My wife and I made our monthly shopping trip to Iloilo City recently. Before we stopped at the SM HyperMarket to do our grocery shopping we hailed a taxi to go to the Cignal main office.
Hanging out with friends, Ann and Papa Duck, at "The Farm"
I had been told by an employee at the Southern Food Place in Guimaras, our current home in the Philippines, that Cignal satellite provided their Internet service. We’ve been without any local Internet Service Provider since our move to “The Farm” in October of last year but have been able to obtain satellite service from Cignal at our new remote location.
Problem is, we didn’t know the exact address for the main office. An online search had only revealed that the satellite provider’s HQ was on General Luna Street in the Lapaz section of Iloilo. That’s all we had to go on.
Our cabbie said he knew where the office was. But after going down General Luna, no Cignal office was in sight. Deciding to cut our losses, I told the driver to let us out near a PLDT office. Maybe someone at this telephone company could help us out.
A helpful Filipina at PLDT was able to give us directions to the Cignal office and even a contact name. The establishment was located near St. Clements Church, about two blocks away. It was a hot, sunny day but my wife had her umbrella to protect us from the heat of the sun and we took off.
After about 10 minutes we spied St. Clements. I looked across the street and saw the Cignal office. After dodging a few jeepneys on the busy thoroughfare, we entered the office and my asawa asked for our contact, “Edward.”
Edward was in the back room and seem puzzled that a kano and his Filipina wife would be asking for him.
“Who gave you my name?” the young man asked.
My wife informed him that that an employee at the nearby PLDT office had provided that info. I explained to him what we wanted.
“But sir, that service is not available in Guimaras,” Edward said.
“But why does the Southern eatery in San Miguel, Jordan in Guimaras have wi-fi internet service that they tell me is provided by Cignal?” was my reply.
“Just a moment, please, sir,” he replied, “let me check.”
Now on the pump boat ride over to Iloilo my wife had informed me that she did not want me to get angry if we could not get the internet service from Cignal. She has experienced how frustrated I can get sometimes when doing business in the Philippines.
Riding the pump boat to Iloilo City
I made no promises but only said that if Southern has internet service in Guimaras, I did not see any reason why we could not get it.
About ten minutes passed by. Edward advised us that no one knows of any Internet service being offered by Cignal in Guimaras. However, he took our number and informed us he would get back with us if he found anything out.
I knew it was senseless to continue down this road so I thanked him and we took off to hop on a jeepney to the HyperMarket. I would have to wait until we returned to our home on the mango province and go back to the Southern eatery and find out who the contact person was at Cignal that had “negotiated” the Internet service.
A few days later I dropped by Southern, the eatery with the Cignal Internet service. This time the owner was in. And finally, I had some answers.
A man was behind the front counter who had the look of a manager (he was older than the rest of the staff.)
“You look like a man with authority,” I said, as I strolled up to the front counter. “Are you the manager or the owner?”
“I’m the owner, Sonny,” the gentleman replied.
“First off,” I continued, drawing upon my B.S. reserves, “I want to tell you that I’ve eaten at your restaurant a few times and like the food. And the staff is very friendly and helpful.
“Thank you, sir” the friendly owner replied, smiling, and seeming quite pleased.
“But here’s the real reason I stopped by. One of your employees informed me that your Internet service is provided by Cignal. We cannot get any Internet service at our location but we do have a Cignal satellite.” I informed him.
No, sir, “he advised me, “We get our Internet service from Smart Bro.”
“Oh, Ok,” I replied, “That explains why the Cignal office in Iloilo had no idea what I was talking about.”
I discovered that “Sonny” is the son of “Boy” the owner of Southern Trading, a local market, and a neighbor of ours behind my wife’s home at “The Compound.” I blabbed on and made some more small talk, shook “Sonny’s” hand, thanked him, and left.
Internet at The Farm in Guimaras? The conclusion: no Internet service; a classic case of miscommunication in the Philippines. But it made it easier to narrow our search for property in Guimaras.
A location near a Smart Bro tower will be essential. But our next move is not going to happen until the end of this year. It looks like our local Internet café is going to keep getting my 15 pesos per hour. A small price to pay for living in “paradise, ” I guess.