Category Archives: Safety

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 .

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!




Blame The Bullet

In Naga City an avoidable tragedy has left five dead and 8 seriously injured after a trike driver crossed the railway line in front of a Philippines National Railways train at a level crossing. The trike had 13 passengers, including the driver’s son and daughter and the high school teacher and her field trip group. Those who know how small these trikes are can imagine how packed this trike was. This is typical of the brain dead idiots that drive on the roads here. What is even more indicative of what you have to deal with living in this country is that the police are going to “file a case of ‘reckless imprudence resulting to multiple homicide and injury and damage to property’ against the PNR”.

Obviously the teacher or one of the victims is highly connected and the cops have to explain how come they don’t police the crossing and bust idiot trike drivers who play chicken with trains. What is ludicrous is charging the train driver, as if he can stop a train on a dime like a trike can. But that is the mentality there and if you choose to live there, get used to it. It makes perfect sense to them because as I said, most likely there is a rich or politically well connected person putting pressure on this. It could go as high as the High Curt and injustice can win if the person pressuring things is sufficiently powerful. It’s a bit like shooting some one in the head deliberately then blaming the bullet, the bullet maker, the gun maker and the victim… but never the person who squeezed the trigger. Never.

Bomb Disposal And Welding While U Wait

I was trained to clear mines, booby traps and IEDs (improvised explosive devices) in the Royal Australian Engineers. Not trained to the standard of our Explosive Ordnance Disposal Officers, but well enough to know you don’t use a welder on a bomb. Without seeing the device it is hard to appreciate what they were thinking, other than it must have seemed like a good idea at the time. Sadly, for these men and their families, it wasn’t.
Typically the report is inaccurate, the MkII is a WW2 vintage hand grenade but the M26 is a more recent model,introduced in the 1950s and used during the Vietnam War and others. The M26 is a particularly powerful grenade and the lethality of this is attested to in this report from South Africa.
In 1994 I was at an LRT station just minutes before a hand grenade was lobbed down a crowded stairwell. If I had been going for the train after the one I caught I would probably have been on that stairwell.
I don’t think the Philippines is anymore likely to get you killed via explosion than anywhere else these days, but at times of civil unrest it pays to stay away from public places like malls and transport hubs. Keep an eye on the news and a finger on the political pulse, it might save your life.

4 killed while defusing bomb in Taguig
PhilstarPhilstar – Thu, Jan 26, 2012

MANILA, Philippines – At least four people died while nine others were wounded when a bomb they were trying to defuse at a welding shop exploded in Taguig City yesterday afternoon.

National Capital Region Police Office chief Alan Purisima identified to the victims as PO2 Elizalde Bisaya and PO3 Jose Torralba, both of the Special Action Force-Explosives Ordnance Division (SAF-EOD); welding shop owner Crisanto Daguio and bakery owner Riza Romualdo.

Another SAF member, Arnold Mayo, was among the injured.

Bobbyrondo Niuda, who witnessed the incident from the second floor of his house, said the SAF-EOD team brought the ammunition to the Chris Welding Shop along Daisy street in Barangay Lower Bicutan in Taguig City at around 2:45 p.m. He said the team first used a pipe wrench then a welder to defuse the bomb.

“I know it was wrong. I wanted to shout but I did not because I thought they knew what they were doing. They were in uniform and I find it embarrasing to correct them,” said Niuda, who claimed he underwent bomb training while working for a security agency.

Philippine National Police chief Director General Nicanor Bartolome ordered an investigation into the accident.

“There is a lapse here. They should not have defused it using a welder,” said Senior Superintendent Tomas Apolinario, head of the Taguig police.

Meanwhile, in Caloocan City, Inspector Rolando Armendez, Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) chief, said a blue bag left on the road in Barangay 172 yesterday morning was found to contain at least four World War II-vintage hand grenades.

Two MK2 high velocity fragmentation grenades and two M26 hand grenades were turned over to the bomb disposal squad for safekeeping. – With Cecille Suerte Felipe, Jerry Botial – By Aie Balagtas See and Non Alquitran (Philstar News Service,

As If They Will Reinstate This Nutcase!

MANILA, Philippines – A dismissed policeman armed with an automatic rifle seized a bus in the Philippine capital Monday with 25 passengers aboard, most of them Hong Kong tourists, in a bid to demand his reinstatement, police said.

Police sharpshooters took positions around the white-blue-red bus, which was parked near a downtown Manila park, and negotiations to free the hostages were under way, deputy director of Manila police Alex Gutierrez said.

Two of the Hong Kong tourists, both women, were released and were being debriefed by police, Manila police chief Rodolfo Magtibay said. Police had earlier reported that the tourists were from South Korea but later corrected themselves.

Others on the bus included three Filipinos — a driver, a guide and a photographer, Magtibay said.

The hostage-taker, identified as former Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza, was armed with an M16 rifle. He demanded that he be given back his job on the police force a year after he was fired, Magtibay said.

Mendoza hitched a ride on the bus from the historic walled city of Intramuros and then “declared he is taking the passengers hostage” when the bus reached Jose Rizal Park alongside Manila Bay.

The area also includes the seaside U.S. Embassy and a number of hotels.

The curtains on the bus windows were drawn and live TV footage showed two police negotiators walking to and from the bus and communicating with Mendoza from the window near the driver’s seat.

Magtibay said they were also using the driver’s cell phone to talk to Mendoza.

“We should really resolve this quickly so that it will not have a wider effect,” Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim said.

Got One!

The US has jailed Donald Mathias, 64, a pedophile, for 20 years after he entered into a contract with the mother of two Filipino girls, aged 11 and 12 and then had her film him having sex with the two children. The mother is being prosecuted by Philippines authorities whereas the American was nabbed after his return to the USA.

International agreements between many nations  make it an offense for  citizens of one country to have committed such a crime in another. They can be prosecuted and punished in either the country where the offense took place or upon their return home. While this legislation has been in force for several years it hasn’t been enforced a great deal, possibly due to evidentiary reasons.

This time though, they got one! These evil, selfish, arrogant monsters need to be caught and punished. They will hopefully suffer severely in prison and perhaps begin to understand how horrific their own assaults were upon those poor defenseless children.

The mother who sold her kids to this beast, and signed a contract acknowledging they were his ‘sex slaves’, deserves everything she has coming to her. Poverty is no excuse. My inlaws were poor farmers all the time my wife and her five siblings were growing up and such action would never have entered their heads. They would have preferred to die together of hunger than to contemplate such a thing. In fact, I have mentioned this to them and they simply refuse to believe anyone would do it for money, surely they do it because they are possessed by evil spirits?

Perhaps they are because I can’t think of any temporal reason. Poverty is no excuse, do not accept it. Protecting children, even those of parent’s that willingly sell them to fiends such as this one, is everyone’s duty. Use common sense and discretion but never turn a blind eye to this despicable behavior.

Read the online report here.

Election Time? Lights Out!

It’s fun and games time in the Land Where The Bong Tree Grows, otherwise known as the Philippines. In some areas they are predicting brownouts, which is Filipino spin for a blackout. It started back in Manila in the early 90s as they shut down power in some areas on a semi regular schedule to conserve power. Of course it never happened in the rich suburbs. Since it was done on purpose it wasn’t a blackout as such, which is something that just happens. It was a brown out and everyone knows brown isn’t as dark as black! Pinoy spin at work!

Now they are predicting power shortages in some areas. No coincidence they may be areas where GMA isn’t as popular. After all, if the electronic balloting system doesn’t have electricity it can’t be used. That means ballot boxes and those have a habit of walking away and losing a lot of opposition ballots in the journey. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so obvious and so harmful to the elections.

Not only that there are droughts and water shortages in some places, including wide areas of Mindanao. You can’t mention this on some expat forums because it gives a bad image but the fact is, there are water shortages, power outages and so on.

The main concern is keeping the beer cold enough. Luckily you can buy generators to keep the fridge going. If you have a freezer it will usually keep things frozen for hours without the power going in. So make your own ice. You can always put the ice in the beer glass Pinoy style… or use it to chill the bottles western style. Up to you!

Transgender Filipinos Busted In Shanghai

Recently the Chinese courts had the pleasure of the company of six Filipino ‘Bakla’ (basically ‘homosexual inTagalog, Bayut in Visayan but used to include transsexuals) ‘transgenders’. The six Filipino men, posing as Filipino women, drugged and robbed their victims in Shanghai… and were caught. In the old days, pre-Mayor Lim’s Crack Down in Ermita, they were a menace to drunken ‘Kano’s’ wandering down Mabini Street late at night. Called ‘Bini Boys’, they were often viscious and quick to use the knives they all carried if a punter didn’t want their ‘services’. Even if he did there was no guarantee he would be left unharmed and unrobbed.

The six that traveled to Shanghai to ply their trade. Basically they pose as prostitutes, then drug and rob their customers. The Philippines Consul in Shanghai has expressed dismay at the growing number of Filipino and Filipinas who are working in the sex industry in China. Of the six arrested, one turned ‘state’s evidence and is free while the other five are plying their trade in a Chinese prison.

For more info, click here:

A Third Expat Murdered In Less Than Three Months!

Another Australian man in his mid-fifties has been murdered in the Philippines. This time the victim was shot in the chest when armed intruders broke into his home in Negros. His Filipina girlfriend fled via a window. I have to say that this spate of three in less than three months is a new phenomena in my experience.

While I don’t think there is any kind of organised cleansing of Aussie expats in train, I do warn all readers once again to give their personal security a bit of serious thought. There are plenty of guns in the waistbands of Flipinos and it often doesn’t take much to make an enemy. Even laughing about something else while a Filipino sings Karaoke has been enough to get you killed.

Take care and take precautions. Check out my ‘Philippines Survival Handbook‘ and ‘SWITCH ON!” to personal safety!

Infections Come & Go, So To Speak!

There are many infections one can catch when living or visiting the Philippines. I remember leaving after one trip of just a week in Manila when as the plane reached altitude and pressurised, virtually everybody in the cabin started to cough! Perhaps it was the cleaner air being filtered and pumped through that kicked us all off but I recall very distinctly quite a few minutes of coughing and nose blowing. I was cleaning dark matter from my nostrils for days and had an annoying nose twitch for a week or two until I made conscious effort to get it under control.

Working in Cebu in an office tower we had foreigners coming and going all the time on various three and six month projects. The first week would have them coughing and suffering from a chest infection that I believe was caused by the air-conditioning system. A good dose of anti-biotics bought over the counter from the nearest Mercury Drugstore and they were quickly back in action but just about every new expat employee copped this. If you spend time going into and out of air-conditioned buildings and cabs you are very susceptible to such illnesses. When we lived in Bogo in a fan only house and rarely enjoyed the cool of an air-conditioned environment I rarely had any problems. As soon as we were able to afford air-conditioning and we enjoyed it, this changed and colds and chest infections became more commonplace.

Another minor affliction that causes major distress is ‘pink eye’, ‘sore eye’ or conjunctivitis. It passes quickly from person to person via touching what they have touched and then touching your face. I stayed at a resort on Malapascua where first one of the staff had the tissue to the eye, then the owner, then half the guests! You can get drops for this from the drugstore but it is very annoying and can last several days.

I was also able to experience the skin rash so many of us get when we first start to live in the Philippines for longer than a month or two. It is a collection of red spots on the chest and groin that look like freckles or measles. I have no idea what it was but the Quack Doctor healed it by spitting something on the affected area and the next day I was fine! Don’t write off the local Hilot or Quack Doctor. They have been providing health care for the Filipino for centuries and have it pretty well wrapped up as far as local ailments go. They are terrific for muscular and bone setting situations but if you have something that requires micro-surgery or similar, see a western physician.

You might get an ear infection from the pools or sea. If so, get a local to boil some Hilpas weed and then stick it in your ear as hot as you can handle it. It might seem funny to have green goop sticking out of your ear but it works. As soon as it went in I felt it send finger of healing down the tubes and sinuses from ear to nose and mouth. It was amazing as I could feel it clearing out the passages and easing the pain I had felt in the side of my face. My mother-in-law administered it and said she used to give it to her brothers and father when they copped ear aches from cyanide fishing.

As for other forms of infection such as STDs, these are usually treated with a one shot oral prophylactic nowadays and are available without prescription if you know what you want. I do not advise self prescription as I have done it before for myself and it is a bit of a gamble. It costs about ten bucks to see a well qualified (probably US trained) doctor and get the right treatment first time.

The Philippines are a tropical locale. This means there is the risk of catching things that do not exist back home. You might also forego adequate rest and hydration for party time and lots of alcohol. Take care of yourself and the best cure is prevention, as always.