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It started back in June of 2005. I was employed by TeleTech Holdings a customer service call center operator as a Fraud and Compliance Investigator. There was a concern at one of the centers in the Philippines. I was sent down for a couple of weeks to help resolve an issue with a client. Now keep in mind, though my title might sound ominous, a great part of our work involved not only intervention but prevention of potential problems. We were involved not only in fraud investigations, but also in resolving a wide variety of compliance concerns from Human Resource issues to IT.
Guards outside of the Shangri-La hotel.
I remember that first trip like it was yesterday. Management wanted someone on the ground right away. Other members of our team were all ready occupies with other cases. On June 23rd, the day before my birthday I boarded the jet from Denver via Vancouver BC for the long flight to Manila. Going to Manila from the US involves crossing the International date line, thereby loosing a day. I slept through my birthday somewhere over the Pacific Ocean and landed on June 25th in Manila. I stayed in Makati while there.
It was during this first trip that I developed a great interest in this incredible country, where despite so many challenges, they always seemed to have so much hope and desire for creating a better life.
My first trip was very short, but in October of 2006 I was sent back to the Philippines for 1 year. That year was perhaps one of the most challenging for me as far as my work went but one of the most enjoyable as far as life outside of work. I had many friends, and life moved a bit more slowly (outside of the office). I stay in touch with some of my friends to this day, always hoping to someday return.
Unfortunately we worked US daytime hours, which meant working night hours in the Philippines. This proved a detriment to my doing as much photography as I would like. But still I managed a little. Below is a slide show that shows the Philippines through my eyes during my time there. Because of my work schedule, many of these images were taken from the “Company Van” on the way to or from work. Cameras used were my Olympus E-500 that I took with me, but carrying around a kit (along with the work equipment I had to carry) wasn’t always practical so I picked up a pocketable Nikon Coolpix S10 initially and later a Panasonic FZ50. The FZ50 was nearly ideal for shooting from “the hip, vans, cars, etc” and provided much better quality then the S10. But regardless, I basically never went anywhere without at least one of my cameras.
Still hoping someday to return, but with a quality system kit and a few lenses, just for the purpose of photographing one of the most beautiful and hospitable countries I have every visited. Now on with the show. This slide show runs about 13 minutes. I recommend viewing it in 720P HD on youtube itself.
Slide show on YouTube or click below.