Yes, it’s true… I am celebrating my 10th Anniversary today. Marriage? No. Birthday? No. Hmm… what could it be? Well, as of today, I have been living in the Philippines for 10 years!

In many ways, they have been 10 long years.  In other ways, they have flown by quickly.  Some things about living in the Philippines have been very tough, while other things have been pure and simple joy.  Overall, it’s an experience that I would not trade or give up.  In a lot of ways, these have been the 10 best years of my life so far.  I hope in that respect, it is only the beginning!

As I think back, I realize that I have changed a lot since I first moved here.  Some of the changes were inspired by the fact that I lived here, other changes were a necessity, part of the process of adjusting to life in a new country.  Some changes in me, of course, had nothing to do with where I lived, they were just part of  maturing in years, something that would have happened regardless of where I lived.

Jean MartinA lot of good things have happened to me over my years of living in the Philippines.  I would say that the very best thing has happened in my life since living in the Philippines is the arrival of Jean Jean as part of our family.  For those who don’t know, Jean is our niece, the daughter of one of Feyma‘s sisters.  A little more than 7 years ago, Jean came to visit us for a couple of weeks, and it turned out that she never went back home.  I don’t consider Jean as my niece anymore, she is my daughter in every way.  I love the girl so much, and could not think of not having her as part of my life.  Jean was 7 years old when she came to be with us, and she will be turning 14 soon.  She will be entering her 2nd year of High School in June, and she is a real joy.  I love her so much, and without a doubt, having her join the family is the very best thing that has happened in my life in the past decade of life in the Philippines.  A lot of other good things have happened too, but this is the best.

Mindanao MagazineBusiness-wise, I am not really doing what I expected to be doing when I planned to move here.  My plan ten years ago was to move to the Philippines, and I wanted to develop a business around my Internet Domain name, Mindanao.com.  I am doing that, but it is not the business that I envisioned it to be.  I do make money from the site that I have there, Mindanao Magazine, but it is only a minor part of my income.  My business, though, is closely related to the business I envisioned, just not where I thought it would be.  Instead of having developed Mindanao Magazine into a business, I have many other Internet Sites that comprise my business.  My primary business has turned out to be WowPhilippines, something that I had not even envisioned ten years ago.  I started WowPhilippines about 8 years ago, and it turned into a very good business, the first of it’s kind on the Internet, although there are lots of copycat sites now.  That’s OK, though, I still do very well with WowPhilippines.  I have a lot of businesses here now, and I enjoy it.  I offer Private Investigations at PointmanPI, Web Design Services at Web-Earner and a number of other ventures too.  So, I would consider my business life a success since living here in the Philippines.

Bob and Feyma - 10 years in the Philippines!
Bob and Feyma – 10 years in the Philippines!

On the personal side of life, I have become a lot healthier in the past 10 years, and living in the Philippines played a big impact on that.  I changed my diet a lot in the last decade, and also, living here gave me the free time to be able to work more exercise into my daily routine.  I still have more work to do, but I have lost about 150 pounds since living in the Philippines, something that makes me happy, and also makes me feel a lot better than I used to!

Bebe Metillo and MindanaoBobAnother personal note that has improved my life greatly in the past 10 years is that I have learned to speak Cebuano, the most widely spoken language in the area where I live, Davao City.  Over the past decade, I actually made 3 attempts at learning the language, and the first two were (obviously) unsuccessful.  I made my first attempt in 2001, while living in General Santos City.  The classes that I was taking only lasted for a month or so, and my teacher kind of quit his teaching.  I can’t blame him, though, because I did not make an effort to find somebody else to continue with my learning.  My second attempt at learning the language was, I believe, in about 2004 or so.  My big hold back on that attempt was that I studied with a friend.  I already knew a fair amount of the language, and he knew none.  Trying to learn together held me back a lot, and I got bored with it and gave up.  I had pretty much given up on the language learning when I met Bebe Metillo in 2007.  Bebe turned out to be, by far, the best teacher that I ever had for language, and I have been studying with her for nearly 3 years now!  Knowing how to speak the language is the single best thing I have ever done to improve my life here in the Philippines!  This is something I would recommend strongly to anybody thinking of coming and living in the Philippines, because it will make your life easier, and add a lot of joy to your life here.  I cannot stress this strongly enough.

Philippine AirlinesYeah, it’s also true that the past 10 years have been full of challenges and tough times as well.  Adjusting to the grind of life in the Philippines takes time and determination.  A lot of expats can’t handle the adjustment and end up leaving, returning to their home country.  There were times when it nearly happened to us too, but I am really glad that we did not give in to the temptation, and stuck it out.  Adjusting to life here is not easy, I assure you of that, and it takes a long time.  There are still things that I am adjusting to, or maybe I should say that there are things here that I will never adjust to.  But, compared to the things I have faced over the past 10 years, the things that still bother me today are very minor, more of a nuisance than anything else.

Well, I hope you don’t mind, I am just kind of reminiscing today over the past decade of life in the Philippines.  My actual anniversary of living here is on May 4, which will be tomorrow (Philippine time), so today, May 3 is the last day of my 9th year of life in the Philippines.  Overall, it’s been a good life the past 10 years.  I can’t complain.

Post Author: MindanaoBob (1353 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.

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  1. Paul Thompson says

    Congratulation Sir Bob;
    I have in my short time with LIP received much valuable information, and countless hours of enjoyment. Thank you for your hard work, and expanded success in your long future ahead. I feel the Philippines is a better place with you here. Best wishes to you and yours!

    • says

      Hi Paul – Thank you so much for your very nice comment! I consider you a friend, Paul, and I also believe that you make the Philippines a better place to be as well!

  2. says

    And I’ll second Paul’s emotion there, Bob. You’ve done a lot to make the Philippines a better place for all of us, Filipino and foreigner. As I cruise along in the middle of my own fourth year here, I well know what you are talking about in terms of adapting … as well as the occasional (sometimes very strong) urges to just go home. Or is the US really “home” anymore? That’s part of the adjustment mic for real.

    Whatever it took, I’m glad you’ve stayed. Thanks for being a friend.

    • says

      Hi Dave – Thank you very much, my friend! I also value your friendship. My day would not feel complete without our normal e-mail exchanges, and I learn a lot by hearing about your experiences too.

      Your sentence:

      Or is the US really “home” anymore?

      Is really something to think about. I often feel caught between two worlds. Sometimes I wonder where “home” really is for me. I always reach the conclusion that I am in my home right here in the Philippines, but sometimes, feeling caught somewhere in the middle is a normal feeling for me.

      • Tom Ramberg says

        Hi Bob!

        Congratulations on your recent milestone our honorable Sensei! You have provided an invaluable service to many people. I am sorry that I did not get a chance to meet you last week but we had the Swedes with us and they had a family crisis during our outing in Davao. (death in the family}

        I wanted to hit on a point that Dave made. Or is the US really “home” anymore? I think that is relative to your perception of home when you left it. When I left the US seven months ago I had terrible stress with my business and was very aware of the worsening economy and political turmoil. One of my milestones was when I turned off the answering service to my business. Maybe the relief from this action was comparable to removing an abcessed tooth. Would I like to go back to that? What do you think?

        I am very grateful for your website. It helped prepare me for the transition to life in the Philippines. What seemed to be the most helpful was the preparation for developing an attitude that is more appropriate for living here. Maybe that is why it is a frequent topic.

        I have your number in my phone so when I come to Davao I will see if you are available or you can let me know if you are in the Gen San area. Either way lunch is on me. p.s. be warned that maybe I have taken Jawz kuripot food budgeting to heart when buying lunch! Ha Ha!

  3. James F. says

    Congratulations Bob!

    I wish I were young like you. :-) By now, I would probably have a place to live in the Philippines as well as a cabin on my son’s farm where I could relieve pressures if I were to hit some of the snags you allude to there. I’m working on it. (Check out my latest pics on FB.)

    Congratulations also on your successes in the health arena. It’s been about 10 years since I changed my diet too. Keep working at it. It’s well worth it, as I’m sure you already know.


    • says

      Hi James – I don’t know about that “young” part… sometimes I feel kind of old! 😆

      Thank you very much for your comment, James, I appreciate your friendship.

  4. richard says

    What I like about you is you came with a plan. You were commited to creating income avenues for yourself instead of excersising your elbow with a San Mig. Perhaps other expats will top complaining so much and use you as an inspiration to change their attitudes and pursue greater and greater invesment opportunities. I am in Cebu now and it leaves Mindanao and much of the rest of the country in this dirt! with its fantastic infastructure and very proactive commitment to foreign invesment to grow the Island. And it is growing in a very positive direction. This is the future of the Philippines and I think will be much better for foreigners in even though to a certain extent the country will start to look more like 1st world countries. No matter. I hope your business continues to grow in this very competitive environment with more and more valued information being given out for free on the net by others rather than sold as you do now.

    Glad you are branching out with PI, Relocation services, etc…. Best of success for your next ten years!!!!

    • says

      Hi richard – Thank you for your comment. Like you, I like Cebu a lot. It’s been nearly a year since I’ve been there, but I really like the place a lot. I have even considered the possibility of living there.. but I love Mindanao too much, and will probably never leave Mindanao. Davao is moving forward too, although Cebu has a big head start, I can’t argue with that.

      When it comes to “selling information” – yes, I have a few books that I sell. But, probably 99% of the information that I give out, I give for free. I write articles here on this site and on a number of other sites, and access to those is all free. I have maybe a half dozen books that I sell too, but that is small compared to what I give away for free.

      The PI service has done very well for me over the past couple of years, and Feyma is going gangbusters with the relocation consulting too, so things are looking good for now. Even with the economies of the world in a serious state of flux, we have managed to carve out some niches that keep us up and running. 😉

  5. queeniebee says

    Congrats Bob on your tenth! May you and Feyma and your whole family have many more happy, healthy years to come. Thanks for sharing your wit wisdom with us all. Swerte kaayo ka ba!

  6. Gary says

    Congrats Bob, a decade is indeed a milestone. I succumbed and returned to the US last time, we’ll see this time ;0 It’s coming up on a year for me, it’s really moving fast.

    There really is truth to phrase is the US really “home” anymore? You’ll notice above I said “returned to the US”, I did not say “returned home”. That was after just two years of living here lol.

    Much continued success – I’d like to echo the sentiments of others, you’ve built a great community here at LIP.

  7. Tyleen says

    Happy Anniversary!!!
    You are a lucky man!!! You were able to maneuver thru the rocks and shoals of day to day Philippine life without the benefit of a
    “mindanao Bob”
    We have been so fortunate to have your insights available to us to help us walk our paths.
    You have worked very hard to be non judgemental yet direct in all of your articles……..
    I thank you

    • says

      Thanks to you and all of the LiP readers, Tyleen. I try to offer what I consider to be the truth about the Philippines. Mostly, I like it pretty well here, and my writing reflects that. Some things I don’t care for here, and I try to present those things too, in a diplomatic way if possible. Sometimes what I write here makes some people angry, while others like what I write. When you have some people on each side like that… that tends to say that it is balanced, and that is what I strive for. I am glad to know that you have enjoyed it.

    • Paul says

      (Sorry – new interet problems going on since last Wednesday.)

      Make sure you don’t lose this article – you’ll need it “in your old age” when composing your “TWENTY” article! 😆

      btw, WELCOME HOME! 😉

      • says

        Ha ha… I can just do a “search and replace” changing the word “ten” to “twenty” – good idea! I knew you old guys had a good idea every now and again! 😆

  8. Bob New York says

    Congrats Bob and family ! There are so many nice things in the parts of Mindanao that I have visited although at times from my own brief experiences I can just imagine the patience you have had to learn and excercise there at times and if you’ve mede it there for 10 years, the next 10 should even be more pleasureable for you. Many thanks for all of the information and advice that is always available in your websites.

    • says

      Thank you, Bob! I have enjoyed your on this site, so I appreciate that. You are right, learning to become a more patient person has been one of the most important things that I had to do in order to continue living here! It has helped make me a better person too!

  9. says

    Very appropriately, you expressed the most important part of your success in life in the photo at the top of the article: Feyma and you looking radiantly happy. Sometimes words are not enough, but that photo says it all.
    Bob, you have wonderful people contributing to your site, but I have to think it all trickles down from you. You have created an environment where all the right stuff is welcome. No small accomplishment.

    • says

      Hi Peter – Thank you very much, your comment was very nice! Indeed, we are quite happy here, I can’t imagine ever going back to the States again… more about that thought on my Friday article later this week. (hint, hint)

      Yes, I agree, we have a good group of writers (and readers) here on LiP, something I am very happy about. Kudos to everybody.

  10. JC says

    THANKS Bob,for all of your hard work you have put into your site.I can not tell you how much you have taught me,to understand how it is in the Philippines.I’v made six trips so far and still visit your site daily ,just to be close to the places’s I like so much.My wife and I will be looking forward to be reading your site for the next ten years!! Thanks JC

    • says

      Hi JC – Thank you very much! I am very happy that you visit my site and get some enjoyment from it! Nothing makes me happier than knowing that my hard work on the site is helpful to people!

  11. hudson says

    I am thankfull for all of your hard work and insight about the philippines. Your web pages have helped me in the past, and continue to do so. I learn something from every article here.

    I’m still hoping to meet with you. We are planning a trip there next April when the fares are low.

    • says

      Hi hudson – I am glad that you have been able to enjoy and also gain knowledge from some of the stuff posted on this site! I want you to know that I am also thankful to you because I know that you have supported our business in the past as well, and I appreciate that greatly! I look forward to meeting you whenever you may end up in the Philippines next!

  12. tonka says

    magandang umaga ho bob,kumusta ho kayo? and the family congrats on ten years in the philippines. ( maybe one day i will live there in mati ) i love mati when i retire may be??????? may you and your family be blessed with many more happy years there are where you go. sige na muna

    • says

      Hi tonka – I’m sorry, but I can’t speak Tagalog.. only English or Bisaya! 😆 But, thanks for whatever you said in Tagalog, I’m sure it was something good! Ha ha… I do hope that we have many more happy years here in the Philippines!

      • Jack says


        The proper reply to “Magandang Umaga” is “Maayong buntag pod”.

        Congratulations on the first 10 years. Salamat kaayo para nihatag (give) sa akong email address kang Bebe. Maayong maestra si Bebe. I get put on the speaker phone and Juramie has to translate my poor bisyan pronunciation to atong pamilya. They do understand “guton na” over the phone after telling me about paniudto or panihapon.

  13. MurrayB says

    Congratulations Bob,Feyma and family on your 10 years in the Philippines.
    You and the other regular writers on LiP have provided very good “food for thought” on what to expect and not to expect in the Philippine culture.
    I have gleaned alot of good knowledge from these articles since my wife and I returned from the Philippines, after a 3 month stay on Bohol,with my wife’s family,last year.
    We are planning on doing the snow-bird thing and I will probably never live there.
    However, there is an old saying which says….never say never and never say always.
    So Bob and all the regular writers…keep those articles comming.

    • says

      Hi Murray – I wish you nothing but the best in your life here in the Philippines when you do the snowbird thing. I do believe that the snowbird lifestyle will make cultural adjustment very, very difficult, but I am sure you will work it all out! Thanks for visiting my site, I’m glad you find the articles informative!

  14. brian says

    …you broke the mold when they made you Bob…and rumor has it they beat the hell outta the mold maker to. Kudos to your ’10’, wish you many more.

    • says

      Ha ha.. I’m with you on that, Brian. I try not to be like everybody else (be that good or bad), so I think you are right about the mold being broken! 😆

      Thanks for your comment!

  15. Edward Gary says

    Congrats Bob, you have me beat by a mile..err…kilometer. I have been here in Tagum just over a week now. Still getting the computer to work and speed up the internet connection. So here I am in a internet cafe. Sigh. Not sure I want to drive here. So far I have yet to see one traffic light in Tagum. Davao was nice and clean, could not say the same for Cebu or Lapu Lapu City.

    BTW – The electric power goes off every day as does the water every morning. What can I do about it? Nothing..so why worry..it will come back on sometime..I think.


    • says

      Hi Gary – Wow, I had no idea that you had made the move! Have not heard from you for a while! Congrats! Whenever you are in Davao, give me a shout, I’d enjoy meeting you. My cell number is (0915) 216-0300.

      • Edward Gary says

        Thanks Bob, I will be in Davao a couple of time in June. Very nice city. Enjoyed the Peoples Park the other day. Will give you a call. Waiting for the cup of coffee with you.

        Meriam and I were married on April 23. We are having the time of our lives. Thanks for your help on that matter. :-) The people here are so nice to me.


  16. JR Tingson (a.k.a. ProudPinoy, Jr.) says

    Hi, Bob!


    I hope you’ll spend another 10, 20 or more fruitful years in your new home country, the Philippines!

    Hope to see you someday, too! :)

  17. Marvin says

    Just wanted to say Congrats! I’ve been reading your site for over 3 years, though I don’t comment that much. It’s grown a whole lot, but one thing hasn’t changed. This site has been a great inspiration to me in my dream of someday living in the Philippines. Sometimes I think it will never happen, it’s too complicated, don’t know how I’d earn a living, crazy to keep wanting to do it, etc. But all I have to do is read a few articles on your site and see that no matter what, it’s not an impossible dream. Congratulations on your 10 years there and thank you very very much for sharing the stories of your life with us.

    • says

      Thank you, Marvin! It’s an honor for me to know that my site has been an inspiration to you! If you really want to live in the Philippines, I know you can do it!

  18. Mike says

    Congrats, Bob! In addition to the first-timers, you’ve kept us “be backs” in tune with the way things are & how they’ve changed. As well, you’ve given us all a friendly, relaxed place where we can meet & learn about different areas. Thanks for all of that!

    • says

      Hi Mike – Thank you very much, my friend! I’m looking forward to meeting you whenever you make it back to Davao! Thank you for your kind words!

  19. lenny2000 says

    Hey!! Stay cool and give it a hell of another 10 years Bobby Boy!! I am not much here $ wise to you but really enjoy reading the site. Good Luck and God Bless…And you too Feyma! Can’t forget her!!

    • says

      Hi lenny – It’s hard to stay cool! I am sitting here sweating! Just came in from doing some manual labor 😯 outside! Ha ha… I know what you mean, though. Hey, there is no admission price on LiP, I can assure you of that, so whether you spend any money or not, you are a welcome reader! Don’t worry about it!

  20. Henry says

    Hi Bob – Congrats to you on this wonderful anniversary! You’ve helped me tremendously in my learning about life in the Philippines. Whenever someone asks me what drove my interests in the Philippines, I always mention your name and this website. Thanks again for all your help and advice!

  21. John in Austria says

    Hi Bob – Just wanted to pass on my congratulations to you and Feyma. It has been a delight reading all your articles and those of your writers, and it was also a delight meeting you both. I’ll be here reading on your 30th anniversary.

    • says

      Thank you John! Hopefully I’ll still be around for that 30th anniversary! If I’m not, you might get tired of reading the archives all those years!

  22. chris says

    Hi bob congratulations on your milestone i am sure your wife feyma must be proud of your acheivment in not giving up and going back to america ,learning the language is a task i have set for my wife i onlyknow a few words and none of her visyan dialect , she tells me we are going to the phills in two years time ,two years sems like a long time but i suppose it isnt really but when i do get back there i hope that i can meet you with my wife and daughter anyway all the best bob

    • says

      Thank you, chris! I’m happy to have made it to the big TEN! We are indeed proud and happy to reach the milestone. Good luck to you with achieving your plans too!

  23. Michels5098 says

    Way to go Bob,Feyma and Family.

    You have once again you have proved to us wantabe living in the Philippines that with teamwork ,openmindness and patience you can have a rewarding life there.
    I’ve only been with LIP a short while and your form is a God send
    I went from sight to sight for information and all I could really find was how cheap it was, where to go to party and of course all the pros and cons of the women there. I call these sights garbage.
    You sight is a true education on life in the Philippines with facts not b***s**t. You and yours writer are true educators and sincerly want people to make an intellegent move there and suceed.
    You tackle the hard questions and give honest views popular or not.
    Being Married and having already lived there once I wanted reality and you give it.
    Keep up the Great work and I hope to be there and meet you on number 15.

    • Michels5098 says

      Spelling and poor grammer today glad this is not an english test.
      I’m tired just got in from work Good night all.:(

    • says

      Hi Michels – I do try to “tell it like it is” on my site, from my perspective! I’m glad that you have found it to be that way, and that the site is helpful to you!

      • Michels5098 says

        BOB you can alway teach an old dog new tricks. But changing the thinking of a Hardheaded Kano like me thats an accomplishment. Your articles and those of your contributors have done that in a positive way. I believe I have some friends over there now that I can share my thoughts with and make a good plans for my move to the Philippines.

  24. says

    Hi Bob..you have an honest and refreshing approach. As a newcomer to your site I have found your writings informative, entertaining and convicted. I have always avoided sites from ex-pats (be they US or European)ensconced individuals bestowing the virtues of the Philippines, as many tend to be exploitative or disagreeable to my own viewpoint and experiences. I’ve returned here to your site because I can see a real person who cares. Few would go to the trouble of learning the language(s)so comprehensively – it takes time, and is not an easy task.

    I learned this sharp lesson in 1982 when visiting the Philippines for the first time at the tender age of 23. It was a culture shock good and proper – Marcos was in power and I had never been outside Europe before. I arrived with a wife and a two year old daughter.

    I was embraced by a huge family which to this day are key to my life. Indeed, my life changed that day, and I, in return, embraced them. My father-in-law lived to 101, and taught me much, but the essence of our relationship both to him and his many children (my Kuyas and Ates)was my ability to communicate in their language. (Yes, In Laguna they are my Kuya’s and Ate’s, but in Batangas – by connection – I am Kuya! It’s too complicated to explain here).

    I celebrated my 30th wedding anniversary last December, and my 28th year of involvement in the Philippines – indeed, my passport draws such attention that the officials don’t query me but merely say welcome back!

    I have much criticism about this country, and I don’t shy away from my opinion. But I have learned that the key factor is to respect your hosts, and likewise they will respect you. I give the following advice to many travel sites which I contribute to:

    “As a visitor it is important to regard the ground you tread with the same respect you would expect from anyone else who walks up your own garden path. The Filipino differs from no other in desiring an equal opportunity to make a living in a competitive world. Visit the country, shake the hand, reward the endeavour and applaud the tenacity. Step lightly on the land and gaze in awe at it’s beauty. Take nothing but your memories, leave nothing but goodwill. Treat your host as a much loved friend, and you will be rewarded manifold.”

    Congratulations Bob on your 10th anniversary – I hope to meet you one day.

    • says

      Hi Paul – Very insightful comment, and I enjoyed reading it! Thank you for everything you said. My wife and I will be celebrating our 20th anniversary of our marriage later this year. 30 years is a nice accomplishment, congratulations on that! I have been coming and going from the Philippines for 20 years now, and have been here permanently (without leaving!) for 10 years now. It’s been a fascinating and enjoyable journey for me, as I can feel it has for you in your time.

      I look forward to our inevitable meeting, Paul!

  25. portlandbear says

    Congratulations Bob. I have been a regular reader since my first visit to The Philippines in 2007. The information that I gained was invaluable. I have been living here now since January 2009, so I have a while to go before I make the decade. Thanks for your hard work and dedication, and I’m sure you will have many more happy decades here.

    • says

      Hi portlandbear – Wow, I didn’t realize you were living here in the Philippines now! Where do you live, if you don’t mind my asking?

      Thanks for your nice comment. I am sure your decade will arrive a lot quicker than you think!

  26. Scott B says


    I have enjoyed reading your articles for the past couple of years – I always felt that you were providing frank and truthful information – thank you! Ten years is a good run – hope you give us ten more! As others have noted, I’ve learned alot about the Philippines ane the cultures of its various peoples. Don’t know if I will ever get to relocate there – but it is something that is on my mind daily. Your articles allow me to live there vicariously.

    • says

      Ha ha… I was just teasing you, tonka, because I really don’t speak Tagalog, though… just Bisaya! 😆 Maayong buntag sa imo, pud, akong amigo!

  27. Mary Jean Bowen says

    Hi,CONGRATULATIONS BOB! I really appreciate your thought about Philippines, This time I wish to go back and visit again to see my friends and family. I miss a lot of fresh seafoods there, the culture and values of filipino people..Wish you goodluck in your journey living in my homeland. God bless you and your family.

    • says

      Thank you, Mary Jean! Yes, you should come back and visit here in the Philippines! Enjoy the seafoods, the fruits and such! You might decide to stay!

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