82 Years Ago This Week, The Largest Pearl in the World Was Discovered in Palawan Sea

Largest Pearl Every Found
82 Years Ago This Week, The Largest Pearl in the World Was Discovered in Palawan Sea – www.yourlifeinthephilippines.com

 

PALAWAN, Philippines – Just over 80-years-ago this week, one of the largest and rarest pearls had been discovered off the coast Palawan, Philippines in the Palawan Sea.

 

The pearl measures and astonish 9.4 inches in diameter and weighed 6.4 kilograms.

 

So rare in fact, today the gem is known as the ‘Pearl of Allah.’

 

It is well known as the largest pearl to have ever been discovered.

 

In 2007, the pearl was valued at $93 million (USD), now almost ten years later appraisers believe the pearl would fetch $100 million at auction.

 

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Leaving The Philippines: For Sale

After eleven (11) mostly wonderful years here living in the Philippines there is a good chance yours truly Corey and family will be returning to the west. It may be upwards of a year, but but could be way sooner and in this regard I would like to sell off assets that will no longer be practical to keep. This also includes my art work that I have been collecting for decades. I am offering these items at good prices (Starex on the higher side) and I assure you they are all in excellent condition. The artwork is negotiable so if interested please let me know which piece you are inquiring about – 0927-300-6948

 

1. 2008 Hyundai CRDI Starex (with luggage rack)- 650,000P

I purchased this vehicle in 2008 and in 8 years we have aproximately 52,000KM (6,000km/yr.). Most of these KM were achieved driving around the country a couple of times but many making short daily trips to drop my daughter Alex at school while we were living in Dumaguete and Davao as well as going shopping. While living here in Manila for the past two years maybe we use the Starex once (1x) a week. Mostly going to S&R and the Airport. Pretty easy KM driven overall. We have maintained the vehicle according to the Hyundai maintenance schedule and it is in like new condition

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2. 2005 Motorstar Easyride Scooter – 20,000P

I bought this scooter in 2005 and have been riding it almost everyday since. It is a marvel on the road and I love driving this more than you could ever imagine. It is so reliable and the mechanics are still very sound. It has about 33,000KM

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Following are two videos of driving a scooter in the Philippines.

1. Going to pick Alex up from her School From a Friends Place

 

2. Bringing Alex to one of the Villages from her School

3. 2008 Motorstar Motorhawk Scooter – 25,000P

I actually purchased this scooter only a couple of months ago. I was going to bring it to Davao so I have a ride there. It is a great scooter as well and very peppy. Great condition

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4. ARTWORK

What can I say. This represents artwork I have been collecting for many years and most of which I brought over to the Philippines when I moved here in 2005. Various prices. BTW, the Parrots for example are from the 1940’s

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$1,000

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Sex Pistols – $200

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$800

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Indian Girl$400
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$300

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God Save – $200

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Butts – $200

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Farmer – $500

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John$500

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$600

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Chinese Carving – $5,000

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Key – $1,500
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Complete Set Heads – $800

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Big Ruby$3,000
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Dice – $3,000

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Fish$500

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ParrotsStill Calculating
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Complete set of 3 – $600

5. Golfclubs – Ping I2 – Taylor R9 Driver, w,9,8,7,6,5,4,3, Balls, Glove, Misc. Bag – 12,000P

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Balut Island – My Diary of Adventure There – Part III

PART III

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May 8 – Had another wonderful sleep last night aided by Bar One Strawberry Vodka. At only 50 proof, it is perfect for getting a good sleep night rather than getting good and drunk. It was only Lynn and I last night in the room as Lynn got another room for Alex and two of her Cousins to have fun and sleep in.

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So today I am about to embark on a venture even I would question, but I say fuck it as I am confident as I love a good challenge. My plan is to dive off the pier here in Balut and snorkel the one mile or so to the island of Sarangani and see what I see on the way. I will take a spear gun so maybe I get lucky and see something bigger than my dick to shoot LOL I love this shit and it actually impresses Filipinos LOL

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How Far I will be Snorkeling

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View from End of Port Pier Back to Hotel

Another thing I find so interesting here is the total lack and regard for the environment. There is more plastic of every imaginable source strewn about everywhere you look. There are no garbage cans anywhere so when you are finished drinking or eating something you just throw the plastic bottle or wrapper where you might be.

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When I mentioned yesterday about how the Hot Springs are not really maintained, I was thinking how simple it would be for the locals who practically live on top of the Spring to sweep all the dead leaves away that cover the entire area and then maybe pick up the rocks, create a decent path or paths and just make the place look attractive. Then open up a store maybe selling T-Shirts and other souvenir stuff as well as offering up food and drink. Instead they just lay about doing nothing. What a waste and apparently this is just the mindset here as it is in much of the Philippines. Shame

This morning Lynn left to go to one of her relatives house. I went looking for her as I was hungry so I went to the one she played cards in and she wasn't there so they took me where they thought she went and that was her Brother ???? house and she wasn't there either. Of all the houses ??? definetely has the nicest though I would have opted for a different color LOL

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I walked back to the Hotel and as I got there I took this photo of the overnight boat coming in from General Santos City. Also a photo of a custom modern outboard boat. Something I would love and more importantly NEED!!! to have if I lived on an Island like Balut. Add a compressor and I am all set

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Turns out the water current was way to dangerous for me to cross all the way. It was running at like 3 kts. super fast. I would have been swept out to sea. Instead as it turned out we got invited to a picnic at the Mayor's residence on Sarangani Island. So we got the same speed boat as our first trip and he took me to a spot on the other side to snorkel and then drove Lynn, Alex and a Cousin to the residence. After about 45 minutes the driver cam back for me.

The Mayor has a very cool place situated on a cliff above Caverns. These Caverns are completely dry at low tide, but flood during high tide. Turns out our picnic was at during the last phase of low tide so we had plenty of time to enjoy.

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And did we enjoy. There was plenty of sea life around us and we took advantage.

#1 Sea Urchin

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#2 Giant Clam

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#3Fresh "Parrot" Fish

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It was all awesome!!!

We left at about 3:00pm and all in all a great day of fun.

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Heading Back to Balut Island

We are back at the hotel and a wonderful day to say the least. People here are so friendly and I am having…FUN!!! most importanly, ALEX is having a wonderful time and I am so happy for her. This is a great education for her in life to learn how the other half lives and I am seriously thinking to send her here a couple of times a year to GROW UP better!!!

Getting massage now….

May 9 – It is only May 9 and I already have over 112 photos and about 10 videos in the diary so far. Looks like no hiking again today as it rained last night and the trails will be to wet to drive on to get to the Mountain

Instead we went to yet another brothers house and on this particular day, Saturday there are "COCK" fights between chickens or roosters whereby they wear on their legs a sharp blade and then try and kill one another in an enclosed ring. There were a couple of hundred people there from all over Balut and even Sarangani Island. Lynn and I made some bets onwhich chicken would win and I won in the two fights I bet on. Lynn did good as well.

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There is an expression "How many people can you fit on a motorcycle in the Philippines" the answer is ALL OF THEM

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We had Dinner at Lynn's Cousins house near to the hotel. It was a blast. I got delightfully drunk and was well behaved. The chicken was so good.

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May 10 – It's Mothers Day so I've been told so a Happy Mothers Day to Mom. The plan is to go to this Island near the Pier and have lunch and then just hang out until the boat leaves at 10:00pm for the four hour ride back to General Santos City followed by a five or so hour bus ride to Davao.

Instead of masks, diver and fishermen here use Handmade Goggles

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My two beauties

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We just got back from another wonderful day with Lynn's family. Alex had a blast spending most of her time with her Cousins in the water We went to an Island that was very close to the Pier so I snorkeled over. Everyone showed up about ten minutes after I arrived in various boats, The Island was small and lovely. I was still a bit hung over from last night so Lynn asked someone to bring a folding day bed and once it arrived it was lights out for me. I awoke about 1 1/2 hrs. later and had lunch.  

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Later on during Low Tide everyone went to collect and eat Sea Urchins

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I think I ate too much. Man am I fat 

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May 11 – We left Balut at 10:00pm last night and the boat was very claustrophobic not to mention there was a totally drunk guy who just so happened to be across from us and would't stop making noise. We finally had to call the Coast Guard in to have him removed and they put him somewhere else and warned him to be quiet or they would throw him off the boat and arrest him. He eventually went to sleep.

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We arrived General Santos City at about 4:30am where we caught a nice air con bus to Davao City which we arrived at about 9:00am.

The Strong Arm of the Mother-in-law

When it comes to the Philippines and coming here to meet your girlfriend’s family there are certain things that you are going to have to come to accept.  The first is the traditional attitudes and “values” that underpin the society of the country.  If you want to talk churchy then it doesn’t get much more ingrained in society than it does in Asia’s largest Catholic country.

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While a lot of the younger generation here are breaking away from traditional Catholic values and beginning to embrace more worldly approaches to life’s challenges, this is seldom the case with their mothers.  What this means is that one of the first questions you’re likely to be asked (possibly directly but more likely indirectly) is when are you going to marry my daughter.

Filipinas are very family minded and that means that if their mother is asking that question then you’re more than likely going to find her asking the question as well.  I was involved in a conversation over dinner and drinks last night with a new arrival in the Philippines who got the question in a very direct way (in fact, exactly the same way it was posed to me a few years ago).

“You’d better marry my daughter because if you don’t we’re afraid you’ll get her pregnant and leave.”

As any sane man would, I responded to this approach by saying that I would not be strong armed into marriage by anyone.  I felt it was an affront to my character and it pissed me off.  The attitude, if anything, made me more determined to duly delay the nuptials.  What followed was over a year of both direct and indirect approaches from various members of her family asking the question about when I was going to make an honest woman out of her.

In the interim we bought a house, invested in a few businesses and had our first child (upon whose birth certificate my “religion” is stated as atheist and both of our relationship statuses as unmarried).  We traveled around the country, her parents met my parents, I have yet to so much as set foot in a church and we are very happy together.  The constant digs about marriage gradually faded away into the background and it is never really mentioned anymore.  This leads me to the point of the article. 

Where in a western country any young woman’s parents would actively discourage her to leap into a marriage, here it is almost expected that she will.  Make no mistake, this is no land of nubile virgins who won’t give it up until there’s a ring on their finger (anyone who has spent more than 30 seconds in the country has worked that out) but it is a country where religion matters.  This means, even though they may not necessarily understand why they follow the rules, they do.

Much to the chagrin of certain members of the family, far from leading me back to the flock like a lost lamb, my relationship with their daughter has caused her to open her mind to the possibility that marriage won’t make a lot of difference.  While she still identifies as Catholic she certainly doesn’t see the world like one anymore.  Her family are coming around too, they’ve realized that just because I’m a haughty heathen it doesn’t mean that I’m a bad person.  I’m pretty sure my mother in law still thinks we’re all going to rot in hell though.

Balut Island – My Diary of Adventure There – PART I

PART I

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This is an excerpt from my private Diary Chronicling my adventures in the Philippines over the past 11 years. In this case a Trip to Balut Island last year which is an Island located a few hours south of the Southernmost tip of the Island of Mindanao. It is way off the beaten path and almost no one goes to this island unless they know people on the Island. In this case, my partner Lynn has family there.

May 2 – Got up at 2:30am, showered, fixed up the condo a little, had some cereal and was out the door by 3:00am. Arrived the NAIA Airport by  3:20am, bordered at 4:45am took off and arrived Gen Seng by 7:00am. I have to Say NAIA is quite beautiful with many nice restaurants and shops along side the gate area.

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NAIA Concourse by Departure Gates

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General Santos Airport

Got a car to a hotel near SM and met my two beauties there. It was so nice to be back together. We then went to Starbucks in the SM and after the mall opened did some shopping for our proposed one week stay in Balut. Right across the SM is a beautiful new hotel called "Greenleaf" and I immediately thought of my friend Barry. Absolutely gorgeous place. 5,000P/nt. including breakfast, use of gym and pool and airport transfers for two.

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On the other hand the "Hotel Filipino" Lynn got for us to stay a few hours until we leave tonight for 700P is an absolute dump. No matter, it has air con in the room and I can take shower before we leave.

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Hotel Filipino

Across from the SM is Manny Pacquio’s Gym

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and close to that I saw a restaurant that said it all. Great Façade

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I am so relaxed and look so much to this vacation to Balut!!!

And there is yet another beautiful place here in the way of AVANZA Mall. Another wonderful Ayala Development. They truly do build the most beautiful shopping venues

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Avanza Waterfall Wall

Went to the Port at 7:00pm and the wind was howling and the channel too dangerous to cross so we waited until 1:00am to leave. We were all already sleeping by 8:30pm and never knew we had left.

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May 3FIGHT DAY!!! Woke up at about 2:00am and the boat was chugging along in total darkness. Then got back up at first light and saw we were still two hours away from the Island.

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The boat had to be the slowest I have ever been on, going at like 2 miles an hour LOL We arrived at the Balut Port at 7:00am and immediately went to the hotel owned by the Mayor & Vice Mayor. He is charging us 1,000P night but it is very nice with air con and fairly modern

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We went for a walk and I happened upon the Barangay Hall and in front they had set up four TV’s so that those living in the Barangay could watch the fight for free. People here are so poor and this means so much to them.

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This island is a trip in the sense that it is remote and totally roughing it for the majority of the Island tenants. Roughing it mean basically living in a bamboo shacks with really no luxuries of any kind to speak of like TV and in many cases electricity. Of course there are quite a few living in normal concrete houses, but they as well are limited. Internet is hard to come by and electricity runs from 4:00pm to 12:00 midnight. Tomorrow I am planning to do some snorkeling and then on the 6th a climb up the top of the mountain….about a 4 hour walk.

After leaving the Barangay I took a freaking motorcycle ride to the property owned by two of Lynn’s brothers. It’s like located in the middle of nowhere. The ride itself was nuts going down 45% degree stone ridden roads. NUTS!!! Her brother showed me their spear hunting equipment. Handmade Spearguns and handmade Wooden Fins. Seriously, the concept is perfect for the guns and you can only admire their ingenuity. We spend almost $200 for something that probably costs them less than $20 LOL

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The band release on the bottom.
Simply aim and squeeze

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Alex is going to stay there tonight with a couple of her cousins. I am now back in the hotel waiting to watch the fight.

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I enjoyed watching the Fight and as expected Mayweather won. It was a close fight, but really needed a knockout by Pacquio for him to really have any real chance due to Mayweather’s style.

After the fight I decided to do some snorkeling out near the Port just to see. It felt good to get into the water and despite some pretty starfish there really wasn’t much to see. Tomorrow we are going out on Lynn’s Aunties boat and will go to some good areas to snorkel hopefully

May 4 – Had a great sleep and the plan was to go snorkeling. We loaded up the boat and headed out from Balut Port on the way first to a beautiful, practically circular white sand all around island called Ulanuban. I got in the water which was crystal clear and saw dozens of starfish. I got Alex a blue one. I then found a beautiful Cowries Shell. After about an hour of snorkeling we went to the main Island of Sarangani, where some of Lynn’s relatives were hanging out on another beautiful white beach. I had some Pancit for lunch and then found a hammock to nod off in for about an hour. We then headed back to Balut Port. The driver actually dropped in the water about ¼ mile out to snorkel in and that was really enjoyable. To be honest there is not much to see and any Bahamian Island would just blow this place away, but I love diving so just to get in the water is AWESOME!!! I just finished a wonderful shower and we are going to stay the night at Lynn’s Cousins place. To tell the truth, I am really enjoying being here. NO Internet, FB, Email, Phone……NOTHING!!!!! But it is GREAT!!!

Some of today’s Photos taken on Ulanuban

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We are now back at the hotel and showered and clean and will be heading up to Lynn’s Cousin place where we will sleep tonight and of course more Photo’s!!!!

I have to tell you it really is nice to be away from Internet and all that comes with it: FB, Email, chatting, etc….

Tomorrow is Fiesta and that should be fun, but I am looking forward to climbing to the peak of Mt. Balut the following day. My lungs held up great underwater today, so the hike up the mountain should be just fine.

Being here makes me miss Miami so much and I hope we have some money so I can go there this September for Lobster Season and see Danny, Steven and everyone else!!!

I have to say there is a magic to be on an Island full of fairly simple people with barely good roads BUT!!! Who really have it great….Clean Air, Lots of Fish to catch, just NATURE!!!……I really like it here and no doubt would like to have a house with all the amenities and someday maybe. Anyway, just like the idea of Alex being able to experience and hopefully appreciate a place like this.

On another note I can’t wait to see Joe. I love Joe and was not the best of substitute dads to him. Thus we have little to no communication…to be blunt he is hard on me!!! No matter I love the man and look forward to seeing him this May or June

May 5FIESTA Day. We went up to the property of one of Lynn’s brothers. Today marks a special occasion one in which they celebrate the new Church people in the community contributed money to build this year. This also calls for a Fiesta and everyone eats. Here are some photos of the day including some of the living conditions and surrounding areas. One thing I can say for Balut…the people are very nice, the air is clean, the water is clear and it is a very nice simple place to come to…..BUT!!! I wouldn’t want to live here LOL

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Local Kids

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Typical House

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Coconuts Everywhere  

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  Fiesta Time – Let’s Eat

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 Boy on his Horse

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Lynn Brother Danny at Home

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 Church Services

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            Local Boys Hanging Out

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Lynn’s Brother Danny’s Bedroom

After the Fiesta we went back to the Hotel to shower and recharge as the plan was to go sleep in the home of Lynn’s Brother Noni. He lives slightly farther up the road than her Brother Danny who lives where the Fiesta took place. On a positive note, Noli, lives closer to the Irada Coconut Plantation and also closer to the sea where we will all go fishing tomorrow.

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I agreed to stay the night despite there would be no power after midnight and who knew how hot it might be. We got there about 5:00pm and it was just so nice. Lynn’s brother was hammered/drunk and would not stop talking. I found it funny. He is so nice. I engaged in some beer drinking which really hit the spot on this rather hot evening without any breeze in the making which did not lend itself to a good night sleep THUS the beer LOL

We engaged in some talking and laughing and I was completely at ease. We had some dinner my having my spicy beef noodle soup and Lynn having a huge Clam

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Giant Clam

And soon enough it was time for sleep.

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What I love about Lynn and her family is how unpretentious they are. Most live between here and Davao, but stay here most of the year for harvesting the Copra. The family has over 300 Hectares or about 750 Acres. 

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Irada Coconut Plantation Near Noli’s House

Even after harvesting expense I am sure it is a very nice income that lends itself to a better life than most in this fairly poor Country and yet they choose to live in these very simple homes made of unfinished concrete blocks and/or Bamboo housing and nothing glamorous for interior finishing or furnishings. Even mattresses are a luxury. They fish for their seafood and kill chickens and pigs, but little to no beef. Drinking is a major issue with the Brothers, but it is part of life and so far so good. The air is clean and the kids grow up with a nice working mentality helping around the house and learning how to do most everything necessary. Lynn grew up this way and it was a great influence on her development which came out wonderful both as a business person and a Mother. It is amazing to see 12 siblings actually get along as well as this family does. I do understand that they have managed to create major savings of their Shares and use it for their children’s education, shopping trips to Davao and building a second house somewhere. All I can say is GOOD FOR THEM!!!

Also by Noli’s house is an elementary school where their father taught for like 45 years. There are plans to rename the school after him. Franciso Irada Elementary

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As for our stay in Noli’s house for the night let’s just say up until the power went off at midnight it was okay as we had the electric fan, but after that, it SUCKED.

 

Balut Island – My Diary of Adventure There – PART II

PART II

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May 6 – I don’t know how I managed it, but I was able to get to sleep and woke at about 5:00am and fairly close to daybreak. I got up went outside and eventually everyone else got up. The first order of the day was killing and cooking a baby pig which unbeknownst to me was to be used in a big family get together on a rocky beach. I chronicled the entire event in photos and video as can be seen following. This began at about 6:30am

Now there were a number of phases involved in the preparing and cooking of the Pig
1.
Killing by bleeding out the pig;
2. Skinning the Pig using boiling water and razor blades, spoons and knives;
3. Gutting the pig;
4. Putting and properly securing the pig on the cooking pole;
5. Cooking the pig!!!

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Killing the Baby Pig
by Bleeding It
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   Scraping the Hair  
     Off the Pig      
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Preparing the Fire
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    Cooking the Little Guy
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Cooking the Liver
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Cooked Liver

It was actually fascinating for me to watch as many of us have lived in the first World most of our lives tend to take so much for granted in almost every aspect especially about food consumption. Think about it when we go to the Supermarket and everything is already prepared do we think nothing about how that pork roast, chicken, and Sirloin Steak got in the display window. Of course not! We don’t want to know the gory details of that animal death humane or otherwise yet we cry foul when we see an animal being killed in video or photo. Can you spell HYPOCRISY!!! The story I just relayed in photos and video ONLY!!! shows it on a non-commercial level which is the kind people get all freaked out about it. The Truth sucks and if you want your food bone up!!! Some will still feel grossed out by it and how cruel and inhumane my videos reflect truth. Hey, life sucks and go fuck yourself LOL

I went back to the hotel close to 8:00am where I took a shower, update this dairy and get my fins and mask for the day of collecting. It then started to rain and at about 10:00am when it finally stopped, I took the scooter to the beach instead of Noli’s house so I could get a head start on some shell collecting. It was nice to get into the water again

My first stop was a farm that processes Copra.

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Meat for Coconut Oil 
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Shell for Making Coconut Charcoal

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Another Typical Local House

What is interesting about the house above is you can never tell who might live in it. It could be the tenants who oversee the property and harvesting of the crop or it could actually be the owners who make good money and could afford so much more. You just never know. In this case it is the house of the Tenants.

After this I headed over to the picnic area and soon to follow were Lynn and family

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Well low and behold at 11:00am many of the 30 or so Irada clan living here on the island including three of Lynn’s brothers, spouses and children started showing up along with about a dozen or so close friends and with them came the Letchon and a ton of other food SWEET to say the least. I have to tell you it was so much fun seeing how these simple island folks live.

One thing that was too cool for words was the collecting of fish. The brothers went out and using nets brought about one hundred of various species small and I mean small tropical fish. I was like what the fuck!!! Until Lynn brought me over a couple of them already fillet and sitting in some wasabi and soy. It was AWESOME. Like the freshest thing you could imagine….DELICIOUS!!!

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The Fish for the Sashimi and Barbeque

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Slicing Up Parrot, Sergeant Major,
                          Snapper and a Slew of Other Spieces                               
           
for Sashimi             
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The Finished Sashimi     

 

Everyone having a good time swimming and hanging out

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Mr. Baby Piggy All Done
and Ready to be Devoured

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The Irada Clan Fiesta Begins!!!
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Me Enjoying Some Crispy Pata
or the Crispy Skin of the Pig

Then we started digging into the Lechon, rice, the now barbequed tropical fish, and a bunch of other food. What a fun time. Of course many of the guys were now drinking rum and brandy and it was a fun festive good natured family fiesta!!!

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Low Tide. Coral Heads Showing

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Starfish……DUH!!!!!

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A Birds Nest the Kids Found

I headed back to the hotel at about 2:00pm to catch up on this journal. It is now 4:00pm and Lynn and Alex just returned and they had a blast!!!

We took showers had some food and crashed early in the nice air con room LOL

All in all a wonderful day and I can’t wait to hike Mt. Balut tomorrow

May 7 – Nice quiet sunny morning, but shit my sneakers are still wet so I can’t hike until they dry. We will stay until Sunday as there are no boats going back until then. Ok by me. Imagine all this time away from FB and MLM Insider and Internet LOL

When we went out from our room we met the Mayor. She is very nice. Her husband the Vice Mayor has stage 4 Cancer of the Colon and is basically waiting to die. They own the Hotel we are staying and it seems to be a well paying Job they have LOL

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Instead of hiking Mt. Balut today we went instead to the Hot Springs of Balut. First we made a stop at one of Lynn’s relatives to say hello and wait for the motorbikes to take us to the Springs. Lynn stayed behind due to some stomach issues so only Alex came with me and a couple of Cousins.

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More Family

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      Typical Native Kitchen

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   Coconut Charcoal

The ride there took about 30 minutes on some very up and down obstacle ridden roads made of mud and rock. Very hazardous and takes real talent to drive them. I am surprised that Motor Cross recruiters don’t come here to recruit drivers. These guys are great.

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Once I got there I quickly realized this was no Yosemite with the manicured facilities. This is basically a bunch of Volcanic Hot water in a concrete pool. One interesting aspect of it is the Sulphur ash that is derived from the Spring Pool and many people go there to collect this Sulphur to put on their faces to rid it of impurities.  We did it as well, but unfortunately some of it got into our ours which are burning like a mother F’er

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Hot Spring
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Warm Spring

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         Boiling Eggs in Hot Spring

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Alex with Sulphur Face

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Me with Sulphur Face

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We stayed about an hour and saw a couple of groups of tourists come and go and then went back to town

Tomorrow we will go to the Mayor’s resort on Sarangani and maybe just maybe hike Mt. Balut in the afternoon. We shall see

Presently I am in the Hotel room having taken lunch and a shower and feeling like doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!!

While I stayed at the Hotel, Lynn was doing what she loves to do…Play TONGITS and that she did for the better part of the day and evening at her Cousins house and she won 3,000P

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Out of Stock

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Probably one of the first introductions and rude awakenings you will have with Philippine Culture is “OUT OF STOCK”. This term normally applies to a place or store having run out of inventory of an item you desire.

Now in the States when you go into a store and ask for something you want but do not, see the typical reply by an employee will be sorry “Out of Stock” or “We Don’t Carry That

If you follow up to ask when it will be coming in, believe it or not most of the time they can give you a day, hour and minute of its arrival to the store. You see America, especially in big box stores like a Walmart have sophisticated inventory systems and can narrow it down that accurately!!!

In the Philippines this all changes and will probably become one of the greatest frustrations for a newbie to the Country and even with some veterans.

Here when you go into a store that you would think carries a product you are seeking you will oftentimes be met with an “Out of Stock” answer when you ask about it. The biggest challenge with this answer is that probably 9 out of 10 times the store never carried the item to begin with and never will LOL Funny enough sometimes the employee will tell you that the item is coming in the next day, next week or sometime in the future or you’ll get a shrug of the shoulders and a I don’t know sir. So now having been given a hopeful answer, you don’t bother to look at another place as you can just wait a few days until the store you were just in gets it.

So you come back and again you get the Out of Stock and this time you demand to see the manager and sometimes he is as fucking clueless as the store clerk you first met. Other times they tell you straight out they don’t carry the item. You leave shaking your head and a bit steamed LOL

Well picture this happening over and over and over and over again. It will drive you fucking insane!!!

Just today I went into a supermarket and wanted to buy eggs and of course this is a product that a Supermarket carries like ALL THE TIME, but today they didn’t have any stock. I was furious…I mean how difficult is it to manage inventory like eggs. I mean unless someone came into the store to buy eggs to make 1,000 birthday cakes there is just no excuse for a store running out of eggs. I blew up at the manager!!!

Supermarket Prices Makati – April 2016

Following are Supermarket prices of items most expats can relate to as of April 7, 2016. Now please understand prices of most fruits and vegetables are going to be much cheaper (less overhead vs. stores) in the "Wet" (street) Markets where there is no refrigeration, but if you get there early enough will find extremely fresh products. I shop in the wet markets for my produce and fruits.

Please be aware that many of the items below are showing weights that are in Kilo (kg) so to find the price per lb. simply divide the showing kg price by 2.2

Description Price USD Measurement
butter 2.73 8oz
cream cheese (philadelphia brand) 3.20 8oz
cheddar cheese 4.26 8oz
coke .99 lt
cereal (kelloggs corn flakes) 3.79 10oz
iceberg lettuce 3.25 kg
romaine lettuce 3.25 kg
milk 3.35 lt
beefsteak tomatoes 1.44 kg
white onion 1.77 kg
carrots 1.34 kg
garlic 4.11 kg
red onion 1.84 kg
idaho potato 1.67 kg
red pepper 3.29 kg
green pepper 2.88 kg
broccoli 4.33 kg
cauliflower 3.29 kg
pineapple 1.08 ea
cantaloupe 1.84 ea
banana 1.47 kg
papaya .57 kg
seedless navel oranges 4.22 kg
seedless red grapes 9.10 kg
red delicious apples 4.11 kg
chicken breasts (boneless) 4.66 kg
chicken breasts (bone-in) 3.20 kg
pork chops 4.44 kg
ground beef 8.66 kg
sirloin steak 21.66 kg
flank steak 15.16 kg
eye round 9.20 kg
tenderloin 60.67 kg
snapper 8.50 kg
grouper 8.50 kg
shrimp 12.09 kg
prawns 19.89 kg
salmon (norwegian) 15.64 kg
pasta 1.62 lb
eggs x-large 1.90 12
ketchup 1.08 14oz
beer (san miquel) .87 can
mayonaise 3.66 16oz
peanut butter (skippy) 4.22 12oz
grape jelly (smuckers) 2.95 12oz
white bread .45 loaf
wheat bread .55 loaf
grated parmesan cheese 5.25 8oz
florida natural orange juice 5.87 lt
sour cream 1.95 8oz
a1 sauce 5.95 10oz
lays potato chips 2.66 6.5oz
albacore tuna in oil (bumble bee) 1.36 can
extra virgin olive oil 11.41 lt
feta cheese in oil 6.76 8oz
corn in the can .93 15oz
tide detergent 3.79 15oz
bacon (hormel) 7.80 lb
cookies (oreo) 1.51 12oz
ground coffee (folgers) 7.95 12oz
apple juice 1.62 lt
ice cream 2.45 1.9lt
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Are you sending money to the Philippines? Really? Read this.

Are you planning on sending money to the Philippines?  Building a house maybe?  Need to get some new appliances?  Perhaps it's "that time of the month" and it's time for an allowance (or two – wink wink) to find their way to the Asian side of the Pacific Ocean?  As usual when it comes time to submit a remittance payment to the Philippines you're getting ready to pay huge fees, get ripped off on the exchange rate and generally be left not enjoying the experience very much.

What are your options?

You 've got plenty of ways that you can go about sending cash to the Philippines, some leave a little to be desired from a convenience aspect and many will cost you far more than you need to spend:

1) Bank to Bank (Wire) transfer.  Probably the slowest and most expensive options.  Banks in the Philippines will charge you anywhere up to $25 to receive the funds and you'll pay a similar fee at your end.  This type of transfer only gets processed on business days and can take anywhere between 3-7 days depending on where your bank is and which bank in the Philippines you're submitting funds to.

2) Western Union. Slightly more convenient that a wire transfer but not a whole lot cheaper.  Western Union transfers are instant, but they are extremely expensive as far as financial transfers go.  Also there needs to be a Western Union outlet near the recipient, while this is the case in most larger Philippine towns, it is not always the case is smaller, more provincial locations.

3) WorldRemit.  What I love about these guys is that your first transfer is free.  Even after the first transfer it's one of the lowest cost remittance options I've ever seen.  In the past six months I've brought over half a million pesos into the Philippines with them and always had it ready for collection at my nearest Cebuana branch 5 minutes after I complete the forms.  This means my wife can shimmy on down to the local Cebuana and be spending my money instantly, no matter where in the world I am!  Take a look at the below video for more from the OhSoClickable 30 second survival guides on the matter…

Worldremit can be used from the US, Australia, Europe and lots of other countries around the world, the first transfer is totally free and transfers are instant!

 

 

Siargao, Mindanao – Surf’s up in an unspoiled paradise

I had heard so much about this island called Siargao located at the northern tip of the island of Mindanao. As a former surfer, I always love going to places that offer surfing and Siargao is well known for Cloud Nine considered one of the best surf breaks in the country

In order to get there you must leave from the town of Surigao located on the mainland at its northern most point. We got up around 8am then we went off to town to look for the boat that would take us to Siargao. We found it and departure was 11:30am. 

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Our Boat to Dapa, Siargao

Getting there and first impressions

It is amazing just how much stuff and people you can load on to one of these boats. We found two seat in the lower section but it was too claustrophobic for me so I ended up sitting near the bow for most of the two hour trip. It was actually really nice with the fresh sea air blowing in my face.

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Siargao Island

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Siargao Mangroves

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Dapa, Siargao. Main Port

The Banca was doing about 16 kts which is pretty good speed for how loaded down she was.

We got to Dapa on Siargao around 2pm and then it was off to the town of General Luna where all the resorts are situated. We went directly to Patrick's Beach Resort. Patrick's was full so they referred us to their hotel neighbor next door. We got a rate of 1,000 pesos or $19.50 for an air con room located 25 feet from the beach.

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Our $19.50 Nipa Hut in Siargao

Our first night here we were invited to a party at the Ocean 101 resort run by an Aussie named Mike and his wife. It is located about 3 miles up the road about 100 meters from the famous Philippines surfing area known as Cloud Nine. We got to the party around 7pm and there were around 20 people sitting in the outside dining area talking and drinking. It was really nice to meet people from Australia, Norway, Great Britain and of course the good old US of A. We left at around 10pm but heard it went on until 6am for some.

While at the party we had a chance to look the place over and decided to come stay here on Thursday.

Siargao is good size island bordering the Pacific Ocean on its east side. The west side is mostly mangrove swamps and not inhabited. It lies Northest of Mindanao and Southeast of Leyte. I would say it is as nice a place as you would find in the Philippines. The island is very quiet and the people are friendly. All the good beaches run on the East side of the island but not in a continuous line. In fact most of the beaches run in only small km segments. Dapa to General Luna, General Luna to The Ocean 101 Resort, and then Pillar to Burgos.

 

A popular surf break and retirement destination

Siargao is becoming  great place to invest in beachfront property and most if not all real estate focus is between Dapa and Ocean 101 Resort. Prices currently range between 250 and 1200 per sqm. The most expensive property becomes, the closer you are to Cloud Nine and it's surfing.

There is one really fancy Resort called Pangsukian which is all inclusive and runs up to $200 USD a day per person. This resort is located between Dapa and General Luna. Nearby is the one of the Governors vacation houses.

Close to General Luna are where most of the resorts are located as well as the more interesting real estate. Because of the surfing attraction, many foreigners are showing up and buying most all available beachfront lots. Unfortunately, like Dumaguete us foreigners are setting a poor example by paying asking prices and consequently prices have gone up quickly from about 250 pesos a sqm to about 500 pesos or $10 per sqm now in the immediate vicinity of GL. The good news, is it will only go higher still. Between Dapa and GL is what can only be described as a giant lagoon as it is protected by a huge reef that runs the length of the Island from North to South with the very deep Pacific Ocean on the other side. The the water inside the reef is very calm and also clean and blue. The downside is, it is also for the most part dead. Dynamiting for fish harvesting has more or less eliminated most all the corals that were very abundant here only 20 years ago. Stories have it that back then you could catch fish with your hands. It is very sad but fortunately, there is still an abundance of marine life on the outside reef.

Even so it is still a wonderful and beautiful place. Frankly it is total joy with its tranquility. Sort of like Boracay before it became known. Any way, real estate wise we are focusing our attention between GL and the Ocean 101 resort. There is mostly white sand beach and then a mixture of white sand and rocks but, the water is nice and the view and sound of the waves breaking on the reef offshore is very soothing.

We have tentatively found a 4600 sqm lot right on the beach for 600sqm. We are offering 400 and might get it at 450 per sqm. It is about one km from cloud nine. It has road access and can easily be used for us privately or for a resort. The beach is nice but there are many dead and sharp rocks in the water directly in front of the property that will have to be excavated. This is no big deal and it will create a nice ocean pool for us as well as a channel for a banca we will eventually get. Most likely we will build a nipa house on the property for our personal and friends use and just sit on it and watch it appreciate in value. We are now just waiting for the offer to be accepted.

 

Following are some photos of the property. BTW, all the rocks you see on the beach will be removed leaving only white soft sand.

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Siargao Property

We are having a really nice time here at Ocean 101. There are mostly surfers staying here from: Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Oregon. Except for Australia/NZ the Surfers coming from Canada and Oregon is pretty weird. The food here at Ocean 101 is also great so anyone looking for a nice place to stay should consider it. The only drawback is the lack of a beach. This resort caters more to surfers and they are located directly in front of a bunch of great surf spots. They have small rooms for 300p/$6.00 pesos a night, Nice air fan for 600p/$12.00 and Air Con for 1,000p/$20.00

 

Daka Island – the most beautiful place in the Philippines

Today we went to what I think is the most incredibly beautiful place I have seen in the Philippines. It is called Daka Island. The beach is white and soft like Boracay's and the view of the lagoon is breathtaking with the most blue-turquoise water you could ever imagine. The other side of the island faces the Pacific Ocean and it is also beautiful. White sand beach and coral rock. Found some of my nicer shells here.

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Daka Island Facing South Toward Siarago

Right off the island is one of the surf breaks Siargao is known for. This one is geared to beginners and is kind of cool as it runs parallel to Daka island and not perpendicular as most breaks do. Typically rideable during high tide it runs 3 – 5 feet.

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Daka Island Surf Break on Low Tide

Sunday and Monday were relatively quiet. On Monday we spent the morning getting a lawyer for the Siargao property purchase which appears to be going very well. She then caught up with me at around 2pm and we took a walk along the beach close to the lot we are close to buying. We collected some more shells and then headed back to Ocean 101 by the main road. After a few minutes, we passed a group of children who looked so happy and were having fun chasing grasshoppers around. I asked to take a picture and they readily complied. Glad they did as you can see what makes this country so special.

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Siargao Smiling Kids

 

Airport Massage

Airport Massage

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One of the realities of air travel these days is the inevitable delay. These delays in fact are becoming more common place at least here in the Philippines than on-time air travel. Life is stressful enough so imagine having a reprieve of the stress you may immediately start suffering from in hearing about a delay in your flight and having right in front of you the benefit of getting a 30 minute to one hour massage during your wait time. Even better is the cost…..Only 150 – 350P or $3.20 for 30 minutes to $5.31 for an hour. I took advantage of this just this past Friday and today Monday. Coming we were delayed one hour so I got a 30 min massage and today also an hour and got a one hour massage. Can’t be beat. Welcome to the Philippines.

I know there are massage facilities in NAIA 3 and 4 and many of the provincial airports

Oh and if that isn't wonderful enough, Lynn, Me, Alex and my Mother get massaged from a girl named Carmella. She is a awesome masseuse and she comes to our place ever week and gives each of us a one hour massage for a whopping. $6.40. Can't be beat!!!

World’s First Dengue Fever Vaccine Launched in the Philippines

dengue, dengue fever, dengue in the philippines, contracting dengue, cures for dengue
World’s First Dengue Fever Vaccine Launched in the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – (CNN News) – Dengue fever infects 390 million people each year, and kills as many as 25,000, according to the World Health Organization.

The disease could soon see these numbers decline as the Philippines start administering the world’s first dengue vaccine to high-risk children.

The historic drug took 20 years and $1.8 billion to develop.

The Philippines’ Department of Health launched a school-based immunization program in highly affected areas, making it the first country where the vaccine is commercially available.

Lazada Philippines

Around 70% of dengue fever cases occur in Asia, with the Philippines reporting 200,000 cases in 2013, according to Sanofi.

It’s one of the world’s most common mosquito-borne viruses, with severe symptoms including headaches, rashes and leaking blood vessels.

The makers of the vaccine are confident it can reduce cases in the Philippines by 24% over the next five years.

Foreigners Studying in the Philippines – How to do it?

 

Keeping your brain active when you're living out in the provinces can be tough.  Fortunately most areas now have reliable internet so there are options, inexpensive options, that you can self study online. When I first started looking at getting into this type of learning I was worried about a couple of major points.  One thing I've always really enjoyed about study is the opportunity to interact socially with my classmates and another is being able to interact with them intellectually.  

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Then there was the issue of being up here in North Luzon and not really very close (in fact very far away) from either a decent bookstore or a library. I'm used to doing even short courses in a classroom environment so I really wasn't sure how I'd take to interacting with nothing but the glare of my computer screen. So I started looking around for something.  There are loads of sites around that claim to offer free university standard classes, the likes of Coursera for instance.  

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What I found about services like that was that, yes, they did offer you a free course.  They were basically just marketing initiatives.  Once you finished your course there was always a paid option to go up to in order to learn more about the topic.  Even though the courses were free you had to pay to get your certificates, for a course that really didn't teach you much at all.

So I accepted the fact that I had no choice but to either enroll extramurally at a university somewhere else in the world, which would mean paying western course fees as a non-resident.  This was money I didn't have so it really wasn't an option.  The other option was to try out a few of these paid online short course sites, like Udemy.   They have a huge range of courses and while in some cases the qualifications aren't going to get you a new job (although some will).  They will enable you to spend some of your leisure time taking the old grey matter out for a trot.  

They've got this system which kind of set my mind at rest about the quality of tuition.  You don't need to actually be qualified in anything to be a Udemy instructor, you just need to present a compelling pitch.  That concerned me, but once I realised that all the courses are rated by users, you can see exactly how many people have done it before you and read their feedback I figured it was no riskier than something like eBay.

Discover Udemy's featured courses!

Now I enroll in something two or three times a year.  The content keeps growing and I've done courses that have improved my photography, taught me a new language (or at least started me down the track) and even bake my own bread.  There are some free courses up there that you can make a start on but I would not hesitate in recommending Udemy to anyone who wants to expand their horizons without leaving paradise!

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If I Knew Then What I Know Now – The Importance of Travel Insurance

alcohol-428392_960_720What if you end up catching more than just a hangover next time you're in the Philippines?

This is a dated article but deals with the importance of having medical insurance and how I wish I had it back when I first came over here. I would have saved a boatload of money.


Lost luggage, trip cancellation, medical emergency

Back in June of 2005 I went to Sabang in the Philippines at a place called Puerto Galera to Scuba Dive. Before going I had been having some serious arthritic pains in my feet and arms and was taking Methylprednisone (medrol) for the pain. The pains had subsided enough to go Scuba Diving. After one of my dives I recall feeling dizzy and short of breath. I asked the hotel if there was a medical facility and I was directed to a small but fairly modern clinic. Upon my arrival the female Doctor took one look at me and said I was having a Myocardial Infarction or Heart Attack. She said it was important for me to get to the mainland as I was probably in need of an anti-clotting drug (which she didn’t carry).

We were able to arrange for a Boat to take me to Batangas which was the nearest town with a Hospital and just so happened to be the main place from which boats came and went between Puerto Galera and the Mainland. The trip was almost two hours and the doctor was kind enough to accompany me there. Once there at the Batangas hospital I was administered an anti-clotting drug called Streptokinase. This saved my life but unfortunately so much time had passed that I lost 25% of my heart. I ended up spending 3 days in ICU at Batangas Hospital and then 3 days at Makati Medical Hospital and when all was said and done and I got out I was presented with an even more unpleasant item in the form of a $7,000 medical bill in total for both Hospitals. So on top of losing 25% of my heart, I also lost a considerable amount of money that was totally unnecessary if I had Medical Insurance.

Since this time I have been able to find Emergency Medical Insurance which covers me for emergencies only. Also, when I travel I always buy Travel Insurance. Knowing what I know now I would never have traveled to the Philippines without travel insurance valid until I could find a local insurance policy.

Are you traveling to the Philippines? Check out travelsure from AIG.

Seaman’s Loan Requirements with 2.75% Interest Rate

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Seaman Loan Requirements with 2.75% Interest Rate – www.yourlifeinthephilippines.com
If you’re a Filipino seafarer working outside the country, you’ll be glad to know that when you have financial crisis, lending companies and financial investors offer a seaman’s loan which could be your lifesaver. During unforeseen circumstances, it is important to know where you can avail a quick loan. Offered by both banks and private financing and lending companies, you need the following requirements in order to avail a loan with 2.75% interest rate.

  • POEA-validated Latest Contract– Departure date will be verified with the crewing manager or agency. It is also where your salary and position are stated which are essential for determining the loanable amount.

  • Latest Allotment Slip – It is where the allottee is verified as well as the amount of monthly allotment which is necessary for determining the possible loanable amount. In cases like self allottee or pay on board, you need to have an OEC.

  • OEC– This is the Overseas Employment Certificate which also determines the departure date, an essential qualification for the release of the loan. The provider requires 5 days before the departure in order to qualify.

  • SRC – The Seaman’s Registration Certificate must be updated and valid.

  • Seaman Book – It must also be updated and valid.

  • Passport–It should be currently validated upon or during the loan term. If expiration falls under the loan term, you will be required to renew first.

  • Allotment ATM– This will be collected but an ATM replacement will be issued on your behalf wherein you or your allottee can withdraw excess fund from the allotment minus the loan payment.

  • Manning Agency Accreditation– Your manning agency must be duly accredited by the POEA as listed in the updated sea-based recruitment firms allowed to pool manpower for sea-based jobs in the Philippines.

  • Own House– If the seafarer lives in his own house, relatives’ house, ancestral house, and mortgaged house, this helps him or her qualify the 1 day release loan.

  • Rented House– This includes boarding house and other residences that are not considered owned by the borrower. This entitles the borrower to qualify for 2.75% lowest interest rate seaman’s loan, but the process will take 3-5 days due to C.I. requirement.

  • First Timer or Second Timer– Those who had their first time to embark on a sea voyage as a seaman will have lower approval rate as compared to others who already have an experience.

  • Years of Tenure with Manning Agency– Sailors who have been working for a manning agency for more than 3 years may be qualified for the 1 day release loan even if living in a rented house or residing in a place other than owned.

  • 1 Co-Borrower– A co-borrower/co-maker may be your allottee or any immediate relative. For those who are single, separated, widow, or living together without kids, the same rule applies. For those who are living together but with kids, common law husband or wife qualifies but must provide birth certificate of any child or else, the same rule applies.

  • Checking Account– A joint checking account is required for the seaman and his allottee or co-borrower.

  • 2 Valid Primary IDs– These IDs will be used when your lending provider refers you to a bank to apply for a checking account, so be sure to have it.

  • Original and Latest Electric or Water Bill– It may not be under the borrower’s name but must have the same address as stated in the borrower’s valid IDs.

  • 2×2 Picture– 4 pcs each for the seaman and his co-borrower. This will be used in applying for the bank checking account.

Applicants must be sure that they have the complete list of the documentary requirements as well as some photocopies for faster processing and approval. The co-borrower must also be available for the initial interview. Loan applicants without the complete requirements will have delayed processing of their application.

Kash Martinez, understands the intrinsic attributes of making excellent content that suits the needs of every business especially when it comes online financing. She can conceptualize and implement marketing plans, explores profitable B2B opportunities and then absorb LoanSolutions.PH services. (PA)

Medical care in the Philippines – do you need insurance?

Surgery in the Philippines - do you need insuranceSo what happens if you fall ill in the Philippines?  It can easily happen, you're in a foreign country where your body is not used to the pathogens in the environment.  

You've got some of the craziest roads in Asia to contend with (especially if you happy to be in Manila). What happens if it all goes wrong?  

What is the general standard of healthcare in the country and what do you need to do in order to protect yourself from getting sick and being unable to get treatment?

The standards of healthcare in the Philippines

The best way to sum this up is that you're not in Kansas anymore, Toto! Healthcare here, depending on where you are, can leave a lot to be desired.  There are some exceptionally good private hospitals in many of the major centers but if you're out in the provinces you're probably going to want to be evacuated to somewhere a little bit more refined if you're serioulsy ill or injured.

Lost luggage, trip cancellation, medical emergency

The cost of major surgery here can easily run to over $10,000 and medevacs, depending on where you're being evacuated to can cost far more than that.  The reality is that unless you've got a big buffer sitting in your back account you're probably better off to insure yourself for the duration of your stay before you leave home.

Healthcare here is user pays, and usually in advance

If you do fall ill in the Philippines it works much like it does in the US.  You're not going to get treated unless you've got some way to attend to the expenses involved.  So if you're not prepared you could find yourself in for a very uncomfortable time while you do whatever you can to raise money from wherever you may be able to raise it.  

The healthcare is also not up to the standards that you would expect in the west, while this doesn't bother some people – and let's face it, 100 million locals go through the system and most come out fine – having a medevac in your backpack, especially if your condition is serious can be a very good idea.

So is travel insurance necessary in the Philippines?

If it is your first time here you will probably get sick to some degree, travel insurance is smart when coming to areas like this anyway where natural disasters are commonplace and your travel plans can be interrupted unexpectedly.  From a health perspective I think that travel insurance is a must have on your first trip here – there are plenty of people who would most certainly agree with that statement based on bitter, first hand experience.

 

Etiquette

Etiquette

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If there is one thing missing from the Philippines it is ETIQUETTE. Now etiquette applies to things like opening doors, standing in line, common fucking courtesy!!

Well NOT HERE

  1.  DrivingThe Philippines have probably the rudest drivers anywhere on Planet earth. Perhaps it is from a lack of proper training, I don’t know. All I can say is they suck as drivers and their etiquette is worst.;      
  1.  Driving slow in the left lane;
  2.  Cutting in line for toll booths, parking ;
  3.  Constant use of the horn;
  4.  Stopping wherever they feel like it;
  5.  Turning right from the far left lane;
  6.  Turning into oncoming traffic;
  7.  Bicyclists driving on left side of road instead of right side
  8.  And a few others that escape me now.
  1.  Other – I have lost count of # of times people have been adversely rude only due to their own ignorance of common courtesy.                            
  1. While waiting in line if you turn you eye for a  second, someone will try and cut in front. This especially holds true while waiting for a store to open. An informal line may have begun while waiting for the store to open, but as soon as the doors open, people will rush to get to the front especially if they will need to get a service number once inside like from a bank or telephone or utility company.  Also elevators, supermarkets, trains, buses anything that involves a line;
  2. Talking in movies and theater;
  3. Not covering their mouth when yawning;
  4. Eating with their arm on the table in from of them;
  5. Oftentimes eating/chewing food with their mouths open

 

U.S. Says it ‘Will Not’ Recognize South China Sea Exclusion Zone

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WASHINGTON D.C. – (Reuters) – The United States has told China it will not recognize an exclusion zone in the South China Sea and would view such a move as “destabilizing,” U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work said on Wednesday.

U.S. officials have expressed concern that an international court ruling expected in the coming weeks on a case brought by the Philippines against China over its South China Sea claims could prompt Beijing to declare an air defense identification zone, or ADIZ, in the region, as it did in the East China Sea in 2013.

Work told an event hosted by the Washington Post that the United States would not recognize such an exclusion zone in the South China Sea, just as it did not recognize the one China established in the East China Sea.

China claims most of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion in global trade passes every year.

“We don’t believe they have a basis in international law, and we’ve said over and over (that) we will fly, sail and go wherever international law allows,” Work said.

“We have spoken quite plainly to our Chinese counterparts and said that we think an ADIZ would be destabilizing. We would prefer that all of the claims in the South China Sea be handled through mediation and not force or coercion,” he said.

Work spoke as Chinese President Xi Jinping prepared to visit Washington for a nuclear security summit this week.

The United States has accused China of raising tensions in the South China Sea by its apparent deployment of surface-to-air missiles on a disputed island, a move China has neither confirmed nor denied.

China, for its part, has repeatedly accused the United States of militarizing the South China Sea through its freedom of navigation patrols in the region and the expansion of military alliances with countries such as the Philippines.

In February, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said his country’s South China Sea military deployments were no different from U.S. deployments on Hawaii.

Tensions between China and its neighbors Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Taiwan over sovereignty in the South China Sea have risen after Beijing embarked on significant reclamations on disputed islands and reefs in the area.