Odds and Ends about Life in Davao

Day I do not know, Davao Diary- various and sundry-

My comeuppance after my eat their food post- I am not eating the food.  I don’t know what it is, but something disagrees with me with unpleasant results which I will not detail because it would be foul and disgusting.  I mostly feel okay.  I just cannot go anywhere because it would not be good if I were more than a few steps from a bathroom when I need it. And while I say I mostly feel okay,this leaves me feeling tired, wiped out, and drained (because that’s a good word for it, er, sorry, I wasn’t going to go there).  I wish I could figure it out.  I am getting by on chicken (not street cooked chicken), white bread, rice and bananas and water and sometimes I have my doubts about some of these.  Oh, and I try to do some yogurt every day just in case it’s merely a case of imbalanced flora and fauna of the gut.  Whatever the cause, surely this must be the result by now.  Ugh.  SO tired.

For the most part, people do not ring doorbells here.  They also do not come to the door.  Most of the houses seem designed on something of the old Spanish line (although I’ve K-drama houses like this , too)- there’s a fence or a wall with a high gate around the house.  There’s a bell to ring on the gate or wall but mostly people stand outside the gate and sing song something out that sounds a bit like “Aiii-yooooo”  It’s  gentle sound, but it does carry.  Problem is, not to our ears because we are not attuned to it.    People have to stand there singing “aye-yoooo” three or four times, at least, before it dawns on us that they might mean us.   So, a couple of our neighbors have figured this out and they just go right to the bell, but when I come to the door they always apologize for ringing the bell and they seem genuinely embarrassed that they did this.  I want to reassure them, but I am not sure the right thing is, “no, no, we’re Americans.  Be rude to us, it’s okay.  We won’t even know.”  And that is all I can think of.

One day last week the man who gave us our dog rang the bell to tell us there would be somebody coming to give him his anti-rabies vaccination.  I asked him how much this would be, and he said it was free because it is an obligation.  He had to hunt a bit for that word, and I thought he meant he was providing it as part of providing the dog.  But it turns out, it’s a local thing (maybe more, I don’t know)- they come to the neighborhood and the neighbors go around letting each other know and you carry your dog over and they give it a rabies vaccination.  It was pretty interesting.   PEople carried their dogs, brought the leashes, but there were no muzzles or kennels.  One dog which apparently would need to be muzzled if in the U.S. was on a tighter leash and his owner kept him further away from the rest, and they vaccinated him separately I think.

Somebody else came to the door about the wifi.   We still don’t have any.  WE still do not know when we will have some.  The landlord’s son is visiting from the STates and he was concerned about some paperwork one company wanted his dad to sign.  I told him what I understood they were asking, and he muttered “STupid Filipinos” under his breath.   I am frustrated but not ready to go that far, but it is his people.  He visited with my husband later and his dad will sign the papers anyway, and then my husband will give him a tour of the school.  When he retires in the US and comes back to the Philippines, he’s considering going into teaching.

This week my son decided he didn’t want long pants for his school uniform after all, he wants shorts.  We don’t want to buy more uniform components (egad).  So we asked our helper, that amazing young lady, if she knew anybody who could do cut his pants off into shorts and hem them.  She said she did, there was a place right by the school gate.  She also said she would just walk over there and drop them off and wait, because it would not take long at all.  So, for 40 pesos each (total of around 1.60 USD), his pants were done in about an hour, including walking time.

Our family once worked on a family bingo game to play at family get-togethers with things on it like, “DHM says, “Oh, no, I forgot the….” and “Striderling and MopTop discuss comic book characters” and “Princess Peach knocks over her water.”
There is something else that would strike most Americans visiting here for the first time and it is ubitquitous enough it would belong on a similar bingo game.  It was the same in Okinawa, so we do notice it, but we weren’t really surprised- men may be seen urinating outside against almost any wall anywhere.  One Friday night when we were walking home from the school at about 10 by the time we passed the third one (on essentially a ten minute walk) I suddenly thought of that bingo game and had to laugh.   It is rude to look, just so you know if you are ever here with no cultural warnings.


The most carabao (water buffalo) I have ever passed on that walk is four.  Usually it’s only two.


A friend told me to look this up and watch it because I had been here long enough to understand most of the cultural references.  It is pretty funny:

There’s a couple I don’t get yet. But it’s still funny.

Lyrics (written by Mikey Bustos):

Opo Pinoy style, Pinoy style

When I come around you know it’s gunna be a party,
Cuz I come from a land that’s more fun than the other countries,
Where we ace our exam with flying colours cuz we studied,
and there’s nobody else that can cook better than our mommies

Yeah it’s hotter here,
And that is why my skin is brown
and you’ll find water here
to wash my bum after I’m done raiding my
Cuz I proud that I’m pinoy I shout it everywhere, and tattooed it here

A baby duck still, inside the egg shell,
It tastes good
It’s called balut
I eat my ulam, rice and sawsawan
with my hands, i close open,
you have two godparents I have ten…


Opo Pinoy style! Pinoy style. Op-op-op-op-op opo Pinoy Style…. Pinoy style. Op-op-op-op-op opo Pinoy Style….
A pinay lady
stays where it’s shadey!

My name is Mikey Bustos, your one and only Pinoyboy,
I’m pointing with my lips, cuz hands are busy eating penoy,
Blessing to the elderly I mano po to Lola,
but now my forehead smells like ginger cuz she cooked tinola

During summer yeah it is super scortching hot,
and the rest of the year, yes it is still so scortching hot,
but really I don’t care,
Cuz I just use my split type air con, I can peepee here
almost anywhere

Cuz I do OK in videoke, magaling in tinikling,
Yes I am gwapo, haba ng hair mo, as I court you
That’s how we do, Beautiful eyes will get to you!


Opo Pinoy style! Pinoy style. Op-op-op-op-op opo Pinoy Style…. Pinoy style. Op-op-op-op-op opo Pinoy Style….
Eh Tita Baby op-op-op-op-op Opo Pinoy style
Eh we’re related op-op-op-op-op Opo Pinoy style

I wear barong, while eating chicharron
Just watch us take over the world with a plastic balloon
And I’m on my cell phone, texting in jejemon,
And I am BV during brown out cuz there’s no aircon, bat ganun, Opo Pinoystyle

Long live Filipinos op-op-op-op-op Opo Pinoy style
Mabuhay ang pilipino op-op-op-op-op Opo Pinoy style

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Responses

Short Lessons and Readings

line-of-childrenIt seems counter-intuitive to stop a book or a lesson while the child is still enjoying it, but there are reasons.  We have touched on many of them here before– but here’s another, gleaned from a story by Ina Hervey:

“The hour devoted to this exercise flew by so rapidly, that the children could scarcely realize that it was time to go home, and coaxed to stay longer ; but their teacher was too wise to exhaust their enthusiasm by granting their request. Even their recess was partially occupied by lively discussions on the relative beauty of their discoveries.”

We don’t want to ‘exhaust their enthusiasm.’  We want them coming again to the next lesson with their appetites and interest still seasoned by the sauce of curiosity.  Don’t glut their appetite for learning more.

Posted in education | 1 Response

Media: I don’t care, and you are the reason why.

Obama sentenced whistleblowers to 31 times the prison time as all previous presidents combined.   The press did not really give that fact much coverage.  Perhaps they were afraid.

But I am supposed to be outraged that President Trump called on some other media source before the AP.

“All hype and spin.” “Restrictive in every sense of the word.” “Cramped and windowless.” “Locked.” That’s how just four reporters described the job in Politico Magazine’s second annual survey of the White House press corps, with nearly 70 journalists weighing in on what it’s really like to on the presidential beat. ”  From a Politico source.  Politico was incredibly friendly to both Obama and Hillary, they show up as lapdogs in the Podesta emails.

But it’s absolutely the end of Democracy as we know it that Spicer might have lied to the press about the size of the inauguration crowd (more likely, the press chose not to understand him, as he was speaking of airwave audience as well).

Chilling and Orwellian is essentially what Obama’s approach to the press is being described as here.

CNN has a very long history of idolizing totalitarian governments.

Remember when a judge slammed Obama’s DOJ for lying to him and other unethical behavior in amnesty case?

The fake story about Mike Flynn and Russia was fake, but super important.  Obama’s secret meeting with Iran? Yawn.

Media complicity in Obama’s dishonesty over same sex marriage.

Obama spied on Journalists and the media overlooked it.  Trump tells some social media lackeys at a Federal Agency to stop using their position to stir the pot (again, a FEDERAL agency, which is supposed to represent the policies of the currenty head of the FEderal government, i.e. The President currently serving), and now the media cares about something the President does?

Trump has every right to ask the EPA to stop representing the previous office holder’s policies.  And even if he didn’t, why would I care any more?



Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Responses

Share their food

As missionaries go, we are possibly the least trained, officially speaking, of anybody here. It’s okay for the most part, from our end. But I can’t imagine this is a good choice for a young family just starting out who have zero overseas experience and not much cross cultural interaction anywhere. And probably any other country but the Philippines the lack of training would be more problematic as well, but they are very open and friendly and accepting here, and forgiving of strange foreigner’s odd ways and occasional rudeness.

Other young missionaries here talk about the intensive reading and training and moving and teaching and studying they had to do and everything they went through for five years and then ask how long ours was, and we shuffle our feet and grin sheepishly and ask, “Training? Um. Life. it took all our lives up until now.” But I know what they mean, and they are horrified we have none, and I do understand why. I expect there are things we would be doing more effectively if we’d had that training, although for us it’s not quite the same as they are imagining.

Otoh, Funny story. We share a household helper with one of the nicest, most helpful young couples here who went through the five years of training including having to live in Manilla first and be disciples by more experienced missionaries there for two or three years, and learn the language. They have her two days a week and so do we. She’s a great find, a real treasure in many ways and I’ll share more about her another time. But anyway- so they have all this extensive training and are really shocked that we have had none and very worried about us, and consequently, very, very good to us.

Yesterday our shared helper was at my house and I served Filipino food for lunch. She was shocked, and very excited and happy and kept going on and on about how amazing it was that we eat Filipino food already even though we have only been here one month. Then she found out we eat street food, too- off the carts on the sidewalks, from peddlers wheeling carts through the street. She was practically dancing in glee. I didn’t really think it was a big deal. Of course we eat it. It’s what’s here. It’s delicious. It’s affordable. And also, seafood is fresher than ever in my life except Okinawa days and Washington state- and amazing and very affordable, even cheap, and I’ve been trapped inland for 12 years.

“You eat seafood?” She was shocked. She wanted me to tell her what seafood we eat. I started naming them. I get points because I know 3 of them by their Visayan names, although I don’t deserve points because I had them the first time here and when I asked what it was and somebody said Bangus, I said okay. It’s Bangus. It’s like admiring somebody for knowing pizza is pizza when that’s the only thing they ever heard it called.

“Do you know,” she asked me, ” the ….. family, there is not a single thing that comes from the ocean that they will eat, except fish in a can!!” She says they want her to teach them to cook Filipino food but it cannot have fish or seaweed in it. That’s more than half the food here. The previous family she worked for were Korean missionaries at the school, and they only ate Korean food. So she is just amazed and delighted to discover there’s nothing we won’t try (except balut. Nobody is up for that. Fortunately, she says she hates it, too), and nothing we’ve had yet that we don’t like.

We do eat American food here. We have had a lot of pizza and Mexican food. I get the yearnings for things with the right texture and scent. But in spite of our lack of official training, we have scored an astonishing number of points with lots of local people just by being willing to eat local food. There is something, as has been said before, almost sacred, sacramental, about sharing food together.

Posted in Davao Diary | 1 Response

Reading: Sea of Skulls

Vox Day’s Sea of Skulls
The prologue and opening chapter feature a stomach churning horrible attack on a local feudal lord’s holdings and a subsequent rape of the only survivor by orcs and a favorable description of a intimate union between a sorcerer and a young woman who possesses latent magical talents. Because of a dire shortage of magical practitioners in the land (they are born, not made, it’s genetic) the King has insisted that all females who show any magical ability must come the Kingdom capital and live at a sort of elevated, special brothel where they consort with magicians until they have birthed 2 magical children, whereafter they may regain their freedom and marry if they wish. They lose their magic in the process.

The male character in this coupling is relieved that in the performance of his ‘duties’ he has happened upon a lass who isn’t a ‘whiner’ about her horrible lot in life, but is making the best of the situation by using her time for self development with an eye to improving her station in life when she is allowed to marry. To be fair, the whining remark is the viewpoint of a character, not necessarily that of the author. I don’t know what he thinks (and am not interested in arguing the question). It is the kind of thing you’d expect from the character. Also this series is Day’s answer to George R. R. Martin and his fans, and as such and by comparison the rape scenes here are practically children’s fairy tales.

While I can, through the eye of cold logic, see the merit in the king’s plan (sorcerors are an integral part of the kingdom’s defense and an orc army the likes of which has never been seen before is sweeping through the land, a scourge against which all defenses have proven useless) and the merits of making the best of what cannot be helped, I am a human and not a robot and I found the ‘whining’ comment distasteful ,to put it ridiculously mildly.

However, that said, once on the other side of those opening scenes, I found the rest of the book a rollicking good read with much to recommend it. It’s part two of a series, I read the first and liked it. The third isn’t published yet.
Middle Earth meets Roman Legions meets Middle Ages, and it’s a surprisingly effective and enjoyable mix. Aside from those first two bits, I recommend it without reservations.

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