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Then and now

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Bob wrote an interesting article a while back about “Things are getting worse” and Chris Dearne wrote and excellent article on “Electronic improvements in Gen San since 1992” both subjects spoke to different types of changes for the better, that both gentleman had seen during their stay in the Philippines.

I told Bob that back in 1996 we here in Olongapo City, had to drive to Mega Manila to use the few ATM machines that even they had. Here we had none in Zambales. When returning from sea both in the Navy and as a Merchant Marine I had to stuff my pockets with cash to survive my vacations. Or make the long boring trip to the NCR bi-monthly.

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Also back then 70’s 80’s and early 90’s getting money to your family was no easy task for a person on ships. We were out to sea and hitting ports without an LBC to transfer the cash. Sailors had a tried and true solution; “The Envelope” when you left the ship, up to as many as ten guys would give you an envelope full of cash to deliver to their wife and or GF. The bearer had no knowledge of the amount within, and the senders’ signature was across the flap, to protect the bearer also a strict ID check. I have many times have played both parts, both as sender and bearer, and never saw the system fail.

All customs officials knew of the system and would smile and ask if you were carrying “Envelopes” and since you had no idea of the amounts, you were just passed through customs with a smile, plus no further questions.

Now with a world class banking system and the internet, it is no longer problem, and has died away, the “Envelopes” went the way of the Dodo bird.

Phone calls were next to impossible, if you were even lucky enough, to have a phone at your house, and your number also belonged to all your friends, who would set up times to call their wives on your phone. Landlines are still pretty much the same now in 2010, as the phone companies made no effort to keep up, even with the advent of automatic switching, but the cell phone and it’s very low cost has solved most of the communications problems, and I know no one who does not own one. I even remember a very dumb statement I made years ago “You’ll never see me carrying an electronic leash!” As dumb as saying “I’ll never buy water in a store!”

If a person wants the rose colored glasses version of life here, I just can’t give them that. But there is so much here that has improved, and daily more and more, that will be offered to you, if you keep your eyes open. Just accept, that’s the way it is, and remember the improvements that were pointed out by the other articles!

Okay, is it perfect here? Close enough for me. Plus it improves so quickly sometimes you have trouble keeping up. The point I think we were trying to make, is sometimes life here is an adventure. Moan about it and see how far that will get you, accept it as just the way it is, and your life will be most enjoyable in this paradise called the Philippines Islands.

Paul Thompson

Paul Thompson; has resided in the Philippines since 1993, living close to Subic Bay. I’m married to a wonderful girl named Maria (AKA Mayang).Who is from Gordon Heights in Olongapo where she grew up with her Mom & Dad and seven siblings Our two daughters are both grown up and have left the nest, the eldest married to a wonderful guy named Chris, and they have blessed us with our granddaughter Heather Colleen Our youngest daughter and her husband Cecil have blessed us with a grandson named. Jayden Logan. I’m a retired U.S. NAVY Senior Chief after 22 years of active duty. After retirement from the Navy I lived for 7 years in Puerto Rico as a Night Club owner. Then Hurricane Hugo told me to find a new line of work, I was hired by Military Sealift Command and went back to sea in Asia as a Merchant Seaman for 10 years. After 30 plus years at sea I buried my anchor on a mountain in the Philippines and am now residing in Dinalupihan (or DinBat for short), Roosevelt, Bataan where we built our home. And last but not least, anything I writes will be pure "Tongue in Cheek "If anybody is offended, I'll lose no sleep over it, but here's a quick Mea Culpa in advance!

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PaulK
Member

Hi Paul – I don’t want this home to be a copy of others I’ve lived in, or improved copies. I want where I am as it am. Improvements come, but in their own time. That’s fine by me – I’ll still be around to marvel at them when they show up.

Gotta go – the carabao needs to get another hectare in before sunset. 😆

Paul-T
Guest
Paul-T

Hi Paul; So as I read your post, you must hearken for the days when you had no access to your money, poor communications, and dare I say it, no internet? I too have no desire to alter the way things are here, but I also will allow the Philippines to grow and alter its self as a country on its own. Will you be using the Karabao, on your next trip to the New Mall you spoke of? (lol) But you’re right Paul, “In their own time” is fine with me too.

PaulK
Member

Hi Paul – As to changes involving access to money, poor comms and no internet, they are all improvements that came along in their own time, and as such, I willingly accept them. (Access to money is actually the asawa’s problema, not mine.)

I haven’t hearkened for a long time, now, nor do I pine. I do opine on occassion, but usually after a couple of SMBs. 😀

Trips to that new mall are by kalesa. I’m in no hurry, and the horse needs exercise, too. 😉

Paul-T
Guest
Paul-T

Paul;
As I read, it seems we both agree upon the basic subject, and are just stumbling over the verbiage, now that is normal for me after a few SMB’s, but I’m drinking coffee at this time. I’ll reiterate: We be happy with the naturally occurring changes. We be happy that both our wife’s take care of money procurement. And we be happy when the Karibou finishes plowing the lower forty. I’ll sum it up; We be happy!!! BTW: I hearken on a daily basis.(lol)

PaulK
Member

Daily basis? 😯

Take care – I heard that you can go blind from that stuff. 😆

Mindanao Bob
Guest

This is not the place for a fight over religious issues. Let's drop the topic now.

Paul-T
Guest
Paul-T

I’ll stop when I need glasses! Oh, I already do…

brian
Guest
brian

Wonder how many red lights and guns become unbuckled now if you tell them you are carrying envelopes which you did not pack yourself !!!
As technology moves forward it seems we move backwards..guess Einsteins theory works in the social realm as well…..please remove your shoes sir….anyone else wonder why we don’t have to remove our underwear as well after the last attempt in Detroit? It least it would have made standing in the security line a bit more entertaining??!! Technology is wonderful but a part of me yearns for less.

Mindanao Bob
Guest

I hear you Adamite! I understand too. A little disaster now and then keeps things interesting! 😉 I only wish, though, that nobody had to suffer.

Paul-T
Guest
Paul-T

Brian;
It was a kinder gentler time when you could do that with the envelopes. Not even a metal detector then, and when you purchased shoes, one did not have to request “non-flammable please.” Exploding underwear, the thought of that is enough to make you “Go Commando.” I fear the days of the Cleaver family are gone forever, just ask Wally.

hudson
Guest
hudson

Hi Paul,
I used to say the same thing about cell phones and small import autos. I remember hanging out of my ’59 chevy with a fly swatter to tease those Jap import drivers 😀
Today I have to go down and get a replacement cell phone because yesterday I dropped it into a 50,000 gal tank while changing out a 2,100 gal/min submersible pump. Oh I will never be a slave to such a gizmo….Famous last words.

Paul-T
Guest
Paul-T

Hi Hudson;
The same with riding my Harley and the Rice Burner would pull up beside me, and blow my foot pegs off. So I got a Norton so I could keep up with them. It’s a brave new world. Cell phones, pants pocket, never shirt pocket!!!!

hudson
Guest
hudson

Hey Paul,
Even my Job title has changed. I’m now an Operating Engineer. I used to be called a Stationary engineer, which means my boiler has no wheels. A boiler with wheels requires a Traction engineer 😀 Now there’s an obsolete profession!

Mindanao Bob
Guest

Hi David – Thanks for your comment, it's good to know that your son is continuing in his efforts to learn Tagalog.

I don't think I really have an American accent in speaking Bisaya. My teacher requires me to learn how to pronounce the words properly.

Paul-T
Guest
Paul-T

Hudson;
Now that is funny! Thanks, I needed that (lol)

Barney
Guest

yes Paul it seems as if there are a lot of old timers that had the same feelings about cell phones but it’s had to catch me without mine…think I’d be lost. I just returned from Philippines and I think the pace moves along fairly well over their..it was hard for me to realize how little one has to do as everything was done for me…but I enjoyed the hell out of it, glad I only had to spend one day in Manila. It seems to be a great life style…

Paul-T
Guest
Paul-T

Hi Barney;
I have to use my wife’s cell phone to call mine so I can find it. But out of the house it is in my pocket at all times. I to can stand Manila, but it’s not Manila it’s all large cities I don’t like. Glad you enjoyed your visit.

Jawz
Guest
Jawz

Back home I’d hear songs in the states like “It was a Different World” by Bucky Covington. I ain’t heard any older people singing something like that here. I wonder…

Paul-T
Guest
Paul-T

Jon;
Ahh Bucky Covington’s “It’s A Different World” is more than likely not sung here as they don’t know the words to it. You might teach them the words to the #7 song on Bucky’s album “Empty Handed” or my favorite #9 “It’s good to Be Us”. Bottom line is: “What was your point?” Was it that Country music is not that popular here in the islands, and what was it, that you were wondering, BTW?

Paul-T
Guest
Paul-T

What are the odds I ever get a response on my question? Drives by shooters never return to the scene.

ian
Guest
ian

When you talk about the words to Bucky Covingtons’s songs you have to appreciate that almost none of the words are Bucky’s . On his album his only contribution to the words was co-authoring one song, that being Carolina Blue. Like Bucky says he doesnt write songs coz, according to him, he ” has the attention span of a mouse ! ” lol

Paul-T
Guest
Paul-T

Ian;
I like the kid (Bucky), he was sure lucky to get voted off American Idol, who did win last year? (lol)
Only a few write their own songs. I still have no idea what the point of the Bucky comment was about, I callled up the song file to listen, but it didn’t help. Oh well!

ian
Guest
ian

I’m not sure myself- maybe I’ll ask the Beaver and see what he says !lol Is Wally still in jail ?

Peter
Guest

Paul, sometimes it takes a few weeks for my mind to catch up with what I’ve read in past columns. My ability with things electric tops out at changing light bulbs. Seeing your power tools a while back made me wonder if they are 110 volt tools or 220 volt tools. Do you have your house wired for 110 or 220 or both? While I understand that if you plug a 110 volt gadget into a 220 volt plug, you’ve just killed your tool. Am I right in thinking that if you plug a 220 volt tool into a 110… Read more »

ian
Guest
ian

Peter- all my power tools, electronics, hair dryers etc are 110 . I use a 2000 watt transformer to run the heavier load items, and a 500 watt transformer to run the tv/dvd etc. But those are all items I brought with me. The items I buy now are all 220. One advantage of buying things in Canada [ and i assume also the US ?] is that things like my flat screen were made dual voltage- whereas the same TV sold here is just 220. I find that many things for sale in the Phil are priced comparably to… Read more »

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