Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Banana: Lessons and Memories

truckload of bananas in crates
First I was somehow impatiently irritated that my driver could not overtake that truck. We were passing by this narrow twisting roads nearing Calbiga. I calmed myself with "we'd be able to do so in no time, when the road gets wider a few more bends ahead".

Then, I was moving restlessly on my seat trying to get a good view of the contents of that truck with my phone ready to shoot. Driver told me casually "bananas sir". And so I said "oh okay". But why is that door open? Isn't that dangerous? He told me, "so that the fruits won't get ripe untimely".

I asked why do they not use an open truck instead. Driver intimated there could be a number of reasons - mostly "economic". He says, if the suppliers are serious, they should use refrigerated vans. But those are expensive. Maybe too, this was the only truck available to them, and that they must already deliver, lest the fruits get ripe and rot.

I wondered why were those in crates, when many I see who deliver bananas just load them bare on trucks or even jeeps. He told me those are probably export overruns. Ha? Bananas have overruns too? And that many?! Driver further told me, there can even be as many as 30 truckloads of overruns in just a day. Wow!

How do those banana overruns happen anyway. I was told there are many reasons like 1) those crates may have already been at the airport ready for export but found to be of unacceptable quality, therefore rejected. Or 2) they harvested so much but wasn't able to make a sale for all of them. Or even 3) the buyer cancelled at last minute! Gosh!

Where are those from? He said Davao or GenSan areas. I asked "why do you know", and he answered that he worked there as driver for 10 years before coming home to Samar.

Destination? His reply was: I'm sure just within Samar, because if they ventured farther out to Bicol or Metro Manila, those bananas would become just pig food. Ha? Bananas are pig food too? And Mr Driver said, pigs love it, and swine growers also love bananas as feed (when available) because they make the pigs healthier!

Oh bananas! So many things I've learned today. And I suddenly remembered my banana lesson of years ago - when a friend cried, and despised me, not talking to me or even glancing at me for about a month.

I said...
Minsan, ang pinakamasarap sa mundo, do not necessarily come from noble intentions. Take this Banana Cake as example. She who baked this did not really dream of making us happy and delighting us, so she baked banana cake. The bananas just threatened to becoming ripe and rot all at the same time. Mabubulok na. So, to make use of them, she made banana cake. Di nya maubos, dinala nya dito sa office. Na nasarapan naman tayo!

Especially with the kantiaw of others, she who baked the delectable banana cake broke into tears and despised me for what I said. She never baked banana again, and never talked to me again. But once a friend of My Royal Highness, always a friend ng aking kamahalan! After some time, she got out of her ire on me, and made banana cakes again - that we ate at the office - for free!

Oh bananas!

The Side Mirror Story

On a rainy Wednesday commute from Tacloban to Catbalogan, we were already about five minutes into the trip when this writing on the dashboard caught my attention:
funny filipino signage
I smiled at the grammar. Yes drivers. But I asked what it meant, lest I haven't heard of the latest 'driver joke'. OMG, it launched the driver into a serious story-telling for most of the two hour trip, as if his life was bothered by it! He even asked if I was a lawyer. Whoa!

The story goes something like this...
Few days ago, a woman passenger ("Misis" as the driver refers to her) took this ride on seat number 2 (my seat). Without his knowledge, woman made a complaint to his bosses, that allegedly, he kept on glancing at her thighs and knees the whole time of their travel. Thus, driver was confronted by his employer, asked to 'explain why', and threatened with a dismissal.

I understood the "passionate" story-telling. Because yes, his life is threatened in a way, since he may lose his job. Ganun-ganun lang?! So I asked more and learned that...

A driver has to keep glancing at both his side mirrors during the trip, to ensure a safe travel. That is according to him. And the woman probably mistook his glancing to the right-side mirror as him glancing at her thighs or knees!

I cannot judge this, because it has been decades since I last sat on a driver's seat, not even on a van. I do remember, and my attention has been called (many times) about it, that: when I put my backpack on my lap, it covers the drivers' view of the side mirror.

Suddenly a woman passenger at seat number 4 said, "nag-pi-feeling la ito nga babaye, sidnga imo boss"! Natawa ako dun on 2 counts - 1) I didn't know other passengers (at the back) were also intently listening to the driver's story, and 2) I like that phrase she used: "nag-pi-feeling" - meaning "feeling as if" - feeling as if attractive hahaha!

Let's pardon the grammar. Only the word "AT" is missing anyway, right?. But, for a driver to post that on his dashboard, he must be serious, and I think he has a point.

Any comment Misis Feelingera?! Hahaha

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

No Sticker No Pila!

funny filipino signage
New Millennium signs of 'organization' and 'orderliness'? Or a sign of the New Millennium Philippine Language?! Whatever this "rhyme" means, it attracted my curios amazement!

Of course I asked around a la "imbestigador"! This is by the gate of V&G Subdivision in Tacloban, and, seldom would anyone be seen at this concrete post (mapaso!!!). So, I walked a bit more to the church and found someone who gave me an explanation.

That area pala, is where pedicab drivers queue up to get passengers, especially when the church celebrate holy masses. So that they (pedicab drivers) don't scrimmage and create chaos, they organized themselves, produced stickers for members to paste on their trikes, and those who don't have stickers (therefore not members of the PAPODA) may not pick passengers here. Istrikto!

And what is PAPODA? Oops, the PA, I forgot! At least I know what PODA means - Pedicab Operators and Drivers Association!

Oh well, signs of our times hehe!

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Waray-waray Caroling in Tacloban

Just about noontime kanina, I was not really in a good mood as I arrived at my Tacloban abode - on a weekend, due to some #$%$^ exigencies.

Then I heard some singing that brightened my eyes and flapped my ears. Whoa, I literally dropped my bag at the gate and ran towards a neighbor's house where the singing seemed to be coming from. Note: I do not know this neighbor (yet) but I entered their gate anyway (yan ang totoong gate-crash hehe) to shoot this video hahaha! And, just as I thought... carolers, in the waray-waray old style way! So here it is:

Akala nyo tapos na?! Nope! I followed them, thinking they would sing at another house hehe. But, argh, they sang at the little corner store where there were a lot of pedicab drivers etc hanging out in the area, and they even crowded around the singers. So, I waited, thinking I could follow them to another house. But they sat down just outside the store, to eat bread and drink sodas - yun kasi ang ibinigay sa kanila after singing. Haruy! But, I still waited, and when they were about done, with most of the trike drivers already gone, I requested that they sing for me another of their waray-waray caroling songs. And here goes:

Okay, here is more: These three jolly kids told me this kind of singing is/was common in Samar (a bystander affirmed it saying 'asya ito an mga orig nga samarnon'). Did I just say "kids"? Oh yes, only one of them (the manang in red) has a single front tooth hehe! But, they sing really well. For me its 'nostalgic'! And I did not anymore ask for explanation, but they tell me that: Manong Guitarist is from Sta Rita Samar, Manang in Red is from Lawaan Eastern Samar, and Manang in Blue is from Basey Samar.

Oh well, so my weekend got 'brighter' hehe!

Saturday, September 7, 2019

My P2P Bus Ride from Clark to Quezon City

If the previous topic (Tacloban to Clark direct flight on Air Asia) was a first for me, here is another first: My Point-to-Point (P2P) Bus Ride from Clark International Airport to Trinoma Mall at North EDSA in Quezon City. I did this just to try how it really is :)

How did I prepare for this trip? Yes, nag-prepare talaga!
Well, some bit of analysis had to be summoned of my lowly brain. First, did I have time? The answer was 'siguro naman'! With my flight from Tacloban expected to arrive Clark at 1010H and my event at UP Diliman scheduled to start at 1730H, that would have been a very unfortunate miracle if I still didn't make it on time, right? Plenty of time to spare, so I dared! Second, I have read and reread the many web stories and blogs that describe this kind of bus service. Plus, I had my driver on standby to pick me anywhere on the entire NLEX route - if ever something untoward happened. First time eh, hehe.

Not that this was a first time for me to travel between Clark and QC or vice-versa. I have done so countless times since the 1990s. I have taken buses to Baguio, Ilocos, Abra, Cagayan Isabela, Viscaya, Ecija etc. Many of them pass by the Dau Terminal in Mabalacat (many folks think Dau is in Angeles), which is a jeep ride away to Clark. There was even a time I just walked from the Clark Gate to Dau! A number of times I went to visit Clark itself, I also rode buses. I have even gone to San Fernando (Pampanga via a bus) and found my way to Clark via by commuter jeep! Yes yes, years ago, twice I arrived at Clark Airport from HKG and SIN, then walked out to where the jeeps pass by going towards what they call the "gate", before hopping on another jeep towards Dau!

But this P2P Bus ride attempt gave me a bit of excitement (and paranoia hehe) because - 1) I had an important event to catch at UP, and; 2) I was apprehensive, since historically in this country, anywhere/anything that involves arriving/departing air passengers, crimes petty or else, always abound. OA, 'no?! Well, it was my first time hehe. Besides, for me, riding on a public bus on the NLEX... I don't know... di ba? Pag na-holdup ang bus (simba ko), who would notice, eh every other vehicle would just be zooming right by your bus, di ba?!

Anyway... here we go (or here I went):

As memorized from blogs and online articles, after emerging at the arrival area of Clark airport, I walked to the right and followed the covered sidewalk towards the parked buses that I could already see. Oh ha?! Easy! Actually, it is only a few steps away!

There even are signs along this narrow covered sidewalk!
Oh, on this photo? Signage is big and clear, right? And I stood right in front of it, thus this good shot. However, I felt I was alone, so I asked that guy (an employee of Genesis Bus Co.) and he pointed to me that the bus going Trinoma is that one further to his back. Argh! So I ran for it and just thought 'hmp, how efficient, bakit andito ang siganage eh andun pala ang punyiterang bus' hehehe!

I boarded and saw that there were only 3 old ladies seated. I checked the time and it was already 0943H. Hmm, from what I remember of the schedules, I was about 13mins late for the previous departure, therefore 47mins early for the next. My crazy mind started debating upon its crazy self... "should I sit it out with these 3 oldies and wait for the 1030H departure? or should I go to the smoking area somewhere across the road from where this bus was idly waiting?". Easy decision, the smoking option prevailed hahaha!

There was some hesitation though... If I alight from this bus just like that, without leaving anything on my chosen seat (I only had my weekend backpack), all seats may have already been taken when I come back, or my choiciest window seat may not already be available. But if I leave my backpack, that smoking area is actually a bit far, the way there circles around to the parking area - paano kung nakawan ang bag ko or in fact nakawin ang kakarampot kong backpack?! Oh ha?! Well, nanaig pa rin ang sungay hahaha, so I still went out to smoke lugging my bag, even reasoned within my head that, if I come back to find there are no more desirable seats, I could always opt to take the 1130H trip. Gosh! Makayosi lang hehe!

That is my bus, starting to fill with passengers, as I watched it from the smoking area.
Hey and by the way, I had coke from the nearby 7-eleven together with my Marlboro Lights. Rrrefressshing!

About 10mins or so of smoking and drinking coke is/was already too long for me. Plus, mainit sa labas haha! So, at 0954H, I caught myself returning to the bus. Hmm, the few folks that were outside the bus seemed to be on a final dash to get into this ride. And the driver was already comfortably positioned at his 'throne'. And the conductor seemed to be on a final discussion with one lady who looked like a dispatcher. It actually looked and felt like the bus was about to go. Wheh? Still, I took my grand time, went up the bus, it was just about half-full already, and I took a window seat on the right side.

All of a sudden we started moving. Duh?! And Yeah! This bus departed at exactly 0959H! All I could think about was "aba eh di departure kung departure, sige larga", all the best for me hahaha! Although, this time I was quick (or had the presence of mind, yehey di pa ako gurang) to snap a photo of their schedules displayed on a standee by the covered walkway. Ayan ang picture sa kanan. From Clark to Trinoma, 0930H 1030H or 1130H should have been the departures that I would have caught. Wheh, bakit umalis ang bus na ito (buti naman hehe) at 0959H?! Haruuuy, good I cut my smoking break! I really was not thinking this bus was just about to depart. It felt like the driver just waited for me hahaha!

So, as the bus sped along, I did some looking around and some thinking about this service, like little or big things about this bus and this trip, and many other related or unrelated things in this world. Eh, more than 2 hours kaya ang ride na ito! So, I had a lot of time to muni-muni... like:

  • Everywhere in this country, strictly adhering to schedules are not really given serious attention by virtually everyone. We are not 'there' yet on this. The backward mentality of our culture called "Filipino Time", is still prevalent when we talk about schedules. Many believe, this is one of the reasons why we are not progressing as much as we want like our ASEAN neighbors, since we cannot be trusted in terms of being able to deliver/perform what we promise. Sabihin na natin, my bus left ahead of schedule. Sablay pa rin! Why? Because, some passengers from other flights or people who sent off their departing realtives may have hoped to ride the 1030H schedule. Pano na eh umalis kami at 31 minutes ahead. Or, baka naman yun 0830H schedule eh hindi talaga umalis until 0959H hahaha! Compare this to how buses arrive and go at/from every waiting shed in Singapore. Ang layo pa natin 'no?! Ah I just remembered, they even have digital displays sa mga waiting shed in Singapore that will tell you in how many minutes or seconds your bus will arrive! Tayo? Nganga! Anyway... I guess it is all about trust. When people trust that your service will be available at your promised time and place, then there will be constant patronage. Otherwise, they'll look for some other 'reliable' way as replacement to your erratic service.
  • The bus is: "relatively good because it is relatively new"!
    Malinis in fairness. And, it was not too cold during my entire trip. Hmm, maybe because it was a noontime? hehe. Did you know? I do not have proof, but nowadays, many of the complaints I hear about air-conditioned buses in this country is that they're all sobrang lamig. Kakaiba ano?! At least, on this part, I can say, hindi na tayo nakakahiya sa mga turista! Pero naman, kung ikamamatay mo rin lang ang lamig na yan... hahaha wag na mag-aircon! But on this ride, I swear, it was just properly cool (not cold) - and all those vents above my head worked! Meaning I can close them if I wanted to. Bago nga kasi! But I wondered though, why is that "STOP" button positioned the other way around. Baliktad di ba?!
  • Eto pa:
    like many others already plying many routes all over the country, this bus also had a 'working' (as in gumagana talaga) USB charging port in front of each passenger seat. Nice! Convenient! And the trays were clean, not broken, even with a slot each for drinks. And the seat pocket was generally clean made of a mesh that I could place my phone into! Magaling magaling! Sana lahat ng bus ganito. Ooops, sorry if all buses in this country are now like this, hindi na ako updated, 'di na ako maka-bus ngayon eh hehe. I am more on maka-train... nyetang MRT LRT yan, sardinas ride everytime 'no?!
  • There were CCTV cameras in front and at the aft section of this bus. So, we were being 'taped', right? Nice. Even if 'after the fact', those cameras can help in identifying hopefully leading towards apprehension (catching) of criminals. Well, they also help deterring commission of crimes - natatakot ang kriminal gumawa ng kabulastugan, dahil sa camera! On the other hand, there is a group of paranoid people on earth (am not yet sure if I should be one of them) who claim that putting those cameras in public conveyances like this bus, can mean encroachment of personal freedoms which is a human right. Especially these days that there already are what they call 'face-identification' software, people behind those cameras would be able to identify who you are, and they purportedly can use that information for illegal or criminal acts! Kakatakot!
    I got more amused at those 2 coat hangers at the back! I asked and they belong to the driver and conductor. Oh ha?! Neat! Sosyiel! Me panganlan pa! One belongs to R. Dizon and the other to J. Ignacio!
  • The sound was good (bago nga kasi ang bus na ito!) and the TV up front is bigger than usual. Picture was clear, at least from the area where I was seated. But the movie being shown did not catch my attention hahaha! It is of course a choice of the conductor! I was anyway too busy looking at where we were passing, that I did not bother checking what movie that was. Basta, when I did pay attention to it for some brief moment, I just was not interested!

Okay now, how about the trip and the traffic? I would say 'Good Enough' and I think I might even try this again! Everything I read on the web declares this trip should take from 2 to 3 hours. Mine took exactly 2 hrs and 36mins - that is from departure at Clark International Airport, to arrival at the lounge in Trinoma Mall. Pwede na! Because, I cannot recall having traveled from NAIA to QC that took less than 3 hours :) Then again, it was probably the time of day. Yet also, this bus still passes by SM Clark to pick-up passengers. But it was only a 3-minute wait. Ahh, many things have yet to be considered.

I have been reviewing my numbers, and I am inclined to believe, this is a better option if you are going to the QC area! My bias, I guess, is that there was nothing on this ride that made me bored or frustrated (other than when we entered Metro Manila at the Balintawak area)! Let's see:
- Clark to Trinoma is about 95kms (mahal ang gas if you asked to be fetched)
- via the P2P bus, it costs P280 - 2.5hrs (mid-morning to noontime)
- but the P2P bus kinda circled around Clark tumambay pa sa SM Clark
- this bus exits to NLEX far somewhere in Mabalacat
- if this was a private vehicle, I guess an hour to 1.5 is doable
Compare this to:
- NAIA 1 2 3 4 to Trinoma is only about 21++ kms
- via Taxi or Grab, it costs more than P300 - 2hrs to ewan (indeterminable)!
- via public bus, less than a hundred? but how many hours?

*if you ask to be fetched by your car from Clark, 95kms is expensive
*if you ask to be fetched by your car from NAIA, 2/3/4hrs is stressful
*if you took the P2P, traffic only starts at Balintawak-Munoz areas

So, which is better? Haha! Depends on our circumstances, right? The better part to always consider is "passenger safety comfort and convenience". That includes your state of mind or how you feel - whether the trip is expensive or cheap, breezing thru the NLEX or crawling along EDSA. Something like... "ok mahal nga pero happy naman ako", or "nakamura pero nabagot ako sa tagal ng biyahe", and so on...

As for me, this thing is worth considering, especially when I get to ride the return route (Trinoma to Clark) tomorrow.


Tacloban to Clark Direct! My first time, yey!

This air route has been in place for some time now. It started to be a regular route during the hype-up (or was it a command?) by Duterte to decongest Manila airports and transfer some to Clark. Was that 2016? I guess so.

Hmm, before I proceed, let's do some 'tsismis'... I did hear, that many stakeholders in Region VIII were vehemently opposed to the Department of Transportation picking Tacloban as one of those whose flights to/from NAIA would be transferred to Clark. How vehement? Well, many of them (especially the business chambers) trooped to their congressmen and leaders that be. So, lo and behold... by the end of August 2016, the Regional Development Council VIII headed by NEDA, submitted a resolution to the Department of Transportation declaring their opposition to transferring Manila-Tacloban-Manila flights to become Clark-Tacloban-Clark. I remember there even was an online (hashtag) campaign - #NoToClarkForTaclobanFlights - on this.

I would guess the authorities listened (or were pressured), because, all 3 airliners (PAL, CebPac and AirAsia) heeded the government's transfer mandate at first (at least via press/news). Am not sure, but I think they all did start flying the route. But, soon after, PAL and Cebu Pacific flights on the Clark-Tacloban-Clark route just disappeared from their websites. They all returned to Manila - probably because, nasa tama naman yata yung 'against that move'.

Anyway, if I remember correctly, Air Asia formally re-started a 4X per week schedule between Clark and Tacloban starting 02FEB2018, and I think nowadays it is down to 3X per week (TU-TH-SA). That is of course over and above their regular daily flights between Manila and Tacloban that STILL goes something like 4X a day! Or is that 5X a day? Am not sure anymore. Basta marami pa rin per day from Manila!

So, back to this, my flight from Tacloban to Clark on Air Asia:

Today, a Saturday, my purpose of popping into the metropolis is/was to attend an evening event at UP Diliman. But I decided on this just yesterday. So, when I checked for flights on the web, I thought the most economically viable option was to take this TAC-CRK route. Wohoo! Departure time Tacloban: 08:45AM, Arrival time Clark 10:10AM. Pwede na! Not really that exciting as I am used to leaving Tacloban at noon or evening. But what da... I had to try this one!

I did my web-check-in kagabi immediately after making the booking! O, laban ka?! But no hassle there!

When I reached the Tacloban airport kanina (about 7:30AM), I went to the check-in kiosk to print my boarding pass, just out of curiosity (I still do this even at other airports). There was an AirAsia staff by the kiosk and saw that I retrieved on my phone the boarding pass for this flight (that pic on the right). He naturally and kindly advised me "sir, boarding pass na po yan, okay na yan since wala naman kayong check-in baggage, pwede na po kayo pumasok sa pre-departure area". Oh ha?! Helpful di ba? And so I said: "yeah, but I want to print a boarding pass, ayaw kasi tanggapin ng opisina ko kung image lang galing sa phone"! [Note: this was half-truth and half-lie]... and the staff said "ay oo nga sir, madami kaming na-e-encounter na ganyan". We both rolled our eyeballs as I printed my boarding pass (next picture below) and off I went!

Teka nga, why did I say that was a "half-truth and half-lie"? Its like this... when this 'advent of technology' called mobile check-in and mobile boarding passes came to our lives sometime ago, my office would not accept my own print-out of the boarding pass image from my phone as attachment to my documents when filing for reimbursements. I had to make some noise (complaint/request) that our office should consider keeping in-step with the times. Paperless na ngayon di ba? But our (yours and mine, I mean) accounting, finance (& whatever) people still demand that we submit those cardboard type boarding passes. Di ba, di ba?! Helloooo! I actually told the Air Asia Staff: "ang sama 'no? Moderno na kayo at lahat, pero ang mga Pinoy, lalo na mga nasa opisina natin, makinilya pa rin ang nalalaman! At least napatawa ko yun airline staff!

O, heto si printout. It is not anymore cardboard. It's like a fax paper where anything printed will get erased after a few days anyway! Eto ang hinahanap nung office ko!

But actually, okay, my office now accepts the printouts from my phone images hahaha. However, on this flight, I just wanted to print my boarding pass at their kiosk, just for the heck of it, so I can observe more, at how things go about at the Tacloban check-in counters of Air Asia hehe! What did I observe? Ah, those better be for another blog entry ;)

Take note: another reason I wanted to observe a domestic AirAsia check-in counter was/is because, in Malaysia, you pay a hefty fee if you show-up at the check-in counters for your flight. I am not joking, me bayad pag sa counter ka nag-check-in! Thus, if you don't want to pay, you have to do either a web or mobile check-in, or use their self service kiosks kahit me baggage ka! (because it is also automated).

Ah, and by the way, since we are on this topic hehe, in BWN (Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei), ang Air Asia Staff walang pakialam kung nag-web-check-in ka o hindi, me baggage o wala, bata matanda me ngipin o wala! Pipila ka pa rin sa counters nila! Hah! Mga ogag! Oops, sorry, Pinay pala ang isa dun sa kanila mga @#$%$# sila hahaha!

Hmm, now that I said this thing about being paperless, coupled with what I learned from the Air Asia staff at Tacloban, I am almost sure some or many of you reading this have encountered the same situation, right?! Our back-offices, (COA for those who work in government) are just too behind with the way technology works these days. They are used to "paper-work" red tape na style pang-nineteen-kupong-kupong pa! Hah! But, if indeed you are still encountering this at your offices, do what I did, naghuramentado ako with matching emails to the big bosses, and ayun, my employer's back-end weirdos are now trying to keep up with the recent advent of technology! Recent advent daw, eh it has been more than a decade that we have these technologies, di ba? Problema talaga pag ang accounting/finance people mo mga gurang na hindi man umaalis sa kanilang bayan to at least experience the world's reality hehe! Sayang lang ang pag-pa-pa hightech ng airlines, eh tayo naman mga lowtech pa rin!

Anyway, enough with lambasting the oldies in my office (and yours probably) hahaha!

So, at about 8AM, my flight started boarding. Ang aga naman for an 8:45 ETD! Pero sige na nga, boarding kung boarding since I was already starting to get bored! By the way, the Tacloban airport's pre-departure area is admirable at these times (between 8AM and 9AM), walang crowd! Anyway, because maaga nag-board, maayos ang pila, ayun tuloy, take-off was 08:24AM, instead of the published 08:45AM! So, we landed at 09:25AM, instead of the scheduled 10:10AM. Sobrang ahead of schedule hahaha!

How was the flight? Well, uh, normal. Napabilis lang, but who will complain, right?! Per schedule, and according to the cabin crew, TAC-CRK takes a bit longer than the usual TAC-MNL flight. But my flight this morning was an exception - probably because a lucky dude that is me, myself, and I was on board hehe! Imagine this, ahead na nga ang departure namin, sobrang bilis pa ng flight!. What should have been 1 hour and 25 minutes took only an hour and a minute! Nahawaan ko silang lahat ng swerte! Yes, I am very humble hehehe!

Hey, while I am an 'Air Asia Big' member (and I have even already flown a number of flights just by claiming my air miles), I am not used to riding this airline on domestic flights. I usually fly with them from CEB to TPE, HKG, MFM, SIN plus everywhere Indonesia and Malaysia etc. So, I did not really know that they also sell meals on board domestic flights. When I learned that they do, I salivated for my favorite Beef Tapa. Yey!

But there was something different on how I got to have this meal. It took so looong that I was served my tapa when the flight was already starting to descend. Why so? Bakit ganun? Kay ano? Ngano man? Ngaa ba lah? I don't have a sure answer. But I did take notice some probable indicators of failure on the part of the cabin crew. The story goes something like this...

I boarded this flight somewhat ahead of most passengers. Settled on my seat, I noticed the Santan Menu in the seat pocket in front of me. I noted too that the contents were/are the same as on those flights I have taken to international destinations of Air Asia. I asked the attendant who was standing near my seat (row 14) and she confirmed that indeed they serve/sell meals. She even ceremoniously asked "you did not pre-book a meal sir?". Am not so sure if she was being sarcastic, but I just replied with "no, I didn't know you sell meals on domestic flights". But I immediately told her "once you are done serving the pre-ordered meals, please give me beef tapa ha?". And she said yes with a smile!

At cruising altitude, when the "fasten seatbelts" sign was turned off, the 2 crews from aft section immediately came forward pushing their cart to about row 12. Then they had some kind of a discussion, looking at some printout, and then went back towards the rearmost section. As they did, the stewardess that I talked to earlier said to me "Sir, we'll just give the pre-ordered meals first, then I will bring your beef tapa". So I nodded with a smile. That was my last encounter of her ugliness! Pag galit ako, all of a sudden PANGIT ang kinakagalitan ko. So I call her "Her Ugliness"! Yes, pangit sya, makapal ang makeup, mayaman sa fanbo at kukuryu hahaha! maputla ang pisngi pero maitim ang leeg. Pangeeeetch!

As the flight progressed, I kept looking to the rear section, and I could see that my stewardess and her partner were busy distributing food to passengers. It looked to me like those were not anymore pre-ordered meals. They were already selling. And I was apprehensive that by the time they reached me at row 14, all the beef tapa would have been bought by other passengers. Argh! Her partner, a youngish steward (neophyte?) kept dashing from where they were at aft section towards the front galley. Even at times conversing (asking questions?) with the other 2 cabin crews up front. As the excruciating wait progressed (my stomach was already grumbling), all I could do was entertain myself with games on my phone. I don't know what, basta I could sense it, alam ko me problema sila - not my beef tapa but something else. They had so many hesitations, nalilito napa-praning! Basta pangit pa rin the girl from aft section hahaha!

Long story short, the 2 cabin crews manning the forward section soon reached row 12 (after a noticeably long pause at row 9 - I think whoever were seated at 9ABC were their friends, esp of the senior steward, kasi nagdaldalan sila ng pagkatagaltagal). As these 2 front area crews were about to return to their galley, I said "excuse me" and they seemed to have not heard me. So, I pressed the 'attendant call button' above me. Ayun, the senior steward looked back to find me raising my hand. I immediately said "can I have beef tapa, ang tagal nung kasamahan nyo eh" as I pointed to their companions who were still far back at about row 20. He hesitated, talked to his companion, the girl also hesitated, they talked, then the girl faced me saying "okay sir, I will come back to bring your beef tapa". And I ended that with "paki-samahan ng regular coke". She got my payment and even said "sandali lang sir ha?"

I waited. And it took ages! Gaano ba kasi katagal initin ang punyiterang beef tapa na yan? I think they were hesitating if they should give me my beef tapa or they will keep it for their breakfast and give me something else instead. I also thought hypoglycemia was setting in on my royal body! Umiinit na ulo ko on the verge of making a scene! So, you see that supot (brown bag) in the picture, I started eating the siopao I bought at the Goldilocks counter at the airport. Never got to touch it on ground, dahil soon as I received it, nag-boarding na :(

09:11AM, my beef tapa and coke arrived. Without even thanking the stewardess, I immediately opened it and devoured the thing! Glug glug glug na rin on the coke. Why? Because I could sense the plane has started its descent. In fact, when that stewardess from up front gave me my food, her partner (the senior steward) was already pushing their 'souvenirs for sale' cart along the aisle. They were obviously rushing. I was not done eating yet, when the captain switched the fasten seat-belts sign for landing. The girl from aft section (yes, yung pangeeet, who I ordered beef tapa from) came along with their usual big plastic bag gathering trash, AND, I just looked at her with all the ire I could muster in my eyes. Good she did not say anything, because I could have thrown everything to her face if she said just a word.

This was my very first BAD encounter on any Air Asia flight. Well, probably because almost all I have taken before were international flights with longer duration, so the crews had more time. But on hind sight, I will have to insist "NO WAY". Jologs lang talaga ang crew on this flight. Why? Because it took about half of the flying time for my food to arrive. And I could see their faces, they were like in a quandary. Halatang meron silang pinag-aalangan. They had a problem and it was affecting my comfort and convenience. On a longer flying time like Cebu to Kuala Lumpur, I could imagine the crews would have the option to do it slow, right? But, in my experience, they are so prompt and sweet. Etong domestic... wheh, ewan!

Anyway, so much for that odd cabin experience. O eh, so we arrived!

Arrival was the same as my previous 'all other flights' into Clark (from Cebu)! Meaning... you get off the plane and ride on a bus that takes you to the arrival hall. This time however, I noticed that the hallway where you walk on from the bus to the baggage claim and arrivals lobby has noticeably been spruced up. As in naka-tiles na ang floor, with whatever that yellow colored thing is in the middle na parang rumble strips, and the walls of the entire hallway/walkway seem to already have some kind of an interior decor whatever hehe!

Okay next... how I travelled from Clark to Quezon City! Abangan!

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Smoke-free, Strictly!

This signage is prominently posted by the elevator door of a hotel I usually stay at (Pusok, Lapulapu, Mactan) when am transiting at "unholy hours" via MCIA!

What is "free smoke"? Therefore what is a "free smoke zone"? hahaha libre yosi? ganun?!

Well, anyone not philosophizing would be able to tell that the owner, or whoever posted that sign meant "this is a SMOKE-FREE zone. Ah English! But look at the red-colored letters. Now that is not acceptable hehe. What does "strickly" mean anyway! ahhehehe, yeah, we know the "k" should be "t". Oh well, tagalog nalang kasi, or better-still, bisaya-a lang gud!

This blogger is not an English Language Expert. In fact, you may find grammatical horrors in many blog entries here. Paminsan-minsan, nakaka-alala lang nung mga natutunan sa Grade 3 hehehe hihihi!

Friday, March 29, 2019

Han Gang Again

Oh well folksie-folks, I was back at this Korean restaurant in Pusok, Lapulapu. Not that I ever crave for this place, but by virtue of proximity, this is usually my best choice in the area!

This time I did some beef soup, plus a cup of rice. As before, the dish tastes good. Not spicy, thus, I liked it, and the beef is a really good kind (wherever they got that from). Those other little dishes, "the trimmings" I call them, are the usual things this restaurant serve together with whatever you order. Most of them I never touch. Why? Ayaw ko ng maanghang :D

Hey, there were not so many people dining! Just another table of four (Koreans) dining, and another table of six (a bit) pinays who were drinking "soju"! On a Friday night, I liked the "barren-ness" of this big place. In fact I started writing this post at my table itself, after I took those photos.

Good place, but as I said before, not really the best if you are alone. Why? Because the servings are too big for one person, so it will be 'aksaya' if you ordered more than two dishes on the menu. So, your visit is not optimized - meaning no chance to taste other things, unless you come back (like I did now) hehe!

Oh well, 'til the next time to taste my 3rd dish!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Change E to Y, Mr Guard, Please!

Oh, this little piece of advise...
Saw this at BPI's ATM (Robinsons Mall Tacloban Branch).

Well, it says the message anyway, right?! But it did not keep me from smiling, knowing that a guard (yes "sekyu", "gwardya", "ja-guar", "bantay", "chief") wrote this. Am alost sure of that!!!

Di rin ako kagalingan sa englis... but I guess this little note is proof that many of us Filipinos finish secondary education (high school) not mastering english grammar, pati na nga yata sa Pilipino hehe. And by the way, high school (yata) ang minimum qualification of a guard.

Oh well... and mind you, on this very day (02DEC2017 2PM), BPI's ATM upstairs at the mall's second level (near The Handyman) also had this same kind of grammar! Oops, I meant, signage pala hehehe!

At least, napapangiti tayo paminsan-minsan during out travels.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Boss Choi Tacloban

They have re-opened, and thankfully! Why? Because as I said in a previous article about the "old" Boss Choi, they were a grill joint with delectable things on the menu!

So, I came to check this newly re-opened, more upscale-looking version of the old Boss Choi. This one is diagonally across the street from its old location that is now the Bed and Breakfast called Lorenzo's Way (one of my favorites in Tacloban)!
Easy to find. This was the very parking area of Lorenzo's Way. In fact, I took this shot from across the street in front of the store just beside Lorenzo's Way!

Nice interiors... simple rustic mood with modern gadgets like that big TV screen!
It is some kind of an LED board, nice, but I asked the waiters "why does it have to be vertical?". No one knew, one said "oo nga sir, kumbaga sa phone naka-portrait hindi landscape" and we all laughed. Another one said it probably is experimental. But for me, not good for watching NBA!

Okay, as for the food we had these:
All are still delectably good as before. Plus, my favorite kind of rice... this thing with an orange colored oil (whatever that is) and a sprinkling of toast-fried bits of garlic!

The kinilaw that swims in a wonderful bath of vinegar and coconut-milk, aah! That darker fare is 'laing' Bicol-style (gabi leaves are sun dried). And that one on top of the pic (di na makita) is the juicy geilled liempo!

Ayan! Siya si liempo hehehe
Marasa. Yes Karasa!

No other diners yet, so I took a picture of the main eating area...
All tables are made of heavy wood with permanently atrached planks that serve as benches. Nice, you are like eating at a farm!