I was wrong!

I’ll blame it on my advancing years, but the first week in September I stopped at the Retired Activities Office or RAO down in the Barrio here in Olongapo City and picked up my US Mail. Since I was on my way to lunch with friends I tossed it into the back seat of my New Old Honda circa 1996. Lunch was great, Fish and Chip’s with British Malt Vinegar, good company and telling sea stories of long past glories. The ladies went off to get their nails done and left us gentlemen there to consume adult beverages after eating. That day I was in the mood for Boat Drinks (Any drink that includes Rum).

Retired Activities Office or RAO
Retired Activities Office or RAO

The ladies returned and proceeded to provide valid reason why we guys should depart the watering hole and head for home. I prefer to believe that Mayang was just in the mood to drive the car. We arrived at the house and a pleasant day had come to an end. I partook of a two hour battle nap, and awoke and played with my grandson Jayden for awhile and totally forgot the mail still in the car.

Social Security Check
Social Security Check

In this pile of important stateside correspondence was a letter from the Social Security Administration, clearly marked “IMPORTANT”, I had no way of knowing this, as I hadn’t even found it yet, let alone read it. Yes it was still in the car, and had fallen under the driver’s seat. While cleaning the car a week later, it was discovered and I opened it post haste. Where I discovered that some self important bureaucrat wanted to know where I lived. Because my address is a military address assigned to the RAO there in the Barrio. Many questions: 1. Are you a US Citizen? 2. Where do you reside, Country and Street address? How long have you lived at that address? And so on.

I thought it had something to do with Medicare which although I can’t use it here in the Philippines I still have to have it, its a matter of law. (Military TriCare is invalid without also having Medicare). Okay. I’ll fill it out and return it. But that was during the last week of September before I got around to it. Hey it’s the government, they take their time, and I’ll take mine. I then put it out of my mind and continued my trip down life’s interesting path. I finally did mail it.

US Embassy Manila Chancery
US Embassy Manila Chancery

But wait, it’s now time for October to rear its ugly head, and I’m sitting at the Puter posting my monthly stipends from those that I’ve earned my pensions from and after checking online with the Navy Federal Credit Union (The largest Credit Union on Earth) I noted that this being the third of the month, my SSA check, was not where it should be the 3rd is the day it’s due, so it should be in my account that day! Whoa Nellie; could it be because of that letter that I was so tardy in replying to? Could my government be punishing me? But the shocking question was; “Could the Social Security Administration really be operating in such a timely manner? But whatever the reason, I knew I had to take action, so I sent an E-mail to the SSA Office* attached to the Embassy in beautiful downtown Mega Manila, informing them of my plight.

Thirty (30) minutes later I received an answer back that they had received my request and would take prompt action when the SSA Office in the states opened the next morning. This got to me on many levels, the first being the quick response. The second being that I now understood that the 3rd of October here is the 2nd of October in the land free and home of the brave. Wow Malic! Did I make a joke on myself; do I have egg on my face? What a dummy I was. There I was slithering away while eating crow as I felt badly.

Roxas Boulevard (formerly Dewey Boulevard) in Manila from the air
Roxas Boulevard (formerly Dewey Boulevard) in Manila from the air

I thought back to what would be said in the U.S. Navy under similar circumstances; and that would be a loud shout by my shipmates saying; “Feel Cheap Senior Chief?” I’ll take it like a man, and eat my humble pie.

The following morning, I received another E-Mail from my Embassy (Still in Mega Manila) that explained that after researching my query that my funds had been deposited to my account.

Owning up to my mistakes as I’d been taught by my parents I informed the nice lady at the SSA Office in Mega Manila that I was sorry for wasting her time but I also thanked her for her quick response and helpful attitude and I copied the Ambassador’s Office.

Last week Jenny from the Embassy e-mailed me to thank me, as she received a letter of appreciation from the Ambassador’s Office. She is the type of person we dream about when we have to deal with any bureaucracy, anywhere.

Why I use electronic Deposits
Why I use electronic Deposits

Now that I realize again the function of the International Date Line, and where I am in relation to it, I hope this will never happen again. And the really sad part is I can’t count the number of times I’ve sailed across it (Both ways) in the last forty years; one would think that if anyone could than I should be able to figure it out. But if it does ever happen again, I know who to contact, and that super employee Jenny, will take swift action once again.

I’ll enclose this information in case someone else has a Major Brain Fart as I did!

* Social Security Administration Division
United States Embassy
1131 Roxas Blvd., Ermita
0930 Manila, Philippines
Phone: (632) 301-2000
Fax: (632) 522-1514
E-mail: [email protected]

Post Author: Paul Thompson (309 Posts)

Paul Thompson; has resided in the Philippines since 1993, living close to Subic Bay. I’m married to a wonderful girl named Maria (AKA Mayang).Who is from Gordon Heights in Olongapo where she grew up with her Mom & Dad and seven siblings Our two daughters are both grown up and have left the nest, the eldest married to a wonderful guy named Chris, and they have blessed us with our granddaughter Heather Colleen Our youngest daughter and her husband Cecil have blessed us with a grandson named. Jayden Logan. I’m a retired U.S. NAVY Senior Chief after 22 years of active duty. After retirement from the Navy I lived for 7 years in Puerto Rico as a Night Club owner. Then Hurricane Hugo told me to find a new line of work, I was hired by Military Sealift Command and went back to sea in Asia as a Merchant Seaman for 10 years. After 30 plus years at sea I buried my anchor on a mountain in the Philippines and am now residing in Dinalupihan (or DinBat for short), Roosevelt, Bataan where we built our home. And last but not least, anything I writes will be pure "Tongue in Cheek "If anybody is offended, I'll lose no sleep over it, but here's a quick Mea Culpa in advance!

Live in the Philippines Consulting


  1. Paul Thompson says

    Hi Loren;
    Now that I understand the dateline I’ll be going to lunch with a group of visitors from the Big PX and a couple of local Kano friends at the Arizona Resort in the Barrio tomorrow. Wish you were there also.

  2. says

    And here all this time I thought that the dateline was just that: a date line – somewhere I could call and get a date. 😆

    Hey, it’s getting harder and harder for us older gents! 😉

  3. Paul Thompson says

    You can still call, but its $3.99 per minute credit card required.
    For the life of me I can’t understand why I forgot about the dateline. Old-timers disease?

  4. says

    Hi Paul, Been there; done that! I have an additional problem relating to time zones (similar to date lines!). I get three different cheques at the end of the month (I am older than you!), but they come from two different time zones, and I believe the cheques are automatically deposited at 0001 (or thereabouts) on the payday. So I get two cheques from my old province of British Columbia on Pacific Standard Time – PST and one from the federal government in Ontario province on Central Standard Time – CST, three time zones different.

    I am used to it now, but the first few times I got a few more grey hairs on my head when all cheques did not appear magically (electronically) at the same time in my account!

    • Paul Thompson says

      We numerous check people do suffer some pains, I’m lucky as I have no idea which time zones I’m dealing with when it comes to checks just the date, but trying to follow baseball games played in central, pacific and eastern time zones is killing me.

    • Paul Thompson says

      A very conscientious person and I liked the treatment I received. I’ve been pleased with every encounter I’ve had with the U.S. Embassy in the last 20 plus years, they really are there to help. As for lunch, next time you’re here I’ll buy it!

    • Paul Thompson says

      Well I might forget where I am but if I made you laugh that I pleased where ever the hell I am. Thank You!

  5. Joseph Stuckey says

    LMAO Paul,
    You forgot rule number 1- The Chief is Always right! But Seriously< I do the same thing frequently,. I also forget that I can only Draw the maximum amount out once each day and if i do it in the afternoon I have to wait until the next afternoon to do it again.

  6. Paul Thompson says

    Years ago we had to drive from Olongapo to Manila to use the ARM machine. We’d hit the machine in the morning go have lunch (read beer) and hit it again at 1300 when it was a new day in the states then have more beer.

    • Joseph Stuckey says

      Next time I get to Manilla I would love to get together with you and do lunch (read Beer) and meet your family

      • Paul Thompson says

        That is something I would enjoy, but the chance of me being in Manila is slim to none, but the Subic area, you’re on! (lol)

  7. Jeff R. says

    That is an unusual mistake for someone with your vast amount of experience. Was you drinking Tanduay RHUM that day at the watering hole? If so, that might explain things.

    • Paul Thompson says

      Tanduay 12 year old Superior RUM is what I drink that 5year Rhum is good for starting garbage fires. But no I was cold sober, just a brain fart I guess! (lol)

  8. Scott Fortune says


    This story of yours brings to mind a question I have regarding social security and receiving it. Specifically, my address for living. Should I keep and show a U.S. address for this purpose, or is living across the world “OK” to them? Mine will be Social Security Disability, so I’m not sure if there is a defference in the matter. I’d love to NOT have to have a U.S. address is not necessary. My U.S. banking accounts will still be open, however.

    Any information you can provide would be helpful. or… I could drop Jenny an email. :)

    Thanks. Scott.

  9. Paul Thompson says

    It so happens, my buddy is in the same situation as you with SS Disability. He kept his stateside address (Father’s House) and wire transfers (or ATM) money here to the Philippines from his stateside account. I’m pretty sure you can live where you want to. But to be really sure I’d ditty bop to the nearest Social Security office and sit down with someone who has the book of rules in front of them, before I’d listen to some beer swigging dude in the Philippines (LOL)
    Really get natural advice from an expert before you make any important decisions. That way no surprises when you’re under that Coconut tree enjoying your day!

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