My Place Under The Sun

Tuesday, February 28, 2006


I just got a text message from a very good friend, Gun nut and Sunstar Cebu Columnist Kaloy that he now has a blog. Kaloy was one of the very first people I met in Cebu when I first moved here in 2000. He patiently taught me how to speak Cebuano and would, at times, evaluate me. He was probably one of the first person to tell me that I am an adopted Cebuano.

Our friendship has gone through a lot. We've had our share of laughter and arguments, there are times that we would not see or talk to each for weeks but we know for a fact that we are still good friends. He was my classmate during the PPSA-IPSC Range Officers seminar and examination. He placed 2nd in the exam. I got 1st. We were on the same table. Go figure.

Do pay his blog a visit and learn about this cool person named Kaloy.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


I've been meaning to write something about photography but I thought I'll be writing about a horrible experience with one of the Philippines' biggest bakeshop.

My only daughter's birthday was coming up, so my wife and I decided to plan ahead for her birthday party that was to be held in school. It was 15 days before February 14th (Yes, she was born on Valentine's Day) and we felt confident that we had enough time to take care of everything despite of my wife's scheduled travel to Manila.

We visited a Goldilocks branch in SM City Cebu and had Valerie pick her birthday cake. After looking at dozens of designs, she appropriately chose a Snow White themed cake that came complete with the seven dwarves. It was a triple decker chiffon topped with rich icing, wonderfully colored to wet a child's appetite. We placed the order and gave specific instructions that it will be picked up at their Ayala branch, which was conveniently near my daughter's school, at 10 a.m. The party was scheduled at 1:45 p.m.

Fast forward to February 14, 11:30 a.m.

I drove to Ayala to pick up the birthday cake and ice cream for the bash. Hurriedly, I went directly to Goldilocks and presented the receipt to claim the cake. The counterperson told me that the delivery truck had some engine trouble but is on it's way, and told me to come back around 12 or 12:15 p.m. I went down to the grocery to buy ice cream and remembered that I still had to bring Valerie to school at 12:00 p.m.I decided to drive home and all the while confidently thinking that by the time I get back at around 12:30 p.m. the cake would surely be there.

My wife and I started loading what was needed for the party and brought Valerie to school. I guess, like any parents, we were a bit tense and excited for our daughter's 5th birthday. So excited in fact, that my wife forgot to eat lunch.

We finally arrived in Ayala and we both decided that I would no longer park, since it would only take about 5 minutes to pick up the cake. I dropped my wife at the nearest exit to Goldilocks Ayala branch and I started driving around the Ayala area. Within a few minutes, my mobile phone rang and on the other end was my wife, enraged. Apparently, Goldilocks lost my daughter's birthday cake.

Now, how can a birthday cake just disappear? and if it was pilferated what would that person do with a birthday cake with my daughter's name on it? These were the questions that was running through my mind. "You want me to talk to them?", I asked. Ask my wife and you will know that my inquiry is not a good thing. She said "Yes."

It was lunch time and parking on the first basement was full. This means that I had to park on the second basement, climb two flights of stairs, ride two flights of escalators while all the while hurrying because it was, at this time, 1 p.m.

When I arrived at the doors of Goldilocks, my first thoughts were asking every customer to leave, close the doors until they answer my questions. When I entered the store I heard Magene's voice loudly telling the person on the other line "It's your third time to ask me what time the party was. It's ala Una in spanish, one o'clock in English, what else do you want?!". I immediately went behind the counter, and inside the office door and asked that I talk to whomever it was on the other line.

She continued talking on the phone saying "And what time do you expect to finish? the party is at 1 p.m." Apparently replying to a statement by the company that they will just have another cake of the same theme made instead of locating it. She finally gave up and gave the phone to me.

I was being told that they were sorry and such. I immediately asked "What are you going to do about this? And do not tell me that you will make another cake because that will surely not make it on time. " The person on the other end kept telling me what happened and I had to shut her up by stating that I do not need their excuses because excuses will not make my daughter's birthday party.

Meanwhile, Magene was talking to the Manager of Ayala branch who was caught in the middle of the ruckus. Magene decided to just get another cake to give to the kids and have our money reimbursed. She told me this and I relayed this decision on the phone.

1:30 p.m.

We got another cake, had Valerie's name written on it and went on our way. As soon as we stepped out. The Ayala branch manager told us that the missing cake was found, and of all places it was at their SM branch. It basically took them two hours to locate a missing birthday cake that was ordered 15 days ago.

We were promised that it would be delivered to my daughter's school at 2 p.m. and I left them a promise that I would sue them if they did not.

2 p.m.

The Goldilocks delivery van arrived and the cake was delivered with an additional Valentine's day themed cake as a means of them apologizing to what happened. We had three cakes all in all including the beloved Snow White birthday cake. However, this does not excuse them from their incompetence.

With a big company such as Goldilacks, one would think that communication among the plant and the two branches would be sufficient that something like this would not happen. Secondly, why don't they know where the cake went? It is not enough that they had numerous orders because it was Valentine's day. Third, it took them two hours to locate a cake between the 3 locations that all had telephones.

Now, how incompetent can a company be?

I will be quick and blame the managers and employees of this company, as they seem to be LACKING the needed skills to run a company such as Goldilacks.

Friday, February 03, 2006


There are times when we have to make decisions that will not only affect ourselves but it will have a drastic effect on others as well.

I, unwillingly, will have to face that dillema.

You see, aside from filmmaking and photography I also run a subsidiery of the family business. Now due to some matters which, at this moment, do not wish to address I will have to let go of my employees. However, knowing how hard it is to find a job these days, my family and I decided to transfer them to another part of the business. So I held an afternoon meeting and told them our decision.

It was hard for me to face them as these were people whom I've worked with for a good number of years, some of them saw Valerie and Carlos while they were in Magene's womb. Yes, we've had our differences but these were good people.

While I looked in their eyes, I saw desperation, hopelessness and disbelief. As I discussed the job option and answered their questions, one of them asked if I was to handle the other business, I told them the possibilities and the issues that may come up if I did. They all responded that they might as well leave if I wasn't.

So here I am, faced with the dillema. Should I carry on the other business, it will definitely be an issue which I am trying to avoid. If I decide otherwise, these people will be out of jobs.

For a few weeks now, my instinct for self-preservation was on high gear. Now, it has come to a complete stop and my concscience has kicked in.