2/27/13

Good Eats in Cebu Philippines

English: A burger with fries from Philippines

A few Good Restaurants that are cheap and good in the Philippines


I have lived in the Philippines for the past 6 years and all of that has been in Cebu.  What I did find hard was where to get a good meal.  What places have the best food and I having those western taste buds would actually enjoy.   I will try and compare and show you some great places to get those fine eats.  I am not one to eat out to much however our friends over at Living In Cebu Forum have a assisted me in complying this list.  If you have a favorite please assist others and add a comment.    Now these are not your run of the mill places.  They are hidden but not obscure to find.  You can find your typical greasy spoon in the malls and plenty of pizza joints.  Yet these are worth extra trip to enjoy some home grown flavors.

Yet I will try and break this down a little bit for you.


La Lagrima Tacqueria - is a new arrival run by a man out of California.  Excellent selection of Mexican foods and the price seems great and so does the quality.  Directions to the place - On Gov. Cuenco, coming from Cebu City, it's maybe fifty meters past BTC on the same side of the street. The name is La Lagrima Tacqueria, but the sign is small, not lit, and not brightly colored -- you won't see the place from the street. I found it because I was walking from BTC

French Bakery -  They have a very nice selection of food.  The quality of food is good and so is the price.  they are located in SM Mall Cebu and it is worth a stop in you are shopping.  

Mama Maria's Pizzaria - They are located in the IT Park Ayala and server a very nice bolognese pasta that is cheap and inexpensive.  They are also open 24 hours which is a huge benefit to those that crave a midnight snack.

Ilaputi's - Looking to get your grub on with a few burgers and fries well this place has that covered.  The Fries are not the best in the world however the burger is one of the best in Cebu.  They are also located in the IT park.

La Maison Rose  This is a little more upscale and has great ambiance the food is just awesome.  Looking for a quite place that is good and not going to break the bank.  Well here is your answer.  They are located in Lahug Cebu.  

Lighthouse Restaurant - Serving Filipino favorites and you will be hard pressed to find a better place then this for fine Filipino Dining.  They are located on Mango and Country Mall.  

Oyster Bay Restaurant - If seafood is an on the menu this is a nice place to eat and fish always seems fresh.  
The Price is reasonable and the portion are nice size.  They are located on Plaridel in Mandaue 

Now there are a few higher end places that are good and will set you back just a bit.  However for that special occasion they are worth it.

 David's Steakhouse - Probably the best place to get a steak in Cebu.  They have some killer mash potatoes and fries.  Located  Across the street from the Sarrosa Hotel on Cabahug Street. 

Marco Polo has a wonderful Sunday Breakfast Buffet that is very good and one of the best I have had anywhere.


2/26/13

American Idol 3 Filipinos 2013

American Idol logo 2008–2011
American Idol logo 2008–2011 

3 Filipinos make the top 40 of American Idol.


Today as I am going through the local papers I read 3 Filipinos make the top 40 of American Idol.  ( Front Page ) Wonderful then I come to read further none of them ever lived in the Philippines.  So it shocking in a way that this is headline news.  This is a country of 90 million people or 1/3 the size of the US.  It is a country that has many great potentials yet never seems to realize them.  It seems as though people are grasping at straws here.  They want something to associate the world to Philippines.  There is nothing wrong with Filipino pride and having it. Though  I ask myself where is the home grown talent.  Why are the homegrown products not producing on the world stage.  



The movie poster Metro Manila
It goes back to the limit potential on people here.  Everything is monopolized by the Television Companies that own the movies, papers and own the radio.  There are very few choices to nurture these talents.  I even looked at the recent film Metro Manila which won at Sundance Film Festival  for best film, audience award.  So I dove a little deeper into that.  It was written by a British, Directed by a British, Produced by the British.  So to give the film the authentic taste and feel they filmed it here using Filipino actors.  So why was this a Filipino Film because it had a few actors from the Philippines and filmed here?  The thing is that even the Government of the Philippines recognized this lack of talent that is making the world stage.  In June of 2002 they enacted a bill to promote this and help raise the talent level of the Philippines.  " AN ACT CREATING THE FILM DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL OF THE PHILIPPINES, DEFINING ITS POWERS AND FUNCTIONS, APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES"




If I look at it this way my Father is British born and lived there.  I have relatives I have never met there.  If I made the top 40 of American Idol would I even be in the papers let alone the the front page?  No worries on that American Idol there is not a bucket big enough for me to carry a note. However is there so little positives in peoples lives they cling to the positives or is it this overwhelming sense of pride.  I can say without a doubt Filipinos have a great sense of pride.  The flag is flown and the national anthem is played at malls where people actually stop and respect it.  Yet I still feel that is a combination of both of those factors. It is sad in a country so rich and full of talent.  


2/24/13

Pulled Pork Philippine Style

No Philippine home is complete without a Bottle of Swan Sauce Vinegar.


Philippine Pulled Pork Sandwich
So I decided I would attempt to make some North Carolina BBQ.   Now I was not able to cook my Pork Tenderloin on a open pit of hickory.  So I just did the best I could with a few Coconut Husks and some sticks from behind my home.   Once the meat was cooked to perfection.
 I needed the sauce which is the overall flavor for this dish in the making.






So I just had to guess and go with what my taste remembered it being like.  


So here is what I added to my Philippine NC BBQ sauce

I then had one cup of Vinegar
Ground red pepper enough to cover the top of the vinger in my measuring cup.
5 good dashes of tobasco sauce
2 chopped very fine banana peppers
3 dashes of liquid smoke
3 table spoons of honey ( would prefer molasses yet none to be had)
2 table spoons of brown sugar
3 Table spoons ketchup
Small dash of mustard (very small)
Couple of shakes of salt and pepper

I then put that in a sauce pan and brought it to a very slow boil.  Once it began to bubble it was off to the fridge.  Now back to my tenderloin.  I cut the meat length wise with the grain of the meat and took a fork then pulled it making it just ever so stringy.    After my bottle of sauce was chilled and the meat sufficiently pulled.  I was off to give this a try.   Well lets just say it was as good as I remember and was excellent on  bread.  Now the wife was intrigued  by this wild looking sauce and pork.  Yet she loved it as she mixed it with her rice.  Tangy, Sweet, Spicy, and the meat was smokey.  What more for dinner on a budget.

When in the Philippines you have to give it a go.  As King;s North Carolina BBQ is not just around the corner.


2/23/13

Lesson in Philippine Documents

Lesson is in the Philippines Triple Check All Documents.

Tim Potter and Zol Potter Philippine Market
Tim Potter and Zol Potter with Philippine Market
This statement does not go with out a saying.  It took us three years to get a simple correction to our Marriage Licence to state Tim Potter and Zol Potter here in the Philippines. In Sugar Land this would have been a one trip affair to complete at the county civil registrar.  The bliss and wedding day jitters led us to over look the simplest of spelling errors.  However those two letters being inverted caused 3 years of hard work and turmoil to correct.  

Most people say how would that take 3 years to correct.  I will explain that to you.  According to Philippine Law to correct a typographical error of the first name you need the following:

REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9048

The petition shall be supported with the following documents:
(1) A certified true machine copy of the certificate or of the page of the registry book containing the entry or entries sought to be corrected or changed.

(2) At least two (2) public or private documents showing the correct entry or entries upon which the correction or change shall be based; and

(3) Other documents which the petitioner or the city or municipal civil registrar or the consul general may consider relevant and necessary for the approval of the petition.

Now read this and see number 3.   The Civil Registrar in the jurisdiction where you get married determines actually what documents are required.   It is 100% his or her discretion if they will accept the documents you present to them.    This for us involved getting 10 supporting documents to prove her name was actually her name.   ( Birth Certificate, Baptismal Certificate, NBI, TIN/SS, Voter Id, High School Diploma, Barangy Clearance, Tax ID, Original Marriage License, Drivers License).  

So why do you need the obvious over kill on documents.  I can only speculate on the situation after living here for the last 6 years.   The Federal Government does not trust the local Civil Registrars to complete the job beyond corruption.  Then we have the whole saving face issue and the local governments to not want to look bad in the eyes of the Federal Government.  I just firmly believe there is this lack of trust between the two government offices. ( Local and Federal).  Also if you notice I put Marriage License that was not an error.  You have two documents 1. Marriage License 2. Certificate of Marriage, our marriage license was correct with the correct spelling.  It was the certificate of marriage that was submitted to National Statistics Office (NSO) that was incorrect.  

Yet why do I say it takes three years.  Well teaching someone drive takes time and have the ability to pass the test.  Then you can only obtain certain documents during certain times.   This involves travel to all these various offices paying a fee and getting a picture.  Even when you complete all the requirements of documents.  It will take 6-9 months from the time of first filing to get a end result.  You first need approval for change then you need that change entered into the NSO system.   So what lessons can be learned is that you need to triple check everything. The last thing is keep your receipts as that is the only proof you have of anything.  They requested both the document and the official receipt we paid.   Again that lack of trust between different agencies here.  


Related articles

2/22/13

Fake It Till You Make It

Counterfeit Rolex watches were displayed at th...
Counterfeit Rolex watches were displayed at the dedication and open house of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center in Arlington, VA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The world of Fakes and Knock Offs is alive and well in the Philippines.  

I have lived in many countries the world over and I would say that I can just about get a knock off of almost anything.  This goes from DVD's, Purses, Hand Bags, Golf Clubs, Watches, Cell Phones and Pharmacy items.  

Yes this is theft and they are stealing from the very people that make the real items.  Yet living here it gives you something that looks genuine yet in reality is just a fake.  

This was a very interesting article written a few years ago yet hits the nail on the head.  

If your looking for fakes, there is no better place to go than Green hills in the Philippines. Unlike other countries where you need to follow them into back alleyways and into restaurants to get what you need. Greenhills proudly displays their fake Chanel handbags, and Rolex watches store-front. Up until a few years ago you were also able to buy movies and games here as well, but due to the crackdown on copyrights internationally, these products have now been shifted into back alleyways and the slum areas. I don’t recommend following these people when they offer you copy CD’s unless you are with a reliable guide and or family. Following these people can be a dumb idea and can sometimes put you in more grief for just a movie or two. But if your here in Greenhills your probably after the huge assortment of phone cases, fake watches and bags. Getting to Greenhills, well getting anywhere in Manila at all is a nightmare with the huge amount of traffic that encompasses this city. Although traffic has apparently become a lot less since the new EDSA roads have opened, it still takes the better part of a couple hours to cover this few kilometer trip from central Manila to Greenhills. Your best bet is to take a taxi or a bus as other forms of transport are not too common in the Philippines. A good idea is that you can actually rent a van for the day at set prices, this is usually what we do when going out from our local province. One of my cousins offered to drive us to Greenhills and that’s probably the best way to get around in this city.
English: Picture of the Greenhills Shopping Center
English: Picture of the Greenhills Shopping Center (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We eventually arrived at the entrance and it took a while before we could find a parking space. For my girlfriend coming here meant that she would be able to buy a lot of things that are hard to come by in Japan. When I was younger I use to shop here a lot for their fake polo’s, shoes and what not. Nowadays however I prefer to buy the real thing. Although the quality is pretty high here compared to fakes I have seen in Hong Kong The quality and knowing that the goods are the real thing are the main reason why one should buy designer goods in the first place.. If you don’t care about the clothes being real or not, then this is the place to come to, with an entire floor of several different buildings packed with small outlets of people selling their fake goods. There’s so many bags, watches and jewelry, some real and others not, that you could quite literally spend a whole day here. When you get hungry the central food court also has a nice selection of foreign and local food which you can choose from to feed your rumbling stomachs. Greenhills is also a good place to go if you want to grab a souvenir or two, there’s a lot of local items that you can take back home which barely take anything out of your wallet.
Now there’s probably two main things you need to know about coming here:

1. Always pay attention to your pockets and belongings, pick pocketing is common and the ones who aren’t aware (you always see foreigners walking around without a care in the world) are usually the ones targeted. and

2. ALWAYS BARGAIN! Because your a foreigner they put at least a 100% mark up on prices as soon as you speak a word of English (or any other language for that matter). If they say they want 2500 pesos for a bag, say 1000 pesos. As the half price is usually the local price. If they don’t sell it to you for half price walk away as there are a lot of other stores selling the same if not similar products. Most of the time however when you walk away they’ll say its ok! To give you an idea of price a fake LV wallet will set you back less than 20 bucks, bags of designers are around this price also. A high quality fake Rolex is about 50 dollars Australian, the prices get lower depending on the quality ranking.

Greenhills is a really good place to spend a day if your after fake things or just want to look around this mammoth complex. They don’t only sell bags but a huge variety of other things as well. Just be careful with pick pockets and other petty crime when your here, as having your wallet stolen will probably ruin your holiday.

2/20/13

Fire in Philippines



Latest Fire Tondo, Manila

Fires in the Philippines seem to happen as often as Mondays.


Life is hard here for the majority of Filipinos as they live life hand to mouth.  Though this is a tropical environment fires seem to happen every week.  Killing hundreds and displacing thousands.  I wonder sometimes if it is not a way to move the urban poor from their dwellings to make way for new construction.  There are non-profit organizations that protect the urban poor and the land they have squatted on from eviction.    Yet the majority are proven to be accidental and could have been prevented.

So what are the causes of these fires. 


There are two main causes that I see that are directly relating to all these fires and directly related to living in poverty.  


I was doing research on this issue and came across an article that had a lot of points.  Yet everything that is mentioned is beyond the price range of the urban poor.  They do what is called spider electricity.  Where one person has a meter and they then resell that power to every individual using extensions cords.  They do not cook with approved LPG regulated ranges if using LPG at all.  Most use wood of some form to cook on a daily basis.  So while the article does reflect the result of such action it never does address the problem.  So many times the Government and other agencies attack a result instead of looking at the issue.   One thing that was not mentioned was the fact these home are built so tightly together the inability of a firetruck or other rescue vehicle to render service is impossible, add in the delay because of traffic.   Then the dated and obsolete surplus fire equipment tend to put more lives in danger then they are are actually going to save.


Electrical Connections


Philippines electrical connection box
As many large fires in the Philippines are caused by faulty electrical connections, electrical overloading, and wiring problems, it is extremely important to ask a licensed electrical engineer to conduct fire safety inspections in homes, offices, and establishments to avoid serious problems on electrical connections. Conducting regular checks and maintenance work prevents possible threats of fire. While it is possible to save a few bucks by having things checked or repaired by a non-licensed electrician or technician, such may even increase the risk of fire caused by long-term electrical system problems.
Don't overload electrical circuits by putting lights, gadgets, and other electric and electronic appliances beyond the capacity of the electrical system. It is also an ideal practice to unplug all appliances and gadgets after use or after charging.
Another important fire prevention advice that involves simple lifestyle practice: proper usage, storage, and maintenance of electric and electronic appliances. Make sure electric cords are free from breakages. If plugs and fuses need repair, don't use metal items such as staples or nails to fasten the cords and don't replace blown fuses with coins, wires, or any other metal. Use applicable replacement materials and ask a professional to properly fix frayed wirings and problematic electrical fixtures.

Cooking


Dirty Kitchen wood stove very flamable
A number of fire accidents reported in the Philippines also involve improper (or lack of) maintenance and other connection problems with LPG tanks. These are generally used by the Filipino households for cooking. As a fire prevention measure, always check the connections and conduct maintenance procedures on gas stoves and LPG tanks. Check them for leaks and always seek professional help for any serious concern. It is also important not to leave the stove open beyond cooking time (sometimes, people forget to turn off stoves before sleeping, leaving the house, or doing other things). Don't put any flammable material near the stove and make sure children and pets won't have easy access to them as well.



Society Blogs
blog search engine

2/18/13

Philippine Internet Connection


English: PLDT and Smart Zamboanga City main Branch

What are the internet options available in the Philippines.

Globe

In today's world people want to know what internet options are available to them in the Philippines.  Internet is the way people can make Calls, Watch TV, Catch up on news and reconnect with long lost friends. The Philippines has many options that are available to you at a range of cost and availability.  You have DSL, Wifi, 4G and 3G.  However the carriers are very limited and who you can use.  The coverage and reliability depend solely on your location here.  

So lets get to it.     


1.  You have three major carriers of Internet in the Philippines.  PLDT, Globe and Sun.  

2.  All three of the above offer 3G dongles that can plug into your computer and you can avail of similar rates for all three services.  999 pesos (25 dollars) for unlimited service for 30 days.  You will connect at speeds of 2Mb to 5Mb depending on contract or if you go prepaid service.  4G service is available for Globe and Pldt in selected areas.  

3. DSL is available from both Globe and PLDT.   This again is available in selected areas and the cost is 999 pesos of 2Mb connection.  

4. Fixed Air antenna.  This is available from PLDT and Globe they use either the 3G or 4G network.  The speed and price are consistent with the above stated prices.  

5. Different areas of the Philippines have all kinds of off shoot companies.  Yet the major providers are stated above.  You can go to selected areas and find what is best in that area.  

My recommendations on what to use.

Tim Potter Philippines sitting on Beach
Click here Tim Potter

I (Tim Potter ) have lived here for 5 years and used almost all of the above.  What I (Tim Potter) recommed is the the following:

1.  If you are traveling then I would get the Smart (PLDT) 3G dongle.  This is going to give you the best coverage in most areas.  

2. I (Tim Potter) have had Globe DSL and Pldt Dsl.  PLDT had the best coverage and lower outage rate.  So I prefer Pldt over Globe in this area.  Now depending on where you live will determine if the coverage of DSL is available. 

3.  I (Tim Potter) have also had the roof top antenna for both Globe and Pldt (Smart).  I again prefer smart over Globe.  Both were very good and both did not give me issue with outage.  However Globe has a strict cap on usage.  So when you reach that cap you are essentially turned off.  

So to summarize the options and my preferred methods.

I (Tim Potter) would always go DSL, Roof Top and Dongle in that order then as follows:

3G Donlge

  1. Smart (PLDT)
  2. Globe 
  3. Sun

DSL

  1. PLDT 
  2. Globe

Roof Top

 1. Smart (PLDT)
 2. Globe 

Philippine Variety TV


Sonny & Cher
Cover of Sonny & Cher

Is the Philippines TV stuck in early 1970's


I am child of the television and I love to watch TV.  I enjoy the good dramas that the US has produced in recent years.  I love shows that get your juices flowing and suspense packed drama.  I also enjoy some of the reality shows of late. Such as American idol however the part I enjoy more then anything are the auditions to the show.   They seem to capture a funny side of people and the funny side of life.  

This is where the Philippines seems to be stuck.


I watch daytime TV and it is one uneducated person after another on TV not realizing the world is laughing not really with them but at them.  Then you have daytime TV where they glamorize poverty.  They are always going to the homes of the poor and giving away free food and gifts.  It never ends there it always has grandma crying about how she missed that or other tragedy that be fall on their life.  It is not stop variety from that to amateur hour where they have some of the worse singers and dancer come on stage.   This is a country of 90 million people.  I have see the talent in the streets, clubs and on youtube.  Yet these shows can never seem to find them.  It is not only that but they are just plumb full of advertising from Rexona, Whisper, or some hair product you should try. It seems to take me back to the Gong Show, Greatest American Hero, Sonny and Cher and The Newlywed Game.   Where they would have a diamond in the rough but more then not it was comical entertainment to laugh at these people.  

The Newlywed Game
The Newlywed Game (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Watching Prime Time not all that much better


Last night I watch Pinoys Got Talent.  This was the audition round and there just was not anything good about it.  There were three Gay Men dressed as women that actually looked like women.  Then they sang like men.  It was more shocking and alarming then entertaining.  They could sing yet I was lost in the whole appearance.  Besides that you had a guy with a big hulu hoop that danced with it.  He was found to be very talented.  Yet I found it just average and actually would have never made it through on America or Britian Got Talent.  So where is all the talent because I have seen it and I know they are out there.  Why in this the country of the Philippines do they not show up for these shows.  It is not the first time I have watched the show and the winner Jovan a few seasons ago could really sing.  

More on the Prime TV

There is an absence of any dramas on TV.  They are either Korean dramas (soap opera) or some sorta mystical creature type show.  They have Captain Barbell and Dwarfina though both have ended and replaced by another similar show.  These shows run daily and are not once a week shows.   What are lacking are Dramas and Sitcoms.  They all evolve around being a soap opera with very bad acting.  They should be able to escape the duldrums of the 1970s and enter the new age.   TV has evolved since then and shows have also.  Yet not here in the Philippines.  

Enjoy


2/16/13

Grocery Shopping Philippine Style



Spam
Spam (Photo credit: mrdodgy)

The first thing an expat asks when they arrive where can I get this?


Getting your groceries in the Philippines can be a chore to say the least. It is not like shopping back home in Sugar Land Texas.  It becomes hard to just one stop shop and find all your needs in one location.  There are plenty of grocery stores in the Philippines yet the selection at many, oh my.  Well lets just say not so good.  They will have shelve after shelve dedicated to Tuna, Spam, Sardines and the then have shelve after shelve of the different types of pancit or noodles.   This is the local grocery right down the road from me.  They also two whole aisles dedicated to snack food.  One aisle dedicated to just canned meat.  I never knew spam came in so many flavors and seasonings. They only have 12 Aisles and 4 I just avoid.   Also if an item is popular they will run out of it for months and months.  So sometimes I just shake my head when I try and find what I just saw in the store a week ago.   

Now I have broke this down in the stores I shop at here in Cebu Philippines  


S&R -  This is a membership organization.  It cost 750 pesos ($18) a year to be a member.  It is a bulk seller of items or warehouse club.  Yet they have individual items for sale that are tad higher in price. Yet they have a very large selection of imported items that can be purchased.  This is a good starting point for the impossible food item you may crave.  They have a very nice selection of frozen foods and frozen items that other stores seem to lack.

Rustans and Shopwise - These are the same outfit with different names.  Now they are a regular grocery store that tend to cater a little to the western taste.  They have a nice selection of cheese and wines.  In addition they have good quality meat products.  The stores are very customer based and seem to have a good grasp on maintaining inventory.  We do most of shopping here.

Robinsons -  This is a cross section type store. It will have some western favorites however it is a majority Filipino culture.  They have very good fruits and vegetables and the meat department is adequate. Yet if you are looking for beef that will be hit or miss.

Metro Gaisano -  We do a lot of shopping at Metro Gaisano.  I have found that I can get most of my staples here.  The price is good and the stores are normally very clean.  Finding western food is difficult yet they do tend to have a varied selection.  The meats seems good and have a decent selection.  This store has a very nice produce area and always seems to have fresh vegetables.

Last on the list Gaisano -  Now there is a diffrence between Metro Gaisano and Gaisano.  Gaisano is a grocery store.  I will give them that much.  Yet the selection is very poor and what I described above was a Giasano.  It is just a horrible place to shop.  I avoid these places like the plague.


So where do I do most of my shopping.    

Tim Potter Philippines shopping at the local market.
Philippine Market Tim Potter And Zol 

Since Ayala Mall in Cebu Philippines has both a Metro Gaisano and Rustans.  We head there once a month and do all the big shopping.  We can hit the Metro Gaisano and get all the needed items.  We will work through the lines and seeing what favorites for me they may not have.  Then head down and get the other items in Rustans.  

Enjoy


2/15/13

Is the Philippines Behind the Times



Philippine Telecommunications not keeping up.


 Globe Telecom logo.
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There is a article in the newspaper today about a start-up company that was using Globe Telecom Philippines to make international calls.  First let me say if the law is written as it is then all should abide by that law.  Yet are the laws behind the present time.

Sun Star article We Talk Direct Closed


As normal the papers are lacking a lot of details regarding this company and its agreement with Globe Telecom Philippines.  However lets just go on what we do know based on the article. 

1. We Talk Direct Charged 1 peso (2.3 cents) a min to call the US
2. Globe Telecom Philippines charges 15 peso (40 cents) a min to call the US
3. Fair use policy for Globe internet prohibits using internet to make Voice over Internet Protocol calls.


we talk direct company logo
We talk direct
Now based on the article what happen was an incoming call from overseas were captured by the servers here in the Philippines.  Then using a switch they routed those calls out from there using Globe Telecom lines.  They were avoiding the high international rate to call the Philippines by using on the ground technology. Then getting here was was done via Session Internet Protocol (SIP).  So when you called the only charge was by We Talk Direct.  Actually cutting Globe out of the loop for payment of calls.  They sold international calling cards to people so they could call the Philippines via a local number in their home countries and then route them here.  Now the return trip worked in the exact same manner.  You called the servers at We Talk Direct and then they routed that number to country of destination.  Now they did this via two methods local numbers and via SIP calling.    Where you purchased a starter kit that included a sip phone. 

This where I say that the laws are out dated and not keeping up with the times.  If a company can use existing technology and make a profit at 1 Peso a min.   Then why is the consumer paying 15 pesos a min to make the exact same call.  If Globe was for the people they would embrace this and it should open up competition in the Philippines.  Yet instead they imprisoned these people and charged them with a crime.  The problem is that there are only two companies that offer home phone service PLDT and Globe.  They are also your main providers of internet service.  So they have eliminated the competition.  Hopefully with the millions of Over Seas Foreign  they will stand up to this and demand change.  Because the time is changing and Globe needs to change with the times.  

2/14/13

Valentines with the Wife

Valentines day here in the Philippines.


Tim Potter Philippines via sugar land
Tim Potter and Zol
Tim Potter Philippine Beach
Tim Potter
Tim Potter Philippine sky line with zolThought I (Tim Potter) would share the story of my wife and I.  So many people come to the Philippines in a hurry kind of way and get married.  Yet that is not the way it all came to be for my wife and I.  I (Tim Potter) was getting ready to leave the country and head back to Sugar Land Texas after few bad decisions and a little bad luck. I was hopping around on Facebook and Shelia who was a friend hit me up for a chat.  She was telling about this girl in Toledo Philippines and how I really needed to meet her.  At this point I was really not in a meeting kind of mood but agreed to meet her.  The date was Jan 10th and I drove over the mountain to Toledo to meet Zol.  The thing was I did not catch on to the nickname of Zol for a very long time.  So I just called her Marisol.  I wondered at first why every one looked at me strange.  Yet after meeting her I decided I need to spend a little more time with Zol.  So we dated for a month with me traveling back and forth over the Mountain.   After a 21 days of this traveling back and forth I decided that I should just move to the other side of the Mountain.  So I moved to Balamban which is about 14 Km from Toledo. However every single day I would travel that distance to see her and spend time with her.  We spent the next 4 months together as I traveled  back and forth.  We got engaged to be married at the beginning of April and were married on May 6th.  There is even a story to that.  We were suppose to get married a week earlier however the paper from the Philippine Government was delayed.  They somehow forgot to submit it.  So it pushed out our date.  Now this seems to be a wonderful date to get married as on that day this year my parents would have been married for 46 years.
  Three years ago today I got Zol a stuff animal and two chocolate lollipops.  However I love her more today then I ever did back then.  It seems to grow with every passing day.  Lot has changed in those three years and we both seem to grow.  But one this for sure I love her more now then I could have ever imagined the day I first said it.

So happy Valentines day to one and all.



Philippine Drug issue



Photo credit

Does the Philippines have a drug issue?


It is almost impossible to sit and compare one country to the next.  I am from Sugar Land Texas and currently live in Cebu.  Yet the problems with drugs face both of these countries differently.  Poverty in the Philippines has led it down a path of abuse of drugs and alcohol.  Yet not the designer recreational drugs that plague the US.

The penalties for drug possession in the Philippines


   The law prescribes the death penalty for drug traffickers caught with at least 0.3 ounce of opium, morphine, heroin, cocaine, marijuana resin, or at least 17 ounces of marijuana. The Philippines has imposed a moratorium on the death penalty, but drug offenders are still punished harshly if caught – the minimum sentence is 12 years in prison for possession of .17 ounce of illegal drugs.
These laws are harsh and possession of drugs in the Philippines is not a joke.  The prisons are a far cry from the luxury accommodation the west provides for criminals.  Yet this keeps these types of drugs out of the system and prevent a vast majority of the drugs from the streets of the Philippines.

So what is plaguing the nation?


Rugby inhalant picture
The Philippines has a population explosion and there are children roaming the streets at all hours of the day and night.   They have a name for these kids "Rugby Boys" no that is not a sports accolade but a type of contact cement that is inhaled.  They inhale this contact cement for the instant high and for the properties to take away hunger.   The effects of this inhalant abuse can suffer brain damage, kidney and liver failure, sight and hearing loss, muscle weakness, leukemia  and death. Recently the Philippines has been attacking the issue with adding mustard oil to the contact cement to counter act the aroma of toluene which is the product that gives the high.  Yet even with the additives they have just moved on to other inhalants to  vice using Rugby.  Many paint products contain the same active ingredients and have the same long last effects on the youth of the Philippines.  It is a cheap high that you see to often on the streets of Cebu Philippines.
 The other problem that faces this nation is the use of alcohol.  A recent world health report said that 5 million Filipinos are regular drinkers.  That is out of country that has only 90 million people.  With the relative low cost of alcohol and spirits'   It provide an escape from the realities that surround the country.   The government has again stepped into try and curb this with a new sin tax.  This tax has raised the prices on tobacco and alcohol by about a third.  So only time will tell if this has a dramatic effect on the country. 

The Good and Bad 


The good is the Philippine Government has taken action to control this and the effects of these action will be seen in the future.  They have implemented plans and action recognizing the issue of drugs in the country as a whole.  This seems to take care of the result of the problem but fails to address the causes of the problem.  There still are little social welfare programs and programs to help the nearly 1.5 million street children in the Philippines.   These issues should be addressed and need immediate attention.  So yes steps in the right direction but more should and could be done to help the children of this country.  A country with all the potential in the world can not destroy its youth which are the future.  


2/12/13

Raising Children in Philippines



Happy Children Playing Kids

Philippines very non-child friendly country


One of my main reasons for wanting to return Sugar Land Texas is the children.  The Philippines is just not a friendly place when you have children.

Everything in the Philippines takes all that much longer to accomplish.  


Nothing is done in a hurry and there never seems to be a rush.  However when you have children there is always a rush to get things. done. I will give you just a few examples:

We were traveling from Elizabeth Mall Cebu to our home in Bulacao Philippines.  Now this journey is about 12 miles or 20 Km.  This little trip took just over an hour to complete in a taxi.  There was a funeral in the middle of the road at 4pm on Tuesday.  So all the traffic was dead stopped.  A trip that was in and out of a store and only suppose to be one bottle.  Turns into a camp out on the South Road.  The main through fare through Cebu Philippines.

Now Grocery shopping is always fun when you have children.  Yet in the Philippines the "F" in fun stands for frustrating.  You have a shopping buggy that does not fit down the aisles.  See instead of what normal stores do and stock at night.  They do this during all times of the day.  So your choice is to leave the buggy at the start of the aisle with your two young children or skip the aisle.  Additionally they make zero consideration for buggies and the aisles are packed with promo items and displays.  So making this a one way affair to begin with.   

The next issue is the school system here and how poorly children are taught.


Just to make this very clear.  The Philippines has just under 100 Million people and has a population one third the size of the USA.   Despite this they have zero universities in the top 500 in the world.  That should start as an alarming figure.  Lets look at the schools; They only attend school for 10 years not the normal 12 years.  The recent change which will be fully implemented by 2016 unless (which of course there will be) will be 12 years of school.  Also lets consider a few things about the schools.  1. No lunch or breakfast is served 2. 50 students per class is the average size 3. Student go to school either 7am - 3pm or 3pm-10pm. 4. Books are shared between 3 and 4 students. 5. School session is 180 days a year take out the holidays and celebrations and time off amounts to less then 120 days a year.  I could go on and on about the educational programs.  However the point is made.

Sports and children recreational activities


Street children in Cebu (Philippines).

There are very few if any depending on where you live.  There are no sports leagues for soccer baseball or any other leagues for children.  It is a just not a priority in a country that lives hand to mouth.  Additionally there are no parks for the children to play and just be children.  You will children playing in the streets.  You will see marching bands practicing in the street or small parking lots.  There is nothing for children to do.  It is a society where children stay home and play.  This lack of extra activity is hard on parents and there should be things to do and see for children.  Yet there is very little for them.  

So for this alone has given me enough to decide that I need to pack my bags from Cebu Philippines and head back to Sugar Land Texas.  



2/11/13

Gun Control in the Philippines

Gun laws fail safety test: Greens
 (Photo credit: publik16)

Gun Control is it really preventing murders


With the recent events unfolding in the US concerning gun control I thought I would weigh in on my thoughts.  First let me explain I am all for the second amendment.  I believe that an individual has the right to bear and carry a firearm.  The current background checks and other checks to prevent ownership of weapons should if enforced properly be enough.  I do draw my limit on size and quantity of ammunition a weapon can hold but not on the style of weapon.  As a weapon of any style can do the same damage.  So where does that leave us.  With having to make back ground checks and other internal checks work.  The Government is so dysfunctional that agency A does not talk to agency B during these checks.  So it does not work.

Now getting to the Philippines.  Which has some of the harshest gun laws.  I am providing a list of things you will need to get a gun:


First you need 7 2"x2" photos and 1 1"x1"
Then you need all these supporting documents 

Supporting Documents

b. Residence Certificate 
c. Any valid ID
d. Proof of Citizenship (for foreign sounding names)
e. Local clearances (Police, Court, Mayor)
f. Directorate of Intelligence Clearance (can be obtained from the local or provincial Police)
g. Drug test
h. Neuro test ( Mental Test)
i. Must have undergone Gun Safety Seminar – usually conducted by the National Range Officer Institute, the PNP, or any registered Gun club
j. Gun Club Certificate

This is just to get a hand gun.   

maguindanao massacre
maguindanao massacre
Now this type of registration of weapons did not stop the Massacre of journalist in Mindanao.  Where 58 people lost their life. Nor has it prevented the senseless killing here in the Philippines.   Currently their are 88 guns for every 100 citizens of the US.  In the Philippines there are 4.7 guns per every 100.  Yet despite that the homicide rate in the Philippines is much higher related to gun violence. This is not to including the insurgency problem in Mindanao   Reference 

So why is this the case?  There are less guns there should be less gun violence.  It goes back to my entire premise that you can create a million laws.  The only people that will follow are law abiding citizens.  Criminals will always find a way to get a weapon to commit an act of violence.   You can not solve the problem by looking at the result.  You need to look at the why and the why is not the laws but the people.