An Expedition to Sipalay: Day One

We had never spent any time in Sipalay, Negros Occidental, so last weekend, 42 of us loaded up in a van and in 2 SUVs, heading south. We departed at 330am. Everyone was excited!

We made a stop at Ella’s Famous Coffee Shop in Valldolid for a cup of hot native coffee. By the time we reached Kabankalan, the half way point in our journey, it was time for a CR/Restroom break. In short order, it was time to saddle up and continue south!

There is a stretch of road in the mountains, between Kabankalan and Sipalay, which reminds me of the Pacific Coast Highway in California. As you look down to your right, you can view the sea. Excellent view from up on high of the sea down below.

Tired on Arrival

Yes, I was! We checked in the Jamont Hotel in Sipalay, which I consider a nice hotel. Not a 5 Star but a Good Star! We ordered a pizza in the hotel restaurant, I had a beer and the planners of our group met to map out our day and evening. After that, I was ready for a much needed afternoon nap. I was to meet an expat from UK, a fellow Living in the Philippines3 Group Member, and his lovely lady at 3pm at the hotel.

Our son was enjoying swimming in the hotel pool. My wife enjoyed talking to the others in our Expedition to Sipalay.

I woke up from my afternoon nap at 2pm and I was ready for Merienda. I ordered Chicken and Pork Adobo from the hotel restaurant. It was much better than the pizza!

I greatly enjoyed talking to my new friend, my fellow Living in the Philippines3 Group Member. My wife greatly enjoyed talking to her new friend, his lovely lady. Time flies when you are having a good time and after a couple of hours of talking, our new friends had to leave, as they had other things planned for the evening.

The Nightlife is a Good Life!

First stop was at Mixed Food Restaurant in the Sipalay Waterfront area. It is operated by a French National and you can easily find it by the mall replica of the Eiffel Tower out front, made of bamboo. I ordered the American Hamburger and it was Triple Stack! It was a great burger, to say the least. The sound system across the way was warming up and we were told that a live band would perform around 930pm. It sounded good to us!

We went back to the Jamont Hotel and joined our friends for a beachfront cook out. Fish, octopus and chicken were the fare. Very gooda!

Before we knew it, time to go listen to the live band was upon us.

I really enjoyed the band. It was one of the better bands I have listened to in the Philippines! The male lead singer also played the saxophone. The female vocalist was also very good. They really energized the crowd of several hundred people at the waterfront. Great Entertainers, as many Filipinos are. We were happy!

It’s a Good Night For Singing After Midnight

We went to Topaz Bar in the same area of the waterfront and sang karaoke until about 4am. There were about 12 of us singing. I found many good songs on the playlist of Topaz. “Load Out/Stay” by Jackson Browne is one song not commonly found in karaoke bars in the Philippines but Topaz had it. Of course, I had to sing it.

Several in our group of Blues Travelers live in Manila and we do not often get to spend time with them. Singing together was a great way to spend time with them. That’s exactly what we did!

We were the first to come and the last to leave. We could have sang even longer but we had a trip planned, after sleeping, to Sugar Beach.

My article is Day One of our Expedition to Sipalay. My Day Two article will soon follow. Look for it!

In the meantime, I hope to see you one day, somewhere…all around Bacolod.

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

The Power of Philippines Education

I am a very happy Daddy from Alabamy because our son’s education is in the Philippines and not in America.

We could not afford to send our son to a private school in Florida but we can very easily afford his attending a private Christian school in Bacolod. We do not force our son to attend a Christan school but he wants to attend a Christian school. He also enjoys going to Sunday School every Sunday. He doesn’t like to miss it.

In America, public schools have so many problems. The classrooms are overcrowded. Almost 1/4 of American students are living in poverty and they are very unhappy and at times, unstable. Many bring their problems and issues to school with them and they are a powder keg.

Bullying and Behavior

Another large problem in American schools is Bullying. This is a past time of students from all the socio-economic levels, even the affluent students. Bullying! In the Philippines, there is Zero Tolerance for Bullies. Most schools expel such students. However, the DepEd encourages parents to report bullies to them if the school Admin has not stopped it.

The attitude and behaviors of many American students have gotten worse since I last lived in Florida and that was 16 years ago. Apathy, disrespect for teachers, tardiness and absenteeism are all on the rise in American public schools.

Learning Values and Good Citizenship

Christian Values and Love of Country are alive and well in Philippine Schools, even in the public schools here. Those have long been destroyed by Liberals and removed from Schools in America. In our son’s school in Bacolod, there is Prayer, the National Anthem is played and the Pledge of Allegiance is done just like when I was in elementary school in America in the 1960s.

Drugs, Gangs and Guns! Our son is not threatened in schools in the Philippines like he would be in the USA. He knows about these but he is never exposed to them in schools of our area of the Philippines.

Recess and PE time has decreased in American schools. Students have less break time and time for exercise. Despite guidelines, school lunches often promote poor health and obesity. My wife and I ensure our son has a nutritional lunch everyday while in school. There is not a school cafeteria but my wife takes our son’s lunch to him. Hot and nutritional food. Food he likes and not with limited choices for lunch.

Filipinos will never allow to happen in the Philippines as what has happened in the USA. Their love of God and Love of Country will never be removed by a Liberal Movement.

Our son is a dual citizen of the USA and the Philippines. He loves the Philippines, enjoys living here and he is also the Top Honor Student in his Class. Yes, every year. We are so proud of him.

I hope to see you one day, somewhere…all around Bacolod.

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan in the Philippines

The big news of the day is the passing of Nancy Reagan at age 94. It is sad but I am happy that Nancy finally rejoined Ronnie, who she missed every moment since he passed away. I think it is well known about the strong love that Ronnie and Nancy had for each other. Nancy was also the President’s closet adviser.

In 1969, then Governor of California Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan visited Manila, as he admired the fight against Communism of then President Marcos. Imelda Marcos threw parties for the Reagan’s. The 2 couples became close friends for many years. It is reported that Nancy often spoke to Imelda on the phone to get an update of the situation in the Philippines, after the terrible assassination of Ninoy Aquino.

Fast forward to 1984. President Reagan conceded to put pressure on Marcos to reform his regime in the Philippines, which had become a powder keg.

Once EDSA was underway in 1986, President Reagan offered Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos to go to America. Imelda reportedly started singing, “New York, New York,” but they actually went into exile in Hawaii. A much better choice, in my opinion. Marcos was told in Feb, 1986, “I think you should cut and cut cleanly. I think the time has come.” The Reagan Admin assisted the Marcos entourage of 60 to go to Hawaii. The rest is history.

I remember these events like they were yesterday. In 1986, I was moving to the Philippines and I wanted to make sure that it would be safe for me. My eyes were on the Philippines, as daily events unfolded. I made it and lived in Manila for one year, until 1987.

A bit of of history and the role the late Nancy Regan and President Ronald Reagan played in the Philippines.

I hope to see you one day, somewhere…all around Bacolod.

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~

Filipinas in the Philippines

The days of so called mail order brides have long been over. You can forget about that and I never liked that term, as it is degrading to women in the Philippines. Most women in the Philippines have never been for sale and I know. I have 30 years experience in the Philippines.

Women in the Philippines should not be viewed as being your slave, your servant or someone who will do everything you tell them. This is not reality and it is against the law. Abuse of Human Rights is a crime.

The Times, They Are a Changing

Many of the younger women in the Philippines cities are not the same as my Filipina friends when I first lived in the Philippines in 1986. They are not the same as when I lived here in 2000 and they are not the same as when I visited every year in the 1990s and leading up to when we moved here in 2009. I have seen a big change during the last 7 years. What the old GIs tell you about women in the Philippines is not true today. Times have changed and so have many women. Raise your hands and praise the women!

For one, we see more younger women in the Philippines with colored blonde, brown or red hair. Have seen several with green, purple, blue or pink colored hair! We see many more tattoos on younger women. We also see many more younger women drinking Red Horse or San Mig Light in public. We see many more younger women here smoking in public. We can say, this is progressive!

There are many call centers in Bacolod City, which is a mid-size city. It seems many younger women and men, in our area, head to the resto bars once they get off work in the morning hours.

I am not condemning anyone, however, I am relating what I see in our area. Also in Cebu City. Not just isolated incidents but most all the time. The older women in the Philippines, those age 30 and above, seem to be more Conservative. At least in public. You cannot paint all women in the Philippines with the same brush.

Social Changes

As I related, many of the younger Filipinas are undergoing social changes.

I will not stereotype all women in the Philippines but there is a generalization, which is true for many, age 30 and above. Maybe for some still in their 20s as well, depending on their location in the islands and their life experiences. This is about the Virtues and Values of most women in the Philippines and their role in Filipino Culture.

I think many foreign men have problems with a Filipina wife because they want to force their Culture upon them and they are not willing to embrace their wife’s Culture as well. It has to be a 2 way street, in my opinion, and this has worked for my wife and I. Compromise, give and take. Your way or the highway does not work in the Philippines. Once you are in the Philippines, you are in your wife’s country!

Regardless of the the Macho Man images among men, women run the family unit and control the finances. I fully accept this and my wife really does well with it all. Yes, my wife is from the Philippines. The family is the main unit in the community and the woman ultimately holds the power, even if behind the scenes. They have considerable authority. The Authority always wins! Like Southern Women and I am from the South, Sweet Home Alabama, Filipinas usually get their way. However, there is a greater equality among men and women in the Philippines in the work force and in politics than in most Asian countries.

Annulment and divorce are seen by many as destructive to the family and this is why it is not so easy in the Philippines to get an annulment and divorce does not exist.

Unlike in China, children who are girls are viewed by most as important and they are cherished as much as boys. Sometimes, even more so. As many of us know, there have been 2 Women Presidents in the Philippines and there may well be a 3rd in 2016. We shall see in May.

The Evil That Men Do

There is still a human trafficking problem in the Philippines and while it has not been wiped out, there is a war against it. What is sad is that some of their own country folk are exploiting women and girls. Prostitution, sex slaves, forced work in cyber sex dens and other degrading terror. It is a form of terrorism that we often do not read about. These recruiters and handlers prey upon the poor women and girls and in the Philippines. Sometimes, even their own relatives! And you can believe that! This does not just happen in the Philippines but also in many countries. I think there is a special place in Hell for such people.

International Filipinas

Filipinas not living in the Philippines and those who were born and raised in other countries have some different aspects about their roles in society. Many Filipinas have lived and worked abroad a number of years. My wife lived and worked abroad in 3 different countries for almost 15 years, so she has a broader perspective in her views than many women who have lived all their lives in the Philippines. There is a difference but they are still Filipinas. Praise well deserved to all of them.

I’ve had Filipina friends in 3 different countries and while there were differences, they all still had the same basic core Values and Virtues.

All Around Bacolod is not a dating site and we do not have lists of women in the Philippines, who are looking for foreigners. Please do not ask.

I will be honest. Many foreigners come to the Philippines in hopes of meeting their lifetime partner. Others come here with less honorable intentions. It can be a slippery slope. To all Filipinas, please be careful! All foreigners are not gentlemen and honorable. Beware!

I hope to see you somewhere, one day…all around Bacolod.

Your Amigo,

~ Gary ~