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!

Excellent Guides Free For Limited Time!

If you look to your right you will see we offer a series of StreetWise Guides: Divorce and Annulment, Safe travel, Customs & Immigration and the General Retirement guide. These are soon to be sold on as Kindle eBook downloads for $1.99 each. They are worth a lot more and yet we will continue to offer them here, absolutely free! Why? Not because we love you or are sweet guys but simply because it helps our traffic numbers and as we will soon be monetizing this site with some advertising opportunities,w e need to have the traffic numbers to attract good advertisers and charge a decent fee. Sound fair?

Don’t Trust ‘Em!

banner3This ad for a flight to Hong Kong from Manila for just P888, or less than US$25 is a come on. There are so many extra charges attached, many of them hidden and some, when booked online, you can’t avoid if you wish to complete the booking! This is very typical of how many businesses operate in the Philippines. Dodgy business practices we outlawed decades ago are still legal here and nobody seems to care. the reason is the businesses are owned by the rich who own the place, government included so why would they want to change anything? Unlike our countries where we believe the people are important, in the Philippines and many Asian and African societies it is the rich and powerful who are important and the people are there simply to serve them and keep them rich and powerful.

I recently booked 7 seats from Singapore to Cebu and return with CebuPacific and thought the fares were between SGP$39 and SGP$59 each, each way. Maximum total should be 14 x SGP$59 or SGP$826. The final bill after struggling through the online booking process was SGP$1832.60! So much more than what I expected I hadn’t loaded my MasterCard Debit card with enough money and the first attempt failed! We didn’t want 20kg of baggage, we were happy with carry-on only as the fare page said was what you got. We didn’t know you paid extra to choose your seat because I couldn’t progress past this point to the checkout without selecting seats! Then try and get a refund! Forget it. They don’t answer emails and calling them is an expensive international call that results in talking to someone with no authority whatsoever and about as much concern for the customer! Last time, Cebu Pacific, last time I will ever fly myself or my family with you, no mater how cheap the fare seems to be. Sharp ppractise in my book!


Vitamin R Update

The Philippines is full of good people, both locals and expats. One of those is American Jim Baumbach, a keen Rotarian.

“Rotary Clubs in other parts of the world will be needed to achieve our goal of reaching 1,000,000 Filipino children in poverty and children through out the world.”

To that end we have begun our quest to reach out to other clubs both in the Philippines and the world.  To date we have met with the Bacoor Rotary’s sister club, Pohang Songlee , South Korea and early in November with the Edison New Jersey Rotary.  Both are amazing in their warmth and concern for poor children throughout the world and the Philippines .
The Edison Club has encouraged VitaminR to apply for a matching Rotary District Grant and suggested their willingness to financially support our grant effort.  We thank them for their consideration and will follow their suggestion early next year in some form.
The Rotary club’s of Lancaster Hempfield and Lancaster South extended their warm welcome to the Rotary Club of Bacoor.  A banner from the Rotary Club of Lancaster Hempfield will be presented to the President of Bacoor upon our return.
A side note: I had the opportunity to meet the President of Darrenkamp’s market in Willow Street, PA.   On a visit to Home of Hope Orphanage in Bacolod Philippines , children received T-shirts with the Darrenkamp’s name.  The needs of children reaches the hearts of many and many respond with generosity that is greatly appreciated.   An act of kindness may mean little to the giver but a great deal to the receiver.
Our goal in December is to attend meetings with 5 additional Rotary Clubs around Lancaster as well as contact District Governor Dennis Zubler of Rotary District 7390. This is a wonderful experience and we expect great things for VitaminR to develop.
Please remember you may donate to VitaminR on through our website.  If you haven’t visited our Facebook page please do, many photos of the children and Rotary Club of Bacoor members in action.   You may also Like Us on Facebook.
This is the month we celebrate the birth of Jesus.  Small gifts of kindness to both friends and strangers are great ways to show His love.

Save A Life For Seven Bucks

Here is an update from the Vitamin Project operating in Bacoor. For $6.97 you can keep a street kid in life saving vitamins for a whole year. You’d spend more than that on a couple of beers at Happy Hour.

   VitaminR September 2012 Update
www.VitaminR. org

The children living in the squatter area on Santol Street in Meadowood have been relocated.  It is no longer possible to continue the VitaminR Pilot Project, with more than half of the original group now living to far away.  The Pilot was to run to the end of November, ending a full calendar year.

The good news with the relocation is living conditions for the children have improved and they are no longer living on the damp ground.  For the next update we will have the data compiled and the conclusions drawn on the benefits of daily multivitamins over a 10 month period for the children of the Pilot group.

The vitamins from Vitamin Angels have not been released by Customs here in the Philippines.  The national Dept. of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)  submitted the final request to the Dept. of Justice (DOJ) for the release of the vitamins.  We must wait for the release by the DOJ, hopefully very soon, of the vitamins.

The expanded Feeding program of the Rotary Club of Bacoor, in cooperation with Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Molino and VitaminR, is now feeding approximately 200 children each Saturday.  Cooperation is the key in reaching the maximum number of children with multivitamins and other very beneficial programs.

We can now accept donations online via our website.  Visit us at www.VitaminR. org, click the donation button and chose your preferred option of payment.  $6.97 provides daily multivitamins for a child for one full year. Please consider reaching out; a little can make a huge difference in the life of a child!  Thanks :o).

Jim Baumbach
VitaminR Coordinator
Rotary Club of Bacoor

Darwin to Cebu? We’ll see

Once more they are claiming flights from Darwin to Cebu. This is not the first time these flights have been mooted. I hope they go ahead and are hugely successful. Meanwhile, I can fly to Singapore on Scoot for $138, then on the Cebu for P3000, say $75. So for $430 return I can get from Sydney to Cebu and back via Singapore. Add a few bucks for luggage and better seating and you still are spending just $500 or so. The catch with the new deal will be the cheap flight into and out of Darwin for those who don’t live in in the NT.

New route to boost tourism, Direct Darwin-Cebu flights begin December
By Ehda M. Daggoc (The Freeman) Updated September 21, 2012 12:00 AMComments (0)

CEBU, Philippines – The Department of Tourism (DOT-7) announced the entry of Australian Northern Territory company Wild Orchid Airlines that will offer a regular direct peak demand charter flights between Darwin, Australia and Cebu on December 15.
In a statement, DOT-7 regional director Rowena Montecillo revealed that this move will boost the tourism sector, specifically in Cebu saying “Darwin’s proximity to Asia allows great opportunities for people from the Northern Territory looking for a new, affordable, safe and exciting holiday destinations for singles, couples, families and groups.
Wild Orchid Airlines has chartered a fully serviced and crewed Qantas Boeing 737 that has been booked to fly from Darwin during peak travel periods which include Christmas and the midyearschool holidays, Easter and the mid semester beak.
The direct flights will depart Darwin at 1:00PM every Saturday afternoon, during these dates, arriving back from Cebu at around 9:30PM that night. With only 3 1/2 hours flying time, Cebu will now be available for Darwin people.
Utilizing a Qantas Boeing 737 and crew, Wild Orchid offers a full service Economy and Business Class cabin with a worldwide recognized level of service. One can soon travel directly between Darwin and Cebu in a short 3.5 hour hop.
In the past, to get to the central Philippines hub airport, passengers need to take connections in Manila and/or Singapore – making this an arduous two-day journey with the cost and inconvenience of overnight stopovers.
With the entry of Wild Orchid Airlines, getting to Cebu from Darwin is as simple as a short 3.5 hour flight. It’s quicker than getting to any Australian capital city or any other international destination excluding Bali or Dili.
Record from the DOT revealed that Australian national arrivals to the Philippines only grew by 2.2 percent as of April this year, compared to the same period in 2011.
In the first three months of this year Australian arrivals to the Philippines totalled to 16,615 a 2.2 percent improvement from 16,263 in 2011.
Ealier, Australian government executives underscored the potential of the Philippines to attract the huge family tourists from Australia. This is one of the markets that Philippines should target in the Australia traveling market.
Cebu, for instance, has greater edge in attracting this particular market because of its good location, diverse attractions, and position as a convenient gateway to other destinations in southern Philippines like Boracay and Bohol.
Family Tourism in Australia is a significantly growing market because Australian families travel more frequently now. The Philippines, if it were to offer good packages, could be a new and fresh destination for this huge Australian tourism market. (FREEMAN)

Now You’re Cooking With Gas!

The price of a tank of cooking gas (Shellane, Gasul, Catgas and other brand names for LPG 11kg bottles) varies widely across the country. From a low of P690 around Manila to P1,000 delivered to your home in some of the farther provinces with an average price of P800. (US$20 approx) If you don’t use lpg then maybe you burn charcoal or rice husks, coconut husks or corn husks, depending on what is grown where you live. This is why most Filipino homes include a ‘dirty kitchen’, one situated outdoors where the smelly stuff is cooked.

Despite the fact the Philippines produces plenty of LPG itself, the price has shot up in recent years. Petrol (gasoline) has also increased beyond the reach of many as wages simply haven’t kept pace with inflation. Yet still there is a huge ‘middle class’ of over 20 million Filipinos who seem to be able to not only keep the existing malls open and in business, but also patronise the many new malls forever springing up all over the islands. Anyone care to comment?

Floating Side By Side!

From the Bournemouth UK Daily Echo, reprinted without permission but in the hope it will help!

These people are trying to help the Filipinos and are right in the middle of it, floating side by side with those they came to help. Let’s help them if we can, OK?

3:00pm Wednesday 15th August 2012
By Emma Joseph
FLOOD DRAMA: Residents try to salvage housing materials near a river after some of their
houses were destroyed by flood in suburban Montalban town, east of Manila, Philippines
PLIGHT: Jan and Derek Wyatt
A BOURNEMOUTH couple who gave up everything to help children in Filipino slums have been thrust into the middle of a natural disaster.
Jan and Derek Wyatt, pictured, quit their jobs and sold their home to move to Manila last month to set up a medical centre, pre-school, church and feeding project.
But shortly after their arrival they found themselves caught up in the massive flooding which has taken place in the last few days in the region.
The country has been declared a state of calamity due to typhoons and storms, with more than half the average rainfall for August falling in 24 hours and excessive high tides causing riverbanks to overflow.
Jan and Derek sent an email to friends and family to let them know they were safe, but are also appealing for children’s clothes and flip-flops to help those who have lost everything in the floods.
They said: “We have been affected by living this nightmare side by side with our neighbours as we helplessly watched the waters rise up along our street, enveloping one house after another up to six feet in places, and isolating our community on what had now become an island.
“Readying ourselves for the inevitable consumption by the rising water we moved everything up to the next floor only to be spared this with a feeling of great relief as the waters peaked at our door.”
Once the water had receded a little, Jan, a former nurse at Bournemouth Hospital’s surgical ward, and engineer Derek, distributed food supplies to people living down by the river, slum areas or camped along the roads who are now homeless or trying to rebuild their shelters and lives.
They added: “As we enter these communities and the people and children come to meet us with eagerness in their eyes, you cannot help but notice the piles of what look like garbage only to discover they are the remnants of someone’s possessions swept away by the water.”
Derek and Jan are now appealing for donations to enable them to buy food for the homeless and dinghies to help them reach isolated families, as well as clothes and flip-flops for children and young people of all ages.
Anyone who can help should email  or .

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!