No COLA? Take the Nestea Plunge!

Many Americans living in the Philippines, who are receiving a US Social Security pension, are up in arms because no COLA in 2016. What is COLA? COLA is Cost of Living Adjustment, which means a pay raise in monthly Social Security benefits.

Of course, most everyone wants to see more money each month than they received last year. Well, I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news. It’s not happening in 2016 if your Social Security Pension is your only source of income.

However, be not afraid or be dismayed because if you are living in the Philippines, you will do just fine. You can believe that!

Now, For the Rest of the Story

I would imagine areas of the Philippines with a high concentration of foreigners have a higher inflation rate for them in particular. Filipinos are not affected if horseradish jumps from P87 to P300 per jar because they don’t buy it in the first place.

DTI, Dept of Trade and Industry, maintains the latest information on their website concerning the prices of commodities that Filipinos buy. You won’t find Morehouse Mustard on that list. Chicken, pork, tilapia, bangus, rice, cooking oil are examples of commodities listed.

Skoal and Copenhagen jumped in price from P249 per can to P299 per can and then to P349 per can within one year at SM. Timber Wolf jumped in price from P200 to P250 to P300 per can during the same period. So called Sin Tax on imported tobacco products, I was told. Local tobacco products did not increase in price that much but they did increase.

It is true that people can create their own COLA by cutting out the waste and curtailing impulsive buying. It can be done without lowering the quality of one’s life or taking away their enjoyments in life. Some things are just psych ops anyway. Those who think Smucker’s is the only quality jam and preserves in the Philippines could give Clara Ole products a whirl. They may be surprised.

Locally Sourced Food Products

Clara Ole has Orange Marmalade, Strawberry Jam, Pineapple Jam, Mango Jam, Pineapple and Mango Jam, Calamansi Jelly and several others. I enjoy all these products and I don’t feel that I am Skid Row Joe because I don’t buy Smucker’s.

Over the past 6 years, trying local food products that are popular in the USA has been part of the adventure for me. Fita Crackers vs Ritz, Magnolia Cheezee Spread vs Cheese Whiz, Clara Ole Salad Dressing vs Wishbone, Ram and Fiesta Italian Spaghetti Sauce vs Ragu and Prego Spaghetti Sauce. These are just a few examples. If I like the local version I buy it. If I don’t like it, I don’t buy it. I still prefer Morehouse and French’s Mustard and an original Louisiana Hot Sauce to any local mustard or hot sauce.

A Scandinavian Chef in Bacolod introduced me to the new version of Beer na Beer several years back and I agree that it tastes better than San Miguel Pilsen. Beer na Beer is also a Pale Pilsen. The Chef serves Beer na Beer in his home restaurant. It is part of the full courses, which are indeed gourmet. I save P219 per case by buying Beer na Beer and I seriously enjoy it much better.

If I did not receive a COLA, I would just adjust and enjoy Iced Nestea Plunge or a Mango Shake. Those are good as well. Life will still be Happy.

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

~ Gary ~