This is a story of how Filipino business practices that are monumentally stupid.
I am a Filipino Computer Engineer working for a large, multi-national IT services and products
provider. I work on various networking technologies that make large-scale internet and mobile
services possible. I am in-charge of research, design, development, and testing for these
services before they even make it to the marketing department. I had been exposed to international
standards as I was able to work abroad for quite a while. I have been in this field for quite a
few years now.
I have subscribed to the 5.0 Mbps PLDT MyDSL plan. It was working fine, the bandwidth was
good and the latency was low. Up until this January, that is. I was working with software
that required good latency in order to be functional (okay, it was an online game, bite me).
Generally, my ping ranges from 30~80 ms, not bad for a Philippine ISP. But around the first
week of January, my ping started to spike at around 300 ms! I did what any seasoned engineer
would do and did some basic troubleshooting by elimination. In minutes, I have concluded with
utmost confidence that nothing was wrong with my hardware and software (including the PLDT
supplied modem). You see, when I trace the route from my house to the PLDT server in
Makati, the tracing completes in less than 30 ms. Going outside their network, though, would
take at least 200 ms.
So, I called PLDT tech support to present my case. A relative of mine works in a call-center,
so I generally have the idea of what to expect: a bunch of questions that will be asked in
order for them to be able to troubleshoot my problem. A brilliant came up: I would tell the
tech support person that I have done the basic troubleshooting in order to save time. After
waiting for 30 freaking minutes, a tech support guy finally answered my call. It basically
went like this:
Tech: Good afternoon (blah…blah…) How can I help you?
Me: Good day. You see, my internet connection seems to have a very high latency. I have
done basic troubleshooting and I have personally isolated each component of my network
and have concluded that there are no problems with it. I have completed 3 power cycles
for the modem you have provided, to no avail.
Tech: Ok sir. Did you try to turn it off and on again sir?
What the fuck!? I just gave him a detailed explanation on what I did including the power
cycle and he asks me a fucking retarded question. Okay, well, maybe he didn’t understand
me. So I decided to be a reasonable gentleman and did as he told me. Nothing changed.
Here’s what happened next:
Me: Okay, I have done as you have instructed, to no avail.
Tech: Okay sir, please open internet explorer (blah, instructions to clear my cache)
Me: (WTF?) … Okay. Done. Nothing has changed.
Tech: Okay sir, is your modem connected to a router?
Me: Yes, but I guarantee: the latency from my router to your modem is less than 1 ms.
Tech: Okay sir, please plug your computer to the modem directly sir.
Me: Seriously? I told you, there is nothing wrong with my router. My computer to router
latency is less than 1 ms, and so is my router to modem latency.
Tech: Sir, we need to test if it is the router that is causing problems. We do not advise
using routers other than the one we have provided.
Me: So, you are telling me that your PoS router, made by who knows what company, is better
than my custom-firmware high-end router? (DD-WRT, I know you guys can relate)
Tech: I’m sorry sir, we really have to check it.
Me: Fine, but I bet my balls that it won’t change a goddamn thing. (I then do as he said
exactly as he said it) Okay… Done. Nothing has changed.
Tech: Can I put you on hold sir, I have to check your line.
Me: Okay (Finally!)
5 minutes later
Tech: Okay sir. I have checked your line, and it seems that there is no problem. Can you
go to Internet explorer (unintelligible babble about going to speedtest.net)?
Me: Okay… Done! Downloads are ~2.0Mbps and the ping is still 300 ms.
Tech: Um, sir, did you use the PLDT Makati Server?
Me: No, I specifically chose another server because that is the reasonable thing to do.
I did not pay 3000 per month to view the PLDT website.
Tech: Um, sir, just test the PLDT Makati Server please sir.
Me: No, I will not fucking do that because I have no goddamn business with the PLDT
Makati Server. I look up websites from overseas and I have no fucking reason whatsoever
to watch your stupid website! If you are not going to help me then I demand I talk to
So basically, my call was escalated to the supervisory group. It fucking went the same way.
It was utterly pointless to discuss my issue with the freaking supervisor because he asked
me the same set of stupid questions. After explaining to his primitive mind that pinging their
own servers is a pointless exercise, he finally agreed to sending an “engineer” to my house
to check on the issue. I politely asked that they send someone with expertise on the
subject as I do not want to talk to a “technician” because the problem cannot be solved by
simply checking/replacing my wires. He said yes. I thought that was the end of it. But, I
was in for a ride.
So, the next day, an “engineer” came to my house and I discussed with him the problems that
I had with the PLDT latency. I let him use my $2000 custom-built workstation to check on
various stuff. To my surprise, the idiot used the PLDT Makati server to test my connection
and concluded that there was nothing wrong with the connection. I was fucking outraged. I
explained to him that it was pointless because it only checks my connection with PLDT, not
my connection with the rest of the world wide web. Here’s a testament to his monumental
Me: I use the internet to connect to various services around the globe, and I do not
even point my browser to the PLDT website.
Tech: Well, sir, it will have high latency because it will connect to other countries.
Me: Yes, I know that. But 300 ms is too high. A week ago, my latency was around 30 ms.
Tech: Sir, if you look at the speedtest sir, your ping is only 14 ms, very fast sir.
This goes on for a couple of minutes. It took a while to drill into his thick, primitive
skull that I am paying to get content outside PLDT, not to watch pldt.com. I explained
to him how large-scale network infrastructures work, how routing and QoS (Quality of
Service) work, and what throttling and congestion mean. He fucking disregarded it. He
was so full of himself and even boasted that he was a graduate of IT and that he was
not just an ordinary technician. He said he was troubleshooting networks for a very
long time. I swear this “engineer” was arrogant as fuck, but all the while oblivious to
the fact that I fucking create the software used in network equipment that are superior
to what his piss-poor excuse for a company uses.
I showed him that by performing a trace to the most common websites, google, yahoo,
and Facebook, it was very clear that from my network to PLDT’s bridge routers, the
latency was ridiculously low – around 20 ms. From their bridge routers to their own
service provider, the latency was around 280 ms. The fucker was speechless as I had
given him 30 freaking minutes of premium networking lecture (which, I should have
charged him for, by the way).
This idiot then proceeded to plug in this sticker-vandalised contraption, which I think
resembles a laptop from the Neanderthal age, to my router and does the same standard
tests. He did the tracing, and to my surprise, it was 80ms! Now, the smile that was
drawn across this idiot’s face was so fucking smug that it created something new in
the universe – a fifth fundamental force: an attraction between my knee and his face.
(joke from cracked.com)
Damn! I must have been wrong. But, as I was trained for years in true international
standards, I deduced that something must be different. It turns out that the idiot
used the standard DNS used by most PLDT subscribers. His trace always ends up at a
PLDT-designated router whatever the URL traced was. I had to explain to this cave
man that his trace results does not prove his case. This went on for a long, long
time. In an attempt to wipe off that stupid smile of his, I asked him to do a trace,
but instead of a URL, use an IP address instead. I was fucking right. No surprises
there. He doesn’t fucking believe what I had just said. He exclaims “Any IT graduate
can conclude that the slow one here is your PC sir”. At that moment, I wanted to
hit is smug face with my $2000 PC. That was it. I was fucking tired of his bullshit
and threw him out of the house. I called PLDT customer service and reported his ass.
I told them that he didn’t do shit to help solve my problem.
Within minutes, he was back. Apparently, his bosses in Manila sent him to fix my
issue again. I schooled this fucker for another hour and he asks me to sign a form
indicating that the issue was fixed. I fucking said no. He walked out. I called PLDT
support again. He went back. I called PLDT again, and demanded to talk to the person
in charge of their network infrastructure in our local area to school him as well.
They said they would send someone different on the next day.
The next day came, but, to my surprise, everything went back to normal. My bandwidth
was around 5.0 Mbps and my latency was 15 ms (not using PLDT servers to test, of course).
Someone must have grown tired of listening to my brand of education. I practically
schooled the idiots enough for them to get 3 diplomas, or something.
For now, my internet connection is back to normal. Next time, I might consider offering
tutorials and workshops to the shit-tier technicians that local telcos pass off as their
“engineers”. If it does improve services in any way, I would fucking do it for free. But,
knowing Filipino culture, it won’t change a thing as these idiots would still follow
company issued SOPs. I would transfer to other ISPs if they provided better service.
But as piss-poor as PLDT is, it is orders of magnitude better than Globe, at least in
our area. Fuck you Globe and fuck you PLDT.