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  1. I have found Google Flights (google. com / flights) to be one of the best ways to find future flight options. After searching your departure/arrival cities and some random dates, you can click on "Price Graph" to see an interactive chart showing prices for the next 11 months. You can also refine the search to specific airlines. Obviously, there has been a lot of flight disruptions the last 19 months, so all the airlines can do is publish routes and fares that they think/hope will be allowed to fly in the future.
  2. Your questions are really directed more to lifestyle than to economics. You will not find too many lengthy discussions of high living since the goal of many of the expats on this board is to enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle, often away from Manila. And since many (lucky!) members are out relaxing in the provinces, they are closer to the problems faced by the bulk of the population. But, Yes, if you chose to live and spend most of your time in the more upscale parts of Manila, and associate mainly with an upper-middle class crowd, you will be able to avoid some of the inconveniences and and injustices you may have read about. I know and work closely with many who live that life, both Western corporate employees and Filipinos. Some are very decent folks. Some (often the kids) are self-entitled and willfully blind to the difficulties faced by those with lower income. (The social media backlash against ‘Poblacion Girl’ has elevated the visibility of this group). Just like in any other social setting, no doubt you will chose your friends wisely. Of course, you will still have to develop your own way of handling the common frustrations of dealing with the government bureaucracy, immigration, and general inefficiencies! As far as doing business in the Ph, the answer depends on matching the type of business with the proper immigration status. That's a whole different discussion completely based on the details of what you may be considering. The general advice for high/medium business development in the Ph is to follow the rules, choose associates carefully and limit your financial risks since you are in a country with an often dysfunctional court system.
  3. Yes, that is one of the several reasons some people may still wish for a large family. Yet, I doubt few people were thinking “I need a big family” when engaged in the act that produced their future heir. As I recall, there was often some other motivation...
  4. Yes, "administering 53,157 jabs out of the available 38,151 doses" does certainly get you scratching your head!
  5. I once had an office in Kansas, right near a cattle feed lot which gave the town a distictly pungent “fragrance”. Sometimes it bothered me, but the locals called it “the smell of money” and never complained. LM, It sounds like you were in the Philippines long enough to get an understanding of the frustrations – and also some of the good things as you are exploring properties there. As quasi-outsiders, we do view things from a different perspective then locals. But as I’m sure you will agree, any substantial changes in the PH will have to come from within. We either adapt or move on. Yet, venting a little steam now and then is part of how some of us cope when we are there! WELCOME!
  6. While I agree that the artificial Dolomite beach is folly, I am pretty sure this picture is from Baseco Beach, further north on Manila Bay.
  7. Wasn't that the story line of a Doctor Who episode? If your friend has one of these blue boxes in his house, maybe we are being too skeptical!
  8. Those are the numbers the government reported, so no, there probably won’t be any better or different numbers released by the Philippines. Most Covid statistics routinely issued by the Philippines (and by many other countries) must to be evaluated by giving consideration given to local reporting irregularities/protocols, political PR desires and general (or lack of) government efficiencies. Viewed in that context, most numbers reported in the Philippines have questionable value for other than spotting trends, and the numbers certainly cannot be equally compared to other countries. But MikeJ, I think you knew that and was just yanking our chain a little! Just for fun, here are my lowly thoughts on some Philippine Covid stats: The daily “New Cases” numbers have low value without knowing the number of people tested and their demographics. At many times during this pandemic there were great variances in the numbers of people tested and in different geographic areas; both those factors directly effected the published ‘case numbers’ and as result, also skewed the published positivity rate. But assuming there are sometimes periods of consistent testing, then the positive case count has some value when viewed over long periods of time. The only value in showing a number for “Recovered” (other than complying with the govt’s “request” for the media to show it) is to remind the public of the very true fact that the vast majority of people who test positive will survive. The same is true with the govt’s endorsement of showing a comparison between Philippine Covid numbers and select other countries of different sizes and reporting methods (India, US, Indonesia). Of course, the chart always results in making the Ph numbers (not %) look better. I like to follow the hospital utilization rates as those are important for some of us old guys trying to get back over there. It also gives a good indication of actual Covid conditions. Even these have to be considered in the context in which they exist. Recall that at several times in this long pandemic the government mandated hospitals to increase ICU and Covid beds. Since then, some major facilities expanded their ICU capacity by over 250%, others created outside wards or repurposed other wards and common areas. While the government and DOH like to cite the percentage of “available beds” as a positive indication of how well they are coping, we know that a 50% occupancy rate now means there are many more patients then what would have been a 50% occupancy a year ago. Of course, we all know that having more beds available does not mean they also have more staff to adequately care for the patients in those beds. Some on this forum have had direct experience with that problem! I could go on and on but the point I am poorly making is that we should never take a published Covid statistic or comparison at face value. Not all numbers are arrived at equally and reliably.
  9. KenM- As always, you are getting some good advice here from very observant people who understand what being in the Philippines is all about and whose opinions may be from a different viewpoint then your Filipino friends in California. Entry to the Philippines is in constant flux and can change while you are in the air. Many of us are stuck outside and increasing hospitalizations are an indication that we will be out for some more months. But if planning an affluent lifestyle (by local standards) and able to afford whatever travel glitches and special services may be required, it certainly is just a matter of the right paperwork, right timing and then let the adventure begin! Yet, I know many pet owners consider their dog to be family (I have a “grand-dog”) and would not intentionally put them at more risk then absolutely necessary. Bringing a pet to the Philippines will always involve a little risk, yet most attempts seem to be successful with only minor hiccups. However, bringing a pet during Covid & mandatory isolation does elevate the chances of a snafu, possibly subjecting your 'family member' to additional risks that may be avoided by waiting for the situation to stabilize. Even if you find a hotel on the approved list, you call them and they agree to walk your dog for you, don’t be surprised if it does not happen when you get here. Phone/email promises evaporate faster than my cash around my in-laws. Perhaps Mike J’s suggestion of a service is worth considering, assuming that they can reliably operate during the constantly changing Covid restrictions. Rules change here continually and inconsistency is more the norm than the exception. This is not the kind of country where you can just ask to speak the a supervisor after getting a decision you don’t like and then have your issue resolved. Good luck, and keep pushing on the visa paperwork!
  10. This is funny! So is this. You guys sure keep me laughing!
  11. This is going to be a story that never stops giving: Rains bring trash, water hyacinths to Manila Bay 'dolomite' beach Due to incessant rains brought by enhanced southwest monsoon, trash and water hyacinths were washed ashore in Manila Bay's "white sand" area or "dolomite" beach, according to Jonathan Andal's report on Unang Balita on Thursday. Residents said the trash probably came from the Pasig River and provinces surrounding Manila Bay. The mess will be cleaned up by marshals within the day, the report said. A 500-meter stretch of coastline near the US Embassy in Manila has been filled with sand made from tons of crushed dolomite boulders from the Visayas. The use of artificial sand has been met with criticism, with environmental groups saying the facelift focuses only on aesthetics and has little to do with rehabilitation. —KBK, GMA News https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/metro/796294/rains-bring-trash-water-hyacinths-to-manila-bay-dolomite-beach/story/ There are Twitter pictures in the article, but I couldn't get them to post here.
  12. Yet, every newspaper editorial I've seen is telling the DOE to stop whining and to fix the education system. Not a lot of sympathy for claiming the 2018 & 2019 studies were "old data". I doubt any study after a year of Covid remote learning would improve the country's score.
  13. Mike J- It was not this chart, but this has some good information on the pending vaccines. The other chart included one more column showing actual usage v. distributed, and more detail on the cost/method of acquisition. It has always been hard to find in-depth numbers here. No doubt some agencies prefer we just listen to their publicly-stated opinions of how well they are doing. There is another chart on Rappler that breaks down the source of doses received as of June 28. I've linked it because I'm not techy enough to separate out just the interactive chart!
  14. I'd say you are right. I saw a great chart last week but now I can't find it of all the vaccines received in country, detailing the source and the # of doses distributed. I was surprised to see that China was not as generous as some 'officials' seem to imply. 11 Million doses delivered of Sinovac - 1 million donated by China while 10 million doses were purchased. Not really on point but for comparison, over 5 million doses of AstraZeneca and Pfizer have been received, all donated through the WHO/Covax cooporative.
  15. If anyone is bored and want to see an hour long demonstration of Senator Pacquio’s “mental agility”, check out this 25 May 2021 Senate session -- discussion starts at about 3:15:00. He was trying to defend his bill to create a Boxing & Combat Sport Commission, but was no match for Sen. Pia Cayetano & others.
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