The Good Things

Some Of The Reasons We Live Here.

the good things

NOTE: I wrote this in September 2004.  It was how I felt at the time. I still believe what I felt then was true. What do you think?  Feel free to email me directly at or post a comment to this blog using the link included below.  Perry April 2008.

You could be forgiven in thinking that this country is a nightmare, badly run and full of people just waiting to rob you of every penny you have. Not true. The Philippines is the Philippines, simple as that.

This is a great country with many wonderful people and customs, its just very different from the USA, Canada, Australia,New Zealand, UK,and Europe. Very different. If it was identical then there would be no reason to come here, would there?

There are so many good things to living here, not just having your retirement or vacation dollar stretching farther. There is still a freedom to do as you wish that is being legislated out of all existence back home. I believe many well intentioned pieces of legislation have been amended well out of their original context and now add to the problems they were implemented to correct.

The Philippines is still growing and developing, finding its place in the modern world, eager to advance yet proud of her history and hero’s. Justly proud, I feel.

There is corruption, incompetence and ignorance in every aspect of life, but it is tempered with an approach to life and living that is simple and refreshing. It is a fact of life here so accept it and focus
on your own problems, don’t try and save the world or at least the Philippines from theirs.

As a foreigner you have the luxury of being able to leave any time you choose and go virtually anywhere you wish. Not so the Filipino. So if they seem unaware of the “failings” of their country, who can blame them? If your own country didn’t have failings then you wouldn’t be reading this now.

Living here is a humbling experience and  for me, an empowering one. It builds your self confidence and self respect, it makes you appreciate the simple things in life we have taken for granted for too long.  You will only get out of a trip here what you are willing to put in.

Keep your mind open to new ways of doing things. Just because it is done a certain way back home does not mean it is right for the Philippines or Filipinos. Far better than I can say it, the words of
Lord Curzon, Viscount of India, express the love I have for this country and its people, while often wondering why they do it the way they do!

‘We must remember that the ways of Orientals are not our ways, nor their  thoughts our thoughts.  Often when we think them backward and stupid, they think us meddlesome and absurd.  The loom of time moves slowly with them, and they care not for high pressure and the roaring of the wheels.  Our
system may be good for us; but it is neither equally, nor altogether good,  for them.  Satan found it better to reign in hell than serve in heaven; and the normal Asiatic would sooner be misgoverned by Asiatics than well governed by Europeans.’

Powerful words as true today about the Philippines as they were about India over a hundred years ago.  Manual Quezon himself said he would prefer a “Philippines” run like hell by Filipino’s than run like heaven by foreigners.  Cynics might argue he got his wish but at least their destiny is in their own hands, more or less.

I may be among the first to rail against the almost feudal system prevailing here but there is so much good to balance against the bad. Having spent three  months now away from my Cebu home and back amongst my own countrymen, I must admit I see things differently.  My time in the Philippines mellowed me in many ways, it changed my perspectives and altered what was once considered important to a status less imperative.

I look at my countrymen, striving to live the great “Aussie Dream” of owning their own home, having two cars in the driveway and sending the kids off to university. The reality is that the homes are getting bigger while the land they stand upon is shrinking.  Everyone wants MacMansions yet the cost of land is too high to leave any room for a garden for the kids to play in.  But then kids don’t play outside anymore, its all Nintendo and computers and cable tv and who has the time in their busy lives to keep a garden in shape?

As for the cars, the government slugs you coming and going with taxes and duties and fees and fines and yet you still need to have the latest model and lots of space.  By the time your kids get to university they will probably hold little regard for you other than contempt given the media, their peers and society as a whole.  You owe them everything for bringing them into this world and the world owes them the rest. That’s not how it is in the Philippines.

I want my wife to visit Australia and see my country.  Hopefully hang around just long enough to get over the WOW! Factor and pick up on the reality, then be happy to return to the Philippines.  I have little to no faith my retirement superannuation dollars will be around when I reach the age the government have decreed I can touch them.  Instead I will look to having as many rental properties in the Philippines to live off as I can acquire between now and then.  In other words, like the Filipino, I will be looking after Number One, and the immediate family.  Charity does start at home, and my home is in the Philippines.

Emergency Accommodation

Sometimes You Need To Lie Low!

There is even more up to date information on this often never mentioned topic in the new eBook ‘The Philippines Survival Handbook’, OUT NOW!

Some time in your life you may find yourself in need of emergency accommodation, a  place to hide shall we say.  Why you need such a place is irrelevant, all that is important is that you need somewhere to go and you are in a foreign city, what do you do?

Luckily you bought this guide!  You have several options, depending upon who you are hiding from and how much money you have.  If you are on the run from the authorities then you need more money to stay hid. Don’t despair, criminals do it all the time so it can’t be that hard.

First of all avoid anywhere where you have to show ID to register, so keep this in mind if paying with a credit card. Better choice is to use the card to withdraw cash from an ATM and pay cash for your lodging. Even better is if you can stay where you don’t need to pay at all, like with a friend.  Make sure they are a good friend in case there is more incentive for them to turn you in than keep you hidden.

In Cebu you will stand out from the crowd because of who you are.  You can use this and hide in a crowd at a major hotel, be one of many foreign faces.  But you will be recognised by someone and it might be the first place anyone would look for you.  I would stay well away from 5-star hotels.

Right down the other end of the scale you stand out just as much if not more so and you can’t trust the people you’ll meet not to shop you for a few pesos.  I would get a taxi to help me pick up a hooker, then book in to the Queensland Motel, Amihan Motel or Jade Court/ Princes Court Motels and simply fade into the anonymity of rent by the hour short time sex hotels.  You need the hooker for cover, otherwise you will stand out and the first cop who calls in and asks about strange guests will be shown your door.

Another option is to stay away from hotels altogether. Plenty of all night bars around the place, or at least stay open very late. If you end up on the streets at 2am then it is four hours until dawn, head for
Pier 4 or the Airport.  People hanging around there attract much less notice.  A great, secret place to hang out if you need to stay free is St Francis Funeral Home on Cebu South Road, near the South Bus
Terminal.  There are grieving people there all night, every night and even as a foreigner it will be presumed you are related to one of the deceased. Just hang around in the shadows and look sad, this one works!  You can nip over to the bus terminal in the morning and get out of town.

Depending on when you find yourself needing to stay free, you can grab a bus to Manila or just over to Bacolod on Negros. Ceres Liners go via Tabuelan a few times a day and the Manila bus will keep you out of harms way for days.  At least on the bus you have somewhere fairly secure to crash and kill time.

Another excellent option is to take an overnight ferry anywhere you like, then come back whenever you prefer.  This is one of the great things about this country, you can move around pretty freely and there are so many options it is difficult to keep track.  You can take a ferry to Leyte then come back on the night boat and sleep in your cabin from 6 or 7pm (departure is at midnight) and wake up at 5am to find you are back in Cebu.  Clever application of the timetables can save you an arm and a leg in hotel costs, whether you are on the run or just getting from A to B!

There are many small resorts on Mactan and just north or south of the city where you could hide up and nobody would find you for some time, unless they were conducting a very thorough search.  The lovely thing about Cebu is that the climate is so mild that unless it is pouring with rain, you could sleep out under the stars every night and need little other than a mosquito net.  There are plenty of places to curl up and hide in and live a little rough for a while.  You will stand out but keep moving and nobody will bother you.

There’s A Name For It…TAMPO!

Surviving Her Moods, One Kano’s Way To Deal With Tampo.


Anyone who has spent any time at all with  Filipinas will know about Tampo. Sulking.  The silent treatment.  Filipina’s have it down to an art form that their western sisters may have once boasted, but have since lost the skill as their masculine side came more to the fore! Tampo is so terminally female, so illogical in its logic, yet so cruelly effective most of the time.  There are ways to defend against it, even fight back but none are as powerful as Tampo itself! Read on.

Tampo is an accepted mode of behaviour within the Filipino culture.  It allows for the offended party to display their hurt and offense without offending anyone else, including whoever offended them in the first place.  Clever, don’t you think?  Coming from a society where it is quite acceptable for someone to run “Amok” and kill as many as they can before being brought down themselves, Tampo is a far less lethal, yet just as effective way of getting your message across.  And nobody dies.
Yes, women do the tampo, men run amok, you didn’t think it would be the other way around did you?

So the gentler sex has this weapon at her disposal that can cut a man dead as quickly as a strike from a Bolo.  Not literally, but figuratively.  When you are on the receiving end of tampo, you know it!
She will not talk to you, harsh punishment from a woman of any nationality as women place more store in communication and conversation than men do.  For a Filipina, a person brought up in a culture that places the group above the individual and getting along with everyone in that group more important than personal advancement, not speaking to you is really playing hard ball.

For us foreigner men we might actually enjoy the silence, the hours or days free from nagging or shrew like remarks but this will be short lived.  She will tune in and realise that we are actually enjoying the peace and quiet and so she will up the intensity a little.  Some physical contact and cold shouldering will come into play.  Doors will be subtley slammed, plates crashed down on the table in front of us and other signals will be sent to show that we are being punished and that we should not enjoy the process!

Repeated attempts to get her to explain why she isn’t talking to you will be met with silence.  After all, she isn’t talking to you, remember?  If she did give you an answer it wouldn’t make sense to  your
logic restricted male brain. Nor would it necessarily be anything more than a representation of her emotional state, devoid of any tangible connection to anything you have ever said or done, but perhaps things you may have intended, thought or could one day perhaps, maybe, might, possibly do.  Like I said, forget logic, reason and trying to make any sense of the situation.  Simply accept you did worng, you are being punished and you have a duty to make ammends.

This will entail paying lots of attention to her over considerable periods of time.  No matter how much she ignores you, keep at it. It may take days or it may be only hours but slowly she will allow you to
do little things for her and she may even speak directly, albeit abruptly, to you.  Gradually she will soften further and tehn before you know it she will be the warm, loving asawa of old and you had
better warm up and forget the cold time and be ready to go on as if nothing happened!  If, like me, you find it difficult to be sexually aroused after a few hours of tampo, then don’t be surprised if she
goes right back into full blown tampo because you don’t love her anymore! You should be girding your loins as the ice melts and be ready to perform, studlike, as a show, proof shall we say of your love, devotion, fidelity, etc etc.

Remember, to a Filipina there is no shame in showing tampo, or being in tampo.  In fact the others in the family or barkada will have respect for her because she has a problem and she is dealing with it the right way and without embarrassing herself or anyone else by yelling and screaming. Like what us foreigners usually do!

Does it work the other way?  Can a foreinger husband tampo the wife? I guess you can but I realy can’t see it having the desired effect.  It really is a female thing but I really don’t agree with the men’s
way of showing their displeasure, beating up the wife.  The alternative is to grab the Bolo and “run amok!”.  I’ll try hiding in my den for an hour or two!

Concrete Or Compost?

We Discuss The Ground Level Of the Pig Business

concrete or compost

My piggery at Calape, part of the vast family estates, is a five bay (sty) piggery that has flyscreens to keep out the birds and a concrete floor.  The floor slopes downhill allowing the waste to runoff and into a large 12 cubic metre septic tank while the roof slopes the other way allowing rain water to fill the large rain tank at the uphill end of the building.  The stys are seperated by steel bars between each sty and also from the front where there is a walk space between the flyscreen and the front of each sty.

It is a neat set up that is easy to keep clean with hosing and scrubbing but it has its liitations.  When we choose a gilt to go with the boar and become a sow (and have piglets) we have to keep her tied
to a tree outside on rough ground for a month beforehand.  This is to ensure she can keep her footing when taken to the boar, who spends his time outdoors on rough ground.  I’m taking Mama Alice’s word for it here that this is necessary, but I wouldn’t want our girl to fall over when the boar is in the middle of the business.

Personally I would prefer to let the vet inseminate her for less than P500, no charge if it doesn’t take.  However, Mama Alice and Papa Jusing prefer the old ways and they have a lot of history with the
owner of the boar, apparently.  So the gilt gets to spend a month under the jackfruit tree, which is not necessarily a bad thing for a pig. Pigs love to root around and they have the snout to do it.  Concrete is pretty hard on their rooting instincts and so they get the urge to do something without getting the pleasure stimulae in return they need.

I am a big fan of doing things as naturally as possible.  My original plan for the piggery called for a courtyard to each sty that came out from the building and offered the pigs some rooting dirt. This idea was canned on the grounds that they had never seen it before and who wants to take a risk etc.  The other traditional Filipino way of building a pig farm is to buy a piece of rope and cut it into shorter lengths, one for each pig they owned.  Then you make sure you also have one tree for each pig and you tie each animal to its own tree and leave them there. It has its health concerns but the method is low cost, low tech and does work.  Losses due to weather and disease can be high though, but for some this isn’t a problem provided they can sell the dying pig before it actually croaks. Then it would be known as “double dead” when it appeared on the chopping blocks at the local market.

When I build my next piggery, I plan to make it ten times the 30 pig capacity farm we now have.  I also plan to have it as “free range”  as I can.  What I plan to do is to have several large, open stys, roofed
over but not fenced into small enclosures.  Have them big enough for groups of 30 or so fatteners.  The floor will be three feet deep of rice hulls, coconut dust and dirt, with lactobacilli generating good
bacteria and aerating the soil.  The pigs can void into the floor and it will be soaked up and do away with the need for an expensive septic tank.  Of the P100,000 or so the current building cost, P14,000 of it was spent on the septic tank alone, mostly due to having to dig by hand into rock and hard soil.

I will also have some pigs in a concrete floored sty and compare which pigs grow better, stay healthier and so on.  My bet is happy pigs will always outshine unhappy pigs and pigs with lots of compost and mulch to roll around in and root through will have to be happier than their cousins on concrete!  I invite anyone with an interest or any knowledge or opinion on this topic to email me at the Philippine dreams Forum and open the topic for discussion.  No times wasted talking piggies, I say!