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Today is the Day of Our Independence June 12, 2008

Posted by Janjan in 1.

Today is the day of our liberation, where we celebrate the true fruits of freedom, prosperity, happiness and civil governance.

We look back with gratitude for all who have gone before us, mindful that it was through their struggles… their sacrifice of lives and dreams that made this dream of freedom a reality for you and I.

And it is with this spirit that I bid each one a Happy Independence Day, and in solemn gratitude I say:



Post-script to “Who Speaks for this House?” February 5, 2008

Posted by Janjan in 1.

I once wrote a blog post commenting on a former issue regarding the title of Speaker of the House.

It’s interesting how things have turned out. I honestly did not see that coming.

This is now my new comment on the latest major development in Philippine politics:

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What do Kris, Sharon, Dolphy and the Magnificent Atty. Perez have in common? January 3, 2008

Posted by Janjan in 1.
I’ve been many things in my life: a lawyer, a CPA, a banker, a teacher, a manager, a clerk, a website designer, a mailroom attendant, an actor, a production assistant, an assistant photographer, an altar boy, a back-up dancer, a lead singer, and yes, even a pamphlet boy (or someone who hands out pamphlets in the middle of a busy street). I’ve probably done every odd job imaginable, but in all my line-up of work done, there is only one job which has brought me so much fulfillment in my life. One role where I feel so much contentment doing at the end of the day.

And yes friends, it’s the same job which I share in common with Kris Aquino, Sharon Cuneta, and Dolphy…. we have all worked for McDonald’s.

 Well, so okay, maybe Kris, Sharon and Dolphy are product endorsers, and I was a mere crew member, but still, we all did work for McDonald’s, in one way or another.

(Well actually, Janjan was also a product endorser, even to the point of appearing on local TV while eating a hamburger. But this was for a local Cebuano company then known as MacJoy, which recently lost to a tradename infringement by McDonald’s and is now known as “My Joy” – Ed.)

Yup, believe it or not, the Magnificent Atty. Perez used to work for McDonald’s as a service crew. He used to man the front counter and spewed out lines like, “Good morning, welcome to McDonald’s, may I have your order please?” “Would you like that for here or to go?” “Wanna have that super-sized Sir?”

I used to have burn marks running all down my arm from scraping the grease off the large metal patty fryers. I’ve been inside the frigid walk-in closets and taken out boxes of barbecue sauce for the Chicken McNuggets. I’ve manned the drive-in counter and simultaneously take the order of the person at the speaker box, while handing the change of the person making payment, as well as running to front counter and yelling expletives at the crew member who’s slow at assembling my orders. (“Shove that Quarter Pounder with no pickles in the bag, beetch and be quick about —” *headset rings, indicating another car at the speaker box* “–Oh hi, welcome to McDonald’s, this is Jan, may I take your order? Would you like to supersize your fries?”)

It’s damn hard work. You have to be on your feet for 8 hours straight, ready to clean as you go, and drop everything to assemble an order. Cash register errors were limited to only fifteen cents, no more, no less. You have to smile and be courteous to customers, even those who are obviously looking to give you a hard time. Everything had to be assembled within 20 seconds. You have to drop fries, patties and hashbrowns into the fryer when you see a sudden line forming in front of the counters. It was tiring, inane and you get paid minimum wage.

But damn, I loved every minute of the job!

The first time I worked for McDonald’s was at the Travis Road branch in Fairfield, CA (a small town within the Bay Area). I had a Filipina boss named Faye, a mostly Filipino and Latino crew, and our lunch rushes were hell! I guess I grew to love the camaraderie and team work between me and the people. We watched out for each other’s backs and stood up for one another during tough situations.

I grew close to some of the regular customers, to the point that I memorized their orders. Every morning we had the Ilocos Mafia come in (a group of Filipino senior citizens who regularly ordered coffee and English muffins with jam and butter). For lunch, there was that business executive who always ordered the American Hamburger meal and carried with him a Guitar magazine. The pretty ladies who liked to flirt and beg for a free supersize came in at lunch-time, driving all the way from Armijo High School where my cousins were enrolled at.

It was a good life. I was the best at what I did and became Employee of the Month. I was with the company for only three months but they already promoted me to Crew Trainer. During a problem situation at a sister branch, me and three of the fastest supervisors were hauled off to a nearby town where we took over their undermanned staff.

But I had to leave because I was going back home to the Philippines. Everyone was sad to see me go. Faye and James even offered to have me stay at their place if I wanted to be left behind back in the US. Through my own negligence, I was not able to keep in touch with the wonderful people there. I wonder how they all are now.

I worked for McDonald’s again during the second time I came back to the US, but this time, instead of working at California, I worked at New Jersey in a mall which was the railway station connecting to the New York subway. Probably because I worked mostly with a Caucasian crew, I didn’t enjoy my stay there as much as I did back in California. But the fact that it was still McDonald’s made my work there pretty exciting as well.

The last time I interacted with McDonald’s was only recently when we represented one of the branches here in Cebu in one of their labor cases. I was the lawyer assigned to handle the case. We successfully had the case dismissed.

I hope to be connected with McDonald’s again someday, perhaps as a franchise owner of one of its branches. For sure, if that ever happens, you will find me in the front counter, helping the crew assemble their orders and interacting with our customers. Hehehe. But McDonald’s franchises cost millions, so that just remains one of my idle dreams.

But then again, who knows? To quote one of its older campaign slogans, I would like to say: “Do You Believe in Magic?”

If ever that happens, I guarantee free ice cream sundaes to all my regular readers in WordPress with every purchase of a Happy Meal. An extra toy if you are Tinuod nga Botbot.