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  1. During the Covid pandemic when I was stuck in Aussie I loaned my old Honda wave underbone motorbike to SWMBO brother so he could get to his new job. I’m totally aware what ‘loan’ means here and I wasn’t expecting it back. My plan when I came back was to buy a motorbike with gears and I’d been researching what to get without spending a big amount that would be reliable but still have gears, clutch etc. I had a few ideas and I was ready to go shopping but strangely SWMBO was quite ‘no not yet Geoffrey’ (which isn’t like her) so in the interests of maintaining domestic harmony I had just about decided to put it off for a while. Then last night, after dinner at the mall… SWMBO gives me a gift box… with a key in it. It turns out she had been planning all along, since we ‘loaned’ the Honda to her brother to buy me a motorbike. Which is a really big amount from her budget… so I am very happy and grateful 😊 Today we picked it up and I rode it back the 30kms from CDO to the house (and It was a lot more fun and comfortable for me than riding a scooter) 😁
    24 points
  2. So...I'm baaack...but it had its moments getting here. Wanted to provide one person's trip experience engaging the COVID entry rules as of the Jan 22 guidance, to wit: the part that Philippine citizens can once again enter with their spouses and dependent children. Near as I can tell, I may one of the first few to pull it off, and, as I'll explain later, might be the very first to enter via Clark. Along the way, some lessons learned dancing around the various COVID restrictions in various touch points and reconciling them with immigration and travel rules. First...wanna mention that my wife and I took a VERY circuitous route getting here, and we did it on fairly short notice. We had gone to the US for the holidays and to ship our balikbayan boxes we had in storage now that we had an address in Angeles City. We had a flight back booked on Jan 8, and it had to be cancelled when the Philippines shut off travel from the US on the 5th. So we sat tight while the restriction was extended to the 31st, and along came the update on the 22nd. We jumped on it and left on the 27th. We went from Seattle to New York to Dubai and finally to Clark Field. We did that weird route because we were using my wife's mileage plan account and we were dead set on flying into Clark, which is about 10 minutes from our house...so both of those really limited our flight choices. I only mention all that because along the way I bumped into some quirks that I might not have otherwise encountered, but someone else in the future might, so wanted to pass those along too. First...New York and Dubai both have similar restrictions requiring proof of a negative COVID test in order to enter, followed by a quarantine period. So we did some checking to make sure, but those do not apply to travelers who are just transiting through the airport. The restrictions pertain to people who actually ENTER New York or Dubai. If you stay in the airport and are just there to catch a plane, you haven't actually "Entered". Problem is, the actual airline ticket agents that check you in and give you a boarding pass don't always know that. We twice had to educate them so they'd issue our ticket - and hung about a bit while they confirmed that subtlety. We started on Alaska Airlines and transferred to Emirates in New York. We had to update the ticket agent for Alaska that the government had changed the blanket US restriction to allow spouses to accompany a Philippine National. Lesson Learned: this stuff bounces around a lot - double check rules before you go so you are aware and can explain the latest version. Handy to print out announcements to show people, just in case. Note you need to book a quarantine hotel room for at least five days - I booked for a week in case testing results take a while to get back (you pay at checkout for actual days used). You can go to the Dept of Health website and get a list of approved hotels for your point of entry. I then go to their individual websites (when they have one - if they don't have one, I stay away from them. It's a red flag that it is likely a low end hotel.) I send them emails asking about rates and food programs and then pick the one I want and get the reservation in place. Last October when I flew in, and again this time, the hotel wanted a deposit up front. That might just be a quirk of the ones I picked...but I wired them the deposit to their bank account. First hotel I contacted insisted I needed two rooms because the government is only allowing one person per room. The second one, and the one I selected, was willing to book a double occupancy, single room. I leaped to the conclusion that the single person room was a requirement for the rooms that the government contracted for OFWs, and being 1200 miles away, it was hard to work details. So I took the simple solution. I then printed out that reservation confirmation as it's a document you are supposed to show upon entry. As I worked through the paperwork screening in Clark, I ended up discussing my hotel with the Health Dept agent in charge. Turns out, no double occupancy allowed even if you're married. Only exceptions are if it is a case of someone caring for an invalid. I showed her the discussion emails I'd had with my hotel, including twice confirming I had a double occupancy room, and she stated they were wrong. She then called them, sorted out reservations, and my hotel bill doubled - 2 rooms instead of one. I don't have any animosity toward her - she helped and was sympathetic but had rules to follow. It was just a weird load to lay on top of sleep deprivation and jet lag. I"m now here in my room and my wife is 5 rooms down from me. We wave at each other when we're both out on our respective balconies. Lesson Learned: 2 rooms needed for your quarantine, regardless of your status. (You may hear some info that the Philippine government pays for the hotel. they do...IF you are an OFW (Overseas Foreign Worker) coming home, If you are traveling privately, you pay your own bill for the hotel and testing.) Next stop: cashier. Have to pay for the testing. When I did this in Manila last October, each test cost 4500 pesos and they took credit cards. This time, each test cost 2000 pesos and they only take cash. If someone has gone through a different point of entry, they can comment on what they paid. I was told it's a government set cost. Anyway...you will be paying for 2 rounds of testing: one there in the airport, and then one more five days into your quarantine. They come to your room on day five and test you again. So, you are paying for two tests per person - 4000 pesos per person. Conveniently, they have a money changer next to the cashier, but I did not see an ATM in that lounge. Lesson Learned: have cash to exchange to cover the testing costs...not sure what happens if you don't. The COVID test itself is more thorough. In October it was a single swab up the nostrils. Now it's a swab down your throat followed by a swab up your nostrils...and repeat both of those one more time. (Not sure why they do it twice - my warped mind concluded the first one was to clean you out so the second one can get to the good stuff). Whatever. Then on to immigration...and the fun began. The immigration agent who screened my passport did not have any knowledge of the Citizen-with-spouse change announced on Jan 22. So she reacted that I was still a traveler from a banned country and couldn't enter. So we told her about the update and what ensued was a lot of back and forth discussion with others in her office. Then suddenly she stamped my passport with an entry indicating I was to stay until March 29...in other words, she used my 9A tourist visa 60 day entry. I asked about the balikbayan stamp, but got nothing back but "March 29" and a direct look - no further explanation or anything- in a manner that said the topic was closed. Took my addled brain a minute to figure out what had happened. It was after hours, and she couldn't contact anyone in authority to confirm the spouse allowance, so she took it on herself to cut me a break and let me in on the basis of my visa...and I would be well served to shut up, and not look a gift horse in the mouth. Once that dawned on me, I smiled, said thank you and got the hell out of there. From all this, I am concluding that I might just be the first one to enter Clark under the changed rules - and BI communication to their agents might be a bit sketchy. Lesson Learned: You don't have to just take the first answer, but you need to plead your case calmly and politely - enter into a discussion, not an argument. I was likely lucky to have a reasonable agent who was willing to try and find a way to help me...can't always count on that. Spooky episode. So...we're one day into our quarantine. Testing is remarkably efficient. We checked in last night, and this morning our airport test results were back. In five days we get the next test and, if it comes back as quickly, we'll have been here for six days. It's my understanding that, if the second one is negative, we can go to our house and finish out the 14 day quarantine there with self-quarantine (though I've also heard 10 days - have to confirm which). Has anyone else tried to travel under the provisions of the Jan 22 guidance update? Am wondering what it was like at different points of entry.
    19 points
  3. When i met my future wife and had the holiday romance , a few pictures taken of us both plus lots taken of her by myself , I had one picture on my mobile phone as a screen saver which I thought was a very nice one , anyway Emma saw it and straight away went quite on me and I had no idea why as I said the picture is lovely . A few hours later I found out the reason why she was a little upset , while the photo was fine on my mobile phone my service provider was written right across her forehead VIRGIN, that’s what she did not like , it took me awhile showing her virgin trains , virgin planes and yes virgin Mobil network .
    18 points
  4. One morning after my wife and I first started living together I kissed her at the door and said "see you later alligator" as I set off for work. When I came home she was upstairs in the bedroom and the door was locked, I had no clue what I had done. Finally she let me in around bedtime but I couldn't get anything out of her so I tried to get some sleep for work the next day, of course just as I'm about to drift off she starts crying, I plead with her to tell me what I did, finally she looks at me and says "you call me alligator" needless to say I didn't get any sleep because she couldn't be convinced it was actually a saying because it makes no sense, too bad there wasn't any google back then.
    18 points
  5. We all know its easy to criticise some of what happens here down, were probably all guilty of it. But wanted to share to a nice positive story. Was in Bantayan for all of December and got to see some of Odette etc. Meanwhile one day there was cooking dinner and unbeknownst to me, the airbnb condo I was staying in had sharpened their previously blunt knives. Cue deep finger laceration and loss of lots of blood. Managed to patch it up for the evening ( thanks owner for providing a good useful first aid box ) and the following morning drove to a doctors only for him to tell me that only in the hospital can they apply stitches. Drove to the only small hospital on the island where there were a few forms to fill in and then a nurse proceeded to attend to my cut. I was the only person in A&E that morning. Cleaned with distilled water, then betadine then made 6 stitches, then wrapped it up and gave me spare gauze pads. She checked with a doc somewhere along the way and he prescribed antibiotics ( as usual here). When all is done, I move back to the reception area and ask the nurse how much this was. She totally astonished me by saying "Sir, no cost at all. Free". Not much in life is free but this treatment was. Very surprised and very happy to have been so well treated. Was a nice positive experience. As a funny postscript, I went 10 days later to my local clinic for stitches removal but was told only a surgeon doctor could remove. So a nurse can put in , but needs a surgeon doctor to remove?
    16 points
  6. I didn't want to step on Yeochief's topic but I thought it was a great idea. So in my area of Tuy, Batangas here's our monthly budget. We bought our house in middle of November 2020. So this is our averages through Mar 1st from my budget spreadsheet. Water: 200p (water is potable but we boil for consumption) Electric: 1700p. We mostly run fans and only use our A/C at night if it's pretty hot. I wanted to make sure we are acclimated to the climate. Internet: 4999p Globe fiber 500 mbps. Converge and PLDT not in our area. LP gas for cooking: maybe 100p A month Food: 10,000p we eat pretty simply and my garden produces a lot. We don't eat out much and prefer to do our own cooking. We use local brands and shop the palengke's in Nasugbu, Balayan or Tuy mostly. Beer: 1500p. I go through a couple of cases of San Miguel a month.😆😉 Transportation: we don't have a car yet and we aren't sure when we'll get one so 500p for jeepneys or tricycles. Total from my spreadsheet: 18,999p
    16 points
  7. Hello Everyone. Whilst I have been stuck in Abu Dhabi with the wife, due to COVID, we have been constructive in getting our pool built. I am so looking forward to getting HOME to have a few cold San Migs whilst floating in the pool. I hope you are all keeping safe and well and getting yourselves vaccinated. Stay Safe and Well. Paul
    15 points
  8. Hi Mods, I’ve posted this here as quarantine accommodation is part of the entry process for the moment. If I’m wrong, I know you’ll move it 😊 As the thread title says, I stayed in the Hotel Kimberly. It’s in Malate just across from Robinsons Manila. The rooms are old but clean and as always, the photos on the website are very flattering. It’s probably a little overdue for a renovation but that’s Philippines normal. Everything was in working order though so no problems on that front. I stayed in one of the “Premier Suites” which are quiet spacious studios. It has everything you need to cook basic meals but no knives to eat with, only forks and spoons. I guessed this may be the case, so I bought a pack of disposables before I left Australia. I’m glad I went with that option as I was going a little stir crazy being stuck in the room as it was. I have discovered there’s a difference between not wanting to go out and not being able to go out. There’s a link to the rooms below. Ignore the prices though, I booked through Agoda and they were a little cheaper on there. All the rooms are individually ventilated, which as we discovered in Australia about 18 months ago, is important to prevent the spread the virus of unknown origin amongst guests. There’s a large wall mounted AC that cools the room fine and a window that opens. Given the time of year and the mildness of the weather in Manila right now, I barely turned the AC on, so it wasn’t really properly tested. You have the option of paying for full meal package when you book or not. I didn’t pre-pay for the meals as I was unable to ascertain how much variety was on that particular menu. The room service menu is available from 6am to 9pm and has a pretty good selection of both western and Filipino style meals and snacks. The alternative to the two options already mentioned is that staff will go and do a one-off grocery shop for you, for a price of course. To be honest, the kitchenette is pretty basic, and I couldn’t be bothered mucking around with cooking at the time, so I just ordered off the menu when I was hungry. Pricing on the menu was surprisingly reasonable for a Manila hotel, so there’s a solid tick in the box. The food quality ranged from fair to good; not much more to say on that as everyone has their own tastes and preferences. I did find it surprising that they will serve you alcohol in the room if you want it at PHP99 a bottle (375ml) so again, surprisingly cheap for the venue. It’s limited to SM, SML and Red Horse which suites me fine. There is one universal power point under the TV, no where near the kitchen table or desk… And as for its universality, the Aussie earth prong does not fit. Luckily, I had a single adapter and Australian power board with me so just plugged at the kitchen table. Given the timeframes guests are currently staying at the hotel you’d think they’d sort that out. This particular hotel will not allow you to order out, in accordance with the regulations, and they want to maintain their accreditation so fair enough I reckon. During the day there’s one PNP member on the door and at night a private security guard. Even after your day 5 PCR test comes in negative you aren’t allowed to leave the room. The rationale being that after you leave you still must complete the remainder of your quarantine at home. For those that don’t know, it’s 7 days from the day you arrived in the Philippines, so I’ll be out and about on Sunday – I arrived on a Sunday. Unlike most countries, under the PI regimen, they count the day you arrive as day one. They give you your quarantine clearance certificate on checkout if you haven’t already downloaded a digital copy from the OHP (there it is again) website. Apparently, you’ll need this to travel, I’ll get back to you all on that one after I’ve done said travelling tomorrow. They do offer a shuttle to the airport at the end of your stay but it’s PHP1500; when they told me the price, I had a mouthful of coffee… Better off grabbing a Grab. Everything else has been reasonably priced, so I guess they have to sting you somewhere. Overall, I give the Hotel Kimberly a very solid 3 out of 5 nasal swabs as a quarantine facility. Link to the pictures of the rooms: https://www.manila.hotelkimberly.com/reservation
    14 points
  9. Woman runs into husband and his mistress at a jab center, proving that there are hidden dangers to vaccines Vaccines are humanity’s best hope at getting out of the Covid-19 pandemic, but there are still a surprising number of people who avoid the jab for any number of fear-based reasons. Some people think the vaccine will tinker with your DNA (they will not), others think the needle will implant a microchip (it will not), and a sector of otherwise normal-looking adults think vaccines will make you magnetic (what). In what is, fittingly, a viral post that’s been going around on social media, a man demonstrates one very real danger of getting a vaccine. According to Twitter user @iamtix95, this all-out, chair-flinging brawl happened this way: “Husband told his wife that he could not accompany her for vaccination. So his wife went with her sister. Lo and behold they saw the husband coming in with a girlfriend at the same vaccination center.” Coconuts Manila Thu, 29 July 2021, 12:52 pm Vaccines are humanity’s best hope at getting out of the Covid-19 pandemic, but there are still a surprising number of people who avoid the jab for any number of fear-based reasons. Some people think the vaccine will tinker with your DNA (they will not), others think the needle will implant a microchip (it will not), and a sector of otherwise normal-looking adults think vaccines will make you magnetic (what). In what is, fittingly, a viral post that’s been going around on social media, a man demonstrates one very real danger of getting a vaccine. According to Twitter user @iamtix95, this all-out, chair-flinging brawl happened this way: “Husband told his wife that he could not accompany her for vaccination. So his wife went with her sister. Lo and behold they saw the husband coming in with a girlfriend at the same vaccination center.” Read: “When did everyone become a vaccine expert?”: Erwan Heussaff gets both praise and flak for IG post Look at this epic action sequence unfolding before our very eyes. There’s the furious wife and her indignant sister breathing angry, potentially Covid-laden droplets with their masks pulled down as they confront the cheating cheater of a (soon-to-be-ex-) husband. There’s the side chick quickly going from defense to WWF-worthy offense, throwing chairs with the same abandon that she apparently has when picking her dates. And lastly, if there’s anything at all to admire about the husband, it’s his commitment to vaccines and to masking protocols—though perhaps the latter might have more to do about hiding his face than to keep safe from Covid-19. On the sidelines, there are the horrified healthcare workers watching their patients go down hard with some unforeseen side effects. And lastly, there is the unseen cameraman who somehow had the presence of mind to keep documenting all this for posterity. What’s the lesson here? Well, first of all, don’t cheat. That’s just lame. Second, get vaccinated. We’re not going to use this platform as a bully pulpit like some celebrities did, but seriously, do get vaccinated. But most of all: don’t cheat and get vaccinated on the same day. https://coconuts.co/manila/news/woman-runs-into-husband-and-his-mistress-at-a-jab-center-proving-that-there-are-hidden-dangers-to-vaccines/
    14 points
  10. I have no problem with people complaining about the way of life here, sometimes a little constructive criticism can work wonders. What I do have a problem is when people who have been here many years dig up the same topic again and again. We have a 12 hour brown out on the 6th of June and the same people are complaining. If you are that bothered by no power( to improve the system) Get a back up power source. Remember you came here because you didn`t want to be there don`t try to make here like there.
    14 points
  11. For certain types of individuals, complaining about things is part of who and what they are. For whatever their reason, they feel better when voicing their dissatisfactions openly to any willingly receptive audience. That's a normal trait, but the level and degree to which they voice their disapprovals run the range. I think a lot of it is culturally learned behaviour. Here in the PI people are not openly rewarded for and encouraged to complain and whine incessantly about things beyond their control. They take action when possible to improve what they can and stoically accept what they cannot. Few people here feel entitled to a perfect, or even a much improved, existence.... to be provided by govenment or other social institutions. They don't expect too much, are pleased with small improvements in their lives, and just soldier on. That life philosophy seems to work for them in terms of maintaining a positive nature and keeping the smiles coming, despite all the problems they encounter in their lives. I enjoy living with that kind of people and prefer dealing with those who aren't always focusing upon and directing the conversation into ongoing grievances of a personal or political nature. My local expat associate/social group, like most, has new arrivals and departures regularly with all meet-ups in flux. Most know why they came here and what they don't want to deal with, so its always interesting to see what happens when a 'toxic' personality type joins in. Constant complainers and 'know-it-alls' usually destroy the groups, so many re-meet in other places with smaller, and more selective groupings. Most guys living in the PI are very careful and selective in their choice of associates, for good reason.
    14 points
  12. My gf often would say things about her mum like she is old and needs looking after etc. She could never remember her age but still old. Anyway the other day was her mother's birthday and she turned 58. One year younger than me. I guess I need looking after
    14 points
  13. I'm fortunate in that I suffer cabin fever. I wake by 5am most mornings and can't lay in bed. If I'm too stiff to train in the morning I still walk a good 5km up the beach just to tick over then I train late in the afternoon. I'm certainly reaping the rewards as my knees are the best they've been in years. From thinking I'd need them replaced to now I hardly feel them when training. My partner has also had a massive improvement. When I met her she suffered from a stomach ulcer and asthma. Her diet was definitely to blame, dried fish, pork fat, plenty of salt and almost no vegetables. I refused to buy any of that and slowly introduced vegetables disguised with spices etc to her diet. She also accompanied me when I jogged the beach. It's about 4.5km long and she would set off with me. The first week or two she went from running about 200m to a km without stopping. By the second month she was about 300m behind me as I hit the 4.5km turn around point. Now she loves vegetables, has no ulcer or asthma and can beat me at times on my runs. I'm very proud of her.
    14 points
  14. Geoff we 13a's are monitored by our Little Lady wives daily mate
    13 points
  15. My wife does not realise that when she posts pictures of the garden on FB she is showing what she has. Her cousin got jealous and gave her a hard time on FB about the pictures in her big house, my wife told her to pass off, her cousin sent a message that she never posts pictures of her hushand, my wife replied that`s because he is never here he is always out with other women. Very unlike my wife to say anything like that. I told her cousin that she never posts pictures of me as I am always naked that shut her up.
    13 points
  16. Members We thought during this dark time it would be nice to look forward to something so had our pool and bar finished. Now just need to get to the Philippines to use it. Flights and quarantine hotel booked for August so lets see what happens. Need to come back to renew my 13a ACR card as expires in September and need to do in person. Stay Safe.
    13 points
  17. The contractor is putting the finishing touches on our house on Biliran Island which is attached to northern Leyte by a single bridge. Just a little stone work, the driveway and landscaping left to do. The house is 165 sq m 2 story with 3 bedrooms, 3 baths and cost P5.5 million to build. The house is on a 1,700 sq. m lot which costs approximately P1.5 million a few years ago. P100K won't buy much, my workshop will end up costing me almost P500K by the time it's finished.
    13 points
  18. I guess the employee decided they'd had enough and decided to throw in the towel!
    13 points
  19. Having lived in a house and 3 condos for me condos win every time. Again it's down to location. One condo was in Manila, shoe box size and no natural light but deadly quiet and great for restaurants etc if you are into that thing. Rental at 19k per month Next was a house which was huge and had an acre or two of gardens which were maintained by a caretaker. Way too big for what I needed but very cheap rent at 15k per month but you could only sit outside in the early morning and as the sun went down and at night due to the heat. Great if you like basura burning nearby and videoke, cockerels and attempted burglarlies as happened twice in just over a year. Finally I bought my own condo at a bargain price inside a resort on Boracay. Only 3 floors and mine is top floor, built on a hill surrounded by jungle and well maintained tropical gardens with two pools and a jacuzzi. Zero burning, dogs, cockerels or videoke. Hardly use air con as the island is so narrow and the wind blows constantly, bright, airy and ideal size at 64 sqm for two adults and a rug rat. Overheads are only about 5k that includes water, electricity and management fees which cover insurance, security and maintenance. All modern conveniences on my doorstep. You couldn't book one night in the resort for what I pay per month.
    13 points
  20. Hello, Just a post to say that my husband and I got our first jab of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Cebu province today. Our neighbor this past saturday, told us that the health center said that we could get the vaccine on monday at the local health center I was rather dubious, but excited. I guess that every monday and tuesday the Department of Health would be administering vaccines for as long as stocks last. We were the first ones to arrive this morning at the health center, and we chatted with some local staff waiting to start their shift. I guess that they were offering Sinovac to 60 and above, but they were also giving the second jabs to front liners with the AstraZeneca vaccine. When inside, I asked if it was possible to choose AstraZeneca. Stocks were limited, but they said yes, we could be included if we chose to. We were willing and happy to get either one, but I was glad to receive the Astrazeneca. I think that these new vaccines are coming into the Philippines through the COVAX Facility. For any foreigners worried about not being eligible-- I'd say out of the maybe 150 folks that participated this morning, a third were foreigners. I was again heartened that supplies are making their way in to the Philippines, and I hope that all eligible expats will soon get to share in the various jabs, and that new categories for eligibility will open up soon too. I'm feeling pretty good right now. Queenie
    13 points
  21. Thanks to all for your thoughts and wishes from L and me. We appreciate the emotional support. Just to make the statement: the doctor(s) listed the official cause of death as covid. (As we all know, that may or may not be the real case. L is well aware about the deal with hospitals calling everything covid in order to pad their government funding.) He tested positive twice (one the fast result and one the "normal" or slow result). He was not feeling well for many weeks before finally being checked into the hospital a few days ago. L's sister, who was with him always in the past few weeks tested negative twice... Others in the family (they live about 75 miles from here) have not been tested but virtually all have been sick with something that they are all referring to as "flu." Hmmm... My experience in the islands is that whenever anyone is sick, it is "flu." No one else has been tested and most are afraid to be tested because then they would be quarantined if found positive. I will not make comments about this. Yes, L has many of her Papa's traits - strong, hard-headed, compassionate among others. I did not know him well since he had a stroke a few years back and so could not hear any more. His eyesight was failing and his mind was also becoming weak. However, I feel I had a positive influence on him. He was delighted that I was here and taking care of this precious daughter of his. There were times we would visit and he would ask L who she was (several siblings so confusion was likely), but would always break into a huge smile and say, "TOM!" when he would see me. He would not let go of my hand when we shook them. If I took a drink of beer or wine or Tanduay, he would do the same and always with a clink clink of glasses. When food was served, he always pointed to me and told his kids to take care of me, "your brother!" and give me food first. If he was not eating, he would follow my lead and eat when I did. It is important to say that, even though we did not know each other well, he had a very positive influence on me. He was a simple man but strong in character. And he liked to laugh. Papa had a good run. He worked very hard all his life with the family farm. He and Mama were inseparable. Now we all move on.
    13 points
  22. Five years down the line and having assessed my priorities I can say that for me it is the cost of living 100% followed by quality of life. I'll admit I have had to move 3 times to maintain a fine balance between quality of life and cost though. A good reason why no one should travel half way around the World and set roots in one location for one person until they've experienced life here. Initially the lure of sunshine, pretty women and friendliness of the locals was a major attraction but time and experience has blown a few of my priorities out of the water. I came to realise I like my own company more than a pretty face that just seams to attract drama and I'm smart enough to know the difference between attraction and financial security. The locals on a whole are still pretty friendly but no more so than back home in Scotland and the bureaucracy is 100% worse. As I say it's taken 3 moves to settle having experienced the dramas of relationships and insane Filipino jealousy and chismis. Locals that are friendly as they are after something in return and constant White nose tax. Perks of where I chose I suppose and I'm sure not all areas are the same or locals. So as a bit of a loner who is happy jogging along a great beach and swimming, eating at home most days, pretty self sufficient and so far in good health I've finally found a location where I can be happy, more so than back in the West where I'd still be working myself to the bone. Ask me again if my health takes a turn for the worst.
    13 points
  23. I am at Day 5 of having Covid and feeling on the mend. I am reluctant to jinx myself by saying I am "getting better" as I've heard it can be on again and off again for a long time. But as of today I am feeling OK. Thanks for the kind wishes.
    12 points
  24. So what has life been like for both my wife and myself, living on a tiny 8-hector private island on the outer-edge of of a mangrove forest? In a nutshell, not boring and amazingly roomy. We are literally the last (only) electric-meter of the last power pole in the line. There is no water-well or freshwater source on the island. But we have adapted to any hardship (been a few) and have come to love living this (not so boring) lifestyle. So how did we come from life living between a 2-story rental in Surigao City proper and our little 6-hector coconut farm, to living tiny island life? Well is a 12 year tale of unforeseeable consequences, circumstances and little nudges by Karma and an angle or two. And if I had a chance to do it all over? Then I would probably still be here on this tiny island, just with better internet and underwater. So where to start? I guess a couple of months before I had ever heard of tiny Tangjanonan Island.
    12 points
  25. Here in Moalboal a small group of volunteers have created the non-profit " Dogs of Moalboal Spay & Neuter" with a "‘Pay1 Fix1, Paw it forward program’ Low Cost Spay and Neuter Clinic.". By partnering with a local vet they offer low cost spay/neuter for dogs. Even with a low cost the fee charged is sufficient to also cover the spay/neuter for a stray dog or for Philippine citizens who simply cannot afford to spay/neuter their dogs. To date they have been able to facilitate the spay/neuter for over 200 dogs. All dogs are also given anti-rabie vaccine. All this in just over a years time. Making a difference in our community one dog at a time. Well done!
    12 points
  26. Me and the Mrs... her with her high heels on. .
    12 points
  27. My wife has been feeding my German sheperd peanuts most nights, she chews some and swallows most of them. I told the wife that when I take the dog out first thing I have been collecting the whole peanuts from the poo, giving them a quick wash and putting them back in the peanut packet, so she gets extra peanuts, she inspected every peanut in the packet. She is convinced that she had eaten the dog ones. she was not a happy bunny. won't give the dog peanuts now.
    12 points
  28. So I left my watering hole and at the very same time it began to rain. Thought well maybe wont be too heavy but I was heading to a 7/11 not far. Anyway got across the park and rain got heavier. Same time Filipino guy walking with umbrella meets me and ask if l wanted help with his umbrella. Thank you I say and told him just going over there which is covered once I cross the road. He helped me there which is good of him and he went off. Yes grateful l am from an unknown guy to share his umbrella. Now dont jump to conclusions as I dont think he had other motives but I stayed dry. Just to add, this is IT Park so not someone out to make a peso or 2 to hold an umbrella.
    12 points
  29. Hi All, Just a quick note about getting my 13a Visa from the main Manila BI, in Intramuros. Applied last January. I had a little bit of help from a local lawyer in Ortigas, with a formal petition letter where my wife asked for a spouse Visa for me. We had a pretty long list of paper requirements, which we complied with without much drama. On the day of filing, I went to the BI office on my own, only to be told that my wife had to be there in person, as her signature was needed in quite a few places. All in all, everybody at the various windows and some of the offices upstairs were quite helpful. It took us almost a full day bouncing around people behind a glass, videogame-like, but in the end we got the two full folders in order. One folder was for the Visa proper, the other for the new ACR I-card application. Fast forward a couple of months, we checked the "Agenda" of 13a Visa application status online on the BI website and my name was published on one of these online PDF documents. We were unsure as to what the record on the Agenda was. An expiration date was present, March 26 2022, together with the name of one of their Officers. We didn't know whether the record referred to an already-implemented (i.e. about to be released Visa) or a face-to-face interview was needed. We could have gone there any time but we were stuck in Davao for several months. We only got back to Manila a week ago. As I learned by going there last Friday, the Visa was ready for implementation. All I had to do was go to the Visa release window (window 30-something, one of those in the far corner) and leave my passport. I was given a claim stub and told to pick up the stamped passport on the following Monday, which I did. On my last visit this Monday (yesterday) I picked up my passport and was told that my new ACR I-card would be released this coming Friday. All in all, the whole experience deserves a solid 8. Every visit to a public office, including the NBI and the BI, has been hassle-free and never lasted more than a couple of hours, including the queuing and the waiting. My wife managed to obtain a couple of last-minute requirements on the spot by visiting government satellite offices at the malls (great idea!). For all its shortcomings and inconsistencies, I surely cannot say that the Philippine government is making it hard for foreigners to live and settle in this country. I heard countless horror stories from the Thai, Indonesian and Cambodian governments, so this whole Visa experience was a blessing in comparison. So...I'm in!
    12 points
  30. Hello Phil and welcome to the forum. I won't spend time repeating was everyone has stated already, but please put all of their comments together and take them to heart. Making a move here as you have described (with children, etc.), is a major event, with numerous complications and rules that are elusive and change by the minute. In my opinion, to have a successful life here you must be very flexible, and extremely patient. Many of the laws and rules here are designed to not allow foreigners to take advantage of the country and the mainly passive population. So the laws can be very frustrating and make virtually no sense, but follow them or trouble follows. In regards to your love of bike riding, I share this love with you, but I do not attempt to enjoy it here. Most of the locals lack driving skills and in a report I read today, the government estimates over 50% of the active drivers do not have drivers license. The law of the road is....first one to the intersection wins and coming across someone driving in your lane going in the opposite direction is very common. It is extremely dangerous on the open roads here and accidents is one of the leading causes of "unplanned deaths" here. Once you move here, you will have to wait around a year to get a drivers license, but you can drive on your current license for 30 days (but check on that to ensure its still valid). In regards to children, I have 2 and they attend private schools. Very expensive, but no way would I allow them to attend public schools (approximately 140,000 pesos plus uniforms, special fees, meals, and supplies). Philippine schools are rated some of the worst schools in the Asian region, and even the private schools are rated low, but they are better than the public. There is a few of the specialized schools that are much better, but that's usually because they design there own curriculum based on international standards, and not Philippine. We hire tutors for our children, again, expensive, but very important to us. As far as your budget, if your spouse is not Philippine, then you will most likely pay a higher foreigner price for most everything, with some exceptions (i.e. groceries, etc.,). Your place on the beach is doable, but might be a bit hard to find, but doable, but it will not be cheap, unless it's an open air place with bamboo or thin walls, no ac, but you can find better places, just be patient and keep looking. Remember, most people here don't list homes or property in the paper, online, etc. It's mainly word of mouth, the exception would be the major cities (Manila, Cebu, Davao, etc.) Prices for rent or purchases for homes or land will be higher if they know you are a foreigner. My wife is local so she always does the negotiating with me completely out of the picture. Example, my wife approached a family about a nice piece of property they wanted to sell. They quoted her 850,000 pesos ( around $18,000). When we met with them a week later, and I was with my wife, the price was now 1,900,000 pesos ($40,000). My wife ask why, and they said they "misspoke before". You will find that the word "misspoke" is a common word used here, especially by elected officials, who don't want to explain conflicting things they have said in the past. Last thing I will comment on, I'm sure there might be areas in the provinces that you can jump on your bike and ride to the wind... but since the pandemic started, I haven't a clue where those places are. Most of the country is locked down and "bubbled", so traveling from place to place is virtually impossible. But from what I have heard.......Cebu is the best place currently (but I'm sure many will disagree). One last FYI.... Your monthly income is adequate to have a comfortable life here, but as with anyplace, you must budget it or it will be gone quickly. The times of everything is cheap and live like a king, no longer exist. If you live and eat live a local, life is cheap. But if you live and eat like a foreigner, life is expensive here. Foreigners love their comforts, and they usually take electricity. My monthly electric bill is 16,000 pesos plus ($325). But again, I'm a spoiled foreigner I apologize for the gloomy message my friend, but I feel it's important to communicate what you will experience when you are here..........and keep in mind, watching the YouTube flicks showing the paradise and "Born Free" bike rides, are a very small depiction of life here. They get paid based on how many people view their videos, so keep that in mind. It can be a beautiful, blessed place, but you must transition to the way of life here. Good luck to you Sir, and God Bless. JWS
    12 points
  31. For most westerners arriving in the Philippines, there can be culture shock. Most travellers would say, however, that their initial experience in the country can be summed up in the words of kindness, politeness and hospitality. Behind that smiling population of good people is a method of interaction that is collectively known as Pakikisama. The ability to adapt your behaviors that allow for successful social interchange. Easily summed up as the ability to get along with people. The word transliterates as a phrase, “please come with or go with.” Once long term foreign residents vacationing or residing in the Philippines grasp this concept life seems to fall into place. That kindness shown to visitors when reciprocated multiplies. That’s why one American living in Laguna says he’s ” treated like a rockstar.” Because he is one of the kindest people ever visiting the island nation. We’ll call him Jack. Jack is well known for his Pakikisama skill set. His neighbors welcomed him and he did the same. His community work around the region just south of Manila is well recognized and he never ACTS like a rockstar. Just the opposite, Jack mingled with his local businesses and residents, but without privilege or arrogance. Instead, meeting all situations with increased understanding, the more he learned to integrate. Where “pakikisama” can be a valuable tool The ability to adapt to circumstances also helps with some of the pet peeves of foreign visitors to the Philippines: long lines, waiting; delays on deadlines; misdirected or incorrect communications; or even illusions of wealth by reason of national origin. The treasure of learning Pakikisama is to assimilate the good with the bad and behave appropriately in all scenarios to ensure the best outcomes. Speaking of bad, there is an expression in the Philippines, ” lahat ng gubat may ahas.” Every jungle has snakes. So there are going to be visitors and long term foreign residents who encounter things like theft, deceit or actual animosity based on the fact that the person they meet has prior biases. Pakikisama is even more important in those circumstances. Keeping one’s cool allows for the kindness of the majority of Filipinos to shine even brighter and overcome the treachery of a few serpents on those random occasions. East vs West, cultural differences It also takes a while for Western travellers, many, from countries where rugged independence is a valued personality characteristic, to understand the community-based, collective decision making as a cultural value in the Philippines, as an Asian people. Learning how to be a part of that social process allows for successful living in a pleasant environment. The other side of the coin On the other hand, Filipinos also have a period of adapting to their guests. Each visitor brings their own filters, experiences, schooling and personality traits. Even within their home country’s cultural values, any single person can be outside of the group norm. And, while many visitors to the Philippines are enthralled by the natural beauty, the warm hospitality and relaxed vacations, others seek out the darkest corners to hide their misdeeds. It’s not only in the Philippines where snakes can be found. Once again, Pakikisama helps to build that understanding of meeting people where they are at, and who they are, that makes life in the Philippines even better. Welcome to the land of smiles.
    12 points
  32. Myself and my wife had our Covid Vaccines today( pre registered last week ) . Many blood pressure tests before and after the Vaccination ! Lots of questions about my health such as am i on medications,and have I had any operations etc. In all 10 different stations to go to but all over in just 90 mins ! Total cost zero !
    12 points
  33. I geuss that makes Mindanao the Philippines Mexico... interesting place with some big cities but not everywhere is safe for westeners
    12 points
  34. Okay... so the world is going to hell in a hand basket...agreed? But we won't be hungry here... The first volunteer tomato and squash... Our garden is growing veggies for us. Too soon for real photos, but beans, radishes, cucumbers and tomatoes are sprouting and growing. Our spring onions and garlic chives are thriving. I finally received some grass (not THAT kind) seeds and planted them yesterday in some walk-way areas... Several corn plants have flowers and corn silk on some ears - in spite of hungry goat munching... This is the herb garden plot - still under construction... Wing beans and "string" beans... more things to the right. And grass seed soon to make the walk-ways neat...
    12 points
  35. Interesting commentaries. I have been happily married for 49 years to the same person. She is my first love and that love has blossomed over the years. We celebrate our 50th anniversary this coming September. On the subject of marriage and relationships, let me plead the 5th (US Constitution right against self-incrimination).
    12 points
  36. Wow, a couple weeks after my 2nd shot, I developed this severe aliment that affects my motor skills. I can't do the dishes, vacuum the house or take out the trash. I'm dying here. Pray for me, OK?
    12 points
  37. Wife and I are quarantine hotel as this is written. Several days prior to our scheduled flight, we checked out various Philippine Airlines recommended quarantine hotels. We chose one in Pasay in the Newport City area. I can see Villamor Airbase outside my window. We left San Francisco February 20. (Flight was rescheduled from original February 17 departure date) Ticket counter wanted to see our marriage certificate. All we have is a certified copy. Plus I had the 9a tourist visa from a few months ago when it was required. All in all, Philippine Airlines was no problem. We even brought two cats with us but that is for another topic. Yes, they arrived safe and sound. No issues or problems with their paperwork or customs. Before arrival, you are given several forms to fill out. Usual arrival card and customs declaration. Then health declaration and past travel history/employment forms. Upon arrival, Philippine Coast Guard will take your temperature while still on the plane and take the health declaration forms. You then depart the plane and are met by Department of Tourism representatives. They are there to coordinate with quarantine hotels and Covid test scheduling. I did not know it at the time but there is an additional online form that needs to be completed. They have QR codes there ready to help. Plus there are representatives through the whole process. I was very impressed. Worst part about the form fill out was trying to see the darn letters without my reading glasses. Face shield and mask do not go well with glasses. Fog up to fast! I had to resubmit the form a second time as my Microsoft email account never came through with the QR code response email (Didn't go to spam either, just never got it). Ended up using my gmail account. Once you finish this step, it is time to pay for your Covid test. They take credit cards. Unfortunately the processing system went down while processing ours. We were prepared with 8,000 Peso on hand. Easy process for the most part. Line to Immigration was shortest I had ever been in! It helped that we were pretty much the first ones off the plane throughout this process. Immigration asked for our marriage certificate. She asked if we had an original but didn't make any fuss about it. We were asked about return flight tickets. We didn't have any. Wife explained we were going to stay 6+ months and possibly process my 13a visa. My passport was stamped with the 12 month Balikbayan stamp, Have a good day and enjoy Philippines! Next step was Customs. Cats were waiting within a few steps of our luggage. A representative from the Philippine Bureau of Animal Industry was on the spot to inspect the cat's importation documentation. P410 import fee. Have a good day! Next we handed the customs declaration form to the representative. It went in a box stacked with many more. Have a good day, enjoy Philippines! We had the hotel provide transportation from Terminal 2 to our hotel. Driver called and text to let us know where he was. All went smooth. Our plan was to have relatives pick up the cats as there is no quarantine requirements for them. We got to the hotel at 6:30am. Sister in Law came and picked them up. Hotel had a no pet policy anyway. I may love the cats but spending 7 days with them in a hotel room would be torture! So now we await the next 6 days till the Covid test. One thing I highly recommend is having a Philippine SIM card and a load onhand. I kept our Globe SIM's active over the past year. Periodically loading them every other month or so. Upon our arrival I switched on the Globe and text 8080 then the message was GOTSAKTO120. Figured it was good enough to get us going. It did come in handy when filling out the online forms. The airport wifi is not the greatest. We did download the Traze app but so far no one has asked for it. Maybe once the Covid test is done it will then be used. All in all, it has not been a bad experience. We always hear horror stories. I wanted to let everyone know there are positives as well.
    12 points
  38. Loans are rarely paid back here. Whenever deciding to loan for a good reason, consider it a gift.
    12 points
  39. Many many years ago i lived in South Africa for 5 years and 5 years ago I visited Namibia for 2 weeks. Thought I should combine a road trip to both places which I did over the past 35 days. Conclusion, absolutely brilliant and will do it again net year and include Botswana. 35 days, 10500 kms, over USD 1000 spent on diesel alone for the " double cab 4 wheel drive bakkie " that I rented. Stayed in 17 separate airbnb places where the hosts, highly interested in having a well travelled gent living in Philippines staying with them would invariably invite me for dinner or lunch or sundowners on a rock in middle of nowhere or giraffe and zebra spotting or springbok BBQ etc etc. Both countries are vast hence the distances I drove ( some days over 800kms ) but if I drove a long distance would stay in one place for 2 or 3 days so that I could see something of the towns/villages I was in. Had one flat tyre and cracked rim in northern Namibia that was fixed and replaced by a garage in Otjiworongo near Etosha . Vehicle had 2 spare tyres which is normal especially for some of the gravel roads that one finds in Namibia. In some places was similar to Western Australia with the same vast distances and normal 100kms between available gas stations. Tell someone you are going 200 kms and they say " oh just down the road then ". A long drive for many Namibians is anything over 1000kms. Both countries have populations suffering from covid effects on economy with people outside supermarkets and gas stations requesting spare food or spare change. No one gives money to these as it invariably goes on drink or drugs but many will share spare food I saw. Wonderful first trip out of Philippines since covid. Lots staff in NAIA checking I had RT PCR done for arrival in South Africa ( 72 hours before travelling ) but on arrival in Cape town airport I think the RT PCR form wasnt even looked at. Passing border from South Africa in to Namibia was super easy . The health check consisted of a guy asking " have you been vaccinated " "Yes and I prepared to show him all certs etc... he waved these away and said no need to see. He also said " and dont forget no need to wear masks in the country unless you want to wear it ". Finished my trip with 3 days in Cape Town which must be one of the most beautiful cities in the world with Table Mountain predominating . Happy to share more details with any folks here should they be interested to know more or be considering such a wonderful road trip. ( Animals seen.. Rhino, baboons, zebra, giraffes, meerkats, lion, ostrich, springbok , orix , Ibix, kudu, gemsbok wildebeest, warthogs, etc etc )
    11 points
  40. Our 23rd wedding anniversary is later this month and I wanted to give something my wife would enjoy using. It's 50 watts and perfect for shouting into her cell phone. What do you guys think? I'll be needing to step up my hearing protection game though.
    11 points
  41. My wife no longer asks me what I want to eat. I ask her "what do you want me to eat for lunch"? Saves a lot of time and frustration for us both.
    11 points
  42. Please follow the forum rules for covid positive memers. Positive members must, Wear a facemask when posting Wear surgical or suitable gloves when using a keyboard for posting Sanitize all posts before pressing "Submit reply" If reading and not posting it is recommended a face shield be worn but not compulsory. These rules are for the good of all forum members, be safe
    11 points
  43. TL;DR (Too long; Don't Read): Have your sh#t in one sock or they will deny you entry. To begin with, it should be noted that the PCR timeframe prior to departure for PI has been reduced from 72 to 48 hours and you should plan accordingly. Bureau of Quarantine officials are enforcing this upon entry. Anyway, to the matter at hand. Upon arrival at NAIA disembarkation will be delayed by various announcements with regards to COVID procedures etc. Some of them repeat the same points, but there’s information that is surprisingly helpful in each one. After you finally leave the aircraft, you take the usual meandering walk towards immigration with the addition of some of the departure lounges that have been added to the normal routes to accommodate the “checkpoints”. Before describing the process, I can’t emphasise how important it is to go through the One Health Pass (OHP) registration prior to departure on the Bureau of Quarantine website: https://onehealthpass.com.ph/e-HDC/OHP-Registration/ it must be completed within 3 days of your date of arrival. No sooner. I witnessed quite an interesting discussion between an Aussie and one of the officials due to the flight being delayed a day thus making his registration 1 day beyond the 3 day limit. They let him through but probably better to avoid the issue entirely. It should be noted that the current list of approved quarantine hotels found here https://quarantine.doh.gov.ph/boq-allowed-and-dot-accredited-quarantine-facilities-as-of-december-20-2021/ isn’t entirely accurate. Hotels are constantly having their accreditation revoked but they’ll stay in the pull-down list in the OHP registration. To be on the safe side, my advice would be to call your chosen hotel directly and confirm they’re still accredited. Checkpoint one, manned by Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) personnel they’ll require you to show the following: · Passport, · OHP, · Proof of negative PCR test, · Proof of vaccination from your home government app or hard copy. Checkpoint two – again BOQ personnel: · Same as checkpoint one but with the addition of proof of accredited quarantine hotel booking. Immigration: · OHP, · Entry paperwork you filled out on the plane, · Passport with valid visa, and · In my case proof of relationship (marriage certificate) supporting my 9a. Interestingly I noticed that the Balikbayan’s were being processed much faster than the visa holders. Head over to baggage claim, grab your bags then go over to.. wait for it… Checkpoint 4 (BOQ personnel): · OHP only. The guys at checkpoint 4 will then direct you to either the hotel shuttle vans, or if your hotel doesn’t provide one, to the un-metered taxis. For me it was the unmetered taxis. Exit the terminal, cross the road to where the taxis usually are, head to the left and you’ll see a booth. Go to the booth and show your OHP and they’ll give you a ticket with a fixed price and a copy of it to your driver. The non-metered taxis are all white with the old “3 stickers” on the front windscreen. The ride to my hotel in Malate just across the road from Robinson’s, was 530PHP; not a great price but not horrible either. Traffic was light even for 830pm at night, a sign of the “new norm” I guess. Upon arrival at my hotel, I had my temperature checked and signed a declaration I’ll comply with the quarantine regulations, then checked in as normal. Interestingly my hotel won’t allow food deliveries, which is in accordance with the regulations, but I know of some people that have been able to do this in other facilities. No big deal for me as they have a pretty reasonably priced restaurant for room service here and I’m in a studio with a decent kitchenette and they will go and do a grocery shop upon request. At some point the scanning of my OHP QR code triggered the randomly selected pathology lab on the OHP registration form (you’ll see what I mean when you fill in the form) to send me an email confirming my hotel and room number and after following the bouncing ball linked in the email, they sent another email detailing the date and procedure for my day 5 test. I think that about covers it all. Like Sydney, it was a reasonably seamless but unlike Sydney a time consuming process. I hope this helps some of you. Hopefully they’ll start making moves on the tourist visa front soon and you’ll be spared the process entirely. Oh, none of the money changers were open when I went through but it was well after dark so nothing unusual there. The Smart and Globe people were there to sell you a sim if you wanted one. On a whim I changed some cash in Sydney, glad I did despite the rate thus avoiding the international ATM fees which tend to be even more exorbitant. The old sailor in me can smell Ermita from here….
    11 points
  44. A quick look around our garden this morning... .
    11 points
  45. Found this while having my morning coffee.
    11 points
  46. I put some weight on when I first arrived here after tearing a few ligaments supporting my right knee. An MRI scan also highlighted general wear and tear after 24 years in the forces. I'm one of those that just has to look at weights and I build muscle. I got to 110kg at 5ft 8 which is technically obese but I was pretty much muscle as all I could do was gym work. I do a lot of distance swimming but could swim all day and it doesn't tire me out or affect my weight. I started gentle jogs up a steep hill where I used to live as going up never hurt my knees and I'd walk down very slowly. Since arriving on Boracay I started walking about 9km daily bare footed on the beach then slowly introduced jogging. I gave up all weight training and just concentrated on walking and jogging. I got to the stage where I'd run pretty fast for 4.5km then jog back or walk slowly. The lifeguards got to know me as they'd see me every day and noticed I did a lot of swimming so invited me to train with them. Up until last month when covid hit Boracay I was training with them 5 days per week and finally got down to about 85.5kg. Running and swimming was banned so I started doing circuit training and running inside the resort I live in as there's only 4 people, one circuit is just over 1km with two decent hills and put 2.5kg back on. I only eat one main meal per day and just eat two small snacks, probably about 2k calories maximum per day, don't drink, smoke or like soft drinks but I've pretty much hit my weight I think as regardless how hard I'm training now I can't get under 87kg. Fitness watch wise I bought a Huawei Band 4 pro with built in GPS so I can track my swimming without it being linked to my phone but it's useless for swimming. I swim say 2km and it records 600m and says I took 21 strokes. It's lnked to Google maps and shows me swimming on the beach. Running, heart rate and steps is very good though and quite accurate.
    11 points
  47. Think I'll "weigh" in on this topic as well.😀 I can relate to the attitude that many Filipinos have about walking as my wife and I take an hour long walk every morning. Seems like she's always explaining that we are doin it for exercise which seems amusing to many of them. Also the Filipino love of sweet foods has a lot to do with the obesity problem here. And too many carbs. Since we started our garden we have a lot of excess produce that we've tried to give to my wife's family. At first they didn't want to accept it. In fact one niece who is pretty portly said "Uncle, only poor people eat vegetables". Which of course blew me away since they ARE poor. But after some convincing and talking about healthy eating we talked some of them into accepting our excess produce. We also have a few nieces we have helped by taking to the dentist. I remember having lived here in the 1980's that I was always struck by most Filipina's beautiful smiles so just from that time to now many things have radically changed and not for the better.
    11 points
  48. Exactly right, over 20+ years we have never loaned money only gifting cash and rarely that. Loans simply aren't worth the chance of hard feelings and worse.
    11 points
  49. Yesterday I was craving a coconut custard pie. The main ingredient came from some coconuts growing on one of our dwarf coconut trees. A traditional way to grate coconut in the Philippines is called a Kudkuran. It's a small bench that has a small grater attached, that grates the dried coconut to a fluffy consistency. You have to identify which coconut by color of the outer shell, and how much water you can hear shaking around inside. There are really three kinds of coconut here that are eaten for different purposes. There's the young coconut, "butong" with the juicy milky water and soft flesh that's so refreshing. There's the in between texture that's called "ungol" that I used, and the Bisaya word "lagas" for the very dried up coconut that can be squeezed into coconut milk. I have to rely on my husband to cut, and tear open the fibrous husk and shell using a machete. Seeing as I'm making the pie, he's a willing partner! We own our own kudkuran for times like these.:) This is my own recipe--you might want to try if you're out in the country, and have someone with coconut experience. I suppose you could use store bought grated coconut if you could find it, but I don't think it would be the same, but still okay. I used a can of Thai coconut cream, but coconut milk would be fine too. Our two dogs were happy for any leftover coconut. Prepare your favorite crust, and pre-bake it in the oven for about fifteen minutes. Assemble all the ingredients in a bowl, and just wisk them all together. ! 9-10 inch pie crust 1 cup milk ( I used whole milk) 1 1/2 cups coconut cream 2 cups grated coconut 3/4 cup sugar 4 large eggs 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract I toasted 1/4 cup extra coconut in a frying pan for topping before baking, but that's optional Pour the ingredients into the pie shell and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes until still a little wobbly. It will continue to bake a bit more and firm up as it cools. Enjoy! Store leftover pie for a few days in the fridge. Traditional meets modern to make an old favorite pie!
    11 points
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