My name is Chris Dearne, an English Gentleman (some who know me might disagree with that title) and I was born and bred in Bradford, West Yorkshire in the cold cold north of England but now I am living in the Philippines and have been a permanent resident of General Santos City since I moved here in 1992 and for the last 17 years i have loved every minute of it! (or there abouts)!
I was quite surprised when Bob contacted me and out of the blue invited me to write a weekly article here on LiP as its not my thing really but having given myself a few minutes to think about his invitation and after a couple of cold ones I decided to give it a go!
Let me first tell you a little bit about my life so that you can get the idea of where I came from and what happened to me before I actually moved to the Philippines!
I am 57 years old now and at the tender age of 18 I was so disenchanted with my home town of Bradford that I went and joined the British Army, Corps of Royal Engineers which was to be my home and family for the next 9 years and I must say the experience changed me from just a normal teenager who was bored with a mundane existence with little hope for a good future into someone with much more experience at life in general! I served in Germany, Cyprus, Northern Ireland, Belize, Botswana and a few minor places in between and enjoyed both the good and the bad times but after 9 years I decided that I needed a change of life style so I went working at my profession, Water Well Drilling Engineer and Africa was my next place of employment!
I started my first contract in Nigeria in 1979 and had a very good and interesting job with a British Company traveling all over the country supplying water where ever it was required and where ever we were contracted to go! On one most memorable project, I was contracted to supply water to a new Secondary School and before I knew what was happening, I had met my wife to be Ellie who was an OCW there and once again my life changed for the better and Ellie got lucky (that’s what I say, she might not agree)! We were married in Kieghley in England in 1982 on the 23rd April, St Georges Day!
I kept on working in different countries all over the place including Sudan, Arabia, St Helena, Newfoundland (YUK) more Nigeria and other areas but at the end of all this I was at the top of my tree and knew that the next job would take me on the down hill path with less money and benefits so having talked to the wife we decided to come and settle in the Philippines and see if we could survive here!
We already owned a piece of land in Gen San so Ellie came here first, as I still had my contract to complete and she started the construction of our simple 3 bedroom house! Then the Restaurant on the veranda was added along with the bar, then first Guest Rooms, then the Swimming Pool etc, etc and the construction still goes on! Now, Ellie has transformed a patch of Rice Field into a very lush tropical area with lots of rare and strange trees and vegetation of all kinds with the expanding hotel complex fitted in areas with little growth as she will not knock down a tree to make room for a cottage but she will demolish a cottage to allow the trees to grow correctly! We have a few pets also including a crocodile, monkeys and an eagle, All with correct licensing I must add!
You might think that my wife is in charge of things here! Well, you would be quite correct on that one, she runs the hotel, she made me the official bar man once but I was soon kicked out from that post as she said that for every drink the customer had, I drank 2! I think that she was correct or maybe it was 3 to 1!
I had always had a passion for diving so as the work load building the hotel wore down I had more time to concentrate on this and decided to see if I could make some money so I enrolled in a PADI Instructor course which I passed and since I have spent many hours, over 3,000 under water doing what I like to do! I think that makes me a pretty lucky guy both having a caring wife who is not afraid to work and I can earn a bit of money doing what I want to and enjoy doing! (PADI – The Professional Association of Diving Instructors)
I could keep expanding this introduction forever as I like talking about myself but I will close here with this first article but if all goes well, over the next weeks and months I will share with you some of my experiences both about the wonders of Diving and General Topics about Gen San and the surounding areas!
I must thank Bob for inviting me to write here and I really hope that everyone will enjoy the Gems of Wisdom that I will be passing on to you all! Its quit impressive how a cool San Miguel will stir up good memories which can then be distributed to a wider and hopefully appreciative bunch of readers!
Until the next time, please enjoy yourselves like I do as life is too short to worry!