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  • ekimswish

    Leyte Living

    By ekimswish

    I just arrived back in Leyte this afternoon and had a repeat of the feeling I had the first time I arrived here a year ago: holy crap, this is nice. I was snapping pictures from the airplane, but had the aisle seat so gave up when I thought I got everything I could get. Then, right before landing, we turned into a beautiful scene of the mountains and coconut trees puncturing and brushing against a bright blue sky, but my camera was in the bag! Oh yeah, one more turn, and we landed on the runway facing the ocean, with Samar across the pond. Riding in the van from the airport to Burauen was great, except for my daughter getting motion sickness and puking in my lap. Thank god for her favorite pillow to soak most of the blow. There were still 20 minutes of driving, so that's a lot of time to avoid the stickiness. Thanks wife for passing that on to our kids. Her daughter puked after a taxi ride to the mall the other day. Anyways, riding through all that lush green was amazing. I know better, but it really feels like this is paradise. I don't really see poverty out here in the countryside. I know people are poor, but they're hard workers. For all the stereotyping I've done of Filipinos not working, this afternoon, I saw nothing but hard labor in the fields and along the road. These guys out here aren't lazy. I feel a little insecure with my flabby self, having taught Korean kids how to play "hangman" for the last 5 years, while these guys have done "man-work". Even the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well out here. I was seeing it in Marikina City more and more, compared to the past, this trip. But now being in the countryside, all I see is people setting up small businesses or working as laborers. It's like it's the same thing I was always looking at, but I'm seeing it differently now. I don't know why. Maybe it's just the giddiness of being back, and actually looking to join their ranks. All I saw along the road were signs for lechon, and it made me feel really comfortable with the business we dove into. Later in the day we got to visit our farm for the first time and I was really happy with that. Business is going well. I thought we were going to sell all 30 pigs at once and sit on a giant sum of money, but it's not going to happen like that. Instead, we'll sell 2~3 pigs a day and get the money gradually. Either way, as long as we're getting paid. I'm still waiting for my lump sum pension refund from Korea, so we're running low on what we brought, and could use the cash injection. I don't know. It just never ceases to amaze me why everyone runs to the city, regardless of the country. I understand the attractions when it's a cool metropolis like Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul, or a similar place in a modern country. But in the developing world, cities are dirty, polluted, crime ridden, stripped of culture, and such. Why would a Filipino rather work hard for pennies in a polluted city, than work for pennies in the beautiful surroundings of their home province surrounded by friends and family? Similarly, why do a lot of foreigners opt for the large cities? I don't know. I loved what I saw today, and to me, this is where the real adventure is. To each their own, but you can't beat fresh air and scenery.

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  1. Jollygoodfellow
    Latest Entry

    My home the city of Brisbane is flooding in some areas,its been raining for about 24 hours now and most heavy fall were last night and early this morning. Its still raining now.

    For me its not really a bother except my job was canceled about 5.30 am,just after I got up,wish I knew before getting up :(

    While watching the TV news seeing houses flooded and cars,machinery etc wrecked it brings a thought about those who were flooded out in Manila and other parts of the country,its bad enough to be in a situation like that here but those poor people who lost all they had with little hope of ever regaining their worldly possessions.

    Life sucks at times.

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    Recent Entries

    The Art and Science of Sailing
    (my first "glob" ever, so bear with me folks)


    One of my hobbies that I should continue upon arrival back to my native land is sailing. Either windsurfing or "flying on a Hobie Cat", they are both a way to get a free ride off Mother Nature. For those of you that have never experience slicing through the water just using the wind and the surf, the Philippines have many beach resorts that offer rentals and sailing instructions.


    I will try to briefly describe my 30+ years of sailing a Hobie Cat 16 footer. Unless you have questions about basic sailing, here is my way of having a great time, especially during inclement weather conditions. Hobie Cats are catamarans designed for speed and more speed. The profile (side view) is banana shaped with the two pontoons separated by a large trampoline. Usually a two man crew but can accomodate 4-6 adults for slow cruising. However, sailing solo is the ultimate ride, enabling the catamaran to "fly" at great distances. The leeward hull is the only one gliding through the water, while the windward hull is "flying" above the water. Sitting on the windward hull for counterbalance, you're trimming both the main and jib sails and handling the tiller to steer the leeward rudder blade, as it cuts through the water like a fast barracuda.


    Can you picture yourself sitting on the windward hull, just at the "point of no return"? Beyond that angle (about 60 degrees), the trampoline now acting like a sail will accelerate the process of flipping the boat over. No big deal -- sailing catamarans is half swimming, half sailing anyway. Once you get a taste how fast you're going, out racing other skippers or flying the longest distance, it becomes very addictive. Believe me.......


    My next blog is a little more advance sailing or taking more risk. For example, rather than sitting on the windward hull I would be standing with support of a trapeze wire, extending the full length of my body for counter balance. I consider myself a radical skipper with only a handful of us in San Diego, CA that would actually "play" out in the surf line. I paid dearly for that. More to come on my next blog.......


    Anyway, here is a 6 minute video on the Hobie 16:https://youtu.be/39YCsV1o49o

  2. Have a problem to open a current account in a Philippine bank. I sent an inquiry to several major Philippine banks and all denied me in the remote account opening. You need only personal presence. In addition 3 of 5 banks have requested the local ID, which can be obtained after 3-4 months to find in the Philippines. A month will be in Cebu, go to the bank are the two that do not require ID. If you manage to open an account without ID will write where.

  3. I've got an hour and a half before I leave for work to start another two to three week hitch of 12 hour nights working on an oil drilling rig here in Alberta. I couldn't be farther from the Philippines, yet it feels so close.

    Everyday I read news from the Philippines and SKYPE with my family in Leyte. Every week or two I send money there and do the currency conversions in my head. The gossip of my hometown is all I have to worry about as there's no gossip here. I care more about the Canadian embassy's decision on my wife's visitor visa (coming up) or the Philippines DFA processing of my childrens' passports than I care about my possible tax issues or whether I'm a resident in Saskatchewan or Alberta. I ponder buying coconut land in Leyte under my daughters' names more than I ponder retirement in the Great White North.

    The Philippines consumes me. Will Pacquiao be the same? Will Filipinos ever appreciate the greatness of Nonito Donaire?! Stephen Harper's a bit of a fag, but that Aquino is pretty cool!

    As it stands, I'm a few days from the six month mark of not seeing my kids or wife. Getting their dual-citizenship with the Philippines has been a long affair, but will be over in a month or month and a half, depending on the system problems at the Tacloban office for passports. My wife's visa application to Canada was returned because the postal money order from Phil Post had poor quality bar-codes. Now we're waiting on the brother-in-law-in-Cebu to get us a bank draft in Canadian dollars since the banks in Tacloban don't offer that service. We'll re-apply through the PIASI service early-to-mid-to-late next week for that ever so prized Canadian visa.

    If my wife gets the visa, I'm expecting to have her and the kids here by mid-March. If she doesn't get it (I just knocked on wood) I guess I'll take my month off in April to land in the Philippines and apply for the spousal visa instead. In that case I'd have to buckle in for the long haul of another year waiting for it to be approved. Yet that's confusing because scores of Filipinos here are telling me they got approved in three to four months! Does anyone else smell corruption? There are standard times for these processes and for the Philippines it's a year. I had a close Fil-Can friend tell me to name drop his dad's name at our local politician's office and it would be processed faster. My brother, who works in immigration, thought that's BS.

    What a conundrum!

    Hoping for the best, however, I wonder what will happen when my wife is here? Will I stop rooting for Aquino? Will I ponder the beauty of the Bahamas for a vacation over that of Palawan? Will I become more interested in the fighting career of Rory MacDonald instead of the "Filipino Flash?" Will I encourage my kids to learn French or Chinese over Tagalog? Will JOSE RIZAL TAKE A BACKSEAT TO DENZEL WASHINGTON?!!!

    I have no idea what will happen once they're here and we're living happily together. But for now, for some strange reason, my heart constantly feels telepathically transported to the Philippines where my children play, probably barefooted, in our grass and gravel yard, and my monkey, Boots, harasses my mother-in-law, and the local gossip affects us, and the health issues piss me off, and where the gays teach my young daughters to dance and pose like divas; where cigarettes are fifty cents a pack, and the night blares with toads, roosters, dogs, and karaoke, not to mention those ever so peaceful crickets. It's so quiet...

    For now, my heart is still in the Philippines. For later, where the F*** are those roosters?

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    Recent Entries

    When I lost my job as a slot bench tech at a local casino nearly 3 years ago, I took up the game of tennis again.

    I started back in the 80's trying to perfect my strokes over the years but I still consider myself a 4.3 player. Any

    thing above 6.5 is a professional. More advance players are too serious for my blood.....I wouldn't be able to

    tolerate back to back tournaments in trying to climb that tennis ladder.

    My style of game is that I play with anybody and everybody -- often times I've been asked to show them some

    basic and advance strokes but I held off, thinking of my own struggles of htting that damn ball. I would rather

    whack the ball from base line to base line without playing any games or keeping score. I really enjoy a non stop

    rally, even playing a ball outside the lines. Long 30-45 minutes of rallying for about 2-3 hours and then I'm done,

    like overdone. I'm a hurtin' puppy but I love it.

    Over the years watching so many videos and on court instructions (I'm cheap and self taught), my strongest

    stroke has to be my backhand slice. Actually, it has something to do with confidence which my forehand, volley

    and serve needs more tweaking. However, I do like chasing a wide shot off my backhand and then slicing it down

    the line for a winner. The player opposite me just shakes his head in amazement. Hey, i just close my eyes and

    and whack that damn ball! Sometimes I tell the ladies I need to check my pants when I hit a good one.....he, he.

    Eye contact is my biggest problem. Or perhaps concentration is another word for it. I become lazy, not moving

    my feet, like someone put super glue on my shoes. In spite of that, I thoroughly enjoy the game. I'm not out for

    blood and often times, I really like to laugh at my goofy self whenever I miss-hit an easy one. Fortunately, at the

    age of 62, I can still hang with the younger guns on the court.

    Perhaps that is my blessing in disguise.

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    Recent Entries

    Latest Entry

    I have sponsored two young ladies to go to college there in the Philipinnes. Both were cam girls (I know scammers right?) Well one went for one semester then dropped out, but not before I had sent her tution for the next semester. The other young lady is in her first semester of her third year and soon will be starting her second semester. So I figure one out of two is not a bad average 50% considering I have never met either one except online. I know how hard it is for the average filipino to send their children to secondary school let alone college. I talk to her every week via interent to see how things are going. I'm by no means rich, and yes I'm married with four adult kids, and six grandchildren. Helped put my granddaughter through college and she graduated this year.Helped one grandson but he dropped out. Also my wife knows that I am doing this and doesn't approve or disapprove, saying it is up to me. Just hopeing that Ligaya can keep her focus and will continue until she graduates. Not all of us are ugly americans, ok maybe ugly but we still have compassion.

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    Recent Entries

    Shortly after I arrived back at Fred's he asked me to run an errand. I was to go to the nearest town to collect some stuff. Take the motorbike he says. I haven't

    driven a motorbike for years, but what the heck. It's a half hour drive and as I pull in to town I get a rear tyre blowout. A guy points to it "Oh" he says, "You have a

    flat tyre"........mmm........helpfull. Seriously though, this guy is good, He organises a motor trike driver ( resting nearby ) to remove the wheel, and a pedal trike

    driver to take the wheel to the repair shop, "Give him 50p for the repair" he says. He comes back one hour later with the repaired wheel. " give him 50p for his fare"

    the guy says. The motor trike driver replaces the wheel and I ask him "how much?" "No worries mate, forget it" he says. Well he doesn't say that exactly but

    the message is the same. I press 50p into his hand. I get on the bike, thank everyone, wave goodbye, and I'm on my way. I'm thinking One hundred and fifty

    pesos. Three dollars. I couldn't buy a cup of coffee for that where I come from.

    The next day I go with Fred in the car to order some things from the hardware store. Fred is known here. Behind the counter is a woman and a young girl.

    Right out of the blue Fred says to the woman "My friend here is looking for a girlfriend. Do you know anyone?" The woman flings her arm round the girl next to her.

    The girl turns bright red and bends to concentrate more fully on whatever she is writing. The next day Freds helper goes to collect the material from the hardware store. When he gets back he reports to Fred, "Oh, the girl in the hardware store," we look at him, "She's interested." Fred turns to me "And that's how easy it is"

    he says. I never did get back there and and left for home a couple of days later.

    When I get back to the Philippines I'm going to the mall. I'm going to walk up to the most attractive girl working there. "Hi" I'm going to say. "I'm looking for a

    girlfriend, do you know anyone who might be interested?" I'll smile. "Maybe you?" I'll say. At this point I may do the Groucho Marx eyebrow thing......Portrait

    of me as a ladies man.

    These days, here in Australia, when I walk through the shopping centres and malls, I'm invisible,

    In the towns near to where Fred lives I'm surprised by the number of young girls who hold my eye, and smile as they pass by.

    It may not mean much, but it sure beats the hell out of being invisible.

    At some point in my trip I have to take a ferry. This is a big boat and full, and I think I'm the only caucasian on it. Soon I become aware of a group of kids,

    smiling and peering at me from behind things. I go out for a breath of air and they follow me. A little girl about 5yrs old approaches me. She is so full of energy

    she can't stand still. She has big eyes full of laughter and mischief, and a huge smile to match. "Hello" she says. "Hello" I answer. Encouraged, her smile

    grew even wider. "Whats your name?" I tell her. "How old are you?" I tell her. An older girl about 12yrs bends down to whisper in her ear. The little one bounces

    up. "Do you have a wife?" "No" I say. More whispering. "Do you have a ladyfriend?" "No" I say. "What about you? Would you like to marry me?"

    Her face turns instantly to thunder. "NO !" she exclaims, and storms off. My mirth was off the scale.......Those Filippino kids.

    Next time I go to the Philippines I'll wear baggy boardshorts, baggy singlet and thongs, and that's probably all Ill take. Maybe 7 kilos in a backpack.

    In fact It's packed already :thumbsup:

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    Recent Entries

    What do you think ? Great title eh. Yep, it's a crowd puller all right.

    Ok, well you have to remember that I only spent two weeks in the Philippines and a couple of days it rained, so I can't tell you much about the place per se.

    So what you're getting is a teeny weeny glimpse through my eyes.

    I didn't know much about the Phils but I did want to go and have a look. I thought it might be nice to keep a base here in Australia when I retire, but spend lots of time somewhere in South East Asia where the living is, well I don't know .............different.

    I bought a bag I could roller or backpack and loaded it with about 12 kilos of gear, mostly shorts and short sleeved shirts. (remember that, I'm coming back to it later) I took a small backpack to carry on, with hardly anything in it. I have a light pair of zip-off cargo pants, which I think are great for travelling.

    Ok, the Philippines (finally)

    Leaving the airport building in Cebu was like walking into an oven. Very hot and very humid.

    There was a friendly guy there all ready to usher me into a waiting taxi. I guess he was there in case I couldn't signal the driver myself or lift my 12 kilo bag into the boot ....mmm.......thoughtful.

    Shortly (I mean very shortly) before I left for my 2 weeks in the Phils, I discovered I had an aquaintance from 25 years before who was living there already.

    I contacted him and he said he would meet me at a hotel he recommended in Cebu.

    That night he took me out to a few (what he called) girlie bars ......mmm......interesting. Those girls aren't shy. We returned to the hotel a little the worse for wear.... but alone.

    We left for his place the following day. This was a surprise because I thought he would be on his way,

    leaving me to scout the place myself.

    He has a large 2 storey house on a very large block in a rural area. There were enough people around, including his wife of 20 years, to populate a small hamlet.

    My aquaintance was now a friend, and a more laid-back, generous, easy going guy you could never wish to meet.

    Now I have to come clean here and tell you that I had been talking to a lady I met on an internet dating site.

    She was over 35yrs, had lived for a while in Europe and seemed very sensible.

    She was as wary of encouraging me, as I was of her, which I took to be a good sign.

    I left my new friends place to meet her in the town/city where she lived, and booked in to a hotel she recommended.

    This was a posh place which was charging me 2500p a night and seemed to have more liveried flunkeys than guests. Very nice but not really my thang.

    (I guess I'm not a caviar and canapes type. More a meat pie and chips kind of bloke.)

    We met and she showed me some of the sights over the next couple of days.

    She rented a car and driver a couple of times to take us to some popular sightseeing places. It was comfortable and relaxing and cost about 3000p for about

    4 hours. (I lost track of time)

    I learned (but not soon enough) that, while I am wary because I am careful, she is wary because she is paranoid, and I have to consider everything I say to her

    in case there's something she could interpret as insulting, offensive or that might indicate that I would take advantage of her in some dastardly way given half the chance.

    She spends a few hours a day with me, arriving about 1pm and leaving about 7pm. A couple of days she cancells due to bad weather or headache.

    I move out of the posh place and find another 5 minutes walk away lacking the formality but being very, very friendly and having every thing I need for 1000p

    a night.

    My lady friend is not happy because I didn't go with her recommendation and she thinks I moved because I couldn't afford the posh place, not that she said as much, but by now I feel I'm getting to know how she thinks. (later she confirmed that she thought I was watching my budget)

    Funny really because I took heaps of cash (way too much) and would have been happy to spend it all on enjoying ourselves. In truth there wasn't much to spend it on. A few meals in nice places, taxis, cinema, massage and manicure.

    She did help me check out a couple of places, the like of which I might be expected to live sometime in the future.

    One was an apartment (I would call it a townhouse) It was at the end of a terrace of 4. Brand new, 2 storey, 2 bathroom, secure car parking but no yard to speak of. 10000p per month with 1 yrs lease. I could live there.

    Next was a three bedroom house, single storey, 2 bathrooms, small yard, about 15 yrs old. 12000p per month no lease required. I could live there too.

    I've lived alone in Australia for a good few years now and this place is not without risks. There are reports of home invasions frequently. Wherever I lived I would have to make as secure as possible but gated communities just don't appeal to me.

    Next day my female friend phoned me to say she had a headache and couldn't come.

    That's it !!!! I checked out and returned to Fred's place. ( you remember my new friend Fred?)

    I left from the bus station in an 8 seater bus. The 12 of us weren't too uncomfortable. He told me which village to get off and said I should ask the motorbike taxis

    on the street corner to bring me. " One of them will know where I live" Sure one did.

    I converted my roller bag to a backpack and we set off. Really I should have lowered the straps on the backpack so that it rested on whatever was behind me.

    As it was, its weight nearly pulled me off the bike a couple of times as we swerved to miss pot holes on the rutted road, but I managed to stay on and we were soon within the welcome sight of Fred's gate.

    To be continued......

  4. What's mine is yours??

    So it should be mentioned that we are not present on our lot on a daily basis. We have good friends that live across from our lot and help ensure that we do not have any squatting action going on. However, on one fine day a few weeks back, my friend heard some "whack whacking" going on.... and walking down to see what was going on ....noticed someone trying to cut one of our trees. After convincing them to move on.... the guy did.... he moved right on to my friends property and started one of his trees..... again, he was convinced to move on. This happened after a few months of inactivity on our lot.

    'Houston', we have a problem!

    My friend rings me up and alerts me to this likely now becoming a regular occurence since it seems that without an visible signs of ownership, the locals will begin to encroach on our land like "Kedzu in a monsoon".

    So this is a new one on me... they know the property is owned... through chika chika, they probably know every last detail of the transaction and it has only been a few months so they could not have forgotten all that.. right? Well, my friend, who is much wiser in the cultural ways, goes on to explain that it is not viewed as stealing or anything like that... with there being no activity on the lot.... the locals simply see the lot as "unattached" and the resources going to waste. It seems, that this land could sit there for years and be untouched, IF the locals have a face to put with the land... once it was sold and we did not make ourselves known to the locals... it is now considered "unattached" and free game. In this social culture, even land needs to be represented in the social realm.... titles... deeds.... tax declarations... all mean nothing... unless there is a face and personality attached to the land.

    Putting a bandaid on the problem

    Well, with us abroad, we brainstormed, with our friends, how best to combat this issue and nip it in the bud. What we arrived at was simple. We contacted my asawa's parents and asked them to make regular trips up to the land. Hang around it... chika chika with the neighbors.. very simple steps intended to put "faces" with the land. They agreed and also, on their suggestion, made Visayan signs that kindly requested nobody cut the trees. They made the trip up the next day, hung their hand made signs.... immediately locals seemed to come out of nowhere with curiosity over who they were, what they were doing with the land... how many children they had... basically like an inquisition, my inlaws satisfied their undeniable need for personal info about the people "attached" to that land. All in all, the plan worked flawlessly, as my father in law learned that he knew one of the families from way back and that got the ball rolling. The inlaws reported that they made the visit and had renewed old friendships with some of the neighbors and that not only would those folks not be touching our land, but that they would police it against others as well. I encouraged my inlaws to make regular trips up to the land (all expense paid of course) even to grab a red horse or two and hang out up there once in awhile and keep that relationship going strong. They have done so and to this day, nobody interferes with our land and no more "whack whacking".

    How to cope?

    I recognize that unlike where I am from, where neighbors are mostly useless obstacles to your high priced view, in the Philippine culture, the social interactions effect your life in countless different ways. My first real introduction to this was when we were unloading our container full of personal belonginings... for nearly the entire 8 hours... we had a throng of neighbors surrounding the streetside unload... just watching. I asked my asawa, what is up with that..... her explanation basically, clued me in to the inquisitive nature in her culture, where the people are accustom to knowing everything about everyone in their neighborhood. Well, this was their one and only chance to learn alot about me as they watched everything I own being offloaded. I had a few options for how to handle this.... could be pissed with concern that someone was staking out a burglary.... or embarrassed that all of my personal belongings (yes, there were laundry baskets with underwear showing) were on display for the entire community (it seemed) to ogle over...... or I could laugh it off and make light of the situation... possibly using their attention to, in a way, introduce myself. I, of course, chose the latter and though this was a long hard day in a hot humid land.... I made sure I played with some of the kids in the "audience"... shared some candies... basically, took the opportunity to break down the very clear social barrier that seemed to be standing between myself and most of the crowd. We made many friends that night and to this day, we have not had ANY troubles in our rented home... no break-ins, nothing, nada along the way of crime against us. We smile and say " Maayong Buntag" every morning (like a million freaking times).. and "Maayong Gabii" at evening... I smile more than I EVER have and that goes a really long ways. Joking with the kids all the time... just keeps those social barriers down which is all good. Just the same as in the western working world," The ass you kick today, may be the one you need to kiss tomorrow".... just always be respectful and you never know when or how it may be paid back to you.

    Building relationships for the long term

    Using those sorts of experiences, I see my relations in the bukid following a similar path. I will not be the "unsociable" foreigner... that nobody can identify with.... I will, as I always have, occasionally spring for a few beers and some balut and just "hang out". Basically, I place alot of emphasis on "fitting in". The more I fit, or blend into the surroundings, the less likely I am to have a target on me and honestly, I have alot of fun with it so it is all good! I am not a particularly charitable person, but I will pay for a job well done.... I am however a compassionate person, that will more than likley support someone, silently in need, over someone asking for help. I will not purchase friendships in the bukid, but I will share when and how I decide to do so and completely on my terms. I find that, in my experience, there is a mutual respect that develops if you "teach a peson how to fish", instead of simply "buying them a fish"... it takes longer to teach them... but if it works, the relations are stronger and longer lasting. If it does not work for a particular individual, well, at least I did not waste a fish on them. I am investing in my family's future in this location.... we may have all had our share of experiences where we are at odds with the neighbors.. .and I think it goes without saying that in the Philippines, there is a way different level of risk of being "at odds" with anyone. Good relationships with the neighbors is not optional here, it is essential to your long term health in many ways!! Something to never forget.

    To be continued.......

    I will update this particular blog segment as I hit the ground and see how things go... I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for us, as foreigners to take an active role in this social culture. So many intangible benefits result and over something so simple and painless to do as associating in a respectful way with those around you.

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    On a high performance windsurfing board trimmed out for max speed, you're skimming the surface while hanging on for dear life. Just like everything else, the adrenaline coursing through the body can be quite addictive.

    Trying to predict the behavior of winds dancing across the water in front of you is a real challenge but pays off when you anticipate its strength and direction correctly. This is especially important when you're windsurfing -- it's just you against Mother Nature and often times, you'll get slam when the winds are unpredictable with gusts of wind sneaking up behind you. When strong winds become really gusty, you need to let out some of the sail and lean back for more counter balance.

    The windsurfer is fitted with a "diaper" with a metal hook attached to harness straps, which are then attached to the boom. This is where the balancing act gets kind of hairy. Both feet are secured into foot straps to prevent from launching yourself from the board. I'm strictly a flat water windsurfer, trying not to get airborne as much as possible.

    One time while windsurfing in the Gorge (part of Columbian River), I nearly drowned by rigging up a larger sail than the rest of the fleet. I got slammed repeatedly, drifting down river in that cold and fast current. I finally touched ground, carrying the whole rig on my head, as I struggled back to my warm Jeep, about half a mile up stream. Thank god for Kaluia and coffee and quickly passed out for the rest of the day. Here is a video of a windsurfer racing a high performance trimaran.

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    Recent Entries

    In both Hobie Cat and windsurfing, I prefer flat water conditions rather than dealing with the ocean swells and chops. My last time out in the surf line, I made a mistake by hot dogging with my Hobie and paid the price. Yeah, I flipped it over as I jibed too early and ate it big time. The wave hit me broadside and I immediately bailed out from all the lines, sails, boom and mast. Didn't want to get knocked out cold as the boat was trashing about like a wounded shark. By the time it beached itself, one of the rudder blades was damaged. And that was the last time I played in the surf. It was simply too expensive to replace another rudder blade.

    But ripping across flat water on a speed run is an absolute adrenaline rush. Once you get a taste of speed and at the same time, pissing down your shorts because it scares the chit out of you, then you're in for a thrill of your life! Approaching speeds of 18+ knots, the rudder blades will start "singing" or cavitating, as sprays of water hit you like a slap in the face. That afternoon with high winds (gusting to 20 knots), my brother and I were flying across Mission Bay, San Diego. I was the front man, handling the jib sheets from a full body extension supported by a trapeze wire. My brother was the skipper, steering and adjusting the mainsail for maximum flight time in response to the ever changing dynamics of wind speed and directions.

    To prevent from capsizing or dumping the Hobie, we constantly trim both main and jib sails (sheet in/out) every few seconds and also shift body weight fore and aft to maintain maxium hull speed. We must also be constantly aware of swells and chops created by high wind as you see gusts of wind dancing across the water. Under those conditions with hull speed of about 16 -18 knots, the leeward bow suddenly plowed into this one foot chop. The leeward bow actually "pearled" under which literally stops forward movement of the boat. Remember, I was still hangin' my ass over using the trapeze wire. My "diaper" has a metal hook and designed for quick release from the "traps" but apparently not quick enough and I was immediately launched forward like a human sling shot. I "face plant" hard on the water, just barely missing the forestay (a steel wire rigging to support the mast). Dumping the Hobie like this is called "pitch pole" where the stern is pitched up and over the bow. In spite of landing hard, I unhooked myself and swam back to assist my brother righting the Hobie back up. We gave each other the "high fives" and off we went again for another speed run.

    Speaking of speed, here is a video of guys on a very high performance cat, risking physical injuries just for the thrill of it (yeah, I would donate my left nut, just to be a crew member):

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    Some of you may have noticed the profile of a Hobie Cat (no -- not her profile!). It's banana shape with the bow having the leading edge sharp and narrow. Hobie Alter was a pioneer of surf boards in the mid 50's and transferred his innovated design to his new catamarans with similar rocker profile of a surfboard. Using light weight materials but built like a tank, the Hobie Cats were made to play out in the surf line.

    When my fellow friend and skipper dared me to come out and play with him, I took his offer but didn't realize how fearful I was of the 3-5 foot breakers coming in fast and hard. This was in Cardiff by the Sea, CA right behind the restaurant called the Chart House. He quickly noticed my apprehension about going out solo and gave me a couple shots of tequila to calm me down. It was a life saver, a form of anti-freeze for my blood during that cold and breezy day at the beach. After a couple failed launches into the oncoming "soup" of fast moving water, I finally timed it just right and sailed out to experience the "ride of my life".

    Good thing there was a strong side-shore winds (perpendicular to the waves) blowing steady at 12+ knots. It was ideal for us to power through the rising face of the oncoming waves. Nevertheless, I was already pissing down my wet shorts as I followed my crazy friend further out. Actually we were both crazy, the only fools out there trying not to piss off the local surfers by slicing their heads off. At four boat lengths in front of me, he executed a perfect jibe and caught an awesome wave, flying on one hull and hanging out on the trapeze wire -- an ultimate Nirvana of pure adrenaline rush. Meanwhile, my timing was still awkward and had to go further out in between the waves. By the time I made my jibe to catch a wave, he already beached his Hobie and signaled me in to join him. Rather than beaching, I performed a quick jibe and went out again. The hot babe on the beach was watching (OK, now you can check out her profile...he, he), probably waiting for me to flip the boat over in the surf line.

    This time going out, I was "dialed" in. I felt more confident and trimmed my mainsail tighter, which gave me extra momentum to accelerate up this face of a five footer. At the top of the crest is when I felt pure weightlessness. I looked back to see the only part in the water was the tip of the leeward rudder blade. The rest of my Hobie was completely airborne. My heart was in my stomach, beating a million times a minute. It was sheer terror and also addictive at the same time. Go figure....! Later that day, my friend shook my hand and simply said, welcome to the club of hardcore sailing.......as we downed more shots of tequila with our two Hobie's sitting side by side, beckoning us to abuse them again.

    Forget that! The winds died anyway and the hot babes were still smokin' hot over a tequila sunset. Talk about pissing down my shorts again.,,,,,,,,

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    After some personal dramas and trauma I decided 3 months ago to 'get fit'. Started walking and bought a multi gym. 3 months on and there have been benefits. Lost weight, put on some muscle mass. Not intending to be The Hulk, just building strength and toning up...

    Anyway, up and out by 5am onto highway for a good hours plus brisk walking. Breakfast on return then a nap for 30 mins or so. In the early stages the shock to the system caused me to actually nap for 5 hours on one occassion!! Now, barely need a nap at all.

    In afternoon got on my gym. Initially the routine I set took me 3 and a half hours, now doing it in 2 and a half and gradually adding a little extra.

    So, after the first 3 months I can tell you I feel great. Bags of energy, not always feeling lifeless and down.

    Other benefits include meeting fellow walkers, joggers and cyclists in the morning. Having a banter with them and a few high 5's thrown in. It's great to hit the highway and feel the breeze in your face.

    One thing makes me smile to myself. Joy often accompanies me and it's amusing to see the ogling she gets from other blokes....understandable, she's beautiful.

    Well, have to move on, got a gym session to start.

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    Since moving to the Philippines eight years ago, I’ve had the opportunity to experience and learn many different things in my new country.

    Perhaps the most interesting and fulfilling experience has been that my wife and I have served the last seven years as officers in our local Barangay Police and also the Philippine National Police Anti-Drug Task Force in our town.

    After being involved in a traffic accident six years ago we were both invited by the Philippine National Police to join the police department. We did, and after joining and taking the oath, (and an FBI background check from the States on me), we underwent several months of training in police procedures, Philippine criminal and family law and the “Pinoy” way of doing things under the watchful eye of the Barangay Captain and municipal Mayor.

    Police service here is much different than in the States. The laws are less strict and are at times flexible depending on the situation and the case involved.

    Also, it is an all volunteer force-no pay.

    Although the type of crime here is the same as anywhere; in most cases justice for the offender and victim can be quite different from case to case except where a violent crime is committed or if it is a drug related offence.

    The bulk of cases handled are of a family nature. Arguments, disagreements, and

    Saturday night fights that are usually alcohol related.

    Rather than putting every offender in jail and going to court; most cases are decided and adjudicated in the police station with the assistance of a police investigator such as my wife.

    Satisfying justice here most often times involves only mending hurt feelings or the guilty person paying for a band aid for a cut or injury caused during a fight. A delicate situation doing it this way to be sure. But it seems much better to be able to send family members and friends home together, happy with the outcome rather than always filling jail cells and filling the bottomless pockets of lawyers as we would do back in the States. Not to mention, in most cases, being very rewarding to be able to help people this way.

    Maybe us “know-it-all” Americans and others could learn a lesson in not only effective law enforcement, but effective human relations from these kind and gentle people.

    I truly love living in the Philippines and serving these wonderful people as they teach me a different and perhaps a better way of doing things-- and more patients at the same time. Even if I am a slow learner at times…

  5. The very best advice that can be given to a foreign visitor about driving in the Philippines is don’t! Don’t even think about it. Even if you are a professional driver of 80,000 pound semi trucks with two million miles under your belt; don’t drive in the Philippines.

    The right hand driving pattern is used here as it is in America and Canada etc. The road markings and highway signs are pretty much the same. And even the traffic laws are much the same as most western countries. But that is where the similarities end.

    For reasons too numerous to go into in this short post I will just say that no matter what happens; no matter who is at fault in a traffic accident here. You, as the foreigner will almost always be found in the wrong. Even if you can show proof that you were not at fault, chances are you will still be held at fault and responsible by police for repairs and medical expenses of the other party.

    Sounds crazy, but their philosophy is that as a foreigner, if you were not in the country the accident would not have happened in the first place!

    Having said that; it is important to also note that I have been living in the Philippines for the past eight years and breaking my own rule the entire time.

    So far, I have been very lucky and have had only one minor accident in that time.

    As with most other aspects of living here, vehicle repair is very low cost and good mechanics are quite easy to find. The main problem in repair service is that there is no AAA auto club or towing services easily available if a breakdown occurs on the road. For that reason as well as fuel economy most people drive a motor cycle or motor cycle with a sidecar attached.

    On more than one occasion I have had vehicle problems when out and around and found it much easier to push my motor to a mechanic or tire repair place than to push a car or van.

    As mentioned earlier, repair costs here are very affordable. This morning I took our 155cc motor cycle to our favorite repair shop for it’s normal tune up.

    A tune up here includes a clutch adjustment, removal and complete breakdown and cleaning of the carburetor, removal of the engine head and adjustment and cleaning of the valves and lifters, as well as adjusting the engine timing.

    The entire process took less than 30 minutes and the total cost was only $2.00us dollars with two qualified mechanics working on the bike. Pretty good value for the money I’d say.

    So for anyone visiting the Philippines or moving here as I did that is determined to drive, at least the cost of repairs will be low and usually of good quality. And with all the money you will be saving on repairs you might even have enough saved to pay damages and medical expenses as a result any accident you may have.

    And be sure to always wear a helmet when driving. The police are always on the lookout for the unsuspecting foreigner that is in violation of any law they can think of.

    If you are caught and fined in cash for a violation of any kind; it will give new meaning to the expression of “support your local police” as you will leave the scene knowing you have just bought the officers lunch or helped put food on the table in the home of one of his many wives he is “working” so hard to support…

  6. Hello Everybody!

    15 days more to go its christmas, how I wish my christmas will very much merry.... Though I am a single mother and a jobless mom, but I try very best to celebrate my christmas to be happy and meaningful.And aside that christmas is past approaching its also my sons birthdays this coming  Dec.21,2010

      :flamebd: . Maybe I and my son will go to church attending mass and  light candles to be thankful to God for giving him another year to become a two years old. And how I wish I can have a little bit of preparation like spagehette or a pancit as a tradition of every Filipinos when celebrating their birthdays.  merry christmas    :santa_trumpet:  Thanks and have a great day! 

    blogentry-1-0-09714400-1292055856_thumb.blogentry-1-0-24354300-1292055867_thumb. blogentry-1-0-64267200-1292055891_thumb.

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    As this is my first attempt at making a blog entry, I would appreciate any advice about 'How to do it right'

    But this entry is about filipinas who see the grass is greener in the other pasture.  It is about my good friend and neighbor whose live in girlfriend left him last night.  Why did she do that?  It was not about age gap, although there is one.  It was not about being treated bad, they are a great couple.  It is about money.

    There are no names used here because the story has been told so many times you can insert any name you like.  I am telling it now because it is close to home.  Di (a generic filipina name for a girl) had a hard life before moving in with Joe (a generic name for an American).  Joe treated her well.  She treated Joe well.  Di could not get a job in the Philippines because she is deaf in one ear.  To get a job here you need to be in great health.

    Joe gives Di an allowance of 4k Pesos a month that she can spend anyway she likes.  Her family found out when she gets it and how much it is and, amazingly enough, there always seems to be a family emergency on Di's allowance day that needs 4K to rectify.

    The problems arose when Di started talking to other girls who have wealthier boyfriends.  Some of these other girls have 2 or more 'boyfriends' who are really online chat mates who send money on a regular basis.  These girls are really, really good at lying.  They are also really good at manipulating men into sending money.  The girls don't ask for it.  In fact they sometimes tell the online friends NOT to send money because they know that encourages trust and, eventually, more more money gets sent.

    So last night Di has an argument about money with Joe.  She is upset because her family takes all of her allowance and her friends are getting so much money for just showing their t*t* online to some foreigner.  Most relationships have money issues at some point.  THIS relationship ended last night because the grass is greener online.

    So if you are reading this and just met a new, online friend who is about 22 and beautiful and nice and had no boyfriend, come on over and I'll introduce you to her ex.  He's a real nice guy.  If you want to help him save his relationship, stop sending money to girls you only know from online chats.  

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    Hi everyone please excuse my bad English coz I only finished high school and have some college so I have a friend who is college educated help me with this blog.

    I am at 32, 4 feet 11 tall and weigh 40 kilos. I finished high school and started college but I did not have the money or time while working to finish and now getting a steady paying job at my age is very hard here. I live in a small room over an internet café with my son. Doing odd jobs and washing clothes for people to support myself and my son without a father was not part of the my plan for my life. I had hoped to be married and living with a good husband and having a family.

    I did get married. To an American which I will call George. I was about 28, he was 51, and I had no experience with men coz I had lived with family in the provinces all my life. I did not know it at the time, but George was living some fantasy and was only interested in bringing an Asian woman back to the US for some weird things that I was not aware of when I married him and would not agree to. So he went off and married another lady here who I knew, without first getting our marriage annulled. Yes, she knew I was married to him already and we were not annulled and she marry him anyway. So very sad.

    The last I heard, George and this other woman filed a false fiancé visa for her and they moved to the US and got married in a place called Carson City, where when she found out what weird things he wanted her to do, she quickly left him too. I am told she is hiding somewhere in the US now. The last time I talked to George, he told me he was changing his name to hide from the police about the visa fraud and bigamy and he was planning another trip back here. With help from some American friends who know computers, they told me many things about him that they found out and they are helping me with the embassy and immigration to stop George from doing this to anyone else. George uses his birth name and the name of his stepfather when he wants to hide.

    After George left me for good, I met a man from Europe. Nice man I thought. Again, I was wrong. I found out too late he has lived here many years on his pension and had many girl friends and many babies. Finding new girl friends was his hobby. He was very cheap. When we would go out to eat, if I did not eat everything on the plate, he would make me pay for my meal. He is the father of my son. I am doing my best to see that my son is raised with more respect for people than his father has. We don’t like lying people.

    I get no help from my sons father at all. But I am doing the best as I can on my own. I am learning more about people and how to make better decisions and that is one reason I joined this forum. I want to understand foreign men better and hope to one day find a stable man who will love me and my son and we all can live a nice quiet life. I am not an expensive woman.

    There is a lot of information on this forum that I really don’t understand. So if I reply to anyone asking a question, please don’t call me stupid. I am learning as much as I can and will try to do better.

    I am from a small place called Badian Cebu. No running water, no electricity until I moved to Cebu City with my older sister to go to school at age 14. I don’t drive and I am not sure if I ever want to. I have become friends by email to one foreign who is married and chats with me about life and tries to help me understand life and gives me strength to strive for a better life for myself and my son.

    I am going back to Badian now to vote and will be back in City next week. If you want to be friends and help me with questions about this forum, I really do need help. Bye for now.


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    Christmas In The Philippines

    Living in the Philippines you can expect to be approached by strangersasking "Where is my Christmas?" For many Westerners this isoffensive. I think though we need to remember we are in a differentland and what would be rude in our homeland is not rude for thepeople of the land were we visit.

    In the Philippines, where poverty is the rule, people are more into thejoy of the season rather than the gift giving. Filipino will askother natives "Where is my Christmas?" if they know them.For us foreigners, you can expect complete strangers to ask you this.Remember, you represent immense wealth to most Filipino. They see ourlifestyles and our cars and our homes and the believe we have moremoney than we could ever spend. While you and I know that most of usare just getting by. That we too are usually cash strapped. ManyFilipino don't understand that.

    With that in mind, respond with kindness. That doesn't mean I'm suggestingyou give them their Christmas. In fact, you cannot give anyone theirChristmas. If you give them something of earthly value that isbetween your own heart and what you can do. However, I suggest youcan respond by trying to match the joy the Filipino has for theseason. It might even do your body and mind some good. I wish I couldflush out all the negative emotion in my system and replace it withkindness and love.

    I suggest you respond with a smile as you say "NaayPasko sa imong kasing-kasing." What does it mean? It is from theVisayan language which is one of the most common language in thePhilippines. Translated into English it means:

    Christmas Is In Your Heart


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    Howdy All!

    Many people dream of living in the Philippines, while yet others seem to dream of living in the US or another developed nation, but we decided on the best of both worlds, so we have a home in Florida USA as well as a condo in the heart of Cebu City. Now would I recommend this for others to do, it would all depend on your situation and if you have someone who can look after your home or condo for you while you are away, but it does offer us the ability to enjoy both lives, and both places, and travel around within both places while we stay in each. 

    All I can say is retired life is great, and the sooner you can get yourself there, the better life can be for you because there is nothing like having very few worries.