Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Over the past several weeks, the Boss has been bugging me about making a "company song". A song that everyone in the company will sing to. To be inspired, to be motivated, to bond or simply because maybe it would be cool...

That would have been nice... to drop everything and stay in the studio and make a song. The problem was that it was impossible to drop everything and the fact that writing music meant placing yourself in a certain state of mood... now that was difficult. If I was happy with my professional life right now then it would be relatively easy. Three years ago, I wrote a song titled "Amazing Preso" (Prisoner), about my first meeting with then VP Chris Park. At the time i felt that he fucked me up big time when he convinced me to join the company.

Anyway, we earlier decided that the lyrics should be written by the employees themselves and a cash price be awarded to the chosen one. (That was actually my strategy to spread the wealth, otherwise, if I wrote it then it would be "gratis" once again the way the video productions has always been.) So we chose an entry and it was really quite good. I started with the music three days ago and I finished the recording of the bed tracks and some blings yesterday. Up on my door read; "Vice President, salary man trying to work: do not disturb".

My best friend in the company, Justine Nuñez has just confided that he would be leaving within the week for a new job. I am really heartbroken. That makes me the last of the pioneers in this company. When I say pioneer I mean the original ALOHA Hotel pioneers who started this theatre. No one is left... but I.

So I told Justine that I he should arrange for a reunion of the pioneers and we should have dinner together before he leaves. Last night would perhaps be the last conversation with him as his boss and then so maybe then we could be more open the next time we discuss having broken the professional protocol shit.

He never wanted to leave the company. That I am sure. It's just that he needs to prepare a better future for himself and his family. That I understand. And that is something that I hope my boss will understand... There are a lot more stories inside this company that should have merited the attention of the right people. But then again... perhaps such is life... for after all, at the end of the day we are just SALARY MEN!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

duuhh... but I... duh...

I've been rather sick lately. And that doesn't include being sick and tired. Right now I'm listening to Matchbox 20's "Damn". I awoke at half past five after a very long day yesterday. It was my day off and woke up at around the same time I did today. I've been sleeping so light lately. While I was sick I stayed in the office in the seclusion and confines of the walls and bling blings I'll probably miss once or if ever I decide to call it quits. My secretary keeps bugging me about eating, drinking medication which knocks me out cold on the sofa for about an hour. I've managed to finish the video of the 2007 show, I'm doing a proposal for a singing contest for next year. My boss wants me to go to Cebu but I've been putting that one off because I'm not exactly in the mood to go there. He wants me to stay in our resort with my guitar and write a song... the company song. Hell, if I was happy right now, I'd write it and record it in a day... but i GUESS i'M NOT.

Yesterday, I had to talk to my daughter's home room adviser because she'd been late three times last month. My daughter by the way is an entirely other story. She's growing up much like myself but more on the weird side. And as her adviser said.. but you are a boy!

Anyway, I try never to leave the house on a Monday, my wife used it as an excuse so I could drive her to the mall for a new curtain and to replace the bidet that she had previously broken. Parking is terrible as always as well as the traffic at that time. Mall food sucks and I hate going to malls in general because I always find something I want to buy for my office but I couldn't afford it. We got back home, and it doesn't end there. I did some plumbing job and had to help installing them damn curtains.

As a rule, my phone is dead on Mondays, but I was out so I had to turn it on. Got some calls from friends and scheduled some appointments. My dear executive assistant and admin director informs me that Cebu has a problem. The strong winds has managed to knock out the canopy of the three-hulled catamaran. I called Cebu to confirm, Damn! must be my god-awful lucky bitchin' day. My sajangnim calls me an hour later and tells me that I couldn't hold off my Cebu trip and I have to do some on-site inspection. So... I'm off to Cebu today. I have to attend to a few more meetings and take a late afternoon flight...

I really just wanted to say... duuuh, but I... duuh... don't really want to go. I'm not in the mood... but that's life I guess.

*** in my headset right now... an instrumental version of Sting's "Fields of Gold" right after Sheryl Crow & Sting's "Always On Your Side". Damn I hate the way I'm turning senti these days. I'd probably cry over a chick flick if I saw one. GRRRRR!!!!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A reminder for myself...

This was something I wrote a long long time ago in a galaxy all their own.. I decided to post it to remind myself that I have been in tougher situations than where I am right now and that only rational thinking can salvage me from the ill feelings I harbour as of today.

Anyway, I omitted the names for obvious reasons but nevertheless, I would like to once again thank the stars of this memorandum for making me decide to leave them behind... thank you guys, your memories are not fond, but they are treasured..

BTW, the experience of working in hell produced two albums under my independent label, sunset recods limited. The first one is aptly named "FREEDOM" while the other was "DR.DEATH".

Date: April 29, 2001

For: Dr. _________

Ms. ___________

From: Casie Villarosa

Subject: In Response to PAR…


Dear Sir, Ma’am,

Allow me to advance my apologies for once again breaking the instruction that I keep this response brief. Not because I find the urge irresistible, I just feel that this is fair considering it is my last, and as well as my conviction that one of the reasons we got here is our attempt to simplify and make brief so many things.

I have read the document over and over in the past three days. Although I would gain no benefit but to view and interpret the numbers that corresponded to a summation of my performance over the last 11 months, reviewed by someone whom I have known in less than a 3rd of the said period, honestly – I make no sense of it.

On the following:

· Technical Skills

score is 4. What is a VIDEOGRAPHER? Look it up in the dictionary the word does not exist. The term is used in reference to people in the new age of video (mostly independents) who are forced to learn all the aspects involved in making a video production. The smallest in-house team I know, based on employment where my friends are is three – one person for the sound (audio person), one for the camera (usually doubles as a cinematographer and lightsman), another as the editor. Three! Excuse me, but at this point, I have to remind myself that I am skilled!

Dr. ____’s side note –

“J___, asked him to go to the production houses and suppliers to check but he refused.” – For the record, I did not refuse. In fact, we got to the level of presentation with one of them, a lot of telephone conversations, discussions and meetings and none of them use our system. Which basically means that it is futile to even think of comparing set-ups. – It would be the same as comparing a chicken to a dog. (Refer to a document entitled “The Review: An inside look at P_____’s In-House Video Capability – full version)

Sad to say, I have ended up with another supervisor who cannot hook up a VCR and a TV together. But I have devoted a lot of time explaining to him how it all works and he was always willing to listen while I was always willing to talk because video and technology is my passion. – Who knows, maybe he’s learned enough to get by without me.

For the Record (again). Dreams and Vision – a Macromedia and Apple service and logistical support organization – knows of only three FCP operators in the country -- one of them is myself, I guess that technically speaking – that makes me rare. Excuse me again, but at this point, I have to remind myself that I am skilled!

· P_____ Policies
score is 5. When I say I am confused about certain policies, that is because I am. 11 months, 5 supervisors later I am still confused – In the last three months I see my supervisor groping in the dark. He has yet to reconcile the policies and the practices himself. But I was told by my supervisor to do this and that, (follow a budget line for the request) which I did (after explaining that it was not necessary and that the research will cost us an unreasonable amount of time). Yes, I was at fault because I followed instructions. – but isn’t that in the policy too?

· Interpersonal Skills

score is 4. I am smiling right now!

· Writing Skills

score is 4. He has managed to massacre everything that I have written. Not only are they not passed to the intended person/s, they are shelved to rot. He has always claimed to be a very good writer, I remember he says that everything he passes to management will get approved. I hear him say how terrible people are in English in this office. In reference to a video manual I have prepared for the ICM sites, it was shelved and he instead asked a secretary to copy an entire book without reference to the author and pass it off as his work. Yes, he is a great writer.

· Personal Organization

score is 5. 120% disagree and he knows it, too.

· Quality of Work

score is 3. Picture this in your mind, I have my supervisor (in the producer’s chair) chanting, raving and ranting (in a very “showbiz” manner) how much the video looks great. “I like it!” It’s Great! “If they don’t like it that’s because they don’t know any better”, etc. etc. Imagine my feeling at the time, I was happy that my supervisor likes what WE did. And that finally, part of the process I’ve proposed had come to pass. A producer – sitting in the producer’s chair, I’m the tekkie (technical person) and I follow instructions – but when it was viewed by Dr. ____ and he did not like it, all of sudden it was I, ME and MYSELF – alone again. The same story applies with the Bohai Sea booklet, the Tropical Coast Cover.

Do I ever get frustrated? Many times over, but I always value the frustration not as a failure but both as a challenge and a learning experience. I value very much Adrian Ross’ words when we had a chance to chat at the back about the process taking time, but that it was worth it because we get better at it everyday. (Check out the Videography Manual I’m writing for the ICM sites entitled “Editing in Mind: A Basic Manual for Producing Video in PEMSEA’s ICM sites”, I opened the manual with the quotation; “Failures are pre-requisites to success”.

· Quality of Work 2

score is 3. Yes, I’ve done 2 productions in a year, 2 approved productions plus dozens of revisions, alternative versions and studies, but I have done many other things including the unreasonable for the most part that I was under supervisors who had little idea as to the intricacies of my job.

In reference to quality, when I arrived in this office, in less than a month’s time I was immediately asked to do a video. Therefore I had to prepare an equipment proposal, be caught in the middle of a war between management and my supervisor, follow a story line -- approved by my supervisor -- that later went through enormous changes in the editing phase, was called a failure, and a host of other frustrating events.

As an output to the lessons learned, I drafted a video production process (protocol) for P____, which ended up in the hands of 4 supervisors and was finally “supposedly” approved 6 months later – where is it now?

· Working Under Pressure

score is 4. Do I freak out during high stress, high demand situations? I only remember doing it once, and that was July, and it was legitimate.

· Initiative, Independence and Problem Solving

score is 4. Let’s start with initiative – animations, graphics, and all predictable demands for video productions are arranged in advance with both M_____ and J____ and we get it done almost always way before we start the editing phase. I finished the P____ Story video as early as January 26, 2001. It was shown only when Dr. ____ freaked (March, 2001), because my supervisor withheld the video from all P_____A personnel and instructed me never show any video in process because according to him, there has to be timing and that nobody knows about video in the office anyway. Later, he tells me that management hates me because I seem aloft. I had to remind him that he instructed me not to approach anyone in management for the solicitation of comments on videos I am working on. I also had to remind him that I almost always solicited everyone’s comments on videos in process. I therefore explicitly remember saying that “look where your twisted strategy has gotten me into”.

Independence – I only wish and seek the assistance of everybody from P_____A because then and only then will we produce good videos. That is why I wrote the video process in the first place. Independence in terms of capability – pls. refer to bullet # 1.

Problem-Solving – I’ve solved and resolved more problems than I thought I could be capable of, given our limitations.

· Analytical Ability

score is 4. I did not shift careers because I was intellectually challenged, I decided to shift because I like development work, I love technology, and I wanted to make a real difference. The bottom line, I just did not want to use my skills to sell a bar of soap.

What else can I say, except that I don’t think I lack any analytical ability. (Of course this was proven wrong when I trusted Jude to keep his end of the responsibilities, and most specially when I thought that he was a decent human being – boy, am I dumb) So allow me to retract that statement – he was right.

I’d like to believe that I’ve done a lot of good in my life, some/many mistakes –yes-- my PhD is my life.

· Dependability

I remember one general staff meeting where Dr. C___ said that if he needed something from me, he knows that he will get it on time. That day did not soften me, or made me lax, it made me steadfast in guarding that perception – the same perception broken because of a supervisor whose intent I have yet to be clear of.

If ever I will be given the chance to evaluate J___ W______ G______, I would be fair and honest. He has his strong points. He has the credentials for the job. He is friendly and accommodating (of course now I know that his friendship is as valuable as a matchstick for someone who lives in hell).

For the most part, we were led to believe that finally, the ISU will better move forward as an intricate part of the whole organization. We were doing good for October to December, the only thing lacking then was representation that would mainstream the unit and a unit head. It was only in late January that we noticed some things wrong, small things, negligible things that I knew would blow up in our faces sooner or later. And most of it did, just about now, I find myself hardest hit.

For this particular event, I was specifically requested (instructed) to take the blame, the fall, and to ask management for another chance. I was specifically told that this evaluation was nothing more but a strategy to keep me in the office, however, I see no sense in it. But then, there is a conflicting statement, I was specifically told that management wanted me out, that as my supervisor, he is tasked to officially cut me off. If this is true my only question is – WHY?

When Mr. G____ assumed his office, his first statement out of the blue when we had lunch was, “People will never know what I am thinking about.” I replied, “Is that good or bad?”, now I know better. (Check out what he did to his former Boss in U%&*) A tip to those who will further work with him – he’s not that good, -- when he is uncomfortable in a situation, most specially when he is lying, he sweats. This man cannot fight his battles head-on, he is a tactician, an opportunist and he kills when the prey is not looking. That was why inspite of the tears that he made flow from his eyes last Friday, I will not slip quietly into the night.

Ms.G____ last week has interviewed the unit, the sentiments may not have came out as strongly the way it should have, specially from his Boy Friday, but I am sure that somehow she has a clearer perception of the problem. Prior to this event, I took a stand in order to put a colleague’s name in the clear, weeks later, I am in the same boat. I am not and will ever be apologetic for the things I’ve done for I believe that I am in the clear. I may have committed some mistakes, but for the most part, it was because I followed protocol. I have room to improve, yes I do – who doesn’t? -- and I have and am always very willing to change most of my wayward ways. But I am afraid that I cannot do it in this organization anymore. Dr. C____ said that the bottom line is that if a staff cannot work with his supervisor, then he must go. I shall go. Because asking for a chance that I already deserve, admitting to things that I have not done nor caused, and accepting this evaluation will diminish my self-respect. It was the only thing I started out with, and I am hoping that I will not be parting with it anytime soon. I expect respect from my daughter, and I cannot expect it from her if I lose respect for myself.

Allow me this opportunity to thank you, the staff, my unit teammates and the organization for an opportunity to work with all of you. This is one of the toughest decisions I ever had to make.

P.S. Dr. C____, Thank you for not signing the evaluation before you handed it to me. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to defend myself. And lastly, thank you for believing in me, I shall hold it dear.

Wow! That felt really good.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

how confidence, not curiosity killed the cat

I awoke last sunday morning to the ringing of the phone. My security officer was calling from the office and he relayed news that there was an electrical explosion at the mechanical area of the building injuring three of our employees. Damn! That was not the wake up call I wanted to hear. Fear had crept through my spine anticipating a wost-case scenario. As I drove myself to the hospital, the only question in my mind was... why were they working on a "live" 440-480V panel board? As I pulled over, one of our employee was already in place to assist me in parking and he updated me abou the condition of the three people and asi I walked into the emergency room felt relieved when I saw my boys wrapped in bandages but moving about in their bunks. Relief turned into a bit of comedy when one of the attending physicians jokingly said that the boys were a bit late for a halloween party.

Two of them suffered from 2nd degree burns to the their faces and their arms while the other was more shocked than anything else. I need not ask them for explanations since they started talking the minute I arrived to explain what had happened. Bottomline? Confidence!!! Having worked with electricity almost all their lives, shutting down power for ten minutes seemed too bothersome a protocol to follow. Wearing safety equipment (gloves, boots, overalls, eye protection) seemed like a waste of time...

Right now, they are all safe and I am relieved. I just hope that this excursion to the pain zone will give them enough time to recognize and accept that protocols were made for everyone's good.


shutting down the supply for ten minutes would have been just that... 10 minutes. Instead, the entire building lost power for several hours, the panel board and the wires replaced (and that's not cheap), the incident scared the shit out of their relatives and friends, hospitalization, not to mention the amount of pain they are in right now, and the fact that they have just broken the company's safety record of zero accidents in the last two years.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Amazing Philippine Theatre and the Manila Film Center Links

Well, here's about everything I found in the internet about Amazing Philippine Theatre and the Manila Film Center that we didn't author...