2013 Highlights for this American Expat in the Philippines

2013. Another year has almost passed by. There were highlights for this American expat in the Philippines. To borrow from Dickens, “…it was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” Thankfully the good times far outweighed the bad. Here’s a brief look at 2013 from my perspective.Hanging out with Scott B in Iloilo

Hanging out with fellow American expat in the Philippines Scott B was certainly one of the highlights of 2013. Scott used to live in downtown Iloilo City and we would often walk to the wharf and have a beer or two, though Scott would often opt for a bottle of tubig (water) that he always carried.

In the photo above, the local Philippine National Police officer, PNP, was listening to a disgruntled van driver who was ticketed for parking alongside the road. One of those rare instances were an existing law is acutally enforced.

Living in the Philippines can sometimes be akin to living in the Wild, Wild West. Unfortunately, as I write this post in late December, my asawa has just given me word on what appears to be a political assassination of an ex-barangay captain in Guimaras.

The former barangay official was traveling along on his motorcycle along with his wife on the road to San Miguel, Jordan, to nearby Santa Teresa, when he was gunned down. He died. His wife, at the time of this post, had survived the attack; her husband had used his body as a human shield to protect his spouse. It is estimated that 70% of all murders in the Philippines are politically motivated. Getting involved in politics here can be an extremely risky venture.

On a much happier note, the above picture shows my niece Den Den at her graduation from sixth grade. Den Den now attends high school in Santa Teresa along with our niece Shaina and her brother, Sharwin. It was the first sixth grade graduation I had attended since moving to the Philippines over four years ago, and lasted for hours. They take graduation from elementary school very seriously here.

My father-in-law and mother-in-law made it to the third grade. The Healer in Guimaras

That’s my father-in-law, Lolo (grandpa), on the right as a local healer tried to cure him of his Alzheimer’s. The folk cure didn’t work but a generous supply of a year’s worth of medicine to treat Lolo’s dementia from Murray the Kiwi seems to be keeping my father-n-law’s affliction in check. My wife has been taking care of her Dad since October when we moved to “The Farm.”The Tom Cat and The Kano

The Annual Manggahan Festival, held on the Provincial Capital Grounds in San Miguel, Jordan, Guimaras, is always a treat. That’s my friend, The Tom Cat standing next to me. We’re manning an information booth that has been deserted. We offered to answer questions from Filipinos passing by but no one took us up on our offer. Go figure.

Tom is back in the States but I don’t believe he’ll be returning for next year’s mango festival. That’s too bad. I’ll miss the big lug.

Hanging out with Ameican expats at Langford'sOne of the highlights of the year was visiting with good friends such as Papa Duck, left, up front and Fergus, on the right in the orange shirt. Next to Papa Duck is a friendly Brit and bar owner in his own right, Rob, and next to Fergus is a new friend I met in Iloilo, Rease.

Rease and Tom with the crewThat’s Rease having a brew with Tom Cat and LenLen, Tom’s Significant Other, seated next to him. My own asawa is peeking around a post. We’re hanging out at Rob’s place, the Outhouse.

Rease hasn’t had much time recently, however, to spend at The Outhouse. He’s been busy in helping with relief efforts on Panay Island where Super Typhoon hit with such destructive force on November 8, 2013.

The move from Savannah Subdivision in Iloilo in mid-October of 2013 was a major and welcome event. The frequent brownouts in our former enclave along with a lack of running water four days a week made our move to “The Farm” a welcome one.

And  though the arrest of a former trouble-making neighbor in Savannah by the NBI makes the subdivision a safer place to live, I’ll never be enticed to move back to Iloilo. Too big, too many brownouts (as mentioned) too much traffic and a significant lack of infrastructure.

While Guimaras might not have all the amenities that Iloilo offers, living in the mango province is experiencing in full “the simple life.” And I’m quite comfortable with that.

Here’s a view from “The Farm.” It’s a quiet enclave, peaceful, 5 hectares of wooded tranquility. My stress levels and blood pressure have gone way down since our move here.A view from The Farm

We’ve been able to find most everything we need in Guimaras, such as this beautiful birthday cake we bought for our niece, JalAmiel’s 6th birthday. My asawa has finally been convinced that we really only need to take the pump boat to nearby Iloilo City once a month.JalAmiel's 6th Birthday

Once you figure in all the transportation costs and time involved on going to the big city, it makes sense to try and buy everything as locally as we can and support the local merchants in Guimaras.

2013. A good year in general. 2014 looks to be even better. We plan to buy a new lot and build a new home on the mango island. I’m planning a trip to the States to visit my Dad who I have not seen in well over four years now.

Without an Internet connection at our home, I don’t have the luxury of talking to my Dad via magicJack.I’ll keep my readers posted on our progress of finding a lot to buy in the Philippines and building a house in the Philippines. I'll also reveal some changes planned for this website in 2014. Happy New Year to all and thanks for all of your support this past year. The Kano and my Asawa

Happy New Year from The Kano and My Lovely Asawa

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