Category Archives: Etc.


Everyone knows Abreeza in Davao City.
I doubt the youth of today remember Korokan Bar.

I am talking about Korokan Bar that used to be along Rizal Street, Davao City, in the late 70s, early 80s.

Does anyone remember Korokan Bar?
Does anyone remember the era of Korokan bar?
Does anyone remember the folk houses where “people folk each other”?

Korokan Bar was bombed at least twice.
A close family friend was shot 28 times as he was going home.
People like me used to have guns in our clutch bags.
My colleague Luz barely missed a shrapnel when a grenade exploded in front of our office.
A man was shot in cold blood in front of our office, in front of Lamplighter.
My mother-in-law’s house was strafed at least once.

I am a 1975 graduate of the Davao City High school.
From UP Los Baños in 1979, my first job was as a financial analyst in Davao City. Our office was at the corner of Anda and Bonifacio Streets.
A block from Korokan Bar.

The area around Davao City High School was a dumping ground for “salvaged” bodies. Walking to to and from school, it was normal to see corpses in rigor mortis.
One “lapad” is the cost of one “kill” contract.
Going to General Santos, Kidapawan, and all these places I used to pass “cashpoints.” They did not accept checks.
I could never tell whether they were military, NPA, or MNLF.

That was 30 years ago…

Korokan Bar is gone.

Today, we have Abreeza.

Thank God.

Things that Bother Me (Part 1)

There are very few things that I find difficult living with and I will be a hypocrite if I say that I can live with anything. I do have my pet peeves, after all! Here are some of them:

1. Waiting in line to pay

I work hard to earn a living. I work hard to make my clients feel that they mean a lot to me.
When I was working as an employee, I made sure that neither my boss nor my customers will have any reason to feel that my service to them was not commensurate to my pay. It was, and still is, my principle that we all need to delight our customers; meeting their expectations is not enough. We must exceed all expectations!

It is for this reason that I expect the service to be at the same level that I give to my own clients when it is my turn to spend my hard-earned money on services or things I need (like medical services) or wants (like restaurants).

It should then be no surprise to people who know me that I am absolutely flabbergasted when I have to fall in line to pay. It is not the falling in line that I find objectionable. It is the fact that there is a line!

If every entrepreneur or company would only think about its payment system thoroughly and then, it is definitely possible to implement a system where the processing will be quick to eliminate the need to fall in line.

Delays in processing are simply not acceptable anymore, especially in today’s digital environment. Even with Apple Pay still to come, there are hundreds of payment systems that abound today that can reduce that line to zero.

I find it unacceptable that the customer whose money is being taken away should be made to suffer by waiting and going through complicated and very often unnecessary procedures.

One should never be made to feel that paying the right fees for the services rendered or for goods obtained is a favor that has to be rendered by the payor. If I want your goods or services I will be willing to pay even in advance. Never make me wait to pay and especially never make me fall in line; a line that should have never been there in the first place!

This kind of customer care for the clients can be made possible even in the most monopolistic market in the world — the electricity market.

For example, a local Philippine company, XESI ( launched a pre-paid meter system so that electricity consumers can pay using their mobile phones. Already approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), the consumers can now buy “tingi” or retail electricity for their homes. Customers based in Bohol, as well as those in Batangas and other areas will soon enjoy this service.

There is no need for them to line up in banks, utility offices, or worse, take a hike combined with a tricycle ride to get to town just to pay their electricity bills.

2. Opening gadgets wrapped in hard plastic

Be warned; they can be deadly! I am talking about the hard plastic that is used to wrap gadgets (or most gadgets) and even the soft plastic of CDs!

I am sure that many of you with great frustration and pain, ended up with nicked bloody fingers after trying to open these gadgets and CDs. I do not know why these producers of such goods have not thought of placing a convenient strip where the consumer can just lift with ease and “unstrip” the whole package.

The safest and quickest way to address this problem is to either use a scissor or box cutter. A simpler and safer way is to have the attendants of the store selling the product unpack the gadget, hitting a second bird with one stone – have these attendants check the gadget, too!
(to be continued)