Friday, November 14, 2008

Working Abroad

No matter where I travel in the world, I see the smiling faces of Pinoys and Pinays no matter what country I'm in.  I feel at home when I see a citizen from the Philippines, because I know that I am going to have something in common with them and an opportunity to chat about the Philippines.
Many people would agree with the statement that the number one export in the Philippines is its people and from my travels about Mother Earth, I would to reason, that it sure seems that way.

I took a ship from Dover, England in the Southeast of England to Calais, France, in the Northwest of France and I was delighted to find that a fair number of the crew men and crew women  were from the Philippines.  It was a pleasant crossing to say the least.  I remember too, taking a ship from St. Thomas, in the U.S. Virgin Islands going to Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, and though it was a short passage, I met filipinos as mariners onboard.

So, it doesn't surprise me to hear that there are filipinos and filipinas in Iraq, even though the Philippines government banned its citizens from working in Iraq, after one of its countrymen, 
Angelo dela Cruz, who  was working as a truck driver was kidnapped there back in July 2004.
Now there are between 6,000 and 15,000 filipinos working in Iraq and Iraq's government is calling for a lift in the ban with the Philippine government, so that more filipinos can come to work in Iraq.  For the adventuresome, this may prove to be a worthwhile option, but the security of the OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) cannot be guaranteed, so caution must be taken in deciding to go if the ban is lifted in January 2009 or sometime thereafter.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Beach

"That which is yours will always return to you. That which you take, will always be taken from you." Native American Saying

It's funny how no matter what you do, nature has a way of reminding you to take a break from things. I apologize in advance for my long absence. Nature was taking its course with me in reminding me to slow down and rest. My Flight Physician called it, "exhaustion by passion." I guess I was so passionate about what I was working on, that time eluded me. I was working on a project that required sixteen hour days and I would bring my work home to try to get a head start on the next day's activities only to find myself getting further and further behind. No matter what your station is in life, there will always be things and events that you can't control, starting with the staff or team that you are working with. Everyone has their own rhythm and way of doing things. Some will work with you and some people will work to their own advantage and that may or may not be a good thing for you.

I've watched over the years friends grow and graduate to go on and move to the other side of the world and though they said they would keep in touch, I find that time waits for no one, not even e-mail or a phone call. The weeks pass, as well as the months, and before we can remember the last time we were in one another's company, years have passed. Time waits for no one, but nature allows us to catch up with our selves. Physically exhausted and 11 months into a 16 month project, I am no closer to being finished than I am with quitting. When I have moments like this, I try to go for a swim and preferably in a large body of water. The ocean has always been a place to rediscover myself and the importance of what really matters in life. I walk along the beach with the sand between my toes and I think how insignificant we must all be in relation to the ocean and all the creation around us, the big blue sky, and the seemingly endless sand that separates us from the dry and the wet. Have you ever swam in the ocean and felt no bottom beneath your feet? That's what life is like sometimes for me. It can be frightening at times, but I've never felt so alive as I have when I'm frighten. It is only when I realize that I don't have to drink all the salt water in the ocean when I'm swimming that I accept the fact that I can coexist with the ocean. Even in its vastness, I am not afraid. Life is like the ocean in a way, it suspends us in time, until we actually start swimming and it is when we participate in our environment that we come to accept our good fortune in being above ground. Any moment above ground is a good day and all the drama that comes with each day, is the essence of our memories, be them good or bad and today is a good day!
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Friday, August 1, 2008

Prepaid Wireless Broadband

Like so many who visit the Philippines frequently, there is the need to stay connected to family, friends, business associates and to do research while we are in Paradise and for some of us, we take our laptop and hope for a reliable connection at the place where we are staying and for those of us, who intend to stay or have extended stays over several months, the choice is a prepaid wireless Internet service from Smart Wireless.

Smart has a service called Smart Bro Broadband Internet, which feels the need for many of us. It is a prepaid wireless Internet that allows you to surf the Internet on your laptop or your desktop at home. The best part is there is no monthly recurring service fee, because it is a prepaid setup.

To get started, there is a P3800 charge upfront, and you get a free P100 load so you can start using the wireless Internet right away. You get a Smart Bro Broadband USB wireless card that you plug into your laptop or the back of our desktop and you're ready to log on to the Internet. You can reload your Smart Bro Prepaid Broadband Card at any Smart Load Outlet which are located all throughout the Philippines, so finding a place to reload your Smart Bro Broadband Card should never be a problem. You can reload for P10 and that will get you another 30 minutes of usage.

Imagine being able to surf the Internet pretty much wherever you get a Smart signal. You can't beat the convenience , it's a better rate per hour than many Internet Cafes, in spite of the initial equipment costs and you can't beat the comfort of surfing the Internet from your laptop, or desktop in your guesthouse, dormitory, home or bedroom. For more information you can go Smart's website, and type in the search, Smart Bro Broadband. Oh, for the record, the photo of my laptops are not using the Smart Bro Broadband USB Wireless Card, because I hadn't purchased their service at the time of the photo. My business associate was using Smart's Bro Broadband service and I didn't have my digital camera with me doing my visit with him. Until next time, happy cruising.
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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Infinite Beauty

In my travels from North to South within the Philippines Island, I have come to accept one of many essential truths. If you come to the Philippines, you are certain to be amused, amazed and impressed with the warmth of the people and the moderate atmosphere that you find yourself. As overwhelming as it is sometimes, one truth is evident. Should you be fortunate to find someone whom shares your interest and is patient enough to explain things to you, only then will you come to know the genuine beauty all around you. I leave you with an excerpt from the writings of Curthom:

"Their is infinite beauty when one grows from within. It is from this inner strength
that gives us character that separates us from others and we call that, individuality.
We are attracted to each other because of this difference and when we fail to show a difference, we cease to be ourselves. If, we deny ourselves to ourselves, then whom are we?"
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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Earning A Flight

Like so many or perhaps so few who venture off to South East Asia, some planning goes into it, but for me, it was just a matter of just wanting to go. I knew that I would be needing some time out, so that I could rejuvenate and recharge myself. So, about six months or so ago, I got one of those frequent flyer credit cards, so that I could put everything that I paid on it and earn some frequent flyer miles in return. I chose a credit card from Citibank. Specifically, I chose the American Airlines AAdvantage Credit Card and set out to get the miles that I needed to go anywhere in the world, so long as I earned 60,000 AAdvantage miles and gave them about $52.00 for the administrative fee. In return I got a "restricted" coach class ticket to fly pretty much anywhere in the world. I chose to visit the Philippines, by way of Hong Kong.

It wasn't too terribly difficult to earn the miles that I needed to get an award for a roundtrip ticket on American Airlines. They pretty much make it pretty easy for you to get the miles you needed by offering AAdvantage miles for flying on other airlines, like Cathay Pacific, one of my favorite airlines into the Philippines. There are countless AAdvantage miles earning opportunities for just about everything from donating to Charities to purchasing cell phone services to shopping through their AAdvantage Shopping Mall, to purchase the items you would normally buy anyways, such as office supplies, computers and music, but perhaps one of the fastest ways to earn AAdvantage miles is by participating in their Dining Program. In the AAdvantage Dining Program you can earn frequent flyer miles at a rate up to 5 AAdvantage miles for every $1 you spend at a participating member restaurant.

Generally, just about every airlines that flies to the Philippines has a similar business model for their frequent flyer program, but I especially like to earn American Airlines AAdvantage miles because I like to fly on one of American Airlines, One World Alliance Partners such as Cathay Pacific, into Hong Kong and the Philippines. There are boundless ways for earning frequent flyer miles both paid, based on you purchasing something and unpaid, usually based on you doing a short survey or something similar. With a little creativity and time each week, generally no more than an hour a week, one could feasibly earn a minimum of 500 frequent flyer miles a week and if, you are paying bills, buying gas, eating out and purchasing your perishables with your frequent flyer credit card, your miles will add up very quickly. There are almost as many ways to earn frequent flyer miles for your next trip, as there are ways to spend your money. Take the extra five or so minutes to explore whether you can earn extra frequent flyer miles, before you make that next purchase. One example that I use frequently, is to use a frequent flyer credit card on another airlines frequent flyer program that I am a member of, such as NorthWest Airlines. I shop their WorldPerks Shopping Mall, so that I get the AAdvantage miles for using the American Airlines credit card, and the Northwest WorldPerk Miles, for shopping on their WorldPerks Mall. You can find additional tips and information at these web sites that I visit frequently to see the latest offerings and strategies:, and's Mileage Mall. Enjoy your becoming flight!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Essence Of Knowing

"Love is invisible, but its acts are transparent to everyone, but the one who possess it."


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Landing In Manila

It was long process, or so it seemed. No one really fully understands all that one goes through when their love one is dying right before their eyes. For many it is too much to bear, so much to bear in fact, that many spouses, eventually leave their dying love, only to save themselves from all the heartache associated with their passing.

Something inside of me died and when I regained my senses, I found out I had become numb to the joys that come with love. So, beautiful a person and so mature in her decisions, she took the courage to take the lead in our relationship even in death, by nullifying our marriage of three years with divorce. Months later my wife succumbed to Myasthenia Gravis, an autoimmune disease that is just as debilitating as any disease that causes a wasting away like cancer, combined with the inability to breathe and swallow. She passed quietly one evening with no memory of her last few days here on Earth.

It was a physically painful death for her and an emotionally painful death for me. For 16 years following her death, I held a grudge blaming God for taking my happiness away and with it my capacity to love. I had become a member of the living dead...a person whom from an outward appearance appears okay, but within their heart devoid of happiness. This state in my life persisted throughout several relationships, which only fell apart for reasons that then, behooved me. Past relationships were strained and stressed between children, drugs and random sex and all the other irresponsibilities that go with following "the ways of the world."

In each previous relationship, I found the infidelity and recreational drug habits unbearable and intolerable. Instead of sitting down to talk about our shortcomings, my previous girlfriends found it too easy to just walk away. So I asked myself, Why do people invest so much of themselves in a person and then just walk away when they disagree or fail to reach a compromise? One day I woke up from my nightmare and discovered that it wasn't only me who was predominately ill-equipped to commit myself to a relationship, rather it was the character and morality of the women I had chose to get involved with. When you don't expect anything to become of an relationship it's easy to just walk away from it. Too many times this has happened in my life. If I saw a young lady once, my friends would think it's because I didn't like her and they were probably right.

If I saw a young lady twice, it generally meant that sex before marriage was of least importance than getting to know the young lady. If I saw a young lady more than two or three times, it meant I was attracted to her for not being sexually permissive. If I wanted sex, I have the financial means to acquire it , but why bring disgrace upon myself and "Our Creator." I have lost more so called "nice women" from practicing celibacy, than from my non indulgence in drugs. I enjoy sex I'm sure more than anyone, but sex with guilt is not enjoyable, nor is it acceptable.

Before I met my wife, during the Vietnam Era in America and the Post Indochina Era in France, I had a child from a young lady whom I was to marry. Her father was from Spain and her mother was from Mexico, so you can imagine how beautiful this young lady was. I as a member of the minority and indigenous population within the United States, didn't stand a chance with her. Largely due to the thinking of her parents and some members of society at the time. In a nutshell, she went off to study Denistry back home and I went to England to study International Trade Law.

Our becoming Dentist got pregnant during one summer we spent together and told me about it six months later. I couldn't figure out at the time, why she waited so long to tell me of our baby, but looking back in hindsight, it should have been obvious to me then, she wanted to make sure I wouldn't pressure her to have an abortion. Wow! Where did that kind of thinking come from, I don't know what would've made her think that I would ask her to do such a thing, afterall, I'm pro-life. I felt an abortion was cruel and her being frighten about what her parents would say being Catholic and all. I empathized with her when I found out and asked her to marry me. I guess you know what her answer was, huh?

Well, her dad and mother found out and her father promised to have me "taken care of," whatever that meant! Her father being from Spain, couldn't stand folks of my heritage, which is basically "mixed race," like his daughter. So, to please her parents, she married someone from the "majority population." Leaving me confused, devastated and emotionally abandoned, I wondered the Earth, until one I met my first wife, only to watch God snatched my heart right out of my chest, when she passed away too young to respect death. I roamed the Earth, like a leaf caught up in a breeze without direction until one day, I found myself in the Philippines.

Landing in the Philippines, opened my eyes to a world where kindness was the norm and happiness was as contagious as the smile of its people. The warmth of the climate was delightful and the people I encountered were as friendly and curious, as I was. After so many years roaming this Earth, I had found "Paradise." Paradise is a personal choice that has as many definitions as personalities of those who express what it means to them. For me, Paradise is that place where I feel so alive. A place that reminds me every second of each minute that I live, that the next hour is going to be just as exciting as the days, weeks, months and years to come. How can one describe living on a "razor's edge." It is a subtle balance between existing and coexisting with all that's around you--the beauty of nature, the uncomparable beauty of family, friends and people you have yet to meet. Paradise is a place that is hard to describe, but you know you're there when every being of yourself, tells you that you can relax now, because you're home.