It started with a lie or two, continued.

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You can read Part 1 of this story by clicking here.

I had a list of things planned for while I was there that included personal business, doing some work for a client, and trying to do a few things at the house and on the farm.

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Last time, I ended with the “septic guy” that was full of “It”! I went to the house to check on the honey do list as well as my list. While working in the house, an afternoon rain started and not long thereafter, I noticed the toilet in the CR backing up. I checked to make sure that no one had used the drain. Nope, everything was still shut off. My thought was that if water wasn’t rising from the sinks or the toilets then it was coming from elsewhere because water levels don’t just go up on their own.

Curiouser and even more curious. I decided when the rain stopped, I would put my detective hat on and attempt to be more Sherlock Holmes and less Barney Fife.



A few years back, a neighbor up the hill with more money than courtesy and respect had built a new home and in the process had the water channeled straight toward our back door. During heavy rains, the water would charge in the back door and out the front like an ill-mannered guest. I hired a block mason that was out of work to convert the fence to a 3 block high base with the fence on top of it. Problem solved.

Following the practice in Cornfield County, Indiana, I put a cleanout at the end of the lines from the septic tank. These were just inside of the wall.

I have a right hand man there. He is my nephew JunJun. In so many ways he reminds me of myself when I was young; willing to try building anything that can be described or drawn out for him. He is the one person that I have no hesitation allowing the full run of my shop and tools. When he is finished, they are cleaned, sharpened as needed, and put away in the proper place and everything is locked properly.

Jun and I took a walk looking at the septic system and the finger system. He pointed out that some weeds needed cut down between the cleanout and the wall. I walked over to look at it with him and shazaam, as a co-worker likes to say, “The perpetrators had been perpetrating”. There was a hole in the block wall that had appeared since last time I was in the Philippines. A pipe slightly buried that was running into the cleanout. My septic system was trying to handle the outflow of the septic system as well as the drainage from up the hill.

I calmed Jun down and assured him that it would be resolved in an underhandedly and sneaky way that would keep the peace in the barangay. At dusk, we went out and cut the sod so it could be re-laid without being obvious just inside of the fence a little beyond the arm’s length of even the largest NBA player. A cut into the end of the line and some high expansion foam created a plug in the line so the tank was isolated. Sod re-laid and work was hidden.

Water levels started slowly subsiding and life returned to normal. Since the septic problem was known by others, Jun was prompted to let it be known in any “back fence gossip” that we had worked on plumbing in the house and fixed a damaged pipe and all was well. A couple rains later, we heard that the neighbor was having problems with water backing up. Karma found our suggested victim.

I was able to move on to other things. I had prefabricated some things and sent in Balikbayan boxes to install when I was there. Because of brownouts and other things, I put on my Rube Goldberg hat and had a couple things I wanted to try. I have a small building where my power comes into as well as water and other things. I set this up as my power house.

Low voltage LED backup lights wired into a solar panel (from an RV battery maintainer) and a small battery bank. It worked well enough that wiring will be run throughout the house for the backup lights. No effort to run 110/220 off of solar for the obvious reason of cost.

I had sent Jun the drawings for an overshot waterwheel and he had made the requested diversion of water from a creek to put the waterwheel by the powerhouse with the shaft running inside. This gave me approximately 1 Hp. output to the small generator.

Last time I had been there, the complaint had been the price of Gasul. I had been interested because years ago, I had made a producer gas generator, creating wood gas through burning wood. Since I knew the family had plenty of wood on the farm, I had sent a batch wood gas generator to test the output of the various woods. I unpacked it and assembled it. I could see the looks that told me they thought I was crazy.

By the third batch, Jun was seeing himself as the next gas multi-millionaire.

My Princess and her mother asked what day I could spend most of the day with her family just visiting. We agreed on the day and got to the house my early mid-morning. I greeted the family and made Princess proud that I chose to greet mama and papa with mano po.

The children’s home I help with is in the same village so Princess and her mom suggested that we walk there and visit. I had 7 or 8 of the 22 kids running around with me showing me all the different sights and points of interest and introducing me to everyone we ran into. I enjoyed seeing everything and seeing their excitement.

Every time I would mention about getting back to the family’s house, there was an excuse from Princess or her mom. When they finally decided it was time to go back, I saw what was happening. Princess uncle had fixed a pig for lechon baboy. They decided since I had surprised them they wanted to surprise and celebrate with me.

This was not something purchased. He did one of the 4 pigs of his own. I knew that it was from their heart and not out of their abundance. We had the lechon, rice, and some apple slices from a bag of apples I had taken for the kids besides their other gifts. The children wanted to help surprise me and told their mom to fix the apples.

After I returned home, I showed some of the pictures to a co-worker who is originally from Manila. She looked at them and shuddered and exclaimed, “How provincial!” I don’t necessarily disagree with her, but I cannot help but remember the love and sincerity that was in the offered meal. Also, due to her health, it is probably the last time I will get to see mama alive, so it is another reason to treasure that time.

While in Sindangan and at the farm and the village, I saw 4 other non-Philippine people during the 10 days I was there. I’m guessing it is because there is little reason to go there if not for family or girlfriends.

Imagine my surprise when one evening I was walking down the street past the public market at sunset and heard my name. “LeRoy!” I looked around and then looked up to see if it was my time to leave this earth, then again, “LeRoy”. I looked and didn’t spot anyone. “LeRoy Miller, what are you doing here?”

I finally spotted the source. It was the husband of one of the ladies that I work with and see daily. They, (both Filipinos) were there taking care of business at their house and neither of us knew the other was going to the Philippines.

Jimmy Buffet has a song titled, “Everybody has a cousin in Miami”. I think that in the Philippines, everybody IS a cousin. I visited the rice store owned by a sister of one of my co-workers and bought some rice for my family. I visited for about 45 minutes and there were 17 cousins, sisters, aunts, and other relatives that stopped to visit and see who I was.

After I got home, a woman I didn’t even know other than to see her, stopped in the cafeteria while I was eating supper and wanted to know what I was doing in Leon B. Postigo. Her cousin’s sister saw me and found out who I was and where I worked and knew that her extended family worked with me.

I had a few things to check on as I mentioned in March in my post, “This stuff is getting real”. One of the solutions that I thought I had resolved was converting my magazine subscriptions to a digital service called NextIssue. Doug Thompson commented that it might not work due to copyright issues. I tried logging onto it and found that indeed I got an error message stating that it was not offered there.

I also have a need for reliable internet service for my business when I move there. I found that I do not seem to have a reliable enough signal at the farm to meet my needs, but the speeds and reliability in Sindangan was better than at home in Corn Field County, Indiana.

A disappointment was that a client of mine was looking for a company to manufacture a product to be sold in the Asia Pacific region. Because I designed the product for him, part of his stipulation was that I be available to help with any production issues. I was looking for a place that would be within a manageable commute from Sindangan.

I was very disappointed when I was not able to find anyone. Since it is simple production using light gauge mild steel, in the USA it could be done in the equivalent of a muffler shop with one or two addition pieces of equipment. I would be open to suggestions from the assembled experts, and I’m sure Bob could forward an email so this could be discussed off the forum.

A couple other issues that I checked out are causing me to think that if I am going to have a working retirement it is likely that I will need to locate other than on the farm. I do not have to decide right now, but my best guess is that is what will happen. Should that be the case, I will both review the many discussions here about having unattended or absentee ownership and then follow up with the lawyer to address these concerns.

Since it is all paid for and they are not making any more land, I would like to keep it for my daughter and her mother for their future security. However, I do not want to deal with the hassles of squatters and other similar headaches.

While I was there, even though I rarely drink any alcohol I felt it appropriate to offer a toast to Paul Thompson and the other writers. I told the lodge manager that and asked if he had any San Miguel. He brought one and asked if I had ever tried Red Horse. When I said no, he brought one of them also. The Red Horse reminded me of a politician here in the USA. Bitter and not much of a head. Here’s a toast to the LiP authors that provide updates and enjoyment daily.

So to summarize with some random thoughts and observations.

Why has there never been a NASCAR driver from the Philippines? I swear they could thread their way through a 15 car pileup and not dent a fender. All they have to do would be to smear the Vaseline on the fenders that the tricycles must use that allows them to slide through tiny spaces and slide fenders together without scraping or damaging each other.

I was interested to see that the NAIA airport was not as bad as I expected. Terminal 3 had the construction in some areas and the air handling units were not all working. Terminal 1 likewise was having construction. But after using the ghastly Cleveland Hopkins Airport for many years, it was very acceptable.

Philippine Air and Cathy Pacific got high marks, while United; well, it got me there.

How do people working in construction wearing ski masks and hoodies keep from collapsing from heat stroke? I watched guys hand shoveling dirt on a road project dressed like that and working at a steady pace most of the day.

Watch and shoe repair at the same booth. Dental work and hair cutting at the same store. Done by the same people?

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I am in my early 50’s, living in North Central Indiana. I was medically retired from law enforcement and went back to school earning a MBA and a Masters and a PhD in counseling. My primary occupation is business turn around and consulting for business both large (Fortune 500) and small. In my spare time I donate my time to work with many of our recent immigrants in town.

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6 years ago

Really enjoyed reading your post, especially the part about plugging the neighbors drain. Hopefully it all go’s well for you and you are able to do your business here. Sounds like you have a good nephew you can really rely on. Take care and have a great day!

LeRoy Miller
LeRoy Miller
6 years ago
Reply to  PapaDuck

Thank you Papaduck, but let me be clear. I plugged My clean out on my side of the wall.

If I was an American politician I would explain that I wanted to make sure that my water would not flow up the hill and bother the neighbor, so I was simply being a good neighbor.

Yes, my nephew is a rare find. He is fascinated by the ways that people from years past and also the Amish that I grew up with addressed many basic problems.

Best wishes to you and yours.

Byron Watts
6 years ago

Thanks for the great articles LeRoy!

I spent time in Terminal 3 also, though not quite as long.

Very interesting experiences and I can’t wait to do it all over again!

6 years ago

Hi LeRoy – I found it really interesting that you ran into somebody that you know while you were here… somebody from back in the USA. The same thing happened to Feyma and I some years ago. We were at a restaurant, out in the middle of nowhere. We ran into our old neighbors from the USA there! We were shocked, and so were they!

Glad that you had a good trip!

Also, thank you for submitting this article for publication here on LiP!

LeRoy Miller
LeRoy Miller
6 years ago
Reply to  MindanaoBob

Thank you Bob.

What made the meeting so more unusual to me was that in the 10 days I was there, I only saw or met 4 non-Philippine people.

The man that called to me and his wife are originally from the Philippines.

Have a good day.

6 years ago

Hi Leroy,

I enjoyed reading your article and looking at the pictures! The area you were in sounds like my wife’s mom’s place where we visit. I see more foreigners when I visit, but usually just in Tagbilaran City when we visit town which ends up for me to be about every other day. I generally just nod at foreigners when I see them. I think Provincial is actually very nice, but I also like to go to town and the mall and such.

Take care and good luck!

LeRoy Miller
LeRoy Miller
6 years ago
Reply to  Jay


Being raised on a farm until my father got hurt, I have no problem either with provincial.

In the USA, I like living in the country where no one complains if I want to butcher, have a hog roast for friends, or do any of the things that would have town people upset and heaven forbid I was silly enough to deal with a Homeowner Association with their delusions of importance.

I try to be a good neighbor and considerate of others and in turn they are respectful as well.

Cordillera Cowboy
6 years ago

“How provincial!”. LOL. My wife, Marlyn knows a few people in Virginia who claim to be from Manila and make it a point to talk bad about provincial life. One is a distant relative and Marlyn knows that she was born and raised in the province. The poor lady is just ashamed of her provincial roots. Marlyn, her sisters and mother enjoy reminiscing about the old days back on the farm. When we’re in country, we much prefer the rural life. Regarding your United Airlines flight, google “United Breaks Guitars”. Perhaps the company hasn’t learned much about customer service since… Read more »

6 years ago

Hi Pete – I always find it funny… people from Manila say that no matter where you live outside Manila, you are from “the Province”. Well, I live in a City of more than 1.5 Million people… it is not really “in the province.” ha ha… The way it is said, it is considered an insult.

Cordillera Cowboy
6 years ago

Agreed Bob. It’s that attitude that made Marlyn’s relative ashamed of her rural roots. Some years ago, we were celebrating our wedding anniversary at a resort near Marlyn’s home barangay. What folks in the West would call a garden park with picnic shelters. A lady sat next to me and introduced herself. I can’t recall who she said she was, but I remember what she said. She made it clear that she was not “from here”, but from Manila. She told me with an air of superiority in her voice that she only came to see how these provincial people… Read more »

6 years ago

Hi Pete,

I remember my wife meeting a lady who claimed to be from Manila, but her Tagalog was so bad that my wife had to talk with her in English. I am not sure why being from Manila is considered better than the provinces. I guess people in the USA sometimes want to claim NYC, but it does not seem to be on the same scale as Filipinos claiming Manila. Since the plane leaving the Philippines comes from Manila these people are not technically lying when they say the come from Manila when they are abroad. IDK.

John Reyes
6 years ago

Hi Pete – I don’t know why this is, about people today still being ashamed to admit that they come from the province when most people who live in Manila today came from the provinces. Indeed, there was a time when a “promdi” (country bumpkin) just alighting from a provincial bus in Manila with his “tampipi” (a suitcase made of woven straw) was looked down on and made fun of by city slickers because of his accent, manner of dress, and general demeanor, which were considered by Manilenos of the time as unsophisticated. But things have changed now. The provinces… Read more »

Cordillera Cowboy
6 years ago

Jay, I sometimes think that Filipinos living in the West find it easier to just say they are from Manila, rather than trying to explain to people who don’t know and usually don’t care about Philippine geography. Why that also happens between Filipinos is beyond me, unless it has something to do with perceived status. John, you are correct in saying that the latest fads and fashion are instantly available even in the farming barangays of the provinces. At local festivals, each purok will put on a performance of some sort. These are often hip hop style dances done to… Read more »


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