Planning to Retire Soon!

If you are planning to retire in the Philippines soon, I suggest you visit several excellent websites on pro's and cons of retiring in the Philippines. However if you want to retire in the provinces, where life is simple, standard of living cheaper, less traffic congestion and pollution, availability of fresh seafood and vegetables compared to the big cities, my island province is the place for you! If this is your first time in my site, welcome. Please do not forget to read the latest national and international news in the right side bar of this blog. Some of the photos and videos on this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on the infringement of your copyrights. The photo above is the front yard of Chateau Du Mer-Our Retirement Home in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines

Friday, September 25, 2009

Love and Hate of Life in the Philippines

Photo from anton.blogs.com
Several months ago I wrote two articles as a guest writer for Bob Martins' web magazine “Live in the Philippines. The first article is the ten items that I love about the Philippines from the perspective of a balikbayan retiree living the “snow bird” lifestyle. Snow bird means that if it is winter time in US, my wife and I flew to the Philippines. When it gets super hot and humid in the Philippines we fly back to US. We do this every year. Most of our friends and contemporaries are envious of our lifestyle. But I say, “Eat your Hearts Out”.

Of course there is no perfect place on earth even if I call Marinduque my Heaven on Earth and my Island Paradise, (http://marinduquemyislandparadise.blogspot.com). So I wrote a second article on the ten most annoying things in the Philippines also listed below.

The following are the ten items I like and love about the Philippines. I modified and revised this list from the one published in Bob Martin's web magazine a while ago to reflect current conditions in the Philippines. These ten items are not in order of importance. I also sited my blogs for references on the subject listed.
1.The cheap standard of living: The cost of food and services with the exception of electricity is cheap in the Philippines specially services. For example haircuts, massages , pedicures and manicures is much cheaper in Philippines than in US. A specific example are Mens’ haircut. I pay between 60 to 100 pesos in Marinduque, but here in Northern California, I pay between $12 to $14 for a haircut. For $1500 plus or minus 10% a month, my wife and I live like a Queen and King here in Marinduque. The current exchange rate is about 48 pesos for one dollar as of this writing date. For fast conversion from pesos to dollars or vice versa, use “50” as the factor.
2.The simplicity and peaceful life in the provinces. The locals are easy going and do not hurry for their appointments. There is not much traffic in the provinces and in small towns. (http://marinduqueonmy mind.blogspot.com).
3.The abundance of fresh meat and seafood, vegetables and fresh fruits ( papayas, mangoes and bananas) at a reasonable prices as well as the Filipino delicacies ( lechon, lumpia and pancit) and desserts ( bibingka , leche flan and Halo-Halo).
4.Accessibility to the beaches, mountains, caves , rivers , islets for picnicking, bathing, snorkeling, scuba diving or just relaxing ( I am talking about Marinduque, not the big cities).
5.The social support system is fantastic. The presence of friends and relatives specially during Christmas and Easter seasons is an experience one can not forget. The Philippines celebrates Christmas five months every year starting from September 1 to January 31. (http:/planningtovisitthephilippines.blogspot.com)
6.Availability of all modern amenities, good restaurants, international food , modern health services in Manila, Iloilo, Cebu and other big cities and five stars vacation resorts all over the islands.
7.The dry and cool weather, ocean sea breezes ( at Chateau Du Mer )during the months of November to February. (http://chateaudumer.blogspot.com)
8.The numerous Fiestas and Festivals the whole year round, specially during the months of January and May. (http://lifeinus1960present.blogspot.com).
9.The hospitality of the people and their attitudes toward foreigners and visitors.
10.Historical and Cultural heritage we have as a nation from Spain , such as our old churches, folk dances, Kundiman music, Putong, Kalutang and respect for our elders and freedom of the press and speech and educational opportunities we had from the United States.(http://theintellectualmigrant.blogspot.com).

The ten items I dislike about the Philippines are listed below. This list is modified from what was published in Bob Martin's magazine to reflect current conditions (#4, #6 and #10) in the island.
1.Traffic and Pollution ( in big cities) There is always traffic congestion almost 24 hours a day, especially in big cities. The only time of the day when there is no traffic congestion in Manila and suburbs is between 2 to 4 AM. This is a good time to go to the airport to be in time for your 6AM flight.
2.Jeepney and Bus drivers: They drive like maniacs. They pick up and drop passengers in the middle of the road. Most provincial drivers drive like maniacs. They will overtake private cars on the wrong side of the highway and even on dangerous curves.
3.The long lines in the banks and ATM machines and people cutting-in the lines
4.The noise of crowing cocks and the barking dogs at 4AM or even earlier and loud karaoke music and out-of -tuned and horrible singing of the neighbors
5.When you invite one in your party, he or she brings one or two others, without advising you ahead
6.Filipinos seldom RSVP an invitation or answers their e-mails in a timely manner. Some have Face Books accounts , but seldom or never opens it. ( why open an account if you do not open it at all ?)
7.The heat and humidity during the summer months especially the months of March, April and May
8.The smell of fish and Durian-(probably only in Davao) in the wet markets
9.Littering on the streets and on the beaches, parks and other public places
10.Frequent brown outs/ black outs, typhoons and torrential rains in the provinces.
You could probably add more items, but the good things outnumbered the annoying things.DO YOU HAVE ITEMS TO ADD TO THE ABOVE TWO LISTS? PLEASE SHARE!
Again as snowbirds, my wife an I are happy whether we are in the Philippines or United States. We believe that “HOME IS NOT A PLACE, BUT IN THE HEART!”.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Win 2 nights and 3 days Stay at Chateau Du Mer

About two years ago, I announced a contest to win 2-nights and 3 days stay at Chateau Du Mer. A winner was chosen last year. Today, I am announcing a second contest to win this prize. I encourage all members of Face Book Katague/Catague Clan Group to participate in this contest. Read the details below:



Have you heard about the scenic beauty and unspoiled beaches of the island of Marinduque? Here is your chance to win a free 2-night stay at the Chateau Du Mer Beach Resort in Boac, Marinduque, Philippines. All you have to do is write an essay of not more than 350 words why you want to visit Marinduque. The essay will be judged on originality and honesty. The winning essay will be published in my blog above. It is open to all non-marinduqueno over 18 years old.

The prize is redeemable whole year round except on the weeks of Easter and Christmas and will not expire until December, 2011. It is non transferable and requires at least 60 days notice prior to the date of arrival.

Please note that the beach house maximum capacity is only 4 adults and 2 children. For details about the beach house, visit my website www.chateaudumer.com and for information on the province of Marinduque, visit http://marinduquegov.blogspot.com

Please submit your essay as a comment in this blog or to my e-mail tagajaro@comcast.net
I am looking forward for your submission..

Monday, September 21, 2009

Music for Relaxation ( Ambient Music)


My nephew from Australia was telling me the other day, that one of his other interest besides graphic design and photography is what he called ambient music. I am not familiar with the term "ambient music", so he send me a video example via Face Book. It sounded to me just like music for relaxation. This inspired me to search for relaxation music in Tube You. Below is a seven and one-half of pure relaxation music. The scenery is a feast to the eyes of the beauty of nature here in the US. A few of the pictures were from Zion National Park, that my wife and I have recently visited. I have listened to other relaxation videos, but this one is the best so far. I guarantee that your 7.5 minutes will not be wasted. Please let me know if you enjoy this music video by Enya Kitaro.

Note: I viewed and listened to this video in my newly purchased 32" LCD PC screen. It was fantastic, mesmerizing and a pure delight.If you know of other relaxation videos that are comparable or better than this one, please share.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Marinduque-World Tourist's Destination


Here's the latest report from marinduquegov.blogspot.com by Eli Obligacion spotlighting Marinduque as tourist destination, dated September 6, 2009. My dream and hope is to see my beloved island, Marinduque, become a worldwide and whole year round tourist destination in the years to come competing with Boracay and officially declared as the eco-tourism capital of the Philippines. This is the reason, why I devote so much time promoting the island province as a tourist destination in my two blogs: http://marinduqueawaitsyou.blogspot.com and http://marinduquemyislandparadise.blogspot.com

TOURISM SEC. ACE DURANO AND TOURISM ATTACHES COMING TO MARINDUQUE TODAY

Marinduque Airport streamer welcoming Secretary Ace H. Durano and party. The party of thirty expected to arrive today at the Marinduque airport includes Undersecretary Eduardo Jarque, Jr. and other top officials from the Department of Tourism and tourism attaches from Philippine embassies abroad. The list also includes directors Ma. Victoria Jasmin, Allan Canizal, Benito Bengzon, Jr., Ma. Rica Bueno, Dir. Louella Jurilla from among others, as well as local and foreign media representatives.

The visit is part of the tourism department’s annual marketing and technical visits to top priority destinations such as Albay, Cebu, Bohol and Manila. Marinduque which is now on the list, has drawn the attention of the travel industry with the launching of Bellarocca Resort and Spa. Part of Bellarocca’s promotional thrusts for resort guests is the integration of visits to Marinduque’s tourist attractions as well.

In recent months, the provincial tourism office has taken time to show the Bellarocca group headed by its sales manager for travel, Sheila Evano, to local tourism sites like Tarug caves, Bathala caves, Paadjao falls, Poctoy Beach and the Torrijos loom-weavers. Support for development of eco-tourism sites with potential to generate livelihood has been adopted by the resort as part of its social responsibility program. A joint undertaking of the provincial government, the municipality of Buenavista and Gold Barrel, Inc.,resort owner, is the current establishment of a 100-hectare forest area in Barangay Tungib-Lipata in Buenavista, where a 9-hole golf course has been developed, part of Bellarocca facilities.

These moves have triggered greater optimism for local tourism stakeholders as well as for bigger prospects for Bellarocca Island Resort and Marinduque tourism in general.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

My Filipina Wife-My Little Brown Girl?



If you search for "Filipina" in Google, Yahoo or Scour search engines, majority of the "Hits" will be about mail order brides, sexy dates and dating Filipino or Asian women etc.

Today, it is not as bad compared to about five years ago. Thanks to the campaign of a few of our educated women in the Philippines (www.filipinaimages.com), the Filipino women on line image is improving. However, there is still room for improvement. Visit the site. There is instruction on how you can help improve the Filipina image on line.

Recently there was a good news toward recognizing women's rights in the Philippines. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed into law the measure prohibiting discrimination against women, and recognizing and promoting their rights.

Republic Act 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women, signed at the Heroes Hall in MalacaƱang Palace, ensures women’s equitable participation and representation in government, political parties, international bodies, civil service and the private sector.

RA 9710 recognizes and protects women’s rights at home, at work and in all spheres of society toward developing all aspects of their well-being. Its most salient features include increasing the number of women personnel until they fill half of third-level positions in the government, setting up in every barangay (village) a “violence against women’s desk,” providing incentives to parties with women’s agenda and barring the derogatory portrayal of women in media and film. I believe this law was an aftermath of the latest Hayden Kho sex scandal, where Halili claimed she was maltreated sexually by Kho in a degrading and violent manner.

Moreover, to all Americans, Europeans, Australians, or Canadians and Non-Filipino Husbands, do not call your wife "My Filipina" as if your wife is a commodity that you have purchased or "my little brown girl", even if you meant it as endearment. I am addressing it to all non-Filipino husbands who are married to Filipina women whether your are residing in Philippines or other parts of the world. I am also addressing this to all Men looking for Filipina wives in the internet and other dating sites. Filipina women are known to be good wives and they must be treated with respect and dignity. Comments anyone?
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