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Calbayog City Samar – Does Size Really Matter?

Calbayog City Samar – Does Size Really Matter?



Strange things are afoot here in Calbayog.  I have been doing some thinking drinking.  I wish that I would have been thinking while drinking some Red Horse or San Miguel Pale Pilsen,  but it was only Mountain Dew and water.  As y’all may or may not know, I have been trying to figure out a way to make decent money on this website so I can take my wife on a vacation when we feel like going and when we have to leave the Philippines once a year, because of us having balikbayan status.  We want to be able to go without having to worry about maybe running out of money or having to spend the night in the airport before returning.  We would like to be able to spend a few days in Singapore, Hong Kong, Cebu, Manila, Seoul, Palawan, Bohol or even just down to Iloilo.  Nothing fancy mind you.  Only about 4 days, 3 nights in a decent hotel, take a tour to see the sights, take some pictures for this website and be able to eat decent enough meals.  I suppose though that everyone wishes they could do something like that also.  Anyway, I’ve got another plan, but it’s going to take work and I am a pretty lazy person most of the time.  Good news is though, once I get started on something, I do a great job or at least the best I can.

Crystal playing outside her house

First of all I would like to mention the pictures in this post.  I went back through all my pictures and I tried to put some in here that I have never posted before.  I need some new pictures again, but I hope that I was right in posting pictures that y’all have not seen yet.

The plan is to write some e-books.  I was thinking before that I do not know enough about anything to write a book that people would actually pay to read or at least use.  After talking with my blog guru, Rich, he has about convinced me that I can do more than I think I can.  He told me that he would help me get the e-book published until I figure it out myself and he liked my idea of an e-book.  It is on a subject that I have not seen much of at all, certainly not in e-book form.  In fact, since the last time I spoke with Rich, I have come up with ideas for 3 or 4 more e-books, all of which I have not seen any books on.  Also I probably will be doing my own version of retiring and moving to the Philippines.  Since the market is pretty saturated with these type of books already, I think I will gear it more towards living in Samar.  It’s what I know best anyway and I’d liked to have more company around here for when we get the restaurant going so we can have decent expat meetings.  So be looking for that and the other books, which I am not saying what they are because someone reading with more resources might beat me to the punch.  I really think it is something that people will want to know.  Now if I can just get it done.

Crystal, Khan, Precious and Casandra

There are a few things to mention about some changes I have recently made.  I’m sure that a few of you observant people have already notice them, but I am inclined to mention them here, just in case.

First of all, and I hope to get some feedback on this one, I think I added a simple math question that must be answered before you can send a comment.  That is what it was made out to look like.  I hope that is all it is because I want to inconvenience y’all as little as possible.  The reason why I started doing that is because I started getting way too many spam messages again.  Rich was telling me that it could be a sign that the blog is getting more popular.  I hope that is true, but I get tired of deleting them.  It is getting worse everyday.  Besides, it is not that hard to answer 1 simple question, is it?  I really hope it doesn’t turn anyone off from commenting.

Lita and Cassandra

The next thing to mention is that I was told that some of my titles, that I thought might help me get more traffic, might actually be hurting me.  So after listening to Rich and reading about a half dozen other websites, I changed some of the titles that have already been posted.  I didn’t change any of the content, just the titles.  I only changed the last few, maybe 6 of them, but I still might change some others too.  I’ve got a list of power words and power phrases that I need to try to incorporate into the blog without overdoing it of course.  My goal is to insert them as natural as possible so they won’t deter from what I’m trying to say.  The articles I read also said that when typing a post, it is not the time to show off your literary skills.  Now that I don’t think I have to worry about.  They say that if readers have to use a dictionary just to read your posts, well then you lost them before you barely get started.  I agree with that wholeheartedly.  I try to write like their is someone in the 7th or 8th grade that is reading and I figure if they can understand it, most others will be able to also.

Cool Look at Rice Terraces

The last thing I want to mention, I have mentioned before.  According to ‘most’ of the articles I read, the best post is no more than 600 words.  Most of my posts are about twice that, or more.  Just to this point is 946 words so IF I decide to do the shorter posts instead, I would be doing more posts, more often.  Right now I do a new regular post (like this one) every 2 or 3 days depending on how much information I have.  If I make them shorter, I would be able to do a new post everyday and maybe even 2 on some days.  The last time I brought up this subject I only got 2 responses.  Unfortunately one of the responders said they like the longer posts and the other preferred shorter posts because they are easier to read.  So does size really matter?  Or as the poll says that I hope is actually on the site now:  Which post length is best for you?   I hope it’s working and would appreciate a quick comment on whether or not it is working.  I created it and opened it, but I don’t see it anywhere.  I am thinking that it will only come up for y’all though, so that’s why I need the feedback.  I set it up for 1 month (until 13 Dec) and I have it set up so that you can only answer one time, so please be sure of your answer.

Last thing, because I’m approaching 1200 words, is that Tom Ramberg sent me an article to post.  I have done that.  In case you missed it, it is a nice article about meeting people while traveling.  You can link to it here.  I hope that I will be getting other stories from other people also.  Tom, thank you, it’s a wonderful story and I enjoyed reading it.  Please feel free to send as many as you like to me.

Salamat, Y’all

I have sat at the sumptuous tables of power, but I have not run away with the silverware.

Diosdado Macapagal

I found this website that you can put in a date and it will tell you just about everything that happen on that date throughout  history.  This link is the list of everything they have for the Philippines for every day in history.  It includes events, births and deaths.



  1. I’m an ex-Californian staying at Mondejares Resort (searching for MPR was how I found this site). Please contact me if you have any leads on where I can buy a large bicycle and how I should spend my next 5 months. Which store do you operate?

    • Howdy Ray. Glad you gave this site a chance. I don’t know the answer to your bike question though, but I’ll bet that someone on here does. I’ll ask around and see what I can find out also. Your next 5 months depends on what it is you want to do, I guess. There are plenty of places to travel that are close and there are plenty of waterfalls and caves in the area. Are you here visiting a girlfriend? If so, I would hope she would know places for you to visit. I’m sure that you will be getting some responses from others on this site that are a bit more active than I am, so keep checking. We no longer run a store. My wife keeps threatening to reopen as a small restaurant/store combination, but has not done so yet. We live directly across from the Ciriaco Hotel and the cousins have a small bakery here, but that the limit of our selling right now.
      I hope you find this site good enough to continue reading and you’re welcome to comment as much as you want and even send in stories about things that happen to you around here in the next 5 months if you want. I figure that everyone has there own little adventures that everyone else can learn from.
      Thanks again for checking out the site and I hope we can help you to somehow make your stay in Calbayog and the Philippines a bit more interesting/relaxing.

  2. Hi John D.
    Couldn’t you just bring the meds with you? I’ve done it before.
    Mark G.

    • Hi Mark G,
      Don’t want to bring em if i can get em there, if their not avail there i’ll just get my root canals done here before leaving.

  3. Not sure what you did but the fonts are way too small now and GREY.

    You also asked for feedback on content.

    Here goes:

    1. Shorter posts, and get to the point and stay on it.

    2. I get glassy eyed when a blogger tries to write every detail of how they got the idea for a post etc. IE: While interesting to some, I do not enjoy reading what has become a diary… that’s why I don’t drop by as much. If you want to expose every hour of your day, then perhaps a section called daily diary? keep the posts about a specific issue separate of course.

    3. Focus on HELPING folks and eventually the money will flow. If the prime reason for the website is ONLY to generate money, folks will see that and spend less time here or stay interested.

    4. E-books. I have some on how to write and market those and can send them along to you if you like. Just PM me and I will send them to you.

    5. Nice to see a Texan on board. Hang in there, you will find your way. Just don’t give up. Keep it simple, clear and relevant.

    Thanks for listening.

    • Since I don’t notice any difference in Admin, I thought I’d check to see if the font is better now. Supposedly it has been taken care of.
      As for the feedback.
      1. I have been debating with myself about doing shorter posts and recently asked that question of readers on what they prefer. So far it’s about 50-50.
      2. This is one of the reasons why I was thinking of doing shorter posts. I don’t want to bore people. Up to this point of the bog, my goings on has been the major input. I’m hoping to be able to balance it more towards happenings in the local area, but there seems to be quite a few readers that like the daily information. Some of it has helped them before they moved or visited here, at least that is what they tell me. I am aware that there could be a problem with that and the suggestion for a separate section is probably forthcoming.
      3. I always try to HELP people. I will answer any question I can or find someone that is more qualified than me. I also have done physical work for them, like checking out if medications are available here. I want to make money also, but I don’t want it to be so obvious. It’s about a 60-40 thing. The 40% being making money. The 60% being helping people coming to the Philippines and especially to Calbayog City and/or Samar.
      4. Sure I’d like the e-books on how to write and market them. I now have some ideas on what I want to write about, but I just have to get out and get all the information. I have some links I pulled from the internet about e-books, but they are hard to understand. I need more of a step by step to learn anything. Rich, my blog guru, says he will help too, so between all that I hope to get it learned soon. I have no idea what “PM” is.
      5. So I guess that you are a Texan also? I’m hanging in, it’s not as simple as I figured when I started, but I’m going to continue to learn and try to make this site into the best I can.
      Thanks for the information. Rich informs me that you have all valid points, so it’s more things for me to figure out.

      • UJ,
        I read almost all your post when I have time, and find them both interesting and funny. I could tell about you the time I call “I got a hose job”. A gazillion years ago when the asawa first got here, I came home and started to wash the car, all of a sudden i’m getting covered in water, so i turn around and there’s water coming out from what looks like a rotten hose. I run over and turn off the water and look at the hose and it has hundreds of little cuts in it. So i hollar at the wife and ask her what happened to our new garden hose. I should have known better, but she proceeds to tell me how she saw a neighbor place out their garden hose and turn it on and it sprinkled water all along the hose watering the grass, so she decided to do our hose the same way by getting an ice pick and poking away. She didn’t know you buy them that way and I got a hosed.

        • John you should make that into a little story and send it to my e-mail, I’ll transfer it here. I’m glad you read the posts and I will continue to write them. There might be more, shorter ones, but they will be there.

      • PM = private message 🙂

  4. Oh brother..i feel your pain as I also have gout attacks in the joint of my big toe on my right foot. I usually take 2 tramadol/tradonal/siverol 50mg. And it helps releive the pain, the foot doctor I see wanted to do surgery, and i was thanks not surgery a year is enough for me. I also have kidney stones a lot and the pain is like “omg shoot me so i can get some relief”..worst pain I’ve ever had..nothing helps that except going the hospital and getting IV’s with knock me out meds. If you have time to check on those meds would be great, but don’t go out of your way to do it. I Like to save denero, and pay a doctor there, but if pain killers arn’t avail there, I’ll just get those roots canals done here for my sanity and no pain :-).

    • The worst pain I ever felt was after that kidney donation to my sister. A few days after being a home. I wrote about the whole experience in this blog. It’s under “You’ve Got to be Kidneying Me” and it is in 3 parts, from beginning to end.

    • Oh. Looking for those meds is not a problem. I need to get out of the house more anyway and this gives me a worthwhile reason to go.

      • getting heavy duty meds in the Philippines is not going to happen at the regular walk in Stores. Last time I had to get Narcotics for pain when visiting the Philippines the DOCTOR had them and that is where I got them from. YMMV

        • So maybe I should be checking with a dentist office instead of a pharmacy. The cousins have a family dentist that we want to make our family dentist, so I suppose I could ask him. I’ll still check on those other meds at the pharmacy though.

        • Joe P,
          Excellent info, thanks !

  5. Thanks so much John, now I know. The only other one I can think of is when i had knee surgery a few months back, the doc gave me percoet and the pharmacy here gave me the generic which was oxycodone 10mg. First time I had ever taken that, but it sure killed the pain in my knee after surgery. Another they gave me was something called tramadol or tradolan 50 mg, not as strong as the others but it was actually better cause it worked and it didn’t make me half drunk. it’s hard to believe people can’t get these there, damn they must suffer in pain a lot….DOUBLE YIKES!!!!!!

    • So you want me to look into those medications also? I can do that pretty soon. I think we are still have our scheduled 12 hour brown out tomorrow, so their computers will be down, but I could do it early next week. The only pain medication that I have ever had was given to me via IV after I donated a kidney to my sister, so I never had to worry about buying any of it. I sure wish I had some of it during my gout attacks though.

    • John D ~ Those Tramadol are actually the generic for Ultram. I also take them for low back pain and they seem to do okay. They don’t produce that euphoric feeling like the hydrocodone, but still make me feel a little spaced-out. :/ So I understand you to mean you cannot get tramadol in the Philippines?

      • When I next go downtown, I will check in to all those meds that are listed, including Ultram.

        • Thanks UJ, let me know what you find.

      • RandyL,
        Don’t know if i can get it there or not, i was looking for something for pain if I get a couple of root canals done there next may when i arrive. UJ already checked and verified they don’t carry what my dentist here gives me here (Lortab). So i remembered the tramadol( the bottle this time ..duh) and percocet from knee surgery were my next best guesses as to what might be available for me there. I was trying to save a few hundred dollars by holding off and getting the roots canals done there, but If nothing for pain is available there, I’ll just bit the bullet and spend the big bucks here and get them done before i leave for there. Here the cost is approx $850.00 per tooth…there it’s $100.00 so a $1,500 hundred dollar savings in dental fees.

        • John, there is always the abundant San Miguel, Red Horse, and tuba to kill the pain! 😉

          • Might thoughts exactly 🙂 🙂

  6. Thanks John, If it’s not available there, i’ll bit the bullet and get them done here. Had one done years before and of course it got infected so i was like “get a gun and shoot my tooth out”..the pain was worse than extreme on scale of 1 to 10 it was an after lots of pain pills and antibiotics all was good after about a week. Not willing to go through that much pain again even if cost me more to get them done here before i leave for there on vacation.

    • Well John I have good news and bad news. The good news is that I remembered to go downtown and check on your medication. The bad news is that you need to start biting that bullet. I went to 4 pharmacies, Rose Pharmacy, Mercury Drug, South Side Drug and another Mercury Drug (a larger one) and none of them have this drug in their system. Maybe there is one with a different name that will work just as well so if you get the name of that from the doctor, I’ll check on that/those. Maybe it’s available in other parts of the Philippines, just not here.

  7. Thats funny, you guys live there and met in San Antonio and have to come back here for a memory tour, we live here and have to go back there for a memory tour..hahaha. I do have one inquiry maybe you can answer for me, I’m thinking about gettting 2 root canals done there as It’s like 1/4 the cost to get them done there vice here, but I’m leary to get them done there if the don’t caryy pain meds in the pharmacies you know if mercury drug carries loritab/hydrocodone 7.5mg or 10mg? My dentist here prescribes that med everytime she gets done butchering my teeth…and now I need 2 root canals to boot…oh hell!! Yea i’m a cheap a$$hole and prefer to pay less for dental work there and a total whimp when it comes to my teeth hurting :-). I ask one dentist there and she gave some name of a pain prescription which i checked and it was just like advil or tylenol…so she wants me to take that for pain after a root canal…YIKES!!! Not Gonna happen !!!!

    • I’ll check into that medication John. Actually I have a niece that works at Rose Pharmacy and I will ask her. I know that before we came back from Texas this last time, I had them check on some medication for us in case our stateside doctor had to change medication, but it wasn’t a problem, they had them all. I’ll get back to you on that. Don’t let me forget.
      I’ve never had a root canal (knock on wood), so I can’t relate.

      • Before ever coming to PH to live look up the generic names of all medications you will be taking. PH is notorious for carrying generics not brand names. Always ask your PH if a prescription discount card is available pharmaceutical reps don’t hand out samples like in USA but do give out limited use gift card, Then in the pharmacy like Mercury Drugs ask about any benefits cards programs they have Mercury has a Suki card program anything you buy in that store, anything adds points to your card and once accumulated can be spent like money. Items like Amoxycillian you can buy over the counter many things the pharmacist will sell you direct if you ask for it by name.

        With my left leg and renal problems besides many other drugs, P15,000 a month my script costs, I’m on Tramadol and Midazalam.

        • And/or you can do what I did the last time we were in Texas getting new medication. I called here to the relatives and had them check with the pharmacy to make sure that they even carried the type of medication I was getting and how much it cost.
          I’ve got one of those cards from Mercury Drug, but I always forget to bring it with me when I go there. I don’t usually carry my wallet. Lately though I have been getting into the habit of taking the card with me every time I go downtown, whether I ‘plan’ to go to Mercury or not.

  8. John,
    We’ll be going to Cavite, just a few miles south of Manila. Been going there for what seems like a gazillion years as thats where the wife is from. We also have reservations at the Island Cove Resort in Cavite as our base of operations while there. Will be going down to Subic while there to visit our old haunts, my old hanger while in the Navy, our house in old base housing, the church we got married in, the place we first met, etc etc a memory lane tour. But also doing our intial site survey of where we want to live when i retire in the next few years. Most probably be around the Cavite area as thats what the wife wants, and gotta keep the asawa happy :-).

    • Okay. That’s a nice area around Cavite, but a bit expensive for my wallet. I hope that you will not be moving too close to needy relatives. You probably know as well as or even better than me that could be bad news. Yeah you gotta keep the asawa happy, that’s for sure. Shoot, if we wanted to go down our memory lane, Lita and I would have to travel to San Antonio Texas. But I suppose you already read my post on here about when we first met, so you already know that.
      You know of course that if you need any help before you arrive here, just let me know and I’ll do what I can or try to find someone that can help.

  9. John, so much has changed over the years. When i first left home there, the business hwy 190 with all the stores and restaurants was still a dream, Harkers Heights was way out in the country, and a phone call to Belton was considered long distance. But as i crested the top of Nolanville Hill the view was amazing. I always felt at home everytime I topped that hill heading back to see my folks. But this time I knew would be my last as my parents are now gone. So when I left Killeen/Harker Heights this time I stopped on top of Nolanville hill, got out and just sit looking back and reflecting on my life there, got up wiped a tear and headed back to oklahoma. The ‘certified true copy” episode occured a long time ago, back then that was all they took cause you had to pay like 10 different places for tax or agency stamps and line some pockets during marshal law to get anything done. It was just a way of life there back then and you got use to, and never a dull moment :-). Went back in 2010 on vacation and encountered a different world..going again this coming May 2013 for a month and can’t friggin wait. Already bought tickets :-).

    • I know how you feel upon leaving some place that you think you will never see again, after being there for so long. I suppose that just about everyone has there “Nolanville Hill”. Mine is the property that I had to sell before moving here. It has been in my family since the 1950’s, but I couldn’t get another family member to purchase it, not even at a lower price. I hope to someday win the lottery and that will be one of the first things I do, buy the place back.
      Well I hope things are different now, because it’s different and hectic enough around here trying to get official work done without the extra headaches.
      Since I can’t remember things well and I talk to so many different people, where is it in the Philippines that you go? Is it here in Calbayog? I’ll really feel out of touch if it is, because anyone visiting here I should remember. Wherever it is, I know that the time before you leave will go slow, it always does when it’s for something you are really looking forward to.

  10. Howdy John,
    Been a few weeks since visiting the site. Had to run down to Harker Heights and Temple to finish up closing up my parents estate. Talk about a weight on your shoulders omg, I’d rather sit through a tyhoon in a grass hut with lots of San Magoo or even Red Horse than ever deal with that again. In my years there in subic, i found just the day to day life so funny. IE: Clerk in olongapo – “sir this oiginal document is no good, what you need is a certified true copy of this original”. ME – “so what your telling me is this original document with the raised seal and court stamps signed by the district court judge is no good why?” Clerk – “sir a certified true copy has the correct tax stamps and signatures required1”. ME – WTF over???. So from that day forward and after a few of those type encounters, every damn document we needed there had at least 3 or 4 certified true copies as the originals would make good place mats :-).

    • Well John I’m glad you got that taken care of. Did the Central Texas area still look the same to you or were there obvious changes?
      I’ve never encountered a problem with having to have a “certified true copy” vs. an original. I guess the situation has not presented itself yet.
      I have only originals of all my documents, so when/if the time does come, I guess I will be scrambling for the copies.

  11. John,

    Daily posts are better. Creates a habit of checking for updates. If you dont post for 2-3 days, i will tend to forget about the site.

    Also, not sure if you can adjust the text size. Seems too small. Also, the font color when I am replying. its so faint i can barely read my own typing. Not a problem on other sites I visit.

    • Well Don I try to put something in there everyday, it’s just the regular post that I do every 2 or 3 days. But I’m guessing you would rather have the shorter daily posts, so one vote that way.
      As for the text, well I’m not sure. I just tried to pick a darker font, but not sure if it worked yet. I’ll talk to my blog guru and see if he has any suggestions if that didn’t work. I’ll look into a little larger font too. I have not had any other concerns about the font color or size. I wonder if there are others out there?

  12. Hi John,
    Just my opinion. I think you should write whatever size post you feel comfortable writing. As long as you keep me up to date with what’s going on there I feel more connected to the family. Things you may not think are important like the weather or brownouts let me know if the wife is struggling just to get things done everyday or if she’s stuck in the house with the baby. I like it when you post things that are new in town because she may not know about them. I think she may even be reading the site now too by the way to keep up with what’s happening. Calbayog City is what you know so I agree that’s what you should concentrate on.

    • So I guess that’s a vote for ‘either’. As I said, I don’t mind typing long or short posts, I’m just trying to see if I can keep the majority of the people happy and the rest at least content.
      That would be nice if Cheryl is reading the blog. Maybe she can inform me of something I might miss. I’m sure I miss a lot of things.
      I’m going to be doing a lot more concentrating on Calbayog really soon.
      Well I’m glad at least one person reads those weird stories.

  13. Hi John,For me i would say i like the longer post,that tell us about any changes around calbyog or the other areas of samar.In the little town of Trangdan the brown outs have increased quite a bit since the rain started.

    • Okay Wayne thanks for a couple of things there. First of all thanks for you opinion on my question and second for sending a comment. Since I put in that math question (did u have one by the way?), I have not gotten any comments, so I was worried. If I did the shorter posts though, I would still talk about things around Calbayog, but there would just be more posts to go through because I would separate it into 1 or 2 subjects per posts instead of putting them all together.
      I don’t mind doing the longer posts or the shorter posts, I’m just trying to get a feel for what you readers like best. One vote for ‘long’ posts, got it. I suppose that you don’t see a poll for this site? I tried to set one up.

Texan in the Philippines