How To Hit The Ground Running . . . A Day In The Life

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Posted

Hey guys,

 

Saddled with an overly fertile mind, I have already imagined that:

 

1.) I've already given my due notice of impending retirement to my int'l. marketing firm employer of 26 or so years

2.) Have ascertained that the Mrs. and I are covered by OHIP (Cdn. Prov. of Ontario Health Insurance Plan) for a maximum 212 days' absence from Canada

3.) Have packed enough clothes for a 3-month 'look see' /  dry run adventure in the tropics (vignettes of the T.V. show SURVIVOR flash topside)

4.) Have handed over the house key to an only son (who had to promise under oath not to hold 'RISKY BUSINESS' types of parties in our house during our extended absence)

5.) For most of the 19 plus hours flight from Toronto to Manila covering 8,219 miles, we have pored over a detailed map of the country, plotting a shortlist of locales showing some allure and how long we should be hovering in each

6.) Having fled the frozen popsicle that is the vast Canadian expanse, we’ve already alighted from the jetliner . . . right smack into the suffocating humid embrace of a Manila summer evening

 

Fast forwarding a full week, we can make believe we are now in Baguio (patting ourselves in the back for the clever plan of systematically assaying the country from North to South), still trying to shake off an overstaying visitor, Mr. Lag (first name Jet) but are now totally clued out on how might we spend our days henceforth in as yet thoroughly foreign surroundings.

 

Does a tested, tried and true blueprint exist on how best to spend a 24 hour day in these islands? When is reveille and what is the normal time for retiring to catch zzzs? When does the weekend start and what are the weekend ‘in’ things to do? For this maiden exploratory foray, we indeed are tourists and for a few days might have to do the tourist thing. But we came to dress rehearse the well storied life of expats, to let loose and be exposed on one hand to anything and everything that an expat might find refreshingly fun, exciting and / or rewarding. On the other, to not be shielded from any and every situation or challenge that an expat may be confronted with on any given day. To in time let our instincts tell us if there is a chance we can ever belong, if there exists a flicker of a flame (a faint affinity) for the expat lifestyle, that we can build upon. In the land of 100 million smiles, how do we smartly choose friends? And when those friendships are made, how is a healthy distance kept? (self reminder – can’t / must not be railroaded into standing as godparents to the majority of children in a neighborhood).

 

How then do we move from the sidelines into the thick of the Philippine societal fabric. We are not yet bereft of energies and yet have North American skills / knowhow of some value that we want to contribute gratis if needed locally. While we will never become parasites / wards of the state (having ensured a modest NorAm pension for multi-year gainful employment), we also will not be ‘nest parasites’ domiciling herein but aloof and uninvolved.

 

There are a million other questions swirling in my head presently. Having made land only in my imagination, I am ill equipped in the extreme to already be asking the requisite laser-guided questions. So go ahead for those of you who may be so inclined, (you were in this anxiety cauldron yourselves at one time) kindly give me pre-emptive answers, at your convenience of course. Cheers much and cheers all in advance. Fancy anything from Canada that I should be bringing as ‘pasalubong’? Canadian lager? Canadian bacon? Neve Campbell? Rachel McAdams? Evangeline Lilly?

 

Respectfully (channeling Jake by his leave),

 

Ron M.

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Posted (edited)

I don't think friendships will be formed easily on a 6-8 month tour. You might get people coming forward, maybe for the wrong reason, I suggest you go slowly on this one. It will be enough to be in contact with your wife's family, extended family, and even there proceed cautiously. One standard ploy is to warm you up and ask for a loan. Which you might be inclined to give out of generosity. It might come to pass that such loans cannot easily be repaid.

 

Don't bring such gifts as food or Canadian beer. A few good quality name brand chocolates and maybe some "Canada" Tee shirts would be nice. A decent quality booze from the Duty Free is more or less expected. I would bring 1-2 bottles, but you could also ration it out, between you and them.

 

In the provinces (although Baguio is a good size city), people go to bed early, 8-9-10 PM, unless attending an event. Such events like birthdays etc are typically held in the afternoon from lunch time on. People who are working will also get up 5-6 AM and start their daily routine. Baguio early morning is quite cold, most people would have a fireplace going and a reliable hot water supply. There's not much nightlife unless in a bar or restaurant, even then a restaurant might close early.

 

Go to the Banaue Rice Terraces, in the Mountain Province of If Ilfuago. There are tours leaving from Baguio daily and it's a can't miss attraction

 

.If your wife speaks Ilocano it will be a big advantage up here. Tagalog is accepted but it's the 2nd choice of language. Is she Filipina? I forgot if you mentioned it before.

 

I'm not sure what to say but it sounds like a plan.

 

Vigan City and Laoag are a bit far but reachable from where your are. In both cases they are much less crowded, Warner climate.and they have beaches. Laoag in particular is considered an acceptable retirement venue. Vigan is more for tourists, and might be a bit small.

Edited by chris49
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Posted

How then do we move from the sidelines into the thick of the Philippine societal fabric.

 

How To Hit The Ground Running . . . A Day In The Life

Basically Ron I think you have answered your own Question. "A day in the Life"! For me, and I guess with many others just Go with the Flow, What some will say but others may tell you, each and every day can be so Different. With Changing Rules for the Foreigner the constant "Can't make our minds up of the Locals"

Time management and the Constant Traffic situation, Sorry no stock Sir ( OK in many Provinces but you have to go to the City at some time) The Noise the Pollution, Life is just a big bag of OH! just get on with it. The longer you are here the more the edges will get worn off. It's Great if you don't have that 9 to 5 Rat Race to contend with but as we all can/will tell you, it is a Different World to any many have encountered.

So on a Positive note, come do it and Learn How to Hit the Ground Running. Most days it is the only way to Go but we Love it (Well most of us.)

 

JMHO but.....

 

Jack :thumbsup:

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Recently I lived in Baguio for 2 years and have traveled northern Luzon so you might search for some of my posts on Baguio and northern luzon.

 

You can spend 4-5 days just seeing the tourist sites in Baguio itself. The Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao and Sagada in Mnt Province can take another 3-4 days. Search for my posts on these.

 

A place to touch base is the Red Lion Pub on Leonard Wood Rd across from Teachers Camp in Baguio. You can usually find expats hanging out their every evening. The bar is owned by a filipino family which lived in the US for several decades before moving back 10 years ago and taking over the Red Lion Pub.

 

You can rent cars/suv/vans for anywhere from 1,400 to 3,000 pesos/day. Just pick up the local weekly newspaper the Midland Courier and check the want ads. That would be nice for traveling outside of Baguio in Northern Luzon. Inside Baguio I would find a driver and car for the day. Maybe 2,500 pesos.

 

Enjoy your extended vacation and retirement destination research.

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