Saturday, July 4, 2009

Suroy Suroy Sugbo 2009 - The not so good part

Suroy Suroy Sugbo 2009: Explore the Midwest

You’d think that with all my superlatives in the previous stories, the “Suroy Suroy Sugbo 2009: Explore the Midwest” was not without hitches, right? Well, let me assure you there was none that I encountered during the event itself... EXCEPT weeks after where the Provincial IT (yep, information technology) Office almost ruined my good memories of the Suroy Suroy: Midwest. Here I go:

During the tour, our guide told us that after a week or so, we could drop by the Cebu Provincial IT Office if we wanted to get copies of the pictures taken by the province’s “official photographers”. We just need to bring a blank CD. This info was repeated many times.

True enough, during the tour we saw “official photographers” who kept clicking at various stages of the tour often times even blocking our vantage or ruining our shots since they were there up front without regard if they just stepped in front of anyone attempting to shoot. We left them to it since they were “official” and wore IDs. Many of us imagined they must have taken great pictures with those fine cameras and unobstructed views. As we all know, great pictures will best preserve the memory of an event than so-so or amateurish pictures like mine hehe. Thus, I promised myself (and some tour mates) that I would go to the capitol and get copies of those pics from the “official photographers”.

02 July 2009, about three weeks after the Suroy, immediately after arriving from Manila, I called up the IT Office (Telephone No: 254-7811 as displayed at Cebu province’s website. I asked how many blank CDs should I bring as I was about to visit them. The friendly voice who answered me said “no need to bring any CD sir, we will burn it on a DVD for you because there are so many pictures”. I even asked how much it would cost me and the proud reply was “nothing, it is free care of the provincial government”. I almost shouted in glee. After hanging up, I immediately headed for the capitol. Di halatang excited ‘noh?!

Oops, I forgot to ask where the IT Office was/is in the big big capitol building, so I went to the Provincial Tourism Office (second floor annex), whose staff, as usual, are very cheerful and friendly. They did not only tell me where to get those pics but a young lady even accompanied me to the door of the IT Office (ground floor).

At the IT Office
I will keep referring to this diagram as I tell my story below:At the entrance, I told the young woman from tourism that I was fine and can manage. About 2:20PM, on entry to this IT Office, there was an almost old man (not so young), a younger man and a lady in deep conversation at the table (area A in the diagram). I could see that they were discussing something on a tabloid as they kept referring to it. Finally, the man noticed me and asked how they could help me. The younger guy went to area C (see diagram) and the woman went to area D – obviously employees. Unfortunately, I just arrived from Manila that morning and my brain was still thinking in Tagalog, so I said “am here to get copies nung mga pictures sa ‘explore the midwest’. The immediate reply of the man was “anong company kayo?” I said “wala, I was just a participant”. Very immediately again he retorted “a hindi kami nagbibigay nyan, kelangan meron formal request ang company nyo”. That ‘government employee tone’ as if he owned the world and as if I owed him anything irritated me. And tang inaaaaa, my top was about to blow off again, but I controlled my trembling self. Wala na ngang alam ang gurang na yan, mayabang pa!

So I tried to politely explain that it was announced during the tour that any participant could get copies of the pictures and I just called up a few minutes ago and I was able to talk to a guy who said I can come and it will be burned on a DVD. His still mayabang tone interrogated me asking who I talked to. The tone really irritates me – it’s that kind of high-handed tone nung mga hindi nakapag-aral na nakapasok lang sa gobyerno akala mo mayor na! Still I controlled myself. However, I forgot the name of who I earlier talked to on the phone, so I just got my phone and showed him the number (254-7811) and asked him “dito ba ang number na yan?”. Then he said, “ahhh si XXXXX (whoever that was, I already forgot).

I was surprised this aging man had an immediate change in tone and said “teka sir ha, samahan kita sa office nya. I noted that this was the first time he called me “sir”. I followed him to area B (see diagram) and the man there was busy on the phone. We waited. My inquisitive (a.k.a. tsismoso) brain tried to capture what it was the man was discussing on the phone. Well, it was legit. He was talking about supplies/equipment that needed to be delivered asap. I wondered why he was too busy while everyone in areas A, C and D were either just telling stories and jokes or reading newspapers. If his table was in a room and alone, then I thought he probably was boss. So, why was he the single soul that was busy working. Are his employees too dumb to delegate to? Probably, hehe! In fact here follows the main issue:

Phone conversation ended and the guy (probably between his thirties to forties, I think he is the boss of this IT office) faced to entertain us saying “sorry ha?”. Then the old man said “nitawag kuno ni sya nimo para sa pictures…”, he was not even done talking, the boss immediately stood up saying “ah yes yes”, he came forward to shake my hand and accompanied me outside (going to area C) calling out for a girl stationed at either the red or green dot in the diagram. Old man returned to his table in area A.

Heard the boss instructing the girl “i-burn lang ang mga pics sa midwest, naa pa ta blank DVDs diha ‘no?” Heard the girl asking the boss, “unsang pictures” and his reply was “tanan”. Boss done with the instructions politely told me he has to return to do some calls and assured me the girl would have it done in no time. He was wrong hehe! I must point out here btw, that this “boss” (if ever he is) does not belong in this office full with a bunch of idiots. The decorum and manner of speaking of that “boss” (both on the phone and face-to-face) does not even bear a hint of that very usual “government employee tone na puno ng kayabangan”. I think he is the only learned person in that whole damn place! Anyway…

I waited standing near table A and the entrance to area C. Old man now very courteous, offered me a seat and gave me a copy of the province’s newsletter piled up in one corner ready for distribution (yellow dot). As I waited, I sensed a bigger issue as the girl DELEGATED the burning process to the younger guy I saw earlier talking to the old man. If I may judge a book by its cover, the look and demeanor of that younger man looks to me like he is a driver or janitor than someone who knows how to copy-paste hehe! But I could be wrong! For some minutes, this younger man kept darting between area C (blue or purple dots in diagram) and area D. I just knew, nothing was going right.

I was almost done reading the newsletter and I heard this young man telling the girl he can’t open the computer over at room D. I heard the girl instruct him to just get it from the server or something like it. Minutes more, young man comes back to girl asking which of the pictures should be copied. Answer was “ang folder lang ni XXXX (a male name I can’t remember), ayaw ang ako-a”. I was done reading the newsletter, about minutes more later, young man emerges from area D again saying he can’t open. Girl said something that I was not able to hear clearly and young man went back to area C (blue or purple dots).

That was it. I have had enough! I stood up, approached the girl and told her “di bale na, you are making this very hard for me”, then I left. Though said in a hushed voice, I knew my expression conveyed to this girl that I wanted to crumple her face that very instant. Unless she really that dumb! I could imagine there was fire in my eyes!

Trivia: on my way out, a woman (obviously employee) entered going to area D and asked the old man “nay nangita nako, kay nag-lunch ko sa gawas?” Gosh, it was nearly sundown, she should have gone straight home!

Final comments
It is not as if I did not have pictures of the Suroy Suroy Sugbo Explore the Midwest, okay?! I was not dying to get hold of them, really. In fact, there are exactly 971 objects (combination of photos and videos) in my suroy suroy file folder – all of which came from my lowly digital camera. Some of them are already posted in my blogs. The big issue is, there was a promise that got us excited to see professionally shot pictures of the tour. That promise was not being fulfilled or taking eons because reluctantly fulfilled by idiots. And that is what irritated me.

I know this article will eventually filter into someone at that IT Office or their friends so here are some things that I want to say to them:

To the boss. I am just guessing that you are the boss but I can assure you, I am impressed with your attitude. I could feel that the governor’s objective in holding the suroy suroy is deeply rooted in your heart and in your brain. There is just probably a need to check your people who do not seem to know why they are being asked to accompany and shoot the event/s.

To the old man. When you talk, don’t think that visitors to your offices are all beggars. I am sure the salary of my driver is double than what you earn. Isulod sa imong hunahuna ‘nong, wala mi utang ninyo, kamo’y kinahanglan mag-serbisyo namo. Tarunga imong batasan ug imong sinultian kay wala ka sa pier ug dili ka foreman sa mga kargador.

To the younger man. What do you know?

To the girl. You are the most special person I will remember and here are what I think you should put in your head: Who did your boss give the instructions to? Di ba sa imoha? Why did you delegate it to your colleague who is a better idiot than you? If you were busy with something (though I saw you were not doing anything when I arrived), you should have told your boss. The suroy was from 12 to 13 June and I arrived at your offices afternoon of July 2, you still don’t know which pictures to give and in fact you don’t have them ready yet? Busy ka? My foot! What did you do at the suroy in fact? Just a junket? Or were you a paying guest like me? So whose pictures were those? Your personal property because they came from your own personal camera? If those are copyrighted and you want to sell them, just tell your boss so he can tell Gwen to sell it to us. In curiosity, maybe some of us might actually buy them. And don’t keep your pictures in that office if they are your personal files since they're wasting the space of a computer owned by the government that bought it with tax money. Lastly, in the next suroy, be careful where you stand because as a paying guest, if “official photographers” like you block my way again, I will shove you hard to the ground or I might just throw my aging point-and-shoot at your bumbunan. Sayang ang akong gibayad if all I can take are pictures of your heads, you idiot!

Okay now, a message to my dear readers/subscribers (and probably the suroy organizers):
It will be very hard to for a guest to appreciate and call the activity memorable if the last 'touch-point' like the IT Office is a stark contrast to how the tour itself was executed. What will mostly linger is the last activity – and in my case not the lechon in Tabuelan but the godforsaken IT Office. It was good that I already blogged every encounter since the start of the tour. Otherwise, if anyone asked me about Suroy Suroy Sugbo, my reply would probably be "it is ran by idiots" - and that won't be fair since the suroy itself was grand. Now, looking at my recollections (now stories in this blog), there were just too many fantastic encounters such that the IT Office incident becomes a very minute figment (though a shame nonetheless).

At least, I can still aptly say YES YES YES, the Suroy Suroy Sugbo is one of a kind and fantastic activity! Just drop the idea of the IT Office and their so called "official photographers". Bring your cameras and trust your eyes. Period!

When is the next suroy? This early I’m already waiting for it!

For a chronology of the stories in this trip, click the following numbers:
01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12


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