Mine is probably one of the few Filipino households with an answering machine. It's one of my souvenirs from my old apartment in Makati. Ordinarily, it would be quite a handy thing to have.
Except: answering machines and Filipinos -- especially Dumaguetenos! -- just do not mix. I've tried the typical, polite, and boring greeting of "I'm not home right now, please leave a message" and nine times out of ten, they. just. hang. up.
Fortunately, I've come across the perfect greeting to which everyone -- and I do mean everyone -- actually leaves a message.
And the message?
"Hello? Hello-ooo? Hello-oooo?"
Then comes the beep, typically unnoticed by callers.
What follows is usually a befuddled mirror response. "Hello? Hello-ooo? Hello? Wala lagi motubag. Na-unsa kaha ni? Hello? Hello! Hello! Guba siguro ang telepono nila. Hello! Hello! Ay, uy! Wala man. Sige na lang."
Even if you don't speak Bisaya, you probably get the gist.
What's that? I don't actually get the name and phone number of the caller? Of course, I don't! But that's miles and miles ahead of my previous response rate, where I got nothing at all.