Beat Back Barangay Boredom

I retired to the Philippines with my Filipina wife almost three years ago. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some expats that have read my website, PhilippinesPlus, and have been encouraged to move to our area, Iloilo, in Western Visayas. Amazingly, they have decided to stay even after meeting me and sharing a “few” bottles of San Miguel Pale Pilsen with me at the local talabahan in our barangay. That’s one way to pass the time in the  Philippines if you’re a retired old geezer like myself.

But a guy can get bored just hanging out with his expat buddies and drinking beer. No honestly, that’s true! Plus it usually doesn’t endear me too much with my asawa, either, if I do this too often. She’s been known to keep a sharp bolo nearby and she knows how to use it.

Dave DeWall
Dave DeWall

As a way to beat back barangay boredom, I began my first blog in August 2009, a month after moving to the Philippines in Guimaras, my wife’s home province. A 50-foot tower in our front yard enabled me to get a signal from Smart Bro. I would have gone absolutely loco loco (more so than I already am) wihout that “hobby.” There’s only so many trips a guy can make down a muddy, cow poop-laden subdivision road to the local Sari Sari Bakeshop for some freshly baked pan de sal before boredom sets in.

A move to the big city of Iloilo, a 15-minute pump boat ride from Guimaras, last October helped. We’re fairly close to a large SM Mall now and with our twin nieces currently living with us, I don’t have to spend all my time feigning interest in any shoe or purse purchases my wife is considering at the local mall. My nieces can stand for hours alongside their tita and do that for me now. I’m relieved.

As a way to fight boredom, one French Canadian expat friend, married to a Filipina, took up publishing his own website and travels extensively on our island photographing historic churches and writing about them. That, along with a “Honey Do List” from his spouse, keeps him occupied.

Another expat friend, a Hoosier, spends his free time being a Dad to his two young children. He scurries all over our home base of Iloilo City taking his kids to school and running errands. His asawa has plenty of places for him to go. There’s one particular hot spot she tells him to go when she’s angry, but I’ll let that go. He also organizes bi-weekly meetings for expats that meet at a local hangout. We have been known to throw back a bottle or two of our favorite brew when we meet.

Iloilo City
Iloilo City

A new arrival from the States just dropped in. He’s a single guy. He’s busy being a celebrity. The guy is approached by cute Filipinas constantly. It’s either his good looks or charm attracting them or perhaps some of the pretty pinays approaching him might think he has “ATM” stamped on his forehead.

Point is, you need something to fight boredom once you move to the Philippines. I highly recommend a legal recreational hobby. I retired after almost 30 years of working at AT&T. I do absolutely nothing because no one lets me do anything. I don’t mind them “enabling” me. I have no problem being lazy and sitting in front of my computer monitor for hours at a time. That is, when I’m not visiting with my expat friends and quenching my thirst.

But be prepared. Unless you have definite plans on opening a business in the Philippines (get Bob’s book) or sitting at the back of some sari sari store drinking Red Horse all day with your expat buddies (beginning to see a pattern here?), having some kind of plan before you move to the Philippines is a good idea. Remember, it may be more fun in the Philippines but you still don’t want to be bored, do you?

Post Author: David DeWall (14 Posts)

57 year old guy from a small town in central Illinois, after almost 30 years working for AT&T, decides to quit the rat race and move to a small rural province in the Philippines called Guimaras where my wife is from. My blog tries to chronicle in a somewhat humorous fashion (I hope) my daily adventures and escapades in the Philippines.

How to Move to the Philippines Manual


  1. says

    Here are my suggestions to avoid boredom: Aside from blogging, Study the local dialect in that way you can met some locals, do some gardening/walking/jogging, and perhaps joined a church group or a social club, perhaps dancing, yoga, tai kwando or playing bridge etc…

  2. says

    I highly recommend your walking/jogging tip, David. I walk every morning, around 4:30 to 5:30, my quiet time before I sit in front of the computer. When I suggested to my asawa that I would like to take up martial arts as a hobby in the future, she laughed uncontrollably for five minutes. “You can’t even kick, how are you going to do martial arts!” she exclaimed. Guess I’ll have to find some other hobby. Good tips, David, thank you.

    • RandyL says

      Maybe you should have quickly changed that to “marital” arts Dave. You could have saved a little humility. 😆

      • says

        Yeah, you’ve got a good point, Randy. But after over 12 years of marriage to my asawa, another blow to my ego just bounces right off me. I’m used to it. You married guys out there know what I’m talking about.

    • PapaDuck says

      Glad to see you over here in LIP. I will try to eleviate some of your boredom when i visit in Oct. But again i could make you more bored lol. Take care.

      • says

        Bob is graciously letting me do a guest post, PapaDuck. Hope to see you in October. My new wingman duties are keeping me from getting too bored right now. With three nieces and one nephew in the house now, there’s little opportunity for boredom.

  3. Alan says

    Mayaon Aga Dave, I too have moved to Guimaras with the help of an expat but I have to tell you so many expats are so bored and jealous here that all they do all day is spread chizmis and start nasty rumors about others. That is what I have learned so I busy myself with my asawa and traveling and staying away from most the expats as they don’t interest me with their drinking and chizmis. Get the point? Watch out readers as many of the expats here can not be trusted even though they portray themselves as nice guys. Free advice here if you want to check out our beautiful Island of Guimaras where the rooster crows at 4am and we have our B&B named The Crows Nest, (not related to the roosters), lol. Email me, [email protected] and salamat po Mindanao Bob for your wonderful site. I have been reading you for years and always there is new information that is relative to living here in the land of 7,107 islands.

  4. says

    Good to hear you’ve made it back to Guimaras, Alan. It’s a great place to retire. The locals are friendly and helpful with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The best of luck to you.

    And yes, Bob’s site is a great source of information. I highly recommend it to any expat or those considering a move to the Philippines.

  5. Alan says

    Yes Dave, I am back to stay after returning to Hawaii for a couple of months I was able to sell my house and we went to Manila last week and got my 13a visa. This is now my home with my asawas very large family. I am told that 2 of your close neighbors there in Iloilo are family members. Also I saw one of your posts that you missed some items of food, ie: Johnsonville Italian sausages and Ball Park hot dogs. I have found those available here in the Philippines as well as Vlasic pickles and Reeses peanut butter cups as well as dried beans for the wonderful chile your friend Paul makes. Many other foods we are used to I have found, anyone want to know where just email me at [email protected] and please come visit us on our beautiful Guimaras where the sweetest mangos in the Philippines are grown at The Crows Nest B&B and see the wonderful hand built ships we have on display that are built by my asawas Tito.

      • says

        Thanks for the info, Bob. We have several SM’s that I haven’t checked out in Iloilo, we just hit the main one called SM City. I’ll have to check out those other SM outlets. Gives me a good excuse to pick up more junk food.

  6. Philip says

    Good Morning, great articles I could understand your asawa having a big stick
    ready if you were to over step the social scene. The city on screen looks beautiful with the ocean scene in it, does anyone know if you are aloud to paint over there
    as a hobby as in Landscapes and Seascapes that is my passion, but I am not sure on the law if I could paint pictures over there or do my Art? Take Care everyone

    • says

      Philip, I can guarantee you that my asawa would not hesitate to use the bolo. But I won’t give her any reason, that’s for sure. She’s the best, a true Filipina, loyal and with a good heart.

      I don’t see why you couldn’t pursue your painting hobby in the Philippines. I used to do some painting back in the States years ago and would like to take that up again. Don’t see any reason why you couldn’t.

      • Philip says

        That is great news Dave yes I agree the ladie I have met a few months is the best thing to happen to me in years and she has inspired my art as my family have stated, I can’t wait to get there in couple of months my brother and his wife and daughter are over there holidaying and having fun. It does worry me some of the reports you hear on the news over there regarding safety but Bob ashores me it is a safe as Australia over there and I put my trust in him as he has done nothing but help me since I found his website a while ago. Take care

        • says

          You can count on Bob for good advice, Philip. Don’t let all those warning scare you off. They do a disservice to the Philippines. Just use some of the common sense God gave you, and you’ll be fine. I’m sure you’re looking forward to your arrival here. Best wishes to you.

        • Cheryl says

          All of these reports people talk mention about the Philippines being dangerous are ridiculous. Just use some sense and you’ll be fine. Even filipinos are responsible for misinformation.

          The city across the river from me, Portland, Oregon, is far more dangerous to me than anywhere I have been in the Philippines.

          Just get to the Philippines, use some sense, have a plan, and enjoy your life.

          • says

            You’re exactly right, Cheryl. Use some common sense and you’ll be fine. These travel advisories and warnings that the US Embassy and other countries issue concerning travel in the Philippines don’t offer a true reflection, in my opinion, about traveling or living in the Philippines. After almost three years of residing here, I’ve never had any safety concerns at all. I ride the jeepneys all the time without any problems. And you’re correct, Cheryl, enjoy life. It’s more fun in the Philippines!

  7. says

    Alan, I heard through some employees at The Shirven that you had gone to Hawaii to sell your home. Good to hear that you sold it considering the current economic situation in the States. You’re smart to have gotten your 13a. I’m curious how long that took. I still recommend any guy married to a Filipina to obtain a 13a, I think that’s the best and cheapest route to go.

    We’ve got some extra family members with us now that used to live in Guimaras. The twin nieces are back with us applying for some call center jobs in Iloilo. They’ve passed their initial interviews and are going to be called back for some tests.

    Paul is in extremely bad condition right now. I don’t want to go into many details here, but he was said to be close to death at one point. The last report I have is that his condition has improved somewhat, but that “he is not out of the woods yet.”

    Where are you finding the J’ville sausages? I do miss those. Next time we’re in Guimaras we’ll have to stop by and maybe do a few pics and a story if you’re open to that. Take care. Good luck on the new venture.

  8. Matt says

    Dave, love the way you write, if you are that bored how about some memoirs! lol! I bet that would be a great read over a 12 pack of Red Horse!!!! Lol! God Bless…

    • says

      Thanks, Matt, I appreciate the kind words. My memoirs? Hmmm, that’s an idea. I am a 60-year-old geezer with lots of life experiences. And that 12 pack of Red Horse, Matt? My Red Horse limit was seven in a row at a fiesta back at our house a couple of years ago. I stick with Pale Pilsen now my friend.

  9. says

    Well Dave, I moved here with my funny little honey of 36 yrs just this past May. Boreing isn’t the word! I tried swatting flies as a hobby, experimenting with Tanduay & Gatorade, going to Ace Hardware and asking people if I could help them…..

    You see I just got Internet last week, and it has been great. I’m back to playing “World of Warcraft” (I’m a nightelf hunter), and using my “Magicjack” to call the states, plus being able to keep up with the worldwide web is great.

    I also have DVD’s for P90X workout, which is a killer for a 59 yr old!!! I do walk around the barangay a little, but wife doesn’t like me walking around by myself.

    I used to brew beer in the states, but why do that here, as Paul Thompson says, “you can’t beat San Miguel”, and the price!

    • RandyL says

      Pita Mike, do you remember or have you ever seen those simple hand crafted wooded pistols that shoot rubber bands? I think they were designed for fly killing entertainment. I can’t remember where I seen them last….in the U.S. or R.P. That would be more challenging than a fly swatter and you could kill a couple hours a day with it! 😉

  10. says

    Good to hear from you, Pita Mike. You’re a wise man, moving to the Philippines and having a great asawa of 36 years, congrats!

    Man, I almost went crazy before I got my Internet hooked up. I use the “Magicjack,” too, to call my Dad in Vegas. He’s usually busy playing bingo in the casinos or flirting with cocktail waitresses 60 years younger than him to return my calls right away.

    I played “Final Fantasy” on my PS2 when I first arrived to kill some time. And Paul is right, why brew when you’ve got San Miguel? Hopefully, the new proposed “sin tax” won’t jack up the price of my favorite brew. I’ve read reports that the proposed law will actually reduce the price of beer and jack up the tax on the hard stuff. Thanks for the comment, appreciate it.

  11. Ricardo Sumilang says

    Hey Dave, you’d be a perfect fit working at a call center in Iloilo. Boredom solved, and with pay! But, after working for AT&T for 30 years, you probably don’t want to be around phones anymore. LOL

    • says

      Ricardo, at AT&T part of my job as a “Marketing Support Specialist” was contacting other call centers. At the risk of offending any of Bob’s Indian (not the Native Americans) readers, I dreaded reaching call centers in India. I had a very difficult time understanding their accent. But when I reached a call center in the Philippines, now host to the most call center agents in the world, having surpassed India, I was elated. Everyone was so polite, and I could understand them!

      But you’re right I don’t want to be around phones now. We don’t have a landline, and I don’t even have my own cell. My asawa is my “personal assistant” and screens any messages or calls for me.

        • roy says

          OMG….this post is so funny..From tips where to get reese peanut butter & vlasic pickles to call center in Iloilo…so many info. Now I want to visit to Guimaras as I’ve never been there. And I’m actually jealous about you guys having plenty of time to get bored.

          • says

            Roy, Guimaras has some of the most beautiful beaches in the Philippines and the sweetest mangoes around. Top that off with some friendly locals, and you’ve got a great place to visit. Hope you can make it over some time.

            • Ricardo Sumilang says

              Careful, careful, Dave. Zambales mangoes are just as sweet, if not sweeter than Guimaras mangoes. Btw, did you know that Zambales mangoes made their way to Mexico via the galleon trade? They are known today as “Manga de Manila”, if not mistaken. :)

              • says

                The mango issue can get touchy, Ricardo, but the Guinness Book of World Records has officially named mangoes from Guimaras as the sweetest fruit in the world back in 1995. They’ve been served at the White House and Buckingham Palace. I never tasted a good mango back in the States, but know that there are a lot of great-tasting mangoes throughout the Philippines. No offense to you other mango provinces out there, but I’ve got to stick up for my home turf.

  12. sugar says

    Hi Dave – I like your place Iloilo, I love Guimaras… have relatives so went on vacation several years ago. Cool place to retire too. So you’re bored? Have fun! That’s what retired people do.. I mean, they don’t ( have or need) do anything except enjoy life.. after years of hard work, right? just don’t ‘play’ around ^_^

    • says

      Iloilo, “The City of Love,” and Guimaras, Mango Land, are fantastic places to live, Sugar. My asawa is related to half the population of Guimaras. I’m enjoying life in the Philippines, and the only “playing around”I do is with a bottle of San Miguel Pale Pilsen (or two.) Thanks for the comment, Sugar. Enjoy reading your articles on LIP.

  13. Paul Thompson says

    If I swear to never sin, while consuming my San Magoo’s, may I forgo the Tax? I still walk Coco the Flying Labrador on mornings that it’s not raining. I sit and watch the vines over my fishpond grow, and listen to Country music to see if it will retard its growth. Like you, meeting with my buddies at the locals in town and quaffing a beer or three is also very high on my list. Bored? I’ve been retired twelve years solid here, and it hasn’t happened yet. But if it does, I’ll buy another remote controlled boat, put it in the fish pond and see if I can hit the fish that are dumb enough to come to the top. It’s a good life!
    Pita Mike, lets do lunch at Texas Joe’s next week!

  14. says

    Twelve years, Paul, you’ve been enjoying life, that’s for sure. My asawa and I have been married for twelve years and I’ve informed her that those are “the best twelve years of her life.” She just laughs. Go figure.

    I’ve had the privilege of meeting some new expat buddies from the States, and have been known to share a “few” adult beverages with them. I also enjoy spreading around the verbal manure with them.

    Texas Joe’s? I’m jealous, Paul. Heard they have some great burgers there. Good to hear from another of Bob’s premier contributors.

  15. says

    Dave: Great article as always with sage advice. And thanks for the mention of my website. Your support has been extraordinarily helpful in getting it started and building visitors (according to StatsCounter, we’re having our biggest day ever, today! Almost triple the normal volume). Must be the shameless plug you gave me. Thanks to both you and Bob for that!

    Boredom certainly is no longer a problem with me. The site and the travel involved, the interesting people I meet as a result, the learning about the history and culture of this place and my 5:00am 5 mile walks with my neighbours 5 days a week. And then, there’s the bi-weekly expats meetings at Langfords. I’m busier in retirement than I was when I was working and NO STRESS! It’s impossible to be bored if you take an interest in the people and whatever else is going on around you.

    But, I’m looking for some of those Johnsonville Sausages – miss them greatly, I’ll be having some soon enough, within the week when I get home to Ottawa, can’t wait. I’ll be on the look out for them when I return in about 6 weeks and will check in to get the latest info on locations here in Iloilo. See you soon!

  16. says

    Good to hear from you, Fergus. I’ve surely enjoyed our outings at Langfords and look forward to your return from Canada. My site is also enjoying a big boost in traffic thanks to Bob.

    I know you’re always busy, Fergus, and I suspect that when you have a spare moment, your asawa, Rose, can always find something for you to do. My asawa, Melinda, knows better to ask me, I’m always “looking busy” perched in front of my computer. Same tactic I used at AT&T for 30 years. I’m actually smarter than I look. Good thing.

  17. Alan says

    Sorry to hear about Paul, I hope he pulls through, would hate to lose the Chief. Of course you are welcome Dave, seems like I can’t post at your site, must be some kind of “glitch”, just let me know when you are coming as we have a full house most the time and we travel a lot. Planning a trip to Singapore in July. Give Melinda a warm mayong aga from Lorry and me. Has Tom started his brewery yet. Would love to get down to Davao sometime and meet you Bob and Feyma as we are trying to help kids here through schooling and sponsoring them for further education too. You are good folks.

  18. says

    Haven’t received an update for a couple of day, Alan, I’ll have to see what I can find out today about Paul’s condition. We’re planning to come to Guimaras next month to take our twin nieces to Raymen Beach for their 19th birthday, I’ll let you know when for sure, see if we can’t check out your place. Tom has decided it’s cheaper to just buy the beer here. I think his g/f, my asawa’s relative, LenLen, is keeping him busy. I’ll relay your greeting to Melinda, thank you.

    You should be able to post at my site, Alan. Sometimes comments go to spam or at the very least are held for moderation. Have a good trip to Singapore. Melinda worked there as an OFW for years and said they have some of the best food around. Take care.

  19. Alan says

    Dave,we are heading to Iloilo and Bavaria in a few minutes to pick up a friend from Hawaii that lives in Pampanga now. Hope to see you folks soon. Have a great day. SM does have Johnsonville sausages but they are the smoked kind, not the fresh uncooked Italian sausages we like. We went to Pampanga a few weeks ago and found the good ones at the old Clark base. Next time we go I will pick up enough for everyone that wants here but last time we were full as we went to an auction there and filled up with tools and household stuff. Great auction there if anyone is interested, got excellent deals on tools and tvs. Saved thousands of pesos and even thousands of dollars on things we got.

  20. says

    Sure some good German food at the Bavaria, Alan. OK, I’ll have to check out the Johnsonville sausages, even if they are the smoked kind. Be glad to reimburse you for some of the “real deal” next time you go, thanks.

    Just checked my spam and any comments held for moderation, Alan, don’t see anything now. Try again when you get a chance, take care.

  21. ScottF says

    I’ve posted here several times and have come to enjoy reading the rantings and advice from everyone. Are we talking about Paul Thompson, a writer here on LiP??

    • says

      Sorry, ScottF, talking about Paul from Iloilo, should have clarified that. I believe Paul Thompson is alive and well as he posted on my Facebook this morning.

  22. says

    This sounds like good advice for anyone planning to retire. Decide what it is that you are going to do with all that time. My parents-in-law have done a good job of keeping busy (including numerous international and domestic travel trips).

    • says

      You’re right Tom N. When my grandfather retired at the age of 62 in the early Sixties, my grandmother didn’t give him any time to think about what he could do in his free time. He didn’t have any. Grandma’s “Honey Do” list kept him busy for years!

  23. says

    I am still two weeks from making my move to the Philippines and already I think I’m settling into a more relaxed (ie; lazy?) approach to life. Only yesterday did I finally clean through my voicemails.. from February, and it’s now June. Yah, since deciding to make the move, if it isn’t part of getting me overseas.. it’s not a priority.

    My g/f will be on another island so we’ll be lucky if we see each other 3-4 times a month. But I’ve got plenty to keep me busy once I get there.. assuming I want to be ‘busy’ and not just reading a book in a hammock. I have 5 blogs to keep up, including to cover my transition over there. Plus I have 3 novels I’ve been dying to write. Add to that my love for photography and FOOD. And to keep me from getting too chunky, I love to swim and it’s possible I might find some volleyball action somewhere. If not, maybe some martial arts and finish my black belt finally.

    But I can’t say I’m much for traveling half-way across the globe just to sit at the local McDonald’s and hear a bunch of old-guys whining about life. ha!

    • Alan says

      Henry, after reading your blog I think you are well prepared for real everyday life here. So many expats only look at the beaches and women but there is MUCH more to life here. I have found paradise here on Guimaras but my paradise is not every ones. Good luck with you new life here as you already seem to have a good understanding of what life really is in this land of 7,107 islands. You are right about Hawaii, there is 80% of Hawaii tourists don’t see and know about. I lived there in the Puna district on the Big Island for 21 years before coming here.

  24. says

    Sounds like you’ve got everything planned out, Henry. So your g/f will be on another island? Wonder if the “bamboo telegraph” will reach her from your location? I’ve had expat friends with girlfriends, and some of there swear there be must be private investigators following them. If they as so much smile at that cute little Jollibee cashier, he’ll hear about.

    Good luck on your move. And whining about life in the Philippines? Man, I just don’t get that. It might not be paradise but I wouldn’t trade living here for any other place in the world.

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