eBook Update

I have recently taken over all operations connected to the sale of my eBooks. I had let some aspects slip into hands that were busy with other matters and consequently sales dropped. I am hoping to rebuild the business to where it was two years ago, a place where you could comfortably live off it if you were living in the Philippines. Not manila or Angeles City perhaps but Cebu possibly and any provincial city certainly.

While the cost of living is up in recent years, it is still cheap to live there other than the fact the Philippines has the most expensive electricity in Asia. Some say it is the fault of the rich ruling families who own the infrastructure and give themselves discounts on their own power, rarely re-invest any of the profits in infrastructure and just pocket the money from a utility people must have. That may or may not be true but there is no question electricity is pricey here. Food is expensive too if you shop in the supermarket and buy western food items. If you keep it pretty native it is still cheap and of course, most poor locals don’t eat much and don’t eat as often. That’s why they aren’t fat slobs like us furringers!

I am translating the eBooks into German and Spanish and hope to sell a ton of them to these new markets. I am also planning on translating my novels into Visayan and Tagalog to give those learning the languages here something to read above an elementary school level reader. Stay tuned!


The Reasons Tourists Come

There is no denying the natural beauty of the Philippines, matched perhaps only by the beauty of the Filipina and also the friendly hearts of the Filipinos. In a country of over 7,000 islands and many different languages and dialects there is so much to see and so little time to see it all for most of us. Even living there for several years I only saw a lot of what I did see because I had a job requiring me to drive around and see it!

Another great reason for coming is not so much the cuisine, which is not as varied or as extensive as in neighbouring countries like Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, but rather for the memories it can evoke. This simple repast of rice, eggplant, fish and prawns was cooked on board a banca, hired for the day in Coron. The two boatmen were great guides and took good care of their guests. Simple fare, but enjoyed al fresco in a superb setting. Sadly many of the hotels and local eateries never came close to this meal for cleanliness, taste and value.

The good news is the government of President Acquino is trying hard to drag their countrymen into the 21st Century. They are clamping down on corruption and incompetence and doing their best to make the place as tourist friendly as they can.  It isn’t perfect and while nowhere is, the irritating things really need to be taken into perspective and kept in mind they are not that big a deal, really. Most places are pretty remote and the people looking after you have not had the benefit of your education and experience. They are trying their best and rarely do anything nasty on purpose. Overall, a vacation in the Philippines is one you will remember for ever and with very fond memories.

The Reasons Tourists Stay Away

When it comes to taking a shower, it can be the last thing many people ever do. More accidents occur in the home and within the home, in the bathroom, than anywhere else. All jokes aside, this is a deplorable situation that is all too prevalent in the Philippines today So called hotels and guest houses claiming they offer hot water and instead, present the guest with a dilemma. Do I risk electrocution, or do I take a cold shower? Not a major issue most places but in Baguio, where this shot was taken, it can be a tad chilly.

So my friend asked Reception to provide the hot water he had paid extra for and below you can see the very Pinoy solution. A bucket, tabos (ladle) and a thermos of tepid water! This hotel was not the one where he asked for a 7.30am breakfast followed by an 8.30 am shuttle to the local tourist attraction. That hotel had the times round the wrong way so at 7:25am, expecting whatever passed for breakfast, he was advised he was keeping the shuttle waiting and could he please get a move on? My friend made the common enough mistake of asking the clerk, the same one he had booked the breakfast and shuttle with the night before, why didn’t it seem odd to him to have your breakfast served an hour after you have just departed on the shuttle for a three hour drive? His reply? “You will hab to eat berry pas, sor!’ Totally missed the whole point.

The sad thing is, my friend has come across this incompetence and stupidity at just about every single place he has visited or stayed in the last two weeks. This is what passes for acceptable service in the Philippines. No wonder the tourists are staying away in droves! He has toured Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Mexico and Peru and tells me nowhere is as much of a joke as the Philippines. Fortunately he has a sense of humour and laughs a lot of it off, like being charged  P40 for a blanket in Baguio. He distracted the staff with some fun and banter and silly games until they let him have the blanket free of charge. It was like negotiating with small children, apparently.

When is the Philippines going to get it? They have thousands doing hospitality degrees that prepare them for nothing because the all pervading national culture of pakikisama rules. Forget trying hard or using common sense or thinking, just do it as it has always been done by everyone so that you can’t be blamed if it goes wrong, which it will because not every time is the same. This attitude is everywhere in the country and is probably the biggest chain holding the place back. That and the food, the transport, the corrupt officials, the traffic, the filth and garbage… I could go on. The only redeeming feature is that, ignorance and stupidity aside, the Filipino and Filipina are just really nice people and that has kept them from being swamped while in their own country… and helping them rise and shine the moment they get free and live abroad.

Philippines Town Has Guinness World Record

The small town of 37,000 people in Bunawan, Agusan del Sur are the proud owners of the longest crocodile in the world. Guinness World Records has made it official with a call to the Mayor, Edwin Cox Elorde. The locals caught the giant saltwater or estuarine crocodile last September after the reptile ate several locals. Now it is providing much needed tourist income to the small town yet of course, locals wonder how many more are out there, lurking in the rivers near their town. Moreover, is there a bigger one!