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Ace Hardware Puts the Hammer Down

There’s been heightened security throughout the Philippines since a recent terrorist bombing in Davao City killed 14 people. President Duterte proclaimed “a state of lawless violence” to counter terrorism and strengthen his war on drugs.  “Ace Hardware Puts the Hammer Down” recounts our latest visit to Ace’s retail outlet at SM City in Iloilo.




SM has asked authorities to probe a circulating text message warning of a bomb attack in some of its major malls.

The retail giant has denied issuing the warning.

“We are requesting the authorities to verify the source of the information circulating, as said information was not released by any SM officer,” the company said.

The viral text message urged people not to go to certain SM malls, which are supposedly targets of terror group Abu Sayyaf.

SM said they will ensure the security of mall-goers and clients.

“We continue to stay alert and committed to the security and well being of our customers, tenants and employees at all times,” SM said. (Source: ABS CBN News)







As soon as my asawa and I entered SM City in Iloilo the other day, we noticed a definite increase in security. Uniformed Iloilo City police officers were stationed inside the main entrance. Could the SM bomb threat hoax be the cause of this. Or perhaps the Davao City bombings?

A K-9 unit also patrolled the mall. We didn’t receive any more scrutiny from the mall guards than we normally do. Always a quick look inside my wife’s purse and a quick pat down for me.

At other retail outlets in Iloilo City, I’m usually waved in without any kind of search. I suppose the security guards don’t consider a crusty old expat much of a security threat.








Ace Hardware at SM City in Iloilo



I needed a new hammer. Whenever I open my toolbox it seems there are always some tools missing. A hammer is an essential tool in my opinion.

While I’ll never be mistaken for a carpenter or mechanic (just ask my asawa) I do, on rare occasions, actually do something that faintly resembles work.

My spouse cringes when I attempt to repair something in our home. “Let Joery fix it!” is the refrain I always hear. Joery is our brother-in-law in the Philippines who helped build our new home in the Philippines.

But my wife might have a point. I tried to fix an old bathroom faucet in a home we had back in the States. I busted the fixture and water quickly poured out into the bathroom floor faster than a Louisiana flood. I had to shut our water main off.

A plumber was called. Since it was 8 pm, I was charged an emergency call for 150 dollars.

Plumbers vacation in Hawaii thanks to “do-it-yourself” husbands like me.






So along with some doggie treats for our new puppies, I purchased a new Stanley hammer that I paid 499 pesos, 10 bucks for.  I could have purchased a hammer for half that price but my wife pointed out the gadget shown above was heftier, 16 ounces, and had a padded handle.




After my asawa paid for our purchases the cashier asked if we were going to leave our purchase at the Ace Hardware package counter. I informed her that we would take it with us and deposit it at the SM Supermarket Package Counter as we had grocery shopping to do.

“They will not let you deposit it there, sir” the female clerk advised me.

“You watch me deposit it there, “ I, the crusty old expat, informed her. “I’ve never had a problem in seven years leaving stuff there.”

The clerk then instructed my wife to sign her name in a log kept at the customer service counter.

“Are you kidding me?” I asked incredulously. “You’re making us sign your log because we’re taking a hammer out of the store, Do I look like I make bombs?” 

“No, sir,” came the reply.

“It’s OK, dear” my long-suffering wife replied, “I”ll just sign it.”

My asawa could have signed “Mickey Mouse.” No ID had to be presented to prove who was actually signing the log.



I absolutely see the need for increased security in the Philippines and welcome it. While I personally believe that signing a log for merely purchasing a hammer is a bit too much, I suppose I shouldn’t complain.

I related my complaint to another expat from Guimaras, the island province we call home. My Canadian friend advised me that she, too, had to sign a log at Ace Hardware some time ago when she purchased a saw.

This got me to thinking, something I rarely do. Maybe this Ace Hardware log in policy has been in effect for awhile.




A quick Google search revealed themartilyo (hammer) gang” robbed a store inside SM North EDSA, December 15, 2013, according to a Rappler report.

The suspects used a hammer and a crowbar, bought at ACE Hardware Store in the same mall, to break jewelry display cases at the department store.

I suppose I could have asked the clerk at Ace Hardware in Iloilo why we had to sign their log. Because of the bombing in Davao I merely assumed that this was the reason for their request.

In conclusion, next time we shop at Ace for doggies treats I will make a polite inquiry. Chances are, I’ll have to stand corrected. Won’t be the first time. Won’t be the last.

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