Can Someone Please Explain?

Here’s an ad of international long distance rates to the more popular destinations from Canada :

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And here’s an ad of international long distance rates to Latin America, South Asia  and Africa  ( click on pic to enlarge ) :


When you see ads like these, what comes to your mind ? It isn’t overly difficult to discern that economically prosperous, technologically advanced , politically stable and business-friendly countries have the cheapest long distance rates isn’t it ? Fair assumption ? If so, does it makes sense for  Rwanda, Botswana, Ghana ,Sudan and Uganda, poor countries that are in the bottom of the list  of the UN Human Development Index report to have cheaper long distance rates than Pinas ?WTF is wrong with Pinas ? Can someone explain ?

FAREWELL TO THE CHIEFI am away on technical training this week, an annual ritual which I always like to take in the fall because it seems like colder weather, gloomy skies and a bit of rain makes me concentrate better on studying. Yesterday as I was preparing to head out for lunch, I got a call from my boss that this boss, HJ, our country technology head had passed away after a brave battle with the big C. It is indeed a shocker because we never expected HJ to lose the battle so unexpectedly. The sad part for me is I didn’t make it to his funeral today as it conflicted with my intensive lab session more so it was held in the other side of the city. In this part of the world people get buried pretty quick more so that HJ is Jewish. I feel saddened by his passing more so that I couldn’t show up and bid him the last farewell. About 4 years ago, one of HJ’s directs, PS, a peer of my boss also passed away unexpectedly due to a heart attack. PS was only in his mid-forties. PS’s office was right beside HJ and to think that both of them are no longer around makes it even sadder. It gives you a sense of perspective of life, that all good things will have to come to an end at some point.HJ was an old timer , spent 30 years with the company and fell short of the official retirement age of 60 at his passing. I remember my water cooler conversations with him when I asked him if he would retire at 65. He told me life is too short to be spending most of it at the office. I also remember many years ago, those of us who spend the night on implementations shy away from sleeping at the super comfy sofas at the reception area for HJ will all of a sudden show up for work at 5am! Whenever HJ called me on the phone, it meant that he is pissed that something isn’t working but despite his well known temper, I had never experienced it first hand. I am sad that I couldn’t personally say farewell to him for the last time. Rest in peace Jack – you will be always remembered.

31 Responses

  1. Sad to hear about HJ–may his soul rest in eternal peace.

    You’re right about the phone rates-they are often disparate and unbelievably unfair. Many OFWs are actually complaining about our local rates.

  2. We not only have one of the most expensive power rates in Asia, but telephone and cellphone bills as well. And to think, the government have opened up the telecom industry for other players to come in… 😦

    Dead in his mid-forties? Geez, I’m in my mid-forties…

  3. My condolences on the death of your company’s country technology head.

    Our life here is indeed temporal, like a dew drop. As I always tell to my family and friends, we should all have an ‘eternity mindset’ because we would be spending more time in eternity than here on earth.


    Hay, I don’t bother anymore knowing the different overseas call rates here in Switzerland. Because no matter what we do, no matter which country we call to, almost everything is expensive. So, the best alternative is to install Skype on your computer! 🙂

  4. I always use the calling card because it buys me more minutes and they’re pretty cheap too 🙂

    Sad to hear about your chief. May he rest in peeace.

  5. Good you posted on this. I noticed the same over here. The Philippines is so near yet the phone rates is second to India – quite expensive! Sometimes when they have promotion, our country is always excluded. Reason? It’s expensive to call Phils to have it discounted. Holy crap!

  6. The Philippine long distance rate is really expensive that’s why most people resort to phone cards which most of the time probably end up to the same rate since its not always true what they advertise about the minutes.

    Sorry to hear about HJ. I had a co-worker who died of a sudden heart failure and I wasn’t able to make it to his funeral as well due to previous engagemnets. At least, we get to just remember them still living instead of them laying in peace. True…life is so short. And when death of people you know all of a sudden comes, you just can’t help but think about your life as well.

  7. Sad to hear about HJ. Alas it is a familiar story….
    Both my parents died young. It is the most painful event that ever happened to me but it was also an eyeopener.
    A few years later I quit everything (except my wife ;-)… to start a new life… and yes I really enjoy it. Bye,bye the rat race!
    If I need to say goodbye tomorrow I am ready… I will have no regrets.

  8. Major Tom – it’s always sad to see a friend go esp someone who has done you good . But that’s life I guess.

    The telecom carriers in Pinas are a pretty spoiled bunch who seem to dictate their prices whichever way they want with the government not doing much about it. 😦

  9. Snglguy – I’m not surprised if the rates are one of the highest in Asia and to hear that Joey de Venecia’s broadband deal expose’ which could have ended up costing the Pinoy taxpayers twice the amount, one can’t help thinking that the telecom industry reeks with corruption left and right 😦

  10. Jayred – very true. We live in a temporary world and when we see a friend or relative leave unexpectedly we get a reality check of what really counts in this world.

    Skype is great Jayred but it still needs to be set up. Calling cards from convenience stores here are another alternative to save on cost. What pisses me off is this is my second post about this subject oh about probably a year ago, and nothing much as changed with the Pinas rates 😦

  11. Irrealis – yes the cards are pretty cheap too but they use the VOIP
    ( Voice Over the Internet Protocol) and the quality isn’t that good but for calling friends and family it is quite bearable 🙂

  12. Ipanema – yes, it is the same all over the world. In my opinion, the cost is high because of protectionist policies between telecom carriers back home who aren’t too keen on sharing their resources and as usual the inept government does nothing about it. Kanya kanya silang dupang not to give each other a break and their mission to is to decimate the competition.

  13. Leah – I know what you’re saying about cheap calling cards – they’re cheap but very unreliable. Sometimes, you buy a 5 minute card and you only speak for 2 minutes at ubos na yung time mo and it’s just too much hassle to call customer service to complain 😦

    Actually PS had a heart valve operation already many years ago but one summer night, he played baseball at the local mens league and was pitching. He might have over-exerted himself and his heart gave up on him. Sayang if he just played it safe buhay pa siya siguro hanggang ngayon.

  14. Sidney – I know what you mean. I think stress may have contributed to the illnesses of HJ and PS. A couple of my collegues in their early forties also had heart bypass operations. Dangerous sign indeed. We all need to take it easy. It is common for people to take a pay cut and move to a job with less stress. My wife is doing that as we speak and I will blog about it sometime 🙂

  15. Firstly, what I’m about to say might provoke some folks, to yell, “Enough whining already!” You see, I have always questioned the staggering local rates to go online. I think it’s highway robbery! But as what that circus guy, Barnum, once said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” However, the adverse effect of these high rates is that our overall local online experience remains to be many years behind that of the United States. And let’s not even discuss the horrendous tech support provisions of these local ISPs.

    I agree with Sidney. The stories of HJ and PS are all too familiar in the corporate world. 9/11 was enough of an eye-opener to make me decide to take some time off from the rat race and smell the esteros of Binondo for a change … hehehe.

    But more seriously, I’m glad I had done so. If I should kick the bucket tomorrow, I can honestly go and rendezvous with St. Pete at the gate with peace and joy in my heart because I had done everything I was supposed to. I think 🙂

    Enjoy the weekend. Is it too cold to play golf nowadays where you are?

  16. My friend uses a phone card. He reckons its much cheaper 🙂

    Anyway I’m sorry to hear about the chief Big Bro. Will offer a prayer for him and for the love ones he left behind.

  17. Condolonces to HJ’s family and friends. I’m sure with 30 years of service, he is well recognized there.

    As for the call rates, I believe there is somewhat an infrastructure monopoly here. Even some VOIP has been having trouble penetrating the industry since 1 major telecom company doesn’t want to share the infrastructure. Thus they resort using a different method for that.

  18. May your friend rest in peace.

    I agree with Sngl – the Philippines has the highest power rates!

  19. Sorry to hear about the loss of your colleagues. As one of them said, “life is too short to be spending most of it at the office”.

    Whenever I call pinas, I use a phonecard. i got them from . i sometimes also send a text message when needed. my phone service charges about 10 cents per message.

  20. Oh dear, I just posted about death.
    I hope both your colleagues have found peace.
    re: Pinas phone rate…smack me til i bleed, i don’t have the answer. It really is ridiculously high!
    have a fine weekend, mate!

  21. Eric – the telephone rates in Pinas seem to be never aligned with the consumer price index.
    The carriers set the prices in whatever way they want to achieve their profit targets and the government particularly the NTC ( National Telecom Commission) sits on its fat ass doing nothing 😦

    Looks like you and Sidney are pretty much enjoying your semi-retirement days and that’s great. The rat race does squeeze does juice out of you I agree. THere’s only really so much one can take.

    I still get the Last Minute Golf emails everyday hehe which means that fanatics are still playing in the cold but I’ve hung my golf shoes for the season for a couple of weeks now 🙂

  22. Verns – my wife calls Pinas everyday to talk to her sis and mother and sagap all the tismis believe it or not so she does buy a ton of cheap calling cards but they are not that reliable – disconnections happen all the time. 😦

    I still would like to see the regular phone rates to PInas go down – dang – PLDT and GLOBE are so greedy. Their rates are out of whack with what the other countries charge.

  23. Ferdz – you bet – it has to do with monopolistic policies and the idiotic NTC does nothing about it. The NTC is such a sham because it is only interested kung saan magkakapera sila. Imagine, at one point the NTC required appliance vendors to hire a registered ECE
    ( Electronics Comms Engr) just to be able to sell Bluetooth – the wireless networking devices for cell phones, before they can be given premit to sell. This goes to show how dumb and idiotic NTC is
    when frigging’ Bluetooth devices are sold here in North America in flea markets. 😦

  24. Rhodora – yes – the power rates are incredibly expensive too ! The government doesn’t seem to have any interest to regulate
    on how much profit the energy providers make. Therates and even the Esso Gasul propane gas prices nowadays are out of whack 😦

  25. Wil – there’s a whole slew of phone cards being sold nowadays – they even sell $2.00 cards now. There are companies in Pinas who call us at home offering cheaper cards, charged to credit card ! The problem with calling cards is they’re quite unreliable because they use the Internet. That text rate you got is pretty good actually. THere’re only one carrier here in Canada that offers text package to Pinas which is pretty good too.

  26. Tess – I dropped by your blog and sorry to hear about your best friend’s mom. That’s life I guess. We grieve but we have to move on…

    Mataas din ba ang rates sa Holland to Pinas… it’s just so ludicrous to think that rates of other countries are going down but it seems sa Pinas tumataas pa yata 😦

  27. Condolonces to HJ’s family and friends…


    “Imagine, at one point the NTC required appliance vendors to hire a registered ECE
    ( Electronics Comms Engr) just to be able to sell Bluetooth…” – were they insane?

  28. Jeff – you bet they were insane.. 😦

    Check this link out :

    This was an issue 2 years ago so I hope NTC realized how ignorant and dumb-assed they were and hopefully already reversed their decision.

  29. mahal ang pldt? hehe

    condolence po…

  30. Tin – you bet kapal-mok masyado ang PLDT. That’s the problem with dealing with a giant who can do anything it wants. Merong ngang competition, e malayong 2nd naman. 😦

  31. […] a long shot, considering the ludcirous long distance rate it charges compared to other countries. I blogged about this issue in 2007 and things haven’t changed. After a couple of years, RP rates have just gone down a tad 2 […]

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