I’m NOT Working!

Today, we have a guest article from regular LiP reader and contributor, Bob NewYork.  Bob spends time regularly in Iligan, in Northern Mindanao, and has some of his adventures to share with us today.  Thank you, Bob! MindanaoBob

While visiting MSU-IIT on my recent trip to Iligan City, as I have in the past I brought some donations for various schools and departments.  One of these dontation included Stethoscopes and Aneroid Bp Cuffs for the School of Nursing at MSU-IIT.  As I always present my donations in the Chancellors office, Dean Clowie of the School of Nursing was called to the Chancellors office to recieve them.  Dean Clowie was most grateful and asked me if I would like to tour the School of Nursing which of course I accepted.

WowPhilippines Gift Delivery in the Philippines
Presentation of donations to the MSU-IIT School of Nursing Dean Clowie
Presentation of donations to the MSU-IIT School of Nursing Dean Clowie

This also happened to be Registration Day at MSU-IIT and there were what seemed like hundreds of students lined up to register for the next semester. There was a line of students at the School of Nursing that went all the way down a long hallway and then even down a multi story staircase !

As we entered the Deans Office, a rather large room, there were at least 12 desks with what appeared to be office workers with lines of students submiting paperwork to each of the office workers. Upon entering, something just did not seem right in this very large office.  Dean Clowie invites me to have a seat at his desk so we could talk for a while.  I looked up at the ceiling and counted 15 ” High Hat ” recessed light fixtures.  Only 2 of these fixtures were working.  When I inquired about this the Dean explained that most of the bulbs had burned out and the school had not yet recieved its annual budget so at the moment there were no funds for the pruchase of replacement light bulbs. The fixtures had 15 Watt Compact flourescent bulbs in them.

Article continues below photos, click on photo for a larger view

Now for a bit of  ” Kano Kulture Klash ” !  I am thinking to myself if this situation with the lights happened in the USA and any student tripped or fell over on something as small as a pencil erasure and got injured, the school could face a law suit in the millions of Dollars ! I just could not concentrate on a conversation with The Dean watching all of those students lined up with their paperwork in that dimly lit office space even though there was plenty of sunlight comming through the windows.

A friend that was with me, an MSU-IIT engineering student was also sitting with us at the deans desk.  I gave it a moments thought and said to my friend ” Can you do me a favor ” ?  my friend says  ” Sure ” .  I take out my wallet and remove a 1000 peso bill and as I hand it to my friend I ask can you go out and get 1000 peso worth of light bulbs and bring them back.

My friend returns a short while later with a bag full of exact replacement 15 Watt compact flourescent bulbs.  No ladder available so I grabbed a chair and began changing all of the light bulbs in the ceiling.

As I am in the process of doing this, someone exclaims  ” The School of Nursing has an Imported Electrician ”  !  That statement kind of put me on the spot and I thought I had to think fast to come up with some kind of reasonable response !

In 2009 I became the first Honorary Alumni to MSU-IIT and this was quite an honor to me since I never went to college myself.  It was a pleasure when I visited in 2010 to be able to just show my official MSU-IIT Alumni  ID Badge to security and be welcomed right onto the campus, by the Security Guards.  My response to the ” Imported Electrician ” comment as I was changing light bulbs was  ” This is an Annual Alumni Project ” and I left it at that !

Post Author: BobNY (12 Posts)

Bob in New York is a regular reader and participant on the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob has traveled to the Philippines many times already and primarily visits the Iligan and Cagayan de Oro areas. Bob is a big fan of Jollibee Corporation, and even owns stock in the company!

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  1. says

    Nice story, Bob. One of the biggest culture shock issues I have in adapting to the Philippines is that strict division of labor and waiting forever, even in the darkness, for the person whose official function is to replace the bulb, or stop the leak, or wipe up the spill, etc.

    My normal operating mode is to do what you did … light a candle (or replace a burned out bulb) instead of cursing the darkness.

    Ranting about it won’t do any good, and wishing and hoping won’t get the job done, either … it’s better to take action and lead by example. Thank you for setting a good one.

  2. Bob New York says

    Thany you for your comment Dave. It is situations like this that give me more of an exposure to Philippines Culture than the average tourist or visitor may be exposed to. These are the kind of things that give me a continued interest in The Philippines and in particular, Iligan City.

    In the time between my visits, I acumilate many things to bring with me on the next visit. Some are pasalubongs for friends, some are donations that will serve or enhance the educational experience of well deserving students. All year long I keep my eyes open for special sales or for certain things on Ebay and then store them away until it is time to pack my suitcases.

    The light bulbs for the Deans office were something spontanious but an enhancement that would be shared by many at a very appropriate time. I had a lot of fun doing this little ” extra ” for a place I am rather fond of. Isn’t that what vacations are all about, having fun, and if you can share it with others all the better.

  3. dans says

    Finally! you just answered the oldest question of all times.

    Q. How many men does it take to screw-in a bulb?
    A. The entire University!

    just kidding!

    • Bob New York says

      Thanks for the comment Dans, I was trying to come up with a humerous descriptive phrase like that th use as a photo caption. The closest thing I could come up with is how many Filipinos or Kanos does it take to change a light bulb. Answer: 1 each. LOL

      Fortunately the 1000 peso worth of bulbs had 4 extras which were used in one of the lecture rooms at the School of Nursing that was in a similar situation.

      This kind of question would not apply in the UK however. The standard base lamps there do not Screw In ! They are dual contact bayonette base lamps 240 V. that are used in the UK. From my visits there I have brought back a nice variety of them and the matching sockets.

      • Papa Duck says


        Welcome as a guest contributor. Good post. It’s really a kind what you do for the college. The kids/staff there i’m sure are so appreciative of anything they receive. It’s sad that they don’t have the funds for basic maintenance items. For only basically $23.00 USD you fixed the problem. Take care. Looking forward to your next article.

        • Bob New York says

          Their annual budget came through about 30 days after I was there. For me, 30 minutes was too long not to have those lights working so I must admire the patience of the people there that have to wait for things.

          The money they did not have to spend on replacing those bulbs I am sure will be put to good use elsewhere.

          If you go back through the guest articles or do a site search here you can learn of some of my other adventures of my visits to Iligan City. It is the only place I know in the Philippines and it is a place I have become somewhat attached to. To me, Iligan City is a rather amazing place, and a place I only found out about by accident , or maybe Iligan City found me !

          Thank you for your comments.

        • Bob New York says

          Hi Marjorie,

          Thanks for the tip. Yes, I have some of those too but at most of the residences I stayed at in the UK all had those beyonette base lamps. I brought a bunch of them home with me on each of my visits as well as some of the ” ES ” ( Edison Screw ) bases as well. I bought some UK table lamps that I brought home with me and use them as night lights on the end tables, since they are running on 120 V here and not 240 V, they produce a nice warm glow. Additionally I brought back a bunch of UK plugs and sockets and some ES to Bayonette and Bayonette to ES adapters I bought at Maplin. I wierd one of the switched sockets up so I could use my UK Kettle here on 240 V. We have 240 in most houses here in the USA but it is reserved only for large appliances like electric cookers, electric clothes driers and electric hot water heaters. It is not used on wall outlets. If they ever really do ” Ban The Bulb ” ( incandescent lamps ) there I think I have a lifetime supply of them here LOL ! I also brought home some Roberts Radios, a couple of Pro-Ject Debut Turntables ( with 60 Hz conversion pulleys ) and some very nice Eltax floorstanding speakers, a great deal I found at Richer Sounds. These are my kind of Souveniers ! They are Functional . I have always enjoyed my visits to the UK.

  4. Neal in RI says

    Bob NY
    Great article!

    Filipino way: Go hands on and get it done

    US Way: Request funding, submit purchase order, set up OSHA mandated work conditions, have the lowest Janitor on the seniority list do the work as 3 others on the pay roll watch.
    Only to have the Union grieve that it was done by the wrong craft worker as it should have been done by a Building Maint employee NOT a Janitor.
    Settle the Grievance by paying the lowest senior worker in Building Maint, end result paying double for the simple work task done.

    • Bob New York says

      LOL, very true Neal in certain situations here in the USA. Thats why I decided on the spot to replace the bulbs before anyone realized what was going on or had the chance to say No. Obviously an office situation like that would not be OSHA compliant but then again I was a few thousand miles from ” OSHAville “. Can you imagine what would happen here if one of the students stubbed their toe on a pencil erasure that landed on the floor someplace ?

      ” Changes in Lattitude, Changes in Attitude ” That may be one of the reasons I have such an enjoyable time going to The Philippines.

      Thanks for your comment.

  5. Dr. Sponk Long says

    Hi Bob,

    Let me tickle you a bit.

    I wondered if you attempted to tighten those “busted” bulbs before you replaced them.

    Did you throw away the “busted” bulbs yourself?

    Just kidding, Bob.

    Nice article.


    • Bob New York says

      Hi Dr. Sponk Long

      Never thought of tightening the old bulbs, they were not loose in their sockets though, just exhausted after several years of use. I don’t really know what happened to the burned out ones. It would not surprise me though if they were taken to one of the Electronic labs for disection. There is an electronic ballast in the base of Compact Flourescent bulbs with some nice re-usable parts in there like Diodes, Capacitors an MOV and more ! I am sure some of the engineering students could have made something with those parts !

      I’ll have to ask on my next visit !

      They are big on recycling so maybe they were appropriately discarded.

  6. Lyndon Murcia says

    Hi! Great article, this. Love it when I hear about my country from foreign people. Makes me see things with different eyes. :]
    I’m an IIT nursing alumnus by the way. I’ll definitely check those donated bulbs out when I get home. LoL

    • Bob New York says

      Hi Lyndon thanks for your comment. I have several additional articles of my visits to Iligan on this website you may enjoy reading. I always enjoy visiting MSU-IIT, especially some of the labs having things that I work with or am familiar with.

      • Lyndon Murcia says

        I’m liking you more and more with every iligan article of yours. Have you tried our springs and falls? Nothing beats iligan’s waters I tell ya. Hehe.
        I’m bookmarking your site :]

        • Bob New York says

          Hi Lyndon,
          Yes I have been to some of the falls there like Maria Christina and Tinago and quite a few of the other popular attractions in Iligan. There is a wealth of information in many places on the internet about Iligan. Usually between visits I find things that interest me or new developments in Iligan that give me plenty of things I would like to see and do on future visits. In addition to touristy places there are many other things of interest I find in Iligan. I have posted reviews of some of the places I have been to on this travel website. Scroll down to the bottom for review links:


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