Post Office Blues

Last year my wife sent 5 Christmas cards to her relatives, all of them with a few photos inside and lo and behold, only 2 cards made it to their destination ๐Ÿ˜ฏ This is the first time we lost more than half of the letters sent. We know that the Phil post office isnโ€™t perfect but we are appalled that they have become progressively worse, that simple greeting cards with photos are being pilfered to find out if they contain foreign currency notes and discarded if no cash are found. When I was in grade school, I was told that posted letters are sacred and should be treated with maximum privacy. This kind of thinking had been ingrained in my habit and I find it repulsive to be snooping on peopleโ€™s letters. Unfortunately this code of honor is no longer a virtue at the Phil Post Office for God knows how long now. At this very moment I feel that shit has hit the ceiling fan and workers are behaving with wanton disregard when it comes to controls and accountability. It appears that the officials had joined the fray of pathetic rascals prying open peopleโ€™s letters looking for cash and valuables. It has become a Smoky Mountain scenario, where peopleโ€™s letters are a mound of trash with postal workers scavenging for anything of value they can find. ๐Ÿ˜ก The sad part is who do you complain to ? The registered letter option is so far the only alternative means to ensure that it gets to the destination. But it is a pain because one has to go to the post office to claim the letter. I personally havenโ€™t encountered discrepancies yet but I donโ€™t know for how long.

The most reliable means would be through courier like Fedex which is quite expensive. I have sent important documents to Pinas via Fedex and they all arrived on time. But then Fedex is international and global couriers conform to stringent service level agreements and accountability clauses. Expediency and reliability are qualities that make them survive in the market. Not all couriers are equal though. A few years ago, at my request, my sister-in-law couriered a greeting card to my niece in Bacolod via LBC Cargo, a courier that calls itself international. The card contained a C$50 bill , a gift to my niece on her birthday. Alas the card reached Bacolod but in an opened state with the C$50 bill missing . My sister-in-law went to the LBC Las Pinas office where she sent the card to complain and the clerk simply pointed her to the note on the wall that says no โ€œcash should not be sent with any package and LBC is not responsible if they are lost โ€œ. Just like that. First of all, why was the package opened? Both the Bacolod and Las Pinas office denied any responsibility. ๐Ÿ‘ฟ Since LBC is a full-fledged courier service company and doesnโ€™t hire a third party to deliver their cargo to their regional distribution offices, who then was responsible ? ๐Ÿ˜ก


It is the Christmas season once again and I recall a couple of weeks ago a question was asked in one of the daily papers – when do you put the Christmas tree and the lights up ?

In this part of the world where Christmas isn’t celebrated with the same passion and intensity as Pinas, it is pretty much a toss up for most people. When I say this, I am referring to the festive mood which Pinas where people celebrate like crazy. I am almost tempted to say that people live for Christmas back home. There’s no better atmosphere to celebrate Christmas than in Pinas hands down. ๐Ÿ™‚ A couple of weeks before December but not earlier is what I call pretty standard timing to set up Christmas adornments here. We don’t hear Christmas carols on the radio until at least a couple of weeks before December anyways. People here express the holiday spirit through lights that adorn the faรงade of their houses, normally on the edges of their garage doors and trees or plants in the front yard. In a multi-ethnic society you will pretty much discern who amongst your neighbors are of the Christian faith with the presence of the Christmas lights. At our house we put up the Christmas tree at least a week before December.

It is has been a while that I left Pinas but I heard that Christmas carols are played on the radio as early as September nowadays. It said that the moment the month ends in “ber” Christmas carols are played on the radio ๐Ÿ˜› Here Christmas carols stop playing Dec 26 right after Christmas Day. I remember in one of my trips a few years ago I arrived in Manila Jan 22 and the airport sound system was playing The Little Drummer Boy as background music :mrgreen: I still remember back home Christmas trees are put up after All Saints Day and brought down until Three King’s. Pretty much the same as here where Christmas adornments are removed the day after Three Kings.


34 Responses

  1. I remember when I was in elementary, I always send mails to my grandparents in Bohol through the local post office. My grandparents in return would send me money (tucked in the letter) almost every month through their local post office also. The only way to confirm if we receive each other’s mails is to send another mail because that time, there were no emails or cellphones and we didn’t have a landline. But for some reason…I always receive the money. Maybe people are so much honest then or maybe indi pa amo to ka pigado sang una unlike subong nga because of “matinding pangangailangan” eh ginapang-abrihan na ang mga sobre…tsk tsk tsk

  2. my uncle sent a bank draft once and it got lost. The draft was cashed at a Hongkong bank when he traced it with his bank.

    Christmas in Phils is very expensive but fun. New Years is even crazier!

  3. i have a suspicion that an award sent to me from Switzerland fell on the wrong hands of somebody in the post office. this is a sad fact but true.

    because i hate the Christmas rush, i shop every October of the year. I put the tree and the decors a week after Nov 1.

  4. The condition in Phil post is no diferrent from other govt agencies. Pathetic na talaga.

    Pero bilib ako sa yo, pinagsama mo ang bad at good post. ha ha ha

    In short, iba talaga sa Pinas.

    BTW, when can I say Merry Christmas to you?

  5. I’ve never had faith in our postal system, ever, even back then. Though I have sent quite a number of letters abroad before the advent of electronic mail, I’ve heard and read enough horror stories about lost and stolen packages, that never once did I send anything larger than a letter envelope through that state-run mail carrier.

    As for Christmas trees and carols… bah, humbug! ๐Ÿ˜€

  6. Sad and irritating at the same time when I remember our postal service. It seems like the Phils. is on a different universe that letters and parcels arrive late all the time.

    You’re right when you say that couriers are more reliable [ FedEx, UPS & DHL]. I still don’t trust LBC. No. I’ve tried their service as well.

    Oh Christmas! My children surprised me yesterday when they put up the Christmas tree. This is our one and only. You can imagine how old and small it is. Since living overseas, we tried to be practical in the sense that we moved about and that not all countries we lived in celebrate Christmas. So, we never changed the tree but I was happy they put it up.

    When they were young they urge me to put it up on the 1st day of December. When my husband was still alive, my children usually wait for him so they can put up the tree. It became a ritual, until last year.

    Happy holidays!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I would always write on the envelope, just at the lower part “Please don’t open, only pictures and no cash inside” …and guess what, I’ve never lost a single mail since I begun doing that. Brutal VS Brutal na, di ba?

    Hmm, medyo sad looking naman yang mall na yan…anyway, sad din bahay ko kasi wala pang decor..after SinterKlaas pa (5th december) pwede mag put up.

    have a good day, bw!

  8. Verns – come to think of it, with emails and cell phones the volume of letters at the post office would logically drop. But then again because our population grows exponentially, dumadami ang tao and dumadami rin ang sulat hehe ๐Ÿ™‚

    We know life is a grind but pilfering mails is akin to theft and these people are giving misery to others to uplift theirs – not a fair deal ๐Ÿ˜ก

  9. Irrealis – really ? So there’s organized theft in the system nowadays. tsk, tsk they’re getting a bit more sophisticated it seems ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

    Expensive is the right word hehe.. Very expensive in fact ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

  10. Narissa – ouch, if it didn’t reach you then someone from hijacked it for sure. Sorry to hear about this and this is what really irks me the most, when very precious things such as your award are stolen by people who are supposed to be providing the service ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

    I shop days before Xmas because prices drop like crazy ๐Ÿ™‚ In fact my wife keeps all her shopping receipts and if the price drops, she complains to the store and they prompty give her the difference . You just have to be vigilant to check them out. Silly but true :mrgreen:

  11. Myepinoy – I think the postal system has really gone nuts bro ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Well, this post was under the category of super rant but I decided to balance it out hehe ๐Ÿ™‚

    Yes, iba talaga sa atin – the atmosphere, the festive mood and the terrific hospitality during Xmas . That’s the good part of our culture. Dito, masama pa ang loob ng iba pang binati mo ng Merry Xmas kasi hindi raw sila Christian kaya you have to be politically correct with Happy Holidays ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

  12. Sngl – lucky you if you didn’t use the postal system that much. During Xmas our letters reach Pinas a lot longer. One time my Xmas card reached my family in Bacolod mid-January na hehe ๐Ÿ™‚ But who really needs snail mail nowadays when there’s emails. Xmas is an exception though because people still like the old fashioned Xmas card ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Ipanema – not really sure now if our Post Office has modernized. Here they guarantee a 2 day delivery within the Metro Area but again that’s because the system was outsourced by the government to a private company.

    Nice to know you had the tree put up already. I have been planning for a long time to have a real pine tree but I’m lazy to go to the farm in winter to buy a cut tree plus I have to recycle it when the season is over. Too much hassle. Happy Holidays to you too ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Tess – now that’s quite creative of you to say “Please donโ€™t open, only pictures and no cash insideโ€ Maybe I should do that ๐Ÿ˜Ž

    Yes consistent with the post, the mall has to be spiced up with lights and trees ๐Ÿ’ก Last year we didn’t put up the tree coz we went on a cruise and vacation the entire holiday season. This year our house is spanking with lights galore both inside and outside. My wife became gung-ho and made up for last year’s absence hehe ๐Ÿ˜›

  15. I don’t condone thieves… but we have to agree that a lot of low end governmental employees are underpaid. Why do we have corrupt cops, corrupt post officers, etc.? One way to avoid this would be to pay them a decent salary.
    Last year a police commander in Makati was shot dead while moonlighting as a FX driver at night. Imagine a police commander needing to do a second job after his regular job just to be able to feed his family… No wonder some decide to be dishonest.

    By the way, everybody starts to be corrupt in the end. Why pay your taxes when you know your taxes will enter the pockets of some corrupt officials. Why not steal when you know your boss is pilferingโ€ฆ

    It will need a strong and honest leader to change this attitude in the long run.

  16. i haven’t tried sending money via the post office, but i have tried sending cards. 3 years ago and also last year. 3 years ago, mostly just around the philippines and they all received it. last year are all international addresses and they all received it after a week or two. that’s regular mail ha.

    when do we put our christmas decors? after my birthday. christmas starts only after my birthday, not september or october.. but after my birthday. hehehe ;p

  17. There was a plan to privatize the postal service in the country, I don’t know what happened to that plan. No takers probably since it’s not a viable business venture anymore what with stiff competition from the internet and private courier services.

  18. Sidney – it is really a tragic situation but we always go to the side of the angels so to speak
    when a challenge such as this happens. Sometimes financial hardship can be exacerbated by a self-indulgent lifestyle, and not necessarily by lack of opportunities as most people seem to allude ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

  19. Tin-Tin,

    Mostly mails from abroad are being pilfered, esp during the Holiday season. Local mails seem to
    have problems with delays and not with pilferage.

    So you’re a lucky girl coz your bday is right at the start of the festive season ๐Ÿ™‚ Would you invite me to your bday if I was there ? I’ll give you a nice gift for sure hehe ๐Ÿ˜›

  20. Sngl – privatization can work provided the govt and the contractor commit to service level agreements that will improve the system. Not sure if the govt is willing to spend money for such an improvement which remains a question mark and of course we have to factor in kicbacks which may render the whole thing unviable ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Well, there’s always e-cards. hehe. but, yeah, it’s too bad letters aren’t reaching their destination. I do remember that before, it used to take months for letters to reach Pinas from the states. Not sure if that still applies now.

  22. a new home away from blogger, eh? am thinking about it too but with getting my own domain name and hosting…but the content and links i have accumulated already can’t be ignored

  23. Wil – same here, I use email a lot but still cling on to traditional greeting cards for b-days and Xmas. These are about the only times I use snail mail to Pinas and it is irritating when they can’t seem to get to their destination ! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

  24. Tutubi – I was forced to move to WordPress when all of a sudden my Blogger template showed up minus the graphics ! It is quite easy enough to migrate believe me. I also imported all my posts quite easily and as they say using the “magic button”. The trick is you have to be in the new Blogger version for WordPress to be able to auto-magically import your posts.

    I lost the YouTube URLs after the import though which is no big deal for me – I can always put them back. WordPress is quite easy to maintain and has more tools than Blogger. Problem with Blogger nowadays is it is so difficult to get to blogspot blogs and sometimes it is a pain to post with all those anti-spam rituals ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I also plan to get my domain name later on.

  25. At home, we decorate the house with Christmas stuff on the first week of December. September is just too early. It seems awkward to celebrate Halloween with Christmas decors all around.

  26. Abaniko – you bet. Even with Xmas carols, September is waaay too early ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

  27. I’ve been sending documents and money via LBC and have no problems with them whatsoever. They always deliver on time and you can always follow up with the phone number they’ll give you.

    About the money sent with the letter, that’s really a boo boo on her part. Should she wanted to send $50 to Philippines, she could’ve sent it via money order.

    I’ve done money orders through LBC far too many times, wala naman akong naging problema.

    Just my 2 cents worth. =)

  28. Jeff – The package was sent from Las Pinas to Bacolod and not internationally.

    Good for you that your experience with LBC is stellar. They still did not explain why the couriered letter was delivered open.

    “cash should not be sent with any package and LBC is not responsible if they are lost” – does this mean they can pilfer every package and NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY CASH LOST and say – well, I told you so !

    It might be an isolated case and but LBC is written off my address book permanently ๐Ÿ˜ก

  29. Send them a prank letter with a fake address, hoping that it would end up in their undeliverable pile which is normally what these “kawatan” postal employees pilfer aside from the thick envelopes with cards in them. Put one of those dye package that you can easily get from joke shops, tucked in a card that would explode once it is opened with big bold letters that says…”HULI KA!….:)

    The longest Christmas holiday celebration is in the Philippines!

    I am organizing an all pinoy biker simbang gabi on the 16th.

    Meri krismas at maraming dyinggol bels sa inyong lahat!

  30. Noypetes – sending a fake address and putting a contraption that would clip and sprain their fingers once they open the package does it for me ๐Ÿ˜›

    Hey, that biker simbang gabi would be noisy hehe but nice to know you are organizing that event ๐Ÿ˜Ž

    Meri krismas din sa iyo bro !

  31. Post office blues have been with us since I can remember and I have been around for some time.

    I’d hate to think of it as our character flaw. I prefer to look at it as signs of an economy that couldn’t take off.

  32. Annamanila – it has been around for a while I agree but it looks like it is becoming worse !

    I can agree with you that dire financial need drives people to go nuts and do crazy things. My fear is when an organized or systematic corruption happens in a basic and important service organization such as the post office, it does affect the morale of its citizens. Be there as it may I also think that when we look at these discrepancies and analyze its causes,we have to take the side of the angels, if you know
    what I mean ๐Ÿ˜‰

  33. […] my Dec 3, 2007 post : POST OFFICE […]

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