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Archive for the Category "Living in the Philippines"

I screamed at all my neighbors, last night. Nov 06

At about 8:53, last night, I got a message from a friend / neighbor (Ron), telling me to tell my girlfriend to move her car. I read the message three or four times because we do not a have a car. I know this he knows this, so his message really confused me. He continues, telling me that Abby’s car is blocking his neighbor’s car in.

Literally, a minute later (8.54 PM) my doorbell rings, which caused my dog to go nuts barking. I told Ron that it rang and I complained that it was interrupting my work, because I was finishing up a class, which would end at 8:55 PM. I then went on to complain about his neighbor (American).

I realized that it was probably the same guy who had complained about the drilling noise that PLDT (telephone and ISP company) was making installing his internet connection. It was something about how his girlfriend works nights and she was trying to sleep. Meanwhile, it was the middle of the day. So, what did the guy want him to do about it? In short, the guy was just being a prick acting like Ron was being inconsiderate. It was just ridiculous.

Finally, I got around to asking him how he got involved in this whole thing. He copy and pasted the following image into our chat, to answer my question. Forgive Abby’s English. It is a work in progress.

Abby asking Ron for permission for her friend to park in front of his house

The red text is a “translation” from Abby’s broken English. What is funny is that I just showed this screenshot to Abby and even she could not figure it out. Her excuse is that she was carrying the baby and trying to type.

Anyway, I finished my class and I went downstairs. When I got down there I found myself alone. Abby, her friend and the baby were all gone. The door was open and I could hear a slight commotion outside. I went outside and found a group of neighbors out there along with the security guard. I guess I looked alarmed because the guard came right over to me and tried to reassure me by saying,

“It’s fine. It’s under control.”

For some reason I blew right by him and walked up to Abby, who was holding our child.

“What is going on?”

She filled me in by saying,

“Armain’s car was blocking someone, so she has to move it.”

She pointed down the street and I saw a strange cart parked in front of Ron’s house. I looked around at all the neighbors gathered around watching what amounted to nothing interesting.

black and white angry man jumping up and down

Combine this stupidity with my anger over having my class interrupted by the doorbell ringing and the dog barking (as a result) and I exploded. I started off at a slightly elevated volume level which rapidly increased to an angry yell as I returned to my home.

“Well, if people parked in the fucking driveways, instead of on the street, then this silly bullshit would not fucking happen! You all have driveways, so start fucking using them. Show some respect for your neighbors and use your fucking driveways!”

By the time I had gotten back to my house and went back inside the gate, I was so pissed off that I just kept ranting and raving. I cleaned up the dog poop in the driveway and went back inside, still pissed and still yelling.

By the time Abby and Armain (her friend) got back inside I had calmed down. I asked Abby if anyone (neighbors) had the balls to challenge me or say anything and she said they not only did not, but that they all agreed with me.

An interesting side note is that my neighbor, who had parked in the street blocking Armain from parking in front of my house forcing her to park in front of Ron’s (which caused all this) had parked in their driveway, today. It will be interesting to see how long that lasts. I am betting it doesn’t last long.

Why my neighbors are drilling wells Nov 05

So, the water situation in my subdivision is all messed up. The developer/owner of the subdivision was a cheap @#^$ and the water system here is no different. Several of the homeowners have racked up huge water bills. Part of the reason is that our water bills are double what everyone else in the surrounding area pays. This is due to some arrangement the developer has with someone. There is an utang (debt) or something. I am not sure. I never understood the explanation. Anyway, because of that several of the homeowners stopped paying their water bills. One of my neighbors owes 20,000 pesos.

There have been several attempts to get the actual water company to step in and take over. Unfortunately, they declined. They had sent a crew out to inspect the subdivision water system and apparently it was not up to their standards. Instead of the mains being steel pipe, the developer used PVC. From what I am told it will cost 500,000-750,000 pesos to have it all ripped out and replaced with the proper material. Not to mention that it will take months to do the job, I am sure. The developer refused to pay and the homeowners are not going to pay for it.

So, my neighbor decided to have a well drilled in the front corner of his driveway. He uses that water for the house. Today, my neighbor on the other side has started the same process. They have not had a water meter for several months. They have been getting drinking water deliveries every single day. the absurdity of that is it actually cost A LOT MORE money to do that than to just pay the water bill.

Anyway, I just make sure mine gets paid every month or every other month. They do not even make it easy to pay which is ridiculous, but par for the course, as well.

What makes me nuts is that in my old house, down the street, I was paying 200-300 per month for water. When I moved in here it was about 600-800 pesos per month. Now, it is up to 1,000 pesos per month.

My electric has also been going up. When I moved in here, a year ago, my Meralco (electric company) bill hovered in the 7,000-8,000 peso range. Lately, it hovers in the 9,000 pesos per month neighborhood. Food prices are also sky rocketing. As a result I have been SERIOUSLY considering relocating to another country

A friend of mine has recently moved to Vietnam and he loves it. Actually, two of my friends moved there, now that my senility has receded for a few minutes.

A taste of home: Cooking on a kettle grill, in the Philippines May 19
For many of us, who have been living in the Philippines for a long time, we start to miss the foods from back home. I know this is true for me. Very few homes have an oven, so many of the foods that we take for granted, back home, are hard to make here. A great example of that would be a Thanksgiving turkey or a cake.
A few months ago, my girlfriend (Abby) and I, bought a kettle grill at Ace Hardware. Ever since, we have been grilling meat, chicken and fish, very often.
Yesterday, Abby bought this nice THICK piece of pork loin, which still had the skin and fat layer on it. I trimmed that off and sliced it in half lengthwise to get two thinner (one inch thick) cuts. We barbecued it, in a kettle grill, after marinating the meat in BBQ sauce.
 
We also baked two really big potatoes, that we foil wrapped, and tossed onto the grill with the meat. I have NO idea where she is getting these potatoes, but they are bigger than what you would get back home.
 
I wish I could afford the bacon, cheddar and sour cream, because that would have made this perfect. Unfortunately, I am having some cash flow issues, at the moment.
 
One piece of advice I would offer is to start cooking the potatoes first and directly over the coals. Make sure the coals stay hot, by ensuring good air flow. Also, make sure to flip and turn the potatoes. Don’t let them sit in one position, too long, or they will burn.
 
As far as how to preparing them, I just rinse them off good. Dry them, but don’t get crazy. We just do not want them dripping.
 
Wrap them in tin foil / aluminum foil. Then poke holes in them with a fork. Yes, poke the holes through the foil and into the potato.
Advice for moving to the Philippines Jul 04
  1. You can’t help everyone here. You think you have a lot. Once you move here, it isn’t as much as you think it is.
  2. Make a budget and do your best to stick to it. Cause if you falter there are very few, if any, who will help you. For a tropical climate, this can be a cold and unforgiving place and I don’t mean the temperature.
  3. Visiting here is like ignorant bliss. Living here is a totally different animal. The things you learn and notice when living here are completely different from when you are only visiting for a few weeks to a month. TOTALLY DIFFERENT.
  4. Keep your passport & visa up to date and when you move here make sure your plane ticket has an open round trip. That means by a round trip ticket where the return date is not scheduled. That way if something happens and you decide to leave….you can. A lot of guys buy a one way ticket cause it’s cheaper.
  5. Be wary. A lot of scammers and bullshitters here. You’ve probably encountered a few, but remember. It’s not just Filipinos. A lot of foreigners here are scammers and bullshit artists, as well.
  6. Remember #2 and cultivate friendships.

Obviously, this list is incomplete.