Another volcanic eruption in the Philippines? Seriously ?

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On January 12,  Taal  Volcano in the Philippines,  located  about  60 km.  (  37  miles ) south of   Manila , erupted again.  Its last eruptions were in 1965 ( and lasted  til 1969) , and in 1977.  This time, right after the eruption,  volcanic ashes ( again !)  blanketed  places  way beyond the 14 km. radius danger zone, forcing even those from Manila to wear masks.

 

In 1991, the biggest volcanic eruption of the 20th century  was that of  Mt. Pinatubo, about  60 miles north of   Manila.   The eruption was so huge it penetrated the stratosphere and lowered  the earth’s temperature by  .50 C .  Ashes blanketed the whole of Metro-Manila, with zero visibility, and  made 12 noon looking  like 12 midnight.  Ashes that fell over Manila were at least 1 inch thick.  Needless to say, areas near Mt. Pinatubo were erased  off  the face of the earth.

 

Not to mention the strongest typhoon  in the history of mankind, Typhoon Haiyan,  in 2014  .  It was so strong it went beyond Category 5, and caused a 14 meter high tsunami-like storm surge.

 

Then, add the frequent earthquakes to this pile of disasters……. To Filipinos, 6.4  in the Richter scale is nothing.  I’d  said this before, and I say this again, people of the Philippines eat disasters and natural catastrophes for breakfast.

 

Pardon my language but ,  this was me when I heard the news of eruption.  I was like,  what about my vacation? ?  Okay, that’s thoughtless of me…. I mean , here I am, worrying about my vacation, while  over there, people are suffering.

 

Still…….

 

 

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Seriously, Philippines ,  what the heck !

 

Well,  Mom, my sister , a co-worker,  and I , are going to the Philippines  17 days from now. Our original itinerary does  include Taal Volcano…. unfortunately, my co-worker  is now more  eager and determined  to see the  “scene of destruction”  .   (  Uhm,  I wanna see it too.  )  .  It’s been lowered to Category 3, to date….. I hope it’ll be okay and safe  by the time we get there.  Aaargh !  (  I bought a box of  N95  mask.) Fyi, these are no ordinary ashes. They are made of microscopic shards of “glass”… from super -heated  volcanic materials .  They are very  dangerous to our lungs  when inhaled.

 

One of the photos  below  is that of  yours truly, taken  at the very scenic Taal Volcano in 2014.  By the way, it’s the smallest volcano in the world and take note…… do you see the mountain on the left side of the picture ??? The mountain  surrounds another lake which is actually the caldera of the volcano.

 

 

 

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  • sigh *

 

This is all for now.

 

By the way, my last post before this was in September , 2019.

 

Don’t ask.

 

Bye ! !

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Beyond the commerce of men”…. a social commentary

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My previous post is about the massive clearing operations currently going on in

the city of Manila, the capital of the Philippines.  Manila is just one of 16 cities of Metro-Manila.  Non-Filipinos  and  Filipinos from other parts of the country call the whole metropolis ” Manila”, but  residents of  Metro-Manila  specify where exactly they come from….  like Quezon City, Paranaque City, Makati City, etc.  On my previous post,  I said  I was born in Manila.  Actually, I was born in Paranaque City, just a taxi ride away from Manila, 25  minutes without traffic,  2 hours with traffic. lol

 

Map of Metro-Manila, Philippines

 

 

 

Now, about the title of this post….

 

The Philippines’ Supreme Court had come out with a milestone decision on  the use of roads, sidewalks, and open spaces ( parks ) located in private subdivisions.  Basically, it says these so-called private  roads, etc. should be opened to the public. However,  though public,  all roads , sidewalks and parks  are ” BEYOND THE COMMERCE OF MEN. ” In other words, no one can use these places other than what they are intended for.  The phrase ” beyond the commerce of men”  is the ground these massive clearing operations stand on…… demolish all encroachments and obstructions, kick out illegal vending on sidewalks and streets. ( Ah, no more street food, eh ? )

 

Below is a structure built on the sidewalk… clearly a violation  of  national building code, and can be demolished even without  the  Supreme Court’s mandate.  Note : demolition workers lack proper equipment… it’s mano-mano, meaning literally by hand and it’s quite dangerous.  The city does use payloaders and jackhammers in some areas. but not enough for the whole city.

 

 

 

 

 

Above photo shows city workers  removing  food carts off a sidewalk.

 

Below is road clearing. Note: vendors occupy the street, then same street partially cleared… ( not enough, in my opinion… but , it’s better than nothing.)

 

 

I highly doubt Manila would be completely cleared .  Anarchy in the streets has been so  tolerated for  decades it’s become part of  Manila culture . They say it  would take at least 2 generations to completely wipe this off the people’s psyche.  My parents remember a clean city, with wide avenues lined with century old trees, such as  Taft Avenue, Manila’s main thoroughfare.  Then the trees were taken out to make way for  a wider road, and later , ( 1984) ,ugly , elevated railroad tracks  were built over it.  ( Metro Rail ) They also remember  there was a loud  outcry over removal of century old trees, but , well, “progress.”  Then, old residents of Manila left to live in the suburbs and  posh subdivisions just outside of Manila, and were replaced by people from the countryside with less education,  no job prospects and  housing ……then they built shanties on public lands, and the rest is history. It came to a point where illegal settlers and shanty dwellers have even become defiant  and  caused trouble and violent protests  everytime  well-meaning officials would try to clean up the city.  Previous city mayors had practically given up,  until the new mayor, Francisco Moreno, was elected in July , 2019, and promised to clear up Manila.

 

I am not so sure about that. Sorry, Mayor Moreno.   A big chunk of the city  looks like shanty town , with old, dilapidated , greasy , built in dirt on buildings,  especially in places like Tondo, and Quaipo,  and patchy-patchy residential houses .  Unless he issues an order for building and home owners to rehabilitate (  aka repaint ) their properties, ( which is dictatorial and too heavy handed, in my opinion ) , no matter how clean the streets and sidewalks are,  Manila will forever remain an unsightly, sad city.  I’ve seen these places on YouTube…. they look like the photo below…

…. * shakes head *

 

 

Above is a common street scene in Tondo, Manila. They build structures without regard for safety. Look  how many floors there are, and they are made of rusty corrugated iron, old wood, etc.   The houses are so unsafe. I assume they don’t bother to get a building permit, and authorities don’t  bother to inspect.

 

Don’t get me wrong…. the rest of Manila is charming, beautiful, and historical.  In fact, the whole country , all 7,641 islands of it, is one huge tourist spot…….  Pristine islands with white sand and the bluest water  you won’t  see anywhere else in the world.

 

So, how does one solve a problem like Manila ?

 

People suggest  deal with it with a hand of steel, and it’s about time.

 

Legitimate Manilenos  are already sick and tired of  illegal settlers demanding relocation sites and free housing.  There are already hundreds of government relocation sites with free houses. Well, not exactly free… they pay a staggering   $ 4.00 a month.  I repeat….. FOUR DOLLARS.   (  other cities are already protesting they don’t want them there, and tax payers are also complaining that their taxes are spent building houses for these squatters, with no end in sight. )

 

But…to be fair…. call Manila what you like, but…….

 

Believe it or not,  residents of Manila have free health care (  free medicines, even free surgeries, free hospitalizations) free public universities,  and senior students in  public  high schools are given PhP 1,000 Cash every month, discounted transportation fares for students,  senior citizen discounts in everything including  movie passes,  plus PhP  500 cash a month….. single parents are also given Php 500 cash. .  It’s practically  a welfare state.  That’s why poor people from  other places flock to the city.  Hey, fellow Americans, does this sound familiar ?

 

Another thing… the Philippines has universal health care.

 

And,

 

By law, all workers receive a 13th month pay, ( besides their 12 months regular salaries) , and if the employees are lucky, they also get 100 % Christmas bonus from big companies and government  institutions.  In other words, 14 months salaries annually.

 

And ,  all companies with more than 50 employees , are unionized.  Truckers, drivers ….Yes, unions are strong in the Philippines.  This is the reason why foreign companies don’t invest in the Philippines. They hate unions and organized workers, right? Typical.   They go to Vietnam,  Indonesia, and countries where  forming  unions are not allowed. There are only a few countries in Asia ( or Australasia ) where unions are  present .. Australia, Philippines and New Zealand.  CBA or Collective Bargaining Agreement is a very important aspect of doing business in the Philippines.  No sweatshops allowed.  That’s why you won’t see cheap clothes and stuff  here in the US that are Made in the Philippines.

 

Oh, wait, where am I going?  My thoughts are going haywire.

 

I guess it’s time to stop now.

 

PS:

 

I saw food cart  vendors  in Italy ( or their  merchandise are spread on the ground, mostly  fake brands, ugly souvenirs, etc. ) and hassling tourists.  In England, too.  Hey, Brits, you see them , right ? Yep, been there, saw them myself.   Watch out, Italy and England.     I think it looks worse in India.  Warning !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good ol’Manila, Philippines, my birthplace.

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It’s been awhile.  I’ve been so busy everyday is like a marathon.  I’ve also been helping clean our rental house when I have the time.  Guys, I did mention that our neighbor contractor  said we’d be out $20 K  easily .  He underestimated the cost of renovation.  It’s now inching towards $30 K. My heart goes out to my parents.  I was with my  mother when we bought new fridge, oven, and dishwasher.  We also renovated the two bathrooms . All floorings are new, from kitchen to bedrooms and of of course , the bathrooms.  aaargh.. I don’t want to talk about this anymore.

 

We  already bought the plane tickets for our Philippine vacation in February , 2020.

 

I’ve been watching YouTube videos of what’s going on in the Philippines. Thre’s   a massive clearing up operations going on  ….City authorities  are basically getting rid of illegal vendors  and structures on public properties.  .  The capital city of Metro-Manila , Manila, has a new mayor, and it looks like he’s very serious in cleaning up the city.  Metro-Manila is comprised of 16 cities and Manila is the capital,   the centre of government  but  due to decades of  neglect,   it’s  become a cesspool. The city  has been invaded by squatters and illegal vendors. I’ve been watching the massive clearing-up operations againt  illegals…… I’m sorry, but I have little  sympathy for them. I am not anti- poor, but damn,  enough is enough !  !  These illegal vendors  have totally occupied major streets , avenues, and sidewalks ……and not only that,  they leave so much garbage on the streets….. it’s anarchic and  almost criminal. Manila traffic  is one of the most chaotic  in the world because only 60%  are passable.  The new mayor, Francisco Moreno, has vowed to do the right thing .  So far, so good.  Mayor Moreno has now become a Rock Star in Pilippine politics. .

 

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Illegal vendors obstruct traffic on secondary and tertiary roads. No vehicles can pass anymore.

 

 

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Above is a major road in Manila,( Divisoria) one of many, that has been fully occupied by vendors.  Thieves,  ruffians,  street children ,   “solvent”  boys , snatchers, and  riff raffs mingle with shoppers,  unfortunately. .  I don’t know how  shoppers protect  themselves from these bad elements  of society.

 

And the photo below is how  the same road looks like  when it was cleared , just a bit… Holy cow, , there’s a 6 lane road under all that rubble ! !  Freakin’ hell !

 

 

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I hope Manila will look nice and clean  when we get  there. My co-worker  ‘s coming with me.  I don’t want my co-worker to have WTF moments during our vacation. But  we’re going to Divisoria to shop.   We’ll be  moving targets of  pickpockets…. . My  co-worker is  white .  And even though  I look like them,  for some reason, Filipinos  can recognize a non- citizen .  Or , am I just being paranoid ? We’ll hold on tight  and close  to our purses , no expensive watches and jewellery on us, either.

We did go to Divisoria  in 2014.  Everything was dirt cheap, so freakin’ cheap !     Haggling though  is ” de rigueur ”  in  Divisoria.  My accent was a give -away so my cousin did much of  the obligatory haggling for me. No tourist price, please.

 

Haggling  goes like this:

You buy 3 T-shirts, I’ll give them to you for  450 pesos, Ma’am.  ( $ 9.00 )

I can get that for 300 pesos  (  $6.00 ) at WalMart.  ( I lie.)

 

Ma’m , that’s below my capital….  I can give it to you for 400 pesos. ( $8.00 )

 

Is that the last price ? How about 350 pesos? ($3. 70)

375 pesos,  last price Ma’m.

 

Okay, sold.  ( My haul :   $7.50 for 3  nice T-shirts.  $ 2.50  each …..  Yay !  My awesome haggling power ! ! )

Then I saw similar T-shirts  at next store for 95  pesos each .(  $ 1. 90  )

 

Fail.

 

What can we buy in Divisoria? Everything, including wedding gowns.

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The truth is, Manila is a beautiful city.  It has the biggest urban park in Asia, it’s full of trees, and  has that old ,charming colonial ambiance . Filipinos , by the way, love fountains and water features…… Manila has lots of  these all over the city. If you’re a tourist, just avoid  places with bad reputation, like Tondo, Divisoria, and areas north of Pasig River, the main river artery of Manila. It’s sad because these places  are the old , historical Manila. The problem is,  that’s where the “have nots”  had congregated, while  the “haves” left  to live in gated subdivisions in the suburbs…… and where new , modern, clean cities  subsequently sprouted around them… Makati City, Bonifacio Global City, Newport City, etc. … these cities are so  clean one can eat off the streets. Sadly, there’s  an invisible wall that separates these areas from the “Great Unwashed” that is Manila..   For example, jeepneys and tricycles ( mode of transportation of the poor ) are not allowed into these cities… the ban  is  as  subtle as a battleaxe , no ?  ” Keep off  our  beautifully manicured lawn. .”  That’s what that ban means.  Well,   I don’t blame them.  Let one in … the next morning you’ll find hordes of  illegals selling their wares, peeing and pooping  everywhere, letting their minor children roam the streets, knocking on car windows begging for money , and if  you don’t give , they’ll  kick your car or scratch it with a rock…..they also   dump  garbage on the streets.

 

 

 

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Beyond words.   The LEFTIST activists are saying the mayor wants Manila to become another place for the ELITES. ….. This is the reason why my politics  radar is inching from the left  towards the center. I ‘m into social justice, but despise lawlessness.

But the truth is,  even though BGCity, Makati City, and the rest  of the metropolis have all the beautiful skyscrapers,   Manila is still  the centre of commerce in the Philippines.  Manila is the depository of all goods that come  from all over the Philippines and the world, and it’s been like that since 1500 ( Spanish galleon trade ) .  Ironically, Tondo , a scary place today,  was the center of commerce  , even during  pre-colonial times.

Below  are photos of Bonifacio Global City and Makati City.

 

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Below is the Trump Tower in Makati City

 

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Above is Tondo in Manila…. that’s reality… I’m  not hiding it, folks. … To be honest, this is even the “better ” slum area.  I don’t want to show anymore the worse of the worst.

 

But,  even though Manila has been left behind by neighboring cities, there’s one thing  other cities do not have……character.

 

Below is the statue of the country’s national  hero, Dr. Jose Rizal , located at Rizal Park ( or more commonly called Luneta , the largest  urban park in Asia )

 

 

Intramuros , or Walled City  ( Fort Santiago entrance photo, built in 1571 )

 

 

Charming old colonial architecture  , cobblestones…..

 

 

 

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Manila Cathedral

 

 

 

Below is University of Santo Tomas, built in 1611, the oldest university in Asia.  Next photo is Manila Baywalk..

 

 

 

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Intramuros (2)

 

 

 

 

 

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The National Museum

 

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And of course, the official residence of  the President of the Philippines:

 

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Roxas Blvd. along Manila Bay, with world famous Manila Bay sunset.

 

 

 

 

 

The new mayor of the capital city… Francisco “Isko” Moreno

 

 

By the way,  my photos here are messed up.  Some are  cut off, and others turn out too small. I can’t fix it, sorry.

 

The new Manila mayor  loves to dance. Ha ha… Awesome.

 

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A young and idealistic politician.  I hope he keeps his promise to bring  back the old glory of  the Queen City of the Orient.

 

Below is the Manila Post Office Building.

 

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That’s it….  I know  this post seems random and unorganized.  There are just  so much to talk about  that I don’t even know where to start , and how to end my  thoughts.

Anyway, to see is to believe , and I’ll see it 6 months.  Manila is my birthplace. I love the city, warts and all.

PS…. There will be a series of posts about the Philipines, especially about the dangers of  forcible  taking of  a group of small Philippine  islands on West Philipine Sea or ( South China Sea)  by you know what country….  This country wants to  own and dominate the seas  …..   and mess up the most protected  site in the world, the Philippine Tabbutaha Reefs.   The whole world should take note and pay attention ! !!    Please .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tenants from hell! !

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Tenants from hell ! !

 

They vacated our house on June 23.

 

We inspected  the house the next day.

 

Ayiiiiieee !

 

Beyond words……

 

Our neighbor/contractor who came over to inspect the place  said we’d be out $20,000  easily.

 

Informed our insurance agent… will do inspection/adjusting/assess  for damages soon.

 

Total carpet replacement…  no bedroom doors…cracked toilet bowls  ,changed the keys.. the swimming pool is a mess. Yep. it was that bad.

 

There are holes on the walls that look like they ‘ve been  kicked.

 

There is a painted message on a wall… F ***  You ! , it says.

 

It took us just a few minutes to feel we were at  the edge of a steep cliff, looking down on darkness below.

I hope the tenants find themselves  at a bad place,  consigned to a life of eternal sorrow.

 

That’s all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So much greed and evil

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I’ve been busy . .. no days off last week. It’s okay . I’m saving up for a GoPro and my vacation in the Philippines in February.  I have one or two friends /co-workers coming with me.  They will be my guests , so ….

 

I’m supposed to rant on this post but I changed my mind…. Instead, I donated to DailyKos, an online media and an independent news source that depends on donations from the public.

 

Also,  please pay attention to what’s going on in Asia, specifically SouthEast Asia. It’s the world’s  powder keg that shouldn’t be ignored anymore. Please, please read up.

 

I have nothing else to say, for now.  I managed to restrain myself  from ranting, thank goodness.   To be honest, I’m bad at civil discourses and political correctness.

Never trust. Just do what is right and just, but don’t expect  others to do the same thing.  Be vigilant.  The world is full of  greed and evil.

 

Okay,  Ren, stop now.

 

 

Ha ! ! I’m on $$$ mode ! Totally hyped !

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It’s been a while.

 

I’ve been busy these past few weeks, with only one day off a week, and lots of overtimes.  I’m glad for the extra work, though. I’m planning to buy a GoPro with a selfie stick { he he}  for our planned vacation in the Philippines in February, 2020, with my sister and mother.  Well, it isn’t really a vacation… it’s for some important “family”  business we have to take care of. My mom needs our physical presence and ” signatures” so that she and my aunt can finally transfer family  properties to us.( We are my aunt’s heirs , as well. )  They say they are already old and so they need to keep things in order to avoid  “trouble” , when the “inevitable” comes….. like who will inherit what . My  brother who can’t come with us jokingly  told us” Don’t be greedy, or I’ll sue you. ” I had already shown you guys a photo of our vacation house on Boracay Island ,Philippines.

This is a 3level  house ( the fourth is a view deck, shown above,) 7 bedrooms, 4 toilet/bath, all rooms fully air-conditioned.. The house is already furnished.  Uhm, sorry for shamelessly promoting our house. Ha ha The tenants’ contract ends in 2020, and we’re planning to make it an airbnb. So, if you’re a  reader living in the Philippines, contact me in 2020. (^_^)

 

We have another vacation house in Baguio City, the Cordilleras, Mountain Province. Baguio City is a mountain resort in the Philippines.  Our house is a 3 level one with 4 bedrooms, 3 toilet/baths, and also fully furnished. It’s located high up, with a million dollar view  of the Cordilleras.

That’s me sleeping in the photo above, all covered with blanket. ( It was very cold ) You can also see a great view of the mountains from the veranda, shown above. Also shown above is a row of townhouses where our house is located. There’s no one living there now, but we’re also planning to rent it out, airbnb, soon.

 

Okay, so this post is all about $$$$$$. We have 4 more properties, all tenanted, but they’re   all located in the capital city of Metro-Manila in the Philippines. That’s why it’s very important that we keep things in order and organized .

 

Meanwhile, here’s an update on our tenant problem here in the US..   The tenants have promised to vacate our house on June 23., in a registered letter , signed by the tenant.  My parents have decided to cut their losses and  just wait it out… Our lawyer has warned us not to do anything despite the losses, because there’s always a possibility  of a tenant filing  a malicious lawsuit against a landowner. ( knock on wood)

 

Sorry, guys, I’m suddenly on a business mode… Boring, huh ! Whatever,   I want to decorate ! ! !

 

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Bye and Peace ! !

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Update on Tenant-Landlord Problem

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My parents have lawyered up.

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We are hoping the tenant  doesn’t pay  her rent due in first week of May, so we can kick her out at the end of the month. If she  pays, the 60 day Notice of Termination takes effect…. WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT SHE IS  AIMING FOR ! !   Bummer.

 

Meanwhile, my cousin and her husband are staying with us, all ready to move out at the end of the month.  Hubby just graduated from university, and lived  at  the  university dorm but had to vacate after graduation.  His family lives in San Diego, Southern California… I guess they’ll have to live with us for 60 more  days, he he.  This white Italian American husband   has to get used to the smell of adobo cooking in our  kitchen.  ^_^

 

” Kick her out”… Don’t think we’re heartless. She’s been renting for almost 9 years, and has never, ever paid on time ( almost at the end of the month, rent is due first week of the month, and more often then not, not a complete payment). The rent of $1550 is cheap. The going rate for a small 2- bedroom apartment here in our city is about $1,200 to 1,400 /month.  This  house has 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, and a nice swimming pool ( with a cute waterfall, and a slide. ) That $1550 rent just helps my parents out to pay for the house’s  $2,250 monthly mortgage.  Are my parents profiting ? Do the math.

 

There’s now a slight change in my  perspective towards this kind of stuff.  We  have a vacation house on Boracay Island in the Philippines. Boracay is a resort island. Anyway, before construction, we discovered there was a family squatting on our property.  They wouldn’t leave, and even harassed the construction workers who were already at the site with their hammers and spade…. the  squatters , on the other hand,  had  machete in their hands.  ( I leave the scene to your imagination. O_O  )  The corrupt “barangay ” chairman  suggested that we just pay the family to avoid trouble. We gave them 150,000 Philippine pesos. ( $3,000 )  If you’re Filipino reading this,  you know these folks (  squatters/illegal settlers, or to be politically correct, /informal settlers )   feel entitled , right?… like the rest of humanity  owes them something. I’m sorry for saying that.

 

Below is our vacation house. We’re lucky there are South Korean tenants living there whose contract ends in 2020. ( they pay one year  advance…Nice ! ) Do you know that 7-bedroom,  4 baths , 4 -level house is  just  $ 1,500 a month ????  And we’re renting out our house here in the US for $1,550 ! ! Ha ha ha… Housing in the Philippines is so cheap !

 

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Okay, I digress.  My point is, my parents are not that inexperienced re rental business.  They just don’t know US housing laws.

 

Anyway, we leave this to the lawyer.  My siblings and I are going to help with litigation cost.

 

Eh. I talk too much.  Bye for now, and peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just one question from me to my dear readers

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My family  has a huge landlord – tenancy problem.  My parents are the landlords.  My cousin and her hubby would like to reside there because why not…  We have “verbally” given notice to the tenant  last March 15  that they should vacate the house by May 31 . My father again reminded the tenant  about this yesterday… but the tenant said ” this is  her house. See you in court,” then closed the door on Dad’s face.

 

This  is the situation.  The original tenants ( 2 ) who signed the lease had moved  out in 2010.  We didn’t even know they had taken in a roommate.  The roommate who was left behind  had asked for  permission  to  live in the house.  My parents  okayed it, but unfortunately , they didn’ t make a new lease agreement. The reason…smooth transition. In other words, it’s a gentleman’s agreement… with a handshake and a smile.

 

My dad is now writing a formal written notice … the tenant threatened  us with a lawsuit,  and that  would cost us at least $10,000.  My father cried because he had been good and patient with her. She has NEVER paid on time, ( always one month late ) and more often than not, it isn’t even a full payment at the end of the month.  ( We also pay the garbage fees and water )

 

Please,is there anyone of my readers  who knows about this stuff ?

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom ! Luv’ ya !

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Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. ( She’s also my best friend . )

 

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Are Filipinos, Asian, Hispanic, Pacific Islander ? Really .

 

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Last week , a Filipino co-worker asked me if I had ever encountered an official California document where Filipinos have to choose, identify and check  their  ethnicity off  the following list:  Asian,  Pacific Islander,  Filipino, Other. I said yes, I had, when I applied for a driver’s license, so Dennis, what’s wrong with it ? ” Look, Ren,  aren’t we Asian ? ” (  By the way, Dennis is half Italian-American, half Filipino but identifies himself as Filipino. He was also born in the Philippines. )

 

Anyway, I was confused.  I didn’t know what to make of it. I  did some research about this issue, and what I learned surprised me.  I do know about the Pacific Islander thing, but  it’s never been an issue to me. But, why are Filipinos in a separate group ?  Filipinos  are Asians.  To think otherwise is just so ignorant and stupid.  Just look at the map.

 

 

Here’s something that I found on YouTube.  Warning ! This video is highly inaccurate (  nevertheless , very  informative ) because the person on the video delves more on Chinese heritage rather than the more accurate   Indonesian -Malays who are actually the original settlers of the country.  Heck, we cannot even  tell a Malaysian, Indonesian, and Filipino  apart…  and yes, the Filipino language is very similar to Malaysian and Indonesian languages.  Ex: Thank you is Salamat in Filipino and Selamat in Indonesian.  ( Although about 40% of Filipino language is Spanish or has Spanish roots.  Filipinos even tell time in Spanish .) Filipino historians say Filipinos are of   Malay-Indo- Polynesian race.  It’s true there was an extensive trading with the Chinese, and I’m sure there were intermixing of  genes  at one point. That’s a given. Heck,  according to 23andMe ancestry, a part of my DNA belongs to Chinese Haplo-group.

 

 

 

Is it  because of Filipino culture and its shared heritage , history and culture with Mexico ?    Heck, both the  Philippines and Mexico even call their money Pesos.  In fact, at one point in Mexican and Philippine history,  the Philippines was considered a province of Mexico.  I was surprised  to learn that  the Filipino words for mother and father , Nanay  and Tatay , tiangue/ palengke ( markets )  and which I’m sure all Filipinos consider pure  unadulterated Filipino words,  are actually  Nathual in origin , an ancient Mexican language.

Anyway, I think I should write more about Filipino identity . There are more than 4 million Filipinos in the US, and this number does not even include half-Filipinos who  identify their ethnicity as Filipino, like my co-worker Dennis,  and Bruno Mars… or the wrestler Batista. Batista’s arm is tattoed with Philippine map, ha ha. That number is  more than the population of Koreans, Vietnamese, and Japanese combined .   Filipinos are not invisible here in the US,  neither here nor there. Not all Asians look like Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Vietnamese, you know .  Look  at Indians…they  are Asians, too.

 

Okay, this is all for now from a pissed off Asian. Bye and peace.

 

 

I learned something today

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Hello there !  * salutes*

I forgot to write about the 16.1 Mile ( 25.7 km.) Run that I had participated in 3 weeks ago.  My  running time was 2 hours , 5 minutes, or about 8 minutes /mile, which was way above  my  record of  5-7 minutes /mile. The first 5 miles was  easy peasy, the next 5 was a bit of  a struggle, but  the last 6 miles was brutal.  I was ready to  quit at that point , but those two elderly couples  who were running  waaay ahead of me inspired me to keep running.  I did manage to finish the run, and got a medal for it . Yay me !

 

I was reading the history of  the Manila- Acapulco Galleon Trade when I saw these 18th century maps of  Mexico and other Spanish territories north of Mexico.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Texas was Nueva Filipinas during the Spanish colonial era.

 

Mexico ‘s original name was New Spain. After independence, it was  changed to Mexico.

 

That’s what I learned  today.

 

This is all for now. Bye and peace.

Notre-Dame Cathedral, and sorry for ” ABC.”

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The Notre Dame Cathedral  is burning.  Holly Molly !   Being Dr. Brightside  for a moment here,  at least   all the artworks have been saved.  Thank God for small mercies.

 

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That’s me at Notre Dame Cathedral.

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The problem with joining a tour group is that our tour was regimented . We  couldn’t hang around  to get a decent photo.  We moved with military -like precision. Bummer.

 

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Also, we were not allowed to use flash inside the church.

 

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Now , what about that ABC thing in the title ? It means Another Bloody Church. That’s what one member in our group called  the last few churches that we toured, including Notre -Dame.  Being Catholic, I thought that was blasphemous. * cough* I thought that was funny, though.  Sorry for that.  It did give  me   such great pleasure to behold these amazing, majestic , and beautiful churches all over Europe. I hope the fire damage is not extensive and irreparable

 

I guess this is all for now.  Bye and peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

James Patterson/Pres.Bill Clinton thriller novel, The President is Missing… Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive series…plus , I miss George.

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Hi !  Ren here reporting ! ! * salutes*

 

Two weeks ago, our 14 -year- old mini-Aussie died.  He’d been with us for 12 years.  We rushed him  to the vet hospital  at 10 PM… then the next day, at 3 AM, we got a call from the vet that our beloved dog died. Early morning we went to see him for the last time… We also got billed for $1,800 that included cremation fees, his ashes in a nice box, and a memorial plate with his name George etched in it.  Last week, we adopted a 1 year old terrier- American pitbull mix  from the animal shelter . He was a stray dog. Moreover, he had failed the shelter’s  behavioral tests. We chose him, nonetheless …. and because he is just 1 year old,  I guess he has not outgrown his destructive tendencies. Look what he did to our couch. .. and to my new comforter, and 3 pairs of shoes, one of which I haven’t even worn yet.

 

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* sigh*….. Oh, well.

 

Oh, and good news. I’ve started ” reading” again.  I managed to read 3 books in 2018.  All political books, though. Does that count? The book I’m currently reading is a  crime/thriller   2nd Chance  by my favorite author, James Patterson.  I bought it years ago from our neighborhood library, hardbound, mint condition, for a dollar.

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But this morning, after  hearing  Sunday Mass, I passed by Barnes and Nobles and bought 3 books… James Patterson’s  The President is Missing , (  $30 ) and 2 by  Brandon Sanderson, Book One of the Stormlight Archive series, The Way of the Kings, and Book Two, Words of Radiance, ( $ 11.99 each ) . Guess who’s the co-author of  The President is Missing ?  Ta-da ! !  Former President Bill Clinton !  Whoa !

 

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Okay, that’s all .  Bye and peace ! !

 

 

 

 

 

My musings at 1:30 AM

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Chillin’ at 1:40 AM , March 31, 2019 .

 

Yesterday, March 30, was my Dad’s  birthday.

 

I haven’t “watched ” the news  for about 3 months now.. I am tired of all the political burlesque   that’s going on here in the US and around the world. Like,  what the heck  happened to Venezuela? It’s like an  apocalypse over  there … empty shelves at grocery stores,  Mickey Mouse money… almost a million Venezuela Bolivars for one cup of coffee ! ….  and a  million per cent  inflation rate. ( I watched it YouTube, BBC Channel )

 

On the homefront,  I’ve turned into a political zombie. …. I’m  more like a  ” deadma “ , I think.  What’s a ” deadma ” ?  It’s a common Filipino slang word coined from 2 English words  ” dead malice ” . A person is  deadma  when he/she  feels, looks, and acts unconcerned about what’s going on around him/her,. ( or fiddles while Rome burns, as the saying goes. ) . However, I’m only deadma  on the outside.  Inwardly, I’m judging….. Yes , judging ,  but  in the most sensible, reasonable ,  logical  and most fair manner  as possible.

That’s the  reason why my politics has   slid from far left  to just a bit left of center.  Extremism is toxic. Anything  taken  in excess is poison.  The only thing  that has not budged  is my position on environment and guns, and my  unwavering disgust with  you – know -who…

 

I know exactly when the slide towards the center started. It started right after the 2016 US presidential elections.

 

That’s all. Don’t hate me.  Bye , and peace.

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So , okay, I’m an island girl.

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I was taken aback when a co-worker asked me where I was born…  I answered the Philippines, of course… then he said, ” I mean, on what island .?????” I thought for a minute before replying….Uhm… Luzon Island ???

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I  told him I’d  always thought of my birthplace  as a country and not an island   ( if that makes sense). Well, the Philippines is comprised of 7, 641 islands ( or 7, 107  at  high tide, ha ha ) , and though I find  his question  a bit strange, I have to admit it   makes  sense…  After all, the former name of the Philippines was  Las Islas Filipinas ( as a Spanish colony.. .. islas means islands ) , Philippine Islands ( as  American colony) , Commonwealth of the Philippines, ( still American colony) , then Republic of the Philippines ( after independence)

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So, I ran off to tell my Filipino co-worker and she was surprised, as well. I mean, we have the same mindset.  We don’t consider ourselves “island people ” .  Japan is an island.  Indonesia , Singapore… Come to think of it… England.   Here’s the thing… it’s A-Okay  to be considered an islander. I find it very exotic… it evokes images of  beautiful, tropical islands with white beaches, palm and coconut trees swaying in the breeze…

 

Most importantly,  Palawan Island ( which is on the video above) is the  location of TUBBATAHA REEF, a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE site, the most protected site in the world.    The biodiversity of  Tabbutaha Reef surpasses that of Galopagos’ and Hawaii’s  combined. Then , there’s Apo Reef, the second largest contiguos coral reef system in the world , and is a highly protected site ,located in the waters of Occidental Mindoro  in the Philippines. The reef is submerged, of course, but are marked by 3 uninhabited islands, Apo Island, Apo Menor, and Cayos del Bajo. Like Tabbutaha, it is a no- take- zone., and just like Tabbutaha, it is  patrolled  by the Phil. Navy  24/7. Despite that,  Chinese poachers still encroach  and fish illegally.  On one Chinese fishing boat, they found turtles , manta rays, sharks, etc.  ( maybe for their shark fin soups and turtle soups which the Chinese love ).  I know I’m being politically incorrect, but I;m just stating a fact.  I hope the Chinese people desist from consuming stuff  that come from endangered animals. . Stop eating shark fin and turtle soups ! ! ( and buying elephant tusks for ivory. It’s outrageous. )*whisper* I don’t even want to mention what’s going on in West Philippine Sea ( South China Sea) .. Palawan is located in that area. How should I say this …. well, the situation there is extremely intense. If you haven’t heard about it, start reading , I beg you. The Philippines is a very small country. This is like David and Goliath.

Anyway….

Here is TUBBATAHA REEF. The preservation of the reefs and Philippine biodiversity is not only for the Philippines, but for whole mankind.

 

 

Well,  * cough * I wasn’t really born on any of these islands shown above… I was born in Manila, on Luzon island, the biggest island in the Philippines.  The city of Manila, shown on the video below,  is the reason why I don’t feel like an island girl.  Still, I am an island girl,  and proud of it.  I think the Philippines is one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

 

This is all for now.  I hope you can watch the videos.  Bye and peace.