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Please Take-A-Number

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The guy at the end of my street opened an internet café, his first month was very slow, but then he had no internet connection. Somewhat like building a swimming pool, but having no water.

Optic fiber cable

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But he knew something that I knew; two years ago Fiber Optic Cable was laid on the Nation Highway between Olongapo City and Dinalupihan Bataan. We assumed it was there just to feed insects living underground. He then went on a Quest to try and find the owners of this hidden treasure. Seven months he searched and then a friend at City Hall gave him the information gleaned from the work permits registered there.

Sometimes word of mouth advertising is not the best way to go.

But now he has internet and is doing quite well, 20 computers and a line of people waiting to get to one most of the day. The employment rates are not up yet here on the mountain in Barangay Roosevelt.

So I sat down and logged into my E-Mail, and was shocked to find that you are not supposed to wait a minute or two for an E-Mail to open. Oh, my isn’t 2017 a wonder to us all. But 19 other people were online with me and damn, it was fast.

My Light Bulb Moment

My Light Bulb Moment

A Light Bulb moment occurred with me; why pray tell? Can’t Paul avail of this wondrous technology? Off to Dinalupihan to sign up. A sign in the window referred me to the Olongapo office. Drove back to the new Internet Café and asked “WTF” Oh Kuya Paul, I forgot I got the name in Dinalupihan at City Hall, but you apply in Olongapo City. That was as clear as mud, but it did cover the ground.

I pull up to the Fiber Optic Office in Olongapo, Mayang was driving, the sign blocking the parking space read “Parking reserved for Fiber Optics only.” I exited the car and threw the sign off to the side and we parked.

Inside we found a sparsely furnished building with a man with a smartphone stuck in his ear acting quite important. But I spied a counter with three human beings sitting behind it and all were on a cell phone. But there was a sign that said “Please Take-A-Number, but no dispenser to hold any numbers for you to take.

You would be wrong if you assumed that would deter me from my goal of receiving service. A pad of paper was behind the counter and a can full of pens and other writing implements, I picked up a sharpie and wrote a big NUMBER ONE on the paper and handed it to the cute girl on the phone. Her hand was moving slowly to her head for a Pinoy Power Scratch when I intervened and showed her the sign that said; “Please Take-A-Number” The machine was missing so I used my own number. Besides I didn’t want her to muss her hair.

Again you would be mistaken if you thought that what I did was odd, she accepted it like it happened all the time and gave me her undivided attention albeit she did keep glancing towards her smartphone.

I explained that I drove a long distance at great expense in fuel and wear and tear on my auto, to avail of her companies Rocket (Not to be confused with little Rocketman from North Korea) Fast Fiber Optic Internet service and the cost be damned!!!

Don Quixote should live here

Don Quixote should live here

Sir if you reside in Bataan, you must avail of the Dinalupihan office. Miss they put a sign in the window and all ran away. Now I heard the three most dreaded words in the Philippines; “Sir, Please Wait!” Chills travel up my spine whenever I hear that.

Do you remember Mr. Important man with the Smartphone planted within his ear? Well, he is the “Regional Manager” So once more, I go over my request, to once more be told; Sir, you must avail of the Dinalupihan office. Son, that ship has sailed. Your office there is closed, and if you call your employees’ phone it will ring at his house. You should stand in front of his office and call them. Surprise, surprise!

The reason PLDT is not doing well is their poor customer service. In 1996 I requested a landline on my street in Olongapo City and was informed that I would have to pay for the wire and the installation so monthly I could sit in their office for a few hours for the privilege of paying my phone bill. I bought my wife and daughters new Nokia cell phones and that was the last time I dealt with PLDT.

Fiber Optics has the same plan, I give them between 35 and 40 thousand peso and they will run a line to my house. Will I be reimbursed by ever new scriber who you add to my line? Oh no sir, Then I’ll wait until the Nipa Hut up the street pays for the line and then I’ll sign up. Chuck is a guy, I sailed with, and my name is Paul.

When I got home, I opened an Ice Cold beverage, and tears came to my eyes I was laughing so hard. What a dull life I would have if forced to ever move back to the Divided States of America, but then I remember that the Senate set up the cell phone rules for the USA, remember when one state could not connect to any other state. And each state had two cell phone companies that couldn’t talk to each other? And you folks expect health care to work? You couldn’t dynamite me off of these Islands!

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Paul Thompson

Paul Thompson; has resided in the Philippines since 1993, living close to Subic Bay. I’m married to a wonderful girl named Maria (AKA Mayang).Who is from Gordon Heights in Olongapo where she grew up with her Mom & Dad and seven siblings Our two daughters are both grown up and have left the nest, the eldest married to a wonderful guy named Chris, and they have blessed us with our granddaughter Heather Colleen Our youngest daughter and her husband Cecil have blessed us with a grandson named. Jayden Logan. I’m a retired U.S. NAVY Senior Chief after 22 years of active duty. After retirement from the Navy I lived for 7 years in Puerto Rico as a Night Club owner. Then Hurricane Hugo told me to find a new line of work, I was hired by Military Sealift Command and went back to sea in Asia as a Merchant Seaman for 10 years. After 30 plus years at sea I buried my anchor on a mountain in the Philippines and am now residing in Dinalupihan (or DinBat for short), Roosevelt, Bataan where we built our home. And last but not least, anything I writes will be pure "Tongue in Cheek "If anybody is offended, I'll lose no sleep over it, but here's a quick Mea Culpa in advance!

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Tripack
Tripack
3 years ago

Ha ha ha Paul 🙂 Despite all the things that don’t go so well in Philippines, I just do love this country. It may be a “third world country” but I am sorry to say, that despite all the administrative hickups, it runs way more smoothly that in a number of our so called sophisticated western countries ! I won’t probably ever have fiber, as our lot, despite being quite near from SCTEX, is at least 2 kilometers away, and I would probably be the only one applying… (until I have paid for and that all could benefit of my… Read more »

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Tripack

Patrick;
In the last ten years they have paved my street, and we now have city water, Improvements might not come quickly, but one day they will come. PLDT lost the advantage years ago by poor management, and now are struggling to remain profitable Not one of my neighbors cares a lick about a land line, in the RP, Cell Phones are now king.

Tripack
Tripack
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Only issue being that cellphones companies depend anyway on PLDT to give you internet, as PLDT has a de facto monopoly. All outgoing submarine cables are owned in partnership with PLDT… So even when you suscribe with Globe (as an example, there are other companies too) you still feed PLDT, indirectly ! And PLDT questionable commercial politics (like not having a backbone company, which would speed up the internet quite a bit…), immediately reflects on the other providers. The only way to avoid totally PLDT, as of today, is satellite internet, which I begin to consider… Costs have gone down,… Read more »

Bob - Expat Answer Man
Reply to  Tripack

Hi Tripack – what you say about PLDT having a monopoly used to be true, but as of earlier this year it is no longer correct.

Globe now has a submarine cable that goes from Los Angeles California directly into Davao City, where I live, and on to Singapore and Indonesia.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
3 years ago

Bob;
Only Davao??? So on Luzon PLDT is still a
monopoly,? (LOL) I want nothing to do with PLDT!

Bob - Expat Answer Man
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Hi Paul – The trans-Pacific cable enters the country through Davao City, but the bandwidth is available for Globe subscribers throughout the archipelago.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
3 years ago

Bob:
Except where I live, because, well I’m Paul!

Tripack
Tripack
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson
Tripack
Tripack
3 years ago

Woaow… Good news ! Now PLDT will have to improve its service, if they don’t want to see all their customers migrate to Globe !

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Tripack

Patrick;
If they are in bed with globe, then Globe needs to succeed for PLDT to do well.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Tripack

Patrick;
Satellite will always be affected by weather, my TV (Cignal) goes dark during the rain. Good time to read!

Tommy Bech Nielsen
Tommy Bech Nielsen
3 years ago
Reply to  Tripack

I have from another than PLDT And it not Satelite network ,, But fiber net ,, But it also not in davao , ,:-) So there is other companys to choose from here than PLDT,, and it was like come back to the future have it hahaha ,, after have mobile globe here for near a year ,, now i have unlimit 25/25 mbit for 1500 a month ,,

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
3 years ago

Tommy;
Since I’m not technical in any sense of the word, I’ll smile, nod my head and say Mmmmmmm. (LOL)

Jonni Jon
Jonni Jon
3 years ago

Had the same with PLDT. Three coils of wire to reach my house and the dammed service never worked properly. So now we have Globe wifi as we are close to a transmitter and it has been ok. As for paying the bills, I pay them all late now, its worth the small penalty to avoid the line.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonni Jon

Jonni Jon
I went with cell phones to help squash PLDT I never checked to see if that street ever received a landline. I wasn’t paying for it.

Cecilia Abdon
3 years ago

Only in the Philippines ?? my native land.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Cecilia Abdon

Cecllis;
A land that makes me smile, and wonder what will be next. But I’ll not be going towards the airport any time soon, I like the RP just fine!

Steve
Steve
3 years ago

A few years ago, back in Chicago, I really enjoyed calling AT&T and telling them I no longer require their landline service. I pretty much waited a lifetime to be able to make that call. While It’s true that here in Phils the internet speed stinks and the number of cable hd tv channels also stinks, I’m also paying a fraction of what I paid back in USA for these services, so all things considered, it’s not so bad

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Steve

Steve;
That proves there is always that ray of sunshine in all situations, one must just search for it. In this case a much better price!

Denzil Browne
3 years ago

Keep it coming, Paul! It’s more fun in the Philippines! !

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Denzil Browne

Danzil;
Years ago a young lad left Boston and joined the Navy. The Navy took him to Subic Bay. There was no Disney World, and I had not been to Disneyland. But nor did I need too, as Subic Bay was an E-Ticket ride and I was tall enough to ride all the rides.

Cordillera Cowboy
Cordillera Cowboy
3 years ago

Always love to hear your stories of thinking on your feet and keeping your cool.
I’m waiting for the story when the Stateside brother-in-law pays to have the cable laid up to the nipa hut, and you can tap into his line for free!
Take care,
Pete

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
3 years ago

Pete;
My Landlord in Olongapo 20 years ago, tapped my power and I found the jumper wire and had a Ship’s Election (Home also on vacation) cut it. The landlord sent his election to fix my wire (Question: How would he know?) I smiled and told him it was fine and I paid to have it repaired to help save him some money. He received the message.

Kompani
Kompani
3 years ago

As a former service engineer I am constantly amazed at how low the customer service bar can be lowered here in the Philippines. We now have two PLDT LTE connections and one Globe LTE connection as we have neither fibre nor telephone wires to our village. Our connection speeds rarely surpass 3mbps yet we pay top price. When things go wrong, like PLDT charging for data we haven’t received, it takes so many telephone calls and threats of legal action to get the money returned. Ignorance and incompetence mixed with a total lack of empathy result in such incredibly low… Read more »

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Kompani

Kompani; This is my observation of customer service here in the Philippines after 25 years of wandering these Islands. The young employees for the most part want to help you and solve your problem, but upper management will withhold information that they need to fulfill your requests. As that would remove power from management, so they poorly train and pay them because if they don’t that young person could someday tale their job. I saw this both in the Navy and sailing as a Merchant Seaman. I understand what is being done, I just never agreed with that ill logic.… Read more »

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