Saturday, March 27, 2010

Cebu

1113H and I am still sleepy. I ordered chicken pork adobo for in-room dining but I’d much rather have a jjampong at the Korean restaurant downstairs but decided against it because I was already downstairs a while ago to have my ticket rebooked.

Last night, my boss asked me to take another flight back to Manila to spend one more night in Cebu and have a night out with the performers.

Anyway, I’ll have to check out some places today for the possible move out plan to another location but I’m already sort of fixated on one location that seems ideal for the move out. The space is good, roughly 2,000 square meters, it’s beside the road and has ample parking space. There’s another place though that I fancy but I already know that the cost is not feasible, neither is it reasonable but the Chairman wants me to try another negotiation anyway.

So last night I already got I touch with Aris of Alamat to cancel the shoot of the “Bisyo” video and learned that Mc’s wife is already due for child birth so that would mean that we’d really have to move the shoot schedule after the holy week.

I kind of miss the slow pace of life here in Cebu. Bumming around on the boat with the employees, discussing the Chairman's new loan facility program and enjoying a laugh or two with them while reminiscing the times we had making this branch.

I had a hearty early dinner with the branch manager and am now looking forward to seeing the performers rock a new stage for fun after this show...

Friday, March 26, 2010

Happiness is...

A State of mind



It is! And despite all the shit around me and my problems, I seem happier these days. Of course, it doesn't reflect as much on the outside. I still carry myself fairly morbid outside my office.

Time alone is something that I have missed for quite some time. Lately, I've had a lot of that and it gives me time for working on things I like doing, as well as time for some reflective thinking.

The other night, I wasn't able to go home because they were fixing the road in front of my house and that meant I couldn't park the car inside so I decided to stay in the office. That was the first time I went overnight in my new office and it was as creepy as hell because the sounds were almost psychologically intolerable... So I waited until daybreak before I closed my eyes and finally went to sleep and in the process finished Alamat's "Bisyo" background video.

I remember one article where Senator Miriam Santiago told the press that she'd be willing to spend the night at the Manila Film Center to commune with the ghosts. I'd be willing to prepare a bed for her... but then again, given her reputation and personality, she could actually drive all the ghosts away.

Of course, I'd much rather wish she'd kept her word about plunging from a chopper during President Estrada's ouster. (joke)

Anyway, that was quite a night and I felt that I sort of missed overnight stays at the MFC.

Today, I'm flying to Cebu for business and will be back tomorrow. By evening time tomorrow, I'd be wrapping up the missing shoots for the "Bisyo" video with Alamat. I'm looking forward to it.

Happiness?

Well, I don't know. But somewhere in my heart, there is a certain amount of contentment and complacency. I wouldn't want to dwell in it because contentment and complacency is the enemy of improvement. I'd just cherish the feeling for now...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

on adrenaline overdrive...

on a frantic work pace after the shooting day of Alamat's sister band under sunset studios' Black Pipe - Araw at Ulap the concert DVD... my week and my face turns ugly with long days and longer nights piecing together the edit points of the video. Considering that I used only three cams for the shoot (one of which I hate because it's on a dvd format), it was indeed a daunting task.

3/4 of Alamat was there on the day of the shoot and was blown away by the scale of the endeavor. That night, we had dinner together and they seemed a tad excited about their turn for a full-scale shoot. Of course, that would mean that they'd have to finish the remaining cuts for their album first.

So after a long absence from the studio, Alamat returns today with five songs to "catch up". I wasn't particularly excited with the idea since I really wanted to take a break from recording and studio work. But after hearing the first cut titled "Bisyo", my adrenaline shoots up again with new ideas and the excitement of making the music video for the single.

Friday, March 19, 2010

some people...



A long time ago, when it was absolutely against policy to allow cash advances in the office, I started a mini trust fund system in the office since I have money floating around anyway from personal loans for my co-employees. We called it the EWF or the Employee Welfare Fund.

The logic is so that no one would come to me personally asking for a loan since it would much more be like a cooperative of some sorts with an approving body headed by my former secretary. Bottom line? A lot of people didn't pay, since the office has not sanctioned it officially and there was no real repercussion for avoiding payment.

Anyway, most of the people involved in the implementation of the EWF were from the admin department... mostly the secretaries. Turns out that most of the loans were rewarded to the admin people instead of the regular rank and file personnel.

So, I decided to scrap the fund altogether.

Last night, my Korean Duty Manager dropped by my office for a couple of beers with me before going home. In the course of the conversation, he asked (with a lot of hesitation and shyness) if I borrowed P500 from the bar sales. Of course he knew that that was unlikely. If i needed money, I simply call him or our finance director and he'd send me money right away and it's never in hundreds.

Having confirmed with finality that I did not take money from the sales, and after much apology, he calls the bar manager to settle the matter. It took a while before the bar manager reaches my office (perhaps she had to scrounge up for the P500) and tells us that everything is settled.

Of course, that was not the point!

It was using my name knowing that nobody would dare ask me for verification. Fortunately, the Duty Manager was comfortable enough with me to verify matters. After much apology, she left us and I felt really bad. It's the same person whom I have always given personal loans to... not small amounts, mind you which up to now remains unpaid and unmentioned. It was okay, because I know that she's having a hard time.... but who isn't?

Now I come to thinking... what else goes on in my domain? My apathy because of the hard times has made me too lax to be able to care. The confidence I give people allows that chance for people to take opportunities... not all of course, but some out there.

I don't really care. Fact is, I believe that this is an isolated case. Based on the history of this person, this is what she is. Money is something I'd much rather not care about but I guess it's something that needs caring for. I am just thankful that I've not put myself in a precarious situation enough to make me care more about money than the more important things in life. I am just thankful that I still have a lot people I can trust and who cares for me.

My Finance Director has made a program for me to be able to cope with the 30% salary cut and it has worked wonders. He reports to me my progress every once in a while and I see that I have significantly improved in the "spending" department... Amen.

P.S.

but I do miss the remaining 30%... hehehe.

Right now I seem more productive settling in my "other" office, staring at the sea, watching the sunset while glued in my workstation.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

An accidental time to blog



Like I said; no drink, no sleep… Attempting to sleep last night was an enormous effort knowing that I’d have to wake up at the most by 4 in the morning because the Chairman wanted to play golf with all of us here in Eastridge Golf and Country Club.

I asked my wife to wake me up but apparently her alarm didn’t go off… well, mine surely did when I opened my eyes and saw the clock at 05:58. I’m supposed to be at the office by 06:20 since I didn’t want to drive the distance although my residence is fairly close to Antipolo. I therefore did not have the choice.

Anyway, my secretary prepped everything, golf bag, shoes, gym bag so I decided to drive. Now, I’m here with too much time to spare, sipping coffee with nothing to do but wait for them and start hitting balls.

It’s a good time to blog.

Now, let’s see… last night I wanted to write about how things worked in my office but couldn’t figure out how that was going to be accomplished. All I could remember was what I saw in one history channel feature about Sun Tzu’s Art of War where they explained how the Allies utilized a better chain of command structure compared to the Nazis. And I saw a very close resemblance of how we ran things in the company… unfortunately we are more like the Nazis.

In my recent trip to Cebu, I had the very good opportunity of chit-chatting with our finance director about much of everything related to the shop. He offers some very nice practical insights about things and some nice insights about how he sees me as a ranking and glorified employee. Admittedly, most of them were true.
Here are some of those insights…
  • The Cebu manager freaked out due largely to her inability to carry out and pursue the general objectives of the Chairman
  • Also, of the high expectations she has placed on herself only to realize that it’s easier said than done
  • Lastly, I can imagine the trauma of commanding a troop with whom you cannot entirely express yourself, your eloquence, your ideas… when commanders are more confused than their subordinates; one could easily lead them to their demise
As for the gist insight, it all boils down to “if one puts everything in one basket, then we wouldn’t be as objective as we should”. But that precisely is my issue; “putting everything in one basket” is tantamount to loving what you do. I know that it has always been both my weakness and strength. That is perhaps the reason why I always leave angry and agitated with all the endeavors I am involved with. I expect too much from others as well as myself.

A cry for help…

In the office, I have required most everyone to keep in constant touch with their instant messenger services so that we could chat constantly about work ad personal matters as well. The shout out of two of my managers are alarming to a sense… one’s shout out is “I will get out of this…. Soon”, while the other says “don’t work for the company, work for yourself”. I honestly wanted mine to say “screw all of you” but I know that would be inappropriate.

Some time ago, I sincerely believed that I was on top of things. Now I believe that the Chairman has damaged me enough to make me stop thinking of nonsense shit like that.

For all of us internet savvy people who thinks somehow the net will get our messages across… it does… to people who are actually sensitive enough to notice. It just so happens that it’s a hit-or-miss kind of thing… the messages will have to reach the “right” person. Good luck… for even direct emails can be lost in translation… remember?

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Making of Black Pipe's Araw at Ulap Concert DVD






After three months of studio work, I've decided to highlight the "Black Pipe Experiment" with a concert DVD project that will put Black Pipe in a full-length DVD feature presentation. It took us a week to prepare everything. I had meetings with my creative people to act as both consultants and directors for this shoot. Every staff pitched in including some performers who did back stage work and wardrobe consultancy.

Elmir Castillo and Joey Puna gave the most input by co-directing the concert shoot with me as well as defining the concept of the shoot. Prior to the shoot, they also rehearsed the band for the "attitude" thing. Gil Montano together with the Art Department executed a lot of Elmir's interpretation of the set design while the costume department retrofitted the band. Ayu and some of the performers prepared the band for wardrobe and make-up. Ian Cuenco made the lighting design while his assistant Ed Datuin directed the lighting for the actual show. Santi Soriano took care of the audio department. Santi, Ian and myself were the camera operators that day and all the production sub departments pitched in.

Thank you everyone for this successful shoot and now it's time to suffer in the editing phase alone. Hehehe.

P.S. Thanks to Mc Monderin, Aris Gutierez and Ivan Mariano of Alamat for being there to support your sister band's Concert DVD shoot.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

and it snapped

written March 12, 2010

If there is one thing I miss most about out-of-town business trips, it’s over sleeping in a comfortable hotel room, waking up and ordering room service and slumbering back to sleep until noon. (not unless there was a golf game scheduled)
I had a heck of a session last night. What was supposedly a simple bonding session with the Cebu employees turns ugly when later in the evening, the new manager freaks and storms out of the venue.

Background

Last December, the branch manager (my supposed counterpart as the other VP), tendered his resignation for the simple reason of not wanting to suffer the dreaded 30% salary cut. He had to be replaced and a transition program implemented to allow ease of transfer from one management style to the next.

The incoming manager was formally introduced to me by mid January and I advised her that there was not enough time to “ease in” given the two week period we had. I wasn’t confident that she’d be properly prepared by my counterpart and I am obviously right given what has transpired last night.

Yesterday…

I left Manila feeling confident that this would be a simple bonding session and a simple reassurance to everyone that everything was going to be alright. I was already briefed by one of my senior officers about the issues that I’d need to settle and discuss. The associate director has also been briefed by the Executive Director as to the purpose of my visit. By all accounts, the new manager was knowledgeable of who and what I am.

My talk with the managers inside the office was uneventful. The entire hoola-ballooo is nothing more but a simple case of miscommunication and the slight complexity of assimilating a new manager as well as the other way around of being thrust into managing something you barely knew anything about.

A compromise was met, initial misunderstandings were resolved, everyone happy…. So far. (but it was obviously too early to tell)

I caught a bad show and bad dinner in a nearby restaurant, went back in time to catch our own show and had another dinner with everyone. I delivered the usual pep talk and showed my appreciation for everyone bearing with us, introduced the new programs from the main office and proceeded to getting everyone drunk.

Everything was turning out fine. My talk revolved around communication as the key to our success and as the mingling went on, as I’ve met the new employees and as I chuckled with the old, the alcohol kicked in and so did the hidden personas.

So the adage goes, “in vino veritas”… in wine there is truth.

An employee couldn’t get my cue about quitting while you’re ahead… that tomorrow we start fresh…. Nope, she decided to mouth in detail her indignation in branch operations over the last few weeks while some others seconded, and so a cable snapped and the manager caved in.

As she was ripping the fixed tables off the deck while shouting “I’m so sorry, Sir” while half hysterically crying, I was simply thinking that “this is definitely a first” in this company’s history. Her parting words, “Your people are bad”…

Analysis

Plain and simple, the amount of time of transition was not enough. Branch managers who did not have enough time logged into Manila’s operations are bound to get some major ass-kicking because of their ignorance of the company culture… acquired, accumulated over the last nine years.

The Korean style of management where the manager is king may apply in Korea… not here. Most of our Korean managers know that now, except for a few idiots who are fortunately not with us anymore.

Nevertheless, the transition period of two weeks between managers in a branch is enough time to assure of a smooth transitional phase. Unfortunately, I believe that the period was not well utilized… because the outgoing manager was … errr… an idiot. --- enough said!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Off to Cebu

Every night is drinking night... that's to cope with my shit life... or an excuse for an alcoholic. I've gone a few days without drinking in exchange for a good night's sleep, which makes me wonder, which is better? Drinking and getting some well deserved bed time or abstinence from the drink and stay glued to history channel?

I'm off to Cebu today, my first visit without my "counterpart" there. He has resigned and is moving on to my friend's business and that would make me feel bad once again knowing how stupid his management skill is. Anyway that's an entirely different blog entry altogether.

So tonight, I just expect to get wasted with our Cebu employees for some bonding moments and hopefully to boost whatever needs boosting. I miss going to Cebu on a regular basis... hopefully I can do it again as often as I want.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Jam Nights @ the MFC Bar

Pre-Valentine Party Gig with me jamming with Black Pipe















Sunday, March 7, 2010

session road - hand in hand

this is the first cut from the album I produced for the United Nations Volunteer Programme in 2001. Session Road did an amazing arrangement and rendition of this song...



BAYANIHAN VOLUNTEER SONGS
FROM volunteers BY volunteers
PHILIPPINES

BACKGROUND

The Bayanihan volunteer songs project, although conceptualized in the early part of IYV 2001, was given low priority due to limited budget. It made way to the video and photo documentary as the medium to consolidate the Bayanihan: Building locally, Bonding Globally theme in celebrating IYV 2001 in the Philippines.

It will be a collection of existing songs of local volunteer organizations. Hence, an invitation to at least twenty partners have been sent but a low turn out was observed. Singers and composers were also thought to render their expertise in composing or arranging the existing songs. Thus, it will be collection of volunteer songs for volunteers by volunteers.

With or without budget to talk about, the IYV coordinator seek the service of a former UNV who has the resources and the talent in making the dream happen. The deal was to collect as much songs as possible for evaluation. Said songs will be arranged to be distinctively Philippine music.

In one of the National Volunteer Month (NVM) meetings in July , the PNVSCA revealed that they have indeed a collection of volunteer songs. They sponsored a song contest on volunteerism in 1995 in celebration of their 15th anniversary. At least 15 songs were submitted. These songs are about volunteers: their life, dreams, angst and their unique and significant contribution to the people and communities where they teach and train, listen and learn, inspire and motivate.

These were not far from the actual concept: “ To consolidate the events is a recording of selected volunteer songs that describe the passion, the angst, the inspiration, the idealism of volunteers. In short, the compilation will be heard as a melody and sounds of volunteerism as a way of life in the Philippines”.

The Bayanihan song project then became a reality. From the 15 songs, seven were selected and arranged.

Volunteer singers and musical groups were identified and invited to interpret selected songs mid August. Actual recording and other related activities were made in September.

A band, Session Road, arranged three songs (01-03) The former UNV, Casie Villarosa, composed, arranged and interpreted five songs (04-8). Gene Basilio arranged and sung The Heart of a Volunteer (08). Mariel de Jesus works in the Environmental Studies Center whose only issue was the time and place of the recording.

And money came from Team IYV 2001. 420 copies were made for limited distribution. 300 will be distributed at the ISV in Geneva. The rest are for Philippine distribution.

source: http://www.worldvolunteerweb.org/fileadmin/docs/old/pdf/2001/01_11_07PHL_BayanihanSongs.pdf

Goof Jamming with my daughter