Jump to content


Privileged Member
  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


manofthecoldland last won the day on February 2

manofthecoldland had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

889 Top Poster

About manofthecoldland

  • Rank
    Gold Club Member

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location

Blood Type

  • Blood Type
    No Listing

Country Of Birth

  • Country Of Birth

Recent Profile Visitors

1,240 profile views
  1. manofthecoldland

    Are You Rich?

    Alas ! Tis 'oft a woe unto our band of merry men and we are troubled in mind and heart when they storm the leather walls of our purses. I too, am muddled in mind at times when the charge comes. In these times of besiegement methinks the words of our ancient comrade-in-arms.... To share or not to share; that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the purse to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous importunities Or take up words against a sea of trouble And by opposing end them ? FAT CHANCE !
  2. manofthecoldland

    Repatriation:  Yes, you can go home again!

    This is true. Same here. She has also ratcheted it up in accordance to the regs. to make it a bit more economically meaningful in her old age.
  3. Is it possible that you saw something about the Boracay Island need to show proof of a hotel reservation before being allowed on the island as a tourist? If so, that only applies to that particular tourist spot, not the entire country.
  4. manofthecoldland

    Repatriation:  Yes, you can go home again!

    I'm glad to see someone has mentioned the fact that many government pensions have quite a series of qualifiers and limitations on a widow's possible pension survivor's claims. In many cases of an older man who lives here solely on his USA social security old age benefits, his wife will no longer have any income source when he dies. (if they have minor children she will have limited benefits until the children become young adults, then it ends for all, I believe.)This is something that should be taken into consideration when entering a large age gap marriage. One would be wise to check the government's web sites re survivor benefits to see what your wife's standing will be someday if you pre-decease her.
  5. manofthecoldland

    Repatriation:  Yes, you can go home again!

    Its unfortunate that there are no statistics available (that I am aware of at least) of the duration of stay for long term ex-pat re-locations to the Philippines. I did see on one of the youtube's Hobo Traveler vids, that few who retire to Central American countries stick it out past 5 years, often leaving the nice houses they built in their more optimistic retirement expectations, in the hands of caretakers, since there isn't much of real estate market for them. Apparently the reality of retirement life there didn't live up to their expectations, or they developed health issues that couldn't be addressed to their satisfaction there. There have also been several vid channels of ex-pat fellows building a house here with their Filipina that were eventually pulled and disappeared, never to be heard from since. My conclusion, based on what I see and hear among friends and acquaintances here over the years, is that..... everything has to go or be put fairly right with much extra and unanticipated effort, and a lot of cross-cultural differences overcome for ex-pats to break the 5 year barrier for continuous long term living here. Not many people are truly equipped to handle it compared to the number that make the adventurous and heroic effort. But I do think that an English speaking ex-pat has better odds of making it here than in most other reputed foreign retirement havens. Just my opinion, of course.
  6. manofthecoldland

    I asked for patience and God sent me to the Philippines

    bahala na. Come what may. So it goes. bahala ka. Up to you. At least that's the way I use 'em.
  7. manofthecoldland

    New Drugs

    Part of the problem is that people are not as good at risk assessment as they think they are, and the research seems to confirm this. Many people seem to think that they are the exception to the law of averages, and they can beat odds when dealing with drugs, gambling, STDs, on-line dating, etc. Many of the things they fear most are long odds and low risk (e.g., airplane crashes, getting killed by a terrorist) while many other threats that are far more likely to occur to them are higher than they think (e.g., non-use of a seat belt or helmet on a motorcycle.) There are books written on this subject if you are at all interested.
  8. manofthecoldland

    I asked for patience and God sent me to the Philippines

    Seems to be a cheap and informal form of anti-collision insurance that comes with car ownership here to me.
  9. I do not understand your post. If the fee is $160 as is mentioned on many sites, why does she need $1,100 ? Is she asking you to provide the $160? Is she asking you to provide $1100.... if so, for exactly what? What would the service agency provide for that HUGE amount? A ten minute web search provides quite a bit of information on this subject, which I won't bother typing up for you since it is easily found (USA tourist visa from Philippines), but I will add two things. 1. In the event she is not a scammer, a true tourist needs personal 'show money' valuation >$5,000 of financial capability to support their trip. Property records and photos, income tax records, employment certificate, 3 months of pay slips if employed, financial and bank statements, etc. Get the picture. 2. The current political and social climate is not exactly conducive to welcoming 'tourists' from low economic level countries for the simple reason that many overstay their visas, disappear from sight and look for employment opportunities to exploit. It is so common that Filipinos have a term for it: TNT...... tago ng tago. Basically.... run & hide. It is reported that most of the current illegals in the country came in through ports of entry, usually on air flights. They overstayed their legal visa duration and went off radar. These people vastly outnumber those who sneak in over the land borders. For that reason, immigration is very wary of anyone of posing under the guise of tourist, who has insufficient economic motivation to return to their home country after their tourist visit. Which is why most of the 100 million plus Filipinos cannot qualify for tourist visas. If your new Filipina friend can legally qualify for a tourist visa, that would be nice. Absent that, it would probably be cheaper and easier for you to take a brief vacation here to meet with her and enjoy her culture and country. Good luck, and don't forget to let your fellow site members know how your adventure turns out since most are older and appreciate reading true tales.
  10. manofthecoldland

    Dancing in the Philippines?

    I would think that in many provincial capitals or cities of 50K+ population, you will probably find some local ballroom dance clubs for older people. Dancing seems to be an important part of the educational system here and I would think that it carries forward to older age groups like in many other places and cultures. I live in a city of 100K. There are a few ballroom dance studios in the main downtown area. I have never bothered to check them out, despite my wife telling me how he used to enjoy ballroom dancing because she had an accident that ended with her having a steel foot implant which sometimes bothers her in bad weather. Several months ago, an interesting 81 year old Pinoy friend of mine that I share coffee time with, told me of his ballroom dance club and invited us, if interested. He said its a variety of older age brackets who socialize and teach each other if you want to learn. It meets in one of the local hotel multi-function rooms one night a week. I have never went , but he likes to attend. He is a double widower, but still has a twinkle in his eye and is a very entertaining extrovert who is always very cheerful when I am with him. I think that the dancing provides a real enjoyment to his life at this stage, as he works on writing his autobiography for his descendants. You might try FB for the city you settle in to find a social dance club or dance group.
  11. manofthecoldland


    Thanks Wayne. I always appreciate some good jesting. Better to laugh than cry about life's minor tribulations. Eh ? We all have to take good care of both ends of the old energy tube if we want to live long and stay on-line.
  12. manofthecoldland


    RE: COLONOSCOPY ..... Follow up and cost revision the next day. I thought the costs involved were pretty much over. I WAS WRONG. As many of us often discover, full disclosure information is often not displayed or offered in advance, unless you ask specifically. You usually have to dig around a bit and piece bits together yourself. I don't think it's usually hidden on purpose.... but its more a sin of omission than commission. You ask a question, thinking your getting a full answer, but you're getting a partial answer. I don't believe that there was intent to deceive, but I do feel that I was misled a bit. After I prepaid for all of my pre-op tests and received them, we went to the hosp. payment window for paperwork for the next morning's admission. It then occurred to me that I might have to prepay, and I wasn't prepared for that. I had come in the other day for the initial consultation, with him writing up the needed pre-tests. The next day I finished them and the met with the doc to go over them with him explaining everything and I decided that I wanted an outpatient deal instead of checking in to the hospital the night before. I figured no sense in paying for an expensive room (checking into a cheaper group ward is not a very good idea here if you can afford not to) just to cr*p out my gut contents for 12 hours. I told the doc that using your own home CR is what we do back in the world of expensive medical care, where literate people know how to read and follow preparatory instructions. He agreed, writing out the cleansing prescripts and procedure and told me to go to the ER the next morn for admittance and prep. Then they would wheel chair me to his operating room for the final prep and the procedure. His orderly then took me to the admit pay window for the clearance paper for the next day's ER admit. Now here is where it occurred to me that I didn't have a lot of cash on me beyond the test cost monies. No way I could pull a big wad of Pisos out of my pocket.... and everything here is almost always on a cash basis. No credit cards. Either its in your pocket or you go to an ATM and get it. ... I was relieved when the pay window lady stamped and returned the admit slip for the next day. I asked about payment and she just said, "Tomorrow, sir." I then had to ask.... "About how much will it cost so I know how much to bring?" She replied, " Fifteen plus, sir." So that is why I posted the cost as P15K in Part 1. Little did I know what the 'Plus" meant from her casual comment. I figured that she meant some added hundreds of Pisos. Maybe she did indeed mean exactly that. Or maybe not. I SHOULD HAVE interrogated and cross-examined her for more details. But I was in a hurry to conclude things quickly and escape this hillside hospital with its odd angled ramps and stairs which connected a scattered variety of dept.s, offices, wards, rooms etc. Anyone without good navigational skills and terrain memory would need either a GPS or leashed bloodhound to backtrack through their expected itinerary moves. Seems that a lot of employees spent a lot of time advising patients how to get from their A to their B points. So we went to the ER, with the admit paper for the next day, and we talked with the head nurse, etc. Now they knew I was coming in and gave me more info. All went smoothly and easily the next day. Excellent professional care given by kind and caring people. I wake up from the 50 min. procedure with no aftereffects, like from a midday siesta. I feel perfectly normal with my body giving no indication of the procedure. Hard to believe anything had happened during the brief IV sedative induced nap. The doc shows me on a big nearby wall chart what he did and found. Shows me the photo sheet and gives the DVD/CD for later if I want to see it all. They have 3 tissue samples that I can take to a lab, get analyzed just in case anything unnoticed thus far shows since I expressed concern initially. He tells me that this pvt hosp would take 7-10 days on that, but for the same price (P4.5K) I could take it to the medical tourism center a few barangays away, where he is the specialist on staff, and they can have it done in only 3.... guess their lab isn't as busy.or maybe they have the latest equip for quicker analysis.... I don't know, but I just sent my wife off with the samples we kept in our refrig overnight while I debated on whether or not to spend our dear pisos on something that will probably confirm what we pretty much already know. Well... I guess better safe than sorry, despite being broke now. Besides, if I show up in his office for an expected post visit, telling him that the dogs accidentally got a hold of it and ate it, he might not believe me or think me a great, koriput fool. So I shall shell out the 4.5K with tears of loss. (NOTE: my wife just texted me.... she had to pay P 5,240 to have the lab specimens analysed.) Ouch ! I get off the gurney/table now and put on my garb with the kind assistance of my wife as she amiably chats and jokes with the 3 operating room nurses. Then my wife tells me to sit down on the plastic chair at the foot of the gurney. I'm ready to go, but that is not how its done in the Philippines. Now I ... sort of....know this, but personal experience is always different from hearsay knowledge. The three nurses are sitting in the other part of the room where the desks, computers, printer, etc. are. My wife hands me 2 papers. One is for the 'Total Hospital Charges.... P 14,634. That was anticipated. The next paper was for the Physician's Professional Fee..... P 12,000. Hmmmmm. This was NOT in my calculations. Nothing wrong or unfair with it all.... a great bargain, by any measure and a well earned, seemingly tiny fee from a top-notch man who I like very much and respect greatly. But somewhere along the line, information was omitted and I'm sitting here with P 17K in my wife's purse, facing a discharge cost of almost P 27K ! The doc has disappeared since his job is done and he has other duties to attend to. The three nurses are casually just sitting there, doing nothing in particular. My was asks, "What shall we do, honey? We only took P17K out of the ATM on the way here this morning, and we don't have nearly enough still in my bank account to pay this. We'll still be short even when I go to the ATM. Fortunately I always keep a few new greenbacks at home, in a secure place I tell no one about, for the day when I will need them to gain medical access in case of emergency. I spill the beans and tell her where to get them. "Take them to the money changer, go to the ATM for the rest and then come back and pay." Its unspoken, but we both know that I am politely being held hostage until the ransom is paid.... as per standard hospital policy in these matters. And..... the nurses are actually guarding me, despite their casual relaxed positions. Perhaps a steel fist in a velvet glove ? Burly attendants outside, ready at call. I am deep inside the labyrinth since this hospital fortress is built into the side of a hill, with many ramps, stairs and levels. [ Now please don't tell me that they can't, citing the laws I have often read that we have posted here on site .... or advise me that I should just get up and walk out like one of our members says he does. When you are in the actual situation surrounded by nice, polite people who just rescued your health you don't feel like doing a runner even if you resent their policy. Besides, the negative ramifications would be enormous for you in a small city and in your neighborhood. ] Well.... I'll just had to sit and stew as a prisoner of my own miscalculation. My thoughts were dark and I was having very negative feelings about the slight inconvenience I was experiencing. I tried to introduce some reason into my mind, telling myself not to feel personally outraged by this business practice. This is a very low trust society for many reasons and the hospital has no reason to treat me any differently.... even though everyone knows that all of us foreigners are swimming in money. But they also know that the rich are usually more likely than the poor to screw you over. Such is their experience. Actually, no different in the USA these days, it seems. My smiling and happy-go-lucky doc reappears. "Oh ! You're still here ?" "Yes, Peter. We didn't bring enough money. Only enough for the hospital bill." "Oh. Well, we do have an ATM here in the hospital if you want to use it." he cheerily replies. "Aaaahhh...... I don't have enough in our account at present and have to transfer funds from my bank abroad by computer." "Oh. Just use the nurse's computer over there." he helpfully suggests. Hmmm...... I don't think this guy knows I'm not exactly rich and is probably unaware of how many foreigners manage their money from abroad. "I can't. I need to use my home computer with a virtual internet protocol , due to the added security they place on access when foreigners are abroad." I purposefully neglect to tell him, hoping he is unaware, that his country is considered a higher security risk than many others. I doubt he understands or has had to deal with these matters, because his entire life and education has been in-country from what he told me when we first met. He was happy to inform me that we are neighbors in the same barangay and live close by. I now know his house, which I pass by every day. Then he says, had he known.... he would have signed me out without paying for his professional fees right away, and will do so if I wish, now. But I tell him that its OK, and that I can wait a bit since I already sent my wife home to get what's needed to pay the bill in full. "She's on her way already and still has my cell phone in her purse, but thanks for the offer." He gives me an, "OK". I feel a bit better now. Maybe I'm experiencing the Stockholm Syndrome. He leaves and I resume my restful pose with eyes closed and hands peacefully folded on my lap. Earlier, the nurse had inquired If I was OK when my chatty wife had left and I went silent. I had told her that I was meditating. Who knows.... maybe she thought I was praying since that's what most locals do in my situation. My faithful wife eventually appeared with the receipts from the payment office. One of the nurses removed the 'Nurse Clearance' coupon from the top of the stapled sheaf. So I guess that my dark suspicions weren't unfounded after all. LESSON: Bring lots of money. Have even more at the ready. Ask a lot of specific questions. Don't assume anything here is like the way things are done back in your home country because, despite some outward appearances.... they seldom are. I really like that guy. I think I'll drop off a boxed bottle of something at his nearby house when this is all over..... that is.... when my budget recovers and I some 'extra money' again.
  13. manofthecoldland


    RE: COLONOSCOPY ? My little episode/report.... in this type of procedure and cost .... live as it happens...... PART 1 I had a small external hemorrhoid for a long time which didn't amount to a gnat's ass.... or a gnat on a butt. So last week it swells and another makes it on stage as well. "What in bloody hell ?" I mutter. Damn thing is ruining my briefs so I throw a folded up paper towel in the old crack and decide to seek medical help. Now my other home-town bud who lives in Romblon province had a free=bee colonoscopy on the medicare dime up in the cold land 3 summers ago and I drove him home. I told him that I probably should get one like they recommend on the TV. but I've always had excellent health and just put it off despite my body aging. So now I figure that my cavalier disregard is coming back to haunt me and deal me some just desserts. I could have had my drainpipe cleaned and reamed for free.... but I procrastinated. Regrets are useless at this point, so I head to a doc to see if maybe I can get the buggers banded off or removed. My asawa consults her closest ate (who lives next door in a simple house and who I assist from time to time with small emergencies since her hubby is our loyal and always dependable service trike driver.... I pay for the trike repairs when needed since we depend on him and the bike and he usually only makes enough for daily fish, rice and small elect. I have taken it upon myself to pay the P3.5K yearly registration for his operator's license since I know that they would have to beg it off a sister or relative and might not get it. So.... they are poor struggling mid to late 50's common folk who never ask for anything. Well, ate recommends her inexpensive, walk in doctor, so we trike there the next morn. The front of the office is open to the street. The doctor's name is in large, faded paint letters above the building stall. I look and see cracked and broken tiles on the open to the street floor. There's a wooden bench and a small wooden table. Along the other wall, out of the direct sunlight are two more 'waitng room' upholstered couches with huge holes in them. An ancient woman sits writing as two young women, with tiny babes in arms. give her information for their visit to the clinic. A tired looking thin man sits on the wooden bench across from me. They all seem a bit startled to see me sitting there in my nice shoes and button down collar dress shirt. A young woman comes out from the door to the doctor's inner office, sees us and turns on the floor fan, aiming it at us. Everyone shyly smiles and of course I grin. My wife isn't bothered by any of this, of course, since true-blue ate sent us here. So I stifle and stuff my initial impulse to bolt and decide to go for the ride. All the elderly office lady needs for her form is my name and age. OK. This is the easiest informational medical pre-form that I ever submitted in my life. I return from the old, bare wooden table to sit on the 'holey' couch, not sure if its still the 21st century. I tell myself, "This is a private clinic. Not where the abject poor go to get free, public diagnosis for their ills. Its not the Memorial Hospital where the advice is paid for by the government... where the poor get prescriptions for their ailments that they often can't afford to buy. This is a step up." But that seems to be a small consolation to my doubts in the moment. [ Here I beg your indulgence. It seems that the little cocktail I was advised to take 2 hours ago is making itself known. The 45 ml of Sodium Phosphate (P 279 hosp. pharma) mixed into a glass of 7-Up is proving to be more than a crying baby demanding attention. I am now dreading the 4-5mg. tabs of Bisacodyl / Dulcolax from "The Kontra-Constipation Expert tm" (P 78 at a mall pharma because the hospital pharma was out ! ) I am about to ingest.... as also advised. Well..... down the hatch and light a match. In the event that I never make out of the CR alive...... you'll know why I never posted a PART 2. If that proves to be the case, or if they accidentally murder me with a colonoscope nine hours from now I just want you to know that I am expected to pay P15,000 for the procedure in the morning. My lead up bills were P300 for my 85 yr. old primary doctor (the old woman at the desk was his also 85 yr. old wife) on the first visit when he wrote me a P2K prescrip for a French Pharma drug not available yet in the USA that shrinks hemorrhoid tissue. Used it for a week. For the second consultation (P 300) he wrote me a referral to the top head of all the local private hospitals depts. of Gastro Enterology (Internal Medicine) who had this alphabet following his name... "M.D., FPCP, FPSG, FPSDE. This fine fellow's consultation fee was P600. As protocol demands, he had me get a chest X=Ray (P 176) to check heart and lungs, an EKG (P 400), and a blood panel (P2,300). The blood panel would have been P 1,200 cheaper had I not spotted the carcinogenous marker on the form and asked to include it. It came back negative, which is good, but he told me that he always reserves judgement on that and didn't normally recommend it but since its costly and he had seen negatives on patients that later..... when he got inside to look.... well they had colon cancer tumors. But since I had asked he allowed me to order it since it seemed important for my initial peace of mind. So we will see on the morrow whether or not this was a false negative test result/ or if I had any of the Dreaded 'Big C' that just hadn't shown up in my blood draw. So that's the cost summation up to this point for my Adventure in Colonoscopy. If you type in colonoscopy + Philippines, you will find the sites that show the Philhealth cost of such to be P15K, which is equally split between doctor and hospital facility. Type in same for USA and the cost is between 8 x and 12 x as much depending on location and Dr. I would think. You'll have to do some research, but its well worth it. Ditto for the procedure.
  14. manofthecoldland

    The realities of VERY low income living here

    For what it's worth..... For me.... the normally recognized budget items aren't the major problem with trying to live here on a fixed income. And for most of us it IS a fixed income since the laws prohibit foreigners from many types of employment and ownership situations that would be available to you in your home country if you wanted or needed to increase your income, either short or long term. There are income earning niches that some of our site members have found, but for most of us, we are limited while here to spending and living off of our offshore income. If your Filipina/o wife, husband, significant other is a lawyer, doctor, govt. worker, etc..... it surely helps with the budget, but in most cases what the partner can earn doesn't add all that much to your outside source money.... and when the wife or GF has a long hour or low paying local wage job, then the few local expats I know of here in this situation, complain how she is neglecting their relationship for the pittance she earns (neglecting the fact that it is both a social outlet and meaningful self-identity thing for her). Most budget items you can control and vary to some degree by finding substitutes, alternatives, eliminations at a cost to comfort and convenience, etc. That is why I originally posted this thread topic, with the <gapminder.org> 'money street' illustrations re this country - The Philippines . Its usually the 'off budget' things that crop up that pose problems. The emergencies that occur, come your way and land in your lap... that take money to solve. They occur with seemingly great regularity due to the nature of this local culture, society and economic system. In advanced economic countries we have third party social safety webs for many of the budget basics.... medicare, medicaid, unemployment benefits, nutritional aide, disability insurance, educational assistance, credit availability, generous charity orgs., etc. But here there isn't much in the way of third party or public assistance when things go wrong.... as they usually do sooner or later. So the solution source pyramid is family, friends, acquaintances, pawn shops, 5/6 lenders for those with collateral. The wealthier or more politically connected, the better the likelihood of success. Your survival often depends upon your ability to activate your social network or web on your behalf. Rugged individualism, pride in going it alone, being economically self-sufficient and independent, "Neither borrower nor lender be." are ideas that don't fly well here. So..... what blows holes in my budget is usually not due to my personal economic life-style choices, but rather the amount of social responsibility I'm willing to take on to alleviate the financial 'emergencies' of others. I guess I'd do much better with my budgeting if I lived alone, was anti-social, hated women or took a vow of celibacy, and was a bitterly misanthropic miser. I'd venture to say that most Westerners that come to live here are ill-prepared, emotionally or intellectually, to deal with this very different economic culture. I'm often peeved when I review where my monthly income went.... but then I realize that these unforeseen expenses made a huge difference in the lives of those close to me and I don't really regret it. Living here presents a whole new level of moral and ethical challenges that you don't have to deal with in a First World Economy because medical and crucial survival emergencies can only be solved by personal interventions. You might have to build a 'personal emergency charity' category into your budget if you have any human relationships here with people who aren't totally self-sufficient financially. Of course I could have my wife disown all of her family and friends that don't meet minimal income levels........hmmmmm....... Naaaahhh.
  15. manofthecoldland

    Being used

    I have not had any luck in getting this concept to work here at all. The best I could manage to achieve was to get the asawa to consider the last P 2K in her bank account as 'untouchable' if she didn't want the bank to keep dinging her for 'below min. balance fees'. That she understands now. She also understands the importance of maintaining and keeping her SSS and Philhealth accounts pre-paid. Ditto for avoiding 'late fees' on bills. But setting aside and building up an emergency savings reserve seems beyond her psychological ability. Practically all expats living here passed the psycholgical 'marshmellow test' (You can eat the one I'm setting before you now. Or, if you don't and can wait until I return... I will give you another one and then you will have 2 to eat when you wish.) to make it here. A few then fail it after they arrive and become destitute. Most expat culturally learned the immense value of deferred gratification, budgeting, planning and saving for the future. This is not a lesson strongly taught or learned in this culture it seems. while growing up here. Day to day survival and spending all that you have is the norm for many reasons...... and it holds true even in many advanced economic societies. Set aside Savings are only possible when you have 'extra money' (as they say here). Most people, and governments it seems, live up to their income levels, if not beyond. The ratio of savers to spenders here is much lower than we have in our home countries, so don't have high expectations in these matters. To wit: my close friend of 45 years, who has been coming here on and off for 30 years (including a 10 yr. failed marriage with a Pinay) still thinks he can teach his step children to set aside savings for the future. So far, no luck. I just accept the reality I see here and rely only upon my own fiscal discipline to see us through. Good luck with your situation.... there are many smart and disciplined Pinays who are able to pass the marshmellow test as they gain life experience, but I wouldn't expect it of many of he younger ones. Its always important to understand your signif. other's philosophy of money, i. e., saver or spender or where on the scale, before teaming up. Major cause of failed relationships.