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Archive for the Category "Only in the Philippines"

They just don’t think do they? Jan 09

It was between 11 AM and noon on Sunday, the 9th of January 2012 and Jenn starts yelling up to me to shower. Having been in this situation with her before I asked if the kids had showered yet and she tells me,

“It’s raining.”

It’s raining? Where? In the CR? What’s rain got to do with it?

So then I ask if my hot water is made so I can shower because we don’t have an inline hot water heater.  Well, of course it’s not so I say,

“Why are you yelling at me to shower if you didn’t make me water yet?”

So I go down…I fill the teapot and put it on the stove….meanwhile, my daughter Nikki gets naked and goes in the CR to shower. SO MUCH FOR NOT GIVING THE KIDS A SHOWER!!!

The really sad thing is that was the 3rd idiot move of the day unless you count the medicine incident at 4 AM in which case it would be her fourth. LOL LOL

The 4 AM medicine blunder

The baby has a SLIGHT fever and as usual Jenn is making a big deal about it. Anyway, the baby was due for medicine at 1 AM but she was asleep. She (the baby) wakes up at 2AM and she and I were up untill 4 AM. I ask Jenn about the meds at 3AM but I got no reply from her. Then at 4 she decides to give it to her but the baby had fallen asleep.  So of course it doesn’t work out quite as well as I am sure she figured it would. I am sure she figured she could give the baby medicine without waking the kid up but….

Sleeping 8 month old baby + liquid medicine + 5 ounces of milk previously consumed = choking which leads to puking…ALL OVER THE NEWLY CHANGED BED SHEETS.


Are Filipinos pyromaniacs? Jan 07

One of the things you see quite often living in the Philippines is burning piles of leaves and/or garbage.  The reason they burn garbage and leaves is because people in the Philippines don’t have the luxury of a garbage pickup twice a week like we have in the United States. Also most people don’t have big garbage cans because when you have them they are promptly stolen. TRUST ME! Been there done that. So instead they use big empty rice sacks that they keep outside in lieu of garbage cans.

But I see AND SMELL burning piles so often that I am starting to think it’s more than just an economic thing. I am starting to think they have this deep rooted desire to see flames and smoke. I wrote a post recently about New Years and kids/adults with firecrackers and fireworks but today I saw something that made me realize it’s more than those two isolated incidents.

I was walking my dog and I saw 2 separate burning piles, a field with a good 10 square feet of scorched grass with a giant branch burning, and then when I got outside the gate I was surprised (although not sure why) to see two kids playing with a lighter and some paper.

As I walked my dog I thought about it and maybe it just never hit me before but I realized I see this kind of thing pretty damn regularly since moving to the Philippines.  When I say I realized it I mean the extent to which they use fire and burn stuff. I have always known they burn stuff like garbage and leaves because I complain about it constantly.

As if it’s not bad enough that they are choking out the entire street but it’s also incredibly bad for the environment. It’s doubly hysterical because then Filipinos will complain about big companies destroying the environment here but they litter incessantly, drive around in diesel powered jeepneys, and lord knows what else.

UPDATE – January 13, 2012 @ 10 PM

I was out walking my dog and we stroll down by the basketball court and there is a group of teenagers sitting there in the dark and they are lighting a fire right there in the basketball court against a wall.

At first I just shook my head but then I realized they were actually doing it to keep warm. Now for the record none of them were homeless or anything like that. They were just hanging out and I guess they were too lazy or stupid to go home and get a jacket or whatever.

I could understand if they were homeless or out camping but they were a block or two from their houses and in the middle of a basketball court.

UPDATE – January 18, 2012

I just read an article about a 32-year old Filipino man who died from tetanus due to a wound he received lighting New Years fireworks.  Apparently, he never went to the doctor for a tetanus shot and by the time he got to the hospital (3 weeks later) he ended up dead.

UPDATE – January 20, 2012 @ 11:00 PM

I just got home from walking the dog and I saw 2 teenagers lighting a fire, to keep warm, about 4 feet from a bamboo church. Why the flames had to be 3 feet high…I HAVE NO IDEA!

UPDATE – February 8, 2012 @ 3:00 PM

I was walking my dog and I noticed the trike drivers were burning a small pile of leaves and across the street from them a young girl was lighting a much larger pile on fire. I guess it would have made too much sense to combine the piles and light one fire.

At any rate here is a video of the bigger pile burning.  OK, so I didn’t film the Filipino but you can see the pile of leaves burning. I know I could have gotten closer but with the sun shining I could barely see the screen on the phone so I didn’t notice I was too far away. Actually, I wasn’t that far away. I was on the opposite curb.

Celebrating New Years in the Philippines Jan 03

Well, the holidays are officially over and 2012 is well under way. I purposely waited a day or two to write this post because you never know what will happen and I wanted to make sure I could include everything.

The first thing you need to know about spending New Years in the Philippines is there are fireworks. You may be used to fireworks in the US on the 4th of July but here it’s a whole new ballgame.

Most fireworks displays in the Philippines are not organized by the city or any other government agency like they are in the USA. Instead, they are done by private citizens right outside their homes. In addition to that there are lots of people with simpler fireworks like firecrackers (M-80’s, Thunderbombs, etc….), Bottle Rockets, Roman Candles, etc….

But there is one major difference. Here in the Philippines YOUNG children are allowed to play with the firecrackers/fireworks listed above with out any parental supervision. Of course this is nothing new from what I see on a daily basis in regards to how some parents in this country deal with their children.

At any rate on January 1st 2012 The Associated Press put out an article about how 454 Filipinos were injured by firecrackers and 18 more by gunfire (remember those old western movies where they fire their guns in the air to celebrate) despite a government sponsored awareness campaign about the dangers of firecrackers. Surprising? Not if you’ve lived here for any length of time and have had the chance to observe some of the insane things that Filipinos do.

2 year old injured by gunfire on New Year's in the Philippines

With that being said,  the Philippines on New Year’s Eve is not a safe place to be and I for one recommend staying indoors. If you live in the Philippines have a fire extinguisher handy in your home and watch your neighbors carefully to ensure they are not pointing fireworks in a direction that might threaten your home or your neighbors home as fires to spread quickly.

Actually, three fires broke out in the National Capital Region (NCR) alone because of firecrackers. I remember last year my neighbors firing Roman Candles into the air and his wife actually pointed it behind her towards her house to keep the flash from her eyes. I ran outside and corrected her and told her of the danger.This year I was home alone, Jenn took the kids to her mother’s house because she was mad at me, so I kept a close eye on my neighbors through the window.

Some of the ofher effects of New Years in the Philippines were about a dozen planes had to be diverted from landing due to the smoke caused by firecrackers.  In addition to that two gangs decided to slug it out in front of the main government hospital in Manila.

I want to point out that on New Years most Filipinos are out to have a good time just like people in America would do but sometimes stuff happens. It just so happens that stuff happens here quite often and usually it’s due to childish antics and stupidity on the part of young and old alike.

I remember spending New Year’s Eve in Angeles City (2004) and John warned me about how dangerous it could be and he suggested that I should lock myself up in my hotel room. As with any tourist (as I was at the time) I ignored his wisdom and I took my girl out (as it happens it was Jenn) to dinner and on the way back to the hotel we encountered some kids in the street who thought it would be funny to fire some bottle rockets at the foreigner (me). At any rate I reacted angrily and thinking back on it I am rather surprised I didn’t get myself into a sticky situation.

Many of you may be wondering about the significance of firecrackers / fireworks at New Year’s in the Philippines.  Simply put there is a LARGE Chinese influence in Filipino culture and as such they believe that noisy celebrations on New Years ward off evil and bad luck.

This may seem like nonsense to you and I but Filipinos are very superstitious people. Many are also a bit childish and irresponsible which explains why so many of them get hurt or allow their children to play with firecrackers unsupervised.

Filipino Math Dec 31

I just got home from an interesting adventure.  My friend John messages me on Yahoo earlier and asks me to go to store with him to buy an egg pie for New Years Eve. He know I am home alone tonight because Jenn is being a retard as usual and went to her mother’s. I am not complaining because I never really saw anything special about New Years in the Philippines and so I was content to have a nice quiet (except for the noise outside) night alone.

He tells me how his wife told him an egg pie costs no more than 500 pesos. Sensing this was a bit high he asks her to explain why she thinks it is so high. She tells him when she buys it by the slice it costs between 12-17 pesos per slice. So he splits the difference and does some math.

15 x 8 = 120          17 x 8 = 136          20 x 8 = 160

OK, so there is no way this will cost anywhere near 500 and he tells her that. Of course she realizes her error and says,

“Well, maybe it costs 27 pesos per slice.”

So once again John does some quick math because he’s still dubious.

27 x 8 = 216          30 x 8 = 240

Obviously, we’re still coming in way under 500 pesos here. We’re not even at half of 500 here. But he laughs and shakes his head as you have to do when living with a Filipina and makes his way to my house since I live closer to the gate and the jeepneys.

We are on the jeepney laughing and joking about his wife’s math skills and we arrive at Goldilocks (bakery chain store in the Philippines) and we go inside and we see the price is 200.  Let’s keep that a secret because when he got home he told her it costs 600 for the pie. LOL LOL LOL

At any rate after wrangling with the rocket scientist behind the counter to make sure he puts the right thing in the box we go up to the counter to pay and had to repeat to the guy what’s in the box like 3 times. Even the security guard is saying, “Egg pie!’ to the cashier. LOL LOL LOL

So the cashier is counting John’s change and is counting dropping 10 peso coins in John’s hand one at a time after already handing him a 500 peso and a 50 peso bill.


I just had to laugh. The guy couldn’t figure out what came next and kept pausing as he is counting. It was the funniest thing considering what John and I were just talking about in regards to John’s wife. So with in an hour we had 2 Filipinos who couldn’t do simple math nor count.

So we get outside and we are joking about the rocket scientist cashier and he spots this vendor selling sparklers. He knows the price so as  a test to see if she’d charge him the “foreigner tax” he asks how much they are and of course she has to pause and think about the price.

Finally she blurts out that they are 4 boxes of 5 sparklers for 10 pesos. Then she adds on that the bundle of 10 boxes is 30 pesos. I just looked and smiled because that means to buy them as a package of 10 is going to cost more than it would to buy them as single boxes. HOW STUPID IS THAT? Usually, if you buy a bulk package you get a discount right?  So here she’s not only not giving us a discount for buying in bulk but she’s actually charging an extra 5 pesos because if you buy them as 4 boxes for 10 pesos then 10 boxes should only cost 25 pesos not 30.

Now we are laughing again because 3 separate Filipinos inside of an hour can not do simple math.

Cell Phone Feature Wish Dec 30

I was talking to a Filipino I used to work with and she told me that she wished her cell phone / mobile phone had a feature that let her send a voice message to someone because she was sometimes too lazy to type an SMS text message.

When she said this I started to laugh and then I asked her,

“Well, why don’t you just dial the number of the person you want to message and talk to them?”

I guess this had never occurred to her because she says to me,

” Yeah. I guess I could.  Couldn’t I?”

At this I had to laugh some more.  My first instinct was to think she was a moron or just absent minded but in actuality she’s a very smart girl. Obviously, living in the Philippines gives a person a much better understanding of Filipinos and how things are done here.

Filipinos will send texts (SMS text messages) a lot more often than they will make a phone call where as in the US and other countries we prefer to talk directly to the person opposed to taking the extra time and effort to send a text.

Why do they do this? Why do things the hard way? Well, usually I would say that’s their logic system but in this case there is  very good reason for it.  Simply put text messages are cheaper.

However, things are starting to change and that trend is starting to reverse itself but it’s slow going. With the advent of the unli-plans Filipinos are changing the way they use their phones.

What’s an unli-plan you ask? An unli-plan is when you pay a flat rate to either send an unlimited number of texts in a 24 hour period or you can make an unlimited number of calls in a 24 hour period.