Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Where’s the Number – Part 2

Being a Globe subscriber I was able to procure a free copy of their telephone directory and as hinted at in the first Where’s the Number it lists only Globe subscribers. To the best of my knowledge there are a least 5 companies supplying telephone services to Metro Manila and with PLDT having 4 directories that means for a comprehensive listing of the telephone network 9 directories are required.

The service you are connected with will give you a directory free of charge and according to a bloke at the Philippines Directories Corp, the mob who print the directories, the others can be purchased at 1000 pesos a pop. Can’t see too many people shelling out the odd 8000 required.

Then there is the wonderful confusion of actually looking up a number. If the number is unknown it is a good bet that their service provider will be even less known. Perhaps one should ring them to find out which book they are in, mmmm not sure that is going to work.

Globe’s Yellow Pages are a joke, according to them there are only 2 photographers and 1 doctor in Metro Manila whilst according to PLDT there are 30 photographers and 72 doctors just in Makati. But being a Globe customer I would never know about the PLDT businesses and consequently never contact them by phone. Hello, who is shooting themselves in the foot?

One white pages directory for Metro Manila and one or two (depending on physical size) Yellow Pages is the way to go. Will cost the telephone companies less, will increase their revenue and make life a lot easier for the rest of us. As the old saying goes, less is more.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Why There are so Many

Yesterday was Lola Rosa's funeral. She had been teetering on the edge for a couple of months and finally succumbed a week ago. After lying in state whilst friends and relatives paid their respects for the week she was off to her final resting place.

The hearse followed by a stream of mourners on foot headed to the Parish Church of St Peter and Paul just off P Borgos St. There a mass was held for her departed soul and a communion for the faithful although your humble scribe was a tad disappointed that there was no lamb.

After the ceremony the hearse followed by its ambulatory throng headed off on its 2 mile trek to the South Manila Cemetery. Once there Lola Rosa’s coffin was placed in her waiting tomb which was sealed and the attending mourners then decamped back to the Zenaida Street compound for sustenance and discussion of the days events.

It is not an uncommon event in the Philippines to attend a funeral. In the short time I have been here, a little over a year, this was my third, which brings to a total of eight I have attended in my 50 odd years of shuffling about on this mortal coil. They being the mother of one of the best beloved’s friends and a distant cousin on the best beloved mother’s side of the family.

It is a well documented fact and one that I can attest to through personal experience that after a funeral significant others are drawn closer to each other with an intimacy that is more intense than at other times. With this in mind and taking into account the size of Filipino families and the frequency of funerals it is little wonder that the Philippine’s population is growing at an exorbitant rate. Especially in the light of the dominate arbiter of social values only answer to birth control being abstinence.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Where's the Number?

Finally,I got my grubby little paws on the latest telephone books, hoo-bloody-ray. For me gentle reader the telephone book, especially the Yellow Pages, is my life line in my pursuit of an income. When a service or a product is required I let my fingers do the walking.

I also use the internet for searches for suppliers but it is a technology that Philippine businesses have yet to embrace seriously. Listings are few and far between and those who have websites, including government departments, are littered with out of date information, dead pages and phone numbers with the dreaded “this number is not in use” recorded message – aaargh.

Thus getting the books was long awaited. The four volumes distributed on behalf of PLDT are a tad on the slim side with the residential listings coming up with just a few thousand over a quarter of a million listings in a city of ten million people.

Interesting? Is it like the internet that the telephone is a technology yet to be embraced by Filipinios? I think not, in our compound there are 4 land lines and up to 12 cell phones. I suspect that in the PLDT phone book only PLDT listings are included. Which would explain why, as a Globe customer, we are conspicuous by our absence.

Now in my experience PLDT is not the brightest light in the harbour and only listing their subscribers in their telephone book confirms this suspicion. They make their money from people making phone calls and it stands to reason that the more choices available the more calls can be made and the more revenue generated. By only listing their own customers they are shooting themselves in the foot.

If this methodology is also applied to the business listings the situation becomes even more ludicrous. If as a PLDT subscriber I am looking for a supplier who happens to use a different telco their existence will never be known to me and my potential conversations and faxes to them will be more lost business for PLDT. Not to mention the hindrance that this puts on business growth in a macro sense as business is all about communication.

This would seem to be the case, as the PLDT business directory is a slimmer one than the residential which is the direct opposite of my experience of other telephone directories where the yellow pages are double the thickness of the white. It will be interesting to see if the newly released Globe phone book applies the same limitations?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The New Yorker – a reprise

This gentle reader is a tale of woe, a cautionary tale along the lines of one swallow not making a summer. As reported in an earlier post the best beloved, number one son and your humble scribe are great fans of Pizza Huts New Yorker pizza.

Thus on a balmy Saturday evening with more time on our hands than is good for one we decided that pizza was the meal of the day and for a change of scenery we would visit the scene of the crime, so to speak. We would eat in at Pizza Hut. We arrived, after a casual stroll, at the establishment with a modest bottle of Spanish red tucked under one wing and settled ourselves at a laminex table in the eat in section.

Memories from the past flooded back from my time in Melbourne and Johnny’s Green Room with its robust home cooked Italian fare and bare kitchen tables. Why it was called Johnny’s and Green was a mystery, it wasn’t green and I never met a member of staff who answered to Johnny. But the food was plentiful and the booze was cheap even if served under the table.

Our menus arrived and the first disappointment of the outing arose. There was no New Yorker on the eat in menu. Ah well the deep pan supreme looked pretty good and, yes they could add some olives. Disappointment number 2 followed in quick succession, they didn’t have any wine glasses. Ah well on picnics I have drunk wine from jam jars so water glasses would suffice.

It is a little known fact that you, dear reader, will now discover through the exploits of The Expat that 2 out 3 Pizza Hut waiters don’t know what a cork screw is. The knowledgeable third waiter was sorry to inform us that the restaurant didn’t have a cork screw. A pizzeria without a cork screw. Memories clattered to the floor and were crushed under the foot of the departing waiter. This was turning into a Pizza Hut story of the Australian kind.

When our pizza arrived the analogy was complete. The deep pan Supreme tasted like the soggy cardboard concoctions that the chain had been serving to Bruce and Sheila for years and had me avoiding them like the plague when living in Oz.

Ah well the New Yorker is still a damn fine pizza, will just have to get them to deliver. And I know there will be a cork screw, a couple actually. Perhaps I should lend them one, then perhaps not.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The First Tuesday in November

The first Tuesday in November is almost upon us and being an even numbered year means there are two horse races to watch.

The annual event is the horse race that stops a nation. At 3pm next Tuesday (1 pm for those in the Philippines) for 3 minutes Australia will come to a stand still as all eyes are turned to the Melbourne Cup. Now in its 145th consecutive year “The Cup” is one of the world’s riches horse races with a prize pool in excess of $5 million AU dollars. The city of Melbourne has a public holiday and at the cups home, Flemington Race Course, the champagne, huge hats and fashions in the field create a carnival to keep gossip columns alive for weeks.

On the other side of the Pacific the red and the blue will do battle in the 2 horse race known as the Mid Term elections. For some time now the candidates for either side have been calling each other names and belittling their opponent’s policies. If the red team wins it will be business as usual, should the blue team win it will come as no great surprise if the US President was on the blower to Gloria seeking impeachment defense strategies.

When the dust settles on the gallopers in these 2 events the honest winner will have four legs the rest will be politicians.