Scam at the BGC Stopover Parking

Parking is expensive at Bonifacio Global City (BGC). The current rate for most of the parking facilities, BGC Stopover included, charges PhP50.00 for the first three hours then PhP50.00 for each succeeding hour or any part thereof. For a regular nine hour work-day, that amounts to a total of PhP350.00! As a way to reduce that cost, I usually move my car out before the first three hours is up – usually 5-10 minutes. Then go back in for a fresh three hours. I do this, together with other patrons, as many times as needed until I get to some parking facility that has a lower rate.

In the case of BGC Stopover, they are very strict at implementing the “any part thereof” that even if you exceed by just one minute, you pay PhP100.00 (50.00 for the first three hours + 50.00 for the excess one minute). To give the proper context, the payment counter for the parking is located at basement 1 of BGC Stopover. Once you step up to the counter, the cashier gets the RFID card and scans it to know the timestamp when you entered and compute for the number of hours/minutes you’ve parked. Once you pay, you get a ten minute grace period to get your car out of the parking facility before it charges you an additional hour.

As a law-abiding “BGCtizen”, one does not argue whether the policy is too strict or whether the rate is too high. They’ve set the rules and we follow it no matter how absurd the rates are. The system is stable such that it records the time of entry and computes for the minutes and you pay based on the agreed-upon rates. We, the patrons, act accordingly. Until the system destabilizes.

Beginnings of a Scam

This week, the RFID system is down. The payment counter at basement 1 is no longer manned. They placed someone at the entrance to record the plate number and time of entry on a piece of paper. They also placed someone at the exit ramp to get that piece of paper, computes for the number of minutes and asks for payment.

Today was supposed to be just like any normal day. I follow the law, abide by the agreed-upon contract of using the parking facility for my car and pay the corresponding amount. On my first three hours, I was lucky enough to get out without any issues and with just a short queue of cars. I paid PhP50.00. I overheard the guard on duty that the cashier is really slow and that she must be new.

Then after almost three hours, I, the law-abiding “BGCtizen” went to move my car before my second three hours was up. I headed to my car, started the engine and drove to the exit. And in good faith, respecting the agreed-upon contract, I had around 10 minutes left. When I reached the first turn, lo and behold, there was a line of cars. I waited and waited, moving inch by inch as the cars in front of me slowly progressed towards the exit. I should be out by 4:25PM and at this point, I knew I wouldn’t make it. I was inconvenienced and somebody isn’t holding up their end of the agreement. But I have had faith in the system. And when it was finally my turn, I was being asked to pay for PhP100.00. The cashier said that I was over 4 minutes.

I insisted that I was in line and was just waiting for my turn. I even have proof. She said I should have adjusted so that I can get out before my time was up.

And that’s when I, the law-abiding “BGCtizen” lost it.


I tried to rationalize her statement. I wanted the system to be stable. In my head I was asking myself, how can I adjust? How will I know how slow she would be? Do I compute the rate of cars going out factoring in the cars that were merging from the other direction and the cars that are moving around to get to the basement 2? How do I compensate for the cascading delay of motion of each driver coming from a full stop?

What’s to stop her from deliberately slowing down so that everyone ponies up the extra PhP50.00? How many minutes should I adjust back? Do I go there 20 minutes earlier? 30 minutes? The agreed-upon contract was PhP50.00 for the first three hours then PhP50.00 for each succeeding hour or any part thereof. Not two and a half hours!!! Nowhere in the agreement was a clause that says I am still responsible for the excess minutes even if the cause of delay was the system. Did I acted in bad faith? Did I try to game the system by four minutes? What happened to the ten minute grace period?

The location where the cashier is currently at also blocks those who are moving around the ramp to get into basement 2. This does not make sense and is either not well-thought of or a deliberate way to congest and delay cars from moving around.

When I exceed by even one minute, I, the law-abiding “BGCtizen” pay up. But when they are at fault, they still have the audacity to be strict and not even stop and think for a bit that they were the ones causing the bottleneck. They were the ones delaying everybody to their advantage. They were the ones scamming everyone.

Simplest Solution Makes the Most Sense

Bring back the old system of paying first before getting into the cars. Even if this is done manually, it will still be more efficient than the current one. No arbitrary adjustments required. Have someone posted by the exit just to check if the time-out is within the ten minute grace period.

You’re welcome.

My Last Day At Aprimo

As many of you know, this is my last day as an Aprimo employee.

Why did I decided to leave? A matter of principle. Let me first share the creed that I follow in life – a variation of Elbert Hubbard’s Loyalty Pledge.

If you work for a man in heaven’s name, work for him, speak well of him, stand by him and stand by the institution that he represents. Remember that an ounce of loyalty is worth a pound of cleverness.

If you must growl, condemn and eternally find fault then resign your position and when you are at the outside, damn to your heart’s content. But as long as you are part of the institution, do not condemn it because if you do, the first high wind that comes along will blow you away and you will probably never know why.

So why did I decide to move on? Truth be told, I lost hope. I conceded to the thought of things not getting better with the leadership, or lack thereof, in Manila.

Many sacrifices were made. Some were shoved aside, others did not get the point across, but collectively came to fruition. I am not sure how much damage was done and how deep it goes as far as the morale of the Manila center is concerned but with the recent changes and with a familiar face soon at the helm of the Manila center, things are finally taking a turn for the better, moving forward. I did not expect the needed change to come so swiftly and abruptly but it did.

Everyone now knows that there is hope, myself included.

Despite how things turned out and the generous counter-offer, I still decided to move on. Every time I think about the people I consider as my family at work, I could not separate the thought of how much injustice has been allowed to persist for the longest time and from how it should have been if only the right person was placed in the right role in the first place. As a result, there are those who are putting their self-interest first instead of the greater good. Not long after the buyout, I witnessed self-preservation over truthfulness, favoritism over loyalty and weight on tenure over merit. I can no longer do my responsibilities without being cynical. I think that at this point, moving on is better than second-guessing actions and motives. Trust is the only currency we need, for without it, there is nothing more to say.

I will not ask you to be happy for me nor to be worried for me nor will I tell you that I am surprised to make this announcement because I am doing this on my own accord and not because I am being pushed out of the company with a graceful exit. I am moving on in pursuit of maturity in my career and to temper my emotions when the subject matter turns into my work family because the recent experiences left that much bad taste in my mouth that I cannot stay.

But in spite of the things that went wrong, I met you. To each and everyone of you whom I have been able to work with, share light moments with, laugh with or even suffer with… I thank you for making this chapter in my career worth looking back to.

To those who are asking which company I will be moving on to, it is Within The Walls of this building. 😉 So if there is something that needs to be said, you know where to find me.

In any case, don’t be a stranger and say hi every now and then.


How Shakey’s Sponsored My Birthday After Almost Ruining It

It’s my birthday!

I woke up almost lunch time due to a get together the night before. It was raining so we decided to order in lunch from Shakey’s. Wifey ordered a lot because I heard her say “…change for PhP 1,500.00…”. I also heard the her give my number in addition to her number – maybe so that they can make sure that the order isn’t bogus since it’s a lot. So that’s done. We just needed to wait for the delivery to arrive.

I remember Mommy and Daddy bringing us to Shakey’s for some birthday celebrations when we we’re kids (can’t recall who’s birthday though). But I can clearly remember the Bunch-of-lunch with pizza, spaghetti, chicken and mojos and the super shakes! Even during and after high school, I’ve celebrated a birthday or two at Shakey’s.

Then things turned for the worse. The agent told us during the first call that if our order was not delivered within an hour, the order is going to be free of charge. After waiting for an hour and a half, wifey called the hotline to follow-up. To our surprise, the agent told her that the branch assigned to our area can no longer accommodate the delivery and since nobody followed-up before the hour was up, the order was not going to be delivered. Why do I need to follow-up before the hour is up? Why did they asked for two numbers if they are not going to contact us anyway? Wifey asked if that’s it and if there is nothing the agent can do with the current situation after making us wait for an hour and a half. The agent just kept on apologizing and saying that there is nothing they can do.

At this point, I took the phone from my wife and asked the agent to connect me to the manager of the branch assigned to our order. Daddy always said to talk to the manager regardless if it is a complain or a complement. The agent then placed me on hold for a few minutes and when she came back, she told me that the manager doesn’t want to talk and that there is really nothing that they can do. I insisted that I needed to talk to the manager and that I would go to their branch personally if the manager would not talk to me over the phone. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry, much more when I’m hungry. Hell, I don’t even like myself when I’m angry. The agent placed me on hold once again but longer this time around. When she came back, she told me that all was taken cared of already. She gave me the order tracking number (03107191) which I was to present. We can get our food either by pick up or by dining in but the catch is, it’s on a different branch. And it’s all for free. Bleh! The concept of free food in exchange for the inconvenience doesn’t sit well with me. So anong pinaglalaban mo? Prinsipyo, teh. Prinsipyo!

We decided to agree with the arrangement since the branch was near the mall where we were going to later in the day. They didn’t say that we need to go to the branch right then and there so we did so only when it was convenient for us. They’ve inconvenienced us too much already.

When we got to the branch, I talked to the manager and told her what happened. I gave her the order tracking number and I also told her that I am a SuperCard holder and that today is my birthday. We were just attempting to celebrate and not be inconvenienced by all this miscommunication and irresponsibility. She went back to the counter and found our food all packed up and ready for take out. I could imagine the pizza being soggy, the chicken not being crispy, drinks stale due to the melted ice and the pasta no longer al dente with cold meatballs. Lo and behold, the manager ordered the crew to cook-up a new meal and in a few minutes, we were served with freshly cooked pizza, pasta and others – the way it should be served – hot and fresh out of the oven. The manager also gave us a pair of iced-tea and another pizza on the house.

At the end of our meal, I talked to the manager and she urged us to file a formal complaint via email (wecare(at)shakeys(dot)biz(dot)ph). It turns out that the agents in the hotline knows (or should know) which areas are no longer covered by which branch and that the order should not have been accepted in the first place. There have been instances similar to mine and that the branch would have to absorb the losses when it could have been avoided if the agent(s) in the hotline did their jobs properly.

Anyway, the order tracking number can be traced to the agent and a thorough review of historical transactions would certainly reveal a pattern – if there are any.


Called for food delivery. Delivery promo: If it’s late, it’s free. (1-hour grace period)
Waited for one and a half hour.
Talked to agent. Got apologies.
Wanted to talk to branch manager. Got turned down. Got more apologies.
Insisted to talk to branch manager. Threatened to physically go to the branch.
Informed that I need to go to a different branch. Bribed with free food. Got some more apologies.
Went to a different branch to pickup my food for delivery which I decided to just dine in.
Branch manager did what any decent manager would do.
Faith in Shakey’s restored.

Special thanks to Shakey’s Lagro branch for the hospitality and to Ms. Kate Tonogan, the Manager On Duty who did the right thing.

When Services Don’t Work As They Should

Don’t you just hate it when you are paying for services that doesn’t work as they should?

Finally, after being a long-time subscriber, I went to a PLDT business center and asked them to cut my line. I told them to cut everything including the landline, mobile landline and DSL internet. They asked me why and I told them that the internet service is so slow (like less than 1Mbps slow) despite being subscribed to the 8Mbps plan. Then they proceed to ask me if I’ve reported the issue to their support hotline. F*CK! Of course I did! More than once! And nowhere near the advertised speed! For crying out loud, I am paying for almost 3,000PhP per month and I should be the one reporting if I am not getting the service that I am paying for?!

Moving on, I subscribed to Smart’s All-In 500 plan since the 4G-LTE speed in my area is way better than their sister company’s DSL offering (yes PLDT, I’m referring to you). I intend to use the postpaid line as my internet for the household.

The idea is to get charged P5 per 15 minute from the plan’s consumable amount and let the Anti-Bill Shock (ABS) kick in to cap the charges. The ABS was 1,200PhP for as long as I can remember but this October, Smart changed it to 2,500PhP. As long as I am getting better (unthrottled) speeds and no volume caps, I can live with that. By my computation below and from my experience with PLDT, I’m still getting a better deal even with the new ABS.

The only problem with the ABS increase is that my credit limit is set to only 1,000PhP. This means that if my unbilled usage goes beyond that limit, the service is temporarily disconnected. Smart has a dashboard called mySmart where subscribers can request for an increase in credit limit. Below the form is a section for Important Reminders – fair enough.

So I went ahead and submitted a request for an increase in credit limit to 3,500PhP so that it is more than the ABS.

Lo and behold, I got a response the following day via SMS:
I was almost impressed with the response time – almost. Reading through the SMS, I would have to…

  1. Submit the same documents I submitted when I applied to become a postpaid subscriber – just a few months back.
  2. Submit those documents to – when the form to request for a credit limit increase does not have any facility to do so!
  3. Go to Help & Support and narrate the concern – what the f*ck is the credit limit increase request form for?
  4. Fax. lol

In just an hour or so, I get another SMS:

Can somebody please let them know that a quick response time means squat when it is out of context?