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SAMAR - Once you visit, you'll want SAMORE

Tuesday – 24 Aug 2010


[smartads] This morning started off at 0630.  At least there was no brown out.  Not much to do this morning yet, so I checked my blog, nothing.   I surfed the net for a while and played a couple of games.  I had 2 fantasy football drafts today, 0900 & 1100.  After which I went down town to the bank.  I took the pictures and found out I didn’t have my USB cable to connect the camera to the computer.  I had to go back down town to buy a card reader or cable.  I ended up with a card reader because they didn’t have a cable to fit my Nikon camera.  I got the pictures inserted in here so you see it works just fine.   The tricycles are pretty cool, aren’t they?  It costs only 5 pesos (.11) to ride down the road and 10 pesos (.22) to go downtown (about 1 mile away).  Pretty sweet deal.  Only problem I have with them is that I’m 71″ tall and when I sit down, I have to scrunch down a bit to fit.  I need about 2 more inches to fit well.  When we buy our tricycles, we plan to make them so they are a bit higher.  All the tricycle have to be registered if you want to use them as public transportation.  We are going to buy tricycles that have already been registered and just need to be renewed.  The initial registration fee is about 4500 pesos.   The annual renewal is only about 150 pesos.  The picture of the tricycle with the roof I’m glad I caught with the camera.  He was going at a pretty good rate.  Did you see the Security Guard at the Chow King?  There is one at Jollibee’s too.  Just like at the banks, they carry guns (just pistols at the restaurants) and they also double as the doorman/greeter.  And yes I realize that I have been spelling Jollibee’s wrong.  Yesterday I was spelling it JollyBees.

Not much else to talk about, so while my wife is in the kitchen cooking my rib eyes, I’ll tell you a little bit about some of the wages Filipinos get here.  Now I don’t know a lot of them, but I do know that our house lady, Vicky,  gets 2500 pesos ($56) per MONTH.  Yeah you read it right, per MONTH.   She works 6 days a week, 12 hours per day.  That’s 72  hours per week.  Now it may seem like we are taking advantage of a poor person, but that’s not the case.  In fact, I’m told that 2500 is about 500 more than normal for this area.  In the big cities (Manila & Cebu), I hear they get 4-5 thousand per month.  One of our nieces has a house lady that works the same hours and she only makes 2000 per month.  Now Vicky doesn’t speak English hardly at all, but that doesn’t concern me much because there are enough people around here to translate for me if my wife is not around.  Vickie will wash clothes, wash dishes, clean floors, cook and just all kinds of cleaning.  Plus she will run errands for us too.   All we have to do is tell her what we want, give her the money (plus 20 pesos for transportation if she is going downtown), she will get it and bring it back with the receipt.

We also had some furniture built for us before we moved into our current house.  Our carpenters name is Arnel (not sure of the spelling).  He is a wonderful carpenter.  He built us a bed, 2 tables (my computer is on 1 of them now), a closet, a shelf for the TV, 3 benches, shelves for the kitchen and a chest for our linen storage.  We pay for the material, which he will go purchase and bring it back (with the receipt), plus pay him 200 pesos per day.  That’s working 8 hours per day.    200 pesos is about $4.50, per day.  That computes out to around .56 per hour.  And that’s good money for him.  He’s always glad when we have work for him to do.  We need to have him come in to build us 4 chairs for the kitchen and another closet.  Guess we’ll do that after we return from our Southern Leyte trip.

The barangay we are going to in Southern Leyte is Tambis.  Some of you out there may recognize the name.  A few years ago the place was crawling with people from all over the world, especially Americans.  The village across the river from Tambis was buried in a land slide (Guinsaugon).  Over 1000 people were killed, including more than 200 elementary school children and a British citizen that was living there.  Some of the older children survived because they were in school, across the river in Tambis (there was no high school in that village that got buried).   The name of the village was Guinsaugon.  See my link for more information or just look up Guinsaugon on a search engine, you’ll find lots of information.   It seems that there was a lot of rain during that month and the barangay was evacuated because it was built at the foot of some mountains.  Everyone feared a landslide.  After a few days, and the rain stopped, most of the people return to their homes.  And that very same day, the children at the school in Tambis said they heard a loud roar and went outside to check it out.  You can imagine what was going through their minds when they saw that their entire village and their relatives were under a mountain of dirt and rocks.  People from all other the world came to help try to dig them out.  Had to use hand tools because they didn’t want to kill anyone they found alive with the large machines.  Couldn’t get any machines in there anyway because of the area.  Problem was that no matter how fast they dug, the dirt just fell right back into the hole.  If I remember correctly, they found 2 people still alive.  Never found anyone else.  I’ll take pictures of the mountain where the dirt slide down.  I’ve seen it in person already, but it’s been a couple of years.  I wonder if it still looks the same.  You could easily tell where it slid, because all the grass and trees were gone from that  area of the mountain.  Check out my link for it, there is a couple of good pictures there.

I was told today that there will be a big festival down town next month.  I will go there and let you know about that too.  Yes I’ll be sure to take pictures.  The festival is something about honoring their Saints.  There are many different Saints recognized here, depending on the barangay in which you live.  They will be celebrating them all at once.  The section of road between Jollibee’s and Chow King,  for 2 or 3 blocks,  will be blocked off on the 7th and 8th of September to have this celebration.

I almost forgot.  The Filipino word for today is: bata  …  ba-ta  … means child.

Well it’s coming up on 10pm now.  I think I’ll close for the night.  Hope everyone enjoyed the blog today.  Enjoyed it enough to tell any of your friends that might be interested in knowing about the Philippines.

Salamat, Palaam


  1. I understand about ‘unavoidable circumstances’. We were delayed 3 months because of them. Hopefully it will all work out for you soon.
    No we did not bring our household goods. We sold what we could and put the rest in storage. As we visit back in the US, we will try to sell a little at a time and send some more here via Forex. Our goal is to use a smaller and smaller storage unit, until one is not necessary anymore. That Forex is a wonderful thing. We shipped 32 boxes here and they all arrived safe and sound (but a few broken glasses and plates), so wrapped things up well if you use them.

  2. John, nice job in keeping everyone posted. I am looking forward of going back home to stay. Our plans are temporarily put on hold for now because of some unavoidable circumtances. Did you brought your household goods to Calbayog?

Texan in the Philippines