As of February sixth, I’ve been in the Philippines for a year. I don’t think I’ve ever been more alive than I have in the last year. Its been a year of learning but I’ve only just begun to learn. I have a long way to go. I can’t help but reflect over the last year. There have been far more high points than low points.
There are things I miss from The States but that is not what I think of as home any more. My home is in the Philippines, I just have strong ties to the US. I miss real milk. Maybe there’s some here but its so expensive I don’t bother. I miss pizza, but I’m better off without it. Oh I eat them but there’s no 18 inch Milano’s Pizza that I use to order back in Memphis. I miss my gun but I don’t miss the crime that caused me to need it. Living in Memphis, it should have been a requirement, not just permitted.
I’ve become more use to the heat than I ever thought possible. Though I’m thinking of moving to Valencia as the temps are cooler there and its still in the visayas. I’m very use to the cost of living here, don’t know how if I could go back to the prices in the states.
I don’t miss going to the doctor every two months. I don’t think I really needed to go that often but the doctors in the US have to practice to prevent lawsuits. Perhaps the care was to a higher standard, but I doubt it was that much higher.
I love the beaches, pump boats and the sea. The crystal clear waters one can find just a few kilometers (maybe less than one) offshore. So clear the water appears shallow because you can see the bottom but its just that clear.
Getting my visa extended every two months is a pain in the butt and I even use an agent to do it. Being out in the province though, its a three hour trip to get to the agent, and that’s just one-way.
One of the coolest things that ever happened to me was having a monkey as a pet. One of the saddest was finding him dead, probably murdered by one of the kids that play around my home. He enriched my life while he was here. I hope to get another but I’m fearful of adding to capture of wild monkeys to make that happen. I’d love to rescue one but not take it from the wild. Too often the mother is killed to take the young monkeys. That happens in Indonesia and Thailand, I don’t know if that is where they come from here as well.
The best thing about the Philippines is the people. The best thing about the people is the Filipina. The one I’m with treats me better than I’ve been treated before. She doesn’t want the helpers to do things for me. She wants to do it herself even though we pay someone else to do it! The people are amazingly happy and friendly. I think the little old lady that I met on the streets of Cebu City exemplifies that and at the same time shows the beauty of Filipina come in many different forms.
After confirming with my girlfriend that it would be acceptable for me to give this woman mano po, (a sign of respect) I performed the short ritual where you take your elders hand and raise the back of it to your forehead.
My learning is bound to slow but it hasn’t stopped. I’ve just acquired three bonsai trees and there’s an older Filipino just up the road that is happy to teach me and wants me to join the Bonsai group here in Cebu. I’m looking forward to replacing my aging camera but first I have to pay for some of the other things I have bought on credit. I learned not to borrow in the Philippines and to make sure 5% interest is not really 60% interest (5*12). I’m looking forward to exploring more of the islands, I might even stick my small toe in Mindanao. What I want to do more than anything is scuba dive. I hope I can get to the point where I can do that. I hope my health will not prevent it. I want to see the Thresher sharks off of Malapascua but I don’t want to run into any great whites. There are great whites in the waters of the Philippines but from what I can determine, shark attack in the Philippines is extremely rare.
Things got bad for me in the States. I had a choice to take a chance and go on an exploration or what would have probably been a miserable existence in the US. Wow Philippines, did I make the right choice.