Thursday, July 21, 2011

Should I Stay or Should I Go

Sorry have not wrote anything for a long time.. Dam computer broke. Trying to get it fixed seems to be like building a bridge from Cebu to Bohol.. Never thought such a small thing could turn into a six month process. Worst part is, I have paid for it to be fixed three times now, and still comes back with same problem.. Maybe plugging it up and checking would be a good idea, before they send it back.. Maybe that's to much to ask.... ha ha ha ha...

Anyways, will not write much,, just talk a little about being a foreigner living here now for going on 9 years.. Often I ask myself, should I stay, or should I go.. Of course I have my wife here, and would not want to leave her.. But even the wife and business all can be taken care of.. I can take my wife back to the states, and of course just close down the business.. Then the issue of my wife's two Filipino sons also come into play.. So putting all the personal things aside, do i want to stay, or is it time for me to go.. Well, honestly I answer that question differently every day.. Some days I just want to forget it and go back to the states.. Then they are some days, I think I will be ok, and just keep going. I have found myself more and more , the longer i stay, answering the question,, I want to go back.. I do not know if other expats experience that. I just wonder to myself what will the next few years bring.. Will it get more and more days that i want to go back ??

The times i think i want to go back to the states, i wonder what i will do.. My construction company was closed when i left over 9 years ago.. All my contacts are gone, i sold all my equipment.. Lost my ass ( lot of money ) here in PI. So could not start it again.. Then if i did start it, have to build back up again.. Just to much.. Could work for someone, but at my age and the economy, that sounds like a long shot also.. It would be like starting over again.. Plus the fact that from what I read and hear about the USA, its sucks there about as much as here.. So what to do...

Then I think of staying here, and putting up with the things, that make me want to pull my hair out.. And by the way expats.. When we say we can learn to live with things.. Well they may be some things that we can learn to live with.. But they are things that no matter how much we try, they still just piss us off to no end.. ha ha ha ha.. I have learned to deal with most, and actually do pretty well.. Just seems i find myself thinking more of leaving.. Maybe just a phase we all go through. Maybe just mid life crisis.. Maybe i buy a sports car and things will be ok.. lol ha ha ha..

Well as for now, I still have no plans to leave.. So will just keep hanging on.. If i did go back to the states, probably would not be there six months, until i wanted to come back.. So better just stay...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Thought Foreigners had it Bad

Through recent events with lot of foreigners here in Cebu,, I was starting to feel just a little angry.. Again feeling the pressure of no rights, and being treated unfairly, and kindly feeling picked on you might say.. In the process of going through all the news reports and all of the videos of some of the recent events here in Cebu.. I started digging deeper and deeper into videos, and articles, and before I realized it.. Wow, i was finding story's of injustice, mis treatment, kidnapping, and just in general a total lack of respect period.. Was what I found against Foreigners.. NO.. It was against Filipino's themselves.. I was really shocked to find all the horrible and unjust things that have happened to Filipino, by their own people and own government..

Read about to young ladies who were abducted by the army for helping farmers, and where never heard of again.. The family have witness and know who was part of it, and why.. But, still to this day, the family seeks for justice.. The facts are there, the proof is there, but it seems everyone just looks over it, or pays no attention.. I found murders, kidnappings, robberies, and so many others where it was obvious that the accused was " sold down the road " or framed.. Maybe for political or personal reasons... The system was really doing nothing to help them.. Even with the evidence they had, and the things they known. It was just thrown back into their face, like it did not matter..

So I guess the old saying is very true.. When you think you have it bad, just walk down the street and look at someone else life, and you realize you do not have it as bad as you might think... As foreigners we hit the headlines first, and we are the talk of the town, when something goes wrong.. How everyone screams in justice, poor police work, and picking on foreigners... " Which in most cases is very true." But , wow, how much more the Filipino people themselves have had to deal with in justice.. It kind of made me turn from feeling all like the mis treated little kid on the block... To saying.. Wow, need to be quite for the small things that are happing to us, compared to the massive amount of the same treatment being dished out on their own people.. I started feeling a little guilty. Specially knowing the fact, at its headline news, and foreigners have at least people for or against them.. Or the means to fight.. Some of the horror stories of the Filipino I seen and read about,, not to many people even know they exist.. Plus, the family's have no real means to fight...

No matter what nationality we are, no matter where we come from,, all should be treated with respect and honor, and given justice , and fair and unbiased process for any situation.. What happens to some foreigners here recently and in the past here in PI, is very wrong, and is not handled fairly and honorable.. But, how much more, the thousands and thousands of Filipino stories out there, that never get told, and never get mentioned, that face the same injustice.. So you might say,, even when a foreigner gets into trouble, guilty or not, he still gets a better chance and more attention, then the local...

So are foreigners really targeted for injustice.. Are we treated fairly ??? Another big question in which seems to keep my head spinning and spinning here in PI.. On one hand I see said , oh look out of the foreigner and sex trade, and human trafficking. Look out for the foreigner wanting to have young girls and sex videos.. They are watched and really concentrated on for that.. BUT, then you have so many, so many Filipino's who do the same, and who facilitate and organize these actions. They are never mentioned much or even charged with accessories..

Then again,, you have the Filipino who suffers in justice,, much more in numbers then foreigners.. Who have family members murdered, because of politics, and never see a arrest. Children taken, business closed, homes taken, rapes, and all kinds of horrible things.. Even with witness and proof, they never see any justice.. They are lost in the judicial system, if ever even getting that far..

So all in all is one worse than the other, does one get more benefits, or get more in justice then the other.. Who would have a better chance at getting justice for a crime, or proven innocent for a crime they did not commit.. My vote would go for the Foreigner..... Which is the whole point of this article.. When we as foreigners think we are " getting the shaft, or not being treated fairly, or not getting the justice we deserve.",, and are being singled out because we are foreigners... Just look at the thousand of Filipino's who have had the same or worse done to them,, and because they were Filipino's ,, they never got the attention.... Do we still deserve justice and fair process.. YES,, do we still want it,, YES.. But I believe now, just because I am White would not be the entire reason for it.. Look how many Filipino goes through the same thing.. They all deserve Justice....

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Violence in General

All through my life, I have heard and listened to people say the word, violence like it is a taboo.. It come to my mind again, in a recent issue with some old forum rivals in which once again,, They said, " And he was making accusations of psychical violence toward me." Like I was some kind of serial killer or something.. Not that it is not true, it is very true.. Not killing or terrorism, but I have always been taught and raised, if someone pushes you to far, knock the hell out of them.. Or get the hell knocked out of me.. Either way, that is what I was taught and raised all my life.. It is really not that big of deal where I am from in Kentucky.. But seems everywhere else you hear of hitting, or offering to fight and people seem to get this big picture of devastation and horror in their mind.. Or at least that is what I think... Does not make sense to me...

Excessive violence, attempted violence, threating violence,, common on, its just fighting.. Plain old fist fighting.. When i was young and you had a disagreement or a problem with someone, you would try to work it out, but if they was no solution, or things got a little heated, or you just plain did not want to work it out.. Everyone would back up in a circle and say, ok settle it.. That is just what you done, you went at each other until one could not get up.. Then you helped him up, shook hands and it was done.. No more problem... Now days seems everyone gets scared to death of someone or tries to make it seem like you are committing a horrible action.. Now days people want to file a case if they get punched, if they even get bad word said about them, its run and file slander... What ever happen to settle it like men...

The thing that gets me is our system of life, liberty, laws, government, and history is built on nothing but violence... Change only comes through violence, or the attempt of violence. EDSA come through violence, revolutionary war, look at events in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, The World Wars, i could go on and on and on... If you really think about it, violence shapes our daily life and future.. It starts from when you are a youngster.. It is ingrained in our lives before we even know what life it.. ( Well lets say it used to be.. I am sure it still is some places..)

How many can remember when we would touch the lamps on the end tables, or we would pull at the television knobs when we were but little things.. When we would try to stick our fingers in light sockets or eat dog shit off the floor.. Our parents would talk to us, and say no, no, no.. and try to or three times.. But in the end,, smack that hand, or smack that behind, some cases side of the head, or anything that they could.. ( Everyone has different methods.) The point is, when we felt that pain, and violence ( per say ).. We learned very fast and changed our out look.. Now compare that to world events,,, Saddam ,, we have told you and told you do not do that.. We have went through all the talking and trying to work it out... In the end, when violence and about 200 tons of bombs was dropped on his country,, it worked.. I will not debate if the war was right or wrong, I am just trying to make a point about violence makes change.. I will also not debate if the change is good or bad.. Just the point what ever is being done, will STOP.. Lets even look at law enforcement.. If violence was not good, or did not serve a purpose, why do they carry those big Glock 9 mm, and .45's around on their waist.. I will tell you why.. You go to stop a robbery, and you walk up and say to the perpetrator, ok violence is not the way.. Please stop and put you hands behind you back and come lets go to jail.. ha ha ha ha ha... Do you think that would work.. Now you stick the barrel of that .45 close to his head, or you take a night stick and smack him in the back of the head, i will guarantee he will not be as much trouble and come very well with you. But that should only be the case if they do not want to come.. If the law did not carry firearms ( potential extreme violence ) do you believe they could arrest people ???

Same as I hear fighting is not the answer.. It helps nothing.. I strongly disagree with that statement.. I do agree that if you can find another way, that will work, that is the best way.. Instead of fighting.. But in the end, if that is what it takes, it will work.. ( Most of the time, most all of the time.) Even you win or loose, get beat up or take a beating, you will find it works most of the time.. Am I endorsing violence ?? No I am not.. I am saying if that what it takes, then its ok.. Let me clarify before I go any further,, when I am using the word violence, I am speaking of fist fighting mostly.. Firearms and handguns, bombs, knifes, all have their place, but they are different kind of violence.. Lets call that extreme violence for the record.. I also agree with extreme violence when they is no other way out.. Or when you are faced with someone who does not have the honor, or the will to settle it like a man.. Protection of your right to life, I agree with totally.. But for someone to use extreme violence to settle a problem is just a coward and stupid.. That i do not agree with.. If they are left no other choice then to use extreme violence in a situation that someone else is using that.. Then all means do what you have to,, too survive.

Pain and violence goes hand in had.. Discomfort, embarrassment, and others all go hand in hand with violence.. If you stick a fork into a electric plug, you know that is wrong. Everyone had told you that is wrong, should not do it.. But how many would still be doing that even now, if they had not had the pain of the shock, or seen the effects it caused on someone else, or even been shocked by another method.. You see, its the pain and discomfort that causes us not to do it.. If someone runs their mouth, disrespects you, embarrasses you. You can speak with them and tell the mental hurt it causes you.. Some will get it, and stop, some can not get the concept of that and will just keep on and on.. Maybe out of stubbornness or out of hard head.. But after those avenues have been exhausted, and you rare back and knock two or three of his teeth out, or you put a few stitches in his lips or head, I will almost guarantee you, most of the time,, that will not happen to you again from that person..

Same thing with laws,, you break the law, you will suffer discomfort, rights taken away, some type of violence, even if its only mental, or psychological. All in all,, everything we do is based some how on violence and extreme violence.. That is the building blocks in which most all major change is effected.. I did not make the rules, but that is just the way it is.. I do not rob a bank, cause I will get shot or go to jail and have discomfort.. I do not yell at the man on the street or do wrong to someone cause they might punch me in the mouth.. I do not grab that thorn branch with the nice flower on it, cause i am going to get hurt.. Its just a simple concept of life.

So back to the main point.. Sometimes violence is needed and it gets the job done.. Have to agree with me.. Even if you like it or do not like it.. Even if you are against it,, you have to agree it get results.. Some people can settle differences without any type of violence.. But as History has taught us,, when it comes down to talking wont fix it, or someone will not stop doing wrong.. Then violence of different types are used to change the problem...

I can tell you this.. I am a big man, worked all my life, strong as a ox. 6 ft 1 inch, 240 lbs, and would fight ( and have fought a bear, bull, or whatever I have to.) I do not scare of anything or anyone, period... But if you are able to punch me in the mouth for what I am doing wrong, or even if its not wrong, but you just do not like it.. You punch me or beat me up a few times, and I can not beat you.. I will be more than happy to stop doing what ever I was doing, right or wrong, and apologize and step to one side when i see you coming...

Now will any type of violence make everything better.. No.. Look at the world, we still have problems everywhere.. Crime, governments, and so that still know the threat, but keep on doing it anyways.. The point of this is only to say this.... If they will not shut up, if they keep running that mouth, if warning and talking will not solve it, knock some of those dam teeth out,, and you will have a smaller problem with that individual.. For the smaller people who do not have the luxury of size and strength, pick up a something and knock the hell out of them.. Remember be smart, and use common sense, you are not trying to kill them, just teach them a lesson..

I know a lot of people will not agree with this,, I know a lot will be shocked with this.. But, it is just the way I was raised and what I was taught and sent down to my children.. Now, you want to think I am a bad ass, a brawler, a real ass ... Well you could not be further from the truth... I hardly ever have to use violence towards anyone.. You could count on one hand the times I have had to do that in the last 5 years... Have I always come out on top.. NO.. Few times I have had my butt kicked.. But the point,,, I do not have to do it,,, cause they know I WILL DO IT.. That is the key.. Get respect and you do not need to do much.. As a final disclaimer..... Try to use all means of civil ways to resolve any issue.. Talk, ask them to stop, ask for apology, but if they are to stubborn to see it.. Then sometimes, it is the way it has to be.. If you ask me, your wrong, let the law handle it... In some cases, more extreme, I agree totally.. But common, what will the law really do for you... Slap on the hand to the offender, and your right back into the same thing again.. If you are more comfortable with the law, let them do it every time.. I can respect that.. Not all people are made to slap someone... But me,, Just makes me feel a lot better and I can sleep better... Hope I never have to do it again in my lifetime..

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Understanding The Filipino

They are thousands of perspectives of this topic all over the internet.. So adding mine will just sweeten the pot... Now these are my opinions, from my Personal Experience, from the people I know and have come in contact with.. This does not represent all Filipino's,, nor am I generalizing all Filipino's into one category. Again, this is from the ones I have met, known, or come into contact with over my almost 9 years here now.. I have been to 5 major cities, and many provinces around the Philippines.. So you can take it from there.. Also this is only my personal opinion and insight on how i perceive it.. Each person can and should have different attitudes and ways of feeling and looking at things.. This is mine...

This is also for any foreigners who decide to travel or live here, and get the chance to read this article.. It might help some of those who have the same mind or thinking as me..

Now most all of have heard about family, the friendless, and good nature of Filipinos.. I will not go into all that... They are thousands of articles about that.. I will try to cover some of the smaller and little things that I have done, or seen that was something that might get you bad feelings or hurt their feeling.. And,,, it will be unintentional.. Things that me as a American was very used to doing, and very acceptable in the States.. But does not work well here..

Laughing or ( Ribbing ) at Filipino
--- While they are many times that laughter is totally ok, they are many times it is not.. In the states we can laugh over a mis spoken word, or at a funny hair style someone has, tripping and falling, being drunk, many different things.. It is widely accepted and is not that big of deal... Here in PI,, it is a big deal.. Do not do it... This i have hurt more peoples feelings over then anything else,, and was totally not meaning to.. It was just what I was used to doing and never had a problem with... Here,, they will get hurt or think you making fun of them.. ( Which we actually are, but in good way, meaning no harm.) But they will take it to heart.. Especially the ribbing about looks, hair styles, clothing, speech, family, friends.. They will surely take it to heart..

After a short while here,, I would rib ( Tease ) persons that was close to me,, and honestly it caused some to not come around anymore.. As a country boy,, all of my friends teased each other about everything... Even when my American wife and I slit up and decided to divorce, I was really feeling down... Two days after my friends put large plywood sign in my front yard and painted,, good woman needed... The other one Run Off... ha ha ha ha... It was quite funny,, DO NOT DO THAT HERE.. or any kind of ribbing.. I teased a girl when others was laughing at her for having a big forehead... It was not really even big.. She was very pretty.. Well since they was doing it,, i thought i would get in on the joke also.. But, I pushed it for a few days, and every time I would see her,, I would tell her,, can i put a billboard on that forehead for advertisement.. Of course right after I would hug her and tell her she is pretty and its just a joke... But I just teasing her.. Did not matter... After the third day,, she broke down in tears and started balling.. To this day, she will not speak to me... Wow, did I feel like a ass...

Laughed at someone singing and made comments at karaoke,, ( because they was really funny, and terrible singer ) ,, kept teasing a little.. They stopped singing and will not go back with me to karaoke.. Even we are ok, and I apologized,, and we are still friends today... They still will not go to karaoke with me.. I told them, does not matter your bad singer, your ok.. I still want to go with you.. Did not matter.. Same goes for Speech.. That is big one... If you tease them of their English,, they will stop talking to you all together.

This also goes for being Drunk, what Clothes they wear, hair styles, family members, boy or girl friends, just about anything... Now do not get me wrong... You will hear lot of Pinoy joke that with each other.. But if you as a foreigner do it,, or lets say continue doing it more than once,, they will take it more to heart coming from you... I think because we are foreigners they think we look at them lower than us.. ( Which is absolutely NOT TRUE. ) But they feel that anyway.. So I think as foreigners we can do a lot of damage in short time..

Sense of Humor with Filipino -
My sense of humor and most Filipino's do not go together at all.. Many things I will joke about, or say.. Sometimes is mis interpreted or taken the wrong way.. Our jokes and theirs are on a completely different level.. Again, one is not better or worse then the other,, they are just different.. No offense intended,, but Filipino humor tends to be more simple and not complicated.. Ours seems to be more no so direct and sometimes is confusing,, which in turn sometimes can lead to hurt feelings or mis understandings..

Example : Neighbor here close to my place come over one day.. He had some bandages around his head, and you could tell he had some type of accident... I ask him, " Wow, what happen to you. " He told me that he had fallen climbing a coconut tree.. Which, I took as what had happened.. I even said directly after that,, " Oh man,, need to be careful when doing that. " Another person walked up,, and ask the same thing.. Of course me wanting to joke at him,, spoke first and said,, " I told him he needs to be careful how he spoke to his woman.."
Of course then,, he told what had happen,, and i did not think much more about it.. Two days later,, my wife said the man's wife had spoke with her and was very upset why I was telling people that she hit her husband... ha ha ha.. So see how it can get out of hand very easy here.. Now for us as foreigners,, that would have been no big deal,, and we would have known it was a joke.. Especially after he told what really happened and it was even discussed more of how he feel out of the tree.. But here,, things are taken to heart more.. One reason i think is because speaking of woman hitting a man, or jokes of sex, or of matters of the heart are not done here.. But, for us as foreigners,, they are common jokes... This also works in many different cases,, especially when joking of husband and wife, family, public officials, church,, things like that.. So be careful how you joke...

Beliefs or Religions

This one has got me in trouble many times also... Joking religion, or beliefs.. Better to stay away from that one... Can come back to get you.. My wife one night said they was a white lady outside the condo... I said a what.. She said a White Lady,, its like a bad spirit.. I laughed at her and joked her about it.. That was not so bad.. She took it in great stride... I then thought i would go a step further and sneaked out of the bed and took a white sheet and put over my head and woke her up standing there... I expected she would be scared,, but man never expected the outcome such a small prank would have... As soon as she screamed, i pulled it off and was laughing. Assuming she would also laugh after she yelled and got mad at me... Well, she went into Shock.. I mean actual shock, and turned stiff... Even after she knew it was me.. She really got bad, and turned white,, could not breath properly, and thought she was going to die on me... Scared me to death... Now, that is not the worse part... Even know she knew it was me, and I done it all, and it was only a joke... She could not sleep in that room anymore.. It was that bad.. Had to change condo's to another unit before she could sleep anymore... She tried,, and give it her best shot.. But even though she known everything, and it was all a joke,, she would freeze up and go to the living room.. Could not sleep there.. So again,, in the States,, I would have been slapped and cursed at,, then laughed at,, and might had to sleep on the couch that night.. But it would all have been fine... Here in PI,, not so... They take those superstitions and beliefs really to heart.. They have been passed down and part of life here and they really belief in those.. Oh and forget trying to explain the scientific side, or common sense side.. Most of the time it will not work... Need to just accept and honor that belief... So again, be careful how you joke with some people..

Sexual Contact in Public

Well if they is one that got me in more hot water and lost me more Chances ( Before my wife ). Well this one was it.. Guys,, from the States, this one will get most all of us.. How many times in the States have we seen or done... Women sitting in Laps, holding hands, Tap on the Rear End, Kissing, stroking hair.. Even not that big of deal for a couple to lay on top of each other and talk in the park... If you do it here... You might probably be finished or Branded a " Maniac ". That is the word they use for someone who does that.. I assume from the phrase " Sex Maniac." Now for us in the States.. Not a big deal.. Do not do it here.. Not for most anyways..

PDA ( Public Display of Affection ) is not a big hit with most girls in PI.. Not to say that they are not affectionate, just not so much in Public.. You will find that even when you mean it only with good intentions, and it will not seem like a big deal to you... They could possibly perceive you as a rapist, or what they call here ... ' Chicks Boy "...

Example : Early when I was here had a date with very pretty, nice young lady.. We met and went out and eat.. ( Oh by the way,, do not be shocked if they want to invite friends along on your first date, or first meeting.. That is just another thing they do here.. Some guys take it as they are taking advantage and getting free stuff for their friends.. Which some do that... Its really because of the scared of meeting a foreigner, and being alone with them. ) Anyways, on the second date we was alone.. Went to listen to some music.. So no big deal,, I put my arm around her,, stroked her hair, and middle of the night give her kiss on the check, rub on her shoulder a little.. In a little while, she said " I want to go home.".. I ask whats wrong.. She said, " Oh you are just a Manaic, and all you want is sex.. I can tell because you touching me in Public.. You are bad man.".... ha ha ha ha.. Dam,, i was speechless... So let her go home... Encountered that more times here also... So sex is kinda a secret thing in PI.. Do not talk about it with others, do not show it... Even the holding hands and hugging can sometimes be a NO NO... even when together for a while.. Seems once marriage takes place, its not as bad.. But still,, not to much and not in front of others.. Again, just another small warning to let you know how they see things here. Do not blame them, its just their way... Does not mean they will not be a good partner, just means that they are shy in public.. Just does not happen here that much..

They are others,, but these seem to be the biggest ones in which has caused me the most grief in the past.. I now have learned how and where and when to joke.. Learned to respect and accept that is the way.. I do not and should not try to tell them " how stupid it is ".. Or how they should not take things so badly... But ,, i finally realized, that they are not me,, and that they are not like me.. I need to love and accept some of the things that is their life.. Just as they have accepted and tolerated some of the things that are my ways and life also... So I learn to co exists, and give and take.. If you come with the attitude --- " Oh that is just stupid, and you are crazy, and I will not put up with that.".... Your just going to live harder life here.. You can not change it, you can not fight it.. Plus, what makes us right and them wrong.. Not right or wrong.. Just different...

For all Filipino's reading this,, please also understand the NEWBIE guys.. We do not do it to be cruel, or mean.. Some do not do it at all.. But where I am from in Kentucky, and my type of friends, we do it a lot.. But love each to death.. So realize that is not mean or cruel or intentional.. Its just we have not learned how to,, or Why,, stop it.. As for me, I have learned now, and show a lot more restraint and respect and realize that I can not do that with Filipino.. I still do it with other Foreigners and its is fine.. But have learned that we are not all the same,, and give due respect where it is needed..

As foreigners we need to understand that Filipino are very much more sensitive then us.. They look at the world through a complete different set of eyes.. When you really get down to it.. We are very different.. Raised different, eat different, believe different, speak different ( original language ), love different, accept things in life different... So we need to work together to find a middle ground in which allow each of us to keep things that are dear to our hearts,, even if we do not agree on them...

Friday, February 25, 2011

Everyone is a Expert when They move to PI.

Hello, I am back.. Sorry, been so busy with the business and with new things, and changes,, I have not had a lot of time to write much... Also been doing some things to try to help out tourism here on Mactan Island.. So I guess I put this blog low on the list of priority's for myself.. I am working on a New Travel Guide for Mactan Island.. Anyone wish to look at it, or give me some input you can find it here :

Its not complete, but I am working on it as I have time.. Lot of work to do one of those properly.. I do not make any money, or sell anything.. Just trying to help out, and I use it also as kind of a reference for things I need to keep up with and want to do myself around the Island.. They is a lot of work needed to be done to it... But at least its a start..

Now, back to Everyone is a Expert.. Wow, After being here for so many years, I really get a laugh out of seeing so many Expat's who arrive here to live or only stay a few months a year,,, starting these " How to Live in Cebu ". E books, guides, advice, just about everything you could imagine is in these sites... Now do not get me wrong... They are some of the sites in which are very good and have great information from Expats who have actually Live here and stay here.. I would even go out on a limb and say they are few,, ( very few ) who do not live here but still have decent sites and some good info.. But in general, most of them are just right down funny...

It is amazing how they tend to all have close to the same info, and same topics.... When you read their posts,, its like they are the ones in the know.. Now for us who have lived here a long time, and realize that some of the things they are talking about..... They do not have a clue...... It is funny, and sometimes make us just shake our heads in dis belief.. Now i am just talking about the informational sites... I do not even want to get started on the Forums... That is whole other subject... ha ha ha... I used to get aggravated and dismayed at some of the sites.. But after years I have just found to take them with a grain of rice... Read them, have my laugh for the day and then move on...

Now as for personal, I am still having hard time with that one.. I do lot better now, but when in a group of what i call " tourist expats " or short timers, and they start contradicting what I am trying to tell someone... I still am learning to hold my tongue.. Now anyone who knows me, knows that is hard thing for me to do in a situation like that.. But over time I have finally realized that any information or advice you do give out to potential expats,, is never really listened to or taken to heart anyway.. I have learned to let it go more these days.. Most will make the mistakes you telling them not to, or go ahead and start a business and not listen to any of the things you have told them to do properly...

I have learned more to live in my little corner and help the ones I can, and just wait for the others to come back so I can tell them " told you so "... I do not need to stand on a platform and defend my advice to others, or to get into a three page long comments on the internet anymore.. Just not worth it.... My proof of what I know and what I have done right and wrong,, is evident in my life and business.. Intelligent ones will see that and heed my advice and accept my help.. Others,, well,, they have their own agendas, and their own thoughts,, and can not see past those enough to help them anyway...

I do understand that many expats here can only work from the internet, and it is a great way for them to be able to work here in PI, and earn extra income for their family's.. That is all great and good, and I am in support of them 100%,, and will give my help in any way i can.. Its those who are arrogant, can not tell them anything, rude, obnoxious, A holes... who tend to not want to pay their dues, and to trample on the ones who have paid the dues and climbed the ladder... Those are the ones,, who are just laughable with their sites.. But, I have learned not to sweat those either... You remember the old saying.. " Give them enough rope, they will hang themselves." That holds very true here in PI..

Now for those of you who will read this and start feeling guilty,, ( you tell on yourself ) by leaving the famous comment.... " oh you guys who lived here long time think you know it all.. Blah, blah, blah"... Do not do it.. I will just delete them.. ha ha ha... Because those of us who have lived here a long time and who experience it everyday.. You dam right we know it all.. We live it... Sorry, let me rephrase... We do not know it all,, but give us the respect for know a hell of lot more then those who do not live it everyday, and who have not been here as long..

Anyways, my thoughts for the day... By the way,, they are some great good sites, with experienced and proven guys who have lived here for many years.. In which you can get a lot of great insight and good information..

They are more.. So sorry if I did not put yours here.. These are just some friends and persons i know.. They are still a few more good ones out there in my opinion.. Of course i am sure some will not be devastated because my poor little blog here does not get enough traffic to make a difference anyways...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Part of The Problem OR Part of The Solution

Well I am in writing mood, so I thought I would give another short post.. The Philippines is so wroth with problems.. I could go on and on about the problems of the really Great Country.. It really is a Great Country.. Good people, great beauty, beaches, and so many wonders to experience.. I really hope this post does not offend any one.. This post is for Filipino's and Foreigners alike.. It's my way of trying to wake up someone.. If this post can change just one person, it was worth writing..

So in all the strife and troubles, Would you consider yourself part of The Problem, or Part of The Solution... We all have to agree that Philippines is a country in trouble.. Now, I am sure they are many more countries that are also in trouble.. Many that are in the same or worse shape.. BUT, they are not my home.. Philippines is my home... So I am not picking on PI, I am truly concerned about it...

Please read each of the following and see what your answers would be :::::

Government : If you are a government official of any kind would YOU :::::

* Have you or would you take a bribe or small donation for helping someone with a government related issue ?
* Have you or would you price something on a government project higher than the actual cost, to have more money for yourself ?
* Have you or would you use your authority to help a friend or person who committed a crime, or have it covered up in any way ?
* Have you or would you steal cheat, lie, or mislead the public ( who elected you ) in any way, for any reason, at any time ?
* Have you or would you allow any office under your authority to be un productive, not properly on duty, or be un fair or rude to any citizen of The Philippines, or Foreign National living or visiting here ??
*Have you or would you use any tax payers money, whether from local or national government, in any form, for personal gain in which would be against the laws or code of conduct of a government official ?
* Have you or would you support and help Large Interest Groups, Companies, Friends, Campaign Contributors, or anyone, with monies or favors from your office,,, that is immoral, or against code of conduct or laws of this land ?

If You answered YES to any of these questions :::: YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM

* Have you or would you use your authority and office to upgrade you existing services, and make yourself more available to hear your voters needs and wants ??
* Would you set up Local Barangay meetings where voters could come together and voice their concerns on local issues in their place, with a copy of the concerns being given to a committee to address these problems ??
* Have you or would you give 60 to 70 hours of your personal time,, per week,,, in your office, working and overseeing, and auditing all parts and divisions of your office ???
* Have you or would you, terminate ,, immediately,, friend or family,, for any corruption or immoral act or unacceptable code of conduct of duty,, that would harm the public trust ??
* Would you make sure , to the best of your ability, that every available monies goes for the proper projects, and the enhancement of your community ???
* Have you or would you turn down, and NOT accept any types of favors, bribes, living in Large Homes, driving Fancy Cars, in which you should not be able to afford. ( Not including those appointed for use by your office. ) ???
* Have you or would you go out into your community's and talk and listen and watch over projects, and make sure your community is becoming a better place to live.. Help Schools, Education, Infrastructure, The Poor, and other important endeavors, RATHER than going to the All Expense paid Golf Trip and Expensive Dinner that the local Big Interest Group offer to you ??

If you answered YES to any of these questions YOU ARE PART OF THE SOLUTION ..

Tourism : If you involved in the tourism industry in any way at all would you :::::

* Overcharge a tourist,, just because he is white or foreigner ???
* Cut short a tour so you can get home earlier and be with friends or family ???
* Leave your guests at a tour location so you can go outside and text, or talk ???
* Let you staff be rude, or not knowledgeable, or have poor English skills ???
* Allow you tourism business to be Dirty, Out of Stocks, Hot Beer, Cold Foods, Small Napkins, No Slat and Pepper on Table, use Banana Ketchup ( I put that one in for me.. lol..) , No Knife for Cutting Meats, Loud Music, Texting Employees while on Duty, Stand by around the Entrance, Street Children standing at Entrance asking for money or selling something, Guides or others adding on large amounts to the bill, Charging cooking charges, Charging extra charges that are not stated in writing on the menu or very visible signage in the business, Allowing poor quality shows or entertainment due to lack of practice or effort, and not up to foreign standards ??????
* Have establishments to lie or cheat a tourist for your benefit, in any way ???
* To give a tourist a worse quality experience, because your friend or family owns it, or because you will get a bigger commission , when you know they are better experiences or establishments you can take them to, or recommend ????
* If you are a government tourism official, who only promote and recommend places in which you or your family or friends are invested in. ???

If you answered YES to any of these questions -- YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM

* Give all of your effort and time, forsaking everything else, to make sure your guests get the best experience, at a fair price, and that their once in a year vacation ( for most ) is the best and greatest experience ???
* Worry and think about future of tourism and how to improve it daily, in your actions and life ??
* Give a tourist, even in the case you will not get any commission, what they ask for and make sure they are satisfied for that certain experience. ( Ex : One Dinner or Activity )
* To give a tourist the best and most exciting and good activity, even if your commission is less, or you do not have, or even like the owners.. ( If the place is considered the best . )
* Stop and warn a tourist when you see they are being overcharged, or being mis lead, or lied to, even if you make the person doing it mad at you ????

If you answered YES to any of these questions : YOU ARE PART OF THE SOLUTION..

Now each of you can only answer for yourself.. Be honest, no one here will know, you are the only one who will.. What do you want to Be ??? Part of The Problem, Or Part of the Solution ???

I really would like to continue this post later... So tired right now.. I will have more soon...

Pricing and Failure of Business in PI..

After reading a article on a good friend,, Matt Wilkie website,, , which by the way is a excellent website with lots of great information.. Plus he updates it daily.. He really works hard..

Now back to what I was saying.. I can not talk about the entire Philippines, but I can talk of my Experience here in Cebu and Especially on Mactan Island.. I would not be afraid to say most of the Rest of The Country is about the same.. Being in business here for long time, studying and watching most all business industry and tourism industry,,, I can say that the Philippines really lack a good base of business educated and lets say business smart people.. Now, most foreigners who come here to do business has somewhat of a excuse. They are trying to start a business in a strange culture, and do not understand the laws and do not study enough. Plus they come with the intention, even if they do not mean to,,, of running a business like are used to back in their home country.. Not realizing that is it NOTHING at all like that.. For Filipino business people, I really see a lack of business knowledge and business sense on basis skills.. These which they should know.. These lack in the local and tourism industry...

From my Almost 9 years living here, I can tell you for a fact,,, including some of my own,,,, 80% of business that starts here in Cebu, fails and closes within 3 years......

I am happy to say now,,, The Jungle Restaurant and Cultural Entertainment is doing Great. But through many trials and tribulations and after many failed attempts at other things...

Lets take this a problem at a time.. First lets Start with :

Pricing ---- I can see one major problem here is the major variation in pricing.. Its very rampant. You have Mactan Island Hotel's and Tourism related activity's priced almost as High as American standards.. Then you have Boracay even higher.. Then you have El Nido, where pricing is much different.. Even within one community you can find a guitar at one shop for P 1500. Then you can go down the road a few kilometers and find the same guitar at P 15,000. This is just one example, but they are many, many more.. You will find hotels priced way to high for the service and quality of the place.. Then you will find another not so high.. Some of the Problems I see here with pricing:

* Tourist numbers are low, so increase the pricing so you can make more. This should just be the opposite.
* Add on, add on.. Big Problem.. Example :: We sell our Dinner and Show Packages for P 600. Then the local street guys, or agencies, taxi drivers, ect... will add on a crazy amount such as P 1000. Selling it to tourist walking the street for P 1600. This just mostly turns tourist away because its too high.. Which in return hurts business , cause they will not go at all, which in turn hurts economy. All for just greed and trying to make a lot from one person... Bad, bad business ways...
* Knowing the merchandise you have is P 200 and you are making good profit.. THEN, seeing it is a Foreigner or White, you make the Price P 500. Which in turn, before its all over, you will not sell it at all, because most of the tourist will just walk away. When they could have sold it for the P 200 and still been ok.. So they just loose the sell all together.. BAD, BAD Business ways..
* Places already charging a over priced amount, and then hitting the customer at the end with cooking charges, corkage for bringing a bottle of water in the resort, charge for extra pillow, extra blanket.... on and on, they are many more.... Again bad business choices...
* Taxi's overpricing, No Posted Prices, and many others..

Now lets look at the other side of the coin :

Underpricing ----- You see this mostly with local Pinoy business... You see this with Sari Sari Stores, Road Side Shops, and you even see this with some upper scale business.. They make the price of things so cheap, in the end they can not even make enough profit to pay the rent, the electric, overhead... All in hopes of getting more customers.... This again is a recipe for disaster. I see this with a lot of Expat's.. They will want a P 200 meal, or they will want beer for P 30 to 35 a bottle... They want rooms for P 500 a night.... But at the same time, they want nice Air Conditioned place, with top notch waiters and waitress, with good tables and chairs, great decor, fancy surroundings. You would think, at least foreigners would be smarter than this.. But you will find many, many of them are NOT.. How can a business owner build a very nice building, pay rent, have great staffing, fancy decorations and all that when his prices are so low for that type of environment. Again bad business decisions.....

Now lets look at the next ::

Competition ----- This is another one that seems to lack good business sense, not to even say common sense.. This is done by Pinoy and Foreigners alike.. More with Pinoy... I see it everday, I am still amazed... A new BBQ Open's up in a area.. Only one there... Well in less than a few months they will be three or four more.... NOW here is where it gets even more crazy..... They will put them right beside each other... When you go to the Public Markets,,, Fruit Vendors all beside each other, BBQ all beside each other, Chicken..... Bad, bad business decisions.. For the foreigners... Bikini Bars --- One opens, soon someone will open another right beside it.. All this does is bring down the sales for everyone and cuts profits in half... The more doing the same thing in a small area, the more loss, which sooner or later causes most to close.... Same for tourism,,, If someone opens something tourism related, and its doing ok, just enough to survive, someone will come in and open the same thing very close, if not even beside... Then the one who was just making it then starts to fail, then the new one can not get enough to get started good..

Seems no one researches or does any kind of advisability studies, or market studies, or looks at any important factors when starting a business... They just do it... Then the government itself does nothing to help. Like putting limits on how many Resorts or Restaurants, or Dive Shops, or BBQ Houses, or Sari Sari Stores can be in one area... And lets not even get started on Multi Cab and Tri Bikes, Buses, Ect....... Bad Bad Business decisions...

Now lets talk about new industrial and foreign business that want to come in.......

Foreign Business and Industry---------- Here is another one... Although Cebu has a lot of Foreign companies and industry, how much more could they have.. Industry wants to open in PI.. Well lets see :::
* A foreigner can not own a business, has to let a Filipino hold at least 60% ownership.
* Have to spend a lot for back up electric system, because most of PI does not have enough electric to sustain.
* Have to put up a Large Concrete or Metal Security fence because not enough local police, or good enough security to keep out vandalism, theft, stand by .......
* Processing of documents and shipping is not computerized.. Government is so slow in processing and even doing simple documents that are needed regularly in industry...
* Corruption is so rampant, you have to figure in a budget to pay the Port Authority, Police, Mayors, Tax People, and many others..
* Over One Month a Year is Holiday or some kind of non working Holiday..... Which means your labor increases for workers to work those days......
* Have to have Security Force almost as large as the work force,,,, Just to keep the work force in line and make sure the factory does not take a loss......
* Have to Hire and Train most Top Management personnel, because they do not receive proper training here in PI, to run and operate a foreign company in the manner in which its required to run....

Now last but not least, lets look at ::

Service and Quality --------- This goes for tourism and local and well,,,, lets just say about everything here in PI..... Government offices run poorly, untrained staffing, not qualified staffing, no computers, no one in office during most part of the day..... One hand does not know what the other hand is doing.....

Then you have tourism, in which most places are not trained properly on how to handle foreign tourist.. How to treat them, what they expect, the conditions property and business needs to be kept in.. Keeping establishments up to Foreign standards, bad quality service... Taxi Drivers, overcharging, price differences, inflated prices,,, i could go on and on.....

These are all bad business decisions on the part of government and individuals here in PI.. Now if PI, could take just my simple list above, which I am sure is not complete with all the problems, and they could fix that.... WOW, how much more would industry, tourism, local economy improve and increase.. Isn't that really what we all want.. Those of us living and working here, and residents and citizens.. Is this what you want for you country and your lives... I sure know it is what I would love to see, for the country and the people... Well, I am not a Nobel Prize winner or claim to have the highest IQ in the World.. BUT, If you are one of the people who is doing something on the list mentioned above.... STOP IT... Then you will see you country get better, and your economy grow....

Now, if you are one of the people who are doing what is on the list above, and you continue to do it.. then you can credit yourself with the state of the country now.... No need to be a hypocrite and complain... If your doing those things, then you are part of the problem, not the solution.

Everyone might say,, We want to get our part, we can not stop doing those things mentioned above, we are poor and need to get as much as we can.. We want to open a BBQ next to that one, he is making money, we want to do that.... First watch and see how much he is making and the amount of business he is doing... Now cut that in half when you open yours beside his... Is that enough for you both to sustain ??????

When you see the tourist walking down the road.... Do not sell him the P 600 package for P 1600.. Sell it to him for P (900 ). You have give him a good deal, and you can see he will want to come back to visit you and your country again... You have still made P 300 for a few hours work, plus helped your country.. Tell the 3 extra friends who are walking with you, HOPING and Expecting to get a cut FOR WHAT>>> Just walking with you.... Tell them you do not need them.

Do Not Overcharge the foreigner, do not have the CR look like a piggery in your tourism business. Have all your staff trained to serve foreigners.. Have your cooks know how to cook for different cultures..

Government officials, stop making it so hard for foreign investors to come here. Stop lining you pockets with bribes and kickbacks... You are making a good living away. Start doing something that will not only help your children future, but the future of your community.. If we all do not stop trying to GET IT ALL FOR OURSELVES, and start learning how to do sustainable tourism, industry, and local economy... We are going to see ourselves in the same place, with the same problems, with the same life, still struggling, 10 years from now, while the rest of the World Pass US BY....