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How High Is the Water Mama?

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Was a song from long ago, sung by Johnny Cash, and the next verse goes; “About two feet high and rising!” This past three weeks in Southern Luzon has been nothing but rain, and then some more rain. I’m fully aware that this is the monsoon season and one should expect to be a little damp.

Surfing Manila

Surfing Manila

49 Ways to Make a Living in the Philippines

Once more I’ll gloat about my foresight and the idea I had years ago to live on a mountain instead of a beach while once again living on a tropical island. Once more I’ll mention altitude, and gravity and the principle that; “Water seeks its own level.” My little town of Dinalupihan has received all the water they need, but because it is surrounded by the low land rice fields they are forced into keeping it. The city is now a free public pool. Schools are closed, no one can get to the market, it is a mess and I’m staying home. I do have sympathy for the inhabitants, but since this happens every rainy season, I do wonder why a solution has never been found.

My neighbors with the corrugated roofs are up there every day with tarps, old tires, hollow blocks and sand bags to stop the leaks, but to no avail. The floors are lined with pots and pans and they are empted all day out the front door or used to flush the CR.

Fun in Manila on a rainy day

Fun in Manila on a rainy day

Here is what I’ve have observed over these long years residing here and enjoying the easy going lifestyle, when the rain stops, it will be out of sight, out of mind and not a thought about the leaking roof until the next time it rains. You must love the attitude the Filipino’s process. I wish I could develop even a small portion of it. Hell I wish I could fall asleep on a Jeepney, but that will never happen.

Due to my hospitalization back in March, we missed the yearly roof maintaining procedures. To seal the edge of the slab roof with sealing compound, that prevents driving rain from entering the building. So now in mid August I freely admit that for the first time since 1999 our roof is leaking. I’m not talking a deluge or torrents of water pouring in just drips of water that my wife collects with a towel and rings out every few hours. But that is still leaking by any measure. We made the trip to Home Depot in San Fernando Pampanga (On Luzon) and collected all the required materials to stop this problem, but we are into our third week of rain, and there is no end in sight. But if that sun does come out………BTW: The PagAsa recommends we have a spare umbrella and a small rubber raft with us at all times. Oh and those tempted to comment that it’s bright and sunny where you live! Remember your time is coming, and I won’t fail to bring it up.

If you remember I mentioned that during my medical emergency I received 24 pints of blood which altered my normal DNA, and that could be the reason I neglected to have the roof sealed on those sunny days of May and June before the rain really started, so some of that attitude must have kicked in, and I’m regretting it now. Manila is of course already flooded, but they tell me that the Capital will flood if seven people wash their car at the same time.

Manila underpass

Manila underpass

I‘ll still stick by my slab roof, if it’s maintained properly every year, and that costs (With Labor) about PNP 2,500.00 per year. During one typhoon a few years after we built the house, my roof had eight inches of standing water until I weathered the storm and went outside and cleared the drains. The following month new three inch drains were installed at a cost of PNP 30,000.00, but the problem was solved and I learned something new about owning a house here and now understand that song by Mr. Cash; “How High Is the Water Mama?” Don’t let it get any higher.

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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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Emmanuel Tolentino
4 years ago

They are having fun;-)!!!

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
4 years ago

EMMANUEL;
My wife went into a store and found me soaking wet when she returned, The reason I was wet is I stopped to watch some children having fun in the rain, They had no I-pads CellPhones just real fun. I wished I was young so I could join them.

john.j.
john.j.
4 years ago

We are pretty lucky here in Mindano, but as you say everyone will get their turn. By the way, still waiting for the story about the new railings (teeth) or have I missed it?

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
4 years ago
Reply to  john.j.

John J.
My dentist postponed any further treatment until my medical problems were cleared. So no you’ve missed nothing. I’m sporting the temporaries (Acrylic) I’ve had since January. I want a New York Steak from Texas Joe’s so much I dream about it. I suffer with tenderloin until I get the one I like!

Marjorie
Marjorie
4 years ago

You are right Paul, there is something to be said about living on a hill/mountain side, we look down into the valley and see the floods.
When we bought the house we were told that a bit of water comes down the back lane, it was a fast flowing river. Some idiots laying water pipes had broken the land drain where a lot of the water from the hill collects. Needless to say we got it sorted as quick as we could.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
4 years ago
Reply to  Marjorie

Marjorie;
Our street is the runoff; the kids on a real rainy day will zoom pass my gate on a piece of plywood. Or shower under the drain spouts. There are days when I must phone a friend in town to check the water level prior to driving down the mountain. As I said I lived on the beach in Puerto Rico and learned a valuable lesson on water flow. Stay dry!

Jay
Jay
4 years ago

Hi Paul, On my last trip to Bohol, we decided to fly into Manila, which takes more than a day, land about midnight take a 6 am domestic flight to Cebu then ride a boat for 1.5 hours to Bohol. I essentially cannot sleep on an airplane. I had been awake for about 48 hours. After arriving at Mama’s House my wife decided it would be a great idea to take Mama to Gerry’s Grill in town. I made it through the meal, but riding back on one of the short jeepneys that I have to lean forward to keep… Read more »

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
4 years ago
Reply to  Jay

Hi Jay; I see your point on Jeepney sleeping! When my daughters were young they would snuggle close to me on the Jeepney and go out like a light with daddy’s arm to steady them, but I’m still amazed when I see it happen, my wife has that natural Philippine ability (Which I envy) of instantly falling asleep at home. I love my naps but must read first to get sleepy. Different cultures have different abilities; I’m just amazed by them. There must be a Gerry’s Grill everywhere in the Philippines; we have a huge one on the beach kiddy… Read more »

Jay
Jay
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Hi Paul,

Gerry’s Grill does a good job with Filipino Party Food. They usually have a nice view. The thing I found a little strange is having to pay extra for rice. I mean if you order Pork Adobo, you expect to eat rice with it. You need a starch to cut the greasiness. It seemed odd that rice did not come with the meals.

Peace

Jay

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
4 years ago
Reply to  Jay

Jay;
No free rice with your meal at a restaurant in the Philippines? That is not only odd, but it seems like a violation of a local ordinance! If you order a hamburger are the fries extra too? Thank you Jay, I’ll warn my wife so there won’t be a commotion when we order there. (LOL)

bigp
bigp
4 years ago

Tugboats a coming to take to the train, looks like we’ll be blessed with a little more rain. Stay dry.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
4 years ago
Reply to  bigp

Loren;
Funny saying!!! But why are they called tug boats when they really only push?

bigp
bigp
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

This is a question that requires consumption of Rum & Coke with SMB chasers to really figure out. Someday we will work on it.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
4 years ago
Reply to  bigp

Loren;
If you ever get back here we\ll figure it out!!!

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
4 years ago
Reply to  AJ UK

AJ UK;
That is what happens when you tug vice push! (lol)

AJ UK
AJ UK
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Paul………..are you back on the SMB?

Keep your pecker up old chap!

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

AJ/UK;
SMB’s I still can only dream, about those stubby little rascals. Woodpeckers, do they peck or tug? (lol)

john.j.
john.j.
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Ask the quarter master for 10 fathom of pushing rope.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
4 years ago
Reply to  john.j.

JohnJ.
Army were you? In the navy a Quartermaster does the ship’s navigation, a Storekeeper would issue you the 40 feet of chow line! (LOL) The Army can also salute without a cover, the Navy can not!

Adam
Adam
4 years ago

Not so wet here at Toledo city (opposite coast from Cebu)
I have a rainfall gauge and measured 12.5 inches for June. Wet start to the wet season.
Was down to 5 inches for July and so far this month only 1.5 inches!
One thing I have learnt here is that the weather forecasting is terrible. Must be difficult though because unlike Australia the rain comes from any direction here.
There also seems to be no pattern to rainfall totals. One month you can get ten inches and then the next month one inch

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
4 years ago
Reply to  Adam

Adam;
I warned everyone about bragging about their weather (LOL). But as I mentioned above during May and June we also had very little rain, we are catching up now as your area will very soon, and the farmers need the rain anyway! Stay dry your gully washer rain is coming!

UpawPhil
UpawPhil
4 years ago

On the bright side, one can go outside to pee and/or poop without worrying about flushing!
Once again, great article and thanks for the pics sir Paul. Please keep dry and healthy!

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
4 years ago
Reply to  UpawPhil

UpawPhil;
Urinating outside is a drinking thing, and is the reason we say “Tabby, tabby Po” But a number two? You could chant until the caribou come home, and I don’t think that will save you. (LOL) I’ll stay away from those spots where the roof is leaking and I should be fine and dry!

Byron Watts
4 years ago

How does Mindanao rain compare to Luzon?

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
4 years ago
Reply to  Byron Watts

Byron;
Basically it is apples and oranges,
Luzon has a rainy
(Monsoon) season mostly May unto November, and the rest of the year we seldom have rain.
Whereas Mindanao has no real monsoon season. But it can rain any day. Both have its advantages, only you can decide which you prefer.
Puerto Rico where I lived for ten years was more like Mindanao which I liked too.

Bob Martin
4 years ago
Reply to  Byron Watts

Nothing like it, Byron. The weather here is completely different. What you experienced when you were here is our normal weather pattern. There are no typhoons here in Mindanao, except the extreme north part of the island.

Bob New York
Bob New York
4 years ago
Reply to  Bob Martin

I have always found the weather in Northern Mindanao quite favorable at the times of my visits. Yes it does rain quite heavily on some days in the afternoon but it dosn’t last very long.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
4 years ago
Reply to  Bob New York

Bob (NY)
Every area has pro and cons about their weather. I like that when the rainy season ends you can plan a party a month away and not worry about weather. Cause it ain’t gonna’ get cold either!

Paul Thompson
4 years ago
Reply to  Byron Watts

Ah Sir Bob, did you read my response?

Bob Martin
4 years ago
Reply to  Byron Watts

Not yet…

Byron Watts
4 years ago
Reply to  Byron Watts

Thanks Bob….just rechecking in case I missed something earlier 🙂

LeRoy Miller
LeRoy Miller
4 years ago

I used the “tabby, tabby po” at work at the urinal next to a Philippines friend. He started laughing and wanted to know where I learned that. I’m sorry I didn’t give you credit, I just shrugged my shoulders and told him that I thought everyone knew it.

Also, I know you posted it back a couple years ago, but can you tell me or send me the link to the roof sealing construction article? I need to read it again.

Thanks.

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
4 years ago
Reply to  LeRoy Miller

Leroy;
The Filipino’s taught me Tabby Tabby Po, on my first visit here, it stuck in my head. My brothers in Massachusetts use that expression now. As for the roof article It is somewhere in the beginning a few years ago, check the Bob’s archives.

AJ UK
AJ UK
4 years ago

Hi Paul

We could do with a little of your rain here in Davao. I think it’s rained twice in the last month where I live, usually after I have watered the plants and washed the car!!

Cheers

AJ UK

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
4 years ago
Reply to  AJ UK

AJ/UK;
There is not much reason to wash the car here, one puddle and you do it again, and I’ll go to a car wash after the sun comes back out. Our rice farmers (My Son-in-Law being one of them) are loving the rain, a good rice crop means new shoes for my granddaughter. Oh hell I’d buy them anyway

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