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manofthecoldland last won the day on December 8 2017

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About manofthecoldland

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  1. manofthecoldland

    Update On Tipping

    The province and city where I live has very few visible foreign residents. There are some that I know of, that are pretty much stay-at-homes, and only a few that make it it to the mall coffee shops regularly, the point being.... there is no social expectations of tips locally. So when and if the few expats here tip, a little goes a long way. Which is one of the reasons I enjoy living here. Case in point: once or twice a week we treat ourselves to breakfast at Chow King. Over the years, I'd give P10 to the sever who brought the food to our numbered table, because the wife would always ask for a couple of iced tap water drinks when he'd bring the food, and he'd promptly return with them. One day I felt the delusional need to be a grandiose patron. Maybe because when I was 16 I worked as a busboy and waitress helper in a famous restaurant and could identify with the role somewhat, maybe not, who examines or knows anymore why we do what we do sometimes. Anyway, I give the young guy a P20 note. So as we're leaving the joint, he stops his other tasks and rushes over to open the heavy glass door for our exit with a smile and 'thank you'. I see his name tag is John, so I say, "Thank you, John." and we leave. A few days later we're back again. John sees us, and after we pay and have our receipt, he takes it from the wife, and brings us everything in 2 or 3 trips, silverware, pile of extra napkins, straws, ice water...including my two extra eggs (P10@... good deal for a big lad). I discover that we now have a private server in a chain resto. Every time we visit now, he waits on us and I tip him P20 and bandy about his name in front of the pretty counter girls... which he enjoys. Heck, that probably enhances his self pride more than the extra pisos. For me, like for J J Reyes, tipping, when done right, enhances your dining experiences and should leave you with positive feelings. If done wrong it leaves you feeling like you've been an abused chump. Yeah, its a tough high-wire act to walk sometimes when you dine out, but it does come with some interesting and surprising opportunities to make life a bit more interesting for all involved.
  2. My wife tells me that they nationally unified the date of school Xmas parties this year. (This is my sole source of this info... not confirmed by any secondary sources by me, e.g. news articles. She said she heard it on the radio and from other mothers, students etc.) She says the nationally set date is Dec. 15th for all. Locally, the expected 'contribution' to attend is P 500 @. Years ago it was usually P 200, but times and inflation must have taken their toll. Since my wife is the 'guidance parent' for 4 of the extended kin, we usually bear the misc. schooling costs ourselves. Not a real problem and happy to help. I was surprised, and pleasantly pleased to a degree, when our 7th grader asked my wife if it was OK for him, unlike his brother and two sisters, NOT to attend. He told her it would be much better if she could spend the money on a pair of new rubber shoes (sneakers/athletic shoes) for him instead. Now maybe it has something to do with him being the star player of his school basket ball team, but I think not, since we always pay for the boys' uniforms and sports needs. I know he is aware of the value of things and not selfish because the other day when he went with us to Chow King for breakfast (my wife treats him once a month to a resto meal, before sending him home to the other barangay with rice, veggies and fish for the other 3 kids), the wife ordered him a maximum breakfast plate. He seemed to nibble at it while we finished our own. About to leave, I looked at his still full plate, and was at first a bit miffed, hoping he didn't intend to just leave it. I asked my wife, 'What gives?". I would have thought that a skinny, hungry pre-teen would have wolfed it all down. She then informed me that he was full...... and he wanted to take the rest home in a take-away bag for his little sister. I'm now pretty sure that little Joseph isn't growing up spoiled in the least.
  3. If you've ever wondered how people can survive here on very low income..... or what their living conditions are like.... you can take a highly itemized picture tour through their abodes. You can see and visually visit inside of the homes of people who live here in the PI on MONTHLY incomes of: $86 USD, 93, 98, 169, 170, 194, 195, 228, 238, 262, 501, 865 and $1,087. Their possessions and daily living tools are surveyed pictorially along with brief interview scripts. There is a web site that takes nations and U.N. economic and social data bases and makes them available for educational illustrations of current global realities. Its is an attempt to dis-spell many erroneous preconceptions about global lifestyles. The site was mentioned in a video lecture by a Swedish professsor who teaches courses in global awareness of the changing social and economic realities of the last 70 years vs older, now dated stereotypical viewpoints. The website is <gapminder.org>, and the images are on the "Dollar Street" section, which features a huge number of families of the world w/ income levels and attendant physical lifestyle items. I've just begun exploring it and am giving the PI families my first read. So the next time someone asks, "How cheaply can a person/family live in the Philippines?", you can give them a well documented reply of...... (your choice)..... $ 86.... or $98..... or $228, etc. Of course, after they see the pictures, I don't think that they'll be in any hurry to come here and take up the illustrated economic lifestyle. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then these survey pics will save an immeasurable amount of writing.
  4. manofthecoldland

    Carenderia startup cost

    <businessnews.com.ph> was the article under a search for carenderia menus. I funded one for my wife when I first met her, 15 years ago in Mindoro. She said it would take P5K to get set up in a small rented shack she had picked out and knew was available outside the small towns market and tricycle depot. She knew where to get tables, chairs, a cracked glass display, gas stove, etc. So I gave her P10k thinking that small business start ups usually fail due to under capitalization. Came back in country 3 or 6 months later. It was functioning. She had her sister doing the cashier job, another impoverished friend or two who worked as waitresses/servers for food only since they had kids to feed and no one to support them, an old woman for a cook that had worked in MNL years ago as a restaurant cook and slept in the cook area at night on a cot since she was also impoverished.... and to guard the premises, etc. It had a nipa roof and a dirt floor if I recall. She said she would not sell beer since it brought in bad men and trouble makers. To make a long story short... she shut it down after 3 or 4 months since too many relatives were coming in to eat and wouldn't, or wanted to delay, paying for their meals. She said it was impossible to do business unless everyone paid.... mother, father, brother, sister, cousin..... no exceptions..... She just got tired of dealing with family deadbeats and freeloaders who thought that now that she had a carenderia business she was making money...... a rich woman and could share her wealth in the traditional way. She just got frustrated and P.O'd.... so she closed the place there in her mother's home town and ran away to her father's island and home of paternal relatives to start anew. That's where we live today.... and I am so happy that we didn't end up there. That business experience was a godsend and sharpened her up on dealing with relatives when you get ahead a little in life. For what its worth.
  5. manofthecoldland

    Carenderia startup cost

    I just googled it a few minutes ago...... there is an article re setting up a small one. It suggested 'for as little as P 15,000' , with a host of suggested considerations and concerns re choice of menu offerings, objects needed, recommendation for helper or two for serving and dish washing, etc. Also a huge variety of pics of menus from various small food businesses. That should help anyone considering such a small business venture.
  6. manofthecoldland

    Power and Freedom Brings Out Who We Really Are

    Very true about our relative spending power for some of us. Being a generous and kind soul feels good, but it sometimes backfires in unanticipated ways in other cultures and countries. My wife taught me to leave what I consider small tips of P5, P10 or P20 at most with those people I see on a regular basis. That puts me in the big tipper category, since tipping is not a major part of this service culture. Giving your service people kindness, respect. polite talk and a smile is often worth more than a monetary tip to them, especially after having to deal with other foreigners who scowl and verbally complain about how the service here is poor and unlike what they are accustomed to in their home countries. I have lived through some embarrassing moments while dining out or drinking with rude and abusive expats at times. I would cringe at the imperious way they treated and berated the innocent and often ignorant young servers who didn't measure up to their assumed expectations. Yes, sometimes the servers seemed to lack reason and common sense in certain matters, but it was seldom malicious or intentional. Even my closest friends here try to continually teach them and sometimes they succeed, but usually they don't. I just accept things, leave a small tip, and the next time politely request whatever I think they can improve on with a smile and they almost always deliver. It never takes more than a polite smile and a small tip to get great service from happy people whose sense of self-worth isn't threatened or under attack.
  7. manofthecoldland

    Not Microsoft office.

    I am an infrequent user, so I use open office software named after a North American Indian tribe of the SW USA when I want to do a bit of memory writing. I don't know if its allowed to post the name here, so I won't, but free office software is available on line and works for my limited budget.
  8. manofthecoldland

    7 Fil-Am doctors, nurses killed in Cebu

    Over the years, I've never ridden in a van were I didn't experience moments of fear for our safety. We pretty much stick to large buses now, but 10-12 years ago on a local stop, (no A/C, open windows) night bus heading into IloIlo our semi-crazy driver decided to pass another bus, who didn't want to be passed. So we rode down the dark rode side by side as the two macho men competed for the lead for what seemed like an eternity. The other passengers were terrified as well they jockeyed for position and lead. No body said anything.... until the ride ended. Then the wife angrily unloaded on him. I was just happy to end the trip alive. In retrospect, we should have started a vocal rebellion when this guy started doing his drag race driver impression.... but people here will sometimes tolerate things that people from other places never would ... even when placed in personal jeopardy.
  9. manofthecoldland

    Inactive account time limitations

    Thank you for your comments. I'm sure everything is on the up & up, legal and in accordance with the laws. The elderly ex-pat is a casual acquaintance of several years that I converse with infrequently, but seemed very upset with his plight when I had coffee with him the other day. I'm sure he and his wife will work it out. My wife's situation was due to ignorance. Today another ex-pat I ate with, mentioned that his P10K international account at one time dwindled quickly when he wasn't paying attention to the regs. at a rate of 28% of the existing balance per month. I cannot confirm any of this hearsay and apologize for mentioning these episodes. I thought perhaps someone else could bring in some hard knowledge and throw cold water on these impressions. I myself do not bank here and appreciate the comments of those of you who do.
  10. manofthecoldland

    Inactive account time limitations

    Thank you both. I shall advise her to check with her bank on its policies and become informed on the matter. I doubt if she ever gave it much thought or educated herself on this matter in detail, despite being knowledgeable in other types of transactions. I hope it just slipped her mind re maintaining a min. balance or incurring fees and penalties. Thanks again, gentlemen.
  11. FYI If you have an account in a local bank, please be aware of their account termination/closure rules and regs. due to 'account inactivity'. They are, of course, in business to make money, and if your account is not generating sufficient fees or profit for them, they will pull the plug on you here much faster than in many of your home countries. When my foreign account to local account remittance system had an unresolved technical failure, I switched to another non-bank system. Three or four months later, my wife's account was closed without warning, text or communication. She discovered at the ATM that it had been closed... inquired and was told it was terminated for inactivity. That wasn't a big problem in our case, since we can set up another system when I am out of country again and need to remit, but several days ago another ex-pat told me a disturbing tale re this practice. My elderly friend (80+ yrs) who has lived here very long time, returned to Europe for some medical operations with his Pinay wife and stayed there 6 months for his recovery. When he returned home, his wife went to get money from their local account. They had left 1500 Euros or possibly the equivalent in pisos in it when they left. She was told that the account had been closed due to inactivity. They had been given no warning or information re this, before she discovered the fact when she went to make a bank transaction upon their return. He told me that he DID NOT recover his 1500 Euros to date. He is a semi-retired foreign attorney and professor of International law and still does some case work via computer links at times. He has lodged complaints with his home country's banking regulators against the bank here, and so far the issue is not resolved and he has not recovered the 1500 Euros he had left in the account when they departed. The point here is... make sure you understand how things operate here, even with banks, to reduce the risk of unanticipated financial loss or problems. I was going to end here, but my wife just ask me what I was writing and I told her. She then told me that, that was the reason why she no longer "leave some money" in her account when I send her money. (I used to tell her to always leave some extra money in it and not empty it... but she won't) Now she just informed me that when she left in P500 it would disappear. At other times when she left P2K and the bank was closed due to power outage, the account would be P1K short, so she no longer leaves anything in her account because "It disappear". I just learned of this now while writing. My wife does not always want to tell me when bad things happen to her.
  12. Another overcast afternoon to while away with my Pinay. We lay and listen to music. An old Eagles song plays and I'm taken back in time and space to a small town where I met her. It had a 'Hotel California' that I checked out but never checked into while there.... So I thought until this moment. I realize now that I had had, an ominous warning then, that I was unaware of at the time and paid no heed to. That place, these lyrics. If the title had been.... 'The Hotel Pilipinas' I might not have spent the next 15 years of my life coming here. "You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave." "Such a lovely place, such a lovely face." "I was thinking to myself, this could be heaven, this could be hell." "Some dance to remember, some dance to forget." "We are all just prisoners here, of our own device." Most foresightful of my future life here. Little did I suspect. I like my 'prison' and keep coming back. This is my nomination for a potential PI ex-pat theme song. Any others you can think of? We all have musings about how we came to be here, I would think.
  13. manofthecoldland

    Report Corrupt Tourism Company & Police in Oslob

    You need a different tool kit to get things done here. Most of my home country standard Operating System doesn't work here due to local glitches, bugs and gremlins.... so I let my reliable, time-tested and capability proven Pinay design and engineer our lives in this country. I only advise from the shadows and finance things. My life is peaceful as a result and I enjoy my life here. Maybe I'm just lucky or maybe I've just forgotten all the troublesome things I've experienced over the years but erased from my memory chip.
  14. Ako gusto! Just right.... not too big a structure with lots of outside and semi-outside living space. That's more important than most temperate climate expats may realize. Having lived in several concrete apts., a gated community duplex, a bizzare roof top mix of upper story house with a nipa roof add-on bedroom and kitchen on the high terrace, I noticed that my wife really prefers to spend most of her time outside of concrete walls when possible. I too, from many years experience, need at least the illusion of such, since I spend a very large part of my day at my desk/table. So when I was away and she wanted to remodel, I once again gave her free rein and entrusted her to make it comfortable for us. She expanded her ground level terrace kitchen and eating area where she spends most of her day... semi-outside and can gaze at the tiny lawn, fruit trees, flowers and veggie garden while cooking, doing laundry, having neighbors visit, etc. Then she rebuild the second story into larger replacement bedroom with an additional second story CR. provided heavy-duty screened windows w/shutters (no glass... no need to keep heated or cooled air inside while letting in light ) and a 4 foot roofed and railed veranda w/ reading rocking chair that went around the shady N. side and E. side where she puts out the bedding in the sun every morn. Now I also sort of live 'outside' in a way. most of the day since I can see treetops, rooftops, grazing carabao and rice fields from my writing desk and read outside on the breezy, shaded deck. The reason I mention this is I have an entirely reverse attitude while in cold, snow country where I deeply value those protective and sheltering 10 " walls and multi-glazed windows. For me the best part of living here is being to live outside of temperature controlled rooms. Having open space and greenery around these houses is really nice for those of us fortunate to be able to have it thus. Most of my adjacent neighborhoods are densely packed, cheek to jowl, houses on tiny lots which the owners almost are forced to use every square meter of, and need sun/rain roofing over most of the property footprint. That's why I like seeing places like Paul's here designed for a lot of outside living. Thank you Paul.
  15. manofthecoldland

    Old Phils Banknotes To Become Obsolete 2014?

    Cut off date expired for local bank exchanges.