Friday, 30 May 2008

How to Spend an Early Evening

Early evening is that time when the heat of the day begins to cool, the shadows grow long, and often magnificent sunsets appear!

Fortunately our condo unit is situated high enough up that our view of the famous Manila sunsets is one of the ideal views in Makati. It really only gets better if you actually go down to the bay to see it there.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

That's a Fine???

I was in a cab en route to Intramuros for my bi-monthly visit to Immigration to renew my visa when the driver ran a red light and was pulled over by police.

Mind you, the policeman is on foot.

Yes, on foot!

That sounds pretty weird itself, but this is the Philippines and if I'm writing about it, you know it is going to get even weird-er.

The cabbie got out of the car and was given his ticket by the policeman and fined one hundred pesos (Php100).

One hundred!

All you Americans are thinking in dollars right now, aren't you? And you're thinking that in dollars that would be a reasonable fine for an infraction of that type, wouldn't you?

One dollar equals forty pesos right about now; so that fine was just around $2.50.

Two dollars!!!

The driver was complaining about the fine.


In the US, people would run red lights all day if it only cost two-fifty!

Monday, 19 May 2008


I bet you'll never guess what this parade is about.

Here's more to help you guess.

Any idea yet?

If you said 'gay pride' you are wrong.

Yes, you read right! Wrong.

Really! I'm not kidding!

And look how excited these folks look about their costumes:

You'd feel pretty awful about marching down the streets of the central business district in your nation's capital dressed like an frog too!

The happy happy Jollibee bee.

May 9th was the 338th Makati Founding Day celebration parade. Parade participants assembled just below the Columns at the Makati Central Fire Station. That made it easy to know just when the time would be right to go down and watch and take pictures.

And the magnificent float courtesy of the folks from Laoag City, up north in Ilocos Norte. The horse leading the kalesa is even animated!

Friday, 16 May 2008

Church Service or Twilight Zone Episode?

I don't mean the title of today's entry to be taken as a Which do you prefer? type of question. It's just a question.

Edson and I went to services last Sunday. (I know, another late post. I was sick from May 6th on and am still not 100%.) We arrived a bit late; just in time for all the mothers in attendance to be honored (It was Mother's Day, remember?). And how do we honor the mothers? By praying for them (OK) and giving each an apple.

An apple?

As if to remind them they are descendants of Eve? That they were tempted by the apple? That they convinced a dim-witted Adam to take a bite? Should churches be distributing the fruit that takes the blame for the fall of mankind? (Then again, an apple a day keeps the doctor away.) Aren't teachers supposed to be the ones to get apples?

Of course, it is better than a pin or something completely useless. Just a nice way to say Thanks for allowing your eggs to be fertilized, carrying a child for 9 months and not killing it afterwards or anytime before it could leave the house employed.

After the readings, the congregation was treated (liberal use of the term treated) to meditation from a guest speaker (Oh no), a born-again (Oh No! No! No!) Palestinian (What the??).

Like any good born-again Christian, Pastor Mike Nasrallah spoke in a very gregarious and colorful manner. Very quickly. Very loud. In an accent. (Accent? Well, he is Palestinian!) I just had no idea Palestinians had the accent of Robert DeNiro (think Taxi Driver) and Marlon Brando (think The Godfather)! Come to think of it, he looked a bit like a cross between the two too! Edson and I only understood every eighth word he said between gasps and perspiration. The congregation seemed to understand more. If not, they certainly knew when to shout their Amens! Fortunately, unlike speakers who drone, born-agains tend to know when to wrap things up when speaking, and Mike was no exception, so we were barraged with-uh the word-uh of God-uh and Jesus-uh for only ten minutes-uh.

This is where today's post becomes a little PG/R rated:

One of the few things I understood him say was that one day we'd begin receiving messages from the Lord on devices such as our cell phones. After all, God made cell phones...and i-pods, and all our other electronic gadgets (God made vibrators??). It made me think back a few days before when I received a message in my Spam mail from Jesus.

Yes, Jesus is spamming me. He wants to help me enlarge the size of my penis.

So there you have it.

They always said the Lord speaks to us in mysterious ways; I just wasn't expecting these kinds of messages!

Saturday, 3 May 2008

A Good Relationship

At dinner the other night, I sort of summed up our relationship (and Edson sort of agreed).

He's like a cat; cute and cuddly and doesn't pay attention to a word I say!

Thursday, 1 May 2008


Last night Edson and I were invited by our friend Gino to see a dance production at the Cultural Center of the Philippines for which he had designed the set.

Cost: free admission. Cool. We can watch DVDs some other night.

It was to be a first performance and audience feedback was solicited. We were handed forms to complete and return after the performance. We were not handed a writing implement of any kind. Pricking our fingers for blood with which to write was deemed too messy. Stationery stores and their writing implements were too far away. So we folded the comment forms and tucked them in our pockets where they remained until we returned home.

Before we went home, we did watch the performance. So let's backtrack to that.

But first, let me show you our ticket stub.

For free admission, did we really need a ticket?

Well, I guess by counting them they know how many were in attendance.

And no, it wasn't Coppelia!

And while I guess it is good to find a use for leftover ticket stubs; I can't help but wonder how many were printed for that production of Coppelia. You'd think they would have run through them by now! I'm thinking someone sixteen years ago ordered way, way, WAY too many tickets, lost their job (or worse!) or it's been a while since the theatre had a good Spring cleaning (which would not surprise me, as there is no Spring in the Philippines!) and these were part of the treasure found when someone finally did clean the place.


The performance was basically a showcase of the variety of traditional ethnic dances and costumes of various regions of the Philippine archipelago. Some interpretive dance was also involved to portray the chaos of Manila traffic and the sea life of Boracay.

About three-quarters of the way through the performance the couple behind us were not so busy watching the show as they were yapping at each other. I had felt happy that the group of ten or more people who had amassed in front of and beside us before the show started had moved elsewhere just as it began as they were all loudly talking from one row to the other. Now we had two behind us who were busy yapping and giggling.

I'd hear, blah blah blah blah blah giggle blah blah

Then blah blah blah giggle blah blah giggle blah

Or blah giggle blah giggle blah blah giggle giggle

Then turn to blah giggle blah giggle blah giggle giggle giggle

The music was soft at this point and neither Edson or I could shut out their yapping, so I had to put on my teacher/disciplinarian persona not used in over ten years, turn to them and scold them for their rude, undisciplined behavior. I don't remember what I said exactly; but it had something to do with them conducting conversations outside the theatre during the performance.

They shut up.

I hadn't had to interrupt an inappropriate conversation like that since my days teaching English as a Second Language courses in Japan. Yes, even in Japan there are 'problem students'. The stereotype diligent, dutiful, overachieving, study-till-they-drop Japanese student is largely that, a stereotype. Sorry to burst anyone's bubble on that.

I was reminded of this (undisciplined behaviors) a bit on the way home tonight from one of our favorite restaurants in Glorietta, Aveneto. Edson mentioned that it was the undisciplined behavior of Filipinos that is the reason Ayala Avenue has a long fencing running along the entire length of sidewalk on both sides (save for a few breaks here and there for bus stops) and underpasses at all crosswalks. Without the fencing, people would be all over the streets, constantly being in the way of vehicles or being run over by them. Drivers are no better, forever ignoring basic traffic laws, crosswalks, lights, signs,'ve heard that from previous posts.

So there you have it. Jay the disciplinarian.

On the way home after the performance I kept wondering how weird it would feel having a foreigner be the one to have to correct your rude behavior in your own country.

But I did come to a conclusion: If they didn't like it I don't care. I shouldn't have to compromise my right to enjoy a performance because of their behavior, whether other Filipinos tolerate it or not. As far as I'm concerned I was as much the 'ugly American' and they were the 'ugly Filipinos'. And Edson and I, as well as those around us, got to enjoy the rest of the performance sans blah giggle giggle blah giggle....

It's .......... !

I don't know what it means when they say these Choco Pies are NOW, but they sure are good.

Perhaps NOW is an acronym:

Now Obstinately Wrapped


New Obnoxious Wrapper

Next On Waist

Nearly Obliterates Wrinkles
(when applied liberally to face)

I've given up trying to figure out what it means or if NOW is an acronym or not and if it is what it means.

I don't care.

I just need something to wash down that pie I just ate! (Which is NOW in my stomach.)

Mmmmmm! Mmmmmm!