Post Office Blues

I’m one of those old souls that finds enjoyment in doing things the old fashion way. Like sending  letters with stamps pasted using my “laway” (saliva). With the letter goes a sample of not only my handwriting but also my DNA!

I remember accompanying my Nanay to Makati Post Office near where the Bombero’s (firefighters) HQ is located. The MPO is not far from where we used to live. We’ll just walk from Pasong Tamo, then Avenida Buendia. Its a quick 15 to 20 minute walk. In front of the PO are some mais (maize), nilagang mani (peanut), cigarrette, candy and Yakult vendors.

I was supposed to send two letters today using our local post office (Alabang) located on the second storey of the Alabang Public Market. One was bound to Dumangas, Iloilo. The other to Chile. The former, mostly pictures taken in Iloilo, was cheaper as it is local. The latter, a book, was not. I decided not to send it through our local post office. I’ll send it in Singapore instead since postal service is cheaper there. The only explanation I got why it cost too much (1500 pesos regular!) was that “malayo na masyado yan, sir” (Its too far, sir). Obviously it is far, but how come a package like that would cost less (around 500 petot) in expensive Singapur!

Well, it is what it is.

Post office use to be beautiful buildings with arches, balconies, shutters, statues and lofty interiors. The building in Manila (liwasang Bonifacio) is a testament to this – I wonder how long the national postal corporation would hold on to it.

Now, most of our local post offices are cramped spaces with inadequate ventilation and often times rude employees. Gone are the days when you look forward to your next post office visit.

Postal services around the world are facing tough economic challenges as well. Some say that the business is not not bringing in enough money like it used too. Well, that’s understandable, with so many alternatives now available to the public. Like the newspapers business, eventually, PO’s would one day become obsolete.

June 2011


3 responses to “Post Office Blues

  • Girlie_Alabang

    Maybe the reason why postal offices are behind the scene is because aside from slow service, the employees were kinda snob and sometimes rude to accomodate customers. Just like my experience with Alabang Postal Office.

  • Elizabeth Medina

    ¡Hola Arnaldo!

    ¡Qué emoción! Ese es el librito — o la fotocopia de un libro — para mí ¿verdad?

    I have a little vignette about the P.O. in Parañaque, near the Domestic Airport. I had gone to a seminar in Banahaw and met some wonderful people, one of them a mountain guide. And with all he legends in Banahaw about the 2nd coming of Christ, the Day of Judgment, all interwined with revolutionary lore — for ex., that one day José Rizal will enter the cave were Bernardo Carpio is asleep, and that will be the day when the Filipino nation becomes free again — I knew that I had to send him Rey Ileto’s “Pasyon and Revolution”. It’s one of my all-time favorite books.

    So, back in Parañaque where my brother’s house was, I bought the book and wrapped it up and took it to the P.O. A very nice lady attended to me. It was like a long wooden building with the front of it open, with a long counter, on which the functionaries had their stamp machines.

    When I handed her the package and she saw the address, her eyes lit up, she gave me a lively look, and — you know what she said to me? “Ah — NPA!”

    I almost laughed out loud. It was so surreal!!!

    So maybe my friend the mountain guide, that sweet young man, married, 8 kids, struggling — was NPA. How exciting.

    Well, then he _had_ to have a copy of Pasyon and Revolution, right?

    Right. 😉

    Cheers,
    Tía Isabel

    • De AnDA

      @Tía Isabel – Yes. I’ll be sending you two – one tagalog and the other a photo book I got from NHI. I’ll send it in Singapore. Postal fees here in ‘pinas going there is ridiculous. “Pasyon” of Lleto is one of my favorite too. You know, I sent him several emails before in Singapore so I could meet him and maybe have my copy signed. Never got any response – must be a busy man. He teach history there – not sure why he’s not here.

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