Sunday, October 28, 2007

Wanted…

Preferably alive… very much alive…

This year, together with the expansion program of the company, we are planning to put up a team that will help us realize potential activities that will further develop our vision in the arts, entertainment and the tourism industry. We have many plans in mind but they are not yet in focus… and so this is why we need an

Events Management Team

Director

To head the EMT for Amazing Philippine Corporation


Must be a visionary, hardworking and can deliver
Must be willing to work long hours
Must be a team player
Must have ample connections and networks
Must be charismatic and a proven leader and manager

Salary is negotiable, plus incentives, plus profit-sharing scheme

Information Education and Communications Specialist

Must be a competent artist (not only in attitude please)
Must be competent with relevant software applications
Must be a multi-tasking oriented individual
Must be a team player
Must have knowledge in video production, graphic arts, print media, writing skills is a plus, a good speaker

Salary is negotiable, plus incentives, plus profit-sharing scheme

Marketing Specialist

Can prepare a maketing stratregy for each of the events

Can write!!!
Must be a visionary, hardworking and can deliver
Must be willing to work long hours
Must be a team player
Must have ample connections and networks
Must be charismatic and a proven leader and manager

Salary is negotiable, plus incentives, plus profit-sharing scheme

*** for information please call Amazing Philippine Theatre; (02)8348870-71 look for eugene baroña (administrative manager)




Tuesday, October 23, 2007

a look at the past... 2002

this is an open letter to a friend and colleague which I wrote in 2002. I dug it up in the old files while I was cleaning... I wish I am as "high" as I was with this job as I was in 2002.



July 1, 2002
0210H


To: ___________
_____ Department Supervisor

From: Casie Villarosa
Executive Director

Cc: Edmundo Cueto, Director
Elmir Castillo, Director
Aira Alano, Stage Director
Michael Reginaldo, Stage Manager
Jerome Buzeta, Costume Designer
Kurt Navos, Lighting Director
Engr. Eugene Baroña, Sound Engineer
Justine Romero, Chopreographer
Paige Illustre, Core Secretary

Francis Aliento, Head (Engineering Services Department)

Subject: An Open Letter to a Friend


It is the one single day of a week in my professional life when I may opt to forget that I am Executive Director of this company. Today at this hour is one of the moments when I can opt to play counter-strike in my PC and pretend that I am shooting and killing all of my professional problems and difficulties. But today, I have opted to write a letter to a friend who has let me down.

Over the past six months since you have occupied the directorship of the department of my creation and as a member of the core staff, I have believed in you and trusted your judgement as if it was my own. It was because I have always believed in a healthy management through trust.

It was therefore the reason why inspite of all the problems that I have encountered in relation with your department, and you as the ____ Director, I have only opted to dialogue with you. I have purposedly distanced myself from your Department out of “delicadeza”. Because I do not want any other department in this company to feel that one is more favored than the other and also because I have decided to put my 100% trust and confidence in you, as I have with all the members of the Core Staff.

Last Saturday, upon the advent of your demotion to a lower position, I have had the opportunity for the first time to interact with your department so that I may rationalize with finality the grievances, which led to your demotion. Words, at this moment will not be enough to describe how badly I feel for the incompetence I have exhibited in relation to my supervision of you as a member of the core. Words will not be enough to describe the ill-feelings I harbour because you have failed me, yourself and the department closest to my heart. Time and again, I have accosted you over matters that have reached my office in relation to your poor and dismal performance as ____ Director, and time and again you have proven that words are not enough to merit your attention and action.

Today, I shall remain steadfast as to my personal advice to you to suffer the full consequence of your actions. Actually, knowing what I now know, the consequences are lighter than what you deserve. So once again I shall remind you that you are threading on very thin ice and therefore will need to prove yourself not only professionaly but personally as I am personally making you accountable for what has happened to your Department.

At the same time, I am glad of your acceptance of your fate for it allows for a margin of probability that retribution be made for mistakes made in the past. Although at this point, my loss of confidence in you can only allow me to hope and not expect for the best.

Let this event be more than a lesson for all of us who hold a management position in this company. I know I have.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

what i was saying two years ago...

two years ago, i tried to fix what i thought was wrong with this company... and yet the problem remains. but not only did i not fix the problem, i fell ill on it as well that i get pissed so easily nowadays. forgive the english, i had to address both filipino and korean managers

about taking risks...



about the never ending cold war...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Chasing the Sun...

That remarkable band named the Calling was introduced to me by a friend, Marcel Magsino. Since then I was hooked. And although I've done some covers from them, I've never really done justice to both Alex Band's voice or the very difficult (for me) broken chords of Aaron Kamin. But it never deters me and my friends from covering some of their songs... and as the song goes...

it's been like Chasing the Sun




And here's a sample of knowing when to give up. We tuned down two octaves lower and I still couldn't get the pitch right... it was a valiant effort though...

Stigmatized (Casie and Eugene's foiled attempt)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A tribute to my parents

Dear Nanay and Tatay,

I know that it's kind of weird that an agnostic like myself would write a letter to the departed but there are just some things that one cannot help... or for this matter, rationalize.

I miss you guys... and I mean that in the most sorrowful way.

I remember that tatay once said that he feels like a foreigner inside the house because nanay imposed an "English only" conversation inside the house. Back then, I remember how we'd put out mats on the living room floor because it was too hot to sleep in the rooms where the ceiling was lower. I remember the way you cooked fried chicken ala max's style and serve it with jufran catsup. I remember buying clothes at the Pasig Public Market with you and you'd pick the ones you liked. I remembered how you said you wanted me to stand out... always. --- and i always did... hahahaha.. but never in a good way.

I remember how tatay would always say that if he knew that I was gonna be a smart aleck, he shouldn't have sent me to school. That was of course jokingly. I remember my first bike that seemed to be a compilation of different known designs and styles (racer handles, easy rider seats and frame -- absolute chopsuey but i loved it because it was mine) because tatay got the parts separately from replaced bicycle parts from cartimar in pasay. I remember tatay saving up weekend tips as a cockpit arena broker so that he could buy me that original "ray-ban" shades I always wanted... (i eventually sat on it)

And I remember a lot more... and the more I remember... the more I miss you guys. I'm sorry if I never visit you guys. You know how it is with me. I'm not that kind of a man, and i don't really like memorial parks so instead, I keep you guys in my heart... and I visit everyday.. as in everyday.

Today I have to go your grand daughter's school and retrieve the cell phone that she smuggled in that was confiscated by her teacher. This is her 4th phone, she lost one already. Times are indeed funny. I remember I had to starve myself for three months for my first guitar.. I want to ask you guys for advise about parenting and this dead-end career that I have, but you're not here.

But I do know, that eventually, things will turn out well... I know. It always does. If the rest of the world is right and that you can still see me... I hope that my decisions in life are okay with you... or at least, most of them...

for you guys.

I miss you terribly and I love you.

Balang Araw

Saturday, October 13, 2007

and finally... the Rants!!!

Overview

This ranting article was written during my semi-long stay in the Beautiful resort island of Boracay while trying to establish the new theatre in Boracay. I believe I stated writing this sometime July before we officially opened the theatre on the 24th of July this year.


A few days ago, the Chairman of the Board called two of us (the President and I) in his office to discuss the Projects he has envisioned for the Island of Boracay. Prior to this meeting, we made a one day back and forth trip to the island to inspect certain possible locations for the businesses we were about to put up.

That day, we were instructed that we shall divide the projects between the two of us. That basically meant that I shall be in charge in the establishment of the Amazing Show in Boracay while the President shall handle the larger project, the Boracay Filipino Folk Village.

the RANT…

So WTF is this about?

My return trip to Boracay allowed me some insights as to the nature of the beast. Boracay in all its glorious beauty is quite peculiar in my perception. Everything seems to be more expensive here and the conditions a lot harsher. The white beach area is indeed exceptionally beautiful. Four kilometers or so of white powder-like sand, however, the main road is much like the busy street of a third class municipality teeming with motorcycles, tricycles and golf carts (which they refer to as the Boracay Benz). We were there during the non-peak season which meant “construction and development season” - when there aren’t as much tourists on the island. This basically meant that my team and I had to contend with the dust, the almost unbearable high temperature and humidity, and yes, the smell and feel of construction. Not that it’s something to rant about. We did the same with the Manila Film Center six years ago in the worst conditions, Cebu Amazing under the constant heat of the sun by the open sea and now we’re at it again. But something this time is much different… the feel, the circumstance and the mood.

Six years as a company and seemingly, this organization hasn’t learned that there are laws that need to be followed when undertaking a project. Second is that we've yet to learn that the simpler the structure of the project proponent, the smoother a project runs from construction to project development to the launching. Take the case of the very successful Amazing Show Cebu Project, only two people worked on it and headed the project development team. I (at the time I was General Manager) and then Vice President Iron Chang made that project with limited complications and it was completed with minimal hassles and we made the deadline.

As for this project, these are my rants….

• This is supposedly my project if I will base it on what the Chairman said in a meeting in Manila before we even started this endeavor. Of course, I wouldn’t know what he said to the others in reference to this.

• That plans were made and laid out in Manila in a series of meetings and consultations with the Directorial Staff but most of them were not followed either due to indecisiveness of the Korean Managers in Boracay, the whim of the Chairman, the over-confidence of some managers and the sheer ignorance and stupidity of some which, basically means that my ascendancy to the Vice Presidency of this company still remains as lip service for now until they learn to follow and respect procedures. On the other hand, maybe their perception is that no matter how horribly wrong things would go that I ultimately can remedy the situation anyway. For me, that is a management style that would, in the end cause unnecessary stress for everyone, especially myself.

• Third rant is, why are we compensating stupid idiots who in the clear assessment of pros and cons inputs more mistakes than positive contributions? This is the first time I have seen a company who is characteristically more of a school wherein managers are allowed to commit mistakes and learn (assuming that they actually do) and it would be OK. Unfortunately, schools earn from students so that they may learn. In our case, we actually pay for students to learn… why is that?

• The arrogance of these people who thinks that because they were put in a position of power means that they can play bully with employees who clearly know more than them. Being stupid is one thing, being arrogant… no matter what, is another story. The sheer lack of sensitivity of some of the managers is appalling as I wonder what kind of psychological imbalance they might have suffered as children. So altogether, I have received complaints and have personally seen many who are bossy, a bully, pretending to know a lot more than they actually know, feigning concern and sensitivity, and a host of a lot more.

Perhaps you may ask, how did the company turn into what have become a “rantable” company? To this my answer is plain and simple… the too much, too soon syndrome has a lot to do with it. Amazing Philippine Theatre has grown faster than anticipated that the people were not ready for it or perhaps more apt would be, they were not “readied” for it.

Amazing Philippine Theatre’s first structure was simple. There were five Koreans at the time including the Boss. One reported straight to the Boss while three reported to the one reporting directly to the Boss. The rest of the directorial team were Filipinos which meant that they reported to the Korean Manager whom they needed to report to, i.e. members of the Artistic Team reported directly the Korean who acted as the producer, while the same people reported to the Korean in-charge of finance to ask for money. The engineering people reported to the Korean in-charge of construction and logistics. The marketing people reported to the Korean in-charge of sales and marketing. It was too simple then that there were disadvantages as well, but not at the same level of disadvantages as these days.

The Flaw…

Three years or so ago, there was a major structural change in the company that rattled the structure to its core. This was the introduction of the “Corporation” which was primarily instituted to pursue expansion programs in the Philippine Islands. The rationale was simple, Amazing Philippine Theatre needed to expand and diversify its operations to ensure the viability of its existence as an entity in the Tourism Industry.

This diversification entailed that more managers were to be hired, mergers will have to be undertaken and core competencies be developed. These reasons in my mind are plain and simple rationalization of some other motivation that has led to the creation of the “Corporation”. From what I have heard, and from what I have culled, these maybe the real reasons behind everything that transpired three or so years ago.

• The original Korean managers have become too complacent with their accomplishments with Amazing Philippine Theatre that they rested on their laurels to much too soon. Perhaps the Chairman felt that there were more things to be done than to savor the initial success of the theatre. On the other hand, the opposing argument may be that these managers were promised rewards at the end of the project and that in their view, the end may never come and that basically means that the rewards will never come as well.

• The differences in opinion as to the thrust of the business were maybe qualifying factors as to why some key personnel broke off their ties with the company. I remember an incident wherein my closest executive friend was devoured in a corporate meeting for reasons unknown to myself. Later on, he tendered his severance from the organization which he has labored so hard to build.

• The Corporation in its premature existence decided to become intrusive as to the business of Amazing Philippine Theatre. The issue I think is related with “trust”. There were too many incidents that may have compromised the trust of the Chairman with key personalities. As a consequence and in a sense, it was like paying for additional salaries of people who’s main task were to find flaws from what seemed in my perspective an organization that worked rather efficiently – or perhaps there are more things that I don’t know of. At the time it felt like a witch hunt of some kind… receipts were reviewed, suppliers were interviewed, investigations were conducted – the results of which were never divulged. Perhaps because in the end, they did not find anything wrong with the system.

• The Corporation was represented by people whose ascendancy was questionable in the first place. If their perceived Term of Reference would be that of a “Fault Finder”, then how could they ever be expected to become a part of the organization that calls itself a “family”?


So in my most honest opinion, most of the initial dilemma of this organization started at the onset of the “Corporation”. Perhaps (actually I am quite sure) there are issues that I am not familiar with or is outside my realm. Whether there are issues on “trust and confidence”, it is beyond me for the Koreans have kept themselves isolated from my realm a long time ago. My realm incidentally rests on the people immediately below my rank and designation. Unfortunately, part of this realm is to frequently do “damage control” for decisions and actions made by “them”. Damages that I have nothing to do with nor do I have any participation in the making of.

It is therefore my assumption and conclusion that the entire issue rests on what is the priority for the organization? Or to be blunt, what is more important for the Chairman? Surrounding him with people who are “loyal” or surrounding him with people with the skills and the competency to drive the corporation forward? This is given the assumption that maybe he cannot have both.

If we were really out to make a corporation, then certain things should have been addressed at the onset. The first of which are the personalities that will rule over the structure. Simply putting people in management positions, no matter how seemingly “bright” they are is no guarantee of an efficient management. Putting people in management positions for the sheer reason that one can is irrational and will simply result in catastrophic consequences.

The second is the absence of a clear-cut goal and objective-setting that would allow all members of the organization a sense of common vision so that all initiatives would thrust towards it.

Third is a clear set of identified function and a clear organizational structure that would allow harmony at the work place, not to mention acceptance. The unclearness of the structure, the chaotic terms of references has already wreaked havoc in the organization. It has allowed disintegration from among the ranks of the managers and complaints from rank and file. There are too many people in authority that the main pre-occupation of people in the organization is to shoot down each other and find fault on everyone. As I have always said, this organization is too “top heavy”, there are too many managers whose job is undefined or based on a whim.

And I should admit to the crime myself, despite the fact that I have announced my disinterest in the position, I now wish for it so bad, so that the destruction would stop and measures be undertaken to prevent the demise of a company I personally worked so hard for to build, establish and institutionalize.

Side Bar:

When the corporation was at its infancy, one of the new Koreans entered my office and said that he has full respect for me and that as far as he know, I should be the President of the company. I told him that I have respect for the organization and that I will not tolerate back biting or disrespect to any person in authority. I honestly wanted to remain as Vice President of the company because I am most efficient in this position. Unless I find a successor that will accomplish more than what I have, otherwise it would be a futile promotion in the first place.

At the time, I felt that the new Koreans were making me some sort of a trophy. That whoever wins me over to the corporation would stand victor. This was not how and it still is not how I want this game played. I simply want to care for an organization that I have helped conceive. Hypocrisy considered, I also just want to be compensated in equal terms equivalent to the amount of efficiency I deliver and I see no reason why people better compensated than I am should deliver less than I do.

I simply want to run the company the way I see fit. Am I prepared for it? I don’t think so… but who is anyway? Nobody ever is. And that is the point… If a Manager excuses himself with words like “but I did my very best, sir”, and the results are catastrophic then that means that he has no room in this business. If a Manager pisses off employees, who has stayed with the company longer than he did, then he should not manage at all.


The Major Rant…

I have set aside in my mind the fact that the Chairman did not keep his word about this project… that it would be mine. My baby! The experience is not new for me, I was never able to claim Cebu despite my hardships and sufferings there simply because I became irrelevant right after we opened and launched the show.

Boracay as I have surmised became a simple lay-out of plans and strategies for completing a show ready for presentation to the general public given a substantial amount of time. After the meeting in Manila where I was advised that I would just have to deliver the opening night and that legal documentation was beyond my concern and that another executive would be in-charge of it made me breath a sigh of relief but felt a tinge of apprehension and concern knowing that things might still go wrong. (and it did! -- BIG TIME!)

The sigh of relief came from the fact that I am ignorant of this place, the politics, the small island culture and mentality and lastly the major players and operators in the island. This means that handling the legal documentation will definitely be an additional burden for me.

The feeling of apprehension stems from a gut feeling that things might not go the way they have anticipated it. This is largely due to the fact that I hear this fellow executive always saying that there are no problems and that he is close to the mayor’s sister and the mayor himself, that he has already given the task to a Filipino broker who charged a substantial talent fee and therefore he expects that everything will be ready by the time we open.

Every time I hear someone name-drop, chances are they’re bragging. In fact, in one consequent trip I made to this island, I hand carried two pipes of engineering plans we prepared in Manila to help facilitate the release of the building permit needed for construction. The executive snapped at me saying that we don’t need those plans since everything will be cared for by the broker. The broker on the other hand used the same plans eventually.

Actually, we were already constructing. In my mind, it was okay because I knew that the permit application has been filed. Later I found out that it has not been filed when I tried applying for a permit to transport a 150KVA generator set to the island. I went to the Municipal Hall claiming that the application has been filed. I was with a friend who held a position there and sure enough, they did not find the application. I sent an MMS message to the executive to verify and he said that it has not been filed, which was contrary to what he reported a week before. It was quite an embarrassing experience being Vice President and being blind.

Fact is all of these things are supposedly not my concern. Fact is, as always I end up fixing the mess they’ve made. (Forgive me for being redundant on this point but I really want to drive it through like a stake in Dracula’s heart)

The worst incident…

Two days before opening. Everybody was frantic with the deadlines, finishing touches and preparations for the opening ceremonies. By this time, I already know that we have problems with the permits and other legal stuff but I was hoping that we could still have a miracle and push on with the opening without much hitch. Then, disaster strikes. The Barangay Chairman together with his team pounces on us and orders the stoppage of all activities because he was never informed and he never signed the clearance of the project. I was called in to defend the fort, naturally.

There was only one thing to say… we were so sorry… Except that I was the one who will have to say it as VP of this company. Apologize for someone else’s stupidity? There wasn’t much of a choice. I personally apologized then I promised that we would stop it for the meantime until I settle matters. I told everyone to stop what they were doing including the Korean managers. I went out for lunch that day and midway through I got another call. This time, the Barangay people went back and caught people still working in front and on the facade of the building. The tools were confiscated and we were charged with illegal construction. The Barangay Chairman spoke on the phone and told me that I was not a man since I did not keep my word. -- But I did! Someone else didn't!

For Now... (written today)

The writing of this rant ended in August. Maybe because I just got tired or just got used to my life in Boracay at the time. Or maybe, deeper in my subconscious, I just gave up. And literally, hell yes, I give up for now. Like what I said in one my songs... "There is no cure for the tormented, there is no recipe for the damned, there are no lies that needs to be invented, there are just the broken pieces that I've collected..."

I have realized, long time ago that this is dead end career for me... It is unfortunate that I have yet to learn to let go... but for now.. i can't. I publish things that I write to this blog without any intention of making my feelings public but that is inevitable. For me, this is therapy!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Amazing Show in Boracay



this was what the theatre looked like when we were working on it.

I would like to acknowledge the "heroes" of this project whose sacrifices, skills, efforts and dedication made this theatre possible; Mr. Song (Project Manager), Justin Nuñez (Technical Director), Francis Aliento (Engineering Director), Ian Cuenco (Lighting Director), Ronald Gallardo (Batten Supervisor), Rey (the all-around man) plus plus plus...



More Boracay Pictures

Amazing Staff Fun Dive in Boracay

It's gonna be a bright... bright... sun shiny day!!!

whoooaah! I broke 100... finally. I am perhaps the worst golf player I have ever seen. After a year attempting to be a better player, I finally broke 100 and scored 96! My friend who is an Undersecretary always jokingly says that he typically scores 75.... on the front nine. Hahahaha! I think that it was "shame" that made me play good that day because I decided to have the game documented on video so that I could see what I was doing wrong. Or maybe because I had a new caddy who was way better in attitude compared to my old one.

GOLF DAY!