The “Good Hands” of Metrobank-Tacurong

The “Good Hands” of Metrobank- Tacurong

By Apolinario Villalobos


Transacting business gives me jitters, not because of anything else but because of the required IDs and people who will “handle” me. As regards IDs, I am wary about what I have because they might not be honored, and for the people who will attend to me, my apprehension is that they might be snooty, unsmiling, robotic in manner who stick to their rules to the last letter, and most of all, the ambience of the office which can give clients negative feelings at times.


During the time I was back to where I saw first the ray of light, in Tacurong, I thought of dropping by Metrobank. The transaction was simple inquiry. Looking at the imposing, albeit, simply architecture office building, I was carried back to the days when the bank was yet renting a ground space in one of the first commercial buildings in my hometown, now a city. Metrobank was the first commercial/universal bank that gave Tacurong a semblance of progress due to its presence. Before its coming, what we had was just the Tacurong Rural Bank that served the needs of the locals and those who live in nearby towns. Transactions were about agricultural loans and savings. That was during the early 70’s, as I remember that some of my batch mates were employed by Metrobank after graduation in 1975.


I left our place to work with Philippine Airlines and due to the scheduled training in Manila, was not able to join the graduation. We were the last graduates who were not less than 60, as the college department was temporarily closed due to the unrest that engulfed the province. I had the chance to take a glimpse of the steadily growing bank every time I come home for a day or at my longest stay of 4 days, Finally, I had my chance of experiencing how it felt to be in the “good hands” of the Metrobankers-Tacurong when I thought of inquiring about their offerings.


Both I and my nephew were in our best “ukay-ukay” attire – cheap walking shorts and faded t-shirt, and of course, in our favorite slippers. The smiling guards opened the door for us. We found the bank full of clients, proof that they are really “bankable”. As we waited for our turn, my nephew approached somebody if we could be attended as what we wanted was just inquiry. We were referred to the Marketing Destk…and the rest was the smooth handling that I was expecting.


My visit to the bank proved that its famous jingle which includes the line, “you’re in good hands with Metrobank”, is indeed, true.

Discourtesy and Indifference of Centauri Guards, Julie Renpillo and Emily Peralta



By Apolinario Villalobos


Courtesy is best defined by actions instead of words…actions that are substantiated by resourcefulness, “extra mile”, and compassion. On the other hand, indifference is the mild opposite of courtesy.


I had experience such indifference or to bluntly put it, discourteous behavior in the hands of two security guards of my former employer, Philippine Airlines, at the PNB Building. Specifically, the guards of Centauri Security Services whom I am referring to are Emily Peralta and Julie Renpillo. It happened in the morning of August 18, 2016 when I was about to pick up something from Chai, a PAL employee just a few minutes before the office opened.


I courteously told the guard, Julie Renpillo (PAL ticket office entrance) that I was expected by Chai as she had something for me, while showing to him my retired PAL employee ID. The guard did not even glance at the ID, and with a cold stare told me that it was not yet “office time”. I reiterated my statement that Chai was waiting for me upstairs and that she cannot come down as she was heavy with a baby (pregnant). Again, the guard told me that it was not yet “office time”. As I know that there was a phone where another guard, Emily Peralta (PAL boutique), was posted, just a few meters from us, I told them to call Chai….THEY REFUSED. For the fourth time, while holding on to my senses, I still calmly requested them to call Chai, BUT STILL THEY REFUSED. It was only when I flared up which is a normal reaction of a person being treated with utmost discourtesy and indifference  that guard Peralta finally called up their colleague at the entrance of the Marketing and Sales office.…..after they have successfully caused my blood pressure to soar!


At the lounge outside the Marketing and Sales office, Chai and the guard, Rolly Zinampan were both apologetic about the incident. I was further calmed down by the Security Commander Roderick Sim who was also profuse with his apologies.


The discourteous PAL guards, Emily Peralta and Julie Renpillo is far different from the very amenable attitude of guards Jeerose Solinap and Jimsey Paz who are assigned at the PAL entrance at the ground floor lobby of PNB building. Both Solinap and Paz as I have observed every time I use the entrance, are very polite to visitors. The same is true with Rolly Zinampan who is assigned at the entrance of the Marketing and Sales Office.


My question here is, what if somebody else was handled the same way, but who may have thought that the guards are organic employees of PAL?…surely, the bad impression would be heaped upon the company. Also, the two discourteous guards Peralta and Renpillo blatantly showed their lack of common sense, especially, the latter who robotically and coldly mumbled the “not yet office time”, despite the explanation that I repeated several times. My purpose for seeing Chai should have caused them to exercise resourcefulness to take an extra mile by calling her for the confirmation of what I told them.


I suggested to the A/S Commander Sim that the two robotic and discourteous guards Peralta and Renpillo be assigned somewhere else, but never in posts that entail direct customer contact as they can definitely besmear the image of the airline with their negative attitude. I just hope something can be done by Centauri Security Services if only to maintain the quality of service of their people that PAL deserves.



A Sweet Smile Spells a Difference in the Conduct of Business Transaction…Philippine Airlines employees still do it

A Sweet Smile Spells a Difference
In the Conduct of Business Transaction
…Philippine Airlines employees still do it
By Apolinario Villalobos

An adage says that one needs only to flex a few muscles to form a smile, unlike a frown that requires almost a thousand. Additionally, while the smile gives radiance to the face, a frown only casts a forlorn aura. And for any business, while a smile, especially, one that is sweet serves as a magnet that attracts good luck and customers, a frown drives them away.

It is a fact that some people are not in the habit of smiling, as if ill- feeling is their shadow. But this can be developed even just for the sake of business transaction. Employers spend big sum to “develop” the habit of smiling for their staff as part of their training in Values, Attitude, and Personality development.

But some people are lucky to be born with the smile habit. These are the people who others say are with the “smiling voice”, too. I have encountered these smiley gals when I visited PAL Head Office at the PNB Building. The first was Galilee “Gal” Gavino, an International Ticketing Representative who at the time was attending to a couple’s travel requirements. I got engrossed on how she graciously went through the transaction, complete with a sweet smile, emphasized by her dimples. I was practically entertained by the way she handled her customers. There was no hurry in the way she explained everything that went with the tickets being transacted, from restrictions to their limitations.

After a considerable time spent at the ticket office for my own requirement, I went back to the Benefits Office for another transaction for which I had to go to the Cashier’s Section for certain payments that had to be made. On the way, I received a call through my cellphone about a not- so-encouraging news which affected my mood. When I entered the Cashier’s Section I was greeted with a very warmly said, “good morning, sir”…”may I help you?”. It came from a lady who was all smiles. She practically vanished my anxieties! Her PAL ID says she was Geraldine Anavie Domingo. Her supervisor, Ms. Evangeline Cueto was likewise smiling, as she stood behind the cashiers, ready to offer help in case of any problem. In less than five minutes, our transaction was concluded!

Experiencing the sweet smile of the two ladies, Ms. Gavino and Ms. Domingo, made me recall the smile campaign many years back, of Philippine Airlines along with its Total Passenger Care Program. They really boosted the sales campaign of the country’s flag carrier. The airline had no domestic competitor due to the “one airline” policy at the time and the Philippine skies was so protected by the government, yet, Philippine Airlines felt the need to steadily improve its image. Such energetic attitude put the Philippine Airlines on the top echelon of the airline industry during those years….to which the pioneer employees always look back every time they reminisce how they spent some of the best years of their life.

Politeness Can Go A Distance…at no cost

Politeness Can Go A Distance
At No Cost
By Apolinario Villalobos

Many idealistic people find it hard to be polite most of the time. These are the people with high standards when it comes to attitude. In their desire to let other people act like them, they become brutally frank and rude. I am one of them.

I admit my fault of being impolite sometimes, otherwise, I will not be truthful in this shared view. I cannot share what I do not know or practice or experience. And, I admit that rudeness has been part of my character as a person. A close friend told me about this and I believed him, so I had been trying to change my ways, ever since. Before, I had been enthusiastically desirous that others do what is “universally” accepted as the right thing to do. In the process, I forgot what I preached sometimes that no two persons are alike, even twins. And that, expectations then, differ on the kind of a person being dealt with. Perhaps, that could be the reason why Mr. Webster came up with the words, “good”, “better”, and “best” in his dictionary.

The only way to recognize and acknowledge the fact on personal differences is by being polite which takes a lot of practice for some people to assimilate in their system. One nice thing about having finally assimilated politeness, is the development of tolerance in our person. And by being tolerant, we avoid becoming judgmental. Politeness triggers so many goodness that a person can ask for. It can go a distance at no cost at all. I tried and proved it to be just right, that is why I am sharing it with viewers who I hope…can tolerate my insistence.

The Social Security System of Bacoor City (Cavite, Philippines)

The Social Security System (SSS)

Of Bacoor City (Cavite, Philippines)

By Apolinario Villalobos


Nowadays, seldom can one find employees who are unassuming, they who dispense their job inconspicuously but with dispatch for the benefit of clients. It cannot be denied that some offices are still wanting in modern facilities so that their staff can function efficiently. Also, there is the stress due to long queues of clients to be attended that affect the nerves.


I have mentioned the Philippine Airlines (PAL) employees of Davao airport station in my earlier commentary on how they handled a stressful situation due to the overflow of passengers and which I have witnessed. They obviously employed temperance to the maximum, a rare feat despite the presence of disgruntled customers breathing down their shoulders.


In another situation, particularly the Social Security System (SSS) office in Bacoor City of Cavite province, south of Manila, I was again witness to a systematic handling of stressful situation despite cramped space and limited manpower. One commendable staff is a certain Ms. Rischelle G. Tabanan whose duty is to interview claimants of benefits and retiring members. I had the chance to be served by the unassuming lady staff who despite the long line of clients that she interviewed ahead of me as a prerequisite in the processing of documents, she was still all smile and did not miss any single reminder about the rules. She did not show any impatience while answering questions to clear apprehensions. In fairness to the other staff, though, I must admit that there could be like Ms. Tabanan in other service areas dispensing their duties efficiently.


The guards likewise showed diligence in handling queries while doing the “walk” around the service area. During the time that I was there, I observed that the two guards on duty did not take a lunch break, of if they did, I could have missed the quickness of how they took the break for a few bite of packed lunch. The service area was practically jampacked with clients that overflowed to the stairway. One of the guards did not get tire of vocalizing reminders for the benefit of those who failed to check the posted guidelines on the tarpaulin.


The SSS is just among the agencies that hit the limelight due to questionable appropriation of funds. The said accusation added a negative color to its already tarnished image.  But thanks to the branch offices that try their best in changing this general impression. The visit that I made to the agency when I filed some documents was my first and I was impressed by the agency’s branch in Bacoor City in making do with what they can to make the members comfortable. All personnel, even office trainees, report to the office on the dot, and their doors are opened for transactions as scheduled. In fact, their concern for members who come from far flung areas shows in how the guards distribute queue numbers as early as six in the morning to give the early arrivals time for a quickie coffee or breakfast. I have talked to some members who told me that they took the risk of commuting from their homes as early as 5AM to be at SSS at  6AM, thereby, missing even a gulp of coffee. Guidelines in big tarpaulins are hung in conspicuous areas and practically even the guards are well-trained and courteous.


While SSS has unassuming employees who work without any complaint despite heavy loads and stress, it should still take a second look at the manpower requirement and work area of its branches. If only for the comfort of the members who patiently stand in queue for a long time while waiting for their turn to be served, the agency should act with haste as membership is steadily bloating. The membership whose contributions grease the components of this particular social security machinery so that they can operate efficiently, deserve a better return from this social security investment, the premium for which is from hard-earned wages.


The following are suggestions intended for SSS in general:


  1. The agency should embark on information blitz via the broadcast media (radio, tv, dailies) for the guidance of the about-to-retire members. Most often, these members come to know about the guidelines on the day they visit the agency on their 60th birthday. In general, members are not informed that processing of documents can be done even a month before their 60th birthday. The rest of information may be about the other benefits and services.
  2. Relocate cramped branches to more spacious buildings without sacrificing the location for the benefit of commuting members.
  3. Provide toilet facilities outside the offices for members who come hours before the opening of office doors. As a rule the toilet facility inside the service areas cannot be used by members while the offices are still closed. However, if this is not possible, the guards should at least be given instruction to allow the use of public toilet inside the office. Also, the janitor should see to it that the toilets are clean all the time.
  4. Most importantly, the agency should exert effort in advising the members about options on how they can maximize their expected pensions. Oftentimes, the members who resigned from jobs but have reached the “maximum contribution” to qualify them for the monthly pension, are told that their total contribution is sufficient, hence, they need not continue paying for the monthly premium. The concerned members are not told that the “sufficiency” of the contribution covers only the “minimum” pension. Had they been “encouraged” to go on paying the premium even as voluntary members until they reach the mandatory age of 60, they could have been assured of a higher amount of monthly pension.


There is no perfect service, as not everyone can be fully satisfied. This is what is meant by the adage, “you cannot please everybody”. However, unassuming human components of the agency should be commended in their effort to make the members satisfied despite limitations. The agency should therefore be sensitive enough to identify these people within their organization for their inspiring effort, so that credit or recognition can be given where it is due.