Development Economics

Hello, This is Manila. How Can I Help You?

Last week I tried to pay my credit card bill online.  Using a different computer, the site wanted to verify my identity with a security question – “what is the name of your elementary school?”  After three failed attempts, the system locked my account, forcing me to call to re-activate.  When I called Capital One, the girl on the other end of the line spoke perfect English, though she had a slight, almost unnoticeable accent that has become very familiar to me over the last three months.  I asked where she was located, and she said Manila. In order to get into the Philippines, you need a flight out of the country.  Back in November I booked a refundable ticket from Manila to San Francisco on United Airlines.  The other day I called up to cancel the flight and collect my cash.  The girl picked up the line and same song, second verse.  I asked if she was calling from Manila, and she confirmed – Makati, to be more specific.  “I was just in Makati for a conference,” I said.  “Yes, this is the business center of Manila, sir,” she responded.  I felt better knowing that I was dealing with a Filipino on the other end of the line. (more…)