NEW articles daily! Subscribe below to receive daily updates with our new articles!
As I traveled from country to country, on every continent during my working life on ships, the one thing I enjoyed was the World Heritage Sights in countries, cities and, ports that had these fantastic places to see and visit around the world.
I don’t know about Antarctica (South Pole) as that is the one place I never visited there weren’t any Igloos there as they told me, but I knew Igloos are only in the Arctic (North Pole) So since I live very close to the equator I’m Bi-Polar.
Buildings and monuments that were built before slide rules and computers were invented, have lasted centuries and remain as strong as the day they were built. Yet with all the knowledge and advanced building materials available today we are amazed when something lasts close to just two hundred years. Do you believe the Empire will still be standing 500 years from now? Whereas once people built things that lasted hundreds of years or in some cases thousands. The Pyramids of Giza are the oldest manmade structures on earth today, I’m Just answering your next question. (LOL)
Cars: Do you think any “average” car built in the last 30 years will ever be a Classic? Wow, I’ve got this bitchin’ 1986 Ford Taurus, fully dressed out custom Classic. (LOL) Aside from the Datsun 240,260 or 280Z that could be the only Classic from Japan, Or Europe only had very high priced classics. But England gave us some of the best classic cars other than the USA (Once you defeated the prince of darkness known as “Lucas Electric” (I had a 240 and 260Z and a 1958 AH Bug-eyed Sprite)
In my forty years of sailing as I entered any harbor that was once under Spain’s control, I would see a huge stone walled fort. Such as in Manila, I believe they had one set of blueprints and were all built by the same company, in Asia, Europe, North and South America, and the Caribbean by “Acme Forts Company of Spain Limited”. I mean they are everywhere and their neighbors in Portugal stole a set of plans and built them too. England built a nice fort in Singapore but forgot to build a wall behind it. On the subject of walls…No, I won’t go there.
I could list the sights I’ve seen but it would take days and I know I will have forgotten more than I remembered. But that is not the point. In Naples I spent days wandering around Pompeii, the food and wine were good too. (And the best pizza on the planet.)
The point is that humanity has stopped building things of that scale with any longevity shortly after society formed Building Commissions, Planning Councils and City Planners.
For Example: if the US Congress designed a horse in committee it would resemble a camel.
Have we built anything in the past 100 years that will stand the test of time? Well the Hotel Del Coronado, (But it is a wooden structure hiding from just one match) and then there is Mount Rushmore made of stone, (Why are there no Democrats on Mt. Rushmore?) Hell, all our bridges and roadways are in disrepair and it takes ten years of paperwork to build anything new. And no one wants to repair what is already there.
What I admired here in the Philippines was these problems have not yet occurred, maybe from a lack of funding.
When Mayang built our house in 1999 and I noted the total lack of inspections and rules on ANYTHING? Well, the electric company did take a look at my household electrical wiring system, but how they saw through the cement walls to see if I used conduit was beyond me, unless Z-ray vision was a requirement for the job.
But I hired two former shipmates who were both shipboard “Chief Elections” to come by and make sure it was up to US code since more than 90% of house fires are caused by shoddy wiring and a few collecting on insurance.
But I passed the inspection within twenty minutes and the power was on the following day. Don’t let me mislead you; a permit was required for everything and anything, but again, no inspections. The owner is responsible for the safe building of their house if they cut corners and build on the cheap using substandard materials when disaster befalls them where does the fault fall? If building a multi-dwelling build I would hope someone is watching.
But (Google it) We saw on the local NEWS an apartment building fall across the Street in Manila because it was built with Pinatubo sand (It was unoccupied as there were two more weeks of construction left to go.
But! Oh lord the paperwork that is required in removing a fruit-bearing tree on your land. But this can be circumnavigated with a cagy brain, just by having a crew of local guys chops it down right after a typhoon, (Let them keep the wood along with their pay.) and you can blame the Typhoon weather event and the subject is closed. (I heard about that from as an urban legend or something like that.)
Zoning is also not that important in my Barangay, but most houses were here prior to mine and no one complained about my house, or lack of crowing roosters in my yard, I got even with the roosters with over 14 barking dogs on my land. But again no one ever complained.
There is also a long-ignored rule pertaining to Karaoke machines, with something about shutting them off after 11:00 PM (2300 hours). Since most neighbors are invited to each and every party, it leaves few to complain, one time the Barangay Police came to a party at Zero Dark Thirty at night and our Barangay Kaptain was attending that neighbors party. No problem! I had to smile about that.
I don’t agree with everything that happens here on our mountain I’ve but settled in and adopted a live and let live type of attitude Which is basically the attitude I’ve had for the past 71 years of my life after meeting my fellow travelers on the planet from these Islands , I don’t mess with success!
I’m a guest, so I don’t get to make the rules. What few rules there are, but then it was way too many rules that caused me to leave my place of birth, and add in that stupid “Political Correctness” that some person dreamed up.
In Florida; I wanted a carport; as a garage would have taken four years to be approved after submitting 11 to 12 sets of plans. But a simple flat-roofed carport was all I wanted, held up by six poles. NOT ATTACHED TO THE HOUSE You would have thought I was trying to open a bar next door to a church.
I had to pay for a surveyor to draw up a drawing showing how much of my land was covered by a permanent roof. Six months later, it was approved. But I sold the house and went back out to sea as a merchant seaman. My sincere thanks to the Largo Florida City Planners, for saving me that money by their delay.
but, wanting a carport in the Philippines? Go to Barangay Hall (Pay for a Carport Permit 15 minutes max.). start work that day, and I promise you, that you’ll find your construction crew playing cards at the hall more than willing to take the job.
(They know what they are doing.)
The decline in quality construction, all lies in the enforcement of building codes, and inspection after inspection before any work can be signed off (We won’t talk about bribes in the States). One more very strong reason I like living in this land of enchantment.
Rule number one! There is no rule number two! If properly maintained, your house here can outlast all of us. If Mayang, would only, stop changing the color of the house every two years.
You should move to Davao city, they have rules for videoke and curfew existed (before the marshal law which isn’t what people think, not like Marcos)… They also require buildings have have real inspection and if you build without a permit your bough or will likely report you and you’ll have an inspector show up (if they are the picky kind, you know the type). They also require buildings above three stories to have certain permits to make sure you they have the proper foundation. It isn’t exactly like the usa, yet sounds a lot better than Manila. By the… Read more »
Steve; You have decided to see my article as a smear against the Philippines and there is nothing I can do to change your mind. (Nor do I care or want to.) I am pleased those rose colored classes work so well for you as I had a pair just like them when I first came here in the 1970’s, and again in the 1980’s and even when I moved here to live full time in 1993 until now. I misplaced those glasses when I accepted reality. The reality was pointed out to me by my neighbors in my purok.… Read more »
Paul has always been very pro-Philippines. From the way you write, it would seem that you have either not read many (or any) of his other articles, or you just ignore what he has written in the past.
I like Paul’s pro Philippines attitude. he is “Home” here.
Steven has the right to feel as he does, but I know I’ll be here when he has gone back home..I,ve seen it over and over for decades.
BTW, Steven. I have lived in Davao for nearly 2 decades now. I love Davao. However, Davao is not perfect. For example.. you talk about building inspections. How did that work out less than a year ago when NCCC Mall caught fire and 38 people died? Turned out that the investigation showed that the building was not constructed properly under the code. The Sprinkler systems did not work as they should. So, while I love Davao, no place is perfect.
Mr. Paul T. I salute you for the respect and admiration you have for the Philippines and the Filipinos. I have yet to read negative comments from you regarding the Philippines and its people. You have always included in your previous articles about the Philippines that you are a “guest” even though you have been there for many years. There may be others like you that I do not know about but the only other person that I render my salute to is Mr. Bob Martin for being so understanding with the people of Mindanao, the Philippines and the people.… Read more »
Jose; Thank you for your support and understanding. I visited Port-au-Prince in Haiti. I found it depressing and a horrible place. (IN MY OPINON) So I decided to not live there. But I did pick the Philippines to live. So the gentleman is saying that I dislike it here and yet I continue to stay, I wonder why I bypassed Haiti? But I lived in Puerto Rico over a decade and stayed because I loved the Island and its people but as great as it was, it did have faults as do many parts of this world. I did not… Read more »
Paul – about the Sprite….there is a joke that goes like this: Do you know why the English drink warm beer? Because Lucas also makes refrigerators!
Steve B. That is funny, my Bug Eye I swapped from AU carberraters to Rochester, and most of the electric to other types. But I kept all the original parts incase the next owner was a purest. I ran into the guy I sold the car to 4 years later, he still had the boxes I gave him. I was in love with British Sports cars from when I was a kid, my dream. car..The XKE, (The most beautiful car ever made) some of the best designed on the planet..BYW in the Barrio that joke will be used by me… Read more »
I was Army, not Navy, but I shared a love for British sports cars. While posted in Germany, I had a Triumph Spitfire..the most fun car I ever drove, and a real head Turner in Germany. You had to be a mechanic to own one though!
Another joke: The main problem with a sports car is it only has two seats for you and your date. But a third seat is required to carry the mechanic .
I had a Thumper 650, BSA 440 (500 one ling)Motorcycle and a Norton 850. Both my sons are US Army, we fight over the Army Navy game every year.
How about the E-type Jag Paul, what a car that was, unfortunately no matter how I dreamed of it, I could never afford one. Regards
The Jag XKE I would take over any car but the 1958 Corvette. Again my pockets were short at the time, now that I can afford them the desire has disappeared. If I was in the states I’d find a 1978 Lincoln Town Coupe and have it rebuilt to 2018 standards leaving it original on the outside. My sports car days are over along with Motorcycles and for sure “BOATS”. (LOL)
Paul: Your story about inspections reminded me of when I took my car here for an emission inspection. I pulled into the place and sat in my car. The guy said 350p. I paid, waiting for someone to stick a monitor into my tailpipe and ask me to start my car. 10 minutes later the guy came back with my emission certificate. No test. A few years ago I needed a police clearance to apply for a job out of the country. I went to the place. They asked for my name and id. They typed my info onto a… Read more »
Rob: I can relate to that, but did they traces the cars numbers off the scalding motor at the LTO? I received a parking ticket, being an honest man I went directly to City Hall to pay. It was my first time and I came to the traffic office with a receipt and the ticket. The young man opened the largest notebook I’d ever seen and scribed the information on a page, stamped my receipt and I was free to go. A year or so later I ran afoul of the law again and parked where I shouldn’t have. But… Read more »
Hey Paul~ I do whole heartedly enjoy your writting and observations about the world you’ve experienced and your love for the Philippines! I came there by mistake/chance/fate in 94 and lived like a pirate with no neighbors on the beach except a mile away (castaway?)??? The people and country got deep into my heart and much ADMIRATION & RESPECT came over me as I feel so in love with all things there! Crazy~ backwards~ ingenuity……survival? EVERYTHING had nothing to do with my thoughts of how “it should be done” like California???? I’m blue eyed and big nosed but have the… Read more »
Patrick; Thankfully none of my ships ran aground (One hit a sand bar in the Indian Ocean and delayed us until high tide, but no damage.) I was not at the helm. But how you found your way to these enchanting islands is not as important as what we do when we find ourselves here.After a decade in the Caribbean before coming here to the RP. my attitude was well adjusted to the latitude .I could never again live outside of the Tropics. My brother asked if I was ever coming home, it was hard for him to understand that… Read more »
Hello Paul, I suppose the fellow who complained must not have read the same article I just read. I can say that I’ve never seen any Philippines bashing in any of your articles. Puzzlement and head scratching a’ plenty, but always a way through it that works for all concerned. In the county where I used to live, a coal burning power plant installed scrubbers in their smokestacks to prevent a large part of the pollutants from entering the atmosphere. The resulting ash was marketed as building material. A contractor used it to build a big shopping center. The building… Read more »
Hi Pete. I used 47 truck loads of Pinatubo lahar to back fill my land, the first year (THe land sloped) I had a wall built (Yes I had a permit. then I let a rainy season tamp it down for me. the following year I used good soil to finish leveling it. When that rainy season ended I started construction of the house. (Once again using all the permits I applied for and bamboo staging.. Lahar sand from the volcano is recommended for a one story house only, and I passed on it as I didn’t have the formula.… Read more »
Just to say, Paul, that I agree with some of the others posting. The Philippines has been a major part of my life for 26 years and I love living here, but that doesn’t mean to say that I cant make critical observations at times. I’m sure there are a lot of people who choose to settle in the UK, US or other countries that quite rightly find fault from time to time. I have many Filipino friends who themselves use the expression “only in the Philippines” when strange or bizarre things happen. Do I find things to criticize here… Read more »
Peter; When I point out something I see that is different here in the RP or any place else on earth I have been, I do it with humor and without any malice. Before I write anything on this site I test it on my neighbors over a few beers, if they don’t smile I disregard it. One comment I made about Bi-Polar above I ran it by my friend in Florida (Who is Bi-Polar) he said it was funny and so I posted it. One person’s hurt feeling is not my responsibility, albeit I’ll pay for one days visit… Read more »