Observations while sitting on the porch

On Saturday afternoon, I was out sitting on the porch with Feyma.  There was activity all around us, but we were just relaxing.

Our maids were sweeping up leaves under the trees in the front yard.  There were sure a lot of dead leaves sitting on the ground, since this house had not been occupied for some time, and thus simple maintenance like cleaning up fallen leaves had not been done for quite a while.  I sat there for 15 or 20 minutes just watching as the two maids were sweeping up dead leaves.  The area where they were sweeping is in a raised flower bed that had several big trees and leafy plants.  The rest of the flower bed is filled in with rather large pieces of gravel (rocks), probably about 1 inch to 2 inches in diameter.  As I watched, the maids had a few different kinds of brooms that they were using for sweeping up the leaves.  I sat there thinking about how different Philippine brooms were from American brooms.  Firstly, our brooms have long handles so that we can stand up at full height and sweep.  The brooms here generally have very short handles and the sweeper has to kind of bend over and sweep.  I have tried sweeping with a Philippine broom, but I find it difficult to do, not being used to their type of broom here.

Philippine Brooms (called Silhig in Bisaya) for sale in the market
Philippine Brooms (called Silhig in Bisaya) for sale in the market

The more I sat there and watched, I realized that they were sweeping these dead leaves on top of loose gravel, yet the rocks stayed in place while the leaves moved with each sweep of the broom.  I thought about how if I used a US broom to do the job, the gravel would also be flying, and leave a mess.  Sometimes I am amazed at how resourceful Filipinos are in making tools out of things that we would throw away.  Sometimes, their simple tools here work better than American tools that we pay good money for, it seems.  I do find it amazing sometimes.  Of course, the reverse is also true, sometimes their cheap tools here are such a poor substitute for our expensive but high quality tools.  Still though, the resourcefulness of Filipinos is always something that I marvel at.

As I glance over to the other side of the front yard, I see my nephew, Deo, is working with our carpenter, Jun Jun.  They are building a “mini-Island” for the Kitchen.  Feyma has a larger Island (counter in the middle of the floor) for the Kitchen, but it does not fit well in the new kitchen, so they are building a new smaller island.  Just using scrap wood and parts, I’m amazed at how nice it looks.  It will certainly be useful for chopping, cutting up veggies or whatever the cooks are working on!  Looking good.

Still in another part of the yard, our oldest son, Chris is working on cleaning up some lumber pieces that were left over from another project.  He is keeping busy, which is good for him.

I glance at the old house across the street.  It’s a stately looking old place, and shows the age of the neighborhood where we are now living.

Feyma mentions to me that it’s so nice that we can sit out on the porch and not have to listen to heavy traffic in front of the house, and I agree with her.  At our old place, if you sat out front like that, you would not be able to talk with each other, because you could not hear each other talk over the heavy traffic outside.  Life in the new neighborhood is sure nice!

The speedtest on my new Globe DSL Connection is looking good!
The speedtest on my new Globe DSL Connection is looking good!

Well, I’ve been sitting out here on the patio for some time… I tell Feyma that I’m going to head in and play with my new 3 Mbps DSL Internet Connection that was installed last week.  It’s super fast too!  Fastest speed you can get in Davao.  Oh, I haven’t told you about that?  Well, it was installed last week… Monday or Tuesday as I recall.  They say the speed is 3 Mbps, but to be honest, I don’t usually get that speed.  Actually, I usually get 3.5 Mbps instead.  Ha ha.  I am loving it.

So, this is life in the new neighborhood.  I’m enjoying it.  Should have moved over here a long time ago!

Post Author: MindanaoBob (1343 Posts)

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur who is based in Davao. Bob is an American who has lived permanently in Mindanao since May 2000. Here in Mindanao, Bob has resided in General Santos City, and now in Davao City. Bob is the owner of this website and many others.

Live in the Philippines Consulting


  1. Ron LaFleur says

    Serenity is nice Bob. It looks like you have found a slice of the country in Davao. Unlike many of your readers I have gone by your old house many times and I can attest to the busy street and the noise. I can also visualize the overall congestion of the area. I can’t speak for you but I know one thing I would miss about the old house-the bakery up the street. Glad you found a good place to live Bob. Having your family safe and content is something we all desire. Have fun. Ron

    • says

      Hi Ron – Since you last visited, there is a lot more near the old house than just the bakery. There are two full convenience stores within 1 to 5 minutes walking and other places too. That is super convenient, for sure, however also adds traffic and congestion. Here in our new location we have 3 sari sari stores very close, but they don’t have much in the way of variety. Definitely, Marfori had conveniences that we don’t have here, but the trade off is the congestion. So far, I like it here! 😆

  2. Jason says

    Sounds idyllic, Bob. I’m so happy for you and your family now that you’ve settled in some and are enjoying your new home. (Yes, I don’t post often but I DO keep tabs on you – haha.)

    I recall from my trip to Davao in 2008 the resourcefulness you speak of. Some of it can be scary – I think of some of the walls I’ve seen that appear unsafe – but much of it is ingenuous and a testament to doing what you can with what you have.

    One thing I’ve learned from life with Menchu is the term, “No need.”

    Many times when I want to buy something, a tool or such, for a specific purpose, Menchu will say, “No need.” Then she’ll work out a way to perform the function or fix the item that works just as well as spending for new.

    Thanks for blogging your thoughts, Bob. It’s always a pleasure to read about you all.

    • says

      Hi Jason – yes, the way that tools are used for “multi-purpose” here is amazing to me sometimes. Sometimes I feel that it’s not too effective, but most of the time I feel it’s pretty cool and works well.

  3. chasdv says

    Hi Bob,
    Your truly settled in,i think.
    You cannot beat sitting in the porch,with just the sounds of birds in the background,peaceful bliss,and still be in the City for all its conveniences.My kind of perfect location.

    Talking of brooms,most filipinos are short,don’t need the long handles we have Lol.

    I was just thinking about a foreigner,who once said he would travel everywhere by Jeepney/Multicab when he visits,he was 6ft 4ins.He will be in for a shock,they will have to perch him up on the roof Lol.

  4. Bill B says

    It is great that you and Feyma found such a nice and quite place. It is nice to have a fast internet connection, I miss the 5 Mbps that I had in the states, I could have gotten the 10 Mbps but I did not see a need to pay the extra money when the 5Mbps was just fine. Oh you can now get 20Mbps. I’m waiting for Sky Cable to reach me here in Molino so I can get the 6 Mbps. They have the cable TV here but not the cable internet, not yet.

    As for the way the Filipinos use tools to do things that we would think, “Why are you using that to do that, they make tools for doing that”. Then you watch them and it works just fine and in some cases, better. I like the read Bob.

    • says

      Hi Bill – I am finding the 3Mbps to be great. No complaints at all. When we lived in the States, the best Internet I had there was 28.8 Kbps dialup. We lived out in the country, and that was in the 90’s before broadband was widely available anyway. So the 3Mpbs is the fastest connection I’ve ever had, and I’m enjoying it.

  5. Paul Thompson says

    Hi Bob;
    Just Chillin’ on the front porch! That’s the life others just dream about, and to be able to do it in the month of November is nice also.
    But what I’m missing here is the red floor like we had at our old house we rented. I loved to watch my wife doing the coconut shuffle, as she polished the floor. Now that are floors re all tile, I don’t get to see that anymore. Who would have thought you could polish a floor with half a coconut?

    • Dan says

      Be carefull Paul…You sweet Honey just might dream up a new Honey due for you..if she knows that you miss her doing the coconut shuffle…But! why not..new projects keeps you busy and something else to humor us with here on LIP.

    • says

      Hi Paul – We used to live in an old house that had hard wood floors. When we moved in there were some of those “half coconuts” in the closet. I had no idea what they were, but Feyma showed me. Amazing indeed.

    • Randy W says

      Paul Thompson

      I like that. Pretty ingenius. Polishing floors with a coconut. I will have to remember that. I wonder how fun it will be doing that after a few SM’s hahaha.

      • Paul Thompson says

        We don’t do it, we’re just observers. Albeit some times Mayang would send me outside with a SMB, so she could finish.

    • says

      Hi Paul – That noise of the Yaya polishing the floor was my first memory of visiting Marilou’s mothers house back in the early 80’s. Swhooosh Swhooosh as the coconut went back and forth across the floor. I remember laying in bed at 5am in the morning saying to myself what the devil is that. Not wishing to get up till the other members of the family had arisen it took me several days to find out what was making the noise.
      Happy memories.

    • rhodora says

      Me and my siters–all six of us, we kept our lithe figure, thanks to coconut shuffle. For a while at least, until we came to America. The technology– and the food servings– enchanting at first, until we got so spoiled and started missing our “bunot” & got lousy with the shuffle.

  6. Neal in RI says

    Good to hear you are settled into the new diggs.
    We have a assortment of floor sweeping things here in RI, swiffer sweeper,wet mop, etc. funny thing though all them fancy mops that the Wife just HAD to have are sitting in the closet collecting dust yet I am forbidden to get rid of them.
    When the floor needs sweeping she gets out the old Filipino “PiePie” or thats at least what she calls it.

  7. Neal in RI says

    Or I could be wrong all together, it could be called a walis,sahig or who knows what else.
    Around my house is pretty much a free for all, tagalog. bisaya, and some odd language called wari is spoken, no wonder I cannot learn anything but sware words.

  8. says

    Hi Bob – Sounds as though you’ve moved deeper into paradise.

    You’ve just about everything you want, including the DSL results of 3-5M. I’ll stick with my 1M here – you speed guarantees that you’ll be affected by a country-wide internet outage three to five times faster than I will. When you think about it, I’ll have internet connectivity a few microseconds longer than you! Hoo-yeah, life is good!


  9. Dan says

    Bob…those brooms sure are cute, but like you I sure would find them hard for me to use…but I quess could put a longer handle on them and then they be just like a american broom…Thats great you have faster internet..surprized you got along with out it this long. Thats nice you can do some R&R on the front porch ..those are things after we get 50 or more that are nice to enjoy……and its not noisy there..thats great..I find out now that I am old that I hate noise, but funny when young did not bother me…Now I can understand why some times My self and Sisters just about drove our parents nuts and for sure drove the baby sitters nuts….

    • says

      Dan – Don’t insult me like that!!! 😯 I’m only 48, you know… so don’t give me this “after 50″ stuff… that’s for you old guys. 😉

      Just kidding… us 48 year olds like the quiet too! 😆

      • Bill B says

        Not just the over 40 group. I’m only 39, well for another 12 days any way and I like it quite.

        I loved it were I lived in Klamath Falls, OR, only a 20 min drive and you were in the forest with some great views of the mountins and the rivers. I rock climb and I would get some great views and a lot of quite, well that was if the wind was not blowing to hard. :)

        About the quite part, I started liking the quite after turning 30, that also might have something to do with working around jet engine all day.

        • says

          Hi Bill – Yes, I think that once we grow up, all of us enjoy a little peace and quiet, it helps us have some time for ourselves to reflect and enjoy life. Klamath Falls is a beautiful place, by the way! I’ve been there many times.

  10. hudson says

    Hey Bob,
    My wife bought one of those short brooms here in California at the filipino market. At first I just thought it was cute, til I used it once. It does a far better job of picking up dirt on the floor than the corn broom. I still wish it had a longer handle though.

  11. Larry says

    Maayong Buntag Bob
    Yep! Rub it in!
    Here in South Dakota it is about 30f outside with a 10 mph breeze to make sure you feel the cold so there is no way I will be on the front porch just relaxing.
    I am impressed with your speeds. That is faster than EVDO here in SD. I thought RP would be behind a bit in technology but it looks like they are getting faster speeds than we are here. That is great since I want to retire there.

    • says

      Hi Larry – Ha ha… it’s about 30 here too, so we are enjoying the same weather. Oh wait… that’s 30C here, mid 80’s F. 😆

      The 3 Mbps speed I am getting is only available in limited areas of Davao. Luckily, I am in one of them! 😉 In my old location, I was doing good to get about 800Kbps or so.

  12. Ron Rase says

    Congratulations on your new home Bob. I’m salivating at the speed of your internet. We use the SmartBro canopy & only get 1.19mb/s but it’s still faster than the 740kb/s I was getting from Verizon back in the states.

    • says

      Hi Ron – Nice to hear from you! Are you still in CdO? I thought you were just vacationing, are you there for good now?

      I have SmartBro and the Globe DSL, there is a big difference in speed, I must say! I am salivating too, if I’m being honest! 😉

      • Ron says

        I’m here for good now Bob. Your advice to replace my 6 yr old laptop before leaving the states was a good one. It died on me last week and a replacement here would have cost me many pesos. Funeral arrangements are incomplete.
        Although I have only been in the Philippines a short time, I have found the information you give on your web site to be spot on. I consider it a must read for anyone thinking of coming to the Philippines.
        We may relocate to Valencia sometime next year. If so, it would be nice if we could meet for coffee sometime if and when you are in the area.

        • says

          Hi Ron – Wow, that’s great news that you are here for good. I really didn’t know that!

          I’m glad to hear that you have found the information here to be accurate! That’s what I strive for!

  13. Bob New York says

    Hi Bob

    I am happy for you and your family that the move seems to have worked out so well for all of you. I remember from your Soup Number 5 video I think it was you were in your front yard at the former location and it sounded like you were next to an auto body repair shop to me LOL. Sounds like now you will be able to enjoy so much more at the new house and thats great, you and the family certainly deserve it.

    I recently returned from another excellent visit to Iligan City. I have seen the brooms you mention in use there, one of these days I’ll bring one home with me. I saw them in use by the Hotel Housekeeping staff and it appeared so soft that it is excellent for use on polished tiles and other such flooring as you could just about buff up the polish while sweeping debris away all at the same time. I have also seen similar type brooms by people sweeping the sidewalks and gutter areas of the streets for littler removal early in the mornings.

    Possibly sometime you could do an article about the coconuts and the floors, sounds interesting. I’ll check your archives to see if you already have something written about it.

    I wanted to try Jackfruit on this visit but everywhere my Iliganon friends tried to get one even as far as going out at 5AM to the local open markets it was the same thing ” No Stock “.

    I have been Initiated ! In your articles about the ” Hey Joe ” routine, on prior visits I never heard anyone give me the ” Hey Joe ” routine and my friends in Iligan could not remember that ever happening to me either. This time it happened ! I was in a hotel in CDO for a couple of nights. As I walked out the front door of the Hotel on a couple of occasions there were some kids about 12 years old or so ( Not beggars ) playing in the street. When they saw me one of them just kind of casually said ” Hi Joe ” to me. I thought to myself, WoW, now I have been really initiated and thought of your articles here on LIP about that LOL .

    I had another fantastic time, and many of the things I have learned from reading LIP came in handy to enhance my visit so much more !

    Enjoy the front porch Bob, I can just picture you there with a cool refreshing beverage and maybe a laptop working on your websites. The front porch office, now that’s real class !

  14. chris says

    Hi bob gald to hear that you and feyme are enjoying your new house and the area , those brooms are great we use one here in australia wont use a normal broom anymore these things pick up everything and dont get that furry stuff all over them ,we have a soft one for inside and a stiffer one for outside both are great when we stayed at paradise the staff there would sweep all the paths at abpout 5.00 in the morning with these brooms and put all the leaves in a plastic bag as for your internet speed i dont know what mine is i think it is 256kps so if yours is 3gps your must be flying aroung the net, i have just purchased a laptop now i am having trouble using the touchpad so i bought a mouse ,damb thing hasnt got a cable you plug this thing into a usb jack and turn it on and presto mouse works. amazing , we live in exciting times bob whats next ?

  15. Boss says

    Oh those brooms! Love them, perfect for smooth floors and they have such a gentle action. It almost looks like an art form. I always enjoyed watching my partner and the housekeeper use them.
    Australian tour update……the simple life I was dreaming about is slipping out the door.
    Bringing my partner to Australia has created some unexpected problems that didn’t occur to me before we left. She discovered vacuum cleaners, leaf rakes, garden vacs, hoses, blowers, do everything washing machines, driers, microwave ovens and much much more lol. She said to me did I have all those things before I came to the Philippines, I replied ……no they were invented when I was living in the Philippines lol. Just wondering how I’m going to put a
    washing machine in her suitcase?
    Good to hear that your move has been a good one Sir Bob, best wishes to you and your family.

  16. says

    You’re so right about those brooms Bob! I’ve sat and watched that same operation many times and initially thought how ridiculous it was (why sweep up the leaves when it’s just rough gravel underneath anyway), but eventually I noticed that the brooms bristles were just strong enough to move the leaves along and leave the gravel undisturbed. I’m now fully trained, and we use one on our tiled floors here at home, because it doesn’t send the little bits of dirt etc. five feet away with each sweep…very clever, huh?

    Glad you are enjoying the new place…sometimes we become so settled that we don’t always notice how bad the annoyances in life have become until they are removed. And you don’t have to keep an eye out for those neighbours now either. Happily, the main noises we have to contend with here is the squawking of the parrots at dusk, but at least that’s one of natures sounds.

  17. Bruce Michels says

    Happy to hear you finally have some peace of mind from the hussel and bussel of city life.
    Nothing better to refresh the mind than a sit on the porch with the wife and a glass of cold sweet tea.
    Congrats on the move hopefully we’ll get that lucky when we get there!

  18. Malcolm says

    Hi Bob
    Glad you are both settling in! Just had to mention that we use Filipino silhigs all the time here in UK, bought from a Flipino shop of course, the hard broom, the tukog, is used to sweep leaves without moving the stones and the soft broom, the lanot, is used for smooth floors, like in the kitchen. Both are far superior to our Western brooms
    All the best

  19. sugar says

    Hi Bob – Good morning. It’s nice to to see you’re enjoying your new place. Here in QC, you gotta live in a gated community or at least a residential area to enjoy serenity. I’ve never been to Davao so not sure if the same there. As for the broom, you can get one with long handles if you go to Divisoria. Only it’s in Manila. I don’t think you like the city at all. He he

    • says

      Hi sugar – I like the city for it’s conveniences, but I also enjoy peace and quiet! We are not in a gated community here, so peace is still possible in the city without living in a gated community.

  20. AlexB says


    Glad you found peace and serenity. I love the chilling out on the porch without the noise of the traffic, and household help clearing up the dead leaves. One becomes philosophical about the simplest things. he he he… Onli in da Pilipins


  21. dans says


    ahh… the 3mbps speed, in a few weeks you will be addicted to it and i think you already are, I just hope the next time you move house, internet speed won’t be the main deciding factor for your move LOL!!, I am on that dilemma now, my wife wants to move house but I couldn’t! I kept giving her loads of alibis so we don’t need to move, the truth is… i cannot surrender my 20mbps internet speed hahahaha, the place my wife wants to move in has a maximum available speed of 5mbps only!

    • says

      Hi dans – You are correct… I am already addicted. I know because yesterday, I had to go back to using the SmartBro canopy for a short time, and I thought something was wrong with it, it was just too slow. I asked my niece what was wrong with it, she replied that it was faster than normal today! 😆 Yes, I’m addicted!

  22. Phil R. says

    Aah sitting on a porch an watching the world go by peacefully sounds like fun BOB GLAD YOU ARE ENJOYING YOUR NEW HOME .. Phil R.

  23. Mark G says

    Bob sounds like you’ve found the ‘good life’ 😉 I’m a bit jealous of the speed, hehe. I pay for 3 MPS here but barely achieve 2 due to the 100 year old phone lines!

  24. Edwin says

    Hi Bob,
    My wife Rovi and I both laughed when we read this article concerning the brooms. I will explain. A few days before you posted this article I handed Rovi one of two brooms (American style), one for her and one for me to sweep off a deck. I was surprised at the way she went about it, hunched over only using the lower part of the long handle, with short strokes. I asked her what she was doing? She said, “this is the way we sweep,” refering to the Philippines. I said, “that is not the best way to use the broom, you get more power and longer strokes by using all of the handle also standing up is better than being hunched over.” So after being enlighten from reading your article to the Philippine way of sweeping, I now understand Rovi’s sweeping technique on a long handled broom, LOL. However for the job being performed in our situation the American broom and technique I feel was better suited.

    Thanks, for the enlightenment!

    PS- Do you have rocking chairs on your porch?

    • says

      Hi Edwin – Ha ha… I’m glad that my article came just in time to shed a little light as to how your wife was sweeping! 😆

      We do have one rocking chair on the front porch… and a bench!

      • Jade says

        hi bob, i guess its ok to make a late comment here since i just now found it thru your link. there is a long handled native made broom in the philippines. the handle is a 6
        2 meter long stick of bamboo. it is used to clean cobwebs from the ceiing. i bought one from a door to door salesman along with a few other unique things. when i returned for a subsequent visit it was gone, guess some neighbor borrowed it. now i gotta wait for that salesman to return, but im patient.
        worked on a fish processing ship last year anf there was s filipina maid who washed cloyhes and swept foors. she used the standard broom like a shovel by pushinh it, but iy seemed to work well for her…

        • says

          Hi Jade – You are always welcome to comment on any article, whether it is a day old or a decade old! That’s what the site is all about! 😀

          I have seen those long handle brooms, but never seen them used to sweep a floor before, only a ceiling as you say. Take care!

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