I tolerated PLDT's past customer service transgressions, like i) our application gotten misplaced on a supervisor's table that caused one week delay in installation, ii) misleading items (and explanations) in the application form that led to an inconvenient suspension of NDD calls, and iii) plain lack of concern for customer's needs by PLDT representatives, and it's because we've been getting reliable broadband internet service in the two months of subscription.  Read about our search for broadband service by clicking here.

But not today...I cannot just let the day pass without telling everyone about another encounter with PLDT's poor customer service.

It happened in a business center that houses both SMART and PLDT (these two being sister companies).  I found many customers already standing and a backlog obviously piling when I entered the center mid-afternoon today (not the first time I personally witnessed this, by the way).  The security guard, embarrassed with the malfunction of the machine that dispenses priority numbers, politely continued to accommodate incoming customers and keep it organized at the door.  It eventually became clear to me that it was not really a malfunction but the device probably got overwhelmed with the flow of customers as it would respond to the guard's prompting and dispense new numbers when few older numbers are called to be served.

Of course, when the service is slow and customers keep flowing in, the system gets flooded.  The contrast is so stark between these sister companies.  SMART customers get served faster as priority numbers are called with more regularity.  In fact, there was no backlog in SMART's cashier.  In contrast, PLDT's cashier (and there were two counters open, compared to just one for SMART) has backlogs that reached more than 30 customers when I arrived.

To illustrate, I got served by SMART's cashier within 5 minutes of arriving and within 15 minutes after I was transferred to SMART's Customer Service by the cashier.  So I was already finished with two transactions with SMART when my PLDT priority number was called a little under one hour of arrival!

If that was not bad enough, when I reached PLDT's cashier, I was informed that I cannot use my credit card that time as the device has been out of order since this morning.  This after waiting for almost an hour and to think that I specifically asked the guard that I am going to pay using a credit card (which was accepted with no problem at all by SMART).  As the wait was really long, I even got the opportunity to double check with a PLDT representative (who was not really pleased to answer me) to make sure that I can use my credit card and that my wait would not amount to nothing.

So all I could say in exasperation was "why didn't the guard inform me that payments using credit cards cannot be facilitated today." All the cashier could say is "try na lang ninyo uli bukas, sir".

I replied in a soft voice but not hiding my disappointment: "I waited for a long time...I waited for a long time".  She has this to add "di na kayo kailangang pumila bukas."

It's lack of concern plain and simple...and the attitude of most PLDT representative is not of service but of an official dispensing favors that the customers would be lucky to get and should be thankful for.

I've been avoiding any relationship with PLDT or with other monopolistic companies of the past ever since I had the power to purchase or subscribe. But as elaborated in my story about comparing broadband service installation, I had no choice but to settle for PLDT and now I have to live with poor customer service.

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"To an inspiring man...you will be missed"
Such was the dedication Mama Sez and I decided to put on the flowers we brought to the wake of a former boss, colleague, adviser and ninong.  He died August 5 after a seemingly successful operation to remove a tumor and part of his colon that's been causing him pain for a few months, perhaps even years.

I am second guessing that he might have been suffering for many years already because he's a man who always seem to have a bright outlook in life, looks at the positive side even at the worst of circumstances, and sees the best in people regardless of how they treated him.  You will neither hear complaints nor unkind remarks from him about someone or something.  So he might have suffered the pain privately and didn't let others worry about him.

He's always accommodating and inclusive, and was therefore the strong glue that held together an academic unit he used to lead that was already breaking down due to politics and in-fighting among headstrong and mostly negative people.  Looking back, he was the person who absorbed the negativity and still managed to be positive.

Surely his success in his career, business and many other things he did were products of his optimism and generosity, coupled with his innate ingenuity, discipline and talent.  He touched the lives of many people.  He's renowned in our industry as "the man with the golden touch" in reference to his ability to transform a project, venture or idea, particularly in business, into a success.  Such informal title is, of course, not without a tint of jealousy in some of our colleagues for he is successful not only in our field but also in his family life and business.

We're very fortunate to have had a couple of visits to their home last summer after many years of not hearing from us.  We felt the warmth...the connection was never broken by distance or time.  Like his usual self, he offered help and advice and showed genuine concern to our family.  He remembered what it was we've discussed and wished for many years back.  He never runs out of ideas and when you're around him, possibilities are endless.  He's also instrumental in our recent decision to make the move back to Los Banos.

It was only in the most recent year or two that I found the wisdom in optimism and positive attitude while doing my own happiness project.  It used to be that the opposite traits, of perfectionism and being overly critical or picky, are the ones I strove for, especially because I have the natural tendency and talent to be such.

Today, his body was laid to rest and I'd like to dedicate this blog post to him in recognition of his positive influence and impact to our family-
You are indeed an inspiration Dr. Eliseo P. Cadapan to many people.  Your influence was beyond being a teacher...you were a positive force to your students, colleagues, friends, relatives and community.  And unlike King Midas, those whose lives you touched have become better because you lived with an abundance mentality.   You became rich because you were not afraid to share your blessings; and you were free because you treated everyone kindly and loyally despite their envy, misgivings and negativity.
As for me, I am thankful that our lives crossed and I got a chance to travel alongside with you as colleagues and friends.  Now I am a believer of your attitude and approach to life, that is with optimism and an abundance mentality.  I want to be a positive force that could inspire others as well...to live, to love, to learn and to leave a legacy of giving self to others.

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About Us (circa 2009)

Our journey led us to this place. A little more than 10 years ago we began our journey as husband and wife. Three years later, we found ourselves with two bundles of joy- a daughter and then a son. They're the children we've dreamed of having.

About five years since the birth of our son, an unexpected gift came- a younger brother to our school-age kids. And soon enough, a baby girl arrived to round the family membership.

Brave was a term used by a friend to describe us. Challenging... and loving it -- yeah, this journey is not for the faint of heart.