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Guimaras. Sweet mangoes. Bewitching beaches. Pretty Pinays. Massive amounts of Red Horse. The perfect formula for a Sunday afternoon beer garden birthday bash in Guimaras. Retirement in paradise.  It’s  a tough job. But somebody has to do it.

The Three Amigoes and their Red Horse

My asawa’s cousin, Emma, proprietress of the Jade Marketing and General Merchant Store and Hollow Blocks Factory, along with her gregarious husband, Danit, aka “The Joker,” held a celebration for their two sons, Joe Michael (the eldest) and younger brother Allen Mark.  The parents were giving a party in thanks for their son Joe Michael being spared in a horrendous motorcycle accident in Guimaras four months ago. He’s still recovering from his injuries. That’s him along with my beautiful asawa in the following photo.  Lola (Grandma) is in the background.

Melinda, Joe Michael and Nanay

Joe Michael has already had eight operations. The doctors have him in the external fixation device seen in the picture. This system allows an adjustment of the bone fragments and compresses the fractured bone ends together. Two or three pins are inserted into each bone fragment. A ninth operation has already been scheduled. He takes it in stride. Doesn’t complain and usually has a smile on his face. He’s truly fortunate to be alive.

The beer garden birthday bash, at the home of Emma and Danit outside of Guimaras, was also being held to celebrate Allen Mark’s 22nd birthday along with his recent passing of his Nursing Board Examination. No small feat in the Philippines. A total of only 16,908 out of 49,066 nursing students passed the December 2012 Nursing Board Licensure Exam, the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) announced Wednesday, January 30 (source: Rappler.com.)

Allen Mark is currently finishing up his studies. However, the job market for nurses from the Philippines does not look good. At the beginning of 2012, more than 200,000 registered Philippine nurses could not find work, and an estimated 80,000 graduated last year to join an already saturated job market (source: BBC News.)

According to the BBC report, when  the global economy went into recession, the United States and other western countries stopped hiring. To make matters worse, many countries have recently been trying to train more of their own nurses and therefore discouraging the hiring of foreign staff. As a consequence, visa requirements – especially in the US and Europe – have gotten much tougher, restricting Filipinos to job opportunities in the Philippines.

And with so many applicants for every job, Philippine hospitals are only recruiting those with many years of specialist experience, leaving most graduates with nothing.  Hopefully, our relative (seen in the next picture standing next to me) can buck the trend and find a job. He’s a good kid. Bright. And personable.

The Kano and Allen Mark

I gave the young nursing student some flak for not buying his girlfriend, seen in the following picture, something for Valentine’s Day. He explained that he has no money. I understood. But next year I encouraged him to try and get something for his girl.  After all, I remarked to him, I took my spouse to KFC and bought her a one piece chicken meal with rice. And that included a soda!

Allen Mark and his girlfriend

I asked his girl friend if she wanted a baby. “Yes,” she replied. “Do you want babies?” I asked (by this time I had consumed a couple bottles of Red Horse with my amigos.) Again, another affirmative reply. “Do you want a LOT of babies?” I inquired. “No, no,” she answered, “not a lot!”  If the couple are going to wait until they’re married, however, she might be in for a wait for those kids. When I asked Allen Mark when he was going to marry his girlfriend he informed me: “Ten years.” He got “the look” for that answer.

Lots of guests at the beer garden birthday bash. My unofficial estimate is upwards of over 100. Lots of friendly people and plenty of  food and drink. When our relatives from Guimaras throw a party, they go full throttle and pull out all the stops.  Here’s a few photos of the guests in attendance. 

Lots of food at party in Guimaras

The Party in Guimaras

The Party in Guimaras continues

Melinda, JalAmiel, Jorreal and Joery

In the photo above, far left, is my asawa. Seated next to her is our little niece JalAmiel and her brother, our nephew Jorreal. Papa, our brother-in-law, Joery,  is on the right. Alida, Melinda’s sister and Joery’s spouse, joined the party later.

Spent a few hours in what I dubbed the “beer garden.” See the lead photo with my three amigos where I’m sporting my clown smile. I had consumed a few bottles of Red Horse by then and picked up a good tip from the Filipino married guys drinking with me. When their asawa stops by and asks how many bottles they have had, they always hold up two fingers no matter how many brews they have consumed. I was foolishly keeping my own wife updated with the latest accurate figures but plan to take the advice from my new Filipino friends at future events. Final count? Five. More than enough for a good buzz.

Lechon, roasted pig, a traditional Filipino dish at big gatherings was served. Check out the following “before” and “after” pictures. Lechon in the Philippines

Lechon remains

Of course, a lot of the pig also goes into making other dishes. I stuck with rice and big hunks of lechon. And they used a super-sized wok to prepare the rice in. It’s shown in the next photo.

Big wok to cook the rice

While I concentrated on drinking my beer, my poor asawa was in the kitchen helping out. The following picture is a bit out of focus. Remember, I was drinking Red Horse at the time.  Great party with good friends on a beautiful, breezy day in the sweet mango province of Guimaras. A terrific way to spend a day of retirement with hopefully many more to come. And another example of why it truly is more fun in the Philippines.

Melinda in the kitchen

16 thoughts on “Beer Garden Birthday Bash

  1. Dave, looks like a lot of fun at the Beer Bash, wish I was there.. My beautiful asawa is a successful 2010 Nurse License tester, she will be taking the NCLEX here in Oregon in the next few weeks, it’s a big step. I think it will take several years to get into one of those good nurse jobs floating around, but she is off to a good start. We have a lot of responsibility back in Zamboanga…

  2. I forgot to mention that on my recent vacation I made it a point to sample both Red Horse and San Meg a lot for the purpose of deciding which one was best. I feel that I did a good job at this mission, and in the end I have to report that it really depends on your setting and what is going on around you. Also I have decided more research is required to come to a real conclusion..

  3. Dave,

    The Lechon Looks GREAT !!

    I am down to 191 LBS But Still Have A Belly

    Until I Return,

    Fearless Frank from Florida

  4. The number of unemployed nurses here in the Philippines, at 280,000 people is just staggering. Grabe guid (that’s ilonggo for, ‘very grave’). If that’s the number of unemployed REGISTERED nurses, then just imagine the number of nursing GRADUATES, or those who HAVE NOT passed the nursing exams. They probably are about a million. I reckon their job prospects are even dimmer, nil even, than the registered nurses.

    This just goes to show how flawed the Philippine government’s policy on education is. The Philippine government’s educational policy is geared towards producing jobseekers, employees and not entrepreneurs. There’s nothing wrong with that, seeking jobs after all, is just natural.

    However, this OVER EMPHASIS on producing jobseekers is creating a GLUT in the labor market. Instead, the government AND the academe as well, must create a policy that would boost JOB CREATION by producing ENTREPRENEURS. Meaning, graduates who go into business. What happens now is that, college students who are inclined to go into business get discouraged to do so because there is this overwhelming emphasis that the way to a better life is to go look of a job abroad.

    An example is Injap Sia, the man started Mang Inasal, a food chain that as of this comment, has 465 restaurant chains NATIONWIDE. He went to college to work as an Architect. What if he became an architect, or even, for example, he became a nurse and worked in the US? Then Mang Inasal Corp and all its 465 branches wouldn’t exist and along with it will go all the jobs connected therewith.

    This government of ours SUCKS and it sucks big time. I’m thinking of moving out and going to the US instead as a protest to the Philippine government’s educational policy.

  5. Dave,
    Looks like a great party and a good time had by all. It appears you were feeling pretty good in those photos lol. I’m surprised nobody ate the pigs head. Some say thats the best part of the pig. I think they really need to cut back on the amount of nursing students or even temporaily close some nursing schools with the glut of available nurses. But i don’t see that happening, it would mean people would lose there jobs. Can’t wait to get over there. Really looking forward to visiting Melinda and You. End of July is still projected time of arriving there. Anne has her interview with the US Embassy on April 18th for her visa to visit the US. If she gets that she will be here in early June and we will fly back together in end of July. Take care and stay safe.

  6. Dave, thanks for the info on the good Mayor Barry, I really really dislike that man. When I was waiting for my beautiful Fiancee to arrive and life was on hold (courtesy of the USCIS) I had to much time on my hands so I did some research on Filipino Nurses. Something that I found partly in my research and party through my sister (a retired nurse of 30 years) is that after WWII like many places we helped the Philippines, and a lot of Philippines education was structured after a US model. Something we (USA) promoted was nursing schools. So by the 50′ & 60’s the PH was mass producing a lot of nurses and shipping them all over the world especially the good old US of A. By the middle of the Vietnam war this was very helpful and so many nurses were coming to the US the Philippines had an issue called “the brain drain” where to many of the brightest nurses were coming to the US and instruction was an issue. After building them up like this by the end of the war in SE Asia we changed our immigration laws and made it almost impossible for a Filipino to immigrate to the USA (without marrying an American.) Once those wonderful nurses from the 50’s & 60’s & 70’s hit retirement we were in “nurse trouble” (WANTED RN!) It’s our own fault for playing bait and switch with the Philippines, sad thing to do to a friend. I would like to tell Mayor Berry that my whole life I have been outspoken against “Affirmative Action” but now with the likes of Mayor Berry, I want my due! My wife will be job hunting for big paying nurse job’s, she is a minority (Asian or Hispanic which ever looks better on paper.) She should have an advantage even over US Citizens right? 🙂 Sorry for the rant Dave, it was just to much fun and it’s Monday. I should stick to Redhorse vs SM….

  7. I’ll tell you what…that Allen Mark better get his act together!! NO Valentines Gift? Marrying in 10 years? That young lady of his is adorable…she will have many options if he doesn’t pull the trigger!!

    Come on Allen Mark…get it together!!

  8. a minority should have priority? i spent 12 days in a manila hospitol 2 years ago with serious internal bleeding from a crash and the nurse or nurses didnt even know what type of drugs they were sticken in my arm.Experience and smarts by testing should be whats important and most arnt gettin the proper training or learning in the ph as they just mass produce these kids and take their money and most end up as a butt wiper or domestic helper as its really called.

    one nurse said the shot was for my swollen knee,i didnt have a swollen knee so she took the shot back and never returned.Untill you are layin on a philipino gurney in a third world hospitol you cant say alot about the quality of nursing care untill you urself are on the gurney to witness how green these nursing students or nurses really are.

    one nurse i had to stop from putin in the needle because she didnt wipe the area with dissenfectant and she said sori sir and then wiped it.The doctor i had was terrific,spent time with me and gave me his cell number and told me and i did to call him anytime and he always answered or returned call later.He was a smart man and a highly sought after in his area of expertise and i was luckey to have him.Some other doctors are as useless as the uneducated nurses.

  9. one more thng i would like to say is i went to see a doctor here in iloilo for a hip/muscle problem and this guy is a specialist and being familiar with his type of expertise from having 2 back operations in the usa he was superb and thorough and he sent me to therapy and i will say that the female therapist did her job above and beyond any therapy i have ever been through in the usa.

    This woman spent 90 minutes with me giving me hot pack,deep hand massage,ultrasound heat treatment,tenz unit treatment and stretching me in ways my pelvis and legs shouldnt be allowed to go.

    This woman 22 years of age worked hard to move me around.Sad thing is she is certifiwd in the philippines and makes a whopping 300 php a day with one day off a week and 9 hours at work.The cost for a therapy session is 480 php and the doctor consult was 350php.

    I went in one day for treatment and my therapist wasnt there as it was her day off and they gave me another girl to work on me and she was so inept at even speaking and didnt know the protocal and i was telling her where on my hip you attatch the tenz unit that i finally asked for another therapist and they gave me another and she was even better than my original one so it just goes to say you got good ones and bad ones and just ask for some one different if you feel you are not recieving quality treatment.

  10. Super Dave,
    First of all i’m so jealous seeing you enjoying life there with the Red Horse and Lichon… :). As for the filipina nurse issue brought up, hands down I’ll take a filipina nurse anyday over a “home grown” nurse. The last few days of my fathers life he was hospitalized and in hospice care, I observed the “home grown” nurses only made his life more miserable, so I made up some hog wash storey to the head nurse about getting other nurses to care for him. Two of the most amazing filipina nurses were assigned full time to my father, I could see him glow with joy each time they came in to check on him. He spoke briefly about how well they cared for him and totally made his day. These two nurses I shall never forget, as they made his last few days so enjoyable for him, and gave us priceless peace of mind knowing he was well taken care of his last days with us. I’ll take a filipina nurse anyday. Yea I’m partial to the philippines, and after 22 years in the military and 15 years in DOJ dealing the worst of the worst, if anyone takes offense to my partiality, I really don’t care. Now have a few Horses for us Super Dave.

  11. Yeah Gary I liked that CN Tower fall too. Did you notice that Super Dave landed on the sand from the sand bag he said they earlier tossed off the CN Tower? I loved watching that show when it was on TV. And remember Dave, don’t try Super Dave stunts at home, hahaha. Plus you are right, those narrow broken concrete steps at Ortiz Dock are scary enough.

  12. Hi Dave,
    it seems you really enjoyed the birthday party… as talking birthday party, i will prepare some foods for my honey ko
    papaduck on his birthday, i have lemon cheese cake for him made by goldilocks, lumpia shanghai, pancit canton,instead of ice cream, i change it for halo halo, with ube, buko macapuno,sweet corm, leche plan and sweet beans, chicken sandwich, and some cokes..dont worry papaduck, even you not here, i will eat your share lol… HAPPY 54TH BITHDAY HONEY KO.
    WISH YOU GOOD HEALTH AND MORE MORE BIRTHDAY TO COME. on March 1… I LOVE YOU SO MUCH PAPADUCK.

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