Category Archives: Romance

Penpal Or Scam Artist?

It is no secret that a lot of men find happiness and a new life in the arms of a Filipina. Often she is two or more decades younger than he is and this alone causes tongues to wag, heads to turn and so on. If one were totally, brutally honest it would be easy to confess that the attraction is an exchange of youth and sex on the one hand and security and a better life on the other.

Most of the women men will meet via these penpal sites, although by far not all, will not be int he upper socio-economic echelons of Filipino society. It is rare to see a 20 year old girl from a wealthy family walking arm in arm with a man 40 years her senior, yet that is commonplace with Filipinas from the province and much poorer families. Who is anyone to comment or judge on the sincerity of their relationship? Even if he is after sex and someone to take care of him and she is after someone who can take her to a better life abroad and help her care for her family… so what?

Realistically, such a marriage has a better chance of producing happiness than one based purely on some adolescent romantic fantasy ideal. All through history marriages have been made for reasons of wealth, security, land gain, advancement and so on with ‘love’ rarely getting a look in. Who’s to say that genuine affection and love doesn’t blossom over time, let alone that your concept of love is any more valid or honourable than mine or the next person’s.

Of course there are scammers on both sides. There are the desperate, should know better middle aged and older American or European who treats these women’s feelings like a doormat and their bodies like a rag to wipe themselves on when they have had their fun. There are also the professional penpals who know how to milk the men who are genuinely looking for someone in their lives they can love, cherish and provide for.

On the 6th Anniversary of ‘Filipina 101 -How To Meet And Marry The Filipina Of Your Dreams‘ I am looking at the state of the Fil-Am penpal scene in 2011 with a view to updating the text for 2012. The first step in that review is to look at some of the penpals, both male and female, working the web today. So far it has been an eye opener, even for jaded old me.  Click on the link and come and read the report and keep checking back as new information comes to hand. You might even learn how to detect a scammer, or whether she is really a he!

Quick And Cheap Annulments!

Well, if I was to be given a Peso every time someone has asked me about getting an annulment in the ‘no-divorce’ Philippines I would have enough money to buy a few cold San Miguels, let me tell you! The reality is you can get an annulment but up until now it has been long, slow and expensive. And more so when they know a Kano is waiting for the Filipina to become marriageable once more.

While the cynical old hands among us would usually advise you find another one, once you have fallen for your Filipina that is not an option. We get all chivalrous and start polishing our steeds and grooming our shining armor or whatever. So if you are determined to set her free, here is some info from an expat I have known online for many years and we have mutual friends, we may even have met at some point. I will call him ‘Mr Fixit’ for now as he wishes to remain anonymous. He also has some other great information that we will post here as soon as he sends it in.


Often foreigners meet Filipinas via the Internet dating/friendship sites. Many of the foreigners are retired workers and have been divorced or widowed or never married and are seeking a companion in their twilight years. The Philippines is a popular country in which to retire in due to the abundance of smiling, happy and willing women. An added attraction is the substantially lower cost of daily living.

Many of the Filipinas looking for partners through the internet are desperately searching for a better way of life so a 20 years old woman corresponding intimately with an often-overweight 60, 70-year-old foreigner is very common.   Many of the women and (their immediate family) expect the foreigner to marry them.  Frequently, there is an impediment to a marriage as the woman is already married but separated from her spouse. There are many women in this situation simply because they do not have sufficient money to pay the attorneys.

There is no divorce available under current Philippines law, although an annulment of a marriage is possible through the courts system.  Many law firms specialize in handling annulments, however, the legal and court system in the Philippines is often slow and cumbersome with some annulments taking 2 years or longer to reach a conclusion.

As well, the costs annulments are significant with attorney fees, court docketing and filing fees plus a host of associated fees such as court appearance fees for the attorney and often the account can reach 250,000 pesos or more.  Unfortunately, if a foreigner is involved the legal fees can increase also and the longer the case takes to appear before the judge the greater the income to the legal team.

Nevertheless, there is an alternative way to obtain a legal dissolution of marriage at a much reduced cost.  It is simple and only requires the Filipina to file a case against the husband.  The woman does not have to appear personally and the court officials will prepare all of the necessary documentation.  A senior judge will hear the divorce action and a decision handed down ordering the marriage legally dissolved. The Judges decision will be recorded by the Court and  the whole procedure takes a maximum of 4 or 5 weeks.  The costs of the fast track divorce all legal fees are approximately 175,000 pesos.

The woman then takes the court order to the local Civil Register of the place her marriage had been solemnized and requests her previous marriage to be rendered null and void. When that is completed, she is free to remarry in any religious ceremony under her maiden name.

EDITOR: To learn the details email and we will put you in touch with the right people. It is legitimate, it is cost effective and it is proven however to ensure both the commercial viability of the method and to ensure certain vested interests are kept at arm’s length we will vett all inquiry.

That’s Classified!

There is a new classified ad site for all things Philippines. Philippine Finder is the place to go for real estate, cars,  items anything that is up for sale for the expat or retiree. There is also a personals section where you can find friends, activity partners or seach for romance.  You can advertise there free of charge. Right now it is a little light on for ads, but so was the Yellow Pages the day the first telephone was installed! The more people who use it to advertise and respond to ads, the better a service it will become.

Great Hotel Hideaway In Cebu!

Once you find your Filipina and travel all the way to the Philippines to meet her, you may find you can barely be alone together for five minutes without having half the Barangay hanging on yoru every word! You need an affordable, luxury hideaway hotel that will give you the time you need to get to know her, her family and her culture. But on your own terms!

You need a ‘base’, a place to call your own where you have the back up of trained and friendly staff, a knowledgeable American owner who has been successfully running businesses in the Philippines for over twelve years and you know you are safe. Alta Cebu Garden Resort is owned by friends of mine, Larry and Cherry Quinn. I used to work there as the Director of Studies when it was a ‘Homestay’ English language academy and I have known Larry and Cherry since 2004 and I consider them my friends.

Since those early days they have expanded the resort to its current beautiful state, focused on the hospitality end of the business and developed a first class facility for weddings, conferences and relaxed vacation living. If you are wondering where to get married, how to organize the wedding or arrange the celebrant and the many other details any marriage entails; leave it to Larry and his team.

I was married in northern Cebu in 2002 and let me tell you it was a challenge to arrange the event to a standard I wanted for my bride in the ‘boonies’. What made it even more difficult was the fact my bride to be wasn’t all that worldly wise when it came to western style weddings and how could she be, coming from an honest farming family in the provinces? If any of this is ringing bells, just relax. Buy my eBook ‘Filipina 202 – How To Marry And Migrate Your Dream Filipina’ and then book into the Alta Cebu Garden Resort. Larry will give you your first night FREE when you tell him you bought one of my eBooks, if you book and pay for three nights minimum. All the usual warranties and guaranties apply but we are sure you are going to have a great time.

And if you haven’t met ‘Her’ yet, don’t sweat it! Buy ‘Filipina 101 – How To Meet The Filipina Of Your Dreams’ and follow the advice on just going to the Philippines ‘on spec’. Then talk to Larry and he will help you find someone, just try and leave the staff alone as he has had to replace too many of his pretty receptionists already! Let me know how much you enjoyed your stay.

Introductions Equals Money

There are hundreds of ‘penpal’ sites, introduction agencies and lonely hearts sites on the web nowadays. Many of these showcase Filipinas, as well as women from Latin America and the former Soviet Union. This article is not about the moral or ethical side of this industry (and it is an industry in more ways than one) but about how you could become involved in it in an ethical and moral way.

The reality is that people are out there looking for each other. We will discuss why in depth another time. Let’s look at the introduction agency. Until the IMBRA law was introduced in the USA a few years ago (International Marriage Brokers Act) many sites charged the man a fee to belong and to get the details of the women members so they could correspond. The view was to meet, marry and live happily ever after. However some men (and some women) abused this and lured unsuspecting partners to their graves in extreme cases and horrible lives of virtual slavery in others. Not all and no doubt a very tiny minority but even one sad story is one too many.

The Philippines government introduced a law to prohibit the running of introduction agencies from the Philippines however providing you did not promise marriage and did not charge the female a fee you were not breaking the law. All the same most people didn’t trust the local judicial system enough to risk it. Those introduction agencies that offered Filipina names and addresses were often run by Filipina wives of Americans, living in the USA. These went from catalogues mailed to the man (hence the term ‘mail-order-bride) and required months of patient snail mail correspondence to the instant gratification of email and online viewing of photos and details (her profile). It also meant that the Filipina could become more pro-active and hunt for a ‘kano’ to call her own.

This technological advance gave unscrupulous people the chance to abuse the system and make money or take other advantages. Men could lure women to their home country and abuse them as sex slaves, Filipinas (and all too often Filipino transsexuals posing as women) could induce men to send them money under false pretenses. The IMBRA law was tagged onto other legislation and passed late at night prior to a holiday and was brought about by the tragic deaths of two women from Russia, not the Philippines. While no one can condone such abuse, the law while well intentioned has been unfairly passed and applied. Large web sites such as yahoo are exempt as while they do have many foreign members, they are not exclusively about introducing foreigners to Americans. Religious sites are exempt due to the power of the religious lobby no doubt and so many sites have suddenly become ‘Christian Dating’ sites.

Basically the law requires the web site to ensure the American supplies full personal particulars to any foreign member (such as financial and criminal records, full address etc) BEFORE they are able to open correspondence. When the couple finally decide to marry the fiance is questioned by Immigration if the law was complied with and if not then they will not be granted a K1 visa. Or a K3 if they married overseas. It is no doubt well intentioned but it is a recipe for disaster and it forces otherwise law abiding people to lie and find ways around the situation or open you up for identity theft or worse.

But it doesn’t have to be like that. For those living overseas who want a Filipina partner, simply come here on vacation and travel around. Read ‘Filipina 101-How To Meet The Filipina of Your Dreams’ for all the information you need to know about how to correspond or meet her in the mall. It also tells you how to detect a scammer and how to avoid her as well as new information on chat cam scams.

But if you live in the Philippines and wish to make a living helping other people find happiness together, this is how I would do it. First of all you must have your Asawa on your side. She is vital as she will be the one to choose and vet the Filipinas. You will find and vet the Kanos. You need only about ten local girls from your Asawa’s home barangay. Relatives and girls she knows personally. Girls she knows do not have current boyfriends and she knows if they have babies or husbands or any of the other surprises that can be launched on the unsuspecting Kano.

Then you set up a web site offering a guided vacation in a barangay locale where the holiday maker can meet real Filipinas and learn about the culture and the community with no pressure or obligation to make any promises at all. For all the details of how to set up a business in the Philippines, check out ‘Making A Living- The Streetwise Philippines Guide To Employment, Business and Investing’. You meet the holiday maker at the airport and guide them to the barangay, arrange their accommodation and site seeing and act as a friend and guide for a set period. During that time you introduce them to the vetted girls in a casual, relaxed family BBQ type situation and let things take a natural course.

You promise only this:

You will meet the client at the airport and guide them to the locale.

You will show them the local sites and hold a BBQ in their honour at which several local Filipinas will be present.

All of the Filipinas will be known to you or your Asawa and in your opinion be genuine and not already married (unless stated).

You will escort the client back to the airport or wherever you both agree to ‘release’ him.

No promises of marriage are made and no online introductions are made so neither sets of laws are infringed, US or Filipino. You charge a modest fee for your time and costs and only from the guest. I would suggest US$100 a day depending on costs and length of visit. You could charge a two day minimum with half in advance (give a receipt) and be clear about your trading and refund terms. Be professional and fair and you will be surprised at how you attract more people of the same nature than bad ones.

Be aware there are some unscrupulous people offering similar services already. They have slick web sites and convincing text but they take the deposit and then fail to produce the service. If you are active on the Yahoo groups for expats and people interested in the Philippines then you will build up a clientele that can vouch for you; word of mouth and reputation is crucial to long term success in this country as anywhere. This idea of mine is for a service that helps Kano and Filipina find each other. You facilitate the possibility only. No promises are made and for $100 the Kano can’t complain if he was shown a slice of real Filipino barangay life not usually experienced by tourists and then sent safely on his way. A date with an American woman will set him back more than that.

Be diligent and find genuine Filipinas. Devise a set of questions to ascertain the bona fides of the Filipina and the Kano and after a while you can sort the wheat from the chaff. Deliver as promised and keep in mind this is a customer focused service. Most Kanos who will pay for this service tend to be genuine in their endeavours to find a Filipina they can trust. The scum tend to know it all already and have their own Modus Operandi. The customer helps you live in the Philippines so take good care of him and ask for referrals.

If one of the girls turns out to be a scammer, deal with it. If the Kano turns out to be less than genuine, again, deal with it. Problems occur in all business ventures, the secret is how you deal with them. Always aim for a Win/Win/Win outcome. Thats the Kano, the Filipina and you all being winners. It can be done and in the long run it is far more lucrative than the rip off or scam could ever be.


When Tampo slaps you around the chops there is not a great deal you can do about it at fist. You have to let it run its course for a while so the Tampo-er gets some value out of the exercise. Start trying to make amends too soon and you will only prolong the agony. Leave it too long and you might just burn your bridges forever.

The Filipina is a very temperamental creature as any who have one will attest. You will never be spot on, afterall she is a woman first and foremost and Man will never understand Woman. If that day should ever come the entire DNA and Genomes of the female of the species will alter as if by some cosmic signal. You will never win, OK?

So how do you lose less? First of all do not rejoice with the coming of tampo. It is not an excuse to hit the golf course or go fishing. You must remain within icy stare range so you can not only suffer, but be seen to be suffering. No point stamping feet and slamming doors if you are not there to witness that.

Always keep in mind two things, and these two things are worth a great deal. In fact they are so important I can not charge for them, I must share them with all mankind if only to rack up the Brownie Points necessary to assure me of my passage to the promised land or wherever one goes Post Pinay.

1. This Too Shall Pass Never lose sight of the fact this will end one day. It may not end as you want it to but it will end. Try not to lose sight of this and blow your stack. Do not trivialize the actions or inaction you are responsible for that brought this tampo upon you. The reasons for this are included in the second vital point:

2. Remorse Must Not Only Be Felt, It Must Be Seen To Be Felt Filipinas are drama queens. They believe in the show don’t tell mantra. You must not only feel remorseful you must show it. We men would call it overacting, hamming it up. Filipinas call it necessary behaviour. Especially so if anyone else has seen she is upset and you are the cause. It is now of national importance that you are seen to be apologizing to her.

Be very aware of your facial expressions and body language. Filipinas misinterpret so many of our words and apply them only at the extreme end of the register. Arrogant is one of these. You will be considered arrogant if you don’t fawn sufficiently. Even if you feel it demeans you, it doesn’t. Not in their minds. They have very different ideas of what constitutes appropriate behaviour (amor propiyo) To the Filipino, being arrogant means so much more than it might to us. It is a slap in the face of those you feel you are superior to.

Being arrogant is difficult for us to avoid as we do not know the subtle indicators of humility the Filipino grows up with. They laugh and giggle when they are embarrassed and everyone knows it means they are embarrassed, not rude or couldn’t care less. Yet we foreigners think they are not treating the situation with sufficient gravity. We look people in the eye when we apologise yet we should cast our eyes downwards in shame and so on.

There are many other lessons to be learnt about dealing with the Filipina and hopefully we can include most of them here in future articles. Keep checking back or buy an eBook!


Tampo is the most searched for term this Blog gets, according to my site traffic statistics. So perhaps some more discussion on the topic is called for? Tampo literally means sulking, or to sulk. Of course it means much more than that and is closely related to other Filipino cultural anomalies such as amor propiyo or honourable behaviour and hiya, or pride, face etc.

Basically the tampo-er withdraws their favour and affection, in fact any interaction whatsoever, from the tampo-ee. In a culture where it is considered very poor form to release one’s pent up emotions with verbal and physical outbursts, tampo does the job for them. It can take the form of resisting expressions of affection, not talking to the person concerned or to people in general, being unusually quiet, locking oneself in his or her own room, refusing to eat, not joining friends in group activities, withdrawing from the group, simply keeping to oneself. These are usually efforts to get the offending party to make amends, and if these behaviours do not work, one might choose to escalate them, perhaps to foot-stamping, door-slamming, or muttering. (Wikipedia 2008. Tampo)

We Kanos might think someone who sulks is akin to a petulant child, however in the Philippines they view it very differently. Remember the cultural norm there is not to vent one’s feelings as that will cause offense and embarrassment to others, not just the person you are unhappy with. Remember how important it is to Filipinos to get along, pakikisama or group harmony is a key cultural element.

There is a lot of common sense and practicality behind tampo when you consider the hierarchical nature of Filipino society and the close proximity of people living often in less than sound-proof conditions in multi-family groupings. Not much scope for intimacy and privacy between husband and wife or siblings.

There are domestic disputes in Filipino communities, make no mistake about that. People still have rows and yelling matches and get violent. However the accepted manner of managing such disputes is via tampo, not a slap across the chops or a chase with a kitchen knife. Tampo is almost exclusively used by the Filipina but Filipino men have been known to apply it in rare cases. Of course it doesn’t work on the Filipina and a man would be a fool to try and tampo his wife, be he Filipino or Kano. What is good for the goose simply doesn’t work for the gander in this case.

As for what does work and how to deal with being the tampo-ee will be the subject of the next installment.

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!


We Live In Nature, It’s Not A Theme Park.

If we were truthful with ourselves then I am sure we would acknowledge that we live a pretty safe life compared to many others in the world and even more so when compared to our forefathers and ancestors.  Thereisn’t a war raging at the moment that really threatens our lives, despite what some vested interests may try and convince us of to the contrary.  Unless you are living in Iraq or on Basilan Island, the odds of you falling afoul of a war on terrorism related atrocity are pretty low.

However, we do live in a world where nature still rules supreme. Especially here in the Philippines.  In Cebu we are pretty lucky to be sheltered by the surrounding Visayan islands of Leyte, Samar, Negros
and Bohol.  Their protection means the typhoons that do strike this far south usually just produce a lot of rain and some wind and nothing like the maelstrom those up in Luzon often face.

The Philippines is a collection of islands, volcanic islands and we lie on the Pacific Rim Ring of Fire, according to the National Geograp documentary I saw last year.  Very dramatic but also very apt as anyone who witnessed Mt Pinatubo erupt can attest.  There are several active and numerous dormant (or allegedly dormant) volcanoes making up the very land upon which we stand.  The perfect cone of the Mayon Volcano in Bicol has been making noises for some time or late, and Mt Pinatubo is also giving hints she is restless.

On top of all that, there are earthquakes to consider and their oceanographic cousins, Tsunamis, or tidal waves.  Most of us live fairly close to the sea and so this is something to consider.  Can you
imagine a major earthquake hitting your barangay? The mind boggles how our local, antiquated and amateur fire department would cope.

Besides nature and her extremes, there are also the results of average weather events to think about.  Storms can lead to losing your roof, or land slides or flooding, even on a relatively minor scale.  Nothing lethal or life threatening most of the time, but at the very least disconcerting and annoying.  If you had to evacuate your home due to a flood, would you expect your possessions to be there when you return, albeit a little soggy?  I wouldn’t.

I will look at events involving human antagonists another time, like riots and so on.  This time, lets just focus on natural catastrophes and what we can do to prepare for them and live through them.  First of all, don’t get paranoid but don’t ignore the fact that nature does bite some times.  A simple storm could leave you without power for several hours or even several days, how will you cope?

Firstly there will be no light, no internet and no refrigeration. There may be no water if the local supply relies on being pumped andthe pump is on the same grid that is affected by the storm. Two years ago in Bogo we had a “brownout” that lasted for nearly three days. The local water supply was reliant on the electricity grid to power the pump to get it to our taps.  No power meant no water.  Nothing to drink, wash, launder or cook with.  After the first day in the heat and humidity the novelty wore off and bottled water supplies were already stretched as people bought up “gallons” wherever they could for drinking water.

The power and water came back on at one stage and I rushed around filling every container I could with water.  Others thought I was being silly, the power was back on, the water was flowing again, why fill all those containers? Well the power went out again after just forty minutes and didn’t come back for another two days.  Two more days of no fans, no aircon, no television, no karaoke (always a silver lining in any dark cloud) no cold drinks, no fresh food, no ice etc.

Most brownouts last only a few hours, often less.  This one was a three day mongrel.  I was fortunate in that I could afford to put my family in the Red Terror and drive them to Cebu, where we stayed at the Kiwi Lodge for a couple of days until friends rang to say the power was back on.  We could have survived the two more days with no power or water because we were prepared but with the Asawa pregnant there really was no reason not to find a solution such as staying at an hotel.  Of course, that solution may not always be available.

We keep at least three days water supply on hand at all times and regularly cycle through it. Our bottled water supplier brings three “gallons” every week but we use only two, so there is always one
there in case of an emergency.  I just line them up and go through them so the water is never more than a week “old” when drank. I also have another “gallon” kept in a cupboard out of direct sunlight which I swap with a fresh bottle every month or so as I remember to do so.

We have a battery back up and surge protector for the computer, it will give you about 15-20 minutes once the power goes out to save your work and switch off.  Then if it is dark a standing lamp also plugged in will carry on for about the same amount of time giving us light to see by as we get the candles and torches (flashlights) out.

My wife now realizes why I insist on keeping the torches in the same places around the house, along with spare batteries and strict instructions the kids are not allowed to play with any torch except the
one specifically designated as the “one the kids will play with and use up the batteries so it won’t work when you need it” torch.  Keeping them in the same places means they are easy to find in the sudden darkness of a brownout.  Keeping the spare batteries with them and insisting on a little discipline regarding their use pays off when the torch is needed in an emergency and is worth the extra effort required to instil on the average Fil-Am family. (Or Fil-Aus in our case).

We don’t store a lot of food for emergencies, although we do have a cupboard with tinned goods that I make an effort to rotate through every couple of months.  Since we live in the city now we don’t worry
quite as much as what was prudent when we were way up in the province.

My first aid kit, or kits as I have one in the car, one with my dive gear and two around the house, are checked every year or so specifically and given a cursory going over whenever they are used.  I always check these things just around my birthday.  It is an annual event I never forget and reminds me to check the things that may have lain dormant for most of the year and can do with a little attention.

The secret is to get into a routine and stick to it, take a few precautions and not get too carried away.  If I was in the province or felt the threat justified the action I would look at safe rooms in the house, firearms and communications with the outside world etc.  Living in Talisay we have a fire evacuation plan (this is important as many houses here have bars on the windows and doors) and two cell phones to supplement the landline.  Emergency phone numbers are stored in the phone memories and also handy to the landline on a card.

As far as firearms are concerned, my proactive approach to getting on with my neighbours should erase any need to keep a gun around for protection.  Besides which, enough of my friendly neighbours have their own guns so there’ll always be someone around to make noise if needed!

Don’t get paranoid, but don’t get lethargic.  I took the same precautions when I lived in metropolitan Sydney as I take here in Cebu, nature can come calling with an attitude anywhere, anytime.  Keep that
in mind and then get on with living the dream!

New Release from Streetwise Philippines

With over 20 years hands-on experience in the Philippines, Perry Gamsby is considered an authority on the facts of expatriate life in this fascinating archipelago.  As well as having a Filipina wife, four children and the requisite extended Filipino family, Perry is a teacher of Filipino Martial Arts and a former travel editor of the country’s leading map and travel atlas publisher. Five years ago he created Streetwise Philippines Inc. publishing eBook guides to the Philippines for expat readers.

His first book and to date, still the best seller, is “Philippine Dreams” (also sold in some markets as “StreetWise Philippines”). This comprehensive examination of the phenomenon of Filipinas, the Philippines and his own decision to move to the Philippines and pursue his dream of living in a tropical paradise strikes a chord with all who read it.  Written in an entertaining yet informative style, the eBook explores life and living in the Philippines in a special way: “This is what happens, this is why it happens, this is what you as an expat can do to understand what happens.” You can read more about Philippines Dreams at

“Philippine Dreams” created a demand for more information, especially about the four most important topics of the matrix:  meeting a Filipina, marrying and migrating a Filipina, putting a roof over your head if you decided to live in the Philippines and finding ways to pay for all of this!  The results were “Filipina 101-How To Meet The Filipina of Your Dreams” (co-written with his Filipina wife, Amelita) and “Filipina 202 – How To Marry And Migrate Your Dream Filipina”. These valuable guides dismiss the misinformation and stereotyping of the Filipina on the many online dating/matchmaking sites and provide a balanced and informative guide to men looking for Filipina wives.   You can read more about these guides at and

Perry has completed ‘Filipina 303 – Making The Magic Last’ although at this stage it has not been decided if the eBook will be released separately or as part of a three volume compilation of the ‘Filipina’ series.

Perry then released “The Philippines Property Primer – The StreetWise Guide to Buying, Renting or Leasing Property”.  This is a ‘first read’ real estate guide for anyone contemplating buying, renting or leasing property in the Philippines.  Over the years, as well as buying, leasing and renting several properties himself in the Philippines, Perry has observed many people lose large amounts of money in property here; most of the time because they are not dealing with legitimate sellers or they have not protected their investment by taking the simple precautions listed in the eBook.  The Philippines Property Primer has all of the basic information you need to assist you in making a more informed decision.  You can read more about The Philippines Property Primer at


Although the topic of how to make a living in the Philippines was covered in brief in “Philippine Dreams”, the response from readers was so insistent that a new, updated and more in depth guide on how to support yourself and your family in the Philippines has been released.  “MAKING A LIVING IN THE PHILIPPINES – The StreetWise Guide To Business, Employment and Investing”, will tell you what you need to know to operate a small business, get a job or invest in a tightly regulated, highly competitive and immensely volatile marketplace.  It has been written with the average guy in mind; the everyday guy without the big retirement income set-up or pre-arranged ‘fatcat’ expat job contract who wants to escape to the Philippines and live every day with the Filipina of his dreams but still needs to make a living!

You can read more about “Making A Living In The Philippines” at or check out all the Streetwise Philippines publications at The eBook, contains a wealth of information otherwise impossible to glean without having been there, done that.  In the safety of your own home you can learn first hand what is required to survive in a third world economy and be better equipped to decide if you should risk selling up and making that life changing move!

This E-Book will explain to you everything you need to know to start up a small business, get a job or invest in the Philippines!

The very latest publication is ‘Philippines Survival Handbook’ which takes a very holistic and comprehensive view of the things that can give you grief in the Philippines. From bent coppers to under-age girl scams, snakes and sea creatures to dangerous bus rides!