12.24.2019

Advisory For Expats In the Philippines Who Have RH Negative Blood

Advisory For RH Negative Expats Living In The Philippines




In making your plans to relocate to the Philippines I doubt the subject of donor blood availability ever came up. It never crossed my mind. But it may be a factor for you to consider if you happen to be part of the 6% of the people on earth who have RH negative blood.

RH negative % of world population & Philippines population
click image for larger view

You may hear that 15% of the population are RH negative. That figure is generally for Western nations. The RH negative blood type represents about 1% of the population within Asia and less than 6% of the populations of most countries on the African continent. Therefore, only about 6% of the total world population are RH negative.

Only .33% of the Philippines’ population are RH negative. That figure equates to about 342,546 people. Persons having the AB- blood type can receive blood from all of them. 

The table below details who you can donate blood to or receive blood from based upon blood type:

click image for larger view

The figures below represent the number of people in the Philippines who can potentially donate blood to you given your RH negative status:

O-: 103,802 potential donors
A-: 207,603 potential donors
B-: 207,603 potential donors
AB-: 342,546 potential donors

The data in this article for RH negative statistics was taken from a wikipedia article on blood type distribution. There are some issues with the data that are pointed out within the article. It is likely that the proportion of RH negative distribution is lower than described, as missing data is from populations that have lower proportions of RH negative individuals than the 6% figure stated.

A hundred thousand potential donors may sound like a lot, but that is across the entire population of the Philippines. Even RH positive individuals may experience difficulties in obtaining suitable donor blood and as an RH negative person you have a fraction of their options available to you.
 
If you are RH negative and you do decide to relocate to the Philippines, then there are some steps that you might want to take just in case you ever need a blood transfusion:

12.23.2019

December 26, 2019 Annular Solar Eclipse Visible In Philippines

December 26, 2019 Annular Solar Eclipse Visible In Philippines



The annular solar eclipse is predicted to begin across the Philippines at approximately 14:30 local time, but the partial eclipse will begin around 12:30 and last about three hours. Almost all of the Philippines will experience at least 50% coverage with the Visayas southward experiencing greater than 70% coverage. 

According to wikipedia, Sarangani and the southernmost shore of Davao Occidental are the only locations in the Philippines that shall experience an annular eclipse.

An annular eclipse happens when the moon is just a little too far away from the earth to completely blot out the sun. This creates a "ring of fire effect" around the perimeter of the moon.

It goes without saying that the farther south you are in the Philippines the more spectacular this solar eclipse will be for you.

WARNING: do not attempt to view any solar eclipse without proper eye protection. Check out these tips for safe eclipse viewing.

And if you miss this annular eclipse don't worry. On April 20, 2042 a TOTAL solar eclipse passes right through the center on the Philippines:


That will be a hugely spectacular event and I promise you that scientists and many other people will descend upon central Philippines to experience and document it. So get your eclipse glasses now before time runs out. We only have 22 years before the black out.


Update 12-26-2019


That was super boring.



12.22.2019

Philippines Immigration Annual Report 2020

Philippines Immigration Annual Report 2020





All registered aliens living in the Philippines (except Temporary Visitor’s Visa holders or Tourist Visa holders) are required to report to an immigration office during the first 60 calendar days of the year. Annual Report 2020 (AR 2020) will be conducted from January 1 to February 29. Take note of any national or local holidays and weekends because immigration offices will be closed on those days (like January 1).

When you report you will be required to present your ACR-I card and passport and you may also be asked to submit copies of your card (front and back) and copies of your passport data page and visa stamp. I take copies of my wife's PSA stamped birth certificate, our PSA stamped marriage certificate.these are not listed as requirements for reporting, but there have been anecdotal stories of these and other items being requested. It is easy enough to just bring the copies and be prepared. It would also not hurt to bring along a copy of the receipt for the previous year's annual report.

Be sure to obtain an official receipt documenting payment of the Annual Report fee. These receipts are required when you renew your ACR-I card or have it replaced.

Check out the full guidelines for AR 2020 that include exceptions to personal appearance, locations for reporting and more. Also view the 2019 Directory of Transactions for a complete listing of Immigration offices and services available at each of them.

Have the exact amount of 310 PHP ready to pay to avoid any problems with making change.

You have previously executed your annual report at one immigration office and you are not able to do it at that same office this year or maybe you are just curious about visiting a different office. There is no problem with that. First check the 2019 Directory of Transactions to make sure that the Immigration office that you want to visit supports the annual reporting service.

When I went to a different location I had to fill out an information card like this one:






Notice on that second image that you will need a recent 2x2 photo (bring two just in case).

Media Uproar Over Vaping Illnesses And Deaths

Media Uproar Over Vaping Illnesses And Deaths




Update 12-22-2019


CDC is reporting that the results of a study published in the New England Medical Journal show that a likely major contributing factor of e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) is the addition of Vitamin E acetate to black market THC cartridges : 
Laboratory data support previous findings that vitamin E acetate is closely associated with EVALI.
  • This study analyzed samples from 51 EVALI cases from 16 states and a comparison group of samples from 99 healthy people for vitamin E acetate, plant oils, medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil, coconut oil, petroleum distillates, and diluent terpenes.
  • Vitamin E acetate was identified in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid samples (fluid samples collected from the lungs) from 48 of the 51 EVALI patients, but not in the BAL fluid from the healthy comparison group.
This development potentially vindicates those who criticized media and politicians who rushed to judgment in calls to ban all vaping products in the wake of the outbreak of vaping related illnesses months ago. 

Please excuse the moralizing below. I just hate tobacco and I want you to break free.

I Understand Smokers Because I Used To Be One (Original Story Oct 2019)


I considered taking up pipe smoking a while back. What research exists seems to indicate that one bowl per day is associated with longer life span. Some researchers think that this might have something to do with a supposed stress relief factor involved with smoking pipe.

I decided against taking up the habit because habits tend to escalate.

Also, I could not find a decent supplier of pipe tobacco anywhere near where I live.

The above is a little insane to be thinking when you consider that I smoked when I was younger and now have decades of tobacco free living under my belt. Though it has been many years since I quit, still I suspect the big "C" whenever I feel a little pain in my chest.

I guess it is good for people to have vaping as a safer alternative than cigarettes when it comes to nicotine delivery. I personally have never had the inclination to try it. 

The best policy is to never put nicotine into your body to begin with, whether by cigarettes, vaping or otherwise. It's not smart and it's not cool, but stupid and greedy people wield a lot of influence and can create the illusion that it's all that and sexy too within the context of our Idiocracy world. I say this as a reformed pack-a-day Idiocrat.

Crocodile Tears Of The Main Stream Media


I view the present media drama over vaping illnesses and deaths to be insincere given that there is no media vocalization about the effects of cigarettes upon society at all. And this makes no sense at all because the negative impact of cigarettes upon society is far greater. If there was to be an uproar over cigarettes proportional to that over vaping in relation to the relative damage to society that each causes I suppose that there should have been media apocalypse by now. Instead, the de facto population control mechanism that cigarettes appear to be marches on and the corporate propaganda bullhorn that the media is continues to distract and distort.

Tobacco Is Mind Control 


When I refer to cigarettes as a "population control mechanism" I do not mean that cigarettes are used to reduce population. Tobacco is used to control behavior to the benefit of the tobacco companies. Many people who try tobacco for the first time become lifelong slaves to corporate tobacco. Do you disagree? Look at the millions of people who smoke themselves to death. Did they not start with that first puff? I have known several people who died of smoking related illnesses. They smoked up to the very last day of their lives.

Perhaps ironically, the lives of smokers are actually pretty long all things considered. Smoking only chops off the last ten years of their life expectancy, so many smokers live into their 60s, 70s, and beyond. Those final years are likely to be miserable and hard on a family's resources. The good thing is that you will be surrounded by understanding family members because it is highly likely that you passed on your smoking habit to many of them.

The average smoker will spend over $100,000 on tobacco over the course of their lifetime. This reality is harder on the lower-income (and no-income) individuals than anyone else. The kids may be hungry, with holes in their clothes and a whole host of deprivations - but mom and dad are never to be seen without a cigarette hanging from their lips.

That is mind control.

In contrast to reducing population, tobacco use is related (not causative) to the opposite. Tobacco users tend to have more children than non-smokers. And the children of tobacco users are more likely to grow up to be tobacco users than the children of non-tobacco users. See how insidious tobacco is? 

The fellow who commercialized tobacco use was an evil genius.

My advice is never to start. Stay away from smoking and vaping. They are nasty and expensive habits with no upside.

Pardon the digression and let's return to the media distraction.

The Facts About Smoking vs. Vaping


From the CDC's data on these recent vaping illnesses (as of this writing):
  • 530 cases
  • 7 deaths
  • Most cases have a history of using e-cigarette products containing THC
  • No cause has been determined
  • No specific product or substance has been determined to be a cause
The cause of these vaping related illnesses is not known at this time. There is "only" an association with vaping and also with vape products containing THC.

Another unknown is how long these disease states were in development.

Yet there have already been shrill cries to ban all vaping.

This is very odd indeed considering the truth we know and have known for decades about cigarettes.

Also from CDC data:
Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. This is about one in five deaths annually, or 1,300 deaths every day.
There it is! A literal smoking gun.

Every single year almost 440,000 Americans commit suicide by tobacco.

And another 41,000 Americans are murdered by tobacco - murdered by a smoker who is committing suicide. Hey, here is an idea...let's ban bump stocks.

I may be wrong, but I think that the number of deaths from second hand vaping thus far in human history is somewhere near zero. Is that close to correct?

Why The Lynch-mob Mentality In Media Toward The Vape Industry? 


Don't get me wrong. I feel terrible for the people who got sick or died in connection with vaping. I feel for their families. It's a real tragedy. But the government and others are being total hypocrites considering their relative silence about cigarette related deaths and illnesses. 

Tobacco related illness is one of the greatest true calamities facing the United States and it is ongoing for decades. 

One source estimates that tobacco related illness costs more than $300 billion every year. It is well known that raising tobacco taxes and in turn the price of cigarettes has an inverse effect upon tobacco use. It seems that the government does not want fewer people to smoke given its, according to some, lax taxing strategy with tobacco. 

The US government rakes in close to $13 billion per year in tobacco taxes. But the taxes are only one factor. Politicians on both sides of the aisle are soaked in tobacco dollars in the form of campaign contributions. Could this be why taxation of tobacco is not more aggressive?

So who could be behind this big push to ban vaping? 

Who stands to benefit from banning vaping?

Who could that be?


12.18.2019

Pillsbury Pancake Warning!

Pillsbury Pancake Warning!




view our home-made pancakes from scratch recipe


I really love Pillsbury pancakes. They taste almost home made. That is, until the day they broke my heart. Do you see those pancakes in the photo above? I actually ate them. They were not bad tasting. They just look bad and they made a big sticky mess in the pan.

This had never happened before. I asked my wife what happened and she didn't know either. She just followed the directions.

And therein lies the problem.

This particular batch of pancakes, or whatever you want to call them, is the One-Step variety:



Little did we know that the supermarket had switched out the old reliable Original variety:


If you are not paying attention it is easy to confuse these two boxes.

The key to what went wrong lies in the instructions for what to add.

The original requires three additional ingredients:




milk/water, oil and an egg.

The One-Step only requires the addition of water or milk:



It does not matter if you use a nonstick pan coated in oil, because without the oil and egg in the mix those pancakes will still stick hard to the pan.

If you want to make a decent pancake you have to break a few eggs.

I know that we are not the only ones having this problem because every time we go back to the store there are fewer boxes of Original and more boxes of One-Step. And now we have been back several times and all they have is the One Step. 

No one wants to buy it because they bought it once and this happened:


UPDATE

We did try mixing egg and oil into the One-Step. It did not help a lot. Still way too sticky. something about the mix itself is different.


There are hidden messages in this post of great interest to foreign intelligence, but they will never find them because I am far too clever! 

MUHUHAHAHAHAHAHA! YOU WILL NEVER CRACK MY PANCAKE STEGANOGRAPHY! 

12.14.2019

Red Hot Holiday Peppers!

Red Hot Holiday Peppers! (In The Philippines)


THAI CHILI PEPPERS

I have been able to find most things that I loved in the USA here in the Philippines and for most of the things that I can't find there are pretty good substitutes.

Jalapenos are one of my favorites items that seem to be scarce in the Islands. Now, this is probably only true in places like the province where I live. I have been able to find various brands of canned jalapenos in the city and some were good and some were pretty far from good. In ten years of looking I have yet to find anyone growing fresh jalapenos in the Philippines, which seems crazy to me because the Philippines has perfect weather for them. 

I grew jalapenos in the states and every year we had literally buckets of juicy fat jalapenos of superb quality. They start off green, but eventually they turn red. They also sweeten a bit when they redden. The general lore is that, whether red or green, the more whitish/brown streaks the jalapenos have down the side the hotter they are. I have found that to be virtually true. 


A row of our jalapenos in USA

Here is a closeup of the bottom two plants:


You can see that those tiny plants are stuffed with fat green peppers.

In the markets I would see the little peppers like the one in the image above and I would always ask people if they were hot. Always the vendors would reply, "hindi," so I never bought them. Then I figured out that there was a miscommunication. People in the Philippines think that these peppers are not hot due to the difference between the way they consume them and the way in which I like to eat them.

Filipinos use one or two of these peppers in soup. After cooking the peppers a good while the heat is gone.

I like to eat them fresh and just bite right into them. Eaten this way you experience the full heat. The heat varies from none to #$@! and averages right around the typical Serrano and probably a bit hotter than the average jalapeno.  I believe that these particular peppers might be Thai chilies. They have papery skin and are nowhere near as appetizing  as juicy jalapenos.

We also have of "siling labuyo" growing around our place. They are called "bird's eye" peppers and they are about the size of a fingernail. Siling labuyo can be extremely hot. I do not prefer them because they do not taste good sometimes. The chickens do love to eat them though. 

I have heard rumors of "sili mataba" also known as red jalapeno, but I have never seen them here.

We recently visited the market and I could not resist overbuying the peppers because they looked so good and fresh. To avoid letting them go to waste I decided to do a quick pickle prep.

So I chop up the peppers:


Add some garlic and a pinch of salt:


Pack the chopped peppers, garlic and salt into a jar filled with vinegar:

THAI CHILI PEPPERS IN VINEGAR

Wait about two weeks:



and



But I doubt they will last two weeks.

Update 12-15 


The peppers are very good, but my wife has forbidden me to open the jar at the dinner table ever again.
 

12.05.2019

Philippines Expat Appliance & Electronics Guide

Philippines Expat Appliance & Electronics Guide



This post is just to give the prospective expat an idea of what is available in the Philippines in regard to appliances and electronics. I have selected the items that are the most important to us in making our lives easier and more enjoyable. Also included are some pointers about what to be wary of.

Table Of Contents:

Small Kitchen Appliances


We purchased the Imarflex rice cooker on the left about two years ago for 1800 PHP. It still functions, but it never has worked right. It cooks one side and leaves the other side uncooked. It is also developing rust on its "stainless" steel housing.


IMARIFLEX KITCHEN APPLIANCES

I gave Imarflex the benefit of the doubt and presumed that the problems with the rice cooker were a one-off.

We purchased the blender (center) and the coffee maker (right) together and they were each 2600 PHP. The blender worked for three months and then billowed smoke. The coffee maker worked for a month (and very light duty) when it just stopped.

Imarflex looks good and is priced as though it is higher quality, but in our experience the opposite is true.

We purchased our Kyowa juicer for 1800 PHP and it works well. I hope it lasts.

KYOWA JUICER

We have had our Asahi toaster oven so long that I have forgotten when we bought it. I do know that we paid 2500 PHP for it. It's a good little workhorse and it seems that it might just work forever.

ASAHI TOASTER OVEN


Flat Screen Televisions 


We have an LG smart TV and a Sharp non-smart flat screen television. We have had each for about three years and both work well. The one difference is that the interface for the Sharp seems a little clunky. The LG has some useless technology like WIFI (which I disabled) and the ability to share the computer's screen wirelessly (which never works right). 

Overall though, the LG is great for my needs. I have old HDDs that I have placed in drive enclosures and I use them to store movies and photos. The LG smart TV is able to power the hard drives and function perfectly. The Sharp cannot power the drive for movies and they have to be placed on a thumb drive instead.

The LG is 32" and the Sharp is 42". They each cost approximately 12,000 PHP.

We had another Sharp that we gave away and it is still working at ten years old.

Remotes & Batteries


The one dark spot on the LG is the remote control that came with it. It quit working after a year. I replaced it with a CDR King universal remote that also retired after a year.

It seems like a lot of television manufacturers do not care much about the longevity of their remote controls. Every one that we have had dies within a year or two. You will want to have a spare for that inevitability.

The first universal remote we bought was from CDR King. I love CDR King because their self branded products are cheap and appear to be as good in quality as other brands. We were disappointed when they closed to one CDR King within an eight hour trip from our place.

Fortunately we found the Cybertec. Cybertec was the only brand, other than CDR King, that we were able to find that was capable of managing all functions of our LG smart TV. I like them so much that I bought several. Like every other universal (and oem) remote we have used these have a lifespan of only a year or two - that is why you need a few of them.


Cybertec universal remotes can be found at Handyman and Ace Hardware and they are priced around 300PHP.

You will also be needing rechargeable batteries and a charger.


A triple-A set that comes with a charger will run 600-800PHP and a double-A,like the one above, will cost about 100-200PHP more. As with the remotes, CDR King does also have its own rechargeable batteries. They are reliable and they are also cheaper. I cannot really say which brand is best because in my experience they all last so long that I cannot keep track of which is better.

Refrigerators


We started out with a Sharp non-inverter fridge ten years ago and that old Sharp is still functioning for my mother-in-law. We replaced the Sharp with this Samsung inverter model:


SAMSUNG INVERTER FRIDGE

I have read that inverter fridges do not cool things down as fast as traditional models, but I do not find that to be true with our fridge. It cools things down super fast and much better than our old model. What I did notice is that the electric bill dropped 400-500 PHP per month.

There is a slight drawback to the Samsung inverter fridge. It is supposed to be frost free but a couple of times in the three years we have owned it the cooling capacity dropped down to zero. The fix for this is to unplug the fridge, stick perishables in the freezer and let the unit sit and thaw for a few hours. After that it works like a charm. I am assuming that the ducts from the freezer to the fridge get clogged with ice even though this is not supposed to happen. Still, I would not trade my Samsung for a bag of gold.

I think I may have figured out what is happening with our Samsung inverter fridge. For about a year and a half it experienced this freezing over from time to time, as described above. I noticed that this happened whenever there was a seasonal change in temperature. It would happen at times of major seasonal shift, but not when there were large but temporary temperature swings due to passing weather. This behavior no longer occurs. I could be wrong, but it seems that the fridge may have some kind of fuzzy logic or machine learning capability that it uses to determine if outside temp fluctuations are seasonal or transient. It does not want to change its cooling habits for a brief swing and reserves that for seasonal changes that last for months. It took a while for it to figure out the seasons, but now it's got them locked down. That it just my potentially errant analysis. 

I intend to pass this inverter fridge on next year and upgrade to a larger model so that review will be coming.

Washing Machines




Read the dedicated write up on our Electrolux and Samsung washing machines. They are both fine machines, but we prefer the Electrolux.

Yard Hardware And Power Tools


I have talked previously about our beloved Honda brush cutters:


All of our small power tools are Makita. I have greatly abused our drills and grinders and they continue to work as though they are eternally new.

Phones


I purchased a 2600 PHP Lenovo smart phone a while back. It worked for a few months and then turned into a brick. That is the last Lenovo I will ever buy.

We also have one Samsung smart phone and two Samsung non-smart phones that have all performed perfectly for years.

I have a Huawei E5787 4G LTE Mobile Wifi on order and I will provide a review on that when I get it.


Until then, you can check our review on some older mobile wifi options. I do highly recommend Huawei mobile wifi units.
 
More about phones & Internet

Computers


DELL LAPTOP

The first was purchased from Villman in Manila. That unit was 26,000 Pesos ten years ago. Since then I have bought three additional Dell laptops from the Dell outlet and they have all been very close to 26,000 PHP. The only thing that has changed is that performance, memory and storage keep going up. All four of these Dell laptops still work well, which is why Dell is the only brand I buy.

One thing I will advise is that when you go in to buy a laptop be sure to match the advertised the specs to the unit they give you. Run msinfo32 and check the device manager to make sure that the processor, graphics card, memory, HDD and all other specs are exactly what you are supposed to be getting. 

The form factor of the unit they bring out to you may look the same as the floor model, but when you go in and actually check the unit's hardware you might find that it's a downgraded model. It may have been an accident, but they tried this with me once. This happened at a Dell outlet not Villman.

I have another Dell on order from Villman and I will update this post when it arrives. 

I figured that I would throw my APC UPS 650 in here with the laptops:


APC UPS 650

I have had this UPS for three years and it works well. I purchased it from the Dell outlet. It is actually a replacement for a previous unit that died within warranty. These units come with a two year warranty. The first unit died between the first and second year and the Dell outlet replaced it without argument (making me very happy). The unit cost 2000 PHP.

I am currently using this UPS with an old Dell whose battery died. It seems like these Dell batteries are programmed to die after two or three years. The actual battery is just fine, but it seems that the circuit that runs from the battery to the laptop is what has burned out.

I wrote about the cheapo printer/scanners I use here.

Floor Fans


Fans are very important in the Philippines. Personally, we cannot live without our fans and we have burned through quite a few of them.

HANABISHI STAND FAN


The red Hanabishi has been with us for about five years and still works great. It cost 1500 PHP when new. It has a twin that never did seem as powerful and finally last year it died.

Then there is our new super-powered Asahi fan:


ASAHI STAND FAN

This Asahi fan is a beast and seems more like an airplane propeller. It cost 2500 PHP. Most stand fans cost around 1500 PHP, but this one is a high power model. If you don't have tinnitus, you will after a few nights of running this fan in your room.

We also have some old and rusty Asahi fans that have been with us for seven or eight years and they still run.

Window ACs


I doubt that we will ever own a split AC because I have only heard negative things about them. Split systems are a lot more expensive up front. They also require specialized installation, which will also increase the cost. I have heard a lot of stories about the reliability of split systems not being as good as window units. There are also many anecdotes about lizards getting fried on the high voltage circuit boards of split systems (this supposedly fries the boards as well).

We bought two window ACs about nine years ago and they were both 1/2 horse power units. The Carrier died two years ago, but the GE still works like new. We replaced the Carrier with a 1/2 HP Sharp. I love the little Sharp and I hope it lasts a long time.

I know that 1/2 HP seems weak, but it works great for our purposes and it is easier on the electric bill. The rooms that we use the ACs in are each about 200 square feet with 11 foot ceilings. There are only a very few times during the year that the ACs struggle to bring down the temp and even on those days the ACs work fine after sundown.

One suggestion that I would make to AC manufacturers is to engineer the vent holes to be too small for lizards to get inside the unit. Every AC that I have seen looks like it is begging for lizards to make it a home. The ACs that I have do not have any electronics that the lizards can come in contact with, but the lizards do like to die inside the units occasionally. That does not smell good, as you might imagine. Consequently, I solved this problem by covering the vent slats with aluminum mesh.

UPDATE

You will notice the strike-through text above concerning the Sharp AC and 1/2 horsepower being enough. I even wrote another post about repairing the Carrier AC. I had to repair the old Carrier because the Sharp died. The Sharp turned out to be poorly manufactured. The Carrier worked well after replacing the capacitor, but my old body can no longer settle for 1/2 hp. 

I upgraded the office with a 1-horse LG window AC and I hope to write a dedicated post on that unit soon. So far so good and I mostly like the LG.


Lightbulbs


Whether you decide to build your own house or rent from someone you will probably need to buy light bulbs from time to time. We have been through a couple of hundred CFLs since we began living in the Philippines. 

Firefly is one of the common brands and though they are cheaper they don't seem to last very long. GE bulbs are a little more expensive, but they do seem to last longer. The best bulb that I have found is Philips. They cost about the same as GE, but in my experience they last much longer. When our Philips bulbs are turned off they blink even though they are not on an illuminated switch. I don't know why, but I like that. It's not annoying to me, but it might be to some people. There are methods that might stop it if you want to go to the trouble. I cannot say if those methods work, as I don't really care about it personally.

Warranties


For the most part, you have a seven day return on products. In some cases you might have a struggle on your hands even within the seven days. There are exceptions, like with my APC UPS that died after a year and the Dell outlet replaced it no questions asked.

I would like to make one comment about Citi Hardware that is not appliance specific. That have a 90 day return policy on unused items that we have found to be useful. The item must be undamaged and in original packaging and of course you need your receipt. They give you a credit and when we availed this offer there was no hassle.

12.04.2019

Philippines Cost of Living: Market Day

Philippines Cost of Living: Market Day

 



I wanted to share our recent market day haul in order to provide another facet of the cost of living in the Philippines. Market Day is a common practice throughout the Philippines where once and possibly twice per week all of the produce farmers around a municipality will gather at the local designated market facility to sell their fruits, vegetables, meats and other various products and wares. Generally speaking, the market is open every day of the week, but there are many items that can only be found there on Market Day and the variety is also much greater. Produce is also typically of a better quality on Market Day.

The assortment that you see above cost us a grand total of 1700 PHP or about $33 at the current exchange rate with the US dollar.



You will note that the list above shows rice sold by "ganta." The ganta is a unit of volume and not weight and it is equal to three liters. They measure it out sometimes by using one of the large  pineapple juice cans and they give you two level canfuls of rice, which equals three liters. At this time rice is selling for 85 PHP per ganta, but out of season it may go to 110 PHP or higher for a ganta. A ganta of rice will weigh approximately five pounds and will vary based upon water content and other factors. We have found brown rice on rare occasions and it runs about 150PHP per ganta.

The little purple onions cost three times as much as the big Spanish onions. I cannot understand why we still buy them.

The ripe banana is typically cooked, whereas the sweet banana is like the kind you are used to eating in the US. Sweet bananas are also more expensive.

A few different kinds of papaya are available to us here. The bigger ones tend to be "hybrid" varieties. The smaller ones are called "native" around these parts. The bigger ones are less sweet and less tender. The small native papayas are very sweet and taste similar to a mango IMO. We have lots of papaya trees, but none of them have ripe fruit right now. Same goes for mangoes. In season we go through a three gallon bucket of mangoes each day and they are all free because they come from our own trees. Our mango trees are a different variety from the ones at the market, hence the reason they are not producing at this time.

.

11.28.2019

December Philippines Typhoon: Kammuri (Tisoy)

December Philippines Typhoon: Kammuri


Update December 3, 2019 10:00  





I just filmed the video above. We are about 200 miles south of Kammuri's center right now. The sea in the video is the Sulu Sea on the western side of the Philippines. Though you would not want to take a banca out on that water the waves are nowhere near as aggressive as when Haiyan/Yolanda came through (video in this post). Believe it or not there are people swimming in that stuff.

Update December 2, 2019 23:00   


U.S. Navy Joint Typhoon Warning Center 
(not subject to copyright)

The map above shows Kammuri just to the east of Legazpi at 02/12Z (8 P.M. Monday evening) with sustained winds of 115 knots making this a possible category 4 landfall.

Update December 2, 2019 10:00   


This information was just sent to me by the U.S. Embassy. I am sure that everyone is well apprised of the situation by now, but I will pass this on just the same:
Weather Alert - U.S. Embassy Manila (December 2, 2019)

Location: The Philippines
 

Event: Typhoon Kammuri (local name Tisoy) is forecast to make landfall over Catanduanes, Albay, or Sorsogon the evening of Monday, December 2 to early morning, Tuesday, December 3 and track westward. Residents of the affected storm path may experience strong winds and heavy rains, with possible flooding, landslides, and dangerous driving conditions, on Tuesday, December 3 through Wednesday, December 4. 

 Actions to Take:
  • Avoid travel to typhoon affected areas until the storm has departed the Philippines.
  • Monitor local media for updates.
  • Notify friends and family of your safety.
  • Review your personal security plans.
  • Have travel documents up to date and easily accessible.
  • Have evacuation plans that do not rely on U.S. government assistance.
  • Seek secure shelter in heavy wind and rain.
  • Monitor the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration website at http://bagong.pagasa.dost.gov.ph/

Update November 30, 2019 06:30   


U.S. Navy Joint Typhoon Warning Center 
(not subject to copyright)

The forecast strength for Kammuri continues to be downgraded. Kammuri is now projected to be a category 2 when it makes landfall and category 1 by the time it nears Manila.

The center of the storm is about 1200 miles east of the Philippines right now. We are located a couple of hundred miles south of Manila and for the past two days it has been drizzling here with on and off steady rains. The nights have been some of the coolest this year with temps around 20 Celsius, which is cold for us. We have only been as low as 19 or perhaps 18 Celsius a few times in ten years.

Hopefully this storm will only bring a little more rain to give the wells one last boost for the coming dry season. 

Update November 29, 2019 05:30   


U.S. Navy Joint Typhoon Warning Center 
(not subject to copyright)

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center now projects Typhoon Kammuri to obtain maximum sustained wind speeds of 90 knots (category 2) as it passes north of Metro Manila on 03/18Z (2 A.M. December 4).

This could be a major historic storm. Pray for Kammuri's dissipation.

*******************

Kammuri: Corona Borealis; The Northern Crown; The Crown of Ariadne; The bane of H.P. Lovecraft's Hypnos.

I have been watching Typhoon Kammuri for a few days. Until this morning the forecast had it meandering to the west of Guam and petering out while still more than a thousand miles east of the Philippines' coast.

This latest map shows Kammuri taking a hard left turn and heading directly west taking it right across central Philippines. 

The last forecast point shows Kammuri about 600 miles east of the coast on December 2, 10 A.M. local time. Sustained winds of 125 knots will place it squarely within category 4 territory and I expect it to strengthen yet more and possibly to category five as the forecast develops.



It seems late in the season to be talking about strong typhoons hitting the Philippines, but if you look at the historical record you will find that it is not uncommon at all.

Super Typhoon Haiyan November 8, 2013


Strong typhoons are not particularly rare even this late in the season. Haiyan was a November typhoon, striking Eastern Samar on November 8, 2013 at 4:40 A.M. with winds pegged as high as 235 MPH.

TYPHOON HAIYAN STORM PATH
Haiyan Storm Track November 2013
The graphic above shows that Haiyan struck the Philippines approximately 200 miles south of where Kammuri could make landfall if it continues on its projected path.

Typhoon Durian November 30, 2006


TYPHOON DURIAN STORM PATH
Durian Storm Track November 2006

Having weakened from category four status, Typhoon Durian struck Legaspi Philippines on November 30, 2006 as a category three typhoon with maximum sustained winds of 190 KPH. The eye of the storm made an almost direct strike over Mt. Mayon that had erupted only months before triggering catastrophic mud flows in the area.

Super Typhoon Bopha December 3, 2012


TYPHOON BOPHA STORM PATH
Super Typhoon Bopha Storm Track December 2012

Super Typhoon Bopha struck Southern Mindanao as a category five super typhoon on December 3, 2012 causing widespread and incredible damage. The storm weakened and became a tropical storm as it crossed over Palawan. On December 7 Bopha underwent an incredible transformation into a category four typhoon and threatened to strike the northernmost extremities of Luzon as it curved back toward the northeast. Fortunately, Bopha was ripped apart by wind shear over the South China Sea before it could do any more damage.

Don't Let Your Guard Down In November And December 


Late season storms are not only NOT rare, but they are in fact among the most powerful, most deadly and most costly storms of all. Of the top ten deadliest typhoons to ever strike the Philippines five of them hit in November or December:
 
Rank
Storm
Season
Fatalities
Month
1
"Haiphong"
1881
20,000
September
2
Haiyan
2013
6,300
November
3
Thelma
1991
5,101–8,000
November
4
Bopha
2012
1,901
Nov/Dec
5
"Angela"
1867
1,800
?
6
Winnie
2004
1,593
November
7
October 1897
1897
1,500
October
8
Ike
1984
1,363
Aug/Sep
9
Washi
2011
1,268
December
10
Trix
1952
995
October

Haiyan and Bopha are also ranked as the #1 and #2 costliest storms to ever strike the Philippines tallying $2.2 billion and $1.06 billion respectively.