives). The thing is, I have no choice. I can get myself red in the face complaining but in the end, I am a trapped customer. The duopoly of PLDT-Smart and Globe has ensured that me and my ilk are well and truly fucked and there is nothing we can do about it because they got rid of all the competition. I have no choice but to apply again. And perhaps when they feel like it, make me wait and tell me to fuck off months later. 

In terms of reliable internet connection, anywhere else is better. Indonesia has many companies offering the same service that it is very easy to just switch to another provider if you are dissatisfied with the one you have currently. I have a 4G subscription with Indosat: a 5GB mobile data package for 30 days that costs me less than the equivalent of PhP 200. For comparison, in the Philippines I use Globe GoSakto50 for 1GB and it lasts only three days…. I don’t even get to use it all up because the connection is very often spotty that something like ordering a Grab or watching a video on YouTube without it buffering is near impossible. And then there are no such things as two-year locked in contracts for home connections in Indonesia. Grass is greener on the other side, but in this case it is very true. The lack of a decent internet connection is a source of immense frustration when I come home, among other things lol. It sucks so much. 

New year. 

3 Jan

As is typical in the Philippines, there are loud firecrackers and bright fireworks displays in neighbourhoods. Although the practice has been largely discouraged by the government due to accidents that result in injuries and amputations, there are still private individuals who buy fireworks in the belief that the loud noise will drive away evil and bring good fortune (although that is doubtful if you lose one or two fingers or worse); also because fireworks makes the new year more festive (this I can agree with).
Anyway, that being said, New Year’s Eve is the bane of our pets. The loud noise scares them. Neko hid in the walk-in closet. The other cats, with the exception of Basilio who stood chillaxed by the laundry, scampered away in search of a nook to get away from the explosive noise. One of the kittens, called Long-Tailed Ugly (yes), was missing for a couple of hours and came through the window that I left open at past 2 am.

But Blitzy was a revelation. Our labrador, who turned two as the clock struck twelve, seemed unbothered by all the racket. Perhaps she was appropriately named. Perhaps she is already deaf. Lol. We had to tether her to her leash because we were afraid that she would run to the firecrackers, because all night she had been running towards the direction of the noise. While we were having our midnight dinner, here she was by the door:

She seemed unperturbed by the firecrackers last year, too, according to my mother, but they had been proactive and let her inside the house. They thought that it was because it was her first NYE, she was still unafraid. New Year and Christmas had always been a stressful time for our dogs and cats. So it was a great thing to know that Blitzen is not scared of all the noise. I feel sorry when I see them scared shitless. 

Why do we even have an idiotic psychopath as president?

21 Oct

Easy. It’s a failure of democracy. Sixteen million bobotantes put him in power, and enthusiastically cheered as the body count from his bloody anti-drug campaign rises up on a daily basis. When he won, I thought it was bad, but I didn’t imagine it to be this bad. 

This psycho is in China, and made such incredulous pronouncements like the one posted above. He also introduced the son of a former dictator as a “future vice president” if the former’s electoral protest is ruled in his favor. The daughter of said dictator was also in his entourage. She had made a significant contribution to the president’s election campaign. Likely with money that her family plundered from the Filipino people. 

The upside of this China trip? 13 billion in soft loans and trade deals and we get to sell them our bananas. He must be high-fiving himself now. In the mean time, we probably won’t get our exclusive economic zone back. He sold it cheaply like it’s on Alibaba. 

Cozying up to China and next time Russia. Apparently he thinks he’s got the winning formula. 

Jakarta tomorrow evening. 

13 Jul

It’s the day before my flight back to Indonesia. Right now, spending time lying on the sofa, idly watching whatever is on the TV. I’m gonna miss just hanging out at home, even if it’s almost always uncomfortably hot. I didn’t catch up on my reading. I didn’t really go out except for meeting up with Rosa (twice), attending Tina’s wedding, and visiting my cousin. Fortunately I didn’t have to go to the POEA satellite office to procure an exit certificate. So it’s basically just me at home for three weeks. And it’s gonna be over soon.

I have an almost daily collection of kitty cat piles. I’m gonna spare the readers (if any?) by putting up only one.

Curious kittens smitten by the blue flame.

The five kitties with their grumpy great grandmother.

Orange was spayed last Saturday and had to spend time in our bedroom after surgery. She wasn’t used to not having a regular litter box and had peed only three times in two days. When she was let out, the first thing she did was go directly to the litter box and let out a huge poop. 💩 Never was it more satisfying to watch a pet defecate.

Basil visibly flinches as Neko stares at him.

Blitzy has become better-behaved.

I don’t know if I’m gonna be back during term break. My sister and I are playing with the idea of going to Singapore for a couple of days in October.

Hopefully, I’d spend the Christmas holidays with my boyfriend in Germany. Let’s see.

Rainy day

8 Jul

Actually, there’s a typhoon.

There were some repairs at the house again today. I was doing the laundry (by hand!) when the carpenter told me that the dog was on the bed. I went to the bedroom and there she was: Blitzy lying contentedly on my newly changed sheets. Lol. She looked so happy that I wished that I snapped a photo before I told her to get out. In a perfect world, my dog would be sleeping in my bed all the time. But this is the tropical Philippines and dogs are supposed to stay outside the house and bathed once a week. Sigh.

The rain has been relentless. Where are my sunny days?

I hate commuting.

28 Jun

I attended my friend Tina’s wedding in Bulacan today. My friend Mark and I booked rooms yesterday at the venue which also happened to be a hotel. We realized too late that it wasn’t that far from Quezon City, and we should’ve just stayed at a hotel there and then traveled to the venue in the morning, especially as the rooms in Bulacan were super expensive. (I could’ve booked a room at Crowne Plaza Semarang at that price.) Anyway, before the celebration ended Mark and I escaped (lol) through a back door and went to Trinoma to catch the MRT. We parted ways there as we were getting off at different stations. I went to Boni to have my LG G4 repaired. I bought that phone while in Jakarta, so the warranty card and receipt were in Indonesia. I was willing to pay for the parts and service, but the guy who looked at my phone told me that it’d take a while for it to be returned to me because they weren’t sure if the parts were available and the software that they have might be “incompatible”, as if the correct version is difficult to Google. Anyway, the bootloop problem that my LG has is an acknowledged hardware malfunction of the G4: LG actually released a statement about it after much clamoring of affected users. But yeah, the technician at Boni are not exclusively repairing LG mobile phones, so that’s probably why they didn’t know how to fix it (which is to connect the parts that came loose). So yeah, I wasn’t gonna tell them what to do and there was no way in hell that I’d leave my phone there, so it looks like my phone will have to wait till I get to Semarang to get fixed. That’s three weeks away.
I tried getting an Uber going to the Asian Hospital, and I was very willing to pay at least 10x the bus fare for some comfort and much-needed aircon, but the Uber driver cancelled after making me wait. I texted him and then he replied that HE WAS WAITING SO LONG AND HE DIDN’T SEE ME AND THEN I DIDN’T REPLAY. All caps and replay. Disgusted, I walked to the other side of the street, huffing, puffing and sweating after all the steps that needed climbing. I greatly regretted not taking the point-to-point bus at Trinoma, especially after realizing that the Boni adventure was a total waste of time and energy. I’m just not used to commuting anymore. Indonesia spoiled me rotten with its readily available and generally reliable taxi service.
Anyway, the bus trip was terribly long, and the dude sitting next to me was so pissed off, muttering to himself about how hot and how slow we were travelling, as if his ranting will make anything better. It didn’t.
When I finally reached Alabang, I hesitated about going to the bank instead of to the mall. The decision was made when I felt like I needed to pee, so I made that long walk to the mall, my toes burning. Then I went to catch the van home. I was the last to ride. It was so hot inside but the only consolation was that it wasn’t a very long trip.
Days like this, I really want to have my own car.