Friday, March 13, 2015


Maybe it is the result of economic growth.  Maybe it is the result of changes in the ways of doing business.  Whatever the reason may be it is patently clear that we or the economy have long forgotten the dead past.  We are living in modern times where some changes have taken place but we hardly take notice.

I am trying to provide some proofs that we might have finally found our bearing in some key areas of the economy.  Notable among them is the rapid growth of the service industry such as business process outsourcing, call centers, tourism and gaming.  

Also noticeable is the access by the small man to funds from the banks.  In the not-too-distant past, a man who walked into a bank in sleepers will never be noticed –- not by the employees of the bank.  In fact, more often than not the security guard would rudely ask the man what he wants.  Invariably, he is shown the door if the guard cannot understand that the man needs help.

Today, the mountains go to Mohammad.  The banks seek out the small man to help him with small loans to start a business.

BangKo, the first micro bank organized by the Ayala Group, has 200 people going around public and private markets seeking out vendors who are strapped for small capital.

Nearly all banks are involved in micro-, small- and medium-scale lending.

They want to drive out the Indians who lend vendors P5 in the morning and come back to collect P6 in the afternoon.

The job is tough for the small lenders.  The small borrowers are not always able to answer questions asked in a document for a loan.  But the lenders have the patience to teach them, not only how to fill the blanks but more important on the rudiments of doing business like keeping books of accounts, separating personal expense from the revenues of the small business.

There is a whole lot more we feel but hardly take note of.  Chief among them is the undeterred growth of the fast food business principally led by Jollibee which has a looming presence in nearly all continents.

How this hamburger chain was able to beat the other American food chains such as McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken is a question hardly ever asked.  But the success is there for everybody to see. 

In the smaller areas, remarkable changes also continue to happen.  One I can immediately think of is the “disappearance” of tailor shops where men used to have their trousers fitted to a T.

Wearing apparel has long become an off-the-rack business even for women who used to have their clothes made by “modistas” or small dressmakers who usually operate in their homes.

The couturiers are still there.  Their clientele is almost limited to rich women who want to display in big parties the ternos made by, say, Rajo Laurel.  Bridal gowns are expensive.  Clients are few.  Big marriages between and among big families no longer hug the society pages of the newspapers.

The workers of tailor and dress shops – mostly women - might have found their way into garments factories where, by their long experience they probably earn more. 

There is a growing group of people – engineers, managers and the like – who make good business buying after deep selection and at the cheapest price machineries and equipment that used to be the main and only purpose of a big or small companies purchasing department.

Logistics is a growing business.

The biggest among them is a foreign company.  The sense is that foreign firms like Germans and Japanese are able to help their own producers of equipment and other materials back home sell more to the Philippines at a cheaper price and guaranteed quality.

Logistics have reduced the number of personnel in the purchasing departments.  More important, the companies are able to avoid possible cases of overpricing that benefit only the purchasing manager and his cohorts. 

Except for long-established Filipino food restaurants like Barrio Fiesta and Max Fried Chicken, small Filipino food restaurants are now harder to find.  Bacolod Chicken House and the like are practically fast food chains. Chow King, probably the biggest chain, is also everywhere and maybe considered a fast food operation in the sense that the meals it sells are  remarkably cheaper than in a carinderia and is packed ready for pick up by customers.

Fast food chains do not employ as many waiters as restaurants, modest or expensive. Customers in the chains line up for ready to eat meals.  They pay at the end of the line. They can sit at tables if they want to but many simply bite on the food while walking.

Fewer waiters wait on customers.  That clearly cuts down payroll costs.  People in the metropolis, working or unemployed seem to be always in a hurry.  That helps increase demand for items in fast food

The country is going through the motions of showing it is keeping up with the world.  The government and the Catholic Church ignore the cruel reality that people in the boondocks die of hunger and disease.

Tuberculosis is the number one killer among the Mangyan tribe in Roxas, Oriental Mindoro.

The main streets of Metropolitan Manila are lined with beggars asking for food.  This not the  living past in the modern times.
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