Sunday, July 27, 2008

Random Thoughts

A few weeks ago we went to a championship basketball game. All is normal, but the guys play on a half-court instead of a full. Our team won. Woo-hoo!

We finally set up our grill. We shipped it here from the states when we first moved. One thing we did not consider was the size of the LPG tank. On the right side of the grill, there is a cabinet that the tank should fit into. The sizes here are different from the states, and therefore we have to have our tank outside. All of the ones here are too tall to fit!

We threw our first party here. Great thing about having a covered lanai is we have lots of places for the caterers to put tables. Everybody told me to lock up my good knives because the caterers would steal them, so I did. I still have all my knives.

We finally set up the furniture in our cabana......

...which turned into a nice drinking spot for my father-in-law and his friends. (Note, although I brought out wine glasses, they are drinking wine out of shot glasses.)

No party is complete without an uncle chopping the lechon.

Or a picture of the pig head (I have no idea who stuck the fruit there or why).

On other random notes:

-S&R now sells tampons!!!!!!!!!! This is the best news. I was so excited when I saw the boxes on the shelf. Tampons are impossible to find here. Seriously.

-We got a trainer for our Rott. This guy is the Caesar Milan of the Philippines. He makes my dog behave like never before.

-Our other dog (actually of mother-in-laws) is in heat and has her stupid period. Gross. I have to make sure there is always her blanket under her. People! FIX YOUR PETS. My mother-in-law refuses to get this dog fixed so until it ends, I am on blanket patrol.

-I am addicted to Five Cows (an ice cream place here) ice cream cake that is blueberry cheesecake. The blueberries are a little sour which balances out the sweetness of the cheesecake ice cream perfectly.

-Our new next door neighbor is a psychiatrist. I asked, and he told me there are approximately 500 psychiatrists in the entire Philippines. 80,000,000+ people and 500 psychiatrists does not sound sufficient.... I actually read on a message board for expats that the reason there is so little focus on mental health is because Filipinos do not get depressed. Yeah. Right. It has nothing to do with the fact that if one is having trouble putting food on the table or putting the kids in school, your depression or anything else is not likely to be a high priority.

-Hospitals here often have people selling cashews either inside the hall or outside. Best thing about going with my mother-in-law to the doctor is eating garlic cashews while waiting. My favorite seller is on the second floor or the Medical Arts building at Cardinal Santos.

-This is the coolest thing I have heard in a while (post dated July 27). As most of my family & friends know, the family planning situation here really upsets me.

-A few people here (many of them Fil-ams) when talking to me about the upcoming US elections, have asked me (when hearing I support Obama) if I am worried that when he is elected, "the blacks will take over." For real, what am I supposed to do with that statement?? There are so many bases to cover. I just don't know where to begin. Take over what? Who are these "blacks that might take over"? If there was more equality, wouldn't this be a good thing? If there were more people of color getting high government jobs, wouldn't this be a good thing? I just don't get it. And then there are the people (same people who pose the taking over query) that ask me if I am worried because he is a Muslim. 1) I really don't care the president's religion. I am still waiting for an agnostic president. 2) He is not Muslim. 3) If he was, who cares??? Final note on all this, as we can see by the current situation here is the Philippines (see above), a president does not necessarily support the groups they are a part of. If so, I do not think Arroyo would be figuratively fucking the women of her country.


Jonnifer said...

Random responses:
- That looks smaller than a regular half court. Where are they playing?
- Nice grill! You could cook a whole pig on that thing.
- Your party looks like it was very fancy.
- Your cabana is f-ing amazing! I want to swim in your pool.
- Good news about the tampons. In spite of being an oh-so-modern Western country, France is not hip to the menstrual products like the US, UK and Australia. They don't have OB or Instead, the two brands I like.
- There are such thing as dog diapers. Maybe you can get one made there.
- People in the PI don't go to psychiatrists because they are poor and don't have insurance! I doubt they are seeing many podiatrists but that's not because they don't have foot problems.
- I read the post in that guy's blog and it's actually disgusting. The men he describes aren't even part of the family; they're just unwanted sperm donors and partial bread-winners! Perhaps there's something they could be doing in Abu Dhabi? (I know, evil.)
- There is just a little bit more to a candidate than his race and his (incorrect) religion. I guess these people are off the hook so far as following the campaign and the issues -- what more do they need to know?

- A bonus response: PI is 128th out of 169 countries in freedom of the press. (France is 31; the US is 48.)

Andrew's Daddies said...

Hi There,
Great update. How were you able to move to the philippines. Did you need any special visa or anything. My friend told me that I would just need to exit the country once every 12 months.
Is that true?...

anna del castello said...

Wow, you are leavin' large!! Nice outdoor area, nice everything.

kikas_head said...

Jon-The kids are playing in Tondo. It actually is likely a lot smaller than a half court. A lot of neighborhoods have a full court but there is just no space there (basketball is the national pastime here). Yeah, there is not my brand here either but honestly, I am so happy they are selling tampons here it could be anything and I would be ecstatic. Woo Hoo! 128th is good!! The only stat I usually here is that this is the second most dangerous country for journalists after Iraq. Honestly I wish there was more indy media here....the major dailies read like one giant PR release.

Andrew's Daddies-Yes, one has to leave the country every 12 months which has never been a problem for me as I have a lot of family and friends in the Bay Area that I visit as well as an annual Hawaii trip. I usually leave 2 or so times a year. For people who have no reason to go to the states, they usually hop a flight to HK for a day or two. There are a lot of different options for special visa's here none which appealed to me. Most people either get a residency via marriage or a retiree visa (one only needs to be 35). The retiree visa requires a huge deposit (like $75,000). If I had an extra $75,000 lying around, I would not be depositing it in a bank here to secure my visa! There is also a quota visa one can obtain which I actually looked into and started to do the process but the paperwork required and cost was a pain (and not worth it for me at this time). I think they said the quota is 50 people per year from US.

Anna- I have closets! And more than one bathroom!! Such a difference from the older homes in SF!

tikay said...

i guess placing a fruit in the pig's mouth makes it less, uhm, morbid to look at that have a bare mouth wide-open for nothing? go figure

Andrew's Daddies said...

I've been to so many filipino parties/fiestas, the lechon does not effect me any more. I love a lot of filipino food...Sisig na baboy, adobo sitaw, pancit, and I'm a lover of filipino almusal (tosilog, longsilog..) yummy kasama garlic rice....Ang Sarap.
But the two things I won't go near is chocolate meat and milk fish.

Stephanie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Achilles Castillo Stamatelaky said...

Nice house. I wonder what your father in law and his friends talking about? I love hanging around with older people and just listening to them argue, debate and drink at same time, talking about Philippine politics and neighborhood gossips.

It is true Filipinos are less stress than other nationality but majority of Asian are easy going because of the culture and environment. Sunny weather, family gatherings and lots of friends.

Did you notice if there is a major problem or anything out of the extra ordinary Filipinos tend just to smile with issues of life and you rarely see Filipinos make a grin face about problems.

It is very contagious though that's what my co-worker in Boston told me. Americans are just hard working and never have time for other people as well as families.

In Asia family is the most important aspect of life.

Have you heard of Filipino time?

Achilles Castillo Stamatelaky said...

by the way they used to sell tampoons in the 80's and late 90's in the Philippines or still being sold but limited.

They pull them out in the market because Filipino women doesn't want to stick something inside the private part. ask 30 something filipina is she remember the commercials.

That's what my cousin told me she used to work for Leo Burnett in Makati. A markteting firm expert in consumer behavior

Katie said...

Nice post Steph!

What championships was this? A neighborhood league? Cute that its on a half-court!

Your house is so nice! I can't wait to see it and meet all of Ado's family, who I hope will be around hanging out with a few bottles of wine. Looks like you will have a blast in this new house.

I think the thing in the pig's mouth is for me to eat. Awwww, thanks.

OMG: "blacks taking over." Yeah, way too much to cover to even begin responding to that. And for the millionth time, Obama is effing Christian in a major way. Also, for the millionth time, don't matter anyway! This is the most tired subject ever ever.... ella ella ...

mtan said...

You can get dog diapers at Animal House along Aurora Blvd (maybe you could get the dog spayed without your mom-in-law knowing? She might realize the benefits after it's all over.).

I've heard the whole blacks taking over from other Filams in the US, I can't understand their worries either. Pinoys can be too narrow minded about stuff like color and religion. We're such a heterogenous society. I have a friend who still thinks that a movie portraying a white girl with a black guy is shocking. Makes me want to knock his block off!

kikas_head said...

Andrew's Daddies-I never really ate lechon before moving here so I still get really excited whenever I see one! I take a picture of the head to trip out two of my sisters who are vegan (the third sister does not mind--she eats canned rabbit)... they are not fans of the dead animal pics. I think lechon is to parties here what lumpia shanghai is to parties in the states.

Achilles-Bwah! It is almost worse to know that tampons used to be widely sold here and stopped! I am doing my part to motivate the masses and have so far converted two friends of mine. The thing that makes no sense to me about the lack of tampons is generally, Filipinos are really fricking clean. You can be on a crowded jeepney on a hot day full of laborers and NO ONE will smell. People are hyper clean (I often take two showers a day here--I have talked to many, many, many people who take three) so wouldn't tampons appeal to people just for the hygienic purpose? I figure if I get enough women to use them, they will have to start selling them more? Two down.....50 million to go!

Mila-Sweet..good to know about the diapers!! The durned dog finally finished but she bled for over a week! My mother-in-law would kill me if she ever found out and she is the boss. Can't mess with Nanay. The thing that surprised me the most about the black comments was that they have all come from people who live in the US or used to live in the US. People from here (who have never been to the states for more than a vacation at most) have not expressed this sentiment at all. It is kinda weird that the people who are (in theory) more sheltered do not have weird fears but the people who have actually been around a lived with people of other ethnic background are the ones that are concerned. I would have thought if anything it would be the opposite!

BCS said...

Was just browsing through blogs on google blog search and found yours... and even before I read anything on here, I thought that I'll probably enjoy your posts... and so far I am. :) I always enjoy hearing (or in this case, read) about something that I'm very familiar with from a different point of view so long as nothing demeaning/degrading/insulting is mentioned with conviction (I can't get this sentence quite right but I think you know what I mean).

Anyway, what andrew's daddies said about chocolate made me laugh. He didn't elaborate what it really is though and I have no idea if you've come across that dish yet. Well, just in case you still don't know, it's called "dinuguan" (pronounced dee-noo-goo-an)... and the dish's name literally means "blooded". Yes, the dark brown thing you see that is it's sauce (which looks like chocolate) is actually blood. Depending on who cooked it, it can be very tasty (if you haven't tasted it yet).

As for the psychiatrists thing... well, yeah, I haven't heard of anyone here who has gone to the psychiatrist. We do have insurance companies though, only that insurance is not something many Filipinos like to invest in.

I do very much agree with you with what you said about newspapers here... the same goes with news on TV (which I think is comparable to TMZ or E! News Daily reporting about current events).

Will be reading more when I have time, and for that, I'm adding your blog to my links list. Have a great (however rainy) rest of the evening. :)

BCS said...

By the way, regarding caption under the picture of Ronnie McD... Hilarious! :)

Anonymous said...

nice house! would u mine sharing which construction company did u hire?

Stella Arnaldo said...

There are tampons at Watson's.