Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Surviving in the Philippines: Towards an Online and Connected World

Wazzup Pilipinas!

We have no landline at home and only uses mobile phones, email and social media networks to communicate with the outside world. Our ten floor "condo" does not allow the installation of wired services and utilities so we have to settle with mobile services.

We are accessing the Internet via a portable Wi-Fi dongle. I had no problems before but when the telecom companies implemented the Fair Usage Policy (FUP) where they will automatically downgrade your service to a speed like that of a dial-up connection once you reach the 3 GB bandwidth limit which they forcibly implemented on all the mobile Internet or data accounts of their subscribers.

You could probably imagine our agony whenever we use the Internet now. When before I could watch all day any YouTube or online streaming video, now I'm lucky if I even reach more than three videos. I  was also downloading some torrents before, now it's zero for me.

We were also using a satellite provider for our TV access. But it brought some problem with the building management since according to them they would not allow the bulky satellite dish installed infront of our unit which looked like mushrooms sprouting. They had to confiscate all the satellite dishes of the tenants which had the service installed. I guess this fucktards wants us to live in the stone age just to maintain the "look" of the place. What is wrong about teh move is that they could have just worked with the satellite TV provider and recommended an alternative way to setup the service in our building.

One day I was inspired to write about many things on my blog so decided not to leave home and try ordering for food using an online service which is now operating in the Philippines. I think the online service is originally based in Berlin, Germany but have sister companies already operating in the country.

It will cost me more if I use my mobile phone to call the landlines of restaurants which I searched over the Internet. It came into mind why should I leave the computer and use a different tool to order. I was already infront of a very powerful means of communication. So I tried using the Foodpanda online service which gave me more convenience as compared to trying to Google which restaurants are nearby and what food can be ordered from them.

Foodpanda is a fairly new online service that specializes in food delivery from a wide range of restaurants to the location of your choice such as homes and/ or offices. It is currently in 17 cities in the Philippines including Manila, Pasig, Makati, and Quezon City.

I used my tablet to install the mobile app, and got it working instantly, ordered from two restaurants nearby the Pasig area where I live, and after a few minutes received a call from the Foodpanda operator to confirm my order.

I had no problem with the first restaurant where I ordered a pizza and a burger, but there was this issue of the voucher forfeited on the other resto because the resto didn't have the food available or in stock. I was advised to reorder at another resto but I could no longer use the voucher for another online order at a different resto since the voucher was considered invalid already.

But the Foodpanda operator called me up on my mobile phone to inform me of the problem and had me just choose an alternative order at the original resto.... However, he got the food from another branch of the resto, and they padded the price with an additional cost, aside form the delivery fee. This means I had to pay more than the usual.

Well I eventually got all the food I ordered online within the day. That's good enough for me since I was still able to do a lot while transacting with the Foodpanda operator who was very courteous enough to explain the cause of the problem.

Ordering online surely beats ordering by phone, but the only disadvantage is that the content may not be updated as compared to actually talking to a real person. In my case, the website still displayed a food option that was no longer available from the resto maybe because it is out of stock which you would know immediately if you called by phone instead.

However, the fault is not really with the online service but with the resto who probably didn't declare that they ran out for the day. I really couldn't blame the resto that much as well because who would have the luxury of time to inform or update. Overall, the experience was satisfactory since in the end, I got what I wanted within an acceptable time frame.

Surviving in an online world obviously has pros and cons especially when some people and processes still live in the old age. Everything still needs to be polished to perfection or at least to a considerable amount of satisfaction. With the way things are progressing, there is no doubt that our lifestyle will soon be more integrated with the online world to provide convenience, less manpower and more systematic processes. However, it is evident that there will still be points of error when human input is required. Thus, we still have to admit that not all automated procedures will work if we will not cooperate with technology.

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