Posts Tagged ‘Philippine’

Manila: ‘Gates of Hell’ according to Dan Brown

May 23, 2013 7 comments


Photo courtesy of

It’s more fun in the Philippines!” our Department of Tourism’s slogan.  Definitely a very successful campaign that even went viral with the help of millions of Filipinos worldwide.

For Dr. Sienna Brooks, the heroine in bestselling-author Dan Brown’s “Inferno,” part of a series of books on the adventures of art historian and Harvard symbology professor Robert Langdon, the country certainly offered more — but it definitely not fun.

To those who don’t have the book yet and wish to read it for themselves please stop here.

Here’s how the book depicts Manila.

Dr. Sienna Brooks, a fictional character in the novel, visited the Philippines for a humanitarian mission. Initially, she thought that the country is a “wonderland of geological beauty, with vibrant seabeds and dazzling plains.”

Upon her arrival, Brooks did “gape in horror” because “she had never seen poverty on this scale.” There were “six-hour traffic jams, suffocating pollution, horrifying sex trade.”

Involved in prostitution in Manila, the book states, were young children, “many of whom had been sold to pimps by parents who took solace in knowing that at least their children would be fed.”

“All around her, she could see humanity overrun by its primal instinct for survival…when they face desperation…human beings become animals,” it read.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino sent an open letter to Dan Brown (who according to sources has never been to the Philippines) and his publisher and the letter focused on the following:

“We write to you with much concern regarding your recently published novel “Inferno” and its mention of Manila being defined by a number of terrible descriptions of poverty, and pollution, among others, having suffocating pollution, and a horrifying sex trade and worse, being alluded as ‘gates of hell.'”

“While we are aware that yours is a work of fiction, we are greatly disappointed by your inaccurate portrayal of our beloved metropolis. We are displeased of how you have used Manila as a venue and source of a character’s breakdown and trauma, much more her disillusionment in humanity.”

“Our faith in God binds us as a nation and we believe that Manila citizens are more than capable of exemplifying good character and compassion towards each other, something that your novel has failed to acknowledge. Truly, our place is an entry to heaven,” Tolentino said.

“We hope that this letter enlightens you and may guide you the next time you cite Manila in any of your works.”

Tolentino defended Metro Manila is being a “center of Filipino spirit, faith and hope.”

Here are my thoughts on the matter:

I think government officials and netizens are simply “overreacting.”  The book is fiction so everything that the author says about Manila should just be taken as fictional and imaginary.

Government officials should focus on their job instead of riding this issue for publicity.  It does hurt when you hear the (near) truth coming from an outsider.  Why not just consider this as a wake up call?  Manilenos elected ERAP as their mayor and they expect changes to address their socio-economic problems in Manila so why not ask the local government of Manila to start working and do their job.

Dan Brown only used Manila and not the entire Philippines.  Yes, it is the country’s capital but remember that it does not depict the image of the country.  The Department of Tourism should just focus on promoting and developing more tourist attractions.

Lastly, if you don’t like what’s in the book then do not buy it.  Instead of criticizing the author (which is getting a lot of press because of this) and helping fuel the curiosity (that can translate to more sales), just keep in mind that it’s only but fiction.

What do you guys think?  Leave your comments below.

My Case Against HTC Philippines and SIS Philippines Part 3

May 10, 2013 17 comments

SIS Philippines

Poor Customer Experience, Arrogant, and Pitiful… three words to describe the Management of HTC Philippines and SIS Philippines.

Finally they showed up on the second mediation conference at the Department of Trade and Industry office today.  I can’t help but get really upset while listening to all their excuses trying to wash their hands of any responsibility for damaging my phone.

Cyra Fancisco – Operations Manager of SIS Philippines and Robert Dorano of HTC Philippines didn’t even apologize for the inconvenience this whole experience (nightmare) caused me.  Now I know why these two companies and their staff act the way they do… because their managers don’t even know what CUSTOMER SERVICE is.  It is definitely true that management directly reflect the way their people treat their customers.

Here’s the catch… they offered me 30% discount for the repair costs and they will NOT REFUND, REPLACE, or FIX the phone they damaged.  The whole thing is my fault… well they didn’t exactly say that but that’s how I feel.  So it’s my fault for wanting to get my phone fixed?  It’s my fault for taking it to HTC’s OFFICIAL / ACCREDITED SERVICE CENTER?  It’s my fault because I was informed by an SIS Philippines staff that my phone’s issue can easily be fixed?  It’s my fault because I WAS NEVER INFORMED that running their so called DIAGNOSTIC can render my phone TOTALLY UNUSABLE?

Btw to quote Robert Dorano – Manager from HTC when I informed him that I am blogging about my bad experience with HTC and I haven’t gotten a reply to any of my messages on their Fan Page “That is not the proper venue to air out your concern!”  Really??? Then why do you even have this Fan Page if you don’t want to face your customers’ complaints???  Pa-pogi lang ba tong Facebook Fan Page nyo?  Last time I checked, we live in a free country and I can blog what in my opinion is correct and what really happened based on my POOR EXPERIENCE with your company.

VERDICT:  I’m going to file an ADMINISTRATIVE CASE against HTC and SIS Philippines.  This has never been about the money but MY PRINCIPLE.  I will fight for what I think is due me and what I think is right no matter if it takes months or ever years.

Also read part 1 and part 2 here

Consul General Jose Ampeso DRUNK in POWER?

April 26, 2013 4 comments

For most of us, going abroad is the best option to escape the corruption in our country.  A viral video showing a consul general by the name of Jose Ampeso shouting at a Overseas Filipino Worker by the name of Proceso Jr. Flordeliz for not giving donation to the Philippine Red Cross.

He narrates his ordeal with the consul general on Tsikot, a popular forum of car owners and enthusiasts in the Philippines and abroad.

This happened yesterday in Sheraton Hotel in Red Deer, Alberta wherein a Passport Renewal Outreach was being done. Basically, the Phil Consulate and staff come to provinces of Canada for Filipinos who want to renew their passports, request NBI clearance, and such. This activity can be done any day though in Vancouver, British Columbia (BC).

Now, I booked an appointment and was scheduled today at 4:05 pm. The outreach is only 4 days and only allows up to 400 renewals. Having said that, many came just to try their luck even though walk-in renewals have little chance of succeeding.

I came with my wife and 3 month-old baby all the way from Edmonton, which is almost a 2-hr drive. When I entered the ballroom 3, where the passport renewalswere made, I was surprised to see a lot of people. I ask an elderly man who was sitting behind a desk, along with two ladies. I came up to him and asked. Here’s how the conversation went:

Me: Is this where you pass your requirements for passport renewal?
Elderly Man: (grinning slightly) Magdodonate ka ba?
Me: (smelt alcohol in his breath) Uh, I don’t think I’d do it today. Maybe next time.

Then he disregarded me and went to talk to somebody else. One of the lady sitting beside him asked me if I had an appointment booked for today. I said yes at 4:05pm. She then immediately stopped the papers she was processing and preceded to get my requirement papers. Turns out those applications were already for the waiting list, the ones who just walked-in.

After that, I went out and got a pen for my wife just to be ready for other forms to fill-up, but there weren’t any. I was asked to wait for my surname to be called as usual policy of government transactions. The elderly man called my last name finally, and as I stood up, this conversation took place:

Me: I am!
EM: Now are you going to donate? (Serious look on face) Kahit magkano Ok lang.
Me: (getting my coin purse and jokingly) Okay lang ba one dollar? Eto lang nakayanan ko eh (with a smile on my face)
Me: Wait, I am only joking. You are right?
Me: (still calm) Is this some kind of a joke? What’s happening?

All people became silent as others murmur whispers of disapproval and disgust. Many suggest calling the police, some say that what transpired was not right, that I should file a complaint.

A lady and a man came up to me and asked for pardon. The lady told me to just let it pass, cause he’s just tired from working from morning. That everyone should calm down. She asked me to proceed to another room where the picture-taking is being held and to just wait in there. She personally got my paper and pushed it until the last step.

Here I am just wanting my passport renewed and I have to deal with this arrogant, rude and drunk old man! Being berated as cheap by not giving “donation” which God knows what will become of it. Being threatened of not having my passport renewed, which I most certainly know that I didn’t violate any laws to be denied of such. And being shouted at like a little kid in front of a crowd just smacks my morale to the gound.

Now, let me introduce to you who the elderly man is. He is no other than Philippine Consul General Jose Ampeso. Yes, the consul himself. Acting like that in front of Filipinos who work in another country just to have food in their families’ plates. Filipinos, who occupy a big percentile of the Philippines’ GNI yearly by their remittances. Filipinos, like me, who dedicated effort and money on this day just to have passports renewed, but this is what we get.

Calling the Philippine Ambassador to Canada, to act on this matter. Or if we may, we would also appreciate DFA Sec Albert del Rosario’s help in ensuring that Filipinos here in Canada are getting the services of the embassy in a straightforward, proper and decent manner.

Besides, we are paying for the services. Money that we earned using blood and sweat.

In recent interviews with Jose Ampeso says that he is the victim here.  Watch the video below.

Ampeso, who is due to retire in 2014, first figured in a controversy in 1996 when Evangeline “Luli” Arroyo, daughter of then-President President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, filed a sexual harassment case against him.

Jose Ampeso Viral Video

The younger Arroyo, who was a volunteer during the Philippine hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, said Ampeso, whom she claimed was under the influence of alcohol, made “inappropriate” remarks towards her.

Arroyo filed an administrative case against Ampeso with the DFA but it was dismissed in 1998 after the diplomat wrote a letter of apology in the presence of her parents.



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