Category Archives: Expat Info

Learn Visayan – Cebuano!

Level 3 Front cover v1.0

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US$9.99 Each

Comprehensive yet simple and easy to learn, these are the best value eBooks on the market. A complete language learning system at a price any Expat can afford. each Level consists of ten lessons, plus vocabulary Includes pronunciation and information about the language and the culture.

COMING SOON!

  • Audio Visayan Pronunciation Course so you can hear the words as spoken by a native speaker!
  • List of Visayan Language Teachers you can learn from 1 to 1 and in small group classes!
  • The same course in Tagalog making it easier to learn both major Filipino languages!

 

It Has To Be Said

Recently I have come across more than the usual litany of languishing love lorn losers. Sorry, but that is the most apt term. Men who meet a Filipina online and fall in love with her without ever meeting her face to face. It happens and it happens a lot and there is an argument for the emotions generated by the online communication to be as real for the individuals involved as if they had met in person. But that isn’t my point and even if they met in person with no internet connection whatsoever there is no guarantee the relationship will be genuine or last. But there are some aspects that make it almost guaranteed to either fail or at the very least cost a ton of money and cause a heartfull of grief.

First of all remember there are some 50 million females in the Philippines and at least ten million of them will be ‘available’ at any one time. Try and count to one hundred thousand let alone ten million and you will get some idea of the scale. In other words, if she is a one in a million kind of Filipina there are at least another nine just like her out there waiting for you. So, like buying a second hand car, remember there will always be another one, faster, newer, cheaper and with less miles on the clock if you keep looking.

Secondly, if she is married and needs an annulment or divorce then run, don’t walk and find someone else. I know there are many happy ever after stories of men who have bankrolled the annulment and married their one and only and they lived happily ever after but mostly this doesn’t happen. Mostly she gets a ton of money from you that goes to her attorney if she is telling the truth, or her parents, siblings, boyfriend or husband. Annulments take years and cost thousands of dollars and even if granted can be overturned by the District Attorney whose duty it is, on behalf of the Filipino Family, to prevent marriage breakdown. I know, a load of rubbish but that is the law here. Look, it might feel great to play Ivanhoe and be her knight in shining armour but believe me, the humidity in the Philippines quickly tarnishes the shiniest of armour!

Be very, very careful. Of some fifteen couples my wife and I knew when we got married, more than half are no longer together and these were genuine relationships that progressed to marriage. I know many more chat cam love affairs that were just scams for money and much more. Be careful out there, fellas.

Canadian Goes ‘American’ In Philippines Court!

Seems the love of guns and shooting people with them has travelled across the border from the USA to Canada and then come all the way to the Philippines. The other week long term Canadian expat John Pope shot and killed a doctor and a lawyer and critically wounded a ‘fiscal’ (prosecutor) inside the Capitol Building with a .357 revolver. He then shot himself in the head rather than shoot it out with the police, I suspect. It seems ot me his argument was not with the cops but with those who had brought charges against him for various alleged offences.

Wile I do not condone ever the murder of anyone, perhaps Pope was driven to a place beyond the bounds of reason? He was involved in various incidents with locals at his sub-division and seemed like he felt his life was at risk. I don’t know the details but I do know other expats who have fallen afoul of the ‘Jose Rizals’ as I call them. Filipinos who think they are the social superior of others and resent the expat’s money and fair complexion. I have heard too many true accounts of expats being hounded and harassed and the law being used against them to ‘put them in their place’ by these people. Whatever the truth behind this tragedy, take it as a warning that if you live here then you need to be mindful there are a lot of ig egos and chips on shoulders and as a kano you stand out; you are an easy target. So be nice to your neighbours and remember it is their country. Even if we don’t behave like they do towards us when they are in our country, that doesn’t change a thing. It isn’t fair, I know. It’s da pilipeens and dats how it is!

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!

 

Retirement To Philippines On The Rise

So far the number of non-former Filipino citizens retiring to the Philippines has increased in the past decade. More and more Europeans and Americans in particular are preferring the climate and cost of living in the Philippines. We will hunt down the official figures and present them here to support our own observations but it follows trends in other countries like Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala and closer to home, Thailand and Vietnam as well as China.

The PI Is Not Very PC

One of the many things I love about the Philippine Islands (P.I. in the old US Navy vernacular)or Pinas as they call it themselves, is that it is not very PC, or politically correct. You still have politicians and government officials slapping criminals and scolding them on TV and nobody cries about their human rights. These are criminals after all! The fact they are yet to be found guilty doesn’t matter, they are accused and so are guilty enough to be made an example of. Don’t like that? Don’t put yourself in a situation where you might be a suspect or arrested.

They don’t let foreigners do things here and for good reason. Mostly it is to protect the monopoly held by one of the ruling families but also it means that locals will always win over foreigners. Even in court and even if the foreigner is in the right. I have listened as a judge explains that although he has to find the case in favour of the foreigner, the defendant is a poor Pinoy who has been manipulated by the rich Kano (he borrowed money off the foreigner, promised to pay back or give him his farm, then never paid and won’t give the deeds to the farm to the Kano’s Filipina wife). He says it would hurt the farmer too much and besides the foreigner has lots of money and he can always go back to America and so on. Not fair or just but you have to accept he has an argument there.

In the Pinas you can still do pretty much what you want to, especially on your own property. People will rarely complain for fear of you having more clout than they do. If they feel they have more clout then they might complain and they might win but if you play by their rules, this is rare. First of all, don’t flaunt your wealth like the better off locals do. Be nice, acknowledge you are not in your own country. Never criticise no matter how messed up and incompetent they might be and never call a Filipino ‘stupid’, even if he or she is.

In return you can drive pretty much how you like, just as they do. Make sure you mirror tint your windscreen and windows and never make eye contact and use the horn incessantly. Treat your helper as a servant, not a member of the family and now and then get mad at them to keep them keen. Too nice and they will rip you off because they know you won’t do anything about it. Know your place in society and maintain it. You are higher than others but not all. Trying to be nice and friendly to everyone only embarrasses those below you and creates contempt among those above you and shame for those at your level. If you don’t understand what I mean, ask your Asawa. But don’t expect a straight answer, it is not their way.

A Very Worthy Cause

Making a difference, one at a time

Following is information on a project several of us are working on.  This is an appeal for funds to provide daily vitamins with minerals to a specific group of children living in poverty.  A way you can make a real difference in the lives of each of them.

This is a one year Pilot program to determine the beneficial effects daily vitamins with minerals will have on the lives of these children.  Anticipated outcomes include reduced illness, better ability to concentrate in school and at home, better physical condition and more.

A monthly donation or a onetime gift will help begin this program.  Please give us your support.  I am available to answer any questions you have concerning this program. Thank you.

Jim Baumbach,
Bacoor Cavite, 4102 Philippines
(MagicJack  717-435-5284 free call in Lancaster, PA area)
09278274512 (cellphone)

MALNUTRITION

I am not a doctor but I see the effects the lack of proper nutrition has on children.  Without proper nutrition children are unable to develop physically and mentally.  Where I live in the Philippines children suffer from this condition in dramatic numbers.

In the Philippines 30% of the population, based on Philippine statistics, live on less than a dollar a day.  Rice is the main food of the poor.  While rice provides calories and some nutrients, it is generally processed into white polished rice with few health benefits.  The children will eat whatever they can to satisfy their hunger.   This includes white bread, cheap candy and fortunately seasonal fruits.

Can you help the 4 – 5 million Filipino children suffering from malnutrition?  NO YOU CAN’T!  It is too overwhelming.  What you can do is help a group of the children in a squatter area “Slum” that I have come to know.  They range in age from 0 to 16, both boys and girls.  There is a total of 42 and here is what we can do together to help them.

VITAMINS FOR THE CHILDREN

 

Daily multivitamins and minerals for these children will provide missing nutrition in their diets.

A simple multi-vitamin with minerals each day will give the child these expected benefits: increased ability to concentrate in and out of school, stronger immune system leading to fewer illnesses, general improvement in bodily function and more.

Here is how it will work:  The total daily cost for a multi-vitamin for the 42 children is $3.15, for a monthly total of $133.  Please make checks payable to:  Bonnie Gantz, and send to, 24 Plank Ave, Willow Street, PA 17584 will receive the donations, deposit the funds in a PNC bank account of Jim Baubmach who can access them, for free, in the Philippines. In the Philippines please contact me directly, by text or call and we can make arrangements. The vitamins will be purchased locally and distributed by the local Health Department or government agency, again, without cost.  A full monthly accounting will be provided to Bonnie by Jim.  If more than the $133 is collected it will only be spent for approved purposes such as the addition of fluoride or protein supplements for the children.

WHAT IS DIFFERENT ABOUT THIS PROGRAM

You may have knowledge of the people involved in this project.  There are no administration fees deducted and there is accountability on a monthly base.  The height, weight and progress of each child will be maintained by the local Health Department or government agency.  Group photos will also be provided as well as individual photos on request.

Pinoy Ingenuity

You have to hand it to the Pinoy when it comes to recycling and making something out of virtually nothing. In squatter areas where the interiors of the shacks they live in are dark nearly all day, they simply can’t afford to have the light on. Even though many steal electricity by dangerously hooking up to live mains, those who have it legitimately can’t afford Asia’s highest electricity costs. So how do they light up their homes? Watch the video clip from the BBC and see how they use recycled P.E.T. soft drink bottles and a little ingenuity to solve a major problem. It is eco friendly, virtually free (if you made your own from scavenged materials) and very sustainable.

Thanks to Peter from PhilippineDreams1 for the link to this report.

Even More Holidays For Pinoys

It was reported in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on the 23rd July that the President will grant another holiday, or in Pinoy speak, a ‘non-working day’. This time it will be for Eid ul-Fitr, the end of the Islamic observance called Ramadan. Tuesday, August 30 is the chosen day, which will come right on the heels of National Heroe’s Day on Monday the 29th. With the weekend this makes for a four day break except, of course, if you are a government employee required to work on the Saturday. So what is the real agenda here? Muslims make up about 5% of the population at best. Is this part of the Islamification of the world, or just a grab for some votes in Mindanao?

 

Age Limit Up In Angeles

The token lip service shown the other week in arresting owners, patrons and staff of only Foreigner Owned bars in Angeles city has brought about talk of increasing the age limit for licensed staff working in these bars from 18 to 21 . That would be a very positive move and lessen the chances a 16 year old (or younger) could bribe her local officials into issuing a city ID claiming she was 18. At the very least it would make it easier for owners to insist on more proof for the really young looking applicants. Will this make much difference overall? We doubt it.

In the Filipino owned bars that cater mainly to the local trade it will make no difference whatsoever if the owner chooses to hire 14 year olds. He will rely on his barkarda, his connections and his local clout as always. It is all so obvious to those who understand the psyche of the Filipino, especially when it comes to getting one over on the foreigner. One can’t really blame them, given how they were messed around for so long by the Spanish in the name of the church, then the Americans just took over even after the Filipinos had beaten the Spanish in a fair fight called the Kapitunan Revolution of 1896-98. They have to put up with a culture that idolises anything from overseas as being superior to the Pinoy version, has half the population doing whatever they can to have lighter skin tones (whitening cream is the No1 selling item in drug stores everywhere) and of course people throwing in English phrases amidst their Tagalog just to show they are upscale enough to speak Taglish.

All of which is fair enough. It is their country and if one moves there and operates a business then one must expect the playing field to be less than level. Regardless of how it might be level for them back home should they come to your country and set up shop, this isn’t your country, it is theirs. This is how it is, get used to it. The thing is, you can play the game their way, too. You will never be as good at it or as well connected but you can use the same two faced set of ‘rules’ to your advantage. Always pick your battles carefully and make sure you have more money and connections than the other guy. Don’t hesitate to treat people like dirt and use them to your own advantage and never, ever feel remorse or pity for anyone less fortunate than you. That’s their lot in life and not your fault so ignore them if you can and use them if you can’t. Remember, this is a catholic country so you will be forgiven your sins and the lot of the less fortunate will be much better when they go to heaven so why worry? See, they’ve got it covered.

Either follow those simple rules or don’t compete with locals for the peso. Go back to your own country and run your business there or enjoy living in the Philippines and make your money online, offshore or somewhere other than the Republic of the Philippines. Walay problema, di ba!