My Typical Friday in the Philippines

Last week on Friday Mayang asked me to take her to town to take care of some errands and have lunch with her, just the two of us, no friends or family and no beer. I could see that this was a request for something she really wanted and being the kind of man that would never spit into the wind, I smiled and said; “Darling, I’d love to!” That my friends, was absolutely the best answer I could’ve given.

Our first stop as always is our bank’s ATM machine, I don’t believe we really needed the money, but my wife does love to have her picture taken. One funny or odd aspect of the trip off the mountain was that during the drive the rain poured like there was no end to it. Yet, when we reached the main shopping area the sun broke out in all its glory, like an omen from the heavens; “Go forth and spend!” How do those Malls control the weather like that?

Parking on the roof
Parking on the roof

Our second stop was to Mac’s Auto parts out in the city, where we had to replace the tinted strip across the top of the New Old Honda’s windshield, hey, that was Mayang’s idea. Twenty minutes later we were pulling into the Ayala Harbor Point Mall on Subic Freeport and parking the car (FOR FREE). We left the car there and took the ten minute walk to the main gate of the Free Port as the SM Mall was just across the bridge. I know I was at one mall, and you could wonder why we walked to the other mall. Parking on the Free Port is simple and easy, and at the SM Mall you must drive into the building, then ride a circular narrow drive pointed straight up to the roof and pay to park. No parking validation in Olongapo City. Besides SM Mall is where the Globe Center is now located.

Ah, my Globe dongle, that rascal in the past three weeks has become sluggish and very slow. Thursday It was so slow I couldn’t log onto Yahoo, or Lip. Did you hear that? I couldn’t log on to LiP! Oh the humanity! You know what a major-major malfunction that is and must be looked into without delay.

This is my dongle
This is my dongle

I explained my problem to the very attentive young lady there at the Globe Center named Rina; she attached my dongle to her computer and proclaimed that I was right. She then went into hyper thought mode to solve this problem. I stood by with my mouth shut and my eyes open and watched this young lady’s fingers dance across the key board at the speed of light. When I heard her softly mutter; “YES!” I knew she had found the problem. Now this is the part where you’ll groan and shout; “Paul, you’re making this stuff up!” But that’s not true, young Rina looked and me and explained that my SIM card inside my Globe Tattoo Dongle was cluttered with unanswered SMS’s or texts. I looked at Rina and asked whom could be texting my dongle, as I, didn’t even know the number? She shocked me by smiling and explaining that the mad texting culprit was the Globe Company itself. With a few “Do you need fast cash requests thrown in for good measure?

But the part that pleased me most was that Rina caught the irony of the situation at the same time as I did. Without a word we both started laughing and Mayang and the other employees could not understand what we both found so funny. (Note to Harry the Horse, I didn’t make this up, I’m not smart enough) Now the Dongle is fixed, I’ve been educated on how to solve the problem in the future, so it was back to the Ayala Harbor Point Mall we went.

Parking is free
Parking is free

Being this was my wife’s day, I followed her everywhere she wanted to go in the mall, I stopped without complaint anywhere she wanted to look, touch and or buy any item that fell within her preview. I was being Paul, the dutiful husband, and was enjoying my day out with my bride. She was smiling and enjoying herself, and I was pleased just to be a part of her day.

My wife decided that lunch was now in order, and she wanted to eat at T.G.I.F. or “Thank God it’s Friday” restaurant (Hey, it really was a Friday.) As we sat down, we were greeted by an extremely flamboyant waiter named Jhun, (I know the senior must be so proud of him.) He pranced and danced getting us drinks and menus. Jhun was also very proud of his working outfit, as his suspenders were covered with bright buttons with not so funny saying printed on them. As we bonded I asked him why he wore both a belt and suspenders at the same time? And didn’t he know what that tells the world about him? He was perplexed and asked me to explain. I told him that it means you trust nothing or no one. I saw the hand moving up to his head and I just said; “Jhun, think about it.) Ten minutes later he caught on and had a good laugh, and spread the joke among his co-workers. Ah, sadly, they all can’t be as sharp as Rina at the Globe Center!

I ordered Chicken Fajitas, and Mayang had Chicken and Shrimps of course with dirty rice (Rice Pillar). The food was excellent and the service was great. But I’m so glad of my meal choice, as the Kano at the next table ordered Chicken Wings, and part of the preparation required Jhun, to pour the hot sauce onto the wings and then he started to gyrate while shaking up the mixture and singing “Shake your Booty” with backup vocals from the other servers. Did you know that at TGIF’s without any prompting the entire wait staff will break into song and dance for no particular reason. Quite odd, But entertaining!

TGI Fridays
TGI Fridays
Mayany & Jinky at Texas Joe's
Mayang & Jinky at Texas Joe’s

I very much enjoyed my meal; until I receive the check, P 1,540.00, for two people to eat lunch in a mall in the Philippines? Plus they added a P 1.40 service charge, which I normally would refuse to pay, but Jhun said he did get a share along with the other waiters. Wow’ what a liberal socialist l idea, to remove the incentive to work harder than the rest. The person, who goofs off and refuses to pull their weight, gets paid the same as the person who hustled their butt off. I will return every few months to eat there again, as I said the food was good. But the rest of the time I can eat at Texas Joe’s for one half that price and I’ll dare say, have a great meal.

After lunch we then spent some more time in the mall, and then Mayang announced that she had a pleasant day and wanted to get back to the house to perform her YaYa duties for Jaden our new grandson.

The reason I brought up the name of LiP contributor Harry the Horse (I think that’s his name) is because he accused me a while back of making my articles up. I then asked if I also photo shopped the pictures I post with them. The ability that I’ve been blessed with for my entire life is the way I can find the humor in most of life’s situations. The only thing I do is point them out. So to Harry I say; “Yup, this Friday was exactly as I presented it to you. Some things in life you just can’t make up, and I don’t know how to photo shop.”

Post Author: Paul Thompson (313 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!

49 Ways to Make a Living without a Job


  1. says

    Hmm.. just off the top of my head, at P1,500 that’s about $35 for two person.. roughly $15 each plus gratuity ‘n tip. That’s pretty much the same as I spend in SoCal (US) at either Chili’s or Red Robin.

    I like a nice restaurant maybe once or twice a month. But normally I’m happy with some freshly blended fruit juice, some bbq’d meat and some pansit with a few snacks here and there. I need to lose about 25 pounds after letting myself stop into too many Chipotle’s, Panda Express and In’n’Out here in SoCal. Looking forward to eating healthier there in the Philippines starting next week! :)

  2. Paul Thompson says

    I agree, if I was back in San Diego I’d not be shocked with the price, but here I was. Most chain restaurants here adjust their prices to accommodate the local market. TGIF, will only get the high end patrons, and we’ll see how long they can last doing that. Enjoy your trip next week, I know you’re looking forward to that. I need to gain 25 lbs, my waist has been size 32′ since 1970 and I turn 65 this month.

  3. RandyL says

    Sorry Paul, but you lost me at the “laughing at the irony of the situation”. I just can’t figure out where the humor is at. What I do find funny is you describing Rina “sticking your dongle in her (usb) port and then going hyper!” I was waiting for the punchline but it never came. The language of technology…I’m sure glad my dad ain’t around to hear people talk like that.

    After hearing what you guys paid for lunch at the Freeport, I’m thinking I may have go join the Merchant Marines for 10 years and save some money to live your lavish lifestyle. Or, I might just have to stick with eating out at Jollibees. :)

  4. Paul Thompson says

    The humor was,;I’m at Globe trying to fix a problem with my Globe dongle. The problem was it was jammed up with unanswered text from Globe So while working on the problem we discover that it’s Globe that is causing the problem as they were the one to send all the texts. To wit: Irony.
    Or maybe only Rina and I thought it was funny. I guess you had to be there!
    BTW: There is nothing wrong with a bucket of Chicken from Jollibee’s.!

  5. Neal in RI says

    Nice article I am a bit shocked at the prices there at TGIF. I been there, here a few times but its pretty much overpriced Pub food.
    I can always find bits of hidden humor in your stories. This time gotto love your correctness of terms. You could have said you walked over Sh-t River and had a waiter named Benjiman Dover!! but no you classed it up, way to go.

  6. Paul Thompson says

    Not as shocked as I was over the price
    Plus adding the hidden humor is part of the reason I like to write for LiP. Not all get it, but then not all should. Besides I have to stay politically correct on Bob ‘s site out of respect for him and the readers. Now if we were having a beer in the man cave I’d phrase it in quite a different way.

  7. Gary Wigle says

    My wife Meriam checked out the prices at TGIF in Davao City a while back. Too high priced for us. We do like Mooon’s, good food and a fair price.

    • says

      I totally agree with you Gary. TGIF is way overpriced. Personally, I love Mooon… the food is at least as good as TGIF, and a fraction of the price.

      • Paul Thompson says

        Wait a darn minute, in the last week or two you posted a picture of you and your Neice at a TGIF. Is that when you found it was overpriced? It was a shock to me when I got the bill.

          • Paul Thompson says

            That’s will be my plan from now on. I’ll watch what I order, from down the road at another resturant. (LOL)

    • Paul Thompson says

      As much as I love Chicken Fajitas I won’t be back there very often. Like you I have other places that I’m just as happy with both in quality and price.

  8. Loren Pogue says

    Wow==P 1,540.00, for two people to eat lunch and no SMBs to wash it down. Texas Joe’s will have to be good enough for me. Good article.

    • Paul Thompson says

      I was afraid to even ask the price of a beer. But the following Saturday I was at Texas Joe’s. I felt like I’d cheated on them by going to TGIF.

  9. Bob New York says

    Thanks for another enjoyable read Paul. Even here, places like “TGIF” can at times be more costly than first percieved but the show you got along with your meal might have been worth a few peso more.

    That is good info to know about the Globe Dongle. On my last visit I had my first experience with both a Cell Phone and a Globe Dongle. Two different Globe Sim Cards and two cell type phone numbers. I must have mixed them up when I gave the numbers to my friends and was a bit perplexed when what I thought would be Cell Phone txt’s showing up on my laptop screen.

    I always look forward to the humor in your articles and at times it can be an educational introduction to the way some things are in The Philippines. The time I really wanted a cup of coffee from what I thought was a 24 hour place and found that on Sunday nights they closed at 11 PM for weekly maintenance it was the first time I got the ” Yes Sir, we don’t have any coffee ” routine, I might have become rather annoyed. Since I had read about this kind of thing in one of your ( and possibly others ) articles here on ” LIP ” months before that happened to me, I really got a good laugh out of that experience which has become more favorably remembered than if I had been able to get the coffee.

    • Paul Thompson says

      Hi Bob;
      You are most welcome and I’m pleased you enjoyed it.
      If I was paying extra for the TGIF not ready for prime-time dancers then I want a refund. (lol)
      On the dongle I never knew the number of the SIM card inside, that’s why I was surprised about receiving all those text. (Sent by Globe)
      The coffee shop story made me laugh, think the PI has invaded NYC. I have written about that a few times and like you I just don’t find any reason to get angry, I just think it’s funny. So I’m pleased you handled it the right way, but you should have broke into the Jollibee song and danced out the door. (LOL)

  10. Don says

    Gotta love SitnBull’s portions and prices. I think I might have spotted someone who looked like you a few weekends back. I was riding a yellow Harley. We wound up riding over 600 km that day, was great until hit by typhoon like wind and rain outside of Tarlac.

    • Paul Thompson says

      Ron and his wife have a gold mine in that place, great food, plenty of it and priced fairly. His wait staff is great and friendly. Plus the fact he hired Chef Roger when Tom Dryden sold his hotel. I’m there a few times a month, I’ll keep an eye out for the Yellow Harley when I drop by. My bike days are long gone now, but I’ll admit I get a little jealous when I hear that cam loping and that sweet rumble.

  11. Mark G. says

    I like Fridays a bit but I can’t see a meal that expensive there in the Phils unless after you’ve had your fill you have enough to take back home to the dogs (and cat, lol).

    • Paul Thompson says

      For those prices the dogs will never get any of that carry out, I’ll nuke it and eat it the next day. I can’t picture them lasting long charging those prices, but I’ll still admit, I liked the food.

    • Paul Thompson says

      I seem to remember Ruby Tuesdays from the states, but I’ve never seen one here on the Islands. But there could be….

  12. ScottF says

    LMAO throughout the story. I love when I feel I’m right there with you experiencing your story in first person. My wife always asks what I am laughing about when I read your articles.

    Thanks for the story Paul!


    • Paul Thompson says

      Hi Scott;
      As I travel around my wife is normally beside me, she no longer questions why I’m laughing at a situation. She just knows its the way I am. When I’m sitting with my friends, I’m not the guy telling the jokes, I’m the one pointing out the funny stuff that’s going on around us. I’m glad I can give you a smile, we all need it.

  13. sanford says

    A meal for two at TGIF Fridays in Manila is insane with prices ranging for p800. It seems that some of the costs are associated with the popular franchise name. Anything american to eat or sleep is high rate especially anything with the word Marriott or Hilton. The only thing that is decent is Mc Donald’s and much cheaper to eat than in the states. Another is Starbucks. We had 3 drinks from Starbucks, sandwich, and 3 cookies and cost P770. Much higher than eating at the Five Star L’Fisher Restaurant for two. I can eat a tenderloin steak, mashed potatoes, and soda for P250 and spend no more than 560 for two. I love to take my fiancee to American places here to let her experience our culture.

    • Paul Thompson says

      I’ve noticed that all the other American chains that come here have found away to price their food so the local folks can afford it. The two MacDo’s here in Olongapo would have to close their doors without the support of the Philippine people. We Kano’s lack the numbers to keep them open. I also like how they’ve adjusted the menu to please the host nationals. I think if TGIF doesn’t adjust quickly they will go the way of the Dodo Bird, into extinction

  14. corjo says

    Harry the Horse.Did not know he contributed here.He is just a mouthpiece for the
    Angeles Sex industry.I cant see Bob Martin having him conribute here.

    • Paul Thompson says

      I guess he shows up once in awhile here on LiP, I thought it was an odd question when he asked me that. I have no idea who he is or what he does, and with that I give a question like his no value, and sally forth and continue to live my life. But thanks to you I have a better idea of what I’m dealing with.

  15. Loren Pogue says

    If, as sugested above, the high cost at TGIF was due to the pleasure of watching an extremely flamboyant waiter named Jhun while he pranced and danced getting you drinks and menus then I hope Gilbert doesn’t find out. Having Karen or one of the other super cowgals at Texas Joe’s take your order and walk of towards the order stand could put Texas Joe’s way out of our price range.

  16. Paul Thompson says

    Hi Loren;
    Jinky and Jho and the other cowgirls at Texas Joe’s will never worry about Jhun, Jhue has found his nitch in life and he’ll be there for a long time. I can’t picture Gil or Paul putting him to work anytime soon. Unless he can learn to line dance or two step to country music. Hey BTW, are you and your bride coming over this year on vacation?

  17. chasdv says

    Hi Paul,
    Shopping! oh the burden us guys must bear to keep the ladies happy, lol.

    As for TGIF, i must remember never to visit, i just can’t do with all that singing and dancing, so naff, i like to eat in peace, lol.

    • Paul Thompson says

      Yes the prancing and dancing is a distraction from a good meal. I really don’t understand it, I never saw that at any TGIF in the States. And BTW where have you been, you’ve been MIA from both Lip and Face Book?

      • chasdv says

        MIA ha ha, yeah been away on a secret work mission, lol.
        Back on the cyber airways now, did enjoy some time away from cyber land though. Like they say “A change is as good as a rest”, lol.

        • Paul Thompson says

          Secret work, as in along the lines of something Ian Flemming would write about! Agent 00-SMB. But it’s good to have you back.

  18. PapaDuck says

    The TGIF we had here in Bradenton Fl closed about 10 years ago and was reopened as a Hooters lol. We have another winghouse here in the Tampa Bay area called Kerr’s which i think is better than Hooters. Looking forward to buying you lunch at Texas Joes along with all you can drink SMB’s when i make my way there in October. Thanks for another great chuckle. Take care.

  19. Paul Thompson says

    There is a Hooters Breastrant in Manila, I didn’t go in as I wanted to preserve my memories of the last one I visited. Large Breasts in Manila? October will be Texas Joe’s patio weather, with a nice breeze off Subic Bay to help keep the beer cool.

  20. Bruce Michels says

    What you did was keeping with the old saying Happy Wife Happy Life!!
    Sometimes being the follower proves to pay off when we want to do something crazy. Won’t burn up that many browny points.
    Man you paid almost the same price at TGIF as we do in Jax. Can’t wait to down some cold SMB’s with you at Texas Joes and for our Asawa’s to meet I know we’ll have a blast. My dime (peso) in my book women always are free and it will be my honor to treat the all knowing and whitty Paul T. Besides that I have a few stories of my own.
    Have a good 4th see you in Oct

    • Paul Thompson says

      I used to go by the cliché “A dime in the phone, will save the home.” It’s a quarter now.” When I’d stop on the way home from work in the 60’s, I’d call my ex-wife and tell her where I was. Well it never worked, hence the EX part. I believe in a happy Paul logic, if I’m happy, I’m a good husband. Texas Joe’s is a given, see you there!

  21. Rovineye says

    Ahh come on..I love TGIF prices!
    My wife forces me to go to Robinson’s mall when we are in Manila (keeps me out of trouble I guess), and she shops for many hours with her sister. I say OK, but I am waiting at TGIF and you are paying. OK she says.

    4 hours later and I am plowed. Her bill is almost 5,000 p. Guess who doesn’t have to go to the mall anymore?

    • Paul Thompson says

      Genius my friend, sheer genius! You have just become my “HERO”, don’t think for a minute that I won’t copy that most wonderful idea.

    • RandyL says

      Rovineye, for P5,000, I could stay plowed for a month (well maybe a week). You must have bought a round or 5 for the entire bar sounds like. 😉

      • Rovineye says

        Not so! I had some import beer and some 500p (or so) shots and a meal. You do pay dearly for the hi-test there.

  22. Paul Thompson says

    I forgot to mention the cost of adult beverages is high also. But I gave them a pass.

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