Ten years ago I bought two Dream satellite systems, as no cable is available in my area of Bataan. Since I can enjoy watching a stateside NFL Games and Baseball on the ESPN channel, albeit I must get up early some days to view the games, in my opinion it’s worth it, to me. There are a couple of other good channels, such as History, Discovery, and National Geographic plus regular TV and movies. Last week dream System had a deal if I pay them $431.00 in advance I get 18 months of premium TV. So I did, and saved about $140.00. What I didn’t know is I also receive 2 new decoder boxes to unscramble the signal and 2 new Satellite dishes. Now I have 3 spare Satellite dishes and 2 spare decoder boxes if I ever need them. Maybe I need more TV’s?
Television has never been that big of a thing to me as I joined the Navy at age 18 and spent a great part of my life on ships and away from the United States. I did like watching ”I Love Lucy” in Italian or Turkish sometimes. But for the most part it was music and books that I spent most of my time with.
My music tastes are varied with my first choice being Country, being a kid from New England (Dorchester section of Boston, and Cape Cod) Country was a new thing to me in 1965, and on my first ship in the Navy. I would play classic Rock, as that’s all I knew. Until I met a kid from Cookeville Tennessee, named Jerry Ray (last name omitted) who insisted I play his music (Country) on my record machine. In the interest of fairness I told him we’d play one of my albums then one of his, throughout the workday. It was sure to happen, and it did, we both started liking each other’s music and a great friendship was born.
Books are another thing I love. That was not caused by any teacher in school; it was caused by my Father. Every Friday night he came home from work and threw down the latest comic books by Batman, Superman, The Flash and the rest, for me and my four brothers. My Mother would complain that they were junk and would rot our young minds. My Father would smile and tell her, “Someday they won’t need the pictures.” Well, he was right! My brothers and I to this date are avid readers.
So what does all that have to do with living here in the Philippines? Well…In the Zambales area there is a high population of English speaking (and reading) people, and most American or Australian owned restaurants hotels and or bars here have book exchanges. Take one leave one or 10 to 20 pesos to buy one. As tourist arrive and depart new books are put into circulation all the time. Also from people like me who will hit the National Book Store and pay retail (it’s still cheaper than the stateside price) and or use the second hand book stores at the mall.
Now for music, that presents a whole different story, but mp3 and flash drives have solved a major part of our problem here in my area. I have found a couple of downloading mp3 sites that for a very reasonable price I can download the latest Billboard 100 charts music. (Since they aren’t paying Bob to advertise on this site, I won’t mention their names.) And again tourists bring a lot of new music with them on IPOD’s and such. I have an external hard drive that holds 185 Gigs and it is close to being full with just music. My friend just returned from a ship, he brought 150 albums of mixed Country and Classic Rock. It’ll take a few months to listen to all that.
As for food, between the four big supermarkets on Subic Freeport, and the local markets in town, one can find all the ingredients needed to make your favorite meal. Example; I love strawberry short cake. Strawberries and whipped cream as easy to find. The Shortcake, it’s here, it’s a Philippine product called Mamon.
Or restaurants of all types to satisfy your taste buds. (We still lack a “Brothers Burger!”) One other food I’ve not found in this area is a Greek “Gyros” Sandwich, now to me that is heaven here on earth. If you know where I can get one here on the Islands I will drive as far as Manila to get it!
For all our Host Nation has offered to us, and the wonderful way I feel that I’m treated here, I still want to see a Red Sox’s game, or the New England Patriots’ play. I want to read a book or two a week, and I want Country Music while enjoying an Ice Cold San Miguel Beer, on a beautiful Philippine afternoon (rain or shine). Ahhh Luxury!!!!!
Now for a small addendum, before anyone comments how wrong I am, as they know their part of The Philippines is far and above better than my part. I say to you, “You’re right, it is!” And I receive no pay from the Bataan/Zambales Chamber of Commerce!