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Paul Thompson lives in Bataan

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Today, we will interview Paul Thompson.  Paul is a long time resident of the Philippines and has experience living in Puerto Rico as well!  In fact, during his career in the Navy and then as a Merchant Seaman, Paul was able to travel the world!  Paul is also a writer here on Live in the Philippines Web Magazine, and his articles there are widely followed and enjoyed by many readers.

Paul and Family

Paul and Family

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What is your name, and can you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Paul Thompson, I hail originally from the Dorchester section of Boston Massachusetts. In October of 1964 I enlisted in the US Navy, on one of my cruises I was brought to the Philippines at the end of the 1960’s and the beginning of the 1970’s. And found that it pleased me. I retired from the Navy in 1986 while stationed at Roosevelt Roads Puerto Rico. I opened two Night Clubs there and left when Hurricane Hugo told me it was time to go. Next I moved to Clearwater Florida, where I applied to work in 1993 as a Merchant Seaman with Military Sealift Command out of Oakland California. Where those ship’s being Pacific Fleet types kept bring me back to the Philippines and found that it still pleased me.

Thanks for your service, Paul.  You spent a long time in the Navy!

How long have you lived in the Philippines?

After my 25 year hiatus away from the Philippines, I met my wife in 1993 and we were married in 1994, so as to residing in the Philippines it would have to be March 1994.I was still sailing and would fly in after each ship’s tour was done and then fly out to board my next ship. I stopped sailing in 2000 when our house was built and I saw no need to ever leave here again.

You’ve been here a long time!  Come up on your 22 year anniversary!  I will hit my 16 year anniversary this year!  The great thing is that you seem to be enjoying life here.  Few people are able to do it!

What do you like or dislike about living in the Philippines?

Bob, that is a difficult question, as I have been all over the world during my life I’d be hard pressed to sum up my likes or dislikes. Everywhere has things that suit you and things that don’t, and that’s to include my home country of the United States. But like Puerto Rico, I like the people, the relaxed lifestyle and most of all the weather.

I know what you mean by that!  I grew up living in many places, and can appreciate what you say.

What made you decide to move to the Philippines?

I don’t think I ever really put any thought into that, it just happened. I have more respect for you guys who were sitting with a life in your home country and made the decision to move here. Me, my job allowed me to live anywhere on earth, as I was paid both ways to come to the ships and return home. It’s you folks, that did it the hard way.

Ha ha.. nothing more respectable about the way I did it, or the way you did it.  As long as it worked out good for both of us, then all is well!

Did you encounter anything unexpected when you moved here? What was your biggest surprise?

Bob; My biggest surprise hasn’t happened yet, every day something new will rear its head, and cause me to ponder as to just what did happen. It’s one of the great things about living here, is you can’t predict your day when you wake up. You just roll out of bed and live life it as it unfolds. (But it keeps me in material to write about on LiP.

Ha ha, I love your attitude, Paul.  Taking life easy is good living.  Just take things as they come and you will always be happy!

Where do you live in the Philippines?

On a mountain, in-between Dinalupihan Bataan and Olongapo City Zambales, high above any flooding, and a 15 minute drive to beaches and shopping and great restaurants. I live in a laid back little Purok where not much happens on any given day, and where people tend to look out for each other. But I’ll always be the Kano on Ilang-Ilang Street.

Living on a mountain has it’s advantages, right?  No flooding is a good thing.  Sounds like you have an ideal location.

Are you happy there?

Yes Bob very much, I’ve found that slice of life that I’d been looking for, so as we say in New England; “I’m as happy as a clam.”

I’ve always wondered.. since clams are so happy, are they still happy after they are in the soup?  An old Boston boy like you should be able to answer that one for me, Paul! 😉  Also, how do we know that clams are so happy?

Do you have any regrets that you can share with us?

Believe it or not, none that would be worth mentioning, is it perfect? No but no place is. I regret not moving here sooner. But you play your cards as they are dealt to you.

I agree, Paul, no place on earth is perfect.  That is why I sometimes get a little annoyed when people call the Philippines “paradise.”  There is no paradise on earth, we just have to make the best of wherever we choose to call home!

Is there anything else you want to tell us about your move to the Philippines?

I have met many great people both from here, and those who have adopted the Philippines as their home. It has shown me tolerance and that it feels good to climb down from your high horse and enjoy your life because it’s the only one you’ll ever get.

Paul, I want to thank you for participating in our interview, and also for your entertaining writing that you have been doing on my other site, Live in the Philippines Web Magazine.  I appreciate your contributions very much, and I know that lots of readers enjoy what you write!

Posted in

Bob Martin

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur. Bob is an American who lived in Mindanao from 2000 until 2019. Bob has now relocated back to the USA.

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(Hey Joe)
8 years ago

Paul, Your road nearly duplicates mine, with the exception of of merchant marine service and the paid transportation, here. likewise I regret not doing it sooner. Bob, Paradise is not a place, it is a state of mind, If you are able to deal with the problems as trivial to the enjoyment an love of your chosen lifestyle, you have found your “Island in the Sun ” and your “Paradise”

MindanaoBob
8 years ago
Reply to  (Hey Joe)

Hi Joe – Well, you know how I feel about the word “Paradise” – no such place exists! 🙂

Rusty
Rusty
6 years ago
Reply to  (Hey Joe)

Great explanation Joe of paradise. Both you and Bob are correct. How’s that for a PC statement.

Paradise is indeed a state of mind. There isn’t really a physical paradise. But if someone believes that Thailand, the Philippines, or Bolivia is paradise than so be it.

Personally, I believe there is a paradise. But no one comes back to tell me what it’s like. It must be a wonderful place.

Rusty

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
8 years ago

Bob; It’s a beautiful New England night (We get 8 or 9 of those a year) A 55 gallon drum full of seawater is boiling atop a bonfire of driftwood, The taters, corn, turnips and other veggies are boiling away. Next you toss in the fresh dug clams, then a few minutes later they start to open and that little smile appears on the clam shell. I can’t say if the clam is happy, but all of us getting ready to eat them really are. A New England Clam Boil is truly a happy event. I’ll assume the clam is… Read more »

MindanaoBob
8 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

I can buy that, Paul! I used to live in Louisiana where seafood boils are also big!

Joe P
Joe P
8 years ago
Reply to  MindanaoBob

Hi Paul and Bob, I really like this new site! real folks getting to tell their stories of how they like OR dislike the Philippines. Paul, as a former Marine Barracks Guard at Cubi, I hiked Jungle duty many a night in those mountains on and around the former bases, so I do know that you have a primo location! I had not been back to ‘Gapo city since Pinatubo blew up. Been back to the Islands many times but not to that “other City by the bay” I visited the Subic Area last year and I am very pleased… Read more »

MindanaoBob
8 years ago
Reply to  Joe P

Hi Joe – Thank you for your kind words! I am happy to hear that you like the new site, and find it helpful. I also have been enjoying it.

Don Burns
Don Burns
6 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Hey Paul,

It has been a long time since Rascal’s Pub bud. We knew each other in PR, I was the President of Cablevision International. Chief Jack Shea and I keep in touch, he is in FL, and I am in AZ. He tried to find you in the Philippines when he was there but to no avail. If you get this drop me a line dbrtkbb@yahoo.com, and I will update you on people we hung with.

Don Burns

Paul Thompson
6 years ago
Reply to  Don Burns

Hey Don
Wow you are taking me on the Way-Back-Machine with Sherman and Peabody. I’ve been in touch with Jack Shea for a few months now but nothing from Bill.

big p
big p
8 years ago

HMMmmmm-I wonder if the clams would be even happier and have more fun in the Philippines if cooked in a pot of SMB? May be something to experiment with.

Luke Tynan
6 years ago

Great article, I really enjoyed it and I agree no place is perfect but to me this is my Eden, my Paradise. Again it is not perfect but it make me happy and at the end of the day as I fall asleep I am happy, relaxed and content. As I walk around people are friendly and I feel save for me and my wife. I do not worry about a phone call wwaking me from my nap due to a major break down of a hospitals medical equip that is impacting staff in treating and saving lives. So for… Read more »

AJ UK
AJ UK
6 years ago

Hi Paul

While you sit back in your chair with an SMB you might like to listen to the following documentary about Puerto Rico from the BBC website –

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0374l7r

I heard it this morning on a podcast and thought to myself you you might be interested in it.

Cheers

AJ UK

PS – there are days when I am in paradise whilst in some parts of the Philippines. The song Dock Of The Bay always comes to mind for some reason.

Derek
6 years ago

Hi Paul, thanks for the posts read every one looks like Texas Joe in the photo,
Yeah the Philippines isn’t paradise but I’m happy it’s what you make it that counts
Give me a cold beer and some sunshine and I’m happy as jack ??,
Derek in pasig.

Paul Thompson
6 years ago
Reply to  Derek

Derek;
Texas Joe’s for sure.

Gary Dadds
Gary Dadds
6 years ago

Hi Pual, I enjoy listening to your tails from the Philippines, always brings a smile. I’m not in the Philippines fulltime yet but when we are home we are just down the road from you close to Saguin, so have driven past many times on the way to Olongapo/Subic for some shopping and a little light relief walking around the new malls.

Paul Thompson
6 years ago
Reply to  Gary Dadds

Gary;
Stop by for a cold canned consumable.

Axel
6 years ago

It is always a pleasure to read Pauls posts here. I have a big respect for the way you (both Paul and Bob) have adapted to the lifestyle here, and it’s seldom to hear complaints. I agree in the way it is to live here and also have a good life, adapting to how things are – – mostly. At the moment we are in Denmark to finish some things, after living 4 years in Philippines, there’s not the slightest doubt in my mind – Philippines is where i want to live – and die. I am already longing home… Read more »

MindanaoBob
6 years ago
Reply to  Axel

Hi Axel – Thank you so much! I appreciate your comment greatly!

Bob New York
Bob New York
6 years ago

As a visitor and vacationer to The Philippines I can not make a comment of any accuracy about actually living there. My recently concluded tenth visit however can put me in the position of commenting those are the very best vacations I have ever had anywhere. Many times I have been asked why do I keep going back there ? I have really thought a lot about this and the one common denominator that keeps coming up is, the people. In many ways, cost wise it can be a bargain such as a nice hotel room for the equivalent of… Read more »

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