Here's my first guest post I've published since the days of Bingo, the One-Year-Old-Filipino Blogger. However, unlike Bingo, today's guest writer, John Jackson, a Texan in the Philippines, is a real person. He's been one of my top commentators for months, and he has a website that I think you would enjoy visiting. John gives you another unique perspective of living in the Philippines from the eyes of an American expat. I want to thank John for this guest post and welcome anyone that would like to share their experiences about living in the Philippines to submit a guest post to my website. Here's John Jackson's post:
Howdy! Just a quick introduction: My name is John. I am an American from Texas and I live in the Philippines. My wife Lita and I, a Filipina, moved here in May 2010. We had been planning the move for quite awhile and finally made the final arrangements and departed on May 17th. While in Texas I worked for a company for almost 13 years (12 years, 10 months), after retiring from the US Air Force, but that company laid most everyone off, including me, in November 2008. They closed down for good, shortly after.
I tried to find a job from almost day 1 after the layoff, but no one seemed to want to hire someone that was over 50 already. After a while it got to be a burden to try to make the house payment, pay all the bills AND eat, so we gave up on the house and the bills. We found a way to take care of everything and made our move. We figured that with my military retirement check and us starting a few small businesses, we’d be sitting pretty. We still think that, but we are in the middle of all that now; we are not sitting pretty yet.
Don’t get me wrong now; living in the Philippines is great. Here I have no house payment and a small amount of utilities to pay. Of course we did accrue another truck payment and the major household items (refrigerator, freezer), but those are short term and when they are paid, we will be sitting pretty. We live in a small, not so modern area of the Philippines. Less traffic, hardly any pollution and close friendly people.
Lately though I’ve been missing the US, especially Texas. Not just because of most all of my relatives are there either, although that is part of it. I miss things like taking a long drive in the country where it’s usually only you and nature. I miss 24/7 restaurants and stores. I miss USDA beef, heck I even miss the good old American hot dog.
You can go for long rides here, but normally there is a lot of traffic. You can go at night when there is less traffic, but you can’t see as much, fewer things are open and you have to worry about being kidnapped by terrorists in some areas. Not any of the areas that I frequent, but there are some you need to be careful in and around.
On the island of Samar where I live, there are no 24/7 restaurants or stores that I know of. There are some places open until 11pm or even midnight, but that’s it. I’d like to be able to go to IHOP or Denny’s at 2am if I get hungry. There is also not a single Walmart in sight.
The beef here for the most part is sub-standard. You can get some good beef here, but it will cost you plenty. The best meat that I know of that you can get here is Australian beef, which is good. It’s not quite the USDA standard but pretty dang close. A 20 oz T-bone here, when you can find it, costs around $80. No, not a typo, around $80. About $40 for a 10-12 oz. That’s just too dang much for someone like me to have except maybe once a year and only then on a very special occasion. So I guess I will do without steak for a little while. There are no Ballpark hot dogs here. I have not even seen an American hot dog since we’ve been here, not in real life anyway. A foot long chili cheese dog sure sounds good.
It’s not that bad not having the 24/7 places to eat and shop though, because since I’ve been here I’ve lost 65 pounds. That’s about half the goal I wanted when I tried dieting for years back in Texas. That’s only since May 2010. When I arrived here I weighed in at 330 lbs. Last Saturday I weighed 265. My ultimate goal is 190, maybe more, about 220, depends on how I feel and look, but I’m a lot closer to that goal now then I have been in many years. A nice steak or fluffy pancakes would be nice once in a while though.
I do have lots of free time to think more about people, places and things. Being retired at 52, well 53 now, is pretty good. Thanks to my military retirement and my relatives in the Philippines, it became a possibility, so here I am. It’s just easier to be, when the pressure is off.
I started a blog to record my experiences. It is at http://texaninthephilippines.com – if you want to check it out. I’m pretty new at blogging, but I’m learning what I can. There are not that many foreigners that live in the area of the Philippines that I do, although there are some, so I am trying to convey what it’s like to live in this area of the Philippines and not really the other areas. I do reference the other areas and tell some stories about them, but for the most part, it’s about my life here and my surroundings. I was actually surprised that there are people that want to read what’s going on around here. The hits on my website are about to exceed 131,000, and that’s only since August 2010 when I started the blog. That’s averaging about 800 hits per day, so I was really surprised and I’ve been working to improve the blog in about any way I can think of.
I recently discovered that the hotels here do not have websites or reservation systems. I went to several area hotels, took pictures and got information on them and posted that on my website. I’ve even met a couple of my readers that came to visit here. They wanted to come by in person to thank me for all the helpful information that I had for them. That really made me feel good, so I’m doing my best to have that feeling duplicated.
Some of the things I can do for you are: find out information about the area, make hotel reservations for you, help you rent a car and we even started a tourist service (MJ Tourist Service) to help you if you just want to visit the Philippines to check it out for a little while. If you come by to visit me, I’ll even buy you a cup of coffee, a soda or a beer.
Well that’s about it. I just wanted to type down what I was feeling right now. It makes me feel better to do that, so thank you for reading and helping me out. Hope you visit my website and read some more of my everyday feelings.
- Please visit my website: http://texaninthephilippines.com
- The adventures, misadventures and everyday experiences of a Texan living in the most hospitable country in the world, The Land of Smiles, The Philippines.