Back in November I wrote “Who Gave You Permission” about the empty land beside my house. Two weeks ago this guy shows up with a construction crew to wall it in. Was it the same guy and his wife that were here a couple of months ago? Absolutely not, it was the son of the man who owns the land (really) and his father sent him the money to build the wall. This new guy showed up with Chano who is our Barangay Chairman and a cocktail partner of mine. So this was the real deal.
Chano introduced me to the new guy and he seemed very nice, he spoke to the owner of the squatter Sari-sari store and explained what was going to happen. He allowed them to remain on the land while the work was underway and with the help of Chano found them another piece of land to set up their store on. He also contracted with the store to feed lunch to his crew while they are there.
I was talking to him almost every day and took a chance and asked; “Who is the rude dude that was here in November?” He frowned and said; “He was a cousin who tended to interfere in family matters if he thinks there is a peso or two in it for him.” Now I know that all us LiP readers have met him, or someone of the same ilk, or worst, he might even be within our own families… But you know who I’m talking about.
The Basketball court will be moved to another plot of land up the road soon, and on the side of his land on the far side from mine he has allowed for an access lane for the five or six families who live behind him. All in all he has been accommodating to all whom will be affected by the changes he has made, concerning his Fathers land.
Now the Kano factor comes into play, Chano came to me and asked if the new dude could attach his wall to my existing wall at the front and rear of his property. I said no. That caused Chano to take a step back, and give me an odd look. Chano then asked me; “Why not?” To which I replied; “He’s never asked me.” Chano smiled with understanding as to how I felt and went to the man with my answer.
The following day the gentleman knocked on my gate and told me what he wanted to do, and I responded in the affirmative, and said I have no problem with that. He explained that he had been shy to ask me and that’s why Chano was the one, to be the one, to ask me. I understood that!
All that was required now was a Barangay Letter as to our agreement, so in the future there could be no problems between us, as to ownership of my wall. It made sense to me. Could you imagine where we are from (Canada US Australia or Europe) trying to do the same simple thing? With lawyers and city councils involved, and how much your act of being a good neighbor would cost you?
Well things change; I’ll miss the Sari-sari store being beside my house as the owners are hardworking people who are quick to smile and sold really cold beer. I know I have beer at my house but sometimes it’s fun to sit at store and have a beer with your neighbors, it’s a great equalizer. I’ll miss standing on my roof patio and watching the basketball games played on the court next door. But the kids still play that game where they throw a slipper at the can and run like the wind in front of my house yelling and laughing and seemingly having a great time. All without the aid of anything store bought. Does the noise bother me? Hell no, as it’s “Happy Noise” and that could never be a bad thing. Now the firecrackers we can talk about!
I know the things I write about here on LiP don’t really seem important, but I do hope it shows people a slice of daily life here in the Philippines and how it really is. Those of you that live here know what I’m talking about, those planning on the move here will soon find out. It’s different here, but mostly in a good way!
Addendum To the above story
A deal was struck between the owner of the land and the Sari-Sari store owner. The owner of the land turned out to be a better man than we all thought, the Sari-Sari will remain free of charge and act as caretakers of the land for the next two years, the basketball court is being allowed to stay also. I just found this out today (Sunday 20 Jan.) but had submitted the story to Fearless leader Bob Martin yesterday. What a nice guy, both him and Bob!