Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Elle Marie and Bien Mary, Part 3

Our two girls are getting bigger and prettier. Photos below I took last month and this month.

Below, Bien at the Sacred Heart Church, in front of her pre-school within our barangay. She likes posing in front of flowers and Jesus.

At Mt. Carmel Church in Lipa, Batangas.

At the back of my pick up, the two girls like riding here and I allow them when we are inside a gated village, meaning no traffic, pollution or speeding vehicles. And if they see some low-hanging flowers, I stop so they can pick up the flowers.

Bien, again at the Sacred Heart.

At a playground with white sand. They like to play in the sand.

Watching a magician's show in one kiddie party they attended. Below, Elle Marie in her Saturday morning swimming class, with fellow Grade 1 batchmates.

See also:
Elle Marie and Bien Mary Oplas, August 14, 2012
Bien Mary Oplas, Part 2, May 27, 2013

Elle Marie Oplas, Part 2, May 28, 2013

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Filipino Hospitality vs. Service

Below are some frank but useful comments from a good friend, Bruce Hall, an American living in Iloilo with his Pinay academic wife teaching at UP Visayas. They have been living here for more than a decade now. Bruce is also a fellow Rotarian, he is the Immediate Past President of RC Iloilo West.

Bruce posted these in his facebook wall. Thanks for these useful observations Bruce.

August 06, 2013 

Is there a difference between hospitality and service? Can you have good hospitality, so to speak, but terrible service?

Today I read about the Philippines' "world renowned hospitality". This is true, but service is not world-renowned. Service is very friendly and solicitous but inefficient and often inattentive. Sometimes I wish Philippine waiters would be ruder but more efficient, like the stereotype of the rude, crocherty diner waitress you see in Hollywood movies.

Most of the Westerners I know notice the same thing -- very friendly but frustratingly inefficient service. I remember I was at a Philippine Airlines office. Everyone was very friendly and hospitable but it still took me 30 minutes from the time I gave them my credit card to pay until the time I left, all because of the systems imposed upon the staff from higher-ups who don't put efficiency first.

If the Philippines wants to appeal to more foreign tourists, I think that the focus needs to be less on hospitality and more on inefficiency. When on vacation many care more about getting their food on time and hot then about how big the smile is when it comes. A smile does not make up for a delayed and warm beer.

Now, if the Philippines could somehow combine ruthless efficiency with its great hospitality, then it would really have a competitive advantage.

... I would argue that the Philippines works better and is more efficient than the average country. Unfortunately, being better than the most -- better than average -- is not enough if you want to be at or near the top. To gain a competitive advantage one must significantly better than the rest of humanity.

CAAP sets ground time policy for airlinesBy Miguel R. Camus, Philippine Daily Inquirer
3:04 am | Thursday, July 18th, 2013 
 The country’s air safety regulator is now pushing for the industry-wide implementation of a minimum 45-minute scheduled ground time for domestic flights in three months—a move budget carriers said would be disadvantageous to their business model, which relies on speed and efficiency to bring down costs.  
John Andrews, deputy director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), on Wednesday said in an interview that the regulator would implement this policy by Oct. 1, the start of the so-called winter schedule.  
Last Tuesday, the CAAP announced that the 45-minute scheduled ground time, also known as the turnaround time policy, will start with Cebu Pacific Air on Aug. 1. The budget carrier of the Gokongwei group has a turnaround time policy of 30 minutes….

I welcome this. Every time I fly, the ground crews seem to be rushing around, trying to leave early. This is not professional. This is not being cool, calm and collected, in control. Instead of focusing on doing things properly, they seem to be focusing on the time, rushing to get through things and leave early.

When I fly from Iloilo to Cebu, regularly the flights will leave 30 minutes early, arriving in Cebu just after the time scheduled departure time from Iloilo.

On one flight, already significantly delayed, the pilots and crews were so rushed that they pushed back from the gate even before I had a chance to put away my bags and sit down, violating all sorts of safety rules.

Regularly staff are announcing "final boarding" and calling out passengers' names while there is still a long line on the air bridge waiting to board, and well before the 15 minute prior cut-off.

Once when going through security at Terminal 3, 25 minutes before the scheduled departure, a ground staffer ran up to us, asked us our name and then hurried us to the gate. He was even running through the terminal! We had 25 minutes to go, 10 until the cut-off time. Why the rush?

Philippine airlines need to stop rushing and be more professional and do things properly.

Deregulation of the airline industry in the Philippines has created a big boost to air travel, driving down costs and unifying the nation. Deregulation of telecommunications has led to the transformative cell phone industry. In the U.S.,deregulation of rail freight has created the world's best rail system for freight, built by private money.

Deregulation of shipping in the Philippines will have the dual effects of making this country richer AND more unified. We need more farm-to-market roads, but in this case our "roads" are the seas and our jeepneys, buses and airplanes float on water

March 30, 2013

Airlines and their websites can be so inexplicable. I made a discovery today while booking flights all on Air Phil Express -- er PAL Express -- from CDO to Cebu and onto Iloilo.

First it is cheaper to buy the legs separately then together (2 purchases instead of 1).

Second, despite both flights being on Air Phil Express, one leg was cheaper on Philippines Airlines' website.

So by making two purchases on two different websites to fly one airline, I saved 436p, or more than the minimum daily wage in the Philippines.