Sunday, December 22, 2013

Buckingham Palace and the Island of Guimaras

Guimaras Island is known and one of the smallest provinces in the Philippines. Located in the Gulf of Panay the island rests between Panay Island and Negros. Situated 622 kilometers south of Manila and 137 kilometers west of Cebu the island is easy to access. Getting there is easy as the city of Iliolo is just across the waters and retains a large airport to fly into. Upon landing find your way to the Ortiz Wharf where the ferry will take you to Jordan, the largest town in Guimaras Island.

Guimaras Island is famous for having the sweetest mangos in the entire world. They are so good in fact that Buckingham Palace in the United Kingdom and the White House in the United States serves them to their highest leaders. Guimaras has over 8,500 hectares of mango groves so the supplies are endless. Visit the Trappist Monastery where the monks make their living off of mango products. Stop by their store located on the grounds of the monastery and purchase jams, syrups, dried and even fresh mangos of the day.

Guimaras Island is a perfect spot for those into relaxing the days away on the white sand beaches of the Philippine. The waters around Guimaras are crystal clear with stunning lagoons and beautiful bays hugging the coastline around the shores. Many spots are excellent for snorkeling and there are several spots for diving as well.

Make your way to Guisi Point where a century old lighthouse and early keepers house lie in ruins. The stone structures are a beautiful setting with an overview that will take your breath away. While here be sure to bring along a camera as the picture opportunities are endless. After your lighthouse tour make way to the Guisi Clearwater Resort. This beautiful seaside resort has unique rock formations that jut from the water’s edge. This picturesque region is a haven for kayakers as the area has hidden coves and spaces between the cliffs.

From Turtle Island to the Ave Maria Islet the island hopping tours are endless. Get a ride to the famous Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center where fish are studied and not farmed. Find your way to Natago Beach, an isolated white sand wonder with a stunning cove that is amazing. Natago is a Tagalog word meaning “hidden” and this hidden wonder is simply breathtaking. Other unique destinations include Baras Beach and Cave. This unique craven is small but the boats can maneuver inside for a great photo op for your vacation.

Guimaras Island has so much to offer on your next trip to the Philippines that there is no way you could possibly pass this island up. From little hidden gems to stunning beaches that mimic that of Boracay the island of Guimaras is here waiting for you. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Is Approaching

The countdown begins before Christmas. Everyone is busy buying presents , shopping and planning ahead for holidays. Since the month of December starts, party celebrations are everywhere, either work, friends and families. I will still truly missed how we celebrated this yuletide season in my country Philippines. I can still remember when I was a kid, it is my most favourite time of the year because I get a lot of presents. I cant help but compare how people celebrate from different country. Here in Australia it is  the best time to shop because mostly every store has its special or what they call ''Sale'' or you can get big discounts. But you need to be early though because you will end up consuming the whole day just looking for a parking. Most parking lots are all occupied so the earlier the better. Another tip is that look online on which stores had the most discounts so you will know where you going because you will  be expecting a very heavy traffic in this season.
In Australia, there is what they called "Boxing Day", there is no boxing event on this day though, but it is traditionally the day after Christmas Day. It is also considered as public holiday and usually being observed on Commonwealth countries. It is also known as shopping holiday where shops offer dramatic price reductions, expect  for long queues though. Anywhere you are as long as your family is happy and safe it is the most important thing, wether or not received presents or not, others say its better to give than to receive. Merry Christmas everyone.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Pagudpud a Philippines Sanctuary For Fun In The Sun

Pagudpud is a coastal resort town in the province of Illocos del Norte. Pagudpud lies in the northern most part of the Philippines and on a clear day one can see the famous Batanes Islands. Located 560 kilometers north of Manila it is the northernmost settlement in all of Luzon. Accessible by bus or car from Manila can easily take 10 to 12 hours. Taking a flight from Manila to Laoang City in Illocos takes only 45 minutes and is an hour ride to Pagudpud.

The beaches of Pagudpud are famous throughout the lands. The Blue Lagoon is a hot spot and a must see for this secluded beach which is located in the Maria-Ira Point just before entering the viaduct. Try also the Saud Beach which is the most popular beach in the area. Saud Beach is a long beach with many resorts, cabanas and palms to shade the sunny days away.

The Patapat National Park is located along the sheer coastal mountains in Pagudpud. Consisting of 3,800 hectares with an additional buffer zone of 1,937 hectares this national park is a protected area for future generations to visit. With hiking and climbing the park is a paradise for those looking to enjoy the wild side of life.

The Patapat viaduct is an extension of the Pan-Philippines Highway system which travels along the sheer cliffs of the region. The 4th longest bridge in all of the Philippines it is the pathway to the Cordillera Mountain Ranges. Pasaleng Bay near the viaduct is the beginning of wide pristine beaches as well as outstanding waterfalls. While in this area north of Pagupud visit the Kabigan Falls which is encased by thick heavy forests. The 30 minute trek to the falls along with a 20 peso entrance fee it is worth the trip with its scenic area and large concaved basin. While within Kabigan Falls area visit one of many cool springs within the dense forest.

Pagupud is a top destination for kite-surfing. Those that like to watch kite-surfing are always welcome and those that want to learn can do so in the many shops along the water's edge. For anyone wanting to take a motorized tour of the area 4 wheelers are available to rent at Hannah's Beach Resort. Though many beach resorts are part of this region, Pagupud is a place known for the locals to take in vacationers for a nominal fee (often only 250 to 500 peso). For those into zip lines the Philippines longest open air zip line is in Pagupud. No matter what you have in mind, somewhere in, on or around Pagupud it can be done.

From serene beauty, to the endless mountain ranges of Pagupud this region is a place to take a much needed break from the norm. During the high summer season this area explodes with vacationers alike. Come see why so many return to Pagupud as this region of the Philippines is a land touched by the heaven's above. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Report of Marriage


Why take so long to get a reply? This is always what I've experienced every time I make transactions with Philippine Government agencies. Not only in the Philippines itself but even if they are based in another country. I will just share my experience in regards to it. A couple of months ago I submitted papers on reporting our marriage to Philippine Embassy in Australia, well the requirements is a lot. You need to submit in quadruplets on all the requirements needed such as all pages of the passport, certificate of marriage, birth certificate and etc. In addition to it you need to have it certified all of the pages you've photocopied. It takes me ages to get those papers certified and done, I have to divide those papers to be certified by different authorized people that will certify because I don't think they are happy handling about 30 or more  pages all up. Well, that's not the only things they do, they still have customers to deal with just like having papers certify in a chemist or doctor.

At last all requirements are certified, now is the time to send it to Philippine Embassy. After days, weeks of waiting there is still no presence of  Philippine Embassy mail in my mailbox. Since I really need it done, I gave them a ring and followed it up. A woman answered the phone and said it has just been processed. What? After all those times, still haven't processed yet? A couple of weeks passed by I received a registered mail and I was hoping it was it because I really need it so badly to have my appointment in passport renewal, for it is one of the requirements in changing my surname to.

 We went to the post office, I was excited and at the same time expecting a nice printed Report of Marriage certificate. The post man handed me the enveloped, when I opened it, I saw the same papers I sent last time with just a stamped that is as big as a button at the bottom part. I said to myself, how long does it take for them to put the stamped in that paper and why it takes 6 weeks to send it back to me? I cant help but compare, if you send something important here in Australia it only takes days the longest is probably 5 days and the most awaited mail will be in your mailbox straight away.

I am not degrading Filipinos and my country but I think it needs to be changed because it such a shame.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Iglesia ni Cristo

Iglesia ni Cristo is an indigenous religious organization that originated from the Philippines. The church was founded by Felix Manalo when he officially registered the church with the Philippine Government with him as executive minister on July 27, 1914 and because of this, most publications refer to him as the founder of the church. Felix Manalo claims that he is restoring the church of Christ that was lost for 2,000 years. The Iglesia ni Cristo is widely regarded as very influential due to their ability to deliver votes through block voting during .

Today, religious sects are flourishing in the Philippines. Some of these have been brought in by missionaries, but others are indigenous having sprouted and grown in the Philippine soil without being introduced or supported from other countries. One of the best known of the latter type is the Iglesia ni Cristo, which came into being in 1914 through the preaching of Felix Manalo. Its more or less distinctive chapels have become familiar landmarks in many cities and towns of the Philippines. Its membership appears to be increasing yearly; and it exercise a measure of influences in the political life of the nation. "

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Religion in the Philippines

he Philippines proudly boasts to be the only Christian nation in Asia. More than 86 percent of the population is Roman Catholic, 6 percent belong to various nationalized Christian cults, and another 2 percent belong to well over 100 Protestant denominations. In addition to the Christian majority, there is a vigorous 4 percent Muslim minority, concentrated on the southern islands of Mindanao, Sulu, and Palawan. Scattered in isolated mountainous regions, the remaining 2 percent follow non-Western, indigenous beliefs and practices. The Chinese minority, although statistically insignificant, has been culturally influential in coloring Filipino Catholicism with many of the beliefs and practices of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism.

The pre-Hispanic belief system of Filipinos consisted of a pantheon of gods, spirits, creatures, and men that guarded the streams, fields, trees, mountains, forests, and houses. Bathala, who created earth and man, was superior to these other gods and spirits. Regular sacrifices and prayers were offered to placate these deities and spirits--some of which were benevolent, some malevolent. Wood and metal images represented ancestral spirits, and no distinction was made between the spirits and their physical symbol. Reward or punishment after death was dependent upon behavior in this life.

Anyone who had reputed power over the supernatural and natural was automatically elevated to a position of prominence. Every village had its share of shamans and priests who competitively plied their talents and carried on ritual curing. Many gained renown for their ability to develop anting-anting, a charm guaranteed to make a person invincible in the face of human enemies. Other sorcerers concocted love potions or produced amulets that made their owners invisible.

Upon this indigenous religious base two foreign religions were introduced -- Islam and Christianity -- and a process of cultural adaptation and synthesis began that is still evolving. Spain introduced Christianity to the Philippines in 1565 with the arrival of Miguel Lopez de Legaspi. Earlier, beginning in 1350, Islam had been spreading northward from Indonesia into the Philippine archipelago. By the time the Spanish arrived in the 16th century, Islam was firmly established on Mindanao and Sulu and had outposts on Cebu and Luzon. At the time of the Spanish arrival, the Muslim areas had the highest and most politically integrated culture on the islands and, given more time, would probably have unified the entire archipelago. 

Carrying on their historical tradition of expelling the Jews and Moros [Moors] from Spain (a commitment to eliminating any non-Christians), Legaspi quickly dispersed the Muslims from Luzon and the Visayan islands and began the process of Christianization. Dominance over the Muslims on Mindanao and Sulu, however, was never achieved during three centuries of Spanish rule. During American rule in the first half of this century the Muslims were never totally pacified during the so-called "Moro Wars." Since independence, particularly in the last decade, there has been resistance by large segments of the Muslim population to national integration. Many feel, with just cause, that integration amounts to cultural and psychological genocide. For over ten years the Moro National Liberation Front has been waging a war of secession against the Marcos government.

Fruity Philippines

When traveling the world it is always a problem understanding what is good to eat and what is not. Some of the fruits of Asia are so different that it takes a brave man to taste everything.

The tropical climate of the Philippines makes it possible for the soil to grow some delicious exotic fruits. Most of these exotic fruits are of South American origin and brought here by the West Indies, Spanish or the Americans. These heavenly fruits can be found fresh in the local market for cheap prices.

  1. Philippine Mangoes
  2. - undeniably Philippine mangoes are the sweetest and juiciest in the world. Recorded in the 1995 World Guinness Book of Records as the sweetest fruit. The sweetest mangoes come from the province of Zambales and Guimaras in IloIlo.
  3. Rambutan - sweet and juicy when fresh. Rambutan literally means hairy caused by the 'hair' that covers this fruit.
  4. Avocado - very refreshing as fruit shake. Try if you can find avocado flavored ice-cream in the local groceries. Arceis a good brand of local ice cream. They use local fruits as flavor. Avocado is cheap in the Philippines.
  5. Lanzones - sweet and succulent little round fruits. The sweetest lanzones come from the province of Camiguin, where they hold an annual festival celebrating the lanzones fruit.

  6. Photobucket
  7. Durian - the king of Tropical fruits found it's way in the Philippines through our neighboring countries. Known for its large size and unique aroma. Some people regard the durian as fragrant; others find the aroma overpowering and offensive.
  8. Have to tell you that you either love it or hate it. I hate it.

  10. Langka (Jackfruit) - when ripe this fruit is very sweet and has a very aromatic flavor. It also widely used as cooking ingredient for local desserts such as ginataan and turon.
  11. Atis (Sugar Apple) - very sweet and creamy. It's a little bit of effort to eat this fruit as they have a lot of seeds. The fruit flesh is sweet, white to light yellow, and resembles and tastes like custard. The edible portion coats the seeds generously; a bit like the gooey portion of a tomato seed. Sugar-apple has a very distinct, sweet-smelling fragrance

  12. Chico (Sapodilla) - It's aroma can be compared to beer but don't let it fool you for it is tasty. The flavor is exceptionally sweet with what can be described as a malty flavor.
  13. Watermelon (Pakwan) - though widely available in many parts of the world nothing beats the refreshing taste of a succulent, sweet and juicy watermelon in the summer months.

  14. Santol (Wild Mangosteen) - available during the summer season. The taste is sweet and sour. The bigger variety called "Bangkok" is sweeter, the smaller variety is on the sour end.


Kaimito (Star Apple)

Duhat (Java Plum)

Guyabano (Soursop)

Balimbing (Star Fruit)

Chesa (Lucuma) It has the texture of squash or the yolk of a boiled egg.

Aratiles (Jamaica Cherry, Muntingia) These cherries are very sweet. The sweetness brings with it an excellent taste, because it has a lovely fragrance that makes people keep on eating them. These cherries are often eaten by children because they taste quite like cotton candy.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Philippine Citizenship Through the Legislative Process

If you are in the Philippines as a foreigner and you have some contribution to the country, or done something that has brought honour or other good things for the Philippines, it is possible that the Legislature of the Philippines may honour you by bestowing upon you Philippine Citizenship.

The good news too is that if you were to gain your Philippine Citizenship through the legislative process, renunciation of your previous citizenship is not necessary.

However, only few people are able to be recognized as a citizen through legislation.  

Friday, October 25, 2013

Citizen of the Philippines

Being married to a Philippine Citizen does not entitle anyone to be a Citizen of the Philippines. 
Normally, if somebody wants to apply for Naturalization in the Philippines, they must live in the Philippines for 10 years before applying.  However, if you to apply for citizenship here, the wait is only five years.

Under Philippine law, if you want to become naturalized in the Philippines, and be a citizen of the country, you may have to renounce your own citizenship. This is the situation for the Americans.    The good thing for a wife is that under the Philippine Dual Citizenship law, she can re-acquire her Philippine Citizen and be a citizen of both countries.  The US does not offer such a procedure.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pizza Surprise

From my friend John in Manila

Davao Don Beppe Pizza
On a visit to one Don Beppe Pizza and Pasta at the rooftop of Gmall I was sadly disappointed in so many ways it isn’t funny. I arrived in the early evening and ordered a thick crust pizza. I arrived in the early evening and ordered a thick crust pizza. I spent 3 minutes emphasizing the fact that I “wanted a thick crust pizza” and as usual I got the “Yes Sir” approach by the waitress. After 20 minutes or more I was haunted with the fact that they gave me a thick crust pizza. I said right away “this is a thick crust pizza” which I got the answer “yes sir” this is our thick crust pizza. I started to eat it but I now realized that I paid a heavy price for something that is not even close to what thick crust is. I returned to the counter to once again inquire to the thick crust pizza and the extra cost in which I endured. This time I was confirmed to my first thought that this was indeed not a thick crust pizza.

Pizza Downfall
I was then told that they did not have the ingredients to make this said pizza but that they had sent someone out to buy them.

I was then told that they did not have the ingredients to make this said pizza but that they had sent someone out to buy them.

I was then told that they did not have the ingredients to make this said pizza but that they had sent someone out to buy them. I agreed to allow them to make the pizza but that took another 45 minutes and the people that I was dining with had already received their meals. I told them after waiting far too long to prepare it to take out. Now I’m a bit upset as it is but this is where it went even more horribly wrong. The girl’s puts the pizza face to face in thick slices puts it in a paper bag and staples it to go. I was so behind my other group I ran out of the restaurant to catch up. By the time I reached my car the paper bag was completely soaked in oil. When I reached home the bag was almost coming apart “and” upon opening it the pizza was a mess and stuck to the bag itself. Totally unprofessional and totally off limits to the reality of paying a strong price for a pizza here.

To make another matter worse it appears that the establishment has been abandoned by one Don Beppe himself as the stronghold of Filipino investors basically sent him running after they bought him out or voted him out, don’t know which. Now it’s being run under all the ideas that are wrong with the service of Filipino’s and probably without proper supervision and acceptance of what a foreigner like me expects when they order from a good establishment. This pretty much cures me for this place though. If I’m paying 700 to 800 peso for a pizza I’ll go somewhere who knows and understands what I want and actually has a box to put it in.

Sponsored by Jeff Harvie,Australian Registered Migration Agent (MARN 0959797) with Down Under Visa, which specialises in Australian partner visas.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Falling in Love With a Filipina

Try to think of yourself as a forty something guy from Australia and that at the age of twenty you decided to marry a Filipina sweetheart after a great vacation in the Philippines. Your friends and perhaps even family members tell you that you are too young to marry and it will not last.

Ten years later the kids are taking over the home and your duties switch from lover to dad, and you work every day and every hour possible to keep the children safe and the house safe. Marriage is now a full time job, on top of your full time job. The job takes all, and the love of your partner is sliding down the scale. You have affection for her, but the love  and passion is going.

When the kids are grown up enough and they do not need you as much you are faced at shairng a home with a wife, who is not the person you married. And she has to do the very same thing. She watches TV and you potter around in the garden, the conversations are short and you realise that you may have fallen out of love with this woman and she may feel the same about you. The bliss of the early years are over.

You can get a divorce and after the messy finance settlements you go find another lucky woman and are free to start all over again.  Divorce is an option.

There no divorce in the Philippines. Imagine no divorce and being stuck in an unloving marriage, and maybe a very unpleasant marriage? What would you do then? If you are living with your new wife out of the Philippines ten a divorce is much easier to come by, of course paying for it is another story.

There is  divorce in the Philippine. Check further into the regional and national laws and there is divorce. There has been since 1967. Like anything hidden away there will be hurdles to jump through, but is that not better than staying for life in a prison with an unfulfilled marriage. 

So the moral of the story is to fall in love with the person and NOT what you think they can do for you to make life easier. Love is the only reason to marry- honest.

Article sponsered by Jeff Harvie of Down Under Visa

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Trusting a Friend

It’s not that often that I have to have a moan about things in this country but recently I have been bombarded by so many examples of the lack of “trust” in people agreeing to pay what they owe, even if it’s totally clear.
One of my friends recently as given a job for two months on a weekly pay as a waiter. Remember he has NO money and this job allowed him to eat!!

After four weeks of working he was not paid and despite asking he was given many false promises of payments and many excuses. After asking for the eighth time he was asked to leave and he would be paid later that week.  He never was!!  Have you seen a man cry out of frustration and hurt, no money, no food?
This was a large national organisation here in the Philippines, and after SEVEN weeks still no payment at all, but many more promises. He was so desperate, and yet so polite to these people I asked if I could help?
He very reluctantly agreed and I made one very polite but VERY FIRM call and within five hours they made a payment , as I told them I would sit in the restaurant tonight and have a strong conversation with them until they paid, even if it was all night and even if customers overheard. They paid for sure but are still holding a deposit of p500!!!

I have from time to time been begged by friends here to assist with financial hardships and most times I say no, but I will assist with things that can make a long term difference like schooling or job help and advice, but sometimes when you see tears running down the face you give in and pay with their solemn promise of getting your money back. Needless to say you very rarely do and these people disappear.
Over the last few weeks I have been assisting a company with small consultation work and several times the money does not get paid or the person in charge does not turn up for an appointment. Yesterday after waiting two weeks for the overdue payment I returned to the office at an agreed time to discuss the plans and get the outstanding payments.

You guessed yet again NO SHOW; no answer to e mails no answer to text and no answer to missed calls.

The thing that is becoming very apparent is that this is not just a problem for the ex-pat, its ingrained into life here and thus employees are treated bad and they then have contempt for the employer. The circle continues, and continues to the point it is sometimes expected that you will not get a payment based on a promise, so the payment is taken in other means from an employer…THEFT.

Sponsored by Jeff Harvie,Australian Registered Migration Agent (MARN 0959797) with Down Under Visa, which specialises in Australian partner visas.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Davao City and Overview

Davao City Philippines: A City on The Verge

Davao City is a noted as the largest city is all of southern Asia. Not only is it set in a progressive path forward, it is without a doubt a city on the verge of becoming a modern metropolis. In saying this I also know the path to progression is often a road less traveled here. This island is steeped in history breaking those traditions is often against instilled values of many here.

The Island of Mindanao is a piece of the massive archipelago which the Philippines are part of. In all over 7,200 islands make up this country with Mindanao being the 2nd largest of them.  The large island here is surrounded by four seas including Sulu Sea to the West, the Philippine Sea to the east, the Celebes Sea to the south and the Mindanao Sea to the north. The island has many geographical areas including plateaus, swampy plains, mountains and volcanic peaks. Of the tallest mountain Davao City is home to the tallest in all of the Philippines named “Mt. Apo”. This region is a hiker’s dream and with the lakes and high altitude one can at a nice 11,194 feet (3,412 meters). The translation of the word “Apo” means “ancestor” and is a flat topped mountain with 3 peaks and a massive 1650 foot crater which is home to a beautiful mirrored lake. A typical climb to the top and back takes 2 days and is well worth the trip. In December 2009 Mount Apo was submitted into the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This and the National Park in and around Apo are a site to see and enjoy including just over 156,000 acres to roam.

If mountain climbing is not your thing then the beauty of the Garden City Island of Samal is just a short ride away. Taking a ferry to the island is quick and trouble free. Once there many places are close by to eat, venture and just hang out at the beachside resorts that line the rims and highlands of this vacation hot spot. For those wanting a peaceful falls setting try Hagimit on for size. Resorts such as the world famous Pearl Farm and Paradise Resort are just a few of the samples of how good the life is on this isle. Even a day with a scooter rental from Davao can yield a venture all its own. With a little bit of exploring one can find their way around the island and the city to enjoy the day and nightlife as well.

Transportation here is by taxi or jeepney. Though the jeepneys are an adventure on their own, without the knowledge of the city one could be caught in a turnstile of riding for hours on end. With the low cost of taxi rides it is the best and safest bet to get to your destination quickly. Even long trips to surrounding areas like Digos, Panabo and even Kidapawan can be accessed through taxis. If taking trips multiple times one should look into renting a van and driver for the day. These often are self sufficient and big, roomy and very comfortable. If visiting multiple sites like the Philippine Eagle Park, Crocodile Park and other adventure places one will want to rent a van as a cost saving venture.

Nightlife here and restaurants are great. Try the Rizal Street Habanna Compound for both and seek the many restaurants which dot the city everywhere. Not only is the local dishes great but those not willing to adventure into a different cultural food will gladly find European, American  and other traditional restaurants here. Try the great city overview restaurant and night entertainment place called Jack’s Ridge. This all time favorite is a must go to and the view over the city is nothing short of stunning.  Other must see places include Seagull Resorts both in the mountain and by the sea.

For the shopper in all of us Davao is now home to 7 malls with great shopping also in Chinatown a shopper’s paradise for bargains galore. If entertainment is what you want then places like MTS (Matina Town Square), Victoriana’s and Metro are good choices for live bands and great music. Coffee shops and quite places line the city on every turn. If wanting to take a night stroll head on down to People’s Park where the unique statues make great photo ops for those looking to take home a memory or two. Many nightlife clubs are bars are abound in the city and its surrounding area, one will have to choose their way as the choices are endless.

The “melting pot” of Mindanao is Davao City for sure. With this city supporting the lives of many it has created a bustling region which compares to no other here. Come see the new and improved but also lose yourself in the time honored traditions of the multiple tribes and people who live here. The borders of Davao Del Sur and its many natural wonders will keep even the pickiest of vacationers alive with adventure.

Sponsored by Jeff Harvie,Australian Registered Migration Agent (MARN 0959797) with Down Under Visa, which specialises in Australian partner visas.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Filipino

The Philippine Culture is a mixture based on ancient aboriginal tribes, 500 years of Spanish colonisation, 50's America and the 80’s disco era. If this sounds interesting then read on..
Spain brought the Catholic faith to the Philippines in the 1500's. Today traditional conservative families retain a high regard for the sanctity of marriage and believe the relationship between husband and wife to be the foundation of society. Divorce, premarital sex, birth control and abortion are frowned upon.
Like the Spanish the Filipinos are extremely romantic and passionate in love, have a high regard for honour, shame and vengeance. Language, food and enjoyment of singing and dancing also reflect a strong Latin influence.
In the 1950's the Americans brought the English language which is now widely spoken. They also influenced the form of Government, the constitution and human rights and further instilled a familiarity with the Western way of life.
Life in Hong Kong is a mixture of good and bad for Filipino maids. Hong Kong is a big city full of new experiences. There is also the freedom, privacy, and anonymity of living in Hong Kong. At home in the Philippines, everyone knows what you are doing and strict social codes can make life claustrophobic.
Many domestic helpers in Hong Kong go through a period when they take full advantage of being able to do as they please, going to discos, smoking and drinking, and wearing short skirts or tops with ‘spaghetti straps’ which are considered very risqué in the Philippines. The opportunity to dance and flirt with men, without marriage in mind, is also something not common in the Philippines, where just being seen holding hands with a man can have serious implications.
However this fascination with new experiences wanes after time, and interests return to the more basic life of family and friends.
Not all women like discos. Many are very religious and spend their limited free time on church-oriented activities. For all, there is a network of friends made over time, combined with a secure and adequate income.
We hope we have given you an insight into the Filipino race and life in Hong Kong, but what about relationships and why would one of our Filipino ladies suit you?
In this section we make some generalisations. So please remember that our ladies are women first and foremost, including all the variety of types of personality that that encompasses. No woman is the same as another and her thoughts and feelings are her own. 
Perhaps you wonder why a Filipino lady here in Hong Kong would put her profile on this site to find a man. There are many reasons. First, they are strangers here in Hong Kong. The terms of employment for domestic helpers requires them to live in a small room in their employer’s house, to be working and on call from Monday through Saturday every week. Only on Sundays are they allowed to leave the employer’s house. Thus they get very little opportunity to meet men.
On Sundays there is only one place where it is both easy and affordable to meet men – at the disco. Unfortunately, even if a woman wants to go to these places, most of the men she will meet there neither want nor are suitable for a long term stable relationship. The women on this site want more.
Why don’t they choose a man from their own country? There are not many men from the Philippines in Hong Kong, compared with the number of women. Many Filipino men work on ships at sea or on projects throughout the world, but the number in Hong Kong is not proportionate to the number of women.
In addition, Western men are perceived as being very loving, and more modern than Filipinos. This means the woman can look forward to more freedom and a more equal relationship with a Western man. Finally, just as many Westerners are attracted to women of different races, many Filipino find the physical appearance of Westerners to be attractive.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013



Pronounced like "buy-uh-nee-hun," bayanihan is a Filipino word derived from the word bayan meaning town, nation, or community in general. "Bayanihan" literally means, "being a bayan," and is thus used to refer to a spirit of communal unity and cooperation.

Although bayanihan can manifest itself in many forms, it is probably most clearly and impressively displayed in the old tradition of neighbors helping a relocating family by getting enough volunteers to carry the whole house, and literally moving it to its new location. They do this by placing long bamboo poles length-wise and cross-wise under the house (traditional Filipino houses were built on stilts), and then carrying the house using this bamboo frame. It takes a fairly large number of people -- often 20 or more -- working together to carry the entire house. All this is done in a happy and festive mood. At the end of the day, the moving family expresses their gratitude by hosting a small fiesta for everyone.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Resilency of the Philippines

The Philippines is a hotspot for disasters, natural and otherwise. Couple that with poverty, and one would think that Filipinos have the most reason for being a depressed people. However, we have demonstrated time and again that Filipinos can bounce back from a tragedy, emerging stronger and better than before. In the middle of a disaster, Filipinos can still manage to smile and be hopeful that the next morning brings new hope.
We have shown the world that by working together as a nation, we have what it takes to recover from a bad situation. This is something that all of us should be proud of, no matter where in the world we are.
With all of these good traits (and more!), one would really be proud to say, “I am a Filipino.”
Filipinos have shown the world that by working together, we have what it takes to recover from a bad situation—and this is a trait that we should all be proud of.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Getting Over Jet Lag

Here is another short article from my friend Jeff Harvie our brilliant Migration Agent.

Flying to the Philippines  from the west can be anything from a few hours to near on a whole day.  So what do you do to try and minimise the problem? I have only ONCE in ten years really suffered the REAL jet lag where you cannot sleep for days. You actually go crazy, but the more you want to sleep the more the brain does not allow it.
Most people when referring to jet lag are talking about it in a much less intrusive way. Never the less if you are having two or three days of sleep issues that is going to seriously reflect on the vacation planned.
Most travellers try to make the most of their limited time overseas, yet fail to take into account the leap in time zones they make in a matter of hours. It can take your body's internal clock several days to catch up to that leap, and in the meantime you’re likely to experience the disruption of your sleeping and waking cycle known as jet lag. Symptoms of jet lag include sleepiness during the day, insomnia at night, poor concentration, confusion, hunger at inappropriate times or lack of appetite, and general malaise and irritability
1. Adjust your internal clock.
Several days (at least four) before departure, gradually shift your sleeping and eating times to coincide with those at your destination. Once you arrive, adopt the local time for your daily routine.

2. Opt for overnight flights.
You’ll have dinner at a normal time and be much more likely to sleep than on an afternoon flight. Depending on the length of the flight and the number of time zones you cross, you’ll arrive at your destination in the morning or afternoon. This is the best way to replicate your normal schedule, and it’ll be easier for you to reset your clock.

3. Curtail coffee.
For 12 hours before, as well as during, your flight, avoid overeating and caffeine. Although caffeine can help keep you awake longer, it makes you wake up more often once you do fall asleep and so reduces total sleep time.

4. Stay hydrated.
Drink at least 8 ounces of water for every hour you’re in the air—even if you don’t feel thirsty. If you wear contact lenses, clean them thoroughly before your flight, use eye drops in the air, and consider removing your lenses if you nap. In your carry-on pack a bottle of moisturizing lotion, lip balm, and a hydrating spray with essential oils (not just water) to spritz your face with occasionally. Just be sure all toiletries are TSA compliant.

5. Avoid or limit alcohol inflight.
Cabin air dehydrates passengers, and altitude changes can quicken the effects of alcohol (the rule of thumb is one drink in the air is the same as two or three on the ground). A cocktail may relax you, but it's also apt to dry you out, and even worsen symptoms of jet lag.

6. Try to sleep on the plane.
This is especially important when you’re traveling overnight or flying west to east. Travel is extremely tiring, and the more rest your body gets en route the more prepared you’ll be to deal with the stresses of jet lag. If you’re taking a very long flight—United States to Asia, for example—consider saving up enough dollars or frequent-flier miles to fly business or first class, as it’s a lot easier to sleep when your seat reclines all the way back. If you can’t avoid coach, opt for a window seat and bring enough padding (pillows or something that can act as such) to prop yourself up against the wall.

7. Use sleeping pills wisely.
A pill with a short cycle may be helpful on overnight flights. Make sure, however, that you time the dosage correctly or you may be very groggy when you land. Also, an airplane is not the place to try out a pill for the first time, so only take medications you are already familiar with.

8. See if melatonin is for you.
Consider taking the non-prescription drug melatonin. Research suggests that the body uses this hormone to set its time clock. Because melatonin seems to control when we go to sleep and when we wake up, a number of scientists advocate supplements to alleviate jet lag. Some (but not all) studies suggest that taking 3 milligrams of fast-release melatonin prior to bedtime for several days after arrival in a new time zone can ease the transition.

9. Get outside.
After arrival, spend a lot of time out in the sunlight, which will help your body reset its natural time clock to coincide with your new surroundings.

10. Don’t drift off too early.
Unless you arrive at your destination at night, and reasonably close to a normal bedtime, don’t go to sleep as soon as you reach your hotel. Unless you’re used to taking regular short naps at home, you’re better off staying up until bedtime: If you’re really exhausted from travel, a 20-minute nap could easily become a three-hour nap, which will disrupt your sleep schedule even more—you might find yourself wide awake at 4 AM.

Jeff Harvie is an Australian Registered Migration Agent (MARN 0959797) who has given up the quiet life in Australia a few years back for one more adventurous with his Filipina wife and kids in Manila, Philippines. He runs Down Under Visa, which specialises in Australian partner visas for those Aussie men who fall madly in love with the local girls and want to bring them to Australia.
6d7d152c37f237aa7adb3cd9dca459d7 Corruption at Philippine Airports

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Strong Family Ties in the Philippines

Strong family ties
In the country the people put family ties and relations as one of their top priorities. Filipinos would do all they could to provide and sustain their respective families. This is present in Filipino festivals where they invite the whole family and in Sundays where they would make time to use it to spend the whole day for their families.
You will find that it is common in the country to include the extended members not just the normal nuclear family. It is not unusual that in a single household it would reach up to ten members of a family living under the same roof. They value each other’s company, and everyone strives to provide for the whole and not just for them.
Even grandparents still have an active role in the family. It is now the norm in the society that both parents are out working, leaving the care of their children to the lolos and lolas, especially if the family cannot afford to hire a nanny. Grandparents therefore become responsible for instilling into their grandchildren the values and morals they taught to their own children, further increasing the importance of the elderly in our society.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Vitamins Please

Today we have a guest post from Jeff Harvie who arranged my visa to get married to my husband. Jeff is a great Migration Agent. Thanks Jeff.

Something that I have found interesting, even fascinating since I have been in the Philippines, is the way people are encouraged to take vitamin supplements all of the time. Nearly all of my Filipino friends, especially the younger ones in their 20′s, all ask me, are you taking your vitamins, or they will tell me that they must take their vitamins, for general wellbeing and for preventing the oncoming of all kinds of illnesses.

When my friends have been to the Doctor due to illness, if they require a prescription, that prescription is ALWAYS accompanied by vitamins.

On the television, on the radio, in magazines and shop windows and on billboard posters, vitamins are advertised everywhere. They will prevent sickness and illness and will help keep you strong and full of vitality.

I find this attitude towards vitamin and mineral supplements interesting and to be honest a little worrying too. Indeed, in the West, such things are advertised and encouraged to a degree, but some people here in the Philippines seem to have absolute blind faith in these products, as though they are some kind of miracle preventative or cure.

I know a qualified nurse for more than 20 years and I have learnt about nutrition, growth and development, illness and disease prevention and all about vitamins and minerals. Now, the advertisers and some of the less ethical doctors will not like me saying this, but this belief surrounding vitamin and mineral supplements is somewhat a false one. People are being misled into purchasing so many of these products when they really don’t need them.

Now of course, I understand the Western diet is totally different from here in Asia, I know to take into consideration the economic climate, ability or difficulty for people to purchase a wide variety of healthy foods, availability of products etc etc. But the truth is the people who really do need a vitamin supplement, are the ones who probably cannot afford to buy it.

While from time to time, we may lack in some of the trace elements and minerals that the “experts” say we need to maintain good health, in general, if a human being is able to consume some meat, fish, fruit, vegetables and fibre, they really are not going to go wrong. For those who have a really poor diet, and do genuinely have a lacking of a vitamin in their body, or they have some kind of medical condition or illness requiring supplements, then they will for sure be displaying symptoms that will indicate this. If there is nothing seriously wrong with an individual, then a diet of regular fish, meat, fruit, veg and fibre and of course water will certainly keep you alive and healthy.

You will never be able to effectively replace the vitamins and minerals you get from fresh fruit and vegetables by taking a tablet. Some have traces of natural product “extract” in their powder or tablet, but this is absolutely minimal and the majority of what you are ingesting is a chemical reproduction.
The human body cannot store vitamin c, so if you take more than the daily recommended amount, you will simply excrete the rest out of your body anyway.

Many vitamin and mineral supplements have an impact on your internal organs too, such as your liver and kidneys, causing them to work over time, therefore, if you are required to take something, it should be taken alternative months, one month on, one month off. You could be causing more damage than good if you don’t.

I have tried to explain these facts to many of my friends, but to be honest I don’t think I have got through to them, I can see it in their eyes, a fear almost, that if they don’t take their vitamins, they will fall foul of sickness and disease. They seem to be indoctrinated and I do blame the advertising industry, and to some point the medical profession too. These doctors who are prescribing all these vitamin supplements to the innocent and naive are not doing their patients a good service at all. Unfortunately, as in the West too, medicine and vitamins are big money and that is when ethical behaviour tends to go out of the window.

I just hope some people will read this, and maybe take just a little bit of it away with them, even if it just makes them think twice about taking those tablets to prevent flu and fever or any other ache or pain that they think may be inflicted upon them.

If you are able to afford a sensible diet that consists of the main food groups, you drink plenty of water, take some regular exercise and are able to maintain a sensible sleep pattern then you should be ok.

Try to think of your health and don’t line the pockets of the unscrupulous advertisers who really don’t care what you do to yourself.

Jeff Harvie is an Australian Registered Migration Agent (MARN 0959797) who has given up the quiet life in Australia a few years back for one more adventurous with his Filipina wife and kids in Manila, Philippines. He runs Down Under Visa, which specialises in Australian partner visas for those Aussie men who fall madly in love with the local girls and want to bring them to Australia.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Loving Tagum City

For those that have not yet travelled to Mindanao in the Philippines. Do it! There is so much natural beauty that it is outstanding. The people of Mindanao are so friendly. One of the up and coming cities is Tagum City, which is about two hours away from Davao City.

The city has a new city hall. It inspires business and is very clean and over the last few years the mayor has followed te lead of the Davao City and cleaned up the pockets of crime that caused Tagum City so many problems.

There are some great natural places to see too.


Tancuan in Bincungan, Tagum City seems like to be so elusive from the public. Not until recently when the Local Government of Tagum had embarked on a noble project of establishing a wetland reserve in this progressive southern city known for its best governance practices, palms and grand festivals. The once elusive Tancuan as well as the gentle waters of Nabintad River is now Tagum City's newest attraction.

The Tagum City River Cruise was formally launched in 2011 with high hopes of revitalizing the people's interest in safeguarding the mangroves and showcasing nature inside the wetlands of the city. Staring at Punong Restaurant which is the official jump-off point for the 8.8-kilometer river cruise that will run for almost two hours. Along the way, be amazed with the wide varieties of mangrove trees as well of its unique roots. The sight of fisherfolks and children swimming along the way is also a sight to behold.  Stop by at the Kagan Village, a Muslim community in Barangay Liboganon that is brimming with culture and history. There, you can buy Muslim Handicrafts and taste its yummy delicacies. In Maningo Farm,  one of the stopovers of the 8-kilometer cruise, your group can savor sumptuous lunch with its famous soft-shelled crabs.

A floating tiange is the place to look forward to by souvenir-hunters. There, one can buy packed goodies which include tropical fruits in season, tasty delicacies and handicrafts. The River Cruise experience would not be complete without preserving the memory in your digital cameras or in mobile phones which are important so that you can upload it right away in facebook or perhaps print a postcard and encourage your friends to experience the river cruise, Tagumeño style. Under the shades of the century-old mangroves, a boardwalk was constructed for people to have a closer look at those trees and be relaxed by the warmth it gives.

To try the Tagum City River Cruise, contact the City Information Office of Tagum or the City Tourism Office or visit for more information