Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Funny weird and "haha"

Ok, there have been some strange things that I have not seen before happen here in Manila. About two weeks ago, Karen and I were in a taxi on our way home. Karen yells “Holy crap, she’s naked!” I start looking around, and then I see that right in the middle of the street, a woman of about 45 is running down the street naked. She was totally normal looking, healthy, hair combed and clean. Her expression was like, ‘I am running for exercise”. We just kept on going. We still laugh about it. Also, we were eating in a restaurant a few days ago and next to us, a family sat down to eat. A girl about 20 leaned over and bit her boyfriend on the ear. He flipped out and grabbed her hand and smacked it a few times. They both started crying. Everyone just kept on eating their lunch not even really reacting to it, so as not to lose face. After ten to fifteen excruciating minutes they seemed to make up, so we left, show’s over.

Something else is real funny too. Karen and I were staying over at her Uncle Mike’s (does everyone have an Uncle Mike?) house and as is the accepted custom I assumed, men are often shirtless in the Barangays (neighborhoods). Mike has four kids, mostly very behaved aged 2-12. (the one that acts up the most, Joevic, is a chip off the old block, as the explanation was given to me.) Mika, the 2 year old, was just starting to warm up to me, showing off her Spongebob Squarepants plush toy and backpack. As it was hot, I casually pulled off my shirt, not knowing that the kids are unaccustomed to body hair, of which I certainly have my share. Mika came walking by and as she turned to be, totally “double-taked”, and then with eyes real big and out of the sides, kept walking until she had reached the safety of her mother. Ever since that day, Mika has been apprehensive in coming close to me, even with a shirt on. I think they tease her when she is fussing or acting up with a “You better be good, or Kulya Joaquin will get mad at you” or even worse “If you don’t behave, you will have to kiss Kulya Joaquin” (that one ALWAYS quiets her down.)

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Well, I had an idea for some interesting facts about the Philippines, but couldn't find the site again, so I am winging it. 88 million people puts it at the 12th most populated. Putting it well over these countries.
Vietnam 83,535,576
Germany 82,468,000
Egypt 77,505,756
Ethiopia 73,053,286
Turkey 69,660,559
Iran 68,017,860
Thailand 65,444,371

Also, ex Filipino president Marcos is #2 all time stealer of money from his country, estimates have it at 5-10 billion USD. Joseph Estrada (another esteemed Philippine president, embezzled $78-80m to become the 10th biggest corrupt world leader.

Filipinos are #2 in t.v. watching, #7 in total University students, #5 in total Christian population, and I just bored myself silly with this blog, sorry to all that read it.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Xmas Break

Well, its that time of year again. Reflections or whatever you want to call them... I like to reflect, I just dont Windex the mirror first, if you catch my drift.

This has been a great year for me, mostly because of my dearest and sweetest, Karen. She has made the impossible in my life possible.

This year I have had the opportunity to go to Cancun, Honduras, Belize, New Orleans, Gatlinburg and Nashville, Chicago, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, Ft. Lauderdale, and of course I am writing this self indulgent tale from Manila. It has been a banner year of travel for me, the crown jewel being that I am back in school, studying to become a Health Care Professional of what capacity only time will tell.

Every day I learn something new and interesting here, if I had a nickel for every sociological lesson that I have learned the hard way in my travels, I would be a millionaire. I guess its boastful to say that in a way, but I say it with the most sincere self-depreciating tone that I can. Hey, Im lucky and I know it. Also, I think I make my own luck by allowing myself the opportunity to let chance and randomness take the reigns once in a while. I guess I am non-structured and disorderly to some, but hey, it works for me.

I just bought a harmonica from a guy in the street selling them for about $0.75. It is without a doubt the cheapest of harmonicas that one could purchase, but ibrainier brainer because I am always busting the reeds on my $40.00 Lee Oskars and my budget is such that if the opportunity to buy a crappy harmonica presents itself, I jump at the chance. I havent played in so long. I hope to jam out one of these days, just need to find a blues band. I saw Freddy Aguilar in the Hobbit House a couple of weeks back. Freddy is a Dylan-esque standard in the Philippines, singing and playing music about Filipinos, women, and Filipino women. I got his CD and had it autographed, I thanked him for his performance (though short) and he said "Sorry man, I was so drunk". I excused him and casually (a bit drunk myself) asked if I could jam with him one day (he is a regular at the Hobbit House) and he humored me by saying "sure" though I am sure he was just being polite, I mean the guy is a legend. And from what I have learned, though extremely polite in social discourse, Filipinos would rather say "yes" even if it means "no, actually". Either way, it was a very good night, even though my squeeze was not feeling well enough to make it out. BTW, the Hobbit House is a very well known establishment featuring big name draws to its intimate 1500 sq/ft size. Another thing interesting about the place and size is that it is run and employed by midgets.