Thursday, August 25, 2011

Day 642: Filipino Sights!

23 August, 2011

It was a FANTASTIC day! Super long, super tiring but super fantastic!

There were two key highlights. The first one was the consumer work we did in Manila which was a combination of accompanying our sales team as they go around with their house-to-house selling, visiting a consumer in her house as well as visiting a public market.

First was the house-to-house selling - We joined our sales team to walk the streets of Manila and try and sell shampoos! Now that was not easy at all! But it was an up, close and personal experience with the locals.

After a very warm welcome by the sales team, we started to walk along really narrow roads lined with cramped and densely populated housing structures. Some very amusing things were:

a) How the dogs, cats, chicken, etc. were roaming about pretty much on every bit of free space available - it was amazing how much animal and bird life there was even that central in the city!
b) Shy housewives peeping from behind the doors and the not-so-shy housewives trying to make conversations with our group.
c) The jeepneys that seemed to be able to make their way through even such narrow roads - they reminded me of the autorickshaws back at home where the drivers twist, turn and ease their way out any kinda traffic jam!
d) The darling boy who clamped the mouth of his dog shut to stop it from barking when we went to his house. Both were looking so super cute that I had to take a picture!

After the walk with the sales girls, we visited a consumer's home for an interview. That was a very interesting experience as well. She had a shack as her home, in which her parents and siblings stayed with her. It was a really tiny place and we all squeezed into a room that tripled up as the living room, bedroom as well as the kitchen. She didn't have chairs for the 4-5 of us to sit on, so she quickly got a few plastic chairs from a neighbour only to realize that there wasn't enough space to put those 5 chairs in. When she started to despair, we assured her that we are just as comfortable on the ground and then settled in for an hour long talk. It was a classic eye-opening session because you realize that in spite of how small one's house is or how little money one might have, you can still be perfectly happy. Because that's what she was - perfectly happy.

After meeting her, we went and visited what the Philippinos call the "public market". It is basically where the real poor folks (i.e. bulk of the population) shop but it also serves as a wholesale outlet. This was another fascinating experience and I actually have a few picture to illustrate this.

Firstly, it was yet another place which was abundant with animal life. We spotted a cat breastfeeding its kitten in midst of all that commotion in the market!

One shop had a couple of super adorable dogs happily roaming about inside it.

Also got to see the pink coloured eggs - a few told me they were "salted" eggs while some others told me they were the half-fertilized eggs (so you get like half a chick in it I believe) that is a highly popular Philippino cuisine! Am not sure which one it is, but either way, the colours were fascinating.

I must also add that we walked amongst some very disturbing fish and butcher shops but I didn't stop long enough at these spots to take pictures!

Last but not the least, we also realized that sometimes, what we provide the shopkeepers as ways to promote our brand are happily used for other purposes - like price tags for eggs!

To sum up, that was really some awesome consumer work we did and that was the first highlight for the day.

The second highlight, which was equally important to me, was that I had another round of kickass presentation to one of the GMs.

It always feels good to give a well-accepted presentation but this was also special because I did the presentation past 9pm at night of such an eventful day. I was tired, sticky from all that heat and pollution and simply coulndn't wait to get to bed. But I had to present, and I did and I was so so so so relieved when it was well accepted!

So yes, a really incredible day!

658 more to go.

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