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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.
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!