Monday, October 6, 2014

Back to the Philippines!

Well it has been a very long time since I wrote something on this blog. A lot of changes have happened. My daughter was born in December of 2011 and I have been busy with all things around that I couldn't keep updated in this blog. I will try to keep it updated as I can. The good news is that I came back to the Philippines for the holidays in 2013. With my work, I could only get 2 weeks off and I wished that I had a month off like I did last time.

My first trip to the Philippines was stressful and I didn't really get to enjoy it because I was getting married there. Not only to plan it and get everything ready, there is always something going on that I didn't really get to relax and enjoy it. The second time there was much different since I was able to enjoy it more.

This was the first time that my wife's family met my daughter. She was scared at first but over time she grew to be talkative and enjoy it more. It was a fun trip and it was also exhausting on the way back. It was good to be back and it showed how much I missed it. Even if you haven't been to the Philippines before, it is a good destination.

This blog is really for my time there and anything associated with Filipino entertainment and everything that I see that is all Filipino. Enjoy and I will write more when I can.

Friday, August 24, 2012

#RHBill...Pass it for the good of your country.

Now first of all, I am not really political. Yes I am not Filipino so other people might ask me why am I writing about this about the Reproductive Health Bill that has been debating in the Philippine congress for years. But after what has been going on the last couple of weeks and reading from my Twitter feed, I thought to write a blog about why this bill should be passed. I mean, it is for your country and this is been debate even in the states. Even though the US and the Philippines share a similar kind of government however the Philippines needs this more than the US does. So I have to put a different kind of shoes and think of another way, so say why the Philippines need this bill to get passed.

After hearing about Tito Soto comments recently that he copied US blogger in his speech, really shook my head. I know this has been going on for years and people are getting fed up. Passing this bill will be a good thing for your country. When I went to the Philippines in June of 2010, I was excited to finally to go to a country that I love and respect. Driving through Manila to get to Baguio was one experience I will never forget. At the first stoplight that we saw a boy begging for money. My mom was surprised and saddened. No kid should beg for money just to get by. I saw the tall buildings that every high income gets to the low people just getting by in the slums. No kid that grows up should ever be this way and that goes to all kids since it is their future. In Baguio, it is scenic but now homes are being built on the mountains. What can we do? Pass the RHBill.

Every Filipino woman should have a choice to do what she wants to do when it comes to birth control. This is not a man's choice but a woman's choice. The women that are poor or in the slums that is not educated in this should be educated so she can decide what she wants to do including contraceptives. I understand the health risks about it but it should be known if a woman wants to take it or not. A Filipino woman really sacrifices a lot for the sake of the family. There is a lot of OFW's around the world that have to leave their family home to support the kids that can range for 2 or more. But the heart of the issue is health.

The Philippines is exploding when it comes to population and more people are being born that it effects the countries infrastructure . More schools and homes have to be built and more roads need to be maintained and more transportation. I have to imagine if people that drive on the EDSA every morning to get to and from work will be in traffic for a little while longer. If the government lets this keep going on, then all those problems that will happen will be tough to maintain it. What will happen to to the kids who are poor and don't have the access to heath if they are sick?

As a lover of your country and your people, pass the RHBill. It is time to put all of the people beliefs aside and really think that this will be good for your country. Your people and your country need it the most of all especially for the hard working Filipina to the kids.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Divided Line

When I first landed in the Philippines on that very hot and humid day in 2010, it was a culmination of my dreams that came true after 5 years after communicating with people from there.  Everyone that I came in contact with tells me how great the country is and there is no place like home. I had some reservations on that because I am in the USA and is a foreigner; people look at you at a entirely different way. When the trip was coming close, I was scared. Here I am going into a country that I enjoy talk to online (I still do) and now here I am. I don’t know how to react.  It was an eye opener.

When I first started talking to a Filipina, I felt more connected talking to women than men. Strange as it is but I needed conversation. I was not really looking for a wife or a girlfriend. I was more curious and wanted to learn about something different. One of the first that I talked to said, “When are you going to come here?” I go, “What?” I never really thought going there. All of this was going on the first week of chatting. After our talks were getting serious I felt over the head. I was thinking “This woman is fun, sweet and caring” and that prompted me to learn more about the country and the culture. Looking back on it, I am shaking my head now. Not good to get your feelings over your head and everything is so great but I was young at the time and I haven’t experienced this before.

Over the years, I was still communicating and over time through a lot of social networking sites just for a friend. I am seeing a lot of Filipinas use social networking sites for relationships and now it is in large numbers. Some are desperate and some just wanted something to get out of their situation. Some write their number to text them. They post a really sexy photo just to get the guys attention of how inviting she is. They would do anything just to get a husband and to get out of the country. I had a bad chat from one that was forcing me to find a guy for her. I am married I told her and I could not guaranteed that since finding someone is very hard.  What were the first words that came up my head: needy, desperate, and conceited.

I know that not all Filipinas are not like that all. What are Filipina women are mostly thinking when they do that and how do some Foreigners react to that and vice versa? It was at that moment that I was thinking, what are some misconceptions they have with each other? It was a idea that I have been thinking writing about for a while since that last chat. Knowing it will be too long to write about it so write about it in sections. Stay tuned.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Alone at the SM.

All through my trip, we were always busy. There was something going on due to my wardrobe and dress for the wedding day. There was one time when my wife had to get her hair done. Normally that would take a very long time and take most of the day. So one day my wife gets her hair done and I am around the SM Mall, alone.  She said “Are you going to be okay?” Yes. Even though I am comfortable in malls when I am home, but here in the Philippines, I was worried. Of course, I am here in the Philippines and enjoy it every day but being alone in the mall, I will get attention.

With the laptop as my friend for the time being, I stopped at every coffee shop and just took my time. I would look at my Facebook account and communicate in that way. Lunchtime, I stopped at Greenwich Pizza for pasta. The bill was 135PHP. After lunch, I was off to another coffee shop. This was on the second floor overlooking the mountains of Baguio. It was my second hot coca and my laptop was almost out of power. I found a seat with an outlet to charge it back up. Not much outlets are here at the mall. You would have to find anything since I always have a habit to keep my laptop plugged in which I found out now is not good for the battery.

I was just enjoying my drink and looking through until something happened that I was caught off guard. A group of people sitting not far from me, one of them a woman struck up a conversation with me and asked me if I can look at her laptop. I declined at first and then after thinking about it, why not. I asked her if I can look at it. Apparently she said that she can’t access the internet. I tried for a couple of times. The battery is low and it seems there was not a Wi-Fi setting on her laptop. Apparently, one of the people saw me alone and they knew I was a foreigner and this woman is using her laptop as a way to communicate with me. In the mist of all of this, the worker at the coffee shop came up to me and asked me to remove the power from the laptop. I have two things going on and it felt like a culture shock. I told the person that I will. I felt I was not welcomed anymore at that place. I told the woman that I can’t get it to work and you don’t have a Wi-Fi card. I finished my cup and then I said bye to the group and took the mug back to the worker. I apologized and I was off my way.

I normally don’t know how to react to under those circumstances however it was a learning experience. I believe when you are a foreigner and you are in the Philippines, you are perceived to be something that you are not. That is something that I am thinking of writing next since I have been seeing a lot of it online. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Typical night out

During the first 2 weeks before the wedding ceremony, I have been running around to different locations to get ready for the wedding. Now time to relax and that means going out. A typical night will be at Dencio's for beer and grub. That is the only place in the SM where we hang out before the mall closes at 9PM.

We mostly get appetizers and beer. Plenty of beer. Beer is very cheap so it was one of the first I had a lot. Mostly it was San Miguel Beer but there were a couple of times it was Red Horse. Red Horse is a very strong beer that took me a while to get used to. We talked all the way when the mall closed, then took a taxi to go somewhere else. We would go to a pool hall, play pool and eat and drink more. Just let it all hang out. My wife's friends and cousin would be with us. Most of the questions to me was about music and life in the USA. If they are talking in their dialect, I would listen the best that I can.

Baguio nightlife is well known for their coffee houses and bars that hold shows nightly. Mostly acoustic music. We didn't have any time to enjoy it as we could and although I wished to see more of those shows. Maybe the next time, I will see more of those shows. A typical night will end at 1 to 2 am in the morning and everybody will go their separate ways until next week where we all meet again.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

SM City and Wal-Mart are not too different.

When I first landed in the Philippines in June of 2010, I really didn't know what to expect. I knew Manila and every town was crowded and traffic is a nightmare but what I didn't expect is the amount of malls especially the SM city malls. I have knew of the malls that a lot of people frequent because of the shopping and the air conditioning since not a lot of people have air conditioning in their homes. However lately, I heard more of these malls are starting to pop up. On the way to Baguio, I see a lot of them. North EDSA (which is the biggest on the Philippines), Pampanga, Tarlac, and Rosales. Some of these happen even in the remote of places in the provinces.

SM City Mall in Rosales
Right now there are 48 of these supermalls in the Philippines including 4 in China. One blogger popped up a question if the SM malls are good for the towns when it comes to jobs, or does it damage the charm of the town or the city? This pretty much is the same question when it comes to Wal-Mart in the states. We have a lot of Wal-Mart's and some of them are converting them into Supercenters, but they are mostly in the suburbs. There is one Wal-Mart in the Chicago limits and the company wants to build more but is causing controversy because Chicago has a lot of small businesses that it thrives on. Same with Baguio. There are lot of shops along Session Road and just noticed that more people flocked to the mall. Is this good? Well I have nothing against wrong against SM City and Wal-Mart when it comes to it. Both companies are a money making machine they have to do what to do. I heard and read that they are going to build another SM Megamall in Cebu. Cebu has one and Cebu is not like Manilla in any ways but they are planning a bigger mall that it will be become the 4th largest mall in the Philippines over the SM Mall Of Asia. Cebu? Really? So another question comes up, will it kill the charm that Cebu has or will it bring more jobs the city and the people need? That is a ongoing debate but it will be interested to see where it goes from here.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The SM City Experience

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I have been to a lot of shopping malls back home and I was thinking the same thing when I got to the Philippines. In Chicago, we have one of the biggest malls in the USA, but when I went to the Mall of Asia (check previous entry), all those things I thought I knew went out the window. I was at the SM City Baguio for all the times that I was there. It was crowded every day. Families, groups of people, teenagers and kids roam through the mall every day. People would come to eat, shop, or hang around after school. It is more like of a family experience. In the states, you would shop, get something to eat and then leave but not hang around for the whole time. That is one difference I see that makes the malls in the Philippines different from anything else I went to. I was mostly at the SM City in Baguio to get anything to eat, shop or take a break away from our quarters. With the wedding a couple of weeks away, it was getting into a routine.

The SM City in Baguio is not the biggest one in the world or in the Philippines but it was mostly unique since Baguio is on a high elevation and a mountainous area. This is the only mall that doesn't have Air conditioning and the third floor has plenty of light that makes unique to the other SM City malls. This is one of my favorite places to go.

On the top floor overlooking the fence, you can see Baguio and all it's beauty. It was one of the most amazing sights I have ever seen and the one that really sets your mind into somewhere else. 
The mall has everything. Everything with the wedding we got it here. Photography, barongs, clothes, shoes and everything that you can imagine that you don't really get at the malls back in the states. That is one thing I really enjoy when I am in the Philippines is the malls and there is nothing like it.