The Avengers (and Loud Talkers) Invade the Philippines!

The Avengers (and Loud Talkers) Invade the Philippines!

“Coming soon! Coming soon!” I had been seeing those posters heralding the opening of “The Avengers” at our local cinema at SM City in Iloilo for months. As a self-confessed comic book geek as a kid and well into my 30’s, I was like a spoiled kid at Christmas waiting to open my presents. But finally the big day arrived.  Caught the shuttle to the mall from our subdivision, along with my asawa and two newcomers to our home, niece Shina, 14, and her brother, our nephew, Sharwin, 12, to catch the flick this past Friday.

The Avengers

Five tickets, Popcorn and drinks for all. The total cost was under 20 US Dollars. Not a bad deal. “The Avengers” was showing on seven out of the eight screens at the SM Iloilo Cinema. 

Had to move seats right away as my asawa insisted on placing us in front of a couple that was talking non-stop. The previews had not even started yet, but she moved us further down the row, knowing I would say something if the chatter continued into the movie. She was right.

The movie was just about ready to begin when a teen-aged couple, girl and guy, sat behind us. They began talking right away. I gave them five minutes. I turned around and  said “Excuse me.” The young Filipina leaned over as I firmly said: “Are you two going to talk during the whole movie?” They sat back in their seats. I never heard one more word from them during the rest of the show.

The cinema was about one-quarter full. That was a good crowd. We could usually count the moviegoers on previous trips to the cinema on one paw. I knew that there would be some additional noise with the extra patrons, but after the initial chit-chat outburst that I “nipped in the bud,” the rest of the movie was enjoyed in relative peace and quiet.

The first half of the movie dragged on for me. The back story was being set up for the major players, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and The Hulk. I already knew their biographies backwards and forwards.

But the last half, especially the battle scenes with some invading forces that Thor’s evil adopted brother, Loki, had made a pact with,  were some of the best action scenes of any movie I’ve ever seen. The shots featuring The Hulk were simply outstanding.

Minor complaints? Captain America’s helmet looked like crap. They took his wings off and just painted them on the side of his helmet. Cheesy.

Aslo, too much emphasis on what I consider a minor character, The Black Widow.  I would have preferred The Scarlet Witch, who had a much sexier costume than the Widow (see the following image.) 

The Scarlet Witch

(The Scarlet Witch in swimsuit. Artwork by Adam Hughes. Marvel Swimsuit Issue. © Marvel Comics, All Rights Reserved.)

Postives? The tremendous action scenes mentioned earlier. An outstanding performance by Clark Gregg who played Agent  Phil Coulson for S.H.I.E.L.D,  a government agency led by Nick Fury that put together the “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” team (at least in this movie version, True Believer.) And watching The Hulk kick butt was extremely cool. 

Loved the movie. A great way to spend an afternoon in the Philippines out of the blistering heat and oppressive humidity. Whew! One more month of the really hot weather and hopefully the rainy season will commence. In the meantime, give me more action flicks. And buttered popcorn washed down with a big cup of Coke. And all at extremely affordable prices. You can’t beat it!

82 thoughts on “The Avengers (and Loud Talkers) Invade the Philippines!

  1. Dave, you couldn’t get one movie ticket and a large drink for $20 here in the states. I love the cost comparisons between here and there and sometimes I find myself buying something just for the sake of buying it cheaply. Like two haircuts (.94 cents each) in two weeks! Here I will usually go months between trims ($12-15 plus tip). We took an entire crowd (15 people) to Jollybee’s for lunch AND desert one day and the bill was a whopping $27.00. Still can’t get over the .61 cent chocolate sundaes!

    • You gotta love the Philippines, Randy. Even with a peso rate that has dropped from 49 to the USD when we arrived in July 2009 to near 42 today, it’s still a lot cheaper than living in the States. I’m glad you stopped by the fat red bee’s place. The Champ Burger’s not bad if you ask them to hold the sweet mayo.

  2. Dave,

    I’m a big fan of these superheroes! I’m waiting for this movie to be released via torrent sites (lol) coz there’s no cinema where I reside. BTW, I dunno if you’re a fan of Batman but the Dark Knight will rise this coming July, can’t wait for that. Also, Spidey is in the offing plus this coming August Bourne Legacy will be shown which was almost entirely shot in Manila and Palawan. Can’t wait to see how the director shot the awesome views in Palawan though :). BTW, under 20 USD is less than a thousand pesos right? But in Manila, a ticket will cost you around 300 per person in SM Cinemas or 500 pesos in high-class cinemas like in Shangrila Mall in Mandaluyong, so it looks like it’s cheaper in Ilo-Ilo even for entertainment (sigh)…

    • I’m a HUGE fan of the Dark Knight, Jonathan. Been following him since the early 60’s, many, many decades ago. In my opinion, this current version of Batman with Christian Bale is the BEST. George Clooney as the Caped Crusader was a joke and almost killed the franchise. You can bet I’ll be catching the next and last episode of this current reincarnation.

      Spidey? I’ll probably pass. Don’t know why they see the need to re-start the whole series again from the beginning. I love the Bourne Legacy and will be catching that flick also.

      300 or 500 pesos? Man, that’s robbery! The 3-D version at Iloilo costs P250, too rich for my blood, plus the 3-D glasses makes my asawa dizzy. The cinema here usually costs P110-P125. I handed the ticket cashier P500 and bought four tickets, no student discount for our niece and nephew, and got change back. Popcorn and drinks were around another 350 pesos. Under 20 US Dollars my friend. Can’t beat it. 😀

  3. Dave,
    Can’t beat that deal. Like Randy says. Ticket and drink will cost you almost that amount. Looking forward to the Bourne Legacy, especially since it was filmed in the Philippines. I have that problem with teenagers talking during the movie here all the time. Had to get security one time because they wouldn’t stop talking and got disrespectful with me. Needless to say they did not get to watch the movie lol. Have a nice day.

    • Yeah, PapaDuck, if I would have tried to quiet some teenagers back in the States all I would have gotten was just a lot of flack. Still a lot of respect for the seniors in the Philippines, and I certainly fit in that category. Good to hear that the youthful offenders at your cinema did not get to watch the movie. Good for you. 😀

    • PapaD – Two of the main reasons we don’t attend the cinema these days; the costs and rude noisey people. With our at home large flat screen and surround sound system, microwave popcorn, and Redbox movie rentals ($1.00), we just enjoy staying at home where we can also take as many intermissions as we desire. The only drawback being we have to wait until movies are released on DVD.

      • Two good reasons not to go the the cinema anymore, Randy. I miss our 60″ Sony that we left behind in the States. The 24″ model we have now just doesn’t cut it. Size DOES matter. Hopefully, we’ll be able to upgrade for a bigger set when we build our new house two years or so from now. By that time they’ll have a TV that will wash your clothes and dishes for you. 😀

      • Randy,
        Your right on that. I use Redbox also now too. you
        have to wait till they come on DVD, but thats alright, saves quite a bit of money. It also helped with the demise of Blockbuster and other rental stores. Take care.

  4. hi dave,another reason i hated dipolog city is they didnt have a movie theatre and buying the pirated movies from the street vendors are so hard to watch when during the movie you actually see people walking by the screen to go get popcorn.

    I went to the movie here in the states yesterday and a woman in front of me was with a guy and she was bored so she took her i phone and started playing with it and the i phone screen was so bright it was like a spotlight in my eyes so i told her her phone was bothering me so she put it away.I always see during the movie people texting and then you get the talkers who are trying to figure out the movie as its going and then the crying babies.
    I always open my mouth and say something because it seems no one else has the guts to stand up to these jerks.

    • That’s one reason, the jerks, along with the costs, that I stopped going to the movies back in the States, Scott b. That said, we did take the 35-minute drive to Litchfield, Illinois, to go to the Sky View Drive-In on Old Route 99. It opened in 1950, and while the movie prices doubled from one to two dollars a person, it was still a great bargain and lots of fun. Didn’t have to worry about the talkers and crying babies as much and all the other morons. I have seen folks at the cinema in the Philippines occasionally checking their cell phone, but they usually quickly turn it off. You’ll have to check out the cinema at SM City or Robinsons when you get here.

  5. i forgot to mention the seat kickers and the people whom bring in their own bag of potato chips and every time they put their hand in the bag you hear the crinkling sound of the bag and then when they start crunching down on the doritos it sounds like surround sound.
    Then you get the real emotional ones whom break out the tissues and start blowing their noses and wiping tears,i havnt cried at a movie but do remember getting choked up a couple times,i hate showing my soft side at a movie theatre.

    • I won’t tolerate the seat kickers, Scott B. Haven’t run into the potato chip/Dorito problem here in the Philippines yet. Last time I got misty-eyed at a movie was during Forrest Gump. I didn’t cry out loud like some sissy boy, though. My asawa will occasionally cry during a movie, but she keeps it low-key and never sobs out loud and embarrasses me. 😀

  6. You didn’t see “The Hunger Games?” Dave I am not sure I even know you. 😛

    As for telling the couple to shut up, well it’s been nice to know you Dave. It is not a matter of “IF” but “WHEN” someone take you outside and correct your manners.

    • Nope, don’t know a thing about “The Hunger Games,” Gary. I passed on it.

      Now, I did not actually use the phrase “shut up” to the couple. And as I’ve told my asawa, if someone does not care for the way I correct their rude behavior, whether it be trying to jump in line in front of me somewhere or talking during a movie, feel free to address me any time. I’ve never had anyone protest in return. I doubt they would. If so, bring it on.

  7. Let me get this right….you saw “The Avengers” but not “The Hunger Games?” What is your name again stranger? 🙂

    Did see on TV a little 4′ 10″ lady use a wooden stick as a weapon. Good grief she was fast and a person wouldn’t even know she had the stick until it was too late.

    As for the loud talkers just fake a fart and then tell your wife how sick you are, they will move!!!! 😀

      • I’m with you, Gary, I’m staying out of Manila, too. Now that is ONE place where I do exercise extreme caution and carefully choose my words if upset. Only person that got pissed off at me there was a middle-aged who tried to jump in line in front of everyone at a Hypermarket. After I asked her why she felt she was more important than anyone else and would cut in line in front of 15 people, she just gave me “the look.” Have to pick your battles carefully. 😀

    • Gary, I NEVER heard of “The Hunger Games” until the movie came out. Any thing that has “hunger” in the title scares me.

      Nope, didn’t see the little 4’10” lady, but I’m getting some bad vibes. My ex-wife back in the States was 4’10” “tall” and threw my clothes out in the front yard after nine months of marriage. At least she packed them in garbage bags. 😀

      “Fake” farts? Who has to fake them? Just ask my asawa. 😀

  8. dave, just a question, if treated out your wife and your nieces/nephews to the movies and some popcorn and soda, how much would the estimated cost be? Sorry for asking, I really just have no idea how it is in the states.

    • 25.00 US Dollars for tickets, Kaltehitze (adults, 7.50, children 5.00) Those are the most current prices for the cinemas in Springfield, Illinois, where we used to live. At least 35 US Dollars for our four sodas, four popcorns, and the Mr. Donut “Twister” that came with one combo. I’m just estimating on the price, to be honest, I can’t lock in a specific price for our former location. Total cost in US, approx. 55.00 or 2,326 pesos, more than double what it cost us at SM Cinema, which rivals any cinema I’ve been to in America.

      The Wall Street Journal says movie theaters make a lot of profit from concessions, with one estimate around 85 percent.

  9. kaitehitz, consider the following:
    movie: 150-300 php (regular, 2D and 3D)
    popcorn: 60 php
    soda: 30 php
    total for one adult= 240-390 est (240/42.50= $5.64)

    Hence, you get by on the low end for $ 5.64. Not bad, but in my experience in Manila (where I live) its best if you take your own food into the theatre. The Philippines are great when it comes to bringing in outside food. Hell, one time I ordered a pizza and had it delivered! You can save a lot more money if you shop at a regular grocery store and buy your own cokes and snacks instead of purchasing those products from vendors that are camped around the theatre. In Glorietta 4 in Makati they have a Burger King, Wendy’s and Dairy Queen (they get crazy busy) but the prices are high sometimes just as high or higher than the states! That’s why you could make sandwiches at home and bring your own sodas and save a bunch of money. The Philippines are still cheap on the price of the movie, however. One month I splurged and went to a “Platinum” theatre in Quezon for 350 php. For this you get a recliner (only 20 seats in the whole theatre), a personal table (to put your food on-Taco Bell for me), and free popcorn and coke (the popcorn is a little stale and the coke is watered down)! It’s kinda nice to be treated like royalty and see how the other half lives. In Pasay at Newport Cinema, they have a platinum theatre and the price is 520 php, but you get unlimited popcorn, coke and a personal butler!!!! Here’s a great link that has show times and theatres around NCR (National Capital Region or Metro Manila) http://www.clickthecity.com/

    • Hi, Tom, interesting info, thanks! I’ve never heard of those Platinum cinemas, but they sound like a cool place to check out for one time, just for the experience. Personal butler! Only in the Philippines!

  10. Dave,
    I have to say that I have experienced that also, but the great thing about the Philippines are the candor of the folks here. In the states, people would talk back at you or ignore you but its been my experience that the people here are very polite. For example, the pinoys love their videoke! ONe night, my neighbors got carried away well past 12 am. I walked over to some guys drinking on the streets and asked if they knew the neighbor and they said yes and asked me why. I told them the reason and they said they would talk to him. Five minutes later, silence! That’s why I love the Filipinos! MOst of them are polite, friendly and funny. The Americans could learn a lot from them, including myself.

    • You’re exactly right, Tom. Most Filipinos are polite and friendly. Back in the States, I would have gotten a far different response I’m sure. Loved your story about the loud neighbors singing. One of my expat friends had a problem with a local church that felt it necessary to broadcast their services over the PA system to everyone in the town. He wrote a letter to his local barangay captain. The church stopped the broadcasts, and the barangay captain personally came over to his house to let him know the problem was taken care of. You gotta love the Philippines!

  11. I have been ready for 35 to 1 for a long time now. All of this is being done by the FED back in the States. They want to dollar to decline even more. I am not sure I understand why. Get ready for things to get worst. The Philippines is no longer the cheap place to live.

    • I’ve read similar info about this, too, Gary. Certainly not as cheap to live here, that’s for sure. Rising inflation in the Philippines and our government’s asinine economic policies are requiring some belt-tightening for us.

    • Gary, I’m sure one reason is to combat the Chinese in floating their currency. A weaker dollar hurts the Chinese and will send manufacturing away (from China), which is already happening. If the Fed keeps screwing around though, the Almighty Dollar may lose its standing as world currency. Then we are all screwed!

    • Gary, the Federal Reserve has 2 main mandates, low inflation and full employment. Right now inflation isn’t appearing in the “official” numbers so they are concentrating on full employment and will keep lowering the value of the US dollar in order to create more jobs from increasing exports and lowering imports. If the dollar keeps declining, you can always use it like this:


      • The problem as I see it Lance is as we hurt Chinese manufacturing in hopes of shifting the manufacturing base elsewhere, it is moving to places with cheaper labor costs. Until the U.S. can compete with these low labor costs on a global basis, the U.S. will never see a return to manufacturing dominance. All the while we fight wars in the interest of protecting the dollar as the world currency. We will have to sacrifice the dollar as the world currency if we wish to get our jobs back, but by that time, America will be lost forever. We are destined to become a food producing and service providing nation. Want your yard mowed anyone?

        • I don’t understand the value of the dollar with all of the problems in Europe. Mr Bernanke and the Fed have backed off on Quantative Easy until after the election. When QE3 is announced, I will be visiting my congress representatives in person instead of emailing them. Wall Streets and the Banks are the only one’s benefiting from the Fed policies. Everyone else is getting screwed because jobs are definitely not be created. It’s all smoke and mirror if you think inflation is under control also.

        • Well, Randy, with the huge pay increase that the Philippine government has just authorized for workers in Central Mindanao, P6-P10 pesos, I’m sure that will be resulting in the loss of some jobs here. Oh, by the way, did I mention that’s P6-P10 a DAY? 14¢ to 23¢

          America? On the ropes. Will our nation recover? Hopefully, but it’s not going to be pretty.

        • Hi Randy. It is only the lower-skilled manufacturing that is moving from China to lower cost countries like Vietnam. As costs of manufacturing in China rise (wages, fuel, illegal copying of products), higher-skilled manufacturing is actually starting to move back to the USA, because American workers are 4 times as productive as Chinese workers.

          Barring some type of calamity, I think it is quite possible that the U.S. will one day return to being the world’s biggest manufacturer (by value, not quantity) as American companies start re-shoring their operations and China’s population of workers shrinks due to it’s one-child policy. Also, in 2011 the USA became a net EXporter of fuel for the first time since 1949, which will eventually allow it to become less engaged in the Middle East.


          I disagree that the USA will eventually become just a food producing and service providing nation of yard mowers, it will most likely remain one of the world’s largest manufacturers, especially further out into the future when nanotechnology causes manufacturing to move as close to it’s market as possible. Between now and then though, I expect the US dollar to fall further as the US Federal Reserve tries to maximize employment by increasing exports and decreasing imports, and then the US dollar will rise again as inflation increases and the Fed raises interest rates.

          • I sure hope your take on this mess is more accurate than my gut instinct tells me. As I sit here staring at my old college economics book on the shelf, I think maybe I should read it again, lol. I would hate to wind up living in a third world country with a pension that eventually holds no value.

          • Hi Randy. Just to clarify, I agree the overall trend for the US dollar will be downwards for quite some time and when it rises again it might never get back to it’s high against the peso a few years ago. Depends on things like govt budget/trade deficit, productivity, population growth, etc. As to your pension, I believe the US govt old-age entitlements are scheduled to run out of money in the not too distant future. I’m lucky that the Canadian old-age entitlements are supposed to be fiscally sound. I like your university. Maybe you can get a second degree in Women’s Studies once you move to the Philippines. 😉

            • Lance, hopefully our Social Security won’t run out until I get a chance to at least START collecting (1 year, 10 months, but who’s counting) it. After contributing into it for over 40 years, I would not be too pleased to learn that the government would try to screw me and not pay me what I’m due, along with millions of other seniors. Things would get ugly pretty quick back home.

          • Dave, I don’t think the US govt will let Social Security run out of money, it would be political suicide. They have 3 options to fund it, either increase taxes, lower spending, or under-report inflation (in order to pay out less in real terms). The US and other govts have been under-reporting inflation for a number of years now, so they will likely continue to, there are lots of ways to disguise inflation. You’re pretty much guaranteed to get your Social Security, except that it will be worth less every year in real terms.
            In Canada, the govt recently announced they will be raising the Old Age Security start age from 65 to 67 (this goes to all seniors and is paid out of general tax revenue). Canadians can still start collecting their Canada Pension Plan at age 60 (with penalty), but this is only paid to people that worked and is fully funded for the foreseeable future.

            • Thanks, Lance. I think you guys might have a better set-up in Canada. My French Canadian friend that lives on our island will soon collect two pensions from the Government (he’s turning 65 this month and is already collecting a pension.) I hope the United States can get things straightened out, because letting Social Security would INDEED be political suicide. Thanks for your input on this. When it comes to economics, I’m mainly concerned with how much a bottle of Pale Pilsen costs at whatever talabahan I’m at. 😀

  12. One of the reasons is if you debase the dollar it makes it stronger internationally. For example, the entire world has to buy oil in dollars. So, if the dollar is low other countries will stay with the dollar, because it’s beneficial for them. However, an alliance between (BRICS) Brazil, India, China, Russia and South Africa are trying to form a gold backed currency. Recently, China has been buying huge amounts of gold because they know the dollar is a fiat currency, and India is now, along with China, buying their oil from Iran in gold. Here’s a link that explains it better than me http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petrodollar_warfare.

    Check out Max Keiser on RT (youtube it) The guy, along with others, is telling people to jump from the dollar.

    • Checked out the link, Tom, thanks. Never heard of Max Keiser before, but I’m looking at some of his videos. What’s going on with the dollar gives me even more reason to emphasize to anyone planning a move to the Philippines is to come over with some sort of fixed income. Don’t think you’ll come here and find a job or open a business. Neither is easy to do here, let alone the United States anymore. Best to be prepared, and the more info I have, the better off I am. At least that’s what I think. Guess I could bury my head in the sand on some local beach, but that’s NOT a very smart course of action.

  13. Dave
    Personally i wouldn’t worry at all about the exchange rate. People have been saying that for along time. I’t’s been pretty steady for quite awhile now and it would really hurt the Philippine exports. Also they’ve been saying $5.00 oil also. Every year it goes up to $4.00 than drops down. take care

    • You’re right, PapaDuck. I really don’t give it a lot of thought and only check it when I’m ready to receive our funds from the State. We’re managing. It’s sure nothing worth losing sleep about. I get up every morning between 3-4 am as it is. 😀

  14. Seriously though guys, is it possible that in the near future there will be no US pensions? A lot of you are obviously living in PI on US pensions of one form or another, but has anyone thought that the pensions might dry up, say in 10 to 15 year’s time? Is this possible?

  15. Many state pensions are already in trouble but Social Security is good as it is now until the mid 2030’s. The pensions will be but will change. Payments will be much lower.

    • I’m hoping that Social Security will still be around in February of 2014 when I turn 62, Gary. I figure with a presidential election this year no one’s going to mess with it. My income will more than double when it kicks in. Though there’s talk of messing with Medicare, I’m counting on the Social Security pension still being around.

  16. I cannot see the Establishment messing around with SS (Social Security), at least not yet. However, it as of now just a big Ponzi Scheme. The younger generation is just paying for the older generation. On top of that, I seriously think that once the Affordable Care Act hits full production (circa 2014), and if America is still in Afghanistan, possibly Iran, our country will be on crawling in the world with progress. Personally I do not even want to live in my country any more. We have NDAA, CISPA (close to passage), Patriot Act, check point stops by Homeland Security, FEMA camps. All our liberties are evaporating in the name of “terrorism.” ITs just insane! And the main stream media does not talk about any of it! Do I sound negative? Yes, but we need to get involved with our government.

    • Tom, I have more freedom in the Philippines than I EVER had in my 57 years of living in the States. No one tells me if I can burn trash in my backyard or not, no one tells me to wear a seat belt, no one (but my asawa) cares how many bottles of San Miguel Pale Pilsen I drink when we go out (and always take a jeepney or taxi home), and I don’t have to be politically correct. Yep, there might be laws in the Philippines, but the ENFORCEMENT of those laws is an entirely different matter altogether.

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