Monday, November 30, 2009

clearing messes


photo by shanquiao

Third week of October, I had a minor altercation with one of my managers regarding the MFC Bar which he was handling. At the time, I did not want to write about it because he was one of the few Korean Managers I had that I actually cared for. Well, that was until true colors were shown.

At the time, I decided in front of the two managers that I would be the one to directly handle the MFC Bar since I was there every night anyway. And the case laid to rest... for a day at least. The next day, after supposedly coming to his senses (or perhaps after being lambasted by his peers), he goes up to my office to both apologize and ask for the management of the bar. He said that it would be inappropriate of my position to directly handle the bar. So I gave in and handed the management of the bar back to him. Things of course were never the same again between the two of us.

Less than a week later, the Chairman decides to make us implement salary cuts and work schedule adjustments on ourselves and the employees due to the hard economic situation. One dilemma he had was the bar attendant's time and cut since we would need her to be there during operation hours. He asked me if he could instead give a commission on every bottle sold and I promptly said yes since it was a good idea and that the amount was up to him as long as it is reasonable. So he decides on a price of commission per bottle and told the bar attendant about it.

Yesterday afternoon, he calls me up and tells me that he has a problem with the commission because it was too big. I said, of course, because the amount was not reasonable because it was too big. So yesterday, he could not give the commission to the bar attendant because it was way bigger than her salary...

The math to it was very simple. What was apparent is that for more than a month, he did not even bother to review sales, compute for the projected commission and he made the bar attendant believe that she was getting this much amount as commission.

So last night, like my usual part of the job, I had to advance damage control measures to at least make my bar attendant feel that she was not robbed.

DUH...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Pictures

Here's three pageants I've attended in the past two months...






Friday, November 27, 2009

Mica Villarosa - Teardrops on my Guitar

As a father, there are some obligations that I'd need to attend to specially those involving school activities. When my daughter was younger, I was quite active in her school as part of the PTA but work soon overwhelmed my schedule so I had to content myself with the occasional attendance of some school functions.

But fact is, getting up early in the morning is really quite difficult for me. My daughter, my son and myself are all night persons and are most active in the night time. Maybe my daughter fancies herself as part of the twilight saga. So for bonding purposes and to set Mica towards a goal, I support her endeavor in her liking to music. I appreciate the fact that at least when I pass on, she'll be a happy owner of a home recording studio and ten guitars.

One time, we went to the memorial park where my parents have been laid to rest and we shot some scenes for this video. It was suppose to be another simple video but it turned into a mini production since Black Pipe offered that they back up my daughter on a live jam. Joey Pamiloza, Black Pipe's drummer wasn't around so i ended up playing the drums.

I was pretty awesome doing these things with my daughter. Not all fathers could say that they played in a band together with their daughters. I hope that my daughter finds it awesome too, playing with her Dad.

Here's the jam with Black Pipe. You'll have to excuse us as this was the first time we played this song and Mica's first time to play with a band.



And here's the finished music video of the same song.

Sad Stories...

(senseless rants from nowhere)

Everybody has one… a dying family member, a tragic loss of property due to Ondoy or Pepeng, broken families, a kin in jail or whatever… Point is, probably everyone has a sad story to tell.

A friend of mine once said that it’s rather irritating when he goes to clubs and someone whom he has just met and who is apparently there to entertain him starts talking about “sad stories”. He figures that with the significant amount of expenses he’d incur for the night in order for him to enjoy himself and forget his own “sad story”, spending his hard-earned money and time listening to a poor soul spill their guts out is not exactly his idea of a good time. But of course, it would be different strokes for different folks… I mean, whatever rings your bell.

In the course of my employment in this company, I’ve had the privilege (?) of being manager, guidance counselor, psychologist, and judge to many people. And true enough, the number of “sad stories” I hear would be enough for a good number of screen plays for an indie film I’d like to venture on next year.

I’d like to believe however, that like my friend, some people should refrain from openly griping, simply because it becomes a negative element in the workplace. Like I always say, when my house becomes better looking than my office, then I’ll stay home. Same reasoning that if the people you work with makes you feel comfortable, then you would be looking forward to going to the work place. Much like my belief that a person who doesn’t drink has probably something to hide; an employee who doesn’t make his workplace as “homey” as possible probably has no real intention of staying on the job.

The reason I started this blog entry is because there are some people around me who wishes that they be understood with regards to their personal problems. Don’t get me wrong, I am the master of understanding. Hell, that’s why I meet a lot of opportunists on this world, but my experiences have already led me to the path of pragmatism. Most of the time, you are only as good as what you can offer or give.

The other day, one employee calls me begging that I help her brother who was in detention. I simply asked my employee what the charges were and when he said “robbery” I simply shrugged the issue of and told him that if it was a simple traffic altercation, then it would be no problem. Robbery!? Damn, that’s out of the question. I don’t even know his brother. If it was him, then I’d probably ask for details… then decide.

My relative once asked me if I knew the commanding officer of a certain unit, when I said yes, he asked if I could probably check on his brother-in-law’s case. I checked, and it was dismaying to know that it was illegal drug-related. I called him back and said that he should not have even thought of wasting my time.

There was this incident about one Korean who decided that he was too much in a rush to go thru a police check point so he squeezed his way out of the check line and was apprehended. He calls me and asks for help, I talked to the officer and he said, “Sir, we could have shot him for running away”. Agreed! They should have shot him.

You know that I’ve been burned by so many idiots who would ask for my help and later on I’d end up regretting having spent my time and reputation on their behalf. There are just a lot of people who don’t deserve help… they need rehabilitation.

So forgive me for this senseless rant… I just needed to gripe since I can’t gripe at work.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

mica villarosa - should've said no

bumming around in the studio trying to record another song when she sang this one in one take. no fuzz, no hassles and a single cam shoot which made it even better. that day, I bugged a lot of people to finish mica's "teardrops on my guitar" cover version including a live performance of the song with Black Pipe bassist August Gamo, guitarist Kenneth Tutor and myself playing drums. We did two takes and it was quite difficult not being that familiar with the song but it caught on in the editing.

for you mica, daddy can't buy you a bmw, but i can sure as hell make you music videos.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

XXX

It was a pleasure watching ABS-CBN's XXX a while ago. One of the topic was about the scam group I was talking about the other day in this blogspot.

http://casieplanet.blogspot.com/2009/11/flinched-not-at-all.html

It felt good seeing them slowly get what they deserve.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Jam Nights @ the MFC Bar with ALAMAT

These days are not feel-good days... Everyone in the company knows that. With the hard times, the holiday season is not looking so bright. Hell, it's not even lit at the moment.

But we've been here before and we'll probably survive an onslaught such as this one. I heard that they've already developed a vaccine in Korea for the AH1N1 problem and it'll be determined "effective" or not, within the next three months. So there might be hope after all.

These days of tryst, the mind and the spirit must be kept busy so as not to stray too far from what has to be achieved. And so, I decided that a lot of that spare energy should go to somewhere that will help the business in the long run. So improving the MFC Bar is a step in the right direction.

Here's a band that I enjoy watching on stage, specially the MFC Bar stage. I'm also helping them with their demo recording by being the producer and the sound engineer and soon director of their videos... ALAMAT!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Jam Nights @ the MFC Bar with Black Pipe

Playing on a live stage gives one a rush undefined. Maybe very soon, since we have the venue, I'd put up a band of my own to play at the MFC Bar. But for now, I'd have to be content jamming on stage.

The economic situation has not gotten better but I refuse to dwell on the feeling of helplessness and would much rather enjoy the moments this life has to offer. Good new is I finally got the chance to use my new Greg Bennett Royale semi-hollow guitar on stage and on video. My daughter was the one who christened it and later it was Kenneth of Black Pipe... my turn.

So last Sunday, after recording a song with Black Pipe, I had them on stage at the MFC Bar to provide entertainment for the customers. It was a fun night as we also celebrated the birthday party of one of the employees Gerald.

I wish I could post Black Pipe's original music but I'm keeping it secret until they finish the entire album. So I'm sorry, for now this will be just me jamming with one of the hardest working band in the land, BLACK PIPE.







Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Flinched? .. Not at all

A friend of mine calls me up earlier and tells me to drop by the Cuneta Astrodome so that I may see his lighting and audio set-up inside. After the brief ocular inspection, I asked that we step out so that I could smoke. Immediately after stepping out, I saw a logo of someone’s name and I felt irritated knowing that that someone has committed himself to the Search for Amazing Philippine Beauties 2009 as a sponsor to the tune of Php100,000 and simply ran away from that commitment.

My friend said that the person was there and I could speak to him if I wished to. I called a staff of a prominent Congressman who organized the Mrs. Philippines Beauty Pageant as they have apparently also had a falling out with this group and they were bilked with about Php2M for the event. He said that they have already filed a complaint and that it will be featured on Monday at XXX in ABS-CBN.

I finished my cigarette, stepped in and found him sitting there with some people. We approached him and I shook his hand. He said hello and the usual pleasantries and told him about how we were never able to connect with his office for his commitment to sponsor our event.

Without flinching, he says “really?” when I knew that his office has valiantly and methodically avoided all communications with my office and his staff refuses to give the good doctor’ contact number. Okay, maybe he doesn’t know… the way I won’t know every transaction my office makes.

But then again, I vividly remembered that day when he signed the sponsorship contract. It was the day he brought his family and friends over for dinner at our restaurant and they all watched the Amazing Show… that was the day he signed the damn thing. That was immediately after he asked for a favor about utilizing some storage space at the MFC for his Yuchengco Art Exhibition.

Okay, he forgot…

So then I asked about the lady who introduced her to me. One of her staff and as it appears, one of his most trusted staff because she was the one who brought her over to my office. He candidly said that she was no longer connected with him.
I took it at that and simply walked away. Fascinated by the way people such as that could handle themselves despite knowing that they could’ve been part of something so wrong.

So I’m updating my blog from the bar and as I finished decided to surf for a friend’s name so that I can catch up to what he’s up to. Guess what? Since my friend is a prominent police officer, the first entry that appeared was about a case he handled last May involving one Flor Sacbibit charged with estafa. Binggo! --- She was his staff I was referring to earlier…

Okay, maybe he’s just as much as a con as she is… or did he just forget?

Events organizer tagged in P20-million investment scam
http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=470045&publicationSubCategoryId=65

Isn’t this planet small?

So, I’ll just wait for Monday’s episode of XXX.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Jam Nights @ the MFC Bar




I once told my boss that the best ever business there is would be liquor and cigarettes. No matter the state of the economy, the community and even your personal state of being, people in general will drink and smoke. Of course, I meant it jokingly with a dash of truth looking at myself.

We started the MFC bar as a subsidiary of our restaurant and it is now blossoming into something that might turn out a profit or two. The art department has redesigned the bar counters and we'll have a mini-kitchen soon hopefully. I had my studio equipment hauled down from my studio office upstairs and set-up a stage which is fairly decent by standards. Further enhancements are on the way that hopefully might not cost us much.

It keeps me busy these days and I am fairly happy hanging out in here. Of course, the clients aren't here yet. We've yet to promote the place. Last Saturday, I invited a band I knew from my Hooters days, ALAMAT, a strictly pinoy rock band to audition and jam at the MFC. My employees loved them and everyone was in agreement that I should give them a slot... I did.

So Alamat wil be playing at the MFC every other Thursdays starting this 19th of November.

That same night, Janis, an old friend of mine from my Nicotina days came over with her band and jammed till the wee hours of the morning. I wish that I am able to book them but there's like eight of them in the band and I am afraid that I could not afford them as of the moment.

Palawan Blues



I am writing this blog inside what seems to me is like a luxury jail cell with room service at the PADS by Legend Hotels in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Not that I have complaints, but the room size is really something that I am not accustomed to, but these days of thrift, this is indeed reasonable.

At under Php2,000 with two meals free, some really courteous staff and a very fresh interior, it is indeed a bargain. Of course, they could have angled the flat-screen TV better so that it’ll be clearer when you’re lying down…

And yes, there is free wifi connection.

Yesterday, upon our arrival, I immediately headed to the tourist assistance center at the airport and was able to briefly discuss some things with them despite their being busy tending to the Miss Earth candidates who were also at the airport. (Last week, the Miss Earth 2009 candidates were also there at the Manila Film Center for some pre-pageant activities)

We met up with a tricycle driver named Jun who was an accommodating “tourist guide and driver” and we were pleased with his enthusiasm and love for this city. He brought us around the spots and we were quite impressed with the local government’s efforts in pursuing the goal of making Palawan a major tourist destination. My detailed impressions later….

Flashback…


My first trip to Palawan was in the late 80’s when I was convinced by a friend, Mike Abrera to take on a job with his newly formed company West Nalaut of the Western Seas, a trading firm that was to bring the dried seafood goods from Palawan to Manila. I stayed at the Calamianes group of Islands for sometime, Busuanga, Culion and Coron in particular. Went seafaring almost everyday and learned a lot about rural life. Ultimately, I had to quit since the direction of the business was going nowhere.

Three years later in 1991, a friend and relative, Walter Jimenez brought me to Puerto Princesa for a business trip with his Japanese benefactor. I remember drinking at a place called “Bottle Ground”, now a busy joint called “Kinabuch”, I think…

Now…

As expected, the 18 or so years of not having been to this place has changed the environment, in my personal and limited opinion, for the better. Despite the fact that it still does not really look like a city (but we do have a loot of that even in the National Capital Region), the place is “cleaner” and more organized compared to what I remember in 1991. There are of course, as expected, more infrastructure although I may say that it is still below the term adequate.

What strikes me most is the amount of effort put in by the local government in pursuing their tourism development venture. Something that I someday hope the national government will realize that tourism as an industry is something that we’ll need to invest in, in order to reap from its benefit in the future.

We came to Palawan to see if there are possibly good investment opportunities for us. Unfortunately, pleased as I am of what I saw as compared to 18 years ago, the developments are still a bit too slow and therefore means that the market may not be ready for us. But it was an otherwise memorable experience.

By 12 midnight, we already knew this but had a ticket booked early evening so we were at a loss as to how we would bum with the time in our hands. We were also informed that some VIPs would be at the theatre to watch the show including and Undersecretary from the Department of Tourism. So the next day, we woke up early, had breakfast and rushed to the local Cebu Pacific office to check if we could rebook on an earlier flight, turns out that we had to pay about Php1400 each so we decided against it. We decided to return to our rooms and sleep some more, we checked out before 12 noon, took lunch at a local seafood restaurant, went to a place called Jess Billiard Bar and had fun drinking beer while playing billiards and talking with the Caucasian expats.

We figured that we could still catch the tail-end of the VIP visit since we were expecting to be in Manila by 8:00 pm.

A little tipsy, we checked in at the airport, took some coffee and sandwiches and waited to be called in for boarding. That’s what I am doing now… WAITING!!!!

Because the friggin’ flight is delayed!!! It’s 7:33pm, we were suppose to board at 6:15pm… more than an hour already and the clock is still ticking. This is one hell of an experience… Now I remember why I always took Philippine Airlines… at least if it’s delayed they have the Mabuhay Lounge.

The experience was really bad… and the bottom line? I personally think that our company’s presence in Palawan would not be viable. Not in the near future anyway.

1st Nite Golf Classic @ Club Intramuros

With the new lights installed at Club Intramuros, the Philippine Tourism Authority held a tournament to open up the night games at the golf course. The occasion was well attended and we were actually glad to have been invited.



The funny thing was that I heard that day from our marketing director that I have actually won as class C champion of the Ambassador's Cup Tournament held last October.

It was shocking for me but I was quite happy specially since I did not bother attending the awarding ceremonies since I never in the slightest way figured I could win anything specially in this sport that never seems to love me back. But I did, and I just got the trophy and the write-ups from Graphic Magazine and the Business Mirror.

Two days after this tournament, I was informed that I have apparently won a place in this tournament... Wow! I've yet to verify the news but it nevertheless gives me solace to the fact that things do take time to get done... or get a result out of it.

I never really took the game seriously up until my friend Chris Park gave me his Callaway FT full iron set, a Cleveland 60 degree approach wedge and a Cleveland rescue/utility club after apparently retiring from golf. My staff pitched in for a new PING anser putter with John Jun throwing in a 3 wood. My boss, Max Lee gave me a terribly good-looking Titleist golf bag while my godson Kyo Lee personally went with me to the store to pick out and pay for my new Taylormade R5 driver and utility 3 club.

In less than a week, my new set was complete without a single centavo spent on my end. The pressure was then on to become better than I was since I wouldn't have any excuse that my set was not so good (my old set, a G-Ark set was given by my boss 2 and a half years ago and that forced me to take up this game).

Here's where MVP resident golf pro Matthew Kim comes in. He helped me settle in with the new set and even gave me a NIKE golf shirt as a present for my birthday. I was tutored a lot and I guess that it finally paid off or is paying off.

I guess that these things are but some of the things I should be thankful for.

Shawshank Redemption Revisited



Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free.



No, this will not be a movie review... As I have always said, it is one of my most favorite film ever. And these days when everything seems grimmer than the usual, I eventually find things that will make me feel better. Watching Shawshank Redemption for the nth time simply made my day. (I would like to thank Jun Domingo for introducing this film to me in 1996)

As grim as I am, I have always identified myself with the main character played by Tim Robbins... an underdog that eventually finds redemption in the end. Unfortunately, life is a circle of incarceration and redemption. Over and over and over and over... and that's the way it is supposed to be.

After revisiting the film, I am reminded that another cycle has simply begun again and that eventual redemption will soon (I hope) will be at hand. That the world was not meant to be fair... and therefore WTF am I complaining about?

There are more things that I should be more thankful for anyway.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Today...

I start to live!


“The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.”

Colin Powell


And that is why I have to survive these times of trials and tribulation. The failure of this leadership should not deter me from pursuing the higher goal of keeping this organization afloat. Too many lives are at stake and it would be selfish to abandon this sinking ship... that is despite my personal quest for sanity.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

golf day @ the riviera (couples' course)

the worst game ever, i swear. here's to the game that will never love me back, hehehe

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

mica villarosa - thinking of you

this is my daughter's cover version of Katy Perry's Thinking of You...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A prayer for the stressed

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I cannot accept, and the wisdom to hide the bodies of those I had to kill today because they got on my nerves.

Also help me to be careful of the toes I step on today as they may be connected to the feet I may have to kiss tomorrow.

Help me always to give 100% at work...

12% on Monday,

23%on Tuesday,

40% on Wednesday,

20% on Thursday, and

5% on Friday.

Help me to remember...

When I'm having a bad day and it seems that people are trying to wind me up, it takes 42 muscles to frown, 28 to smile and only four to extend my arm and smack someone in the mouth!

source: http://www.bullyonline.org/successunlimited/humour/jokes.htm

Yesterday, I was supposed to have dinner with the Chairman so that I may scream my inner guts out to prevent him from making a fatal business decision. A part of my job that I consider myself inadequate. He however "forgot" maybe because I have already given a preview of the things that I wanted to talk about.

So instead of the dinner, I found myself eating shawarma with my key officers at the coffee shop while sipping my all time favorite bourbon. I only had two issues to discuss... the issue of Cebu salary cuts and the details of the Manila operations after the implementation of the new remedial salary scheme.

It became a long meeting despite the seemingly simple content of the discussion and I knew why. If my opinion cannot be recognized, then why should they think that theirs would be any different?

I guess we'll know by Tuesday.