Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Gross Pizza

It is a pizza with a hot dog in the crust......

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Anti-American Mass

So today I went to mass and as always was the one random American. We got there in the middle of mass and the priest was telling the packed church about the Declaration of Independence. He then went on to talk about how these are rights given to people not by their government but by God. He continues to tell everybody that if you cross yourself in an American public school you will go to jail!! What a freak. Ado wrote him a note telling him that that was incorrect and the idea of separation of church and state is not to quell religion but rather allow all people to practice their own religion without any one being forced on them.

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Rottweiler and the Mini Pincer

No matter how many times it happens, I never get tired of seeing our rottweiler puppy (male, six months old, about two feet tall and two feet long) hump our mini pincer (male, 10 months old, about six inches tall and one foot long).

Credit in the PI

Just got my first credit card in the PI--quite exciting, namely because the banking system here is quite archaic (compared to US). Typewriters are used, passbooks required, and you must go to your specific branch for many transactions. The interest rate is 3.5%.....a month!!!! Needless to say this is not a card we will keep a balance on.

Questions Kids Ask Me

There are tons of kids in this neighborhood--well to be completely accurate in the Philippines. The majority of the population is under 24 and the population is expected to double. No matter how many kids I meet, there are always more. The following are some of the questions they ask me (some over and over and over again):

-What is your name?
-Where are you from?
-Are you rich?
-Are you married?
-Why are you with a girl if you are a girl?
-How old are you?
-Can I kiss you?
-Can I have your nose?
-Do you have any kids?
-Where is your mom? What is your mom's name? What is your dad's name?
-Why are you so tall?
-Do you speak tagalog?

I get few of these questions from adults. I do however often get weird comments. The other night we walked up to the drug store and a pedicab driver was parked out front. He says to me, "Can I go to America with you? I don't want to work in the Philippines anymore." I told him "sure, let's go".

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Kids in the Philippines

Cute Kids--
notice all the boys do the weird hand thing under the chin
--means "pogi" or handsome (or so I am told)

Again the weird hand thing

Fiona, the little girl who hates me

Big Kids

Sunday, October 08, 2006

This is a Jeepney.....

...they are all over the place and the main form of public transportation. 7.5 pesos will get you one ride.

http://my_sarisari_store.typepad.com/my_sarisari_store/ (Coolest Photo Blog)

Fallen Tree

We have a partially demolished lot on which we will build our future home and there were two large trees. One we want to remove and the other we were happy with. The tree we were happy with was a casualty of the typhoon. You can see it in the background. The one standing room is a toilet. Here the builders "stay-over" which means you need a working restroom as they will stay onsite.

Finally have lights

There was a typhoon on September 28th here. They said it was the biggest to hit Manila in over a decade. Most people got lights within a couple of days but we did not get lights until the following Wednesday night. The water pump is electric so it meant no water as well. The rumor was the reason we were delayed was because a fallen power wire was stolen and Meralco (the power company here) was not going to restore until it came back. It sucked and we stayed with friends for a couple of days. It is hot here and sleeping with no fan or aircon is deathly. In the nights following the typhoon we slept in the following places:

Night One: Floor of the Balconey (marble so it is colder but also very hard. Got eaten alive by mosquitos)
Night Two: Floor of my Father-in-Laws bedroom (Room has more windows so a little colder. Floor was hard).
Night Three-Night Five: Friends house in Alabang...we had bed and aircon. (Heaven. Love my friends. Too sweet.)
Night Six: Floor of sister-in-law's bedroom (slept horrible but there was aircon. One of those nights where you feel like you never really sleep, just toss and turn all night).
Night Seven: Lights came on for good at about 7PM. Slept in bed with air con running.

On the final day we had electricity from 1PM-4PM and then it went out again until seven. During the first few days we also had no cell phone service.

The actual day of the hurricane we had some friends visiting from the states. The storm hit and passed and in the afternoon we went out. There were no lights so most stores were closed. We ended up walking about 15-20 blocks as the jeepneys were not in certain areas due to the flooding. We finally made it home.

Electricity is the best thing in the world.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


When it rains here, it RAINS

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Dengue Fever

Dengue fever is very common here and since it is the rainy season, it is the time for dengue. A little boy across the street from us just died this morning. My brother-in-law was woken up this morning at around 3AM from the boys parents and he gave them a ride to the hospital where he died a few hours later.

I am really trashed about this. The children in the neighborhood are my buddies. I can talk to them as they are less sensitive about using english and always willing to teach me (or make fun of) my tagalog. In some ways, I enjoy the kids more than the adults. Maybe not more, but just in a different way. This little boy who died, Michael, was one of my favorites. He was not shy, when I first moved here he walked right up to me and told me his name. He would ride his bike around the neighborhood, always ignoring my pleas for him to give me a ride. He would try to teach me the rules of this weird cartoon card game they played. When walking past the upstairs window he would call my name and wave. He would run as I would tell my dog (in broken tagalog) to, "Eat Michael". He was vivacious and only eight years old.

The secondary thing that breaks my heart is seeing the other kids crying. For a child to have to deal with death--and not the death of a pet or a grandparent but a friend their own age is heartbreaking to me. Dengue can be fatal but it is often not. I don't know how long he was sick...I saw him a day or two ago so it cannot have been long. Rumors in the neighborhood range from he was sick for five days, a couple of days, a couple of hours. Money for the hospital may have been an issue. Just devastating.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


As I type this I am sitting in my room on my own computer. Life is good.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Weird Places People Here Wear Slippers

Everybody tells me that part of the bonus of living overseas is learning about all the nuances of a culture. In the Philippines, one of these lovely nuances is the practice of wearing slippers (flip-flops). It is hot here and during the rainy season (just ending now) it floods a lot so seeing people in the streets and malls wearing slippers seemed very normal--much like the states in the summer. There are however some weird (to me) places people wear them. They are as follows:
  1. Surgical Nurses in the O.R. They wear them with socks and the little surgical booties but still weird.
  2. Construction Workers. Can't be safe.
  3. Tricycle Drivers (pedicabs). Don't they worry their toes will get caught in the bicycle wheel spokes?
  4. Bank Tellers. Just looks weird to me to see a suit coat, skirt, blouse, and slippers.
  5. Garbage Men. Can't be healthy.
  6. Janitors. I am specifically referring to people cleaning the sides of roads and freeways. Can't be healthy or safe.
  7. Cooks. Can't be safe.

Thing that is still weird to me about all this is I got kicked out of the LTO (DMV) for wearing slippers, yet they are allowed to be worn at work at all the above places?


On Saturday I am supposed to have DSL installed. We gave up on PLDT and switched to a company that offers wireless. A couple of our friends have it and it sucks ass but there are trees where they live and we are in urban world with little to no trees. I am optimistic although it means I have to stay here Saturday and I really wanted to go swimming in Alabang.

S U R V I V O R!

I just found out I can watch Survivor here on a local channel via a live satellite feed!! I bet the commercials are not exactly timed which means I will not be able to call mom on the commercial breaks like I usually do. I am still very excited however. I am kinda a loser.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Kids that Hate Me

There is a little girl down the street name Fiona. She is about a year and a half old. She hates me. When I get near her (within 5 or 10 feet) she cries and runs. My mission in life is to win her over. The other kids in the neighborhood get a kick out of bringing her outside and then calling me over just to watch her cry and run. I am getting better though-- the last couple of days she ran but did not cry.

$5 for Milk

I finally found milk here imported from the US. Paid P219 which is about $4.50 for a half gallon. It was so nice to eat y Grape nuts and actually drink the remaining milk out of the bowl instead of throwing it down the sink.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


It is so random that the Crocodile Hunter was killed by a stingray. That is like working as a storm chaser and drowning in a small puddle.

I was thinking back to when we all went diving with the rays and I can't imagine how on earth one would stab you. They were really mellow animals. I also wonder if the dive tours on the big island have suffered loss in business.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Filipino Ingenuity

A friend from the states recently visited here as his grandfather was very sick and not expected to live. 18 family members went to the hospital to visit with him. They all decided to spend the night with him but the room was too small to accommodate their group, so what did they do? They checked a perfectly healthy member of the family into the hospital and had them placed into the room next door. Voila! They had enough space for the family to stay over. A couple of the cousins referred to it as the "day spa" since while they were there they received dermalogical treatments.

Only in the Philippines......

Friday, September 01, 2006

PLDT Still Sucks

Why must I beg a company to provide me with a service I will pay for? PLDT is the only option in m neighborhood and I have somewhat resigned myself to never having DSL. Fricking sucks.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Big F-ing Oil Spill in Guimaras

Earlier this month (August 11) there was a huge oil spill in Guimaras which is south of Luzon. I guess it is incorrect to state was as the tanker is still at the bottom of the ocean and is leaking oil as we speak. Randomly, while there appears to be local government response, the oil company (Petron) is denying any liability for the spill and is offering a half-assed response.

As luck would have it, this island is a marine reserve as well as an up and coming tourist destination so this has desimated them. http://www.projectsunrise.org/ is the local government link. Sucks ass.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Cross Stitching

I have taken up cross stitching. The randomness of this new hobby is I do not even really like the way a finished cross stitch design looks.

Sunny Days

After seemingly endless rain, we had sunny weather yesterday! Because of the heat from direct sun, one will often see more umbrellas on a sunny day than a rainy one. Even though the temperature goes up, the sun is a welcome change.

Today I have my tagalog lesson and then tonight we go to a party for the 20th anniversary of a friends company. It should be an awesome day.

On a side note: my brother-in-law has taken to trying to feed me frog soup every night. What is that about? I do not do frogs. This is why everybody here likes my mom better than me...she will eat anything and what's more, she actually enjoys whatever it is. Ribbit.

PLDT Stinks

I have taken to calling PLDT every day to try and obtain DSL service.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Everything here is just too S L O W

Still no DSL at home. The issues never fucking end. First they stated the lines inside the house did not work. We replaced them all. Now the phone line from the street to the house needs to be repaired. Not our problem, right? The phone company would fix? Nope. PLDT (the carrier) should fix it but the chances of that happening in the next couple of weeks or months is not great. I am stuck with PLDT because we are in such a ghetto area of Manila, most companies will not put their services here. Apparently either the physical cable gets stolen or too many people hook up to everything illegally. This is why we have cable television that has 10-15 channels and 12-14 of them are so blurry it is impossible to watch. Randomly the psycho religious channel always comes in good. I started to inquire about satellite but I have been warned against it because people will just climb onto my roof and steal the dish.

I have days where I just get tired of it. I am sick of local websites that never work (from government to private companies). I am sick of having milk that tastes like powder. I am sick of the mosquitoes biting my feet. I am sick of waiting for our house to be built. I am sick of waiting for fucking EVERYTHING.

To boot, I am actually sick right now which probably is why I am in such a shitty mood.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Raining Bullets

So last night at about midnight, my nephew was getting ready for bed when a bullet came through his ceiling and almost hit him.

Luckily it missed.

Weird thing is he is on the third floor and in the tallest house on the block.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

How to get a drivers license in the Philippines

Here are the steps required to get a drivers license in the PI:

1. Drive to LTO and skip the line to meet with the local chief
2. Complete paperwork
3. Go across street and receive tiny plastic bottle
4. Go into restroom
5. Roll pants up to avoid two inches of standing water on floor
6. Try to pee in tiny bottle
7. Wash pee off hands from misfire
8. Cry about lack of toilet paper in bathrooms in the Philippines
9. Dig around in purse for tiny piece of toilet paper with blotted lipstick on it.
10. Wipe
11. Hand bottle over and receive paper stating no drugs in system
12. Go find Ado who tells you she did not have to use bathroom so she got a fake receipt.
13. Get eyes checked. Receive receipt.
14. Go back to LTO...Chief has stepped out so we have to sit with masses of people.
15. Sit next to Ado on bench while she sleeps.
16. Get kicked out of LTO by security guard.
17. Determine was kicked out due to flip-flops and some lady who was wearing them and denied entrance made a stink and got us all kicked out.
18. Stand outside and give lady dirty look.
19. Hear name called and go inside wearing Ado's shoes (two sizes too small for me).
20. Go across street and steal Kuya's shoes (two sizes too big for me). Give him my slippers to wear.
21. Sit in LTO and talk to a couple from San Jose. Exchange local numbers for sightseeing advice.
22. Chief comes back, pushes us to front of line and we receive our licenses.

Monday, July 24, 2006


I love rats...as children we had pet rats. They were cute and clean and would sit on your shoulder. With the rain comes rats. These are not in the house, choosing instead to hang outside at night and eat the dog food out of the bowls. These are not my cute rats..these are giant, ugly, brown rats.

I was on the phone last night with Mom and she had to listen to me yell at the rats. I spent the later part of the evening heaving empty coke cans at the rats. Needless to say, I did not hit any of them....I was not even close.

On the plus side, I learned a new tagalog word - Daga = Rat.


We have had two days of continuous rain. Often the rain here comes and goes...it pours for a short time and then becomes sunny again. Now it has been raining continuously and I do not mind it too much at all. Very nice for lazing around the house. Our boxes are supposed to be delivered tomorrow however and the rain is not conducive to keeping our items dry--especially the bed.

I like looking at the flooded streets......

Friday, July 21, 2006

F-ing Bugs

A mosquito just bit my foot. I always feel compelled to scratch them until they bleed. I am like a child in that regard.

The cockroaches here are huge--they put the ones in Hawaii to shame. There must be a direct correlation between the temperature and the size of the cockroaches.

In more bug news, the ants are out in full force. If you drop a piece of food from the table, come back in 30 minutes and it will be covered. In addition, the little ones bite. Hard. The big ones are grosser but they mainly stay outside.

We went to a pet store today and they had hamsters for sale for P80 (about $1.50). I suggested we buy one and feed it to the pet hawk. I was told I am now becoming a Filipino.