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 Post subject: Life in the Philippines
PostPosted: Dec Mon 18, 2017 10:00 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 8017
Location: Baguio City, Philippines
As many of you are aware, I've moved to the Philippines. I haven't been here very long, but thought I'd share a little bit about things so far.

The one thing I'm missing about being in the US is internet service. Since I've been here today is the first time I've been able to actually use the internet. I'm in a small store just up the hill from my home, using the DSL and WiFi connection of the shop. I got a SIM card for my phone and added talk/text and data plans. I still haven't been able to locate a section of town that has a useable signal for data. I find that if I'm lucky I can get a intermittent 2G signal and load maybe one out of every dozen or so pages I try to access. I can get and send email and text messages because they don't require a steady connection, but everything else is difficult. This makes it hard to fix issues like "I don't remember my user name or password" requests that entail doing a database search to find them.

Fortunately there is a good moderation staff here to handle most of the problems that arise.

I'm living in a two house compound 50 yards down a steep slope from the entrance gates to the Philippine Military Academy (PMA). The PMA is the equivalent to West Point, with about 1000 cadets on the base. I'm in the larger odd the two houses, in one of the spare bedrooms. The family matriarch lives in this house, along with a full time live in maid and her middle son to care for her as she has health problems. The house is large and modestly furnished. Next door is a slightly smaller house with her youngest son, his wife and daughter. There are also a couple of other maids that come in daily to clean and do the laundry, care for the four dogs and generally run the household.

Downstairs in the big house is an in-law type apartment; two rooms and bathroom which I can move into, or a large open space (around 900 sq feet) that is available to be built out into an apartment. The smaller house also has a two room apartment available downstairs. I plan to move into one of the areas in the future. All of them need some work to be really liveable.

There's a two land highway that runs from the center of town past the PMA and my house. It's about a 20 minute drive and costs about P120 ($2.40) to go by taxi. There's also the Jeepneys, busses that look about half a century old and are often fantastically painted with copious amounts of chrome added to them. A ride is P15 ($.30) one way. Just hop on and hand the driver some coins.

Most things are cheap. I had a Filipino breakfast, a choice of beef, pork, chicken, or fish with a fried egg, garlic rice, tomato, coffee or tea for P99 ($2).

I got a new doctor, highly recommended and seems very knowledgeable. Unlike the US I didn't have to find one accepting new patients, or one that accepted by insurance, or have a long wait to see them. They saw me the day I contacted them and I paid P300 ($6) for the visit. I brought copies of my current medical records and they had be do a complete set of tests, blood and urine work, EKG, X-ray, and ultrasounds to update everything. Less than P10,000 ($200) for the tests, plus another P300 ($6) for the follow up doctor visit.

The city I'm in, Baguio, is up in the mountains, and everywhere you wait it's uphill. Somehow both ways. You walk to a restaurant, it's uphill. You walk back from the restaurant, it's still uphill. In town it's really crowded, like being in any big city, with hoards of people going each direction. It's compounded here by the sidewalks constantly having steps in them. Up two, then down one. Then Up another two, then down three. And don't step off in to the street, it's two steps down into the gutter and then one step back up to the roadway.

OSHA would have a field day here. Half a block up from where I am is an alleyway between two buildings. It's open to the street and if one were to trip would be a four story fall down concrete steps. There's no gate; not even a rope to stop falls.

And they drive like maniacs here. On longer stretches of road they drive along the center line, only swerve back to the proper lane when another vehicle approaches. They drive fast and close to other cars and just beep the horn and cut in front of others when they want to move over or turn. The roads smell like diesel fumes.

Everyone here is really friendly. The road in front of PMA is lined with small shops and food stalls. If I walk through the neighborhood little kids come up and stare at me and follow me. Adults often great me. "Hey Joe" is a common greeting to Americans.

I'll add some photos in the future (when I can get them from my phone) and will continue with my observations of life here the next time I have internet available to me.


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 Post subject: Re: Life in the Philippines
PostPosted: Dec Mon 18, 2017 10:20 am 
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Location: Haledon, NJ, usa
So... curious:
What determined where (area) or what town and building you are living in? Are you living with some people you know that invited you to come live there or did you just randomly pick a spot that seemed convenient?

Since things seem so reasonably priced.. why don't you just elect to live in some more upscale or more comfortable place where you have everything?

People everywhere are typically restricted in where they live to be either close to their job or their family or such.
But If you don't have any of those restrictions.. what then are the limiting things, if any, that determine where you decide to live over there?

Money limits everything.. but that aside, are you electing to be near great views, or city conveniences, or near an airport or hospital, or beach or a girlfriend or what?

I lived in North Central Thailand for a year back in 1963 when JFK was killed. Here's what life there looked like. Third-world life-style back then.

Attachment:
thailand 1963.jpg
thailand 1963.jpg [ 136.08 KiB | Viewed 5593 times ]


Attachment:
1963 - 64  Thialand  Pete 21 - US Army.jpg
1963 - 64 Thialand Pete 21 - US Army.jpg [ 57.21 KiB | Viewed 5588 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Life in the Philippines
PostPosted: Dec Mon 18, 2017 2:38 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: Eschew Obfuscation Virginia 23005
Alan:

Congratulations!

As I mentioned in your previous post about moving to the Philippines (we called it the P.I.), I used to travel in-and-out of there a lot. So I am pretty familiar with the country and its people.

Enjoy your new found home and surroundings. When you get to exploring, make Fort Santiago in the Manila Bay area one of your destinations.

Best of luck,

Terry


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 Post subject: Re: Life in the Philippines
PostPosted: Dec Mon 18, 2017 3:27 pm 
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Joined: May Sun 28, 2017 9:08 pm
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Location: 317 Mt Pleasant rd Whiteville, TN 38075
Ah, Baguio! Could not have picked a better place in the world! Relatively cool even in summer. Great scooter/motorcycle roads to and from Baguio.

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 Post subject: Re: Life in the Philippines
PostPosted: Dec Mon 18, 2017 6:07 pm 
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Congratulations on your new location Alan! I was stationed in the PI back in the mid-seventies in the Air Force and loved it. A co-worker and I rented a house off base and used motorcycles to commute. Baguio was considered a resort area of sorts back then and the somewhat cooler temperatures had them thinking Cokes didn't need refrigeration or ice.... when I kept asking for ice they finally gave me one small cube :wink:

They are very honest people there. When leaving Baguio one afternoon I saw a young boy chasing my motorcycle and when I stopped he gave me the small tool bag that had fallen off a few blocks earlier! Internet wasn't an issue then and I imagine somewhere like Baguio would be behind the larger cities.

Like Peter I'm curious how you wound up in the PI and especially Baguio?

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 Post subject: Re: Life in the Philippines
PostPosted: Dec Mon 18, 2017 7:47 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: Bossier City, Louisiana
Spent a lot of time in the PI in the mid to late 80's. Interesting place. As others had stated. Why the Philippines?? I do realize the cost of living is very reasonable. That was about the only redeeming quality I found i my travels. I do hope it treats you well!!!

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 Post subject: Re: Life in the Philippines
PostPosted: Dec Mon 18, 2017 8:40 pm 
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Joined: Oct Thu 27, 2011 8:39 pm
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Location: Houston, texas
Alan
How about a little something on health insurance
Do you plan to pay out of pocket for everything? even though it may be cheap?


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 Post subject: Re: Life in the Philippines
PostPosted: Dec Mon 18, 2017 8:50 pm 
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Location: Liberty, Missouri
I lived/worked in Korea, aka The ROK, as a civilian all during the 80s, there are many basic life style similarities outside the big cities in the two contries. Living as an ex-pat anywhere over there, will certainly alter your perception of what's important and what's not, and, after a few years you begin to wonder about the Yanks and their "key issues"!! :wink:

Spent a few days, several times in PI during the 80s, and the wife went there often to visit a friend and her family.

IF you want to spend a day just playing tourist, take the canoe trip up to Pagsahan falls, it makes for a fun day.

Diesel is the main transportation fuel in that part of the world, so you'll smell it everywhere.

Medicine and doctors were also very inexpensive in the ROK, and like most other things, Medicine was for the most part, cash and carry. if drugs were deemed necessary Doc wrote the drug names on a piece of plain paper, and off to the druggist you went.

For minor ailments you could just go to the local pharmacy, explain the symptoms, and you got drugs on the spot. The system worked pretty darned well. For virtually anything no prescriptions were needed, everyone was presumed "honest" and folks didn't seek medical advise unless they "really" felt sick. Much different than here.

Sorry for the disjointed response, but Keep the posts coming. I too would be interested in why you went and if you plan to stay an extended period of time.

Mike

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Last edited by Mikeinkcmo on Dec Mon 18, 2017 9:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Life in the Philippines
PostPosted: Dec Mon 18, 2017 8:54 pm 
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Location: Indiana
Alan, I hope you don’t use any recreational drugs. I heard the police like to kill drug users as soon as they are found, outside of the legal system. When their president brags about how many people he’s personally killed, that makes me worried.


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 Post subject: Re: Life in the Philippines
PostPosted: Dec Mon 18, 2017 9:30 pm 
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Joseph That kind of "enforcement" is somewhat common in that part of the world, remember the American that got "Cained" in Singapore a few years ago for some minor offense?.

Singapore also had GIANT sign in the gate / customs area at the airport, that read, "DEATH PENALTY FOR DRUG DEALERS" with smaller verbiage that more or less read, if you have drugs, and declare them, we'll confiscate them, and put you on the first plane leaving town, ALIVE. Trust me, many countries manually SEARCH ALL your bags with you standing right there.

In that part of the world ACTIONS do have CONSEQUENCES.

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 Post subject: Re: Life in the Philippines
PostPosted: Dec Mon 18, 2017 10:25 pm 
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Location: Gold Country, (Stanislaus National Forest) California 95235
Pbpix wrote:
What determined where (area) or what town and building you are living in?
For whoever missed the first half of the conversation last year viewtopic.php?f=2&t=327520

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 Post subject: Re: Life in the Philippines
PostPosted: Dec Tue 19, 2017 7:55 am 
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Location: Mountains of Mourne. Ireland.
Hey Joe... Lol.
Good luck with your adventure Alan, I sure hope it works out well for you.

Greg.

oh... where is Portland the cat?


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 Post subject: Re: Life in the Philippines
PostPosted: Dec Tue 19, 2017 10:47 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 7422
Location: Toledo, Ohio
Never made it to Baguio back in 1976 when I was in the Philippines. Still kicking myself for that. I also found the people to be friendly, for the most part and jeepney drivers to be crazy. Your getting a better exchange rate now then when I was there, 50 pesos to $1 versus 7 pesos to $1.

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 Post subject: Re: Life in the Philippines
PostPosted: Dec Tue 19, 2017 11:27 pm 
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Location: Haledon, NJ, usa
I was there.. once, very long ago... 1964 Clark Airbase ...and it was brief (18 hours) and at night for the most part.
I believe Clark is gone now.
I was on my way home from my Army Signal corps duty in Thailand.

btw
.. another surprising interesting place I got to spend a strange few hours was Goose Bay Labrador.
.... and Fraser Island off the NE coast of Australia.
..distant and very disparate odd spots around the globe.

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 Post subject: Re: Life in the Philippines
PostPosted: Dec Thu 21, 2017 12:32 am 
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I was there (Clark Airbase) too in 1969 on the way to Vietnam. We circled the base and I took lots of pictures of the B-52s. Seemed like hundreds and hundreds. I thought to myself...Oh Crap!


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 Post subject: Re: Life in the Philippines
PostPosted: Dec Fri 22, 2017 3:18 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 8017
Location: Baguio City, Philippines
I choose the house I'm in because I've known the family for more than ten years and they were encouraging me to move here. The house, while not extravagant, is an upper class home. The husband of my host was the Postmaster General for many years and the house have received many important people over the years, including past presidents. There are photos adorning the walls of many of the state visits.

My cat, Portland, is here with me. exploring the house and getting used to the strange noises around her. There are roosters, hens, ducks, geese, and turkeys nearby, making a cacophony of noises througho9ut the day. I'm sure she has an unxomfortable flight, as the plane hit turbulent weather most of the way, but she slept through most of it. Getting the paperwork was a bit of a challenge. I needed a health certificate from my vet (easy) and a list of vaccinations (easy) and an import permit. The permit requires an online application, and then three days later you go back to the site and download the completed form. Except it doesn't work. I spent hours trying, and visited the Philippine Consulate to no avail. The website had several phone numbers, none of which ever were answered. I finally had to get someone in the Philippines to physically go to their office and fill out the forms. It turns out the website was abandoned years ago, so nothing on it works anymore and they apparently didn't bother to tell anyone, as even the consulate didn't know that.

I originally had booked a flight that had one stop in Taipei, but then discovered that Taiwan has there own set of rules for animals, even ones just in transit, so I then bought a non-stop ticket to Manila. Rather than taking Portland on the bus to Baguio, I hired a car and driver for the trip.

The language here is Tagalog, although everyone speaks English as well. In fact, EWnglish is so prevalent that the Tagalog spoken is peppered with English words to the point it's known as Taglish. Bank ATMs give two language options, Taglish and English.

So I've been learning Taglish. It's actually pretty easy, as you don't need to have a real extensive vocabulary to say things. You just throw in the English word when you don't know the Tagalog one and it works perfectly well. For instance, you want to say "Let's go to lunch." You use a modifier that makes a noun into an action. You don't have to say "go to lunch", "play basketball", "watch a movie", you just as Mag beforehand. Mag Lunch, Mag basketball[/i], Mag movie. Then end the sentence with Tayo (we/us). So Mag shopping tayo becomes "Let's go shopping" (lit. "Let's shopping"). Perfectly understood.

I still haven't been able to upload photos. They're on my phone, but I haven't been able to get them over to my iPad to add to posts. Internet on my phone is through 2G connections only, and pretty shaky ones at that. I ran a speed test, and the time it actually was able to finish, put my connection at 170Kb. I went to the mall (SM) yesterday and connected to their free WiFi, but there was no internet connection available. I'll figure it out eventually.


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 Post subject: Re: Life in the Philippines
PostPosted: Dec Fri 22, 2017 3:29 am 
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Posts: 8017
Location: Baguio City, Philippines
I almost forgot. One very big plus for not being in the US. The news isn't constantly screaming about tweets and Senate races and all the minutiae of American politics. I read the paper every day and there's almost nothing about it at all. It's a completely different perspective. If I want to hear about all that stuff, I have to specifically go to an internet news site.


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 Post subject: Re: Life in the Philippines
PostPosted: Dec Fri 22, 2017 4:27 pm 
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Alan, I am happy to hear that you have arrived safely and are comfortable where you live. That is quite an adventure. I visit my daughter in Australia several times a year so I am familiar with travel. I also remember their adventure with bringing their two dogs to Australia. It was very similar to what you have described. There two cats were not part of the move so I still have them (since 2006). That said, I am very happy that your kitty is with you.

Side note, I was asked to watch a friend's kitty over the Thanksgiving holiday. Unfortunately, my friend was taken seriously ill a week later and ultimately passed away. So, temporarily I have 5 cats! But a neighbor is very interested in adopting him but that will be after the first of next year. I don't mind watching "Willow". He is a big boy, very vocal and nice.

Thanks for the updates, and I look forward to any pictures when you have the opportunity.

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 Post subject: Re: Life in the Philippines
PostPosted: Dec Fri 22, 2017 9:03 pm 
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Don Cavey wrote:
I don't mind watching "Willow".
What, no buddy named Mad Marty?

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 Post subject: Re: Life in the Philippines
PostPosted: Dec Fri 22, 2017 10:02 pm 
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It's good to see things are going well for you. That would've been a big change not to have seen a benefit. Hope the internet situation improves for you. It would make sense with the military academies' presence there. Continued good luck.

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