9.21.2019

More Tuko Lizards

The first post I did about tuko lizards is so popular that I have decided to start posting more images of them whenever I can catch them out in the open.

Last night about 1 A.M. I went out to the kitchen and this tuko was on the outside of the window glass:


tuko lizard on window

tuko lizard on window


9.20.2019

A Non-US Address May Get Your US Bank Account Closed

A Non-US Address May Get Your US Bank Account Closed




Patriot Act Requirements


When you apply for a new bank account you might see a Patriot Act notice similar to this one:
Federal law requires that we obtain, verify and record information that identifies each person who opens an account, including joint owners. Within this application, we will ask for your name, address, date of birth and other information that will allow us to identify you. We may also ask to see your driver's license or other identifying documents. Approval of your application may be delayed pending further verification of your identity.
It's worse when you are living abroad and your US bank tells you that they must terminate your account because you do not have a US address. One bank in which I held an account, upon learning that I lived overseas, did not close my account, but told me that I would need to obtain a US mailing address soon or they would have no choice but to close the account. Not all banks are this accommodating.

Rules for US banks, as they pertain to private accounts, can be found under Section II of the USA Patriot Act Section 312 Fact Sheet:
(3) What are the general due diligence requirements of the private banking portion of the final rule?

U.S. financial institutions covered by the final rule are required to establish and maintain a due diligence program that includes policies, procedures, and controls that are reasonably designed to detect and report any known or suspected money laundering or suspicious activity conducted through or involving any private banking account that is established, maintained, administered, or managed in the United States.

Specifically, financial institutions covered by the final rule must take reasonable steps to: (1) determine the identity of all nominal and beneficial owners of the private banking account; (2) determine whether any such owner is a senior foreign political official and, thus, is subject to enhanced scrutiny (described below); (3) determine the source(s) of funds deposited into the private banking account and the purpose and expected use of the account; and (4) review the activity of the account to ensure that the activity is consistent with the information obtained about the source of funds, the stated purpose and the expected use of the account, as needed to guard against money laundering, and to report any suspicious activity.
It may be too burdensome for some banks to maintain your account under the current federal requirements, because their processes are totally focused on Continental US clientele.

Using A US Bank Credit Card Overseas


It is highly advisable to simply maintain a US address with the help of family, a friend or with a mail forwarding service. Be sure that the bank knows if you will be using a credit card overseas because they may disable the card otherwise due to their assumption that it is fraudulent activity.   

Some card companies, like Capital One, do not require you to submit any travel notification:
You don't need to notify us about your travel plans anymore thanks to the added security of your Capital One chip card. You can use your card abroad the same as you use it at home. Please check that your email and phone number are up to date in case we need to reach you. Safe travels!
This is due to the use of an EMV chip.  Any credit card that uses the EMV chip should operate in the same way. You may be able to ask your bank to upgrade your old cards to this new standard. 

Some US Banks Do Permit Accounts With A Foreign Address


If you attempt to open an HSBC checking account online you will see this notice under "what you need to apply":
"Current U.S. residential address and a U.S. residential address for the past two years ."
If you attempt to apply for an HSBC credit card you will receive this message:
"You must have a current U.S. address to apply online. Please call 1-800-975-4722 or visit your local HSBC branch to apply."
The message above seems to imply that if you call the 800 number, then you may be able to apply even though you no not have a US address, but I cannot be sure.


HSBC does have checking and credit card options for those who have only a foreign address.

They also allow one to open new accounts from outside the United States.

Citibank has a couple of options:
International Banking and
Global Executive Banking
You need to study the Marketplace Addendum for International Personal Banking and Global Executive Banking to determine if the fee structure and other factors work for you

The hands down winner, IMHO, is Pentagon Federal. For starters, the Penfed website is just plain easier to navigate and find what you need than either Citibank or  HSBC. When you go to the Penfed link you will discover they have a ton of ways that you can be eligible for membership. If all else fails, then there is that last option in the drop-down list:
"None of the above apply, but I would like to join PenFed"
If you are commercially attractive, i.e. have an income and decent credit score, then you probably have a good chance of being granted a membership.

If you have IRAs that need to be rolled over Penfed is very adept at doing that. 

Rates are low for CDs at this time, but Penfed rates are relatively competitive.

Navy Federal seems to be a bit more restrictive in its membership, which will not be an issue if you have a government/military connection, as many expats in the Philippines do. The foreign address issue will probably not be an issue either, as Navy Federal has locations and customers outside of the US. In this last point I am just making the assumption based upon what I know for a fact about Penfed. It just seems to make sense that these military/government oriented financial institutions are well used to customers with OCONUS addresses.

I have had accounts at Armed Forces Bank in the past, but I cannot say for sure if they allow non-government/military customers to have accounts with them. I presume that they do being a bank and not a credit union and I would also make the previous assumption about a foreign address not being a problem.

I had an account with Navy Federal years ago and the location that I used was not on a military base, though many are. The AFB where I opened my accounts was on a military reserve and it looks like most AFB locations are also located on military posts. This may not be a problem, because I have done business with Pentagon Federal for decades and never once have I set foot in a physical building.

The only bank that I would actually recommend from the above is Penfed. 

Penfed is an excellent credit union, in my opinion. 

The Bottom Line


Your bank may attempt to talk to you about this matter before they ever close your account, but they might just suddenly close the account without warning. If this happens you can contact the bank and if that fails, then you can contact the Treasury Department to file a complaint.

If you go to the Treasury Department website you will find a link to another government site called Help Me With My Bank. At HelpMeWithMyBank.gov you will find potentially bad news:
The bank closed my checking account and did not notify me. Is this legal?
Yes.
Generally, banks may close deposit accounts for any reason (e.g., inactivity or low usage) and without notice. Federal banking laws and regulation do not address the closing of deposit accounts.This issue is governed by the Deposit Account Agreement you received when you opened your account. Review that Agreement, and contact your bank directly for more information.  
Even though this is the case you still might be able to prevail by filing a complaint:
If you need to file a complaint against a credit union, then you you study mycreditunion.gov.

The complaint process does not look like fun. The bottom line is that to avoid Patriot Act snafus and bank account closures or threats of closure simply maintain a US address through a trusted friend/relative or via mail forwarding service. The MFS that I use is a gem and costs between $0 and $50 per year depending upon what I need to do with it. Others may run somewhat more than that for the basic address parking and whether or not you want it to receive post mail. 

FYI: it cost me $100 to ship a credit card through my MFS. Yeah, that's steep, but well worth the peace of mind in knowing that it will get to me.

Can A Foreigner Buy Land In The Philippines?

Can A Foreigner Buy Land In The Philippines?



Disclaimer


This is not legal advice. It's just me giving you a window in to my thinking as I attempt to understand what Philippine laws mean to me, as an expat in the Philippines. 

Everyone Knows That Foreigners Cannot Buy Land In The Philippines


Almost as soon as the thought of buying land in the Philippines enters your head the fact that you are barred from doing so follows either from a quick Internet search or from asking a friend, relative or acquaintance who is informed on the subject. You would be hard pressed to find a foreigner in the Philippines who is not aware of this fact. This post is my attempt to wade through the laws that establish this truth that just about everyone knows. 

The Law


Article 1491 item (6) of the Civil Code of the Philippines is the catchall exclusion barring foreigners from buying land in the Philippines:
Art. 1491. The following persons cannot acquire by purchase, even at a public or judicial auction, either in person or through the mediation of another:

    (6) Any others specially disqualified by law. (1459a)

Who Is Disqualified by Law?


Article 1491 directs us to other legal sources for the definitive answer on who is "disqualified by law" from purchasing land in the Philippines.

For that answer we look to Article XII of The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines and WHO IS QUALIFIED.

The 1987 Constitution establishes who is qualified to enter into certain land agreements with the State:
Section 2. All lands of the public domain, waters, minerals, coal, petroleum, and other mineral oils, all forces of potential energy, fisheries, forests or timber, wildlife, flora and fauna, and other natural resources are owned by the State. With the exception of agricultural lands, all other natural resources shall not be alienated. The exploration, development, and utilization of natural resources shall be under the full control and supervision of the State. The State may directly undertake such activities, or it may enter into co-production, joint venture, or production-sharing agreements with Filipino citizens, or corporations or associations at least sixty per centum of whose capital is owned by such citizens. Such agreements may be for a period not exceeding twenty-five years, renewable for not more than twenty-five years, and under such terms and conditions as may be provided by law. In cases of water rights for irrigation, water supply fisheries, or industrial uses other than the development of water power, beneficial use may be the measure and limit of the grant.
 Define the term "alienated/alienable":
Alienable

An interest in property is alienable if it may be conveyed by one individual to another individual. In general, and by common law, private property is alienable. The classical restraint on alienation was the fee tail, which required its owner to pass the property (usually land) to his heirs. A more familiar restraint is that on human organs. 
Simply put, alienate means to sell. Thus, the government of the Philippines may enter into into agreements to sell or lease agricultural land, as agricultural land is the only exception to the non-alienation clause, and it may lease any other classification of land.

And who may enter into such land agreements with the Philippine Government:
  • Filipino citizens and
  • corporations and associations that are at least 60% owned by Filipino citizens
Foreigners are excluded from who may enter into such land agreements with the Philippine Government unless they are part of a corporation or association that is at least 60% owned by Filipino citizens.

Section 3 puts a finer point upon precisely who may purchase and or lease public land:
Section 3. Lands of the public domain are classified into agricultural, forest or timber, mineral lands and national parks. Agricultural lands of the public domain may be further classified by law according to the uses to which they may be devoted. Alienable lands of the public domain shall be limited to agricultural lands. Private corporations or associations may not hold such alienable lands of the public domain except by lease, for a period not exceeding twenty-five years, renewable for not more than twenty-five years, and not to exceed one thousand hectares in area. Citizens of the Philippines may lease not more than five hundred hectares, or acquire not more than twelve hectares thereof, by purchase, homestead, or grant.
Whereas Section two was ambiguous about who could lease and who could buy land from the government, the statement from Section 3:
Private corporations or associations may not hold such alienable lands of the public domain except by lease.
establishes the fact that corporations or associations may lease, but not buy public lands.

And this statement, also from Section 3:

Citizens of the Philippines may lease not more than five hundred hectares, or acquire not more than twelve hectares thereof, by purchase, homestead, or grant.
establishes the fact that Filipino citizens may lease or buy public land within stated limitations.

The 12 hectare purchase limit in the paragraph above does not contradict the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) that came later. The 1988 CARP Law caps landholdings at 5 hectares, but the cap is specific to land classified as agricultural.

And the final answer to who may buy land in the Philippines is summed up in Section 7 of Article XII:
Section 7. Save in cases of hereditary succession, no private lands shall be transferred or conveyed except to individuals, corporations, or associations qualified to acquire or hold lands of the public domain.
Only those who are qualified to hold i.e. lease or buy public lands are also qualified to buy private lands and Sections 2 and 3 established that to be:
  • Filipino citizens and (may lease or buy)
  • corporations and associations that are at least 60% owned by Filipino citizens (can only lease public land but may buy private land)
Therefore, in light of Section 7, only Filipino citizens and corporations and associations that are at least 60% owned by Filipino citizens may buy private lands in the Philippines. If that is not you, then you cannot buy land in the Philippines.

Next Steps


Remember the statement from Section 7: "Save in cases of hereditary succession." It is a very important exception, as "can a foreigner own land" is a very different question from "can a foreigner buy land" and it is addressed in another post titled Foreigners Can Own Land In Philippines Through Hereditary Succession.

Also check out the article Can An Expat Lease Land From His/Her Filipino Spouse?


9.19.2019

Smoke Free Philippines!



I Grew Up With Tobacco


Where I grew up every boy held three things in the highest esteem: his baseball glove; his bike; and his Skoal.

I was dipping before my tenth birth day. I began dabbling in tobacco much earlier than that. By 16 I was a pack-a-day Camel smoker. At 18 I switched to Marlboro Reds. 

In my early twenties I woke up to the mind control that Big Tobacco was using on me. I kicked the habit and have hated tobacco with a passion ever since.

I now find the smell of tobacco to be sickening and it bothers me when someone thinks that they have the right to pollute my family's air when we are in some public place or on a bus. 

Philippines Has Had Anti-Tobacco Laws For Decades


RA 8749, also known as the Clean Air Act, was passed in 1999 and made it illegal to smoke inside public buildings and public transport. Even so, I cannot count how many times I have seen people smoking in jeepneys and on buses.

RA 9211 made it illegal for minors to buy tobacco products and for businesses to sell tobacco products to them. Even so, I see have young kids smoking near our place and elsewhere for years. Only a couple of months ago I was at a store when a shoe-less little girl entered and purchased a hand full of single cigarettes. She could not have been much more than five years old - if even that.

Executive Order No. 26


In 2017 Executive Order No. 26 was signed with the intent of creating a smoke free public environment nationwide.
 
Section 4(2) of EO No. 26 states that any designated smoking area must be no less than "ten (10) meters from any entrances, exits or any place where people congregate or in front of intake ducts" including but not limited to:
  • Government buildings
  • Public and private educational facilities
  • All places of work
  • Food and drink establishments
  • Hotels and other accommodation facilities
  • Public and private health facilities
  • Transportation terminals
  • Churches
  • Malls, shopping centers and retail stores
  • Entertainment establishments
  • Sports venues
Some of the specific prohibitions from Section 3:
(a) Smoking within enclosed public places conveyances, whether stationary or in motion, except in DSAs fully compliant with the requirements of Section 4 of his Order;
(b) For persons-in-charge to allow, abet or tolerate smoking in places enumerated in the preceding paragraph, outside of DSAs fully compliant with Section 4 of this Order;
(c) For any person to sell, distribute or purchase tobacco products to and from minors. It shall not be a defense for the person selling or distributing that he/she did not know or was not aware of the real age of the minor. Neither shall it be a defense that he/she did not know nor had any reason to believe that the cigarette or any other tobacco product was for the consumption of the minor to whom it was sold;
(d) For a minor to smoke, sell or buy cigarettes or any tobacco products;
Of particular interest is "b" above. Paragraph "b" makes persons-in-charge of public buildings and private businesses responsible to ask smokers to stop smoking in non designated areas and to report those who continue to violate the law:

Section 6(b)
Persons-in-charge who knowingly allow, abet, authorize or tolerate the prohibited acts in Section 3 or who otherwise fail to fulfill the duties and obligations in Section 5 hereof.
Section 5(g) requires persons-in-charge to first warn smokers to stop and if they refuse to stop then they must be reported to the nearest city/municipal Health Office, police officer or member of the Smoke Free Task force.

A Smoke Free Task force is to be created by each city/municipality. The SFTF may perform stings on businesses suspected of selling tobacco to minors and they also may roam around in plain clothes making sure that smokers are respecting non-smoking areas and citing those who break the law.

The Bottom Line


Since the passing of EO No. 26 I have been reading about and hearing about its implementation in numerous localities. At last it is being implemented in our own municipality. The rude loitering smokers billowing toxic fumes in your face when you exit any building have vanished. The kids buying cigarettes have disappeared. It is a very real and very welcome change.
 
I support the right of smokers to give themselves cancer in the privacy of their own homes, but they have no right to make the rest of us share their fate. 

Public smoking is an extremely rude and selfish act. It is like spitting on people. You might catch something from being spit upon, but we know for a fact that second-hand smoke causes cancer and kills people.

I consider the implementation of Smoke Free Municipalities to be a very positive step and a giant leap into civilization.


9.18.2019

Buying Land In The Philippines Part 3: BIR Taxes

Buying Land In The Philippines Part 3: BIR Taxes






Disclaimer


This is the third part in the series about buying land in the Philippines. As always, nothing you read here is to be taken as legal advice or professional guidance. This is our personal experience that we are sharing with you. So caveat lectorum.

BIR Capital Gains Tax 


The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) web-page regarding the Capital Gains Tax states:
The Capital Gains Tax Return (BIR Form No. 1706) shall be filed and paid within thirty (30) days following the sale. Therefore, it is important to get that tax paid ASAP after you execute notarization of the DoAS.
The BIR web-page states that it is the seller/transferor who files the Capital Gains Tax Return. You must work out with the seller/transferor the specifics of which one of you pays this tax. Many times it is the buyer who ends up paying it. In our case it was us, the buyer, who filed with the BIR and paid the taxes. That was the deal that we worked out with the seller, who is related to us.

As stated on the BIR web-page, the capital gains tax rate for real property is a flat 6%. The tax is assessed on the higher of: sale price, fair market value, or zonal value. The basis of the tax is the gross amount of the higher of those three values.

Documentary Requirements For Capital Gains Tax Filing


Two copies of each of the following:
  • Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) of Seller/s and Buyer/s
    • Those with no TIN must submit Form 1904 with the following:
      • Original/Photocopy of NSO Birth Certificate or photocopies of any two (2) government issued IDs that show name, address and birth date
      • If married attach a photocopy of the marriage contract
      • Photocopy of the Deed os Sale
  • Notarized Original Deed of Absolute Sale/Deed of Transfer
  • Certified True Copy/ies of the latest Tax Declaration
    • From Municipal Assessor’s Office in the municipality where the property is located
  • Certified True Copy/ies of Original/Transfer/Condominium Certificate/s of Title (OCT/TCT/CCT)
    • From Registry of Deeds
  • Certificate of No Improvement
    • From Municipal Assessor’s Office
  • Validated return and Original Official Receipt/Deposit Slip as proof of payment; for no payment return, copy of Acknowledgment Receipt of return filed thru eBlRForms
  • Acknowledgment receipt of proceeds of sale from the seller
  • Notarized Original Special Power of Attorney (SPA) if the person signing is not one of the parties to the Deed of Transfer 
  • Other documentation may be required.

BIR Documentary Stamp Tax


The BIR web-page regarding the Documentary Stamp Tax states:
The return shall be filed within five (5) days after the close of the month when the taxable document was made, signed, issued, accepted or transferred or upon remittance by revenue collection agents of collection from the sale of loose documentary stamps. In my understanding this means that if you execute your DoAS on the last day of the month, then you only have five days to file the Documentary Stamp Tax Declaration Return.
As stated on the BIR web-page under Tax Rates - Tax Rate Code 196, the capital gains tax rate for real property is a flat 1.5%. The tax is assessed on the higher of: sale price, fair market value, or zonal value. The basis of the tax is the gross amount of the higher of those three values.

BIR Processing And Certificate Authorizing Registration


Once you have all required documents gathered and organized proceed to the BIR. BIR will verify that your documents are in order and tell you what additional documentation is required if any. When the BIR accepts your documents for review it may take a day or a few days for them to get back to you depending upon their work load.

When the document review is complete BIR will notify you to report to their office so that you can pay the taxes due. You will then proceed to the approved bank to pay. You will present your receipts of payment to BIR and then you will wait a day or two (maybe more) for final approval.

When your case is approved with the BIR you will receive the Certificate Authorizing Registration (CAR) from the BIR. The CAR is part of the documentation that is submitted to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and to the Land Registration Authority (LRA) in the final steps required for titling.

The Bottom Line:


In addition to the Capital Gains and Documentary Stamp taxes that are paid to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) there is also annual real property tax that is assessed by the Municipal Assessor's Office. It is important visit the Municipal Assessor's Office before buying a property to check for delinquent annual real property taxes, as suggested in Part 2.

Once you execute the notarization of your DoAS You have thirty (30) days to file a Capital Gains Tax Return. A Documentary Stamp Tax Declaration Return must also be filed within five (5) days after the close of the month when the taxable document was made.

9.17.2019

Is the Philippine Senior Citizens' Discount For Foreigners Too?

Is the Philippine Senior Citizens' Discount For Foreigners Too?





This post will not go into detail about what the privileges of senior citizens are because it is pointless, as those privileges are off limits to non-citizens. 

The purpose of this article is to explain the pertinent sections of the referenced laws so that foreigners living in the Philippines do not make the mistake of violating the law in attempting to avail of benefits to which they are not entitled.

Who Is A Senior Citizen Under The Law?


Republic Act 9994 also known as the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 amends Republic Act 7432 also known as the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2003. Section 3 of RA 9994 defines the term "senior citizen" under the law:
(a) Senior citizen or elderly refers to any resident citizen of the Philippines at least sixty (60) years old;
That statement alone is very clear. It pertains to CITIZENS of the PHILIPPINES. 

You might be a senior and you might also be a citizen of some country, but if you are not a citizen of the Philippines, then you are not a senior citizen as defined by RA 9994.

Under the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 9994 (same page as RA 9994 appended to the end):

Rule III Article 5 further defines who is an eligible "senior citizen" under the act:
5.1 SENIOR CITIZEN OR ELDERLY - refers to any Filipino citizen who is a resident of the Philippines, and who is sixty (60) years old or above. It may apply to senior citizens with "dual citizenship" status provided they prove their Filipino citizenship and have at least six (6) months residency in the Philippines.
This paragraph leaves no room for interpretation. If you are not a Filipino citizen, then you are not eligible.

Who Can Legally Issue A Senior Discount Card?


Rule IV details who issues the Senior Citizens' ID/Benefit Card:
Article 6. OSCA-issued Senior Citizens' Identification Card. - For the availment of benefits and privileges under the Act and these Rules, the senior citizen, or his/her duly authorized representative, shall present as proof of eligibility, a valid and original Senior Citizens' Identification Card issued by the Head of the Office of Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) of the place where the senior citizen resides, and which shall be honored nationwide. 
In the past many foreigners may have been given discount cards by various municipal and or barangay officials. These cards are not valid. The person who issues such a card is violating the law simply by issuing the card, as the law is clear as to who gets one. This is not a discretionary matter.

Under Rule VII Penalties and other Sanctions:
Article 24. PENALTIES - Any person who refuses to honor the senior citizen card OR violates any provision of the Act and its Rules shall suffer the following penalties

Punishment For Those Who Illegally Benefit From The Senior Discount 


ANY person who violates ANY provision of RA 9994 and its IRR shall be subject to:
Section 3. Any person who abuses the privileges granted herein shall be punished with a fine of not less than fifty thousand pesos (Php 50,000.00) but not more than One hundred thousand pesos (Php 100,000.00) and imprisonment of not less than six (6) months.

Section 4. If the offender is an alien or a foreigner, he/she shall be deported immediately after service of sentence without further deportation proceedings.
Those foreigners who continue to take advantage of the senior citizen discount are violating the law. Their luck will run out eventually. Is it worth it?

Rumors About Changes To The Law Are Not Facts


There are many rumors that go around about changes to the law, but you need to stop listening to rumors and learn first hand about the active law for yourself.

Like the United States, the Philippine Legislative Branch is bicameral. Therefore, a bill must be passed by both the Senate and the House of Representatives. It must then be signed by the President. The President can veto the bill and then the House can overturn the veto by a 2/3 vote in favor. Conversely, if the President does not act on the bill, then it automatically becomes law after 30 days. 

The Legislative Process Of The Philippines


After a bill becomes law Implementing Rules and Regulations must then be promulgated.

The rumors about foreigners being eligible for senior citizens' benefits get started because someone hears about a bill that is being voted on. But no such bill has been passed to overturn RA 9994 and until that happens we are under the rules listed therein.

The Bottom Line


If you are a foreigner who is married to a person who is:
  • a Filipino citizen or 
  • they are a dual citizen of the Philippines and some other country (Rule III Article 5 of the IRR) 
and 
  • that person is at least sixty (60) years old and 
  • has at least six (6) months residency in the Philippines
then your spouse may be eligible for the senior citizen benefits. But you are not. Not yet anyhow.

Follow the law and engage in due diligence to know and understand the laws as they pertain to you as a guest living in the Philippines. It is not worth risking a fine, jail and deportation just to get a 20 peso discount at McDonald's. 

But even if no one ever gets the book thrown at them isn't it better to just do right?




9.16.2019

Dengue Fever: Round 2

My Second Experience With Dengue Fever

 



Back in June I wrote about my first experience with Dengue in January of this year.

Just barely one month later, in the middle of July, I was struck with what the doctor and I believe to have been a second bout of Dengue Fever.

It's a little tough to write about it. It was one of the worst and strangest experiences of my life. There was also a very strange positive side to it that I am not yet able to completely express.

The whole episode started out with stomach cramps on a Wednesday evening. The cramps increased in intensity until it felt like my guts would explode. I forget exactly when, but the fever came on later that night (103.5F).


I got about four hours of sleep that first night and I thought I was slightly better Thursday morning. As the day wore on and turned to evening and night my condition worsened and the fever increased to 104+F. I was taking paracetamol to keep the fever at bay, but it did not do much good.

I slept only two tortured hours Thursday night and anxiously waited for morning to arrive so I could get to the hospital.

When we arrived at the regional medical center it was full of Dengue patients. There was no room - not even in the ER. I was sent home with the admonition to come back if I got worse. I received a consolation prize of Cipro and some opiate pain killers the name of which I have forgotten. The Cipro was for a secondary infection that the doctor presumed I might have due to blood test results and the pain killers were to treat the intense back pain that had begun earlier that morning.

Friday night was another night of two hours of sleep and Saturday was another 104+ temp hell with the added bonus of some nice side effects from the Cipro setting in. The side effects included edema in my arms and legs and tingling in my extremities. My joints were also beginning to feel very strange and weak.

After a quick Internet education on Cipro I decided to give the toilet an overdose of my remaining meds.

Saturday night I did not sleep at all.

By Sunday I had the distinct feeling that death was a possibility. I don't know if it was real or just anxiety, but there was no way I was ever going to return to the hospital.

I called my family into the bedroom and basically I told my wife that I may die and here is what she needs to do.

I forget a lot of the details, but I think Sunday is when the visual and auditory hallucinations began. These lasted until I slept on Tuesday evening.

I was seeing colors and lights and sunsets and sunrises and stars and galaxies and things that defy imagination in their beauty. And I also saw wars and violence and people in the city and police and turmoil. I was flying through the astral plane through time and space and other dimensions. I even met a man in there who spoke to me, but I cannot remember what he said.

It was like the world had turned into Dali's Persistence of Memory. Everything was melting and me with it. I had this same sensation in my first Dengue experience, but this was far more intense and strangely, it was not entirely unpleasant this time.

I have for a long time had issues with the Book of Revelation and now after this second Dengue experience I can truly see how that the entire Apocalypse may have been the product of a fever or a fever may have been the vector for its delivery.

I knew when these things were happening that it was not real and I was like an observer watching a movie.

I cried out to God and a peace came over me. I knew everything would be alright. I may not survive, but that also would be alright. I did, however, make sure that God knew that I preferred to survive.

Sunday night I received an odd gift. I had red spots on my arms and legs and torso, but they did not seem too serious. Fortunately I would be able to keep an eye on them because Sunday night would be my second night of zero hours of sleep.

On Monday my red spots were gone. I had no more spots because I was one huge red spot from head to toe. The blisters covered me from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet. They were on the palms of my hands and even started to get into my mouth. After about five days the whole thing pealed off like a sunburn.

Monday night was my third night of zero hours of sleep.

This is where my memory is pretty much gone.

All I know is that sometime on Tuesday I fell asleep and woke up freezing cold and shivering under a blanket on Wednesday morning. I think I slept for 8-10 hours. I felt relatively great that day. I knew I was going to recover.

The fever had broken sometime on Tuesday, so we were waiting the fateful 24 hours to see if I developed severe Dengue, which, Thank God, never happened.

I am still suffering from memory problems and weakness. I lost ten or so pounds and my face sunk in. (still the case as of 9/16/19)

Most of that has improved. (as of 11/7/19)

The strangest effect is that it seems like I forgot how to sleep and I had to relearn it. I still struggle with it and have to make a conscious effort to sleep. (as of 11/7/19 I have no problem sleeping - it comes "like a drug")

For the first four weeks of my recovery I was extremely manic. I wanted to go everywhere and do everything even though I was still weak and sickly. I did not need much sleep and I was busy night and day. Everything was possible and my outlook was incredibly bright. 

Then in early September the crash came and all I could do was sleep and mope. I felt numb. But it was then that I recognized what was happening. It seems as if the stress of the Dengue had triggered some kind of bipolar cycle. Recognizing that, I knew that it was just a matter of time before the negativity passed. I helped it to pass by forcing myself to do yard work and to write. Still it took about three weeks to feel level again. (as of 11/7/19 most of the depression has subsided)

I know that it sounds very strange, but I am glad that I had this second experience with Dengue. It was incredible. Yes, it was terrible and exhausting and might have killed me, but the things I saw and felt were amazing. It is like I learned how to get to some secret place that few people know of. I hope I never go through anything like it ever again.