Wednesday, 27 August 2008

last post from my 2008 trip

The typhoon that hit Hong Kong on Friday a.m stopped all flights in and out of the country.

My flight was obviously cancelled and at first I was told that there would be no seats available for the Saturday either. Philippine airlines were trying to schedule more flights which they did.
I was re booked on the Saturday 6am flight which was later changed to 1.30pm..... a more reasonable time for me thank goodness !!

So I had 1 more lazy night in Manila, as I said before my hotel was in the red light district of Manila. The hotel itself is really nice and the area actually is OK too, it's a very small area really, only 2 streets that's all, the only hassle I ever got was the Viagra/knives/swords/sunglasses vendors constantly asking you every time that you walk past.... sir do you wanna buy.......this or that!! I just always gave a wave of the hand to say no, and of course in the evening you have the girls asking if you want a "massage" or if they really have had no customers they will be more direct and ask you if you want "serviced" which is a more direct way of offering sex.
I have no problems with any of them as most of them are friendly and totally non aggressive in any way, I have even chatted to a couple of really friendly working girls in the street, something I wouldn't dream of doing in the UK. One night I even bought 2 of them a take away meal as they were so hungry. No point in me trying to explain the difference in prostitution between here and other countries as most wouldn't understand...... suffice to say that if you said to one of the girls that she is a prostitute...... she would be totally aghast !!!!!

So anyway on the Saturday morning I leave my hotel before 11am to get to the airport for my 1.30pm flight to Hong Kong. I get there early, check in , do the immigration, passport and 3 security checks then wait at my gate for my flight. To cut along story short we take off at 3pm arrive in HK just before 5pm but are not allowed off the plane until 5.45pm.

I should have a rep from my hotel waiting for me at HK airport, I walk out onto the concourse and can''t see anyone, OK no problem just got to find my own way to the hotel but hey I have no HK dollars. I find an ATM and after a 15 min wait I get 2500 HK$, before I go to the MTR (trains) I decide to have one more look around and sure enough I see this guy holding the sign "Mr.McGuire Harbour Plaza hotel"..... good..... my bus awaits, after a VERY long walk (big airport) I am told to wait in the shuttle bus area. This is an area designated for all tourists where they wait for the bus to take them to their hotel. lots of people arriving, taking seats while waiting for their hotel name to be shouted from one of the shuttle bus reps.

Obviously as they are Chinese it isn't that easy to understand them, the "holiday Inn" becomes the "Olredy Inn".. you get the picture. My hotel is called the Harbour Plaza so I wait to hear the word Plaza they can't get that wrong. I waited some time, during that many hotels were called but this one guy kept saying " Len... and...sons.....abba foo"... we all looked perplexed, he kept saying " 2 peeple for Len....and...sons.....abba foo ", no-one moved..... he was getting angry and insisted on looking at every ones bus tickets... he got to one lady and he said " ladi.... yoo ar for Len... and ...sons.... abba foo".... she was embarrassed and said I didn't understand you, I am booked in at the Renaissance Harbour View.... "thats wot ah sed the Len and sons abba foo"... stoopid wooman !!!

Eventually it came my turn... no problems I got the Plaza bit. Onto the bus and on my way to my hotel, it's now after 7pm. Driving to my hotel the roads looked just like if you were in the UK, obviously as the British owned this Island and modernised it over the last Century it was all designed and built by British designers and engineers. They drive on the left there, all the road signs, motorway and non motorway are in our familiar blue and green. it was just like driving along the M4. I could see the lights of all the skyscrapers along the harbour as we drove nearer to the city and my hotel.... it was a beautiful sight.

Arrived my hotel, checked in, got to my room with the "Abba Foo".... albeit between 2 skyscrapers and over the expressway.... just had a meal in the restaurant and went to bed as I was tired and it had been a long day.

Rose the next day, met Aileen at 9am and we spent the day in Hong Kong city and also managed a couple of hours at Disneyland Hong Kong.

Hong Kong without a doubt is the cleanest, most organised, efficient city that I have ever visited in my lifetime.... and this was built by us.. the Brits.... so why isn't the UK like this. Well I think one of the reasons is that there aren't too many of the average Brits living here !!!!
The buses and trains had no graffiti, no names scratched into the window glass and there was no litter anywhere.... I really looked hard..... there was NOTHING anywhere !!

The city itself was very modern with many walkways for pedestrians, of course you have the beautiful harbour to walk along.

Sunday in Hong Kong is Filipina day..... that is as 90% of the domestic helpers are Filipinos and they are all given the same 1 day off per week.... always the Sunday, they all come to the Central area of HK to spend the day with fellow Filipinas. As there are literally 10's of thousands domestic helpers in HK city, you can guess what the Sunday meeting place is like.... for those of you with little imagination..... all the sidewalks along the pedestrian areas throughout the Central area have filipinas sitting there on their mats, sheets, cardboard...anything to make it comfy to park your butt. Most are in groups of between 6- 20, they sit there for the day chatting, eating, massaging each others sore feet, passing on information about better ways of sending money home to their families and probably gossiping about their employers too..... well they are female so what do you expect !!!

Some info on domestic helpers here in HK. Most are from the Philippines, if you work in HK it is the thing to have a domestic helper... a bit of a status symbol in some ways.
I think that it is more like slavery, lots of these DH's have degrees and have worked at a higher level than their employers here in HK. They work here as DH's simply because it pays 3 times more that being a teacher in the Phils. The same as lots of doctors in the Phils work in the US and the UK as nurses simply because of the pay.
The DH's that I know have to work 12 hours per day 6 days each week. They have to be in bed whenever their employer tells them to be.

Aileen works from 7am to 9pm Monday - Saturday, she has to be in bed at 9pm when she finishes work. Even on Sunday her 1 day off she has to be home and in bed by 9pm !!! She is not allowed to use her own phone when she is in the house. Remember she isn't a child she is a 27 year old woman.... being told to go to bed at 9pm because that's what her employer wants.
All that work and rules for £250 per month.

Anyway we said goodbye at Hong Kong station at 8pm Sunday night, she to get home for her 9pm curfew and I to get to the airport for my 9.40pm flight back to Manila. I got the train to the airport, as the train pulls into the platform the doors on both sides of the train open, exit right for terminal 2 or left terminal 1..... directly into the terminals..... what a good idea !! As I walk through to the actual terminal it feels like a futuristic setting. There are no walls like at heathrow or other airports that I have visited. This is like just one HUGE open space with signage to make finding your location easy. I walk across this sort of platform.... about 50' wide with only glass guard rails towards the main terminal, you can see far and wide all the check in desks, shops, gates to the aircraft etc. So easy to find my check in desk and so clean, modern and the only word that keeps coming to my mind is.... futuristic !!!

Great experience in HK airport, straight to my plane, on and upwards towards Manila. I arrive in Manila at midnight (Sunday), get a taxi to my hotel, straight to my room, shower and straight to bed, I was in bed by 1am which I was aiming for. Got up from bed at 7am, changed clothing, quickly packed, checked out and in a taxi to the airport. Straight to the business class check in.... walking past the 100's queuing for the economy seats is a relief, having to queue in that would depress me especially at Manila airport where it's like drinking time at the waterhole in the Kalahari desert !!

Straight into the business lounge where I can relax, drink coffee, have a sarnie and read the papers. While I was sitting there waiting, this attractive Filipina looking girl asked to sit at the settee where I was sitting... no need to ask I thought but I said yes anyway as I went back to my paper. She sat there for 10 mins, I could see that she wanted to talk but I like to be left alone in lounges, she then moved on to another area where there was another single guy sitting.

I was right that she was just looking for someone to talk with as she spoke with this guy non stop for the next hour.... thank goodness it wasn't me.... it turned out she is an American and I think she likes the sound of her own voice. She must be doing something right as she was allowed in the cockpit during the flight, the pilot came out many times to talk with her and the flight attendants were all over her like a bad rash. One even sat in the aisle way at least twice for 30 mins each time talking with her..... so she must have something worth talking about... who knows !!

Anyway I was sat next to a right eejit, a business type from England, 6'+ and clumsy with it, when I was trying to sleep he would try and cross over me to get to the loo and each time his leg would catch me and he would grab the chair in front to avoid falling..... nuff said.

I arrived in Amsterdam at 6pm their time and just had a 2 hour wait for my flight to London which itself passed peaceably... other than the guy sitting next to me grabbing the seat in front with both hands at the slightest hint of any turbulence. On the subject of turbulence, I experienced the worst turbulence ever in my flying career on the journey from Manila, we dropped 200 feet in an instant, the women around me all screamed and the men wanted to as well but most of us just grabbed the arm rests very tightly..... and I thought.... shoot... I wished I had spent that money I have in the bank...... and the girl that I met in Manila.... I wished I had brought her back to my room !!!!!..... then the turbulence stopped and the previous thoughts were restored to their rightful place in my mind :-)

I arrived in London heathrow at 8.30pm, picked up my bags and went to the customs area, I went through the " something to declare" gate as I had mikes and chips for my sis Anne and SIL Karen. I went in and their was no-one there.... I waited for 5 mins but I wanted to get home.... there was a green phone there to use if there was no service, I picked it up and waited.... no-one answered.... this is a waste of time so I just walked through the "nothing to declare" gate and went home.... In all that time I never saw 1 customs officer anywhere.......well I did try to be honest.... didn't I !!!!

Got to the central station at heathrow and got on the "express" bus home which was ok, I was back indoors by around 10.30 pm. Anne kindly spoke to me all the time that I was on the bus as that is the boring part of my journey.

So all in all it was an eventful trip in many ways, I got sick as always but still managed to enjoy myself, met many interesting people and managed to avoid some too.

Thanks to all that commented on my posts....... it helps me to keep in touch.

Another trip over..... well there is Christmas soon so hopefully I'll be " Gerry back..and back again in the Phils"

It's now Wednesday morning and I'm back at work... well sort of anyway.

Goodbye all.........................................

Friday, 22 August 2008

Typhoon in Hong Kong !!!!!!

Sorry but I didn't post last night. It's now 1pm Friday, my flight was at 2.50pm but all flights in and out of Hong Kong have been cancelled today. I was lucky to get rebooked on the 6am flight Saturday.
So it is going to be a whirlwind weekend in Hong Kong, I arrive Saturday morning after litttle sleep and I leave Sunday night in time to get back to Manila for Midnight. Hopefully I will be in my hotel room before 1am as I have to leave again at 7am latest which of course means getting up at 6am !!!!.......... this world traveling business isn't easy you know ..........

This will probably be one of my last posts before I leave Asia, Iwill probably post one more time and that will be early Monday morning at Manila airport lounge.

Hope you all have a great........ but less hectic.... weekend than I....!!

UPDATE My flight has been changed again to 1.30pm on Saturday now.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Thursday 3.30am

Yesterday morning (Wednesday) I returned to the KLM offices to change my ticket departure from Manila to Hong Kong....... alas the hong kong flight to London is fully booked... oh well that's life.

After returning from there I went straight to bed as I woke up with a fever, headache, sore throat and cough. I got some tablets to help and basically I have done nothing since. You would think with all the illnesses that I contract here that I would hate it.... but I don't.... if I lived here again my body would adjust as before. It has already started to as the mozzies leave me alone now.... I wonder why that is !! Any mozzie experts out there ?

I just stayed in bed all day and night dozing in and out of sleep... it's a wonderful feeling.... as long as you don't fell sick at the same time. I just woke up and thought I'd better post on my blog as Anne comes online around midnight UK time ( 7am here) and she will have a hairy if I haven't posted :-) ....Joking Anne...

I forgot to mention yesterday that when I went shopping for the magicmics I managed to get an even better price in a shop in Glorietta as I offered cash.... their eyes lit up when I mentioned that I want the 18000 complete, another mike and 2 chips, they gave me a price and I said I would come back if I couldn't get better elsewhere. When I returned the assistant and the manager were in the shop watching me walk towards them, when they realised that I was coming back they looked really excited.... or maybe it was just my good looks....... ok.... ok.... stop was the good sale !!
Anyway what that means is even if I have to pay customs duty the extra saving of £23 will soften the blow.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Oooppss stupid me !!!

This morning I visited the KLM offices in downtown Makati, they have their office on the 39th floor of a very prestigious building, they have special lifts that only go from the ground floor to the 39th and above non stop, it took only 20 seconds to go 39 floors !!

I was dealt with quickly and they kindly changed my flight form the 24th to the 25th and even booked me on the exact seat that I wanted.

Back to my hotel and booked my flights to and from Hong Kong, I wanted to go to HK on Saturday afternoon and return on the last flight Sunday evening which is 9.40pm getting back to Manila at 11.35pm. This ticket was US$ 650 but if I left on the Friday and returned on the Sunday it's ony US$ 400.... so obviously I took that deal. This all means that I will arrive in Manila just before midnight then onto my hotel for a quick sleep and then return to the airport for my flight home to the UK..... well done I thought to myself...... :-)

Then later that day as I was sitting having a coffee....... the penny dropped........... Hong Kong to London is 2 hours faster....Duh !!.... and it would mean I could just stay overnight in HK then fly home from there in the morning..... no flying back to Manila and then rushing to my hotel at midnight then rush back to the airport for my flight home.

So tomorrow I'm goingt to the KLM offices again to see if I can fly home from Hong Kong instead of Manila...... why didn't I think of that before..... the old brain is on it's way out !!

I went to buy 2 magicmics today for 2 members of my family, they are karaoke mikes for anyone that doesn't know. There are other mikes on the market now that do the same thing but they are not the well known one which is call "wow" magicmics. Anyway I visits this one shop and the male assisstant tries to sell me the other type, now I have no problem with them I have no doubt they are as good as "wow" but they are not "wow" and that's what my family expects, he shows me the one in the window, I say but they are not the same.... he says "they are the same".... I say again... no really they are not the same.... he again says "they're the same".... ok I say but they are not as I walk away.... when I was about 5 yards away I could hear him say quietly " they're the same".... it made me laugh ;-)

After buying them I decided to get a taxi home as it was just far too hot to walk, I got into a cab and the driver puts his meter on without me asking... 10 brownie points so far..... then he took 2 turns that were taking us in the opposite direction of where I am staying... he was really shocked when I said, it's best if you turn left here, go up to Ayala avenue, turn right into Makati Avenue at the Peninsular and then straight up for a mile to Burgos street..... he gasped and then said... sorry I don't know Makati very well..... ok right...... my 7 months stay here was worthwhile with these drivers !!!!

Hope you all have a nice day..... I'm just wasting time now until I fly to Hong Kong on Friday.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Monday 10pm

Well it was a real scorcher today, I couldn't stay out there for long.... so just had to be wherever the air con was.

Today is a holiday in the Phils so I couldn't do any of the things that I wanted to get done.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) I'm going to the KLM office here in Manila to see if I can change my return date to the Monday instead of the Sunday. If I can then I will fly to Hong kong on Saturday and return to Manila late on Sunday night ready for my long flight the next morning. I want to spend the day with a friend in HK.

It's lucky that I am not in Ozamiz today as there was a gunfight there between the military and the MILF ( the bad guys), I was sent a text today by friends there telling me all about it and then I also saw it on the TV news.... 28 people died, 23 were civilians.

I walked past and then into an "English " bar here in Makati, I have never noticed it before, from the outside it did look like an English pub, the sign for food on the door offered cottage pie.... good so far.... entered and they had Kilkenny and boddingtons..... wow this is neat..... yes it had British beer and British food which was nice but unfortunately on the bad side it also had Brits drinking there too.... now that really spoiled it all... the same losers that you can meet in lots of pubs all over the UK. Standing there having 1 pint endorsed why I want to leave the UK..... stupid conversation and lots of swear words to emphasise their education level.

Sorry it's worn me down over the years...

Have a nice start to the week

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Midnight Sunday

Well my blog is getting really boring as I'm not doing very much. I did go out today to the mall of Asia to visit the Imex centre but they didn't have any 3D movies to see so I gave it a miss.

Filipinos directions are the worst I have ever experienced in my life, it happens so so many times that it is really hard to argue with.

This morning I asked the lift boy is there any where else nearby where I could get a nice breakfast, he said go to the matrix which is on the corner, so obviously I go to the corner of the street, no sign of anything, I asked someone else and they pointed it out to me, it was on the corner ok..... the corner of the building opposite !!... this wasn't too bad as he was correct but different to what I expected.

Much worse is in the street, I ask "can you tell me where so and so is"... they reply yes it's over there... pointing with their finger.... remember I am in the middle of the business district of Makati with huge office buildings everywhere.... and they are pointing to buildings about 500yds away.... "where actually"...... over there still pointing with their finger....."eerrrr which building " I ask.... that one over there still pointing with their finger...... "the one with the sign that says...." I suggest..... yes just next to that...."ok thanks".... so off I go in the direction of his finger and the building I described... after much asking of others I eventually find the place that I was looking for, it was 3 streets behind the area that he was pointing at !!!!! This hasn't happened just the once... this is all the time.
There's no "turn left at the bank then right by the bakers and its on your left" none of just have to follow the finger !!!

I don't know where I would go if he scratched his bum !!!!!

Anyway I hope you all had a nice weekend, we will hear about Anne's tomorrow with a bit of luck.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

10pm Saturday

Well I didn't go to Hong Kong which is sad as I am so close to it here in the Phils and I have never been there, but I wasn't at my best this morning so I just stayed in bed most of the day.

I think the next week will just be rest until I board the plane to go home next Sunday.

I forget to mention that about a week ago I had a wonderful 2 hour massage in Cebu... and the cost for this wonderful relaxing experience was........ £3.50.... can you believe that.. when I go for a sports massage at home it costs me £25/30 for 30 mins !!!!

I've also had a foot spa and foot massage, that really makes me fall asleep, I woke during the last one with a snore !!!!

I have been here for 3 weeks and haven't touched a badminton racket or even met my old friends in Manila yet, I haven't seen much of hte olympics either.

I hope you all are having a great August.....

Friday, 15 August 2008

Midnight Friday

I'm back in Manila now. As I haven't been feeling well I have just rested in bed most of the day and night.

So there is not much to report I'm afraid.

I was hoping to visit Hong Kong tomorrow but decided against it, I will see how I feel tomorrow.

Hope you all have a great weekend......

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Midnight Thursday

I am in my room here at my hotel, they upgraded me to a suite after I complained about some noise.......really nice room.

I haven't done very much over the past few days as I haven't been feeling very well, mostly just spent most of my day in bed, the food/heat are not working too well with my body and the pills that I'm taking for HBP make me feel really unwell.

I am flying to Manila in the morning, I catch the 10.20am and arrive at 11.35am. I'm hoping to fly to Hong Kong the next day (Saturday) but most flights are fully booked at this minute online. I will visit the travel agent in Manila tomorrow to see if I can get a flight then.

I know 3 girls that have just moved to Hong Kong, 2 have degrees and one was near to finishing her time at teacher training college.... and why are they leaving the Phils..... to work in Hong Kong as a domestic helper....... DH's there get about 23,000 pesos (£250) per month while teachers get about 8,000 (£90) per month here. Doctors here do the same thing, they take up jobs in the US and the UK as nurses because the pay is so much better.

It's a bit like slavery IMO, you need to go through a broker, they do all the paperwork and find you the job. But you don't know where or who you will be working for until you get there, all you get to know is the salary and that you will have one day off per week, for doing this for you they get your first 5 months salary of a 2 year contract !!! Your employee decides how many hours you work, what tasks you will do, where you will sleep, if you are allowed out in the evening, if you can use YOUR own phone in the day time or at any time in their home.

One of the girls has to share a room with her employers 11 year old daughter, this means even when she is "off" duty she will still have to be there at night for the daughter.

But as they tell me and we all understand..... needs must !!

Anyway I guess that is the way of the world... some have and some don't...... but we in the UK and elsewhere are so lucky to have been born in a first world country.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Tuesday 8pm (1pm UK time)

Well I left Davao yesterday at 3pm, as I was leaving the hotel, I noticed that above the normal 2 armed security guards we also had 2 soldiers with machine guns... so it does pay to stay in a 5 star hotel sometimes. I guess this was because of the elections, if you are going to blow up something... it's best if it's a government building or a tourist hotel..... I blew a raspberry as I left ;-)

I'm getting back into the swing of things again, it's taken me over 2 weeks but I guess that's reasonable. The heat isn't so bad now and I feel more comfortable with my surroundings, I even had my very first ride in a jeepney.

I've decided to stay in Cebu for another couple of days then I am going to Manila at least for 1 night. I am finding it difficult to make a decision on where to go next.... I hate to be indecisive... well I think so anyway !! ... maybe I am maybe I'm not ;-)

You know that I always tell you about how mad they are on texting here, I don't think that I have ever mentioned before some of the asides regarding them. You can have unlimited texts for 24 hours for 20 pesos.... they all use that including me, you simply text "unli20" to 258 and hey presto you have unlimited texts for 24 hours, really very good value. Then you can send someone a load (credit) if you want... 10p, 30p or 60pesos..... you simply put their cell number in a text with the amount and then send it to 808...... they take the amount off from your load and give it to the recipient......neat eh !!

I hope you all had a great Tuesday..... Anne where is our Mary ???

Monday, 11 August 2008

Monday 1pm

I'm in the mall typing this as I wait for my flight at 5pm to Cebu.

The Philippines air force ( which consists of 2 planes) bombed part of Mindanao yesterday. There are also elections in Mindanao today, during elections people are always killed so it's good that I'm leaving this island today.

I was out for a meal last night at Gerry's grill.. apt or what !!.... anyway across the road was a carnival, some call it a fayre or in Glasgow it's known as the shows !! don't ask me why !! It was a real deathtrap of a place, nothing would pass with a safety certificate in the UK. There were lots of street kids there asking me for money as usual, I refused but I decided to treat them all to free rides, their faces were a picture and it was well worth it, I didn't go on the rides myself... far too dangerous for me. After 2 rides I was aware of being too conspicuous, too many people began to take notice and chat with me.... time to leave... you have to be so careful in these places, guys see you with money and become interested, 1 guy did follow me as I was leaving but I am always aware of my surroundings and whoever is near me, so I turned back and he did the same but I just stopped and then as he passed I left safely, he may have been innocent but better to be safe than sorry. of course I was also aware that it is not good to be seen around children but sometimes you just have to help out.... its hard not to love the smile that you get from a kid when you give them something that they normally can't have.

I have mentioned before on my blog, when I was 5 or 6 years old, an ice cream seller gave me a free ice cream when I was sitting on the pavement, I had no money so he made me smile... I think he enjoyed doing it... he has passed that feeling onto me.

well I hope you all have a great begining to your week.... thanks Anne for your texts.... but don't keep reminding me of my return...... please.... :-)

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Sunday 9am

I had an interesting Saturday at Bob (Mindanao Bob) Martin's home. This was his seminar on how to earn online.... very interesting indeed. Most of these get rich with this or that, I take with a pinch of salt but Bob is extremely well known for his blogs and has lived in the Phils for over 10 years now. 100% of his earnings is made online.

He has obviously done well, he was involved with ebay as a business and was earning £15k per month but has now stopped that because he felt that there were easier legit ways to make money online..... so how is he doing now...... well it must be good if you can stop one business that pays you that much per month.

This is not a get rich quick scheme, but you will earn money if you do the right things, we all know about "pay per click" from google adsense but there are so many other ways and Bob has refined them to a "T". Bobs website gets 2 million hits per month !!

He is a really nice guy and an intelligent businessman, everything he said makes sense and he is the living proof that it works. I am more interested in the blogging side of things so we shall see how it works in the future. The seminar gave me purpose to go to Davao and meet Bob.

I never knew that there are people online on ebay making millions of pounds per month..... can you believe it !! its there in black and white..... if I didn't hate ebay so much I would try it myself in a very small way of course.

hope you all are having a great weekend.................

Friday, 8 August 2008

Saturday 1.15am

Thursday evening was nice, I spent it at the home of friends in the suburbs of Cebu, I am very lucky as I do get invites to spend time with the locals which is what travelling is all about.... luckily my personality gets on with people and thats why it works out for me.

Thursday night 11.30pm I am entering my hotel after my night out, this Brit is in front of me, he is old (60 +) very skinny and a bit shifty if you ask me, I seen him in the bar one night and tried to smile but thankfully he didn't respond, he is with 2 young "ladies", the hotel is a 5 star so they are careful about who they let in. As I was waiting for the elevator I was watching him as most people were, I heard him say to the receptionists " she is my girlfriend and she is my friend"..... right ... ok... I bet if someone had asked he wouldn't have known their names... they were nice girls but obviously the"working" type..... he was ambitious bringing 2 home !!!! better man than me that's for sure !!!

Thursday night 11pm said goodnight to my special friends, 8.30am Friday I left my hotel to go to Davao, I arrived in my Davao hotel at 1pm, I am in the Marco polo it is VERY expensive but nice. I have spent most of the day in my room as it is soooooooooooooooo very hot outside. It is now 2am Saturday, I am going to a seminar with "Mindanao Bob" at 3 pm today and am looking forward to it.

My special friend is leaving at 4am today to go to Hong Kong to work so I will get ready for the texts.

I hope you all have a great weekend..............

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Wednesday 11pm

I have just returned to my hotel after being out with a group of friends.... well it was a family actually that I know here in Cebu... we really had a lot of fun. Some pics below.

I was also out with them last night too and that was very enjoyable also, tomorrow (thursday) I am going to their home on the outskirts of Cebu City for a meal,

Not much has happened over the past 2 days, just been dealing with this high blood pressure thingy... I stopped taking the tablets as they were making me feel worse than anything else, I felt great on Tuesday after stopping taking them, my BP monitor even registered all great readings.... 130/80. I got up this morning and all readings were 130/95... not so good. I visited the health centre here in the hotel, the nurse took 2 readings which both were 120/90 and she said that is normal.... I've read that over 90 is high.... but what do I know !!

Below is a really nice family, these are the nice girls of Cebu.

Mary Grace, Vina, aileen and airleen
3 sisters (1 x twins) and a cousin.

Airleen's son... I won't even
try to spell his name !!!!

I have had a really great time here in Cebu over the past few days... probably the best that I have ever had in the Phils.... so I will be sad to leave... but I am booked to go to Davao on Friday but I do return to Cebu on Monday. I had some bad news tonight, I was going to visit a resort about 3 hours outside of Cebu just to relax for a couple of days, it was owned by a really nice American guy and I was looking forward to meeting him but unfortunetly he died yesterday so the trip is cancelled as his resort is now closed..... you never know the minute.... the phrase that comes to mind is.... like a thief in the night.

I hope you and your family are well and in good health..........

Enjoy your wednesday................

Monday, 4 August 2008

Monday midnight

I arrived in Cebu with no problems. I am staying in a nice hotel in the centre of the city. There isn't a lot to see here but it's still a good city to walk around. It is very hot, so hot that I have to keep in an aircom room.... I am not used to this heat now that I have been away from the phils for a few months.

You wouldn't believe it but here in Cebu foreigners are looked upon highly..... so much so that I had 2 pairs of girls ( about 20/25) follow me around trying to attract my attention........... not a good reason to get involved.... I just ignore them as best as I can.... I am not stupid !!!!

I am going out with a couple of friends tomorrow and with other friends on Wednesday, I have booked my flight to Davao for Friday.

By the way, if you noticed the pregnant lady in the picture below, she had a baby boy today !!

hope you all have a great Tuesday...........

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Saturday 9am

After seeing the doc 3 times yesterday I didn't do very much else really, Just rested mostly in my room but did manage to buy some sheets and pillows for those mats. I am invited again to go to the beach again today. As I have to drop the sheets off anyway I might as well go although it is very hot and it is still only morning.

Ozamiz is a strange city, some guys here are walking around with 2' machetes, it's no big deal here as it is a tool of their trade, if you walked around like that in London, you would have armed police on you in a few mins.

Well I have now returned from the beach, below is a couple of pics.

This is lunch in our beach hut.

This is the beach hut, 75p to hire
for the day.

The ladies sorting out the food.

Kids are the same the world over,
give them an old inner tube, the
ocean and they are happy !!

I must admit I am missing the text match !! It sounds like their could be a very interesting end to it !!

I fly to Cebu tomorrow morning on the 8am flight so I will have to have an early night.

hope you all have a nice weekend.........

Friday, 1 August 2008

Friday 2pm

well yesterday I had a pain in my head.... not the usual headache.... more of " I think my head is going to explode" type...... each time I had to sit down as the pain was so bad. I have since seen a doctor and had the usual tests done, the result is that I now suffer from hypertension ( high blood pressure) and have been told that I will probably be on these tablets for the rest of my life !!

The doc's consultation was only 200 pesos ( £2.20) for each of my 2 visits, the lab charged me 1880pesos ( £ 21) for all the tests but the tablets cost me 3500 pesos ( £ 40). Plus the usual......... will have to reduce my alcohol intake, fatty foods, salt and smoking..... luckily I don't touch the last 2 and probably surprisingly to a lot of people I don't eat fatty foods often either. I have always done excercise all my life but since my knees have given up on me this year, it's more difficult to play badminton but I will manage something.... this is the downward spiral that a lot of people hit when they get past 50 !!!

Other than that life is good !!!!

It's very hot today here in Ozamiz, even the locals don't like it... lots of them go to bed in the afternoon for a siesta.

I done my good deed for today (actually yesterday), I bought a family 4 mats to sleep on, they normally sleep on the floor, one of them is 9 months pregnant (no don't look at me !) but still sleeps on the floor... I had to do something, you can buy these mats here which are a cross between a mat and a mattress.... not the old joke about between a mister and a matress is a mistress !!! anyway I hope they all enjoyed their first comfortable sleep..... or did they..... they are so used to the floor that they may not like them !!!

UPDATE.. I have just learned that they are too hot for them... the mats are sort of a plastic surface.... oh well I guess I will have to buy some cotton sheets to go with them.

I also bought a little boy a bike.... he could never have one as his parents are very poor..... I could never have a bike when I was a kid so I wanted to sort of put that right in a way by helping a kid to have one....... his face was a picture...well worth it... I must take a photo of him.

They loved the clothes that I brought for them, they were all shared out through the families, some of them were in town so I invited them to eat with me, 2 had my shirts on and 2 had on shirts that my sister Anne provided....they were all very happy.

I was invited to go to the beach today but it was simply too hot and sticky... so I plumped for the air con instead.

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Thursday 10am 31st July

well I arrived in Mindanao yesterday at 12 noon. I am in Ozamiz which is one of the poorest cities in Mindanao. It's quite quaint in a way, I have seen it before but it still tickles me, when the plane lands at the airport you are literally no more than 50 yds from their back doors!!! Can you imagine opening your back door in the morning to see a jet plane go screaming past in reverse thrust trying to brake... only in the Philippines.

From the "airport".... more like just a landing strip, I had to get to my hotel.... there are no cabs just motorcabs as they call them, basically a motorbike with a sidecar. I stay in the best hotel in the city... well there are only 2 and this is the better one but it leaves a lot to be desired. It wouldn't get a 1 star in the UK but this is a poor city so I understand. I was really surprised and pleased to see that they have had wi fi installed... I thought... my goodness they are moving with the times.... I can now use my laptop when I get bored. The whole city closes at 9pm.... no kidding.... after 9pm even the street lights go out !!! so wonderful at 9pm I can go online and keep myself entertained... then I find out that I can only be online in the lobby area not my room... that's not so bad.... then I find out that the wifi is off from 10pm .....!!!!! I can't win. Also in the hotel you can only have hot water for 2 hours per day.... can you believe that !!

Basically there is nothing to do in Ozamiz, the city ( really only a small town) is only for people to come into work and sell their wares. It has a few big shops that supply the city with most of it's needs. so at 9pm everyone goes to bed.... that is why at 6am everything comes alive... except me of course, I am just recovering from bad sleeping so was still asleep at 8.30am until I got my first text !!!! Texting is such a way of life here, just like the UK I suppose or anywhere else for that matter, but NO ONE phones you here... it's always just a text, texting is so important that the President of the Phils has just got the major phone companies to reduce the cost of a text from 1 peso to 50 centavos.... that's about 1 penny to a half penny per text.

I hope you all have a great Thursday......

Monday, 28 July 2008

Monday 27th July 2008 10pm

Today is Monday, I arrived in Manila at 9am after an uneventful journey, was through customs and into my hotel within the hour.

My hotel is in the red light district of Makati but it is a really nice high end hotel, the good thing is that its cheap because of the area.

It's really ok here especially as I am here for only 3 nights. The only hassle is being constantly approached by sellers of viagra and everything else that they think that you will buy from them.

The girls dont come out til late and they are not aggressive at all, mostly I dont see them as I am in my room early evening.

I leave to go to Mindanao on Wednesday morning, I have 62 shirts for the family that I know there. I am also going to Davao to meet Mindanao Bob, he has asked me before to call him for a meet, he is doing a seminar on Saturday 9th so I thought I can kill 2 birds with one stone.

I hope the weather in the UK is still as good as it was before I left, surprisingly over here it has been raining with winds as we had a typhoon but it was no big deal at all.

I hope you all had a great weekend.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Me in the Phils.... was I ??

I have been home now for over 2 weeks. Things seem strange, in some ways it feels that I never left the Uk and the Phils is a distant memory.......... but when I sit alone at night, all the good things and some of the bad come back to remind me of how much I loved living there.

I've been out and about in Uxbridge town at different times, when I'm walking and people watching I can't help but see so many people that when I look into their eyes, I can see that the lights are on but there is no-one at home.... so many people just drifting through their lives.... probably as we all do.
I really notice the young people, walking with their mobile phones pressed to their ears and I hear a constant barrage of 4 letter words, they don't seem to care who can hear them... sadly lots are teenage girls. I can see the aggression in so many people, everyone rushing to get wherever they are going and nobody better get in their way, so many young men that I wouldn't trust to even talk to......... to me anyway they stand out as of low intelligence and with a criminal mind... yes I am being judgemental.

The weather since I returned has been quite good save today as it is raining.........

I really wish I was back in the Phils where people.... although they may have less but smile so much more and seem relatively happy with what they have.

Friday, 18 April 2008

Gerry in Uxbridge

Well I have been home for just over a week now, everything has mostly gone well since my return.

It started with me going through customs with 6 bags and I didn't get stopped !!!.... I was home within 45 mins of landing at Heathrow.

I have managed to get most utilities connected except my internet.... I am piggybacking to write this.

I drove to Sandbach in Cheshire to visit my sister Anne for the evening then I drove to Glasgow to visit Helen & Jimmy, Patsy & Joe and finally Paul & Karen where I delivered to them the karaoke mike that I bought on their behalf in the Phils.......... I never sing Karaoke but Karen FORCED me... honest !!!! ...... for the record it was the Stones...... satisfaction.

I then drove 6 and a half hours to visit Maurice in Janice in Skegness, this journey isn't the best but with my CD's on and the sun shining it wasn't too bad.

So I have driven nearly 1000 miles since my return which was very enjoyable, I forgot how nice it is driving on the freeway doing a 100mph +..... it was just for a min or two !!!!

I have had a really good week with my family it was really great to see them all... and I ate extremely well at all of their homes.......... thanks all !!

I have had to do shopping again but luckily here we have Marks and Sparks.... their food is deeelliiicious..!!!

Hope you enjoyed reading my blog in the Phils and I will continue with this for a while....but only about once per week.
Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated.

Enjoy your weekend................................

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

This reallyis my last post on Philippine soil !!

I didn't go to bed last night but I probably fell asleep for about an hour. I was in the shower at 6.15am, I then packed my laptop and the rest of my stuff, it took me longer than I thought. I finished packing at 7.20am just in time for the rental agent's arrival, I then noticed that I hadn't packed my dvds and CD's so I had to make room for them. I packed my kettle and other stuff for coach William and left it all in the lobby for him to collect... time was then becoming an issue as it was 7.40am and the taxi was due at 7.45.. rushed back upstairs for my last check... sorted out Teddy the agent ( really helpful guy) then got mu luggage downstairs for the taxi. Getting stressed...... I have 6 bags to take to the airport... How can I reduce them !! don't know so just get there and worry then.

The building assistants put my bags in the cab as I was saying goodbye to people ... trying to keep one eye on my luggage in case the cabbie legs it with my gear. Now in the cab and on my way to the airport... a bit more relaxed now.... get to the airport at 8.30am... trying to find a cart for these 6 bags... this knee problem is getting on my nerves... luggage on cart... reach the first security checkpoint.. pass through there no problem, onto the conveyor belt checkpoint, I'm hobbling and trying to get 6 bags on this blooming belt... goes through and then have to get another cart for these 6 bags... the airport is like an ants nest with so many people crammed in there.. I'm walking (hobbling) with this cart trying to get through the throng to reach my check in desk..... luckily I'm flying business class so need to queue there.... is she going to allow me 3 bags checked in and to take 3 aboard ???? She is a pretty and friendly young girl, we chat... 7 months sir you must like it here.... yes yes love it .. what else can I say so she lets me get these bags on.....I say lots of nice things and she lets me take 3 bags !!! THANK YOU !!

First hurdle over.... now to queue up to pay the 750p terminal tax... keeps myself busy in this queue filling in my immigration form..... now I am in the queue for immigration.... through there too... this has all taken over 1 hour, I'm hot, stressed.... watching your luggage all the time, don't lose your passport or boarding pass etc etc. Now in queue for last security check... sail through there... now on my way to the business lounge... get inside.. sit down in a comfy chair and let all the stress and anxiety leave the body. I can sit in here relaxing until 15 mins before the flight takes off..... which is where I am at this moment... it's now 10.20 am, 10 mins and I will be aboard back to dear old Blighty !!

Time for me to go.... Thanks to all for taking the time to visit my my blog and leave comments.

This is me signing out for the last time .... Gerry in the Phils..... soon to be sad of Uxbridge..... :-(

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Midnight Tuesday my final evening in the Phils......

Well my final evening has arrived, I had my final walk to Glorietta, Packed my bags late afternoon but there are too many, I will never be allowed 1 large suitcase, I smallish bag, a laptop case with lots of other things inside, a backpack, a bag with a souvenir in it and finally a racket sports bag with lots of other things inside too. Lots of dvd's that I bought while I was here, I hope they don't expect me to pay the duty on them..... if they do I will simply throw them away. I also have another cunning plan, if they say .... "too many bags sir"...... the smallish bag has all the shirts that don't fit me very well at the moment..... so I will simply dump that too.

I had a meal with coaches William senior and Junior, Dianne and my favourite player Keeyan, he is 9 years old, he is the son of coach William Juniors sister. It was enjoyable.

Coach William senior brought Keeyan and was supposed to bring Sarah, she is an 8 year old girl that is very talented and I have a real soft spot for her, she is the child that gave me my first "Mano Po", she is staying with the Coaches during this time as school is out and she is taking part in the summer camp training. She won the under 10 division of my tournament, she is much poorer than the rest of the kids, she didn't come tonight because she doesn't have any clothes that could be worn in a decent restaurant... not my opinion but theirs.

She is staying with the coaches for the whole 2 months of the summer training, Coach William told me that she came to his home with all her clothes in an old cardboard box because her family are so poor. People try and help her there, I think that it is really great, someone bought her trainers to play in as she didn't have any, her racket is the type that no kid would want to be seen dead with in the UK and yet she is better than any of them in her age group. I sponsored her by buying her a new racket and case, so she is dead chuffed about that, I really feel for her, she is such a sweet girl but is held back by her position in life. I've noticed that she hangs back when the coaches ask who wants to do this or that, she allows people to go before her as though she is 2nd best, she is very humble as is her father.... this all really affects me big time so much so that tears can come to my eyes when I think of it..... probably something to do with my upbringing in Glasgow.

Sarah with Keeyan in the center

This is the few young players that took part in the summer boot camp. Keeyan normally a quiet boy jumped up and grabbed me round the neck...... luckily he is only 9 and a lightweight or I could have ended up with serious neckache !!

I am now sitting here in my condo for the last time, I intend staying awake tonight, for one I don't think I will be able to sleep, anyway I can get a good sleep on the flight home.

So it is all over now, I limped home (knee is shot) but enjoyed strolling home and taking all the sights in, 11pm and it's still hot as I walk past all the tropical trees to my street. I arranged for a taxi to come for me at 7.45am via the night receptionist, I like the fact that someone does that for me, she can speak in tagalog and agreed a price for me.

I'm sitting here looking at my packed suitcases, everything now looks bare but tidier than it has ever been during my stay. I got my beer by my side ( well no point in leaving it) and I have to finish the last little drop of whisky that I have left in the bottle. I am leaving the things that I can not take........ electric kettle, water dispenser, some wine and some tins of food that I didn't eat for coach William, he will take whatever he wants and give the rest to others that may need it.

well that's it the adventure is over, it has been a great experience and something that I will never forget. I can only hope that things work out and I am back here living full time in the very near future.
I've seen 2 men shot dead, a bombing in the mall. a 5.8 earthquake, an attempted coup of the government, experienced a curfew one night, and many many bribes and corruption. Plus so many other good things too, a people that respect their elders, a place with having grey hair makes you a well respected person with an opinion to listen to rather than just being that grey haired old prat as I would be seen as in the UK. A place where my badminton training is respected rather than no-one really giving a toss whether you are there or not.

A place where I can say to a teenager or someone in their 20's.... "hey don't do that" and he listens without saying something like ... "go forth and multiply you old git!" !!

A place where you can toot your horn at another driver without the risk of being killed or even being given the one finger salute... I don't know how they stay so calm ALL of the time.

A place where so many people say to me " good morning sir..... how are you..... did you enjoy your lunch.

A place where people text me and say " lets eat" even though they may be 100's of miles away.... strange but nice too... I used to read that as.... "we are going to eat together" but was confused because they were so far away.... all it really means is hey it's lunchtime.... lets eat..... you where you are and me where I am..... hey it's the Phils.... sometimes there is no rational explanation !!

A place where you have to be careful of the words that you use as they will take them literally. My favourite being when I say to someone " hey I'm not going to be charged extra for that am I", they reply " yes sir" meaning .... yes you won't be charged extra... when I'm expecting a " no sir you won't". There are lots of instances like that.... it makes life interesting.

I could go on and on but will stop here so that you can finish reading and go to bed.

It's now 1am Wednesday, just over 9 hours and I will be on the plane. I am so not tired... I will end here, drink my last whisky, look over the makati skyline and think of all the good people that I have met and the good experiences that I have had.

So it's goodnight from me in this tropical heat awaiting my arrival at heathrow, when that plane door opens and that icy draft comes in I know where I wish I was. I will have a jumper with me, something that I have never even thought of for 7 months.

I hope you had a wonderful Tuesday............... Goodbye

Monday, 7 April 2008

My last Monday......... ;-(

well badminton was enjoyable today, I coached a group all afternoon until 6.30pm. I then played one game with Arnell which we won.... so I won the last game that I played in the Phils.

I have serious problems with my knees so much so that I bought a knee support for my left knee which did help. Of course then my right knee gave me real pain all night and I simply struggled badly to move. The first thought of course and this is what doctors will probably say... you are getting old so what do you expect... well normally I would say yes to that, but my regular readers may remember that it was only last year here in the Phils that I played 18 games in one night with no knee problems at all and I won 14 of them. So what happened to that guy !!... my knees can't just lose it that quickly, old age problems would be more gradual.

It was a nice night and it ended with some pressies and 2 big banners with good wishes on them.... see below.

I got home at 12.30am, Arnell gave me a lift home again and his daughter came as well as she wanted to see where I lived. See below

It's now 2.30 am Tuesday, I am sitting here feeling a little sad and drinking a little dram, but more than anything I feel sort of strange... weird even... it doesn't feel real in some way.

I will pack early tomorrow, also I will try and get everything done that needs to be done so I can maybe have a meal in the evening with my coaching friends. I will also have my last walk into glorietta.

Hope you all had a great Monday

Sunday, 6 April 2008

my last weekend is over.......

Well that's the weekend over, it was OK albeit a bit quiet.

Sunday I spent a lot of time in Glorietta just sitting in the coffee bar and watching the world go by. I took lots of pics and generally just people watched, I sat and thought about life and how and what I have to do to achieve what I want for the rest of my life.

I have had friends phone to ask me to go for a meal this week but I don't have the time now, Monday is all badminton and on Tuesday I have to pack, clean the condo and sort out the bills and rental contract, return keys etc etc.

I have made up my mind for sure that I want to retire as early as possible and move to the Philippines, that isn't an easy decision as you may think. Even though I have lived here for 6 months and loved it, there is still so much else to put into the pot to think about.

Each time that I walk around the shops there is never anything that I need or want to buy, I can afford just about anything within reason but I have everything in life that I need, that's a good position to be in. I sometimes wish that I could find something that I want or need but I never can.

I can never buy a house or lot here in the Phils, foreigners are not allowed to own land here, I am allowed to buy a condo but even then only 40% of the condos in that building can be owned by foreigners. Luckily I am happy with a condo, if the pesos goes back down that would help me to buy 2 condos, 1 to live in and the rent from the other will help to maintain my lifestyle.

Do you know that I brought so much stuff that I have never used, especially things like sun screen, insect repellent, tablets for this and that... they will all be returning home with me. I did use some after sun once but that's about it, I will be having a toiletries sale on my return.

I Have had just over 20 hits on average per day, that is to say that my blog has had over 2o visitors per day on average, now there is me, Anne, Mary & Gary, Jan, sometimes Patsy and lately Helen and of course occasionally some friends. That works out to about maybe 7 visitors each day that I can account for..... of course the question is ...... who are the other 13/14 ???

Well enough for tonight.... I hope you all had a great weekend and your next working week is good too.

Love from a hot but beautiful Manila.............

Saturday, 5 April 2008

My last Saturday..... :-)

Well it was a nice day today, the sun was shining and I had a walk around Makati and took some more photos. Yes I do feel very sad leaving but walking around helped me to appreciate what I have had here, I appreciated the "good afternoon sir" a little bit more as I won't be hearing it much in the UK.

In some ways though these last few days have been a bit difficult as I don't really don't know what to do with myself, returning to the UK is uppermost in my mind, Wednesday is looming over me and it seems to stop me from organising my day better as everything is being geared to leaving.

I had a real scare at 10.30 am this morning, I just realised that I hadn't obtained my exit clearance certificate from the Bureau of Immigration when I was last there. If you live in the Phils for 6 months or more you need this certificate to allow you to leave. I frantically rang them but of course it's the weekend so no answer, I checked their website to see when they are open but of course no information. It meant that I would have to get there on Monday morning first thing, I have to give them 3 photos and have my fingerprints taken. This would have spoiled my Monday as it is a complete day with my badminton friends, coaching under 18's during the day and adults part of the evening, then we are going for a farewell meal.

Then like a light bulb going off in my head I remembered..... I went to Vietnam in January.... which means that the 6 months restarts at that point, officially I have only been in the Phils for 3 months of this trip..... PHEW !!!!

Tomorrow (Sunday) will be my last day to rest, Monday is all badminton, Tuesday I have to make sure all bills are paid and up to date, I will have to have a clean up, the owner will be visiting to check out the condo and of course I have to pack everything away. Packing is going to be difficult as I have had to buy quite a lot of new clothes, I am allowed 35 kilos, I hope that I can keep under that, I may have to throw away some clothes to keep the weight down. I am allowed to bring home only £145 of things bought outside the UK, I wonder if there is a bit more leeway for someone that has been out of the UK for 7 months, as obviously during that time everyone would have bought some new clothes. We shall see... do I walk through the "nothing to declare" or the "declare" aisle ?

On my walks around Manila I often see people going through the rubbish bags looking for plastic, mostly bottles but anything made from plastic is saved, I believe that they get a few pesos for every kilo. I think it takes a lot of bottles to make up 1 kilo, mostly it is woman with their children that do it. On my walk home to my condo I mostly enter through the rear of the building (it's quicker) and often see a woman with her child going through our buildings rubbish, she is tidy, she saves what she wants from the rubbish bags and then re-ties them so there is no spillages.
Today when I came home she was there with her daughter, we smiled and as I am leaving the Phils I gave her daughter 50 pesos... she was overjoyed and ran over to tell her mum ( this is more than she earns in a day with the plastic) and I was able to take a photo of them, I felt a bit strange taking a pic of her when she was doing this, I felt uncomfortable like I was taking a pic of someone's misery for my own enjoyment.... anyway they both seemed to be OK with it and smiled. You can see for yourself below.

Notice how clean they are, you wouldn't think by looking at them that this is what they have to do to eat each day, for those that read my blog regularly you will remember how I told you before, they don't have much but what they do have they keep clean and look after well.

I hope you all have a great weekend....................

Friday, 4 April 2008

My last Friday..........TGIF

Sorry that there was no post yesterday but the Internet in the building was down, I stayed up until 1 am but it stayed down.

Today I was going to a summer training camp in Las Pinas but unfortunately coach William had an accident in his car whilst coming to pick me up. Shame as I was really looking forward to it, I was all packed and waiting by the mall when he phoned to tell me the news. He was hit by a Jeepney, no serious damage, bumper smashed off and the lights broken. He was lucky as the Jeepney owner (not the driver) agreed to pay his damage (very lucky) but is going to take the costs off the drivers salary each week (very unlucky). Car accidents are strange here to me, there doesn't seem to be a law about having insurance, the richest pays, the poorest drivers just leg it as quickly as they can, I was in coach Williams car when a tricycle bumped into him, the driver got onto the pavement with his tricycle and done a runner !!

Being a foreigner, if I am ever involved in an accident, it will definitely be my fault no matter what happened, even when the police come along it is still my fault.... WHY.... because I'm a foreigner and can afford to pay for the damage... no matter who caused it...... yes of course it's unfair but some things in life you just have to accept.
My friends have even told me.... I guess tongue in cheek..... but that if I ever run a person down it is best to make sure that they are dead as damages are worked out on limbs or senses damaged, so it is cheaper to kill them !! as then you only pay one set damage.

Today I walked through Greenbelt to get a karaoke mike for my brother Paul (nice mike bty), when a guy coming towards me stopped and gave me the " Hi sir do you remember me)routine, for those that have read my blog since it started you will remember this happened to me a lot, it's a way of con men getting to talk to you and walk with you as they pretend that they know you from your hotel, they say they are security there then go on to ask you for money for a sick child/mother/wife/cow or whatever. I used to quite enjoy the banter as I would always catch them out by asking "which hotel", of course they took a guess but never got it right, this time I was in a hurry so I just said to him " NO I don't know you" and carried on walking.

Rice is a big issue here at the moment, it is so important that it could be the downfall of the government. You have to realise that 90% of the population depend on eating rice 3 times a day. The Philippines used to be the biggest exporter of rice in Asia, it is now the biggest importer in Asia. The officials went to the Asian markets to buy their stocks of rice but because it is now more expensive they only managed to buy 20% of their quota, which will not fill the bellies of the population for 3 months. Rice prices have gone through the roof and there has been reports of hoarding, some businessmen have been arrested for that very thing. The government are trying to address the situation but have failed so far. Filipinos can do without beef, pork and chicken but if you ask them to do without rice... their staple diet.... this could cause big trouble. This could really bring down the Arroyo government.

At 6pm I decided to visit my favourite Chinese restaurant, it is in Greenbelt, really nice but expensive for here, a meal and 2 pints cost me £8, I know that's cheap for the UK but you can eat much cheaper here. Oddly enough I did have rice, the portions are huge, enough for 2 fat greedy Brits or for 4 Filipinos and their kids.... I only ate for 1 fat greedy Brit.... NO I didn't eat it all... only half !! But under the circumstances a real waste, the government have even asked the big fast food retailers to offer a half rice portion to save some stocks but the retailers and the public have ignored it, it's a shame really as a lot of rice is wasted in these restaurants.

I hope you all have a great weekend, I hope I do too as it is my last one in Manila.... everything I do at the moment is.... my last !!

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

My last Wednesday evening.............

I was in the shopping malls early today looking for some items that family have requested. That took up most of my time today. As it was a quiet day I have taken the opportunity to include some pics that are sort of bits and pieces.

Below is some pics from my tourney which was held last Sunday.

Below is some pics that I took to show how difficult it is to walk on Manila pavements if you are a blind person... this is very common, trees, lamposts and electrical cable posts everywhere.

Below is another group of odd pics.

TOP LEFT. In this barangay the local youths are under a curfew.
TOP RIGHT. Do you think that young girl is wasting her time sweeping !!!
BOTTOM LEFT. Do we still have these old type glass coke bottles in the UK ??
BOTTOM MIDDLE. A family living by the pavement just cooking dinner.
BOTTOM RIGHT. A group practicing their dance routine in Makati fire station........ ...............only in the Phils !!

Anne, I sent you a text and an email but no reply !!!! :-(

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

11pm Tuesday

I spent a big part of the day shopping and taking photos. The pics are just for me, they were all of places that I see every day, the main road, the entrance to the mall, the walkways that I use and the places that I see and visit. I will look at them when I am stuck in the UK and it will bring back nice feelings.

We had a real downpour today, I haven't seen rain for a few months now so it was actually quite nice to feel the water on your skin, it cooled me down for a while.
It was really heavy or as they say in Glasgow..... it wis stoatin aff the grun !!

Monday, 31 March 2008

played badminton.... well sort of..

I played badminton tonight, well I was on the court anyway... "playing" was maybe a bit of an exaggeration. I really am struggling these days, my game has hit rock bottom and it is sooooooooooooooo disappointing. I am so slow and now with my knees giving up the ghost my playing ability is zero ! I haven't aged well in the last 2/3 years ;-(

On the bright side though I am still enjoying my time here, it was so hot today but I did go out for lunch and do some shopping. I couldn't stay out there very long as the heat is debilitating. After that long day yesterday I even had to have a long nap this afternoon. Coach William drove into Makati to pick me up and take me to Las Pinas, he has done that a lot lately which is very kind as it is a long way for him.

Another good friend "Arnel" wanted to drive me home tonight as he felt that he never gets the chance to talk to me much, he has a lovely wife and 4 children, 3 boys and a girl... the whole family play badminton and they are all very good especially the teenage boys. Arnel and I get on really well, he has travelled a lot around Europe with his business so is a bit more knowledgeable about geography and other cultures.
I think if I lived here we would be best of friends.

well it is now 12.30am Tuesday here so I have only 8 days to case you wonder why it says it's Monday above this post, the reason is that I still have my laptop set to UK time.

I hope you enjoyed your Monday. I am going to have a glass of whisky and look out at the Makati skyline outside my window.

Sunday, 30 March 2008

My Badminton tourney...

I was up at 6am this morning, got ready and left my condo at 7am, got an honest cabbie straight away and I arrived in Las Pinas at 7.45, the fare was only 230 pesos and I gave him a 100p tip..... well he was honest, it was a Sunday and I was in a good mood !

The tourney got under way at 8.30am and continued without a break until 9.35pm, I am extremely tired and I didn't even play. How the players managed I'll never know as it was 125* in the hall. It was a very successful day, the organisers were brilliant and everything went very smoothly.

I did my speech just before it began and walked around watching lots of the games, some were simply fantastic, the talent here is quite unbelievable, we also had a young but tall filipina that is the No 1 under 14 and No 1 under 18 female in the Phils, she of course won her class easily.

I also had to give out the awards throughout the day, you know the thing, they stand on the rostrum and I put the medal with the ribbon around their necks then lots of photos are taken,some official and the others were usually their parents or friends.
I must have had my picture taken somewhere between 300-500 times today. People again were coming to me and asking if they could have a picture taken with me !! Famous for nothing but it makes them happy.

All in all it was a fantastic but tiring day for everyone. The next part of the "Coach Gerry McGuire" series is in July but alas I won't be here. Lots of people have talked to me and asked me to stay... which is nice of course but simply can't be.... for the moment anyway.

I had to say a few more goodbyes tonight, some people that are going away on holiday and don't return until after I have left...... :-(

I hope you all had a great weekend.................................

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Saturday 11pm

Quiet day.... very hot.

My badminton tourney starts tomorrow, I have to be in Las Pinas for 8am as I am doing the opening speech. It takes me an hour to get there if I can get a taxi to take me there.

My family should have a look at this video on youtube , it's just a video of possilpark from 1975, 3 years after I left.... Thank God !!!

the address is you will have to copy and paste it into the address bar. It opened up a lot of videos about Glasgow, I ended up spending most of my afternoon watching them, isn't the internet an amazing thing, here I am in the Philippines watching videos of where I was born from 33 years ago !!

I watched an "orange walk" along saracen street too, could see the library and I have also seen the Lido cafe online !!

An "orange walk" for my English friends isn't a fruit strolling down the road, it's an anti- Catholic religious march held all over Glasgow each year.

I hope you are all having a great weekend, I have to go to bed now as I am up early in the morn.

Friday, 28 March 2008

Friday 11pm

I went for a walk today but it was just too hot, I walked for a couple of hours but near the end I had to go into a mall for the aircon, I walked a little afterwards, I was only about 15 mins walk away from home but I simply had to take a taxi..... I was burning up and my hair was soaked with perspiration.

It was only 90* but felt like 100*... oddly enough that is the expression that they use on the official website.... they give you the official temperature but also what it feels like too.... maybe because of the humidity, although that is still on the low side at only 67%.

In the UK, traffic wardens are hated and abused ( I've never understood that as they are just doing a job), in my street here we have permanent traffic wardens that are based here, they are well respected as they are part of law enforcement, they even take the money from you for your parking, this leaves them open to corruption. But I have never seen anyone say anything abusive to them, if they say you can't park there then you simply don't.

There is so much more respect here for people in authority, I always remember watching drunken young guys outside the pubs in the UK late at night arguing with the police, even pushing, swearing and abusing the police officers..... they wouldn't do that here, when police stop you or decide to speak to you, you say "yes sir" and you WILL be very polite or you will find that they don't have the politically correct views that UK police have to work under.

Of course it's the family culture here that is the real reason for such good behavior, a child talking back to an adult never mind their parents would be very rare. Their family structure is so well maintained with siblings, uncles, aunties all showing them how a family behaves within itself, this spills over into the other parts of their lives with friends and strangers too.

What can we say about family culture in the UK.........mmmm, too many parents shouldn't be parents, lots of them shouldn't even be in charge of their TV remote control never mind a child.

That's my little rant for today.

So it's TGIF yet again.... I hope you all have a great weekend.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Thursday 10pm

Today I played badminton for 2 hours from 5-7pm...... it was sooooooooooooo hot and the humidity was very high.. even the Filipinos that I was playing with were complaining so you can guess how I felt if they could feel it so bad !! You could wring the sweat from my shirt.... it was soaked completely !!

After I had a cold shower... which was boooootifooool.... I then walked through the slums of Mandaluyong... I always enjoy that walk and it was great again.

I then.... shamefully I must admit stopped for a pizza and a milkshake... well I was hungry and perspiring... I needed somewhere with aircon.... well that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it !!!

I'm going to publish this post, watch a bit of TV, then have a late night whisky before I hit the sack.

Thanks Lisa for the text, nice to hear from you, love to you and David.

I hope you all have a great Thursday

Wednesday, 26 March 2008


Well it was a nice start to the morning to watch England win the series against New Zealand.... interesting finale from young Southee.

That's the end of the cricket now until I get home. So that's a goodbye.

I also had to say my first goodbye to a friend that left this morning to go back home to their province.

I guess from on in there is going to be a lot of goodbyes.

I didn't do much today as I was tired from rising at 5am to watch the cricket, I had to do a few chores.... same things as at home.... I had to go and pay my electric, water and cable bills, I walked to the bank to pay and I seem to walk around now with different eyes, I see things that I have taken for granted til now... I realise that things are going to change shortly......

I stopped in one of the coffee shops in Glorietta and just watched the world go by...... and lots of pretty Filipinas too :-) It was nice to sit there and soak in the atmosphere that I have become used to. The waitress calling out "Sir Gerry" when my coffee is ready, she knows my name and seems pleased to see me each time.... no I don't tip her !!!

I sit there on the comfy chair looking out onto the concourse as so many people walk past smiling, young women holding the wrist of their friend ( strange that, they hold the wrist like they are leading them somewhere ), 2 young guys with their arms around each others shoulders ( kids do that in the UK but adults..NEVER), so many people but more importantly so many smiles.... I wonder why ?? Is it the same in the UK but I've just never noticed.... I wonder ? The thing is I always found that at home in the UK whenever the sun was shining, my spirits were lifted ( no not whisky, I lifted that in the evenings), of course here the sun is always shining.... which is a big plus.

Walking in the back entrance to my building the armed guard says " good afternoon sir, enjoy your lunch ?", I reply in the positive as I make my way into the building, a young lady is coming through the door as I reach it, she says " hello sir" as she holds the door for me, I say hi and usher her through first... she is a staff member and appreciates me putting her first. I reach the elevator.... I mean the lift.... but remember to go in and check my mail first, yes there is another envelope for me, just then someone again says "Hello Sir Gerry", it's Teddy, he is some sort of condo broker and has been trying to sell me a condo for months, but he's not the pushy type. He also looks after my condo on behalf of the owner, whenever I have a problem I simply call him and he has it fixed. I don't have to change a light bulb as Teddy sends someone to do it for me.... I like that !!
It is all very small talk but I appreciate it as in the UK few people would speak to me at all and they certainly wouldn't call me "Sir"...... I've been called a lot of things in the streets of London and "Sir" was never one of them !!!!

Hopefully the above will give you a little insight as to some of the reasons that I like things here in Manila.... and did I mention that the sun shines EVERY day !!!!

Enjoy your Wednesday.......

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Tuesday evening 11pm

Well this morning's cricket from New Zealand was good as England did well and should win the series with the last day starting in 6 hours time..... yes I will be up watching it.

Today was a quiet day as I have had a friend staying over for the last 5 days, I watched the cricket, rested in the afternoon and ate in the evening. Now it's time for bed and an early rise at 5am.

Exactly 2 weeks tonight I will be packed and ready to fly home the following morning.
No need to say how I will feel !!

There was a show on TV from the UK showing the street crime and violence, friends that I know here simply didn't understand.... they asked me why did those guys get drunk and want to fight ?? Why did that older lady get attacked.. how can that happen ?? They simply cannot understand that.... over here older people are respected.. even the bad guys respect older people... it's so inbred to respect your elders here that they cannot fathom why or how any old person would be hurt in any situation.

I can honestly say that I have NEVER seen a drunk in my time here, that's not say that it doesn't happen... but I have never seen it. Even on New Years Eve here when everyone is in the bars... believe it or not they drink to socialise and chat but being drunk would be seen as uncouth and low class.

The bars here are wonderful for the simple reason that there is control and discipline, people REALLY do enjoy their night out WITHOUT being drunk and acting stupid or violent.

I must repeat this because those that live and go out in the UK will find it hard to believe but I have never once seen a drunk. I have never been accosted or spoken to by someone under the influence of alcohol and I have NEVER been threatened physically or been intimidated by any single person in the 7 months that I have spent here.

I can not say that about the UK, just walking through a town centre like Uxbridge on a weekend I feel intimated and have been threatened more than once for simply daring to walk through the town where I live. Usually by young men with a lot of alcohol inside them and in groups of 6 or more.... really brave eh !!

Enough of my rant....

Hope you had a nice Tuesday.... so Helen if you read this, it is me and you only I'm afraid !!!!!

Monday, 24 March 2008

Monday ...actually Tuesday 12.30am

Well watching the cricket today was great... 5am to 1pm was wonderful for me... England batted superbly as I expected.... hopefully they will kill the kiwis off in 5 hours time.

I had a great day today, first the cricket and then I went coaching to Las Pinas at 5.30pm.... got a lift there which is always better. They are all training and preparing for my tourney which starts this Sunday. I have to type a letter for all players that is going into the handbook that each entrant will recieve. I also have to prepare a speech for the begining of the tourney as it is in my name, I have to make the official opening speech... me to 400/500 players.

I really enjoyed the training, the players worked hard, they were all adults and they understand and enjoy my training techniques.... when I am finished they always give me a round of applause and they come up to me afterwards to thank me for explaining things so well. You don't get this sort of respect in the UK.

I am playing badminton on Thursday with my journalist friend, he has arranged for all of his friends/players to go for a meal afterwards and has invited me. He has also asked me if I would write articles for his badminton website. I'm happy to do so as long as the rights are still mine. I feel that I could earn some money if I had my own badminton website and maybe training facities here in the Phils.

Lots of the adult players... when I told them that I leave in 2 weeks said nice things about me and asked me to stay. Some even pointed out that I could live in Las Pinas quite cheaply and that they would find a good wife for me !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hope your start to the week has been good...

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Sunday 10pm

I was up early as usual at 5am to watch England play New Zealand, it was a great day for cricket but an even better day for England taking 7 wickets in the afternoon session (Anne you can tell Keith I was right as I did say to him that England would do the same to NZ but admittedly I didn't think it would be the 2nd session).

Manila is still quiet and I think it will be for a few more days yet. I've had a quiet day, cricket and just doing bits and pieces, now i will just get some sleep before I get up again tomorrow morning for cricket again.

I spoke to my sis Anne on the phone yesterday, we spoke about a few things but one of them was about Filipinos going on holiday outside of the country, I'm sure that a lot of people in the UK just take it for granted.... if you want to go on holiday you just go into a travel agent and book it, if you are traveling far you may need a visa, this is usually a done deal if you live in the UK.

It's not the same if you live here in the Phils, if you want to go abroad it isn't so easy, you have to get a visa not only from the country that you are visiting but first of all you need permission from Philippine emigration before you can go ahead.

Most applicants are turned down, they may allow you to travel more freely in Asia but if you are thinking of the U.S or the UK then it is more difficult. You have to prove that you will return, if you have a good business and property you will probably be OK but other than that you can forget it... you will be refused permission to leave. Even if a UK or US citizen gave you the money for the air fare and even agreed to sponsor you when you are abroad, your chances would be so slim as to be negligible.
We constantly hear people complain of immigrants and how easy it is for them to get into the UK and taking our jobs etc..... well please don't include Filipinos in that, the only Filipinos that you meet in the UK will be bona fide, usually well off ones that are allowed to visit for a holiday or others that have been granted a work permit whenever we need more nurses.

Hope you all had a great wekend..................

Saturday, 22 March 2008


Not doing much at the mo, a very quiet time all round. Manila is still very quiet as it is still holy week.

As we all know it's getting very close now to me returning to the UK, each day that passes I get more and more sad, I walked around Makati today and as I passed the points of interest that I have become accustomed to, I thought to myself..." I won't be seeing this again or for a while at least".

I love sitting in my lounge in the evening, I may be watching TV or reading a book but just to my right I can see the beautiful lights of the Makati skyline.

I love it when I am up early in the morning and I can see the sun come up over the buildings, the city is starting to come to life, people start leaving their buildings to go to work, the traffic begins to build up, the street vendors are setting up their stalls to prepare for the day, and 1000's of ordinary shop assistants spilling out of jeepneys coming into Makati to their jobs in the big malls.

I enjoy it when I leave or enter my building when the guys on the door open it for me with a good morning sir and the receptionist smiles and asks me how am I today. I enjoy my walk into Glorietta in the sunshine (always sunshine), I walk through Greenbelt mall past the many shops and stalls that I am used to seeing each day heading to either the coffee bar or for something for lunch.

I will miss so many people smiling at me every day, so many people wanting to talk with me especially in other parts of Manila, I will miss the girls asking me where are you going sir, what is your name, can I have your cell phone number please.... that doesn't happen very often in Uxbridge... yes you are right... it NEVER happens, after reaching 50 in the UK you don't exist anymore !!!

I will miss my long walks, the difference between some of the places that I see and normal life at home is so extreme. I will miss the little bit of danger that you face here as wherever you go you always stand out like a sore thumb, if there are any robbers around you WILL be the target. Yet I have lived here and visited many places that I have been told not to, and still no-one has robbed me.... so what is wrong with me that's what I want to know !! I feel quite insulted ;-)

All in all, I will miss Manila and the lifestyle VERY VERY much.

I hope your Easter weekend is going well.........