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SAMAR - Once you visit, you'll want SAMORE

Wednesday – 1 Sep 2010


[smartads] Today I woke up to a steady rain at 0653.  I like it when it rains here.  The air is so fresh afterwards.  Of course there is a downside.  Our ice candy and Pepsi business suffer a little when it is not hot outside.  Today we plan to make another trip out to Malajog Beach.  We like to go in the middle of the week, and middle of the day because there are so few people there.  Last time we went on a Wednesday, late morning, and there was only 1 other family there.  We just went to a table about 7 away from them and it basically seemed like we were the only ones there.  It was nice.  Of course the next time after that, we went on a Sunday and there were so many people there it was hard to find a table.  We had to rent the little (I’ll call it a) cabin that costs more than the rest of the tables.  I believe the cabin is 500 pesos per day and the regular tables are 100 pesos per day.  Of course in this ‘cabin’ we had running water, 2 bathrooms, 2 small rooms for sleeping, 3 large tables and 2 cooking areas.  That was probably better for our crew anyway because there were about 25 of us.  When we go to any beach area, anywhere in the Philippines, we usually have most of the extended family go with us, and sometimes some of the neighbors hitch a ride.  Well let’s get on with the next phase of my story from my vacation.  Naturally I will have pictures posted of the things I talk about today.

I covered basically the 1st 2 days of the trip in yesterday’s post.  I’ll just continue from there.  My wife just wrangled me into going downtown to buy supplies for the festival to be held the next day.  Most of the shopping places we go to here in the Philippines is an open market.  For those of you not familiar with an open market, it is kind of like a farmer’s market and flea market mixed together.  The thing we was mostly interested in today was vegetables.  I of course had to have something extra, so I asked about the hottest pepper they had there, so I could get it added to the rib eye my wife was going to cook me later.  She cooks it in a wok with onions, peppers (red bell and hot) and oyster sauce (which is surprisingly tasty).  Eat this with a bottle of water, soda or San Miguel (most popular country beer) to drink and man is that a good meal.      Anyway…I did take a picture of the market for you.  It was pretty darn hot out there too.  I think I told you earlier, but when the big, white American is around, the batas like to stare.  Well when we were at the market a small bata looked at me, then turned to his mother and said something in Tagalog, but all I caught from it was, “Mama the American is ‘tambok'”.  Now tambok is a Visayan word (one of the many Filipino dialects) that means fat.  Technically it means bulge, but they use it to mean fat on a regular basis.  I get the tambok quite a bit.  It’s fine though, I know I’m tambok, especially around Filipinos, because ‘most’ of them are so small.  I just turned to the bata, held my stomach and said, “Yes I am tambok, very big”.  He just looked at me in surprise and turned away, back towards his mother.  I took a picture of the Comfort Room while I was there.  Thought that anyone not familiar with the Philippines would be interested in knowing what it is.  A Comfort Room, commonly referred to as the CR, is the restroom.  I’ve pretty much gotten to the point that that is all I call it, the CR.

Oh wow, it’s 10am.  We are suppose to leave for the beach at 10am, so in accordance with Filipino time, it’s time to start getting ready.

Okay, I’m back.  Wow, that was fun.  I love going to that beach when no one else is around.  We had plenty of room, only 1 other group there when we got there.  Only 2 more showed up the entire time we were there.  We left here around 10:45 and left the beach area around 4:20pm.  Nice little outing.  I have an interesting seat when we travel to the beach, since I am so tall.  That will be explained in the picture section of the blog.  Be sure to see it.  I’ll post 2 or 3 pictures about the beach and 2 or 3 more about the vacation.  Speaking of the vacation, let’s get back to that.

The next day, day 4, was fiesta day.  We had a big table full of food.  I’ll put a picture on the blog.  Of course even though I am a large person, I am a picky eater.  About 98% of the stuff on the table you see in the blog, I will not eat.  My wife (of over 30 years) always cooks something special for me to eat.  If a situation ever arises where there is nothing that I like, then I just drink whatever I like and I won’t eat.  Yes I know it’s strange, but when I say I don’t like it, I don’t like it.  If you will notice the utensils by the plates in the picture you will see a fork and a spoon.  This is how I see Filipinos eat.  They always use a fork and a spoon or just their hands.  Me, well I still just use a fork, or my hands.  I was still full from the steak, peppers and onions, so all I did was drink some of the root beer we bought in Catmon Proper.

That night most of us went to the dance they had at the basketball court in Catmon Proper.  Most of the music they played was in English, and all of it was fast music, no slow dancing.  One of our cousins decided to have our name announced over the loudspeaker.  Not just us 3 of the other relative couples that were with us.  Now the thing about that is, if they announce your name, your are almost obligated to get up and dance.  I don’t like to dance in public.  But after convincing another cousin that is also shy about dancing to go up, I did too.  I’ll be danged that after I was up there about 10 seconds, I turned around and he was back in his chair.  I was stuck.  I tried to do my best at dancing, but it’s been so long and I never was very good to start with.  It didn’t seem to matter though.  Just about everything I tried, and I stress the word tried, people were happy to see.  I did lose my balance once trying to do a move that I did fairly well when I was younger.  Think I could still do it if I had support on both sides of me.  I did take a couple of pictures at the dance, which I will post.  Think you’ll be able to point me out in the pictures, just look for someone who is big and white, wearing black clothes.  I survived through 6 bottles of San Miguel beer, which I have no idea who paid for, but I didn’t.  Somewhere around 1am, my wife decided that it was time to go home.  I tried to get her to stay or at least let me stay, but she said that they would be breaking up the party soon anyway.  When we got back to the house, I was more tired than I thought and glad to be getting into the bed.  All we have there for air is a fan and the mosquitoes are not scared of a fan.  I’ve got about 7 mosquito bites on me.  Next day we needed to get up to go home.  We were suppose to leave right after breakfast the next morning, but, Filipino time kicked in.

I will reveal the rest of the story in tomorrow’s blog.  It’s really a can’t miss story too.  Just for a preview, it includes our trip to the supermarket, trip to and pictures of the tallest bridge in the Philippines and the breaking down of our truck (twice).

The Filipino word of the day:  kuya (coo-ya)  Means like an older brother, but they even call an older male cousin this.  It’s a word of respect for the older person.  Respecting the older ones is a big thing here in the Philippines.

Well that’s it.  Hope it was a good read today.  Think it will be better tomorrow, so please check it out.  It’s only 6:40pm, so I’ll leave this open, just in case, but I’m not expecting anything else noteworthy to happen tonight.  I’m going to insert about 3 pictures of the trip, publish this, then put in probably 3 pictures of our outing today.  Enjoy!

Well crap!  I’m having trouble getting my ‘new’ card reader to work so I can load the pictures.  I may just go buy another one, maybe tonight, but more likely tomorrow.  Might have to wait to see the pictures until then.

Yeah you will, sorry.  I’m going to buy the most expensive card reader they have tomorrow to be sure I have the best quality.  This one I have was only 100 pesos ($2.22).  Please bear with me.

Salamat, Paalam




  1. yeah i enjoyed readin it. the pics r cool and i know ur still alive and read them all will tune in

    • Cool. Glad you like it and wish about a million more did too. At this moment my hits are up to 198…you were hit #162.
      Yeah the blog I’m writing for posting tonight (2 Sep) should be a good one. By the time you read this, it should be posted already.

  2. Glad to see you was able to convenes your wife to retire in Samar. My wife talked me into building house between Calbayog and Malajog for retirement. But we only use it now for vacation, because she has lost interest in retiring there do to being bored and no shopping centers which she can hop into her car and visit. Also she is worried about the quality of health care. Most hospitals there are just clinics and if you have major problem you have to hope you can make it to Manila. Good luck on your retirement there. Maybe we will run into each other at Jollibee when we return in May. We usually stop there for lunch when in town. By the way I am from Oklahoma and my first trip to Samar was in 1969.

    • It wasn’t that hard to convince her. I was unemployed for over a year and 1/2 and it was getting tiresome living off unemployment. I had my military retirement check and we had a couple of Pepsi trucks loaned out here (making money), plus we had potential to start several small businesses (which we have started 2 of already). We’ve been here since May 2010 and my first trip to Samar was in 2000. My first trip to the PI was in 1984. We must have past right by your house going to Malajog yesterday then. Well no shopping centers (yet), Robinson Mall in Tacloban is a wonderful shopping experience though. The road is now paved and virtually hole free all the way there too. Takes around 4 hours to get there now, instead of 7 hours when the road was full of holes. It’d be a whole day event to go there, but it’s shopping. They are building a new open market, out of down town. They are making an effort to cut down on a lot of the traffic in Calbayog Proper. I haven’t been to a hospital here yet, but I do know they have Tricare Standard here, so that’s a plus for us. If anything major happens they have an nice airport here that can get us to Tacloban or Cebu, both of which are closer than Manila. But there is a new hospital here (been here about a year), it’s suppose to be very good. Don’t know the whole name of it, but the common name it is referred to here is OLPHI (acronym). Maybe that will change your wife’s mind about retiring here. They are also building a new power plant just a few clicks down the road from us (towards Catbalogan)(it’s suppose to cut down on a lot of the brown outs we get), and they are on the finishing stages of a 3 story (48 room) hotel right across the street from us (blocking my view of the ocean). Oh yeah, and the rumor of a new fish hatchery going to be built down the road (towards Calbayog) from us. You most likely won’t catch me at Jollibee’s, but if you amble on over to Chow King you might see me, probably eating orange chicken (the newest dish they have there). And, by the way, I’m from TEXAS. Please keep reading and leaving comments. I love answering these things and getting hits on my blog.

      • I think I seen them building that hotel when I was there in 2009. Is it along the water front some where close to the Cul bus stop is?. As for the hospital, we had to take wifes brother there and was hanging around for a couple of hours waiting to see what they was going to do. I seen them bring a guy in with a broken nose because a coconut fell out of tree and hit him in face. I have’nt figured out yet how a filipino gets a broken nose. Ha! Ha! just kidding. I noticed persons working on him was not wearing gloves even though he was bleeding every where. As for using Tricare there, I think what most of hospitals and doctors want is for you to pay up front and then for you to make claim and hope you get your money back. Or if they do except Tricare you have to be sure they are not running a scam like was happening in Angeles City. My wife tried using Tricare but they would not except it, had to pay up front for her. As for my house I live off the main road. It is in Tinambacan Norte next to the church. My wife doesn,t like me to tell people on the internet where we live because shes afraid that weird people will show up while we are there.

        • Yes it is right down the road from there, on the opposite side of the road. Guess I’ll have to experience the hospital for myself to know. I was ‘told’ that Tricare Standard and TFL is accepted here, but not Tricare Prime (which is, of course, what I have). I found out how to get transferred to Tricare Standard, I just haven’t down it yet. It’s easy, but I just haven’t gotten around to it. I’m kind of lucky in the “not having to worry about scams” department. I have very well connected relatives here. I’ve had to use a dentist here, and didn’t even get charged for the visit, just for the medicine he prescribed. The meds worked too, pretty fast actually. After a couple of days, that nagging tooth ache was gone. I did she the church, but since I wasn’t looking for the house at the time, didn’t notice. Well I am a little weird, but I’m not dangerous. Just hand me a drink, that I like, and you’ll have nothing at all to fear. By the way, glad you returned to the blog. Hope I’m not boring you too much.

Texan in the Philippines