Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Slight Change In Plans.

According to the shipping company's website, we have balikbayan boxes in Manila waiting to be shipped here to us in Sibulan. No word, as yet, on the shipment coming from the second company. When we were in the U.S., my wife and I used two different companies to ship the balikbayan boxes, and the old adage about getting what you pay for is certainly holding up in this particular case.

One company, LBC Express, is a bit higher priced. $105 per box verses $75 per box with Continental, however, I'm convinced now that the difference in price is worth it.

Even though the LBC shipment was sent after the Continental, the LBC shipments are arriving ahead of the other. We cannot even track the Continental shipment. A friend in the States, who shipped her boxes via Continental the same time we did,says her boxes are in Manila. We're assuming ours are as well, though I can't understand why they haven't been delivered.

Inside one of the LBC boxes, placed inside a steel-toed boot, are garden seeds. We've been anxiously awaiting their arrival. But now, as it turns out, we might not have a location to plant the seeds. I dug up a little area beside the house where I can plant a few bell pepper and tomato plants, but we no longer have access to the larger plot where we had hoped to plant the cantaloupe, watermelons and the assorted varieties of squash.

My wife's father has been a caretaker of sorts on a piece of property belonging to a Filipino who had immigrated to the United States years ago. Unfortunately, the property has finally been sold and it will only be a matter of time before he and my wife's mother will have to vacate.

Not only will we not have the larger plot for our vegetable garden, but we'll have to find a new home for the pigs. Most of the piglets will be sold off before they have to leave the property, but the sow and the piglet my wife and I wanted to slaughter when it was big enough, will have to be relocated.

There is a small piece of land behind our house which belongs to my wife's cousin. This particular parcel is vacant and we're hoping the cousin will allow us to put a garden there. Unfortunately, it isn't a suitable location for raising pigs.

So, it appears that the LBC shipped boxes will arrive relatively soon. Once I begin in earnest on the gardening, I'll take photos. I'm sure everyone is excited about that.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Let Them Eat....Huh......Pork.

Philippines is overwhelmingly a Christian country, with more than 85% of the population being Christian. The vast majority of Filipinos are Catholic - the breakdown being 80% Catholic with a little more than 5% of the population being non-Catholic Christians. The number of non-Catholics in the country is almost equal to the number of Muslims in Philippines.

In spite of the fact that Muslims make up a tiny minority, tomorrow is a holiday here because it is Eid al Fitr - the ending of Ramadan fasting.

There will be no school tomorrow, in the secular or Catholic schools.

Far be it from me to tell Filipinos what days they can celebrate as holidays, but I, for one, intend to celebrate the day by eating pork during at least one meal tomorrow.

Oh yeah, and probably drink a beer as well.

It's just my own little contribution.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Mass Confusion

Catholics and Protestants, and the nature of their particular church services, are very different. I know it's no longer politically correct to state that once obvious fact and I also know such a statement will not go over well with that group Michael Voris calls the "church of nice". But, never the less.........

The Catholic Mass can be divided into the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. It is the Liturgy of the Eucharist which most separates us from Protestants and I consider the latter to be the most important part of the Mass.

Protestant services do not celebrate the Eucharist. Their services, for that reason, wouldn't be either Liturgy of the Eucharist or even Liturgy of the Word, but simply put, only words - sometimes profound, though often not.

Even though the Liturgy of the Eucharist is the more important of the two - what could possibly be more important than receiving the body and blood of Jesus Christ?- I would not go as far as to say the Liturgy of the Word is unimportant.

It is difficult finding a Mass in English here. Often I go to Mass strictly for the Eucharist. As I've mentioned before, the readings for any particular day can be found on the USCCB website in both textual and audio formats. Knowing I'll probably not be able to follow along at a Mass in Sibulan, I'll read the texts for the day before going to the church.

When this slow Internet allows be to do so, I'll go to the word on fire website to listen to Father Robert Barron's homily. Unfortunately, the slow connection all too frequently prevents me from doing this.

It took longer than 30 minutes last evening, but I was finally able to download Fr. Barron's 14 minute homily.

This morning, we went to Mass at 8:30 when, we were told, we'd hear the Mass in English. That wasn't completely true. The readings were given in English, but between the accents and the less than adequate PA system, I was glad that I had read today's readings last night.

When the priest was speaking, he was able to overcome the poor PA. But, sadly, his homily wasn't totally in English. He switched back and forth from Visayan to English and back again, making it very difficult getting anything worthwhile out of the homily.

Next week, some time before Sunday Mass, I will go to an Internet cafe and print copies of next Sunday's reading to help JP and me follow along properly. I think my son is being deprived more, spiritually, than I am from this situation regarding the language used in the Mass; I can always take advantage of the web, but unless we do it for him, he'll not have the same exposure to the Church's teachings.

Before arriving here, I believed that I'd be attending Mass every day. So far, my having to take JP to school has prevented me from going to St. Anthony of Padua for the daily Mass. Tomorrow, I'll try to head to Dumaguete, after taking him to school, for the Mass at the Cathedral.

Will it be in English? I'll find out the answer to that tomorrow.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Pudding

There was a heavy rain falling yesterday; it rained for nearly the entire day, in fact. There was no way I'd be getting out in it, so I was was stuck in the house all day. Most of my day was spent, playing solitaire and watching Bob Hope movies on Youtube.

When today arrived without the heavy rains, I knew I had to get out and go somewhere. After getting cleaned up, I headed out towards Dumaguete. My only plan was to eventually make my way to Super Lee's to buy a few items from their grocery department. The easy ride would not go by Lee's so, I'd get as close as I could and walk around the city, getting a bit more familiar with the streets.

There was a tricycle making its way into the city and I was able to get a ride without paying more than 10 pesos. I was not the only passenger; I told the driver where I wanted to go, but he let me know that he'd be going only as far as Cang's. That would be close enough, I figured.

When we arrived at Cang's, I was expecting the driver to stop, but when he didn't, I thought I'd just see how close we'd get. I had planned on walking part of the way, so this was all OK with me.

When the tricycle got to the High School, I told the driver I'd get out. I knew I wasn't near Super Lee's, but my plan was to become more familiar with the city and so, off I went.

I wasn't 100% sure how to get where I wanted to go. I walked in the general direction until I recognized the name of a business to the left. Turning there, I arrived at Silliman University; I wasn't lost.

I was going to kill time in Lee's. No need to be in a hurry. After window shopping a bit, I thought I'd go to the top floor to the food court. None of the food looked at all appetizing. No, I'd just go back downstairs, then across the street to McDonald's.

I don't know why, but there are two McDonald's on Perdices St., just a very short walk between the two. There are a few items on the Mickey D's menu that you won't find in an American franchise. But, there's always the Big Mac, fries and Coke. The combo is surprisingly cheap and tastes exactly like the #1 combo meal found anywhere else. I don't know why I thought that it might taste differently.

After eating lunch, I strolled around the block, going in a circle and arriving at Scooby's Internet cafe. You can always depend on the AC in a good Internet cafe.

It was check my email, my Facebook, then out the door, back to the grocery.

There are two dishes I've been craving since our arrival in Philippines - French toast, and home made, Southern style, nanner puddin' (Yankee translation: banana pudding).

I have always loved good, old fashioned banana pudding, but sadly, after I left home as a young man, I was unable to find a woman of my generation who would cook it. Cooking banana pudding, or biscuits or nearly anything else was considered traditional "women's work" and the women of my generation were Liberated and wouldn't stoop to doing such lowly work.

 I learned at a young age, that if I wanted certain foods, I'd better learn to fix them myself, and banana pudding was one of those dishes. My banana pudding is about as traditional as you can get; no instant Jello pudding - it has to be home made custard. No Kool Whip - it has to be topped with meringue.

I knew cooking the pudding my way would not be easy in Dumaguete. I could not find Vanilla wafers, and I had to find a substitute cookie. Not having an oven, I wouldn't be able to cook the meringue. I was going to grit my teeth and look for Kool Whip.

No luck.

I was, however, able to find regular whipping cream at Super Lee's. A small container would be enough for my recipe.

I purchased the milk I needed for the pudding along with extra milk and bread for tomorrow's French toast.

Having to substitute the whipped cream for the meringue turned out to be a blessing. It turned out to be the best  banana pudding - it was almost like having a soft ice cream topping.

I suppose, if I were an honest to goodness, professional blogger, I'd include a recipe, along with some nice photos. I think I'll pass.

You'll just have to use your imagination.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Easy Ride

In was in April, 2007 that I first wrote about the ubiquitous tricycle in Dumaguete. Other than an increase in fare, very little has changed in that regard during these past seven years.

As I wrote in that earlier post, it would be an exaggeration to say that no one drives a car in Dumaguete, but Henry Ford's dream of the Everyman owning his own automobile, has not come to fruition in Philippines.

For those who own their own personal vehicle, the motorcycle is the vehicle of choice. With gasoline priced at nearly 5 USD a gallon, that shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.

Not everyone owns a motorcycle, however, and for these folks there are two main forms of transportation when one wishes to get out and about, either within the city or to and from the surrounding communities.

When going from point A to point B within the city of Dumaguete, generally, the preferred method is via the tricycle - a motorcycle with sidecar attached. Looking at the seats of the sidecar, one would suppose that it was designed to carry 3 or 4 passengers; I have seen as many as 7 passengers aboard, with 2 or 3 seating on the motorcycle seat behind the driver.

The standard fare for the tricycle is 10 pesos per passenger (about 26 cents American) - provided, of course, you stay within the city limits. Traveling from Dumaguete to Sibulan, for instance, increases the fare substantially; upwards of 100 pesos (not per person but per trip).

The more economical way of going from Sibulan to Dumaguete and back would be by way of a van ironically referred to as an "easy ride". The easy ride has a fixed route and catching a ride between Terminal A and Terminal B is just 10 pesos.

The easy ride isn't very large; it's smaller than the old VW van popular in the 60's and 70's. Still, you'd be surprised just how many folks can squeeze in, sitting on one of the two benches that run along the inside.

Unlike the bus driver in the U.S., should the easy ride driver see you and believes you might be a customer, he will wait until you catch up. He wants as many passengers as possible. When you're having to pay 55 pesos per liter of gasoline, every 10 peso coin helps.

If you wish to exit before coming to the terminal, you tap your coin on the hand rail of the easy ride. It works much better than trying to explain to a tricycle driver where you want to go. More than one tricycle driver has had a problem understanding such simple directions from me as "Lee Plaza" or "St. Pauls"; My accent is too slang, they say.

In 2007 I wrote:

Because I don't live here year round, I can look on all of this as a romantic,exotic adventure. I don't know if I'd have the same high regard for this sort of transportation if Dumaguete was my permanent address.

Well, now Dumaguete- or rather it's "suburb" Sibulan- is my permanent address. I can say that today I still have a high regard for this form of transportation. Mainly, I'd say, because I certainly wouldn't want to drive in this city.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I'd Pull Out My Hair, if I Wasn't Already Bald

I've been trying for hours to access my blog on the Internet using this poor excuse for a web server. I know, I know; you get what you pay for and I'm just piggy-backing on my sister-in-law's mobile account, but that's only because my wife and I can't agree on when to purchase cable TV and high speed Internet.

As I write this post, at 1:12 PM PHT, I finally have access, but of course, I'm typing this post on wordpad and there's no guarantee that I will still be online when I've finished writing.

There's an Internet cafe across the street and the connection speed is so much faster- it's like lightening speed compared to what I'm using now. Heck, I think this mobile wifi is worse than AOL dial-up ever was. The only problem with the Internet cafe is the transferring what I've written from this wordpad onto the blog page. I could type my posts at the cafe, but that would take time and would not be convenient; one never knows when the muse may be upon me.

So, for the time being, I will continue as I've been doing vis a vis this pathetic Internet connection. I'll grumble and complain and hope for the best.

From the looks of things, it'll be a couple of more weeks before my desk top pc arrives via balikbayan box. Assuming it hasn't been damaged, I'll be more than ready to get a reliable, fast Internet connection.

Post script. I was right. This really takes the proverbial cake. I can finally access my blog as a reader, but I can't log in.

Oh, wait. Now I can't even read my own #$#@*& blog.

My only option is to transfer this document to a flash drive and attempt to download in on to a pc at the Internet cafe.

Wish me luck. I'll need it.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Pancakes for Breakfast

Here in Sibulan, we don't really have what one would call a grocery store. We do have a farmer's market where one can buy fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, chicken and pork, but there is nothing here like Krogers or Publix in Sibulan. For certain items -coffee, tea,cereals and canned goods- you have to go into Dumaguete.

When I first started visiting Dumaguete 14 years ago, the only place that could compare to a grocery store back home was located at Super Lee Plaza. Honestly, you can find everything at Super Lee, from groceries to clothing to electronics. You name it, it's at Super Lee.

Within the last few years, competitors have arrived. Cang's department store has relocated and expanded into the grocery market and with the coming of Robinson's Mall, the Robinson's company now has two grocery locations in Dumaguete.

For me, however, these new guys can't beat the prices at Super Lees.

Two of the things we miss most in Philippines are pancakes and home made biscuits. As for the biscuits, we'll be buying an oven, but unfortunately, not right away; at least not until we knocked a major dent into our house renovation projects. The pancakes, on the other hand, are do-able.

My first stop for flour and baking soda was, naturally, Super Lee. This was before our first visits to Cang's and Robinson's. There wasn't the wide selection of all purpose flour like I'm accustomed to in the States. There was only one brand, and it was PHP 95 a kilo; a little more than $2.00. I wanted to do a bit of price checking before buying this flour, but as it turned out, the other grocery stores were higher.

I promised JP that I'd fix pancakes Sunday, so I bought the flour at Super Lees, along with the baking powder, margarine and pancake syrup. On a later visit to Lees, I went over one aisle from where I found the flour, and found bulk items. On that aisle, I found all purpose wheat flour for just 45 a kilo. I bought a bag and I'll compare the two. I'm pretty sure I'll be getting the cheaper flour from here on out.

It's Sunday now....Pancake Day, but it's just 6:30 AM and the only one awake now, besides me, is JP's five year old cousin, Karl. Karl has yet to discover the wonders of pancakes. He'll have to wait until JP's up and about. Karl doesn't know what's in store for him.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

And The Work Begins

Two days ago, we were finally able to begin the electrical work we've planned for the house. It's a major renovation. Because the house is built of concrete, holes had to be cut into the walls for the wiring, switches, plug ins and panel.

W e put my wife's youngest brother to work. We rented a grinder with an attachment allowing him to cut away the concrete. Cathy and I had things to do in Dumaguete, so we left her brother to complete his work.

When we returned home, we found that he had nearly completed the job, but everything in the house was completely covered in concrete dust. It was an absolute mess. Fortunately, my wife's sisters and a brother-in-law were there to help. My son's grandfather took all the kids to his place so at least they were all out of the way while we set to work.

Yesterday, after the electrician gave us a material list, Cathy and I went to a n electrical supply store in Dumaguete to purchase everything on the list. It was quite a list; electrical panel, a wide assortment of boxes, switches, wiring and conduit. The material cost us a bit over PHP 8000 - a little less than $200. I don't know exactly what the same items would have cost us in the U.S., but I'm pretty sure $200 would not have come close to paying for it all.

The electrician began work yesterday afternoon. The first part of the project involves cementing the boxes in place. That completed, I imagine the cement will need to harden some what before the electrician can go further.

For his part, the electrician will charge us PHP 5000. That includes the cost of his helper.

Once this job is completed, we start our window project.

So much to do.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

It's a Small World......But I Wouldn't Want to Have to Paint It.

They say, "Old habits die hard", and I can certainly attest to that.

During the last two years of my nineteen year stint with Mohawk Industries, I was working at the company's distribution center - a 35 minute commute from my home. During the last year of that commute, the ride was shared with my friend, Mark B. On our way to work each morning, we would tune the car radio to a local Rome, GA radio station, WRGA and listen to Home Town Headlines, the Radio Edition, hosted by another friend, John Druckenmiller.

Now that I'm retired and living with my wife and son in Sibulan, Philippines, I still find myself occasionally listening the radio program over the Internet via the TuneInRadio app on my Android. John and my sister once worked for the same company; he and I knew each other from church (St Mary's Catholic Church) and his son and mine attended the same school - but in different grades- and I consider him a friend. His friendship is not, however, the only reason I listen to his program; it's really the best place to keep up with events in my old stomping ground.

When the U.S. is following Daylight Saving Time, Sibulan is 12 hours ahead of Rome, GA. (it's 13 hours ahead in the winter when GA goes back to EST). I had just finished supper last night around 7:00 PM when I decided to tune into the program. I wanted to let John know that I was listening to the program and I sent a message to him via Facebook. I had no idea that he would give a shout-out to us over the radio. Very nice.

I learned from another former co-worker via Facebook, that my buddy Mark B. was listening to the program on his way to work. Old habits die hard for him as well, I guess.

We've all grown accustomed to the wonders of technology and we often forget just how amazing these times are. It's not so long ago that communicating with friends and family on the other side of the planet, as easily as we do today, would have been unthinkable.

Now, if only traveling back and forth could be as easy.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Another Day.

Yesterday's ennui took me into Dumaguete for a bit of window shopping. Cathy and I first went into Cang's department store to purchase two pair of trousers for JP. It's not easy finding pants that fit him properly. He's what some might affectionately call chubby, and pants that fit him in the waist need considerable hemming on the legs.

While at Cang's, I bought a couple of pizza slices from a Greenwich Pizza kiosk. Maybe I was just hungry, but these two slices raised my opinion of Filipino pizzas.

Outside the department store, a representative of a cable service had set up a stand. I obtained information on the price of cable and high speed Internet. The prices look quite reasonable to me. I have a few things on my to-do list concerning the house; I'll look into getting the cable service after the electrical to-do list is finished next week.

A short walk from Cang's brought us to AM Builder's Depot, which has a wide selection of floor tiles. When we get ready to lay the new tiles, we'll go back.

I purchased a shovel at the Builder's Depot, and this morning after taking JP to school, I began clearing a small area beside the house where I'll put out bell pepper plants. The plot isn't very big, but clearing the spot was great exercise. It's not difficult getting up a sweat here -it's so darn hot- but this time the sweat came from hard work.

I won't be able to plant the bell peppers for several weeks -my seeds haven't arrived yet- but the plot will be ready whenever the seedlings are; I'm going to Papa's place this weekend to gather up a bucket of cow manure. I can hardly wait.

As I write this, one of the strongest typhoons to ever hit Manila is pounding the city. Fortunately for us, we are far from Manila. It's raining very hard here in Sibulan, but we're OK. Today, the rain here comes and goes quickly, much like it does in Rome, GA whenever there's a hurricane in Florida or Louisiana. I pray for the souls north of us,and I'm thankful to God that we are spared from the worse.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


My dear friend, Big Lew humorously predicted that, when I was finally retired and living in Philippines, my blogging output would substantially increase, even to the point, he figured, until I was blogging several times a day.

He wasn't  exactly  on target, but he didn't miss by much.

The boredom is nearly unbearable.

It isn't that there aren't jobs that need doing, but there are things standing in the way. As I've mentioned before, the house is in need of renovating, but until my next social security payment is deposited in the bank, I don't have the funds available to buy materials and pay the laborers.

I can't begin my gardening projects until the next balikbayan box arrives with the vegetable seeds. We had hoped that the box would arrive this week, but now it appears that it will be at least two more weeks, if not longer, before the cargo reaches Dumaguete.

About the only thing I can do now is window shop. I can't even surf the Internet the way I'd like. The WiFi I'm forced to use isn't very reliable. I'll have the money in a few days to have the cable and high speed Internet connected, but I have no idea how long it will take for the Filipino version of Larry the Cable Guy to get it all connected.

Another problem getting the High Speed Internet connected is the fact that my desktop PC and router is in a balikbayan box. I don't care so much about connecting the cable just for the TV; I'm sure the kids would love it,though.

My original plan concerning the PC was to not ship it via balikbayan box but rather bring it in my checked bags when we flew over. Thank God, I reconsidered that. Bringing our bags to Philippines from the US was a horror beyond words. I can't imagine the added stress having the additional weight of a PC and monitor would cause. I'm just hoping that nothing is damaged when the boxes finally arrive.

I'll get myself cleaned up and head into town; as I said, I can always window shop.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Pope Francis and the Two Percent.

According to the BBC, Pope Francis has been quoted as saying that reliable data indicates that "about 2%" of clergy in the Catholic Church are pedophiles.

Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi cautions against interpreting any quotations of Pope Francis as authentic. The quote - accurate or not- seemed to have caused a bit of controversy, although I can't understand why.

From my limited research online, the general consensus appears to be that pedophiles make up between 1% and 5% of the general population. Why should it be surprising that the percentage among Catholic clergy is pretty much the same as in the general population?

Perhaps we should be addressing the real issue. An accurate definition of pedophile would be:

A person 16 years of age or older who is primarily or exclusively sexually attracted to children who have not begun puberty (girls 10 years old or less, and boys 11 year old or less, on average).The prepubescent child must be at least five years younger than the person in the case of adolescent pedophiles before the attraction can be diagnosed as pedophilia.

The majority of sex abuse cases in the Catholic Church did not involved pedophiles, but ephebophiles - adult, homosexuals abusing teen-age boys.

The anti- Catholic media like to portray this as pedophilia for two reasons. 1) It discredits the Catholic Church. 2) Using the incorrect term, pedophile rather than ephebophile, protects adult homosexuals, who have protected status among liberals.

Rather than discuss the issue logically, the media prefer to fan the flames by appealing to the emotions. This tactic isn't new, of course; sadly, it's business as usual.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

God's Glory Bible.....Sacrilegious and Heretical

During its 500 years of existence, Protestantism has had more than its fair share of sacrilegious, heretical and downright boneheaded ideas, but one would be hard-pressed to find anything Protestantism has produced that is more sacrilegious, heretical and boneheaded than the God’s Glory™ Bible .

The publisher's website describes the book this way :

Heirloom King James Version Holy Bible bound inside stars and stripes.

The front cover of God’s Glory™ Bible has 13 stars – 1 gold star representing Jesus and 12 white stars for the disciples. These stars also represent the 13 original colonies of the United States of America. The FIRST EDITION of God’s Glory™ Bible comes in a flag-red presentation box with a certificate of authenticity. God’s Glory™ Bible is a beautiful gift for every Patriotic American and will be enjoyed for generations to come.

The so-called, God’s Glory™ Bible is wrong on so many levels that it's difficult for me to know where to begin.

Obviously, the King James version is problematic. This translation was produced by and for the Church of England. The church that produced the King James is now the home of numerous non-Christian beliefs- actively homosexual clergy-same sex marriage- to name just two. No good can come from leaving out books from the Bible.

My biggest problem with this book, however, is its connecting Christianity with American patriotism. Authentic Christianity is greater than love of any country. Pope Benedict was once quoted as saying that he was a Catholic first and a German second. For me, the truth of Catholicism comes before America. Does my saying that hurt your feelings? Get over it.

Linking Christianity with the United States was bad enough back in the day when America pretended to value some of what Christianity teaches. Today, with America's over the top love of materialism and consumerism, as well as the country's endorsement of abortion and same sex marriage, putting a flag on any translation of the Bible is enough to turn one's stomach.

Thank God, they didn't desecrate a Catholic Bible this way.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The New School

 Our eight year old was enrolled into a private Catholic school this week, and after paying the enrollment fee, fees for books, school uniforms and PE uniforms, I assumed that we had paid all we needed to pay to the school until the first of August when the next months tuition payment is due. I was wrong.

We attended a conference meeting this morning for all foreign students where we learned of additional requirements. It seems that the next tuition payment is not due in August- but next week, so he can take the, so called, Mastery Tests. Rather than pay the tuition monthly, I'm going to pay three months in advance so we won't be blindsided by this type of thing again.

In addition to the tuition, we'll need to pay for his special class in Filipino. The price of that class will be determined by the number of foreign students in the class; we were told that there will be 11 elementary students in the special Filipino class. Going by last years costs, I'm expecting to pay PHP 2500.

I also learned this morning that my son will need a Special Student Permit (SSP) required by the Philippine government for all foreign students. This will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of 5000 PH Pesos. I'll need to go the the Philippine Immigration website for a list of the requirements for the SSP.

Last year, when we were visiting on vacation, we went by the school and talked to someone about the requirements to enroll him into the school; I wish we had been better informed. The secretary we spoke to last year is no longer the secretary for the principal- perhaps deservedly so.

As an aside; the lunches available in the school's canteen are surprisingly more to J.P.'s liking than the food provided in the school's cafeteria in the U.S.. The price is more to my liking too. When I visited the school Friday, he was eating fried chicken with rice. 35 pesos.

My wife visits my son for lunch every day, but I don't. I feel like it would be too much of an unnecessary embarrassment for him to have both parents at the school so often. This past Friday was "New Comers Day" and the students would provide entertainment. Naturally, I was there to watch my son dance.

It was the music used by the third and fourth graders that forced me to have a conversation with the school's principal, Sr Bernadette, after the conference this morning. The kids were dancing to Jason Derulo's "Talk Dirty to Me". Anyone familiar with the song can understand why I felt it was not appropriate for students in a Catholic school. Sr Bernadette wasn't familiar the song, but after I voiced my concern, she said she would look into it and asked me to feel free to let her know if something like this happens again. Perhaps I'm prejudging her, but I trust Sr Bernadette much more in this situation than I would a nun at a Catholic school in the United States.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Destruction is Transformation, I Suppose.

For three nights in a row, I've found myself awake at some time between midnight and 3 AM PHT. So, for the third night in a row, I found myself listening to portions of the Rush Limbaugh program.

In spite of what I may have written in an earlier post, I can't get away from American politics and all that's going on back in the States. If the reports I've read of the border situation and Obama's non-reaction are true, then it's finally gotten to the point where the rule of law is absolutely meaningless in the once great republic. Obama once proclaimed that he wanted to transform America. Well, I suppose destruction is transformational.

In 2008, when Obama first burst upon the scene, there were warnings. We knew from very early on that Obama was not only pro abortion but would not even suffer those infants which had survived a botched abortion to live. Obama is and always has been more than willing to sacrifice human beings -both born and preborn- to achieve his goals.

Anyone who is willing to kill innocent, unborn children is capable of anything and cannot be trusted. What is a lie compared to taking a life?

Am I wasting my time posting this? Will I convince any of Obama's supporters that they've made a horrible mistake putting him in office?

I suspect I am, indeed, wasting my time.

America is the product of heretical and rebellious Protestant thought. The "I, me, mine" point of view of Protestantism has infected everything in the United States, including, I'm sad to say, the Catholic Church.

The evil permeating the United States is the direct result of the Protestant philosophy that the individual is the final authority of what is right and wrong. It's a small step from Henry VIII's belief that the Catholic Church is wrong about divorce to the belief that the Church is wrong about same-sex "marriage".

The situation in America will only get worse. The Russian revolution was mild in comparison to what we can expect to occur in the United States during my life time. And I've got less time ahead of me than I do behind me.

Will my family be safe half way across the world? Perhaps safer than they would be had we stayed, but they will not be unaffected. The collapse of the U.S. will affect the whole world.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

At Least There's Mozart.

Thank God, I’m an optimist.

There is so much that needs to be done. Seated at the dining table, surveying our domain, it would be easy to become depressed. The house is a very long way from the charming cottage we're longing to see in Sibulan.

Of course, all the improvements we want require money and we’ve spent most of what we've budgeted until the next bank deposit.

In Manila, we ran into a serious snag over our luggage. We were overweight by a considerable amount. The 5600 PHP spent on that crap could have gone a long way toward improving the house. We had the expected expense of getting JP enrolled in school, and I don’t begrudge those expenses in the least. Neither do I begrudge the money spent on the bed and dresser. Still, it does cut into the money that we could've used renovating the house.

There’s no way I’d post photos of the house in its current state. Many of my American friends and would believe that I’d lost my &^%$*# mind if they saw the current state of the house. Maybe I have. I’m tempted,however, to take photos for a future “before and after”. Showing the photos after we worked on the house for six months would probably draw praise from everyone.

First on the list are the windows. With this heat, we need opened windows but we don’t need the assorted critters opened windows bring in.

Unfortunately, there weren’t nearly enough electrical outlets put in when the house was built. Having more outlets put in now isn’t as easy as one might think. The house is concrete and cuts in the concrete will have to be made for the outlets and wiring. The walls can’t be finished and painted until this electrical work is complete.

Throughout the house, cheap linoleum was put down on the concrete floor and it’s peeling everywhere. Every bit of it needs to be replaced with tiles and that can't be done until the work on the walls is finished.

We don’t have enough furniture, but renovating the house comes first. A new dining table and chairs and/or sofa would look completely out of place until the house itself looks better.

Thank God,also, for Mozart, Haydn, the Internet and my Android.Seeing all the work that needs to be done, but,which can't be until next payday, would be unbearable without this wonderful music filling the space between my ears. I'm able to access Mozart and Haydn (and countless others) thanks to the wonders of the Internet and the mobile apps available for the Android-which itself is a blessed miracle.

I am so looking forward to the end of next week when the work can finally begin in earnest.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Turning Off the News.

Being retired, I have plenty of free time on my hands. If were living in the U.S., I’m certain that I’d fill the free time from noon until three PM listening to Rush Limbaugh. I’m living in Philippines where the time difference (when the U.S. is on Daylight Saving Time) is twelve hours. When it’s noon in Georgia, it’s midnight here. Consequently, even though Rush is available live on radio stations that can be accessed via the TuneIn Radio mobile app, I’m normally asleep when he is broadcast in the U.S..
This morning, however, I found myself awake at 1:00 AM PHT. For the first time in quite a long time, I listened to a bit of Rush’s program. After a few minutes, I found that, although Rush was his usual self, and I am still one of his biggest fans, political events in the U.S. no longer interest me as they once did. Having become an ex-pat, I am no longer captivated-nor imprisoned-by what the current U.S. president says or does.

With the possible exceptions of events happening in my old stomping ground of Rome, GA, I have very little interest in anything happening in America today. I suppose it’s a case of the more things change, the more they stay the same. The United States has become a virtual cesspool and short of divine intervention, the situation will not improve and I see little point of reading the same stories every day.

I can’t comprehend the current crisis on the U.S.-Mexican border.

Despite several States having constitutional amendments prohibiting same sex “marriage” it is only a matter of time before it becomes the law of the land in all of the fifty States. Along with the evil of abortion on demand, one particular political party is Hell bent on seeing life in America transformed.

As Robert Bork so brilliantly pointed out in his book from 1996, America is slouching towards Gomorrah. Too many conservatives try to place the blame on Barack Obama but I believe he isn’t the cause of the disease but a symptom. The hemorrhaging is so massive that a simple blood transfusion won't do the trick.

 The America people are reaping what they’ve sown ages ago.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Sunday Evening Mass at St. Catherine's Cathedral.

This being Philippines, and not the South Eastern United States, we’re not limited in our choices of Catholic Churches where we can attend Mass on Sunday. There may not be one on every street corner like the Baptist churches are in Rome, GA., but, still, we are well blessed with a wide selection here.

 Usually, when we were in Sibulan, we would attend the Mass at St Anthony of Padua located within walking distance from the house. We have occasionally chosen instead, to travel the 20 minute tricycle ride to St. Catherine’s Cathedral in Dumaguete.

This Sunday was one of those occasions when our choice would be St. Catherine’s. We had promised J.P. we'd go out for pizza Sunday and going to Robinson’s Mall made the Cathedral the more convenient option.

Going to Mass in Dumaguete is very different than it is at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Rome. Dumaguete and Rome, GA are similar in size; St. Catherine’s is larger than St. Mary’s, though not greatly. On Sunday, in Rome, we were limited to three English Masses and two in Spanish compared to the hourly Masses at St. Catherine’s. Never the less, the randomly selected Mass we attended was standing room only; the likes of which, St. Mary’s might experience only on Ash Wednesday.

Of course, finding a Mass in English at St. Catherine’s is more difficult. I’m not at all certain that there are any. Knowing the Mass would be in Cebuano, I went online to the USCCB website to listen to the daily reading in English.

The priest was assisted by several altar boys with nary a female altar server in sight. There was a woman, wearing a mantilla, assisting with the readings, and women were taking the collections, but there were no female Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. The men who helped with Holy Communion had been seated with the altar boys, and from their attire, I’m assuming they may have been acolytes. Needless to say, there was no mass confusion, so common in Catholic Churches in the U.S., as substitute EMHC scramble to fill in for the assigned EMHC who chose not to attend Mass.

After Mass, we met up at the church with two of my wife’s sisters and two nephews for pizza. We all rode in one tricycle to the Mall and in spite of the fact that the pizzas were not at all like American pizzas, a good time was had by all.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

4 AM in Sibulan.

Sunday, 4 AM. Sibulan, Negros Oriental.

Cathy and I can’t sleep. She’s busy dealing with the clothing we shipped here in balikbayan boxes. She has her 4 AM project, as I do. My project - plug into the Rolling Stones via Spotify while writing a blog post.

This is a great time of day for writing; everyone in Sibulan is asleep. I have the world to myself and I’m not bothered by distractions. Even the ubiquitous roosters are sleeping, finally.

The cable TV and Internet are a priority, though not a top one. They’ll be connected, but not immediately. In the meantime, I’m using the wifi provided through my sister-in-law’s mobile phone service. The wifi isn’t reliable enough for everyone to get a proper connection during the day. 4 AM is the perfect time for me. During the day, getting Spotify is spotty. Now, the music is nonstop and I can write to my heart’s content.

When we built the house, Cathy’s mom built a little annex in front to be used as a sari sari store.Unfortunately, every Filipino with a foreign connection-and there are many- tries to operate a sari sari store, without success. The annex is dormant at present. Cathy and her sisters had thought of having a “yard sale” to make a little money off the clothing. I suggested that they turn the sari sari store into a used clothing and alterations shop. Mama is a seamstress and we just happen to have a brand new sewing machine arriving in the next balikbayan box.

Nobody will get rich off the enterprise, but it will bring in a few well needed pesos.

Papa has access to a bit of property in Tubtubon where he and Mama sleep, where he raises pigs and plants a few vegetables. In addition to the sewing machine arriving soon, the box also has a wide variety of seeds from Georgia-cantaloupes, watermelons, hot and sweet peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes. I’ll be planting tomatoes and bell peppers behind our house, but there’ll plenty enough seeds to go around for Papa.

Before we arrived, I thought that I might put some money behind Papa’s pig business. However, he’s not interested in selling full grown pigs. I guess his “profit margin” from selling weaned piglets is satisfactory. His sow had piglets the day we arrived from the States; when the time comes, we’ll buy one and continue to raise it in Tubtubon. I’ll provide the feed and we’ll put it in the freezer when the time comes to slaughter the little booger. 

The Rolling Stones on Spotify have become repetitive, so I’ve bumped them for Frank Zappa. It’s getting close to five and I’ve already seen one of J.P.’s cousins headed from the CR. Soon, everyone will be awake and it’ll be breakfast and Church. It’s as good a time as any to end this post.
So, I’ll say, Maayong Buntag from Sibulan.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Hello From Philippines

It’s just a little after midnight, July 5. We’ve been in Philippines for just a few days and I haven’t completely acclimated to the time difference. The trip over from the U.S. of A. was - how shall I put this- an absolutely Hellish experience. At one point, it appeared that we might not even make the trip.

There’s no reason to go into all that now. We’ve arrived; everyone is safe and sound, and we’re no worse for wear. There may come a time when I might feel up to reliving the voyage enough to write about it, but this is not the time. We’ll just move on and look to the future. 

The wife and I went to a school here early Friday morning to enroll our eight year old in. Monday, he’ll take an entrance test; we’ll purchase his books and uniforms and he should start school on Tuesday.

With sister-in-law accompanying us, my wife and I shopped for a few pieces of furniture. We found a bed, mattress and dresser which we’ll pay for and have delivered later today. The dresser will allow us to put away the clothes and take a step toward emptying the Balikbayan boxes that we began shipping months ago.
We won’t be able to buy all the furniture we need right away. The house need quite a bit of renovation and the budget is tight.

Several of my former co-workers were under the impression that my retirement would be filled with idyllic days on the beach laying in the sun or fishing. No; I’ll be much too busy for that. I’m hoping I can find the time to get some writing in.

I haven't been exactly filling the blogoshere with posts (exciting or otherwise) lately. Now that we've arrived, I expect to do more on the blog.