100% Philippine Fun

I was here in the Land of Enchantment (Philippines) in the 1970’s and again in the 1980’s but in the 1960’s I was in New England, Europe, Northern Europe the Caribbean and South and Central America.

But then in 1993 I moved to the Philippines full time, I married and raised two daughters and I’m blessed with a granddaughter (Age 15) and a grandson (Age 6) during this time I have noticed things that are not unique to living here but never-the-less, can be found here. Like Puerto Rico similar latitude, but a different language, the attitude is very much alike. I like the way they think in the tropics.

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Whether you rent or own your domicile or just pass through on a vacation in the PI, RP, or PH you might own some appliances. If you have a partner that was born here you might have noticed that the boxes these appliances came in never go away. They might be on display above the kitchen Cabinets or neatly stacked in a spare room or closet but they are there.

The foreigner might scratch their head and wonder why? Well because (My wife’s explanation) if you rent you might move and will need those saved boxes to protect the appliances,

But after you pack you’ll find that you have more empty boxes than you started with, because the appliances you’ve replaced over the years are gone, and the old boxes stayed.

BTW Also you might have never seen them, but there is a drawer somewhere in your house/Apartment or Condo that will contain all the receipts and warrantee paper of those same appliances, including the ones that are gone even, if again, you no longer own that appliances. It’s Just like the boxes.

I am the owner of a house now, vice a renter, and one day I opened a door to an unused bedroom, with the girls gone (Married) we now have three of those empty rooms. The extra master bedroom (On the first floor) which is reserved for guests or when a daughter visits. In the other spare bedrooms are mattresses, old chairs, things that I could not identify and of course “Appliance Boxes” stacked to the overhead.

If I was to put my foot down and demand they go out to the guy with the cart, who takes away bottles and cardboard. Wouldn’t I be a foolish man, and of course I would “FAIL” I’ve learned to never demand anything, especially if it involves HER house.

I survived being at sea on ships over 35 years and dealing with a Chain of Command. You must be cagy, and find a way where they or she feels the need to do what you want as it was their idea.

“Honey Ko, do you plan on divorcing me?” Her feet hit the ground in a resounding slap as she shouted: “NO MAHAL” Why you think that? Because we have lived here for a long time, and I thought you planned on leaving me and needed those boxes. At the end of the week we had no boxes on our land. Where they went, I don’t know nor care, but they are gone.

Over twenty five years I’ve lived here, unlike those just breezing through these Islands on vacations, but feeling they know all about living here. I have lived here over 25 years and could never say I understand why the Filipino is a Filipino or why they would act the way they do. Hell I’ll ask the Adobo Twins a question about the why of anything and will receive the Pinay Shrug. If they haven’t yet figured it out, what chance do I have?

I recommend that while we are living or visiting their home we never try to figure it out, just respect their point of view and never try to change it. Life will be so much smoother. Moving On!

I learned to drive in Boston, the land of the worst driving in the United States. This I know as a fact. I drove throughout Europe, and found Italy to be the most exciting. (Where sidewalks are part of the road system) I drove in Tokyo Japan, and returned to the car rental and hired a driver. Hong Kong driving is more fun than Disneyland. The Arabian Gulf the person with the most money always wins. Puerto Rico was my practice prior to the driving in the Philippines.

Like Puerto Rico, road rage will defeat you and will, cause you stress and raise your blood pressure, and do you really need that? When you are cut off, the reason is, the other guy is an hour late getting to their destination because they stopped to eat. The next time will be your turn to get over on someone else on the road. Just smile and let it pass.

Driving has but one rule, there is no rule number two. The real rule is “Gross Tonnage” the larger the machine the greater right of way they have. My little Mirage G-4 is above Trikes and 90cc Motorcycles. Victory Liners are the king of the road; please remember that we need all our readers so drive carefully.

Over the years I’ve now see vast amounts of women drivers, something I never saw before, there is no reason that I know of, except a growing middle class, similar to where I lived in Boston in the 1950’s I also see more ladies driving motorcycles and Trikes, Once more I don’t know the reasons but it is happening. I’ve yet to see a female Jeepney driver or bus driver, but I feel it like everything else it will come to pass. Mayang has been driving for years, not because I’m an enlighten man but because I used to be prone to have a beer or a cocktail while out on the town and I refused to drive drunk, over the years I’ve left my car in some sketchy areas and took alternant transportation home. But having Mayang learn to drive was the perfect answer. She has and can drive a manual shifting car , but she did put her foot down (And not on a clutch)…Paul; if you want a beer with your friends, I want an automatic shifting car. Guess who won?

Moving on:

The other truth I’ve garnered over my many years stumbling around these Enchanted Islands was that: In the recorded history of the Philippines no one has ever voted for the losing candidate. The Barangay Election on 14 May will prove my point. If one wins and the other lost! Wait because on May 15th your neighbor and everybody will tell you they voted for the winner even if they didn’t. The winner will dominate even if they only took 52% of the vote.

Moving on:

In closing I recommend that you never ask directions from anyone on the roads of these Islands, they are not being evil when they send you in the wrong direction; the truth is they can’t admit they don’t know.(Puerto Rico was exactly the same way) Your phone has GPS so don’t bother that guy on the side of the road.

If you have an example, feel free to share it with the rest of us.

Paul Thompson

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!

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Bob New York
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Bob New York

Hi Paul,

I keep boxes for new things that I buy in case they have to be returned under warrantee, after that they seem to get filled up with seldom used items and stacked up in the spare room LOL. Some of them get used again if I sell something on Ebay and on rare occasion I even put a few out for the garbage. Thanks again for another interesting article.

Paul Thompson
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Paul Thompson

NY Bob;
Here in the Philippines by the time an item was sold on E-Bay the box would have turned to dust. But you did make a good point on that!

Bob Auer
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Bob Auer

Good morning, Paul; When I first visited my wife’s home (nearly 10 years ago) I was amazed at the clutter that was saved as something special. Even in our home it is the same, although to a lesser degree. In her mothers home I just know that somewhere there is a box labelled “pieces of string too short to save”. Driving, don’t get me started. At SBMA we have noticed changes over our 5+ years here. At first we were pleased to see the motorcycles que up unlike our previous 3 years in Malaysia. Now they just weave through any… Read more »

Paul Thompson
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Paul Thompson

Bob; Manila is a cakewalk before the big dig in Boston. I drove a delivery van, ans wouls back down the one way street instead of going around. Everyone knew why I was doing it. I’m om SBMA a few days a week, it has gotten a little slack with the rules since 1993, but you are right, it is caused by the Scoff-Laws from NCR and that one retire from Boston with no fear. (Except Tokyo) There is no real reason to get angry, in Puerto Rico on a one lane mountain road, two drivers were side by side… Read more »

john.j.
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john.j.

No sense getting older if we do not get wiser Paul. Spot on with your observations as usual. Waiting for next Mondays episode of life up your mountain.

Paul Thompson
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Paul Thompson

John;
They say insanity ir repeating the same action over and over and expect a different result. If you feel the others on the road are bad drivers, than you really have no reason to get angry. Besides it is exciting try tp predict what will happen next, and never getting it right. But it is fun.My mountain is starting to receive rain.

Daniel Finn
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Daniel Finn

Regarding Puerto Rico, I could never compare it with the a Philippines. Not even in the same league. Other than issues of sovereignty, which makes a difference, and language which I suppose doesn’t matter, Puerto Rico is a huge welfare state where most people are given food stamps, welfare, social security supplemental income, Medicaid and other benefits. Although government welfare is now occurring in the Phils more so than ever before, it is still basically work or die. Filipinos are much better workers than Puerto Rican’s and have a cherished sense of national identity that most (not all) Puerto Rican’s… Read more »

Paul Thompson
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Paul Thompson

Daniel;
I lived there for most of the 1980’s and didn’t see what you are talking about, but a lot can change in 30 years, as I’ve seen the Philippines change within the last 25 years. I can remember when California was a great place to live, the world turns and chang moves with it. But I still loved living in PR, CA, and PH. I guess that’s just life.

José
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José

Thank you for a very direct and frank reply regarding Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans, Mr. Paul T. I need not make any comments but knowing you were stationed at Roosey Roads ( in Ceiba) and being a former club owner in Fajardo and ex owner of a condo in the same area, I am sure you have an open mind about the Estado Libre Associado de Puerto Rico (Commonwealth of Puerto ) and its people.
José

Paul Thompson
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Paul Thompson

Jose;
You can not argue with a person on the internet, it is the same as urinating up a rope.When a person has a false impression of somewhere there is nothing we can say to change it. As I said: But I still loved living in PR, (Puerto Rico) CA, (California) and PH. (Philippines). Maybe you should have commented as is your right.

Luke Tynan
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Luke Tynan

Paul, great advice and info. Surprising how it works the longer I am here the more I find I do not know or I was misinformed. This last week taught me that brown outs are not bad. It is a chance to have a block party with everyone sitting around and talking. I still prefer the power on…Thank you Paul.

Paul Thompson
Guest
Paul Thompson

Luke;
Nighttime brownout are better because it is cooler. I have a upright freezer with plenty of ice for a street get togethers. Wow, 2018, I thought they’d be over by now, how wrong I was…I’ll continue to do the maintenance on the Honda Generator. (LOL)

Mike Henebry
Guest

Paul nailed it. I enjoy driving my Suzuki Celerio in the Philippines. But, I have learned not to get upset when some cuts me off; I try to stay amused instead. And, as Paul noted, I will take priority over some else next time.

Paul Thompson
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Paul Thompson

Mike; Get in trouble with a three cylinder engine? I think not! I think, if you didn’t leave on time just go on and pass me, I’ll still be on time. Plus you’ll never see them again. I drive SCTEX at 100 KPH in the right lane end enjoy the ride. My last road rage was with a jeepney on a one way street in Olongapo face to face, I was in the proper direction so I refused to give. I walked up to him and said, Air?Con, a full tank of gas, and nowhere I have to be. What… Read more »

Jason Weiland
Member

Paul,
My Alto and I just cruise through the madness, me with a smile. Like Bob says, when something you don’t understand happens, you don’t get mad or yell and scream. Simply say, “Well, that’s fascinating!” and continue on your way.

I can relate to everything you said, but my wife doesn’t save boxes anymore, we have no room. I have a very small house.

Great read!

Paul Thompson
Guest
Paul Thompson

Jason; I think you haven’t looked hard enough, those boxes are close by. (LOL) Bob gave you great advice, Last Saturday I was on Clark for a VA Medical Appointment, had a great lunch and started home to Bataan on the SCTEX road. As I said I’m burning up my three cylinder one-liter Mitsubishi at speeds in excess of 90 KPH.when a Marsda Convertible shot by like I was driving in reverse. He was late for something. I was 5 minutes from the Subic Toll Booth he was 30 seconds so I knew he would be in line when I… Read more »

Cordillera Cowboy
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Cordillera Cowboy

Hello Paul, At present, our collection of boxes are actually serving the purpose of keeping the stuff in our balikbayan boxes organized until we get our house built. After that, all bets are off. But the boxes aren’t my biggest puzzlement. That is reserved for the habit of arranging the furniture, or storing things in such a way that you can’t open doors fully. In nearly every Filipino household I’ve been in, things are placed in such a way that you often have to slide sideways through a door that will only open a quarter to half way. I don’t… Read more »

Paul Thompson
Guest
Paul Thompson

Pete;
Building a house is a valid reason for those boxes, I found mine 8 years later. I ought to look around my house more often.(Let us know when you boxes ever leave.(LOL)
Here is a funny one, came down from from upstairs to get a cup of coffee and met a nice teenage girl in my kitchen. Said good morning and went out side to drink it. When my wife came by I inquired who she was, a niece from Iba who was visiting for the summer. How nice, what is her name? I knew I was Okay with living here.

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