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Monday, October 25, 2010

Local Elections are Taking Place Today in the Philippines

Today is election day for many local offices.  Here is a news report from "" on what the government is doing to stop Election Day violence:

MANILA, Philippines— As voting for village and youth council representatives started Monday, the Philippine National Police (PNP) noted that election-related violent incidents this year were about 70 percent lower than in similar elections in 2007.

The relatively peaceful and orderly situation of voting for 672,400 elective posts in 42,025 barangays (villages) across the country is attributed to increased police and community vigilance.

In a press conference, PNP Director General Raul Bacalzo said there were 40 incidents of election-related violence (ERV) noted in this year’s grassroots elections, with 41 casualties (29 deaths, 12 wounded). This was “very low” compared to the 67 incidents of ERV noted in similar elections in 2007 when recorded casualties numbered 69.

“We can attribute this to increased vigilance and community participation. The public listened to our announcement that during election period, carrying of firearms is prohibited. We can also attribute the low (number of) incidents to our Comelec checkpoints,” Bacalzo said.

Regions 12 (Soccsksargen) and ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) noted the most number of ERVIs, with eight incidents in Region 12 and four incidents in ARMM.

Correspondingly, police confiscated 523 firearms and arrested 623 persons in relation to the gun ban imposed by the Commission on Elections. A total of 223 people were also arrested overnight in violation of the liquor ban, Bacalzo said.

While the PNP is expecting generally peaceful local elections, Bacalzo said police are still bracing for possible violence that will spark on election day itself.

“Based on our experience, violent incidents always occur on election day itself. But with the help of our community and with police and military forces, we hope that the incidents will not be as violent as they were,” Bacalzo said.

Meanwhile, the PNP also fielded 1,023 police trainees to the provinces of Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao to serve as board of election tellers. The trainees will serve in nine towns in Lanao del Sur and 20 towns in Maguindanao.

But Bacalzo clarified that this was not due to violence but mainly to the lack of teachers in these villages. Based on the reports of Comelec, a lot of teachers in those areas could not serve as board of election tellers because these teachers have relatives who are either running for village chief or village councilor. This is not allowed,” he added.

Sixteen positions are to be filled in each barangay (village)—eight in the barangay council (one barangay chair and seven council members) and eight in the youth (one chair and seven council members).

More than 50 million Filipinos (18 and above) are eligible to vote in the village elections and 2.46 million (15 to 17 years old) in the Sangguniang Kabataan (youth council) balloting.

Barangays are authorized by law to disburse some P53 billion for local economic development projects and services under the 1991 Local Government Code. Their leaders act as judges in domestic disputes, supervise delivery of basic services, and secure neighborhoods.

Unlike in last May’s automated national elections, voting and counting of ballots in Monday’s polls will be done manually.  - End of article -

Election workers prepare the ballot boxes to be delivered to "the provinces"

There is a total ban on the sale of ANY alcoholic beverage all day the day before the election, on Election Day, and does not end until midnight, the day after the election. Liquor ban violators face prison terms of between 1-6 years in prison and being stripped of their right to vote and be elected to a government post if they are found guilty.

All schools are closed today because teachers are the backbone of the polling place staff in the provinces.  All government offices and banks are also closed on Election Day.   Military cadets were sent to some provinces to act as poll workers because a teacher can't serve as an election worker if they have a relative running for office, and in this election, many do.  The military has also sent military police to help in Manila and a few provinces where Election Day Violence has been a problem in previous elections.

Yesterday was Grace's birthday, and a couple of her friends wanted us to go our to a Karaoke bar to celebrate.  I had never done Karaoke before, so it took me a little while to learn to use all the visual cues, but I did a credible job with Cat Steven's "Father and Son," and knocked their sox off with CCR's "Lodi," a big favorite with all open mic performers because the lyrics capture the frustration of a performer with people who didn't come to listen to the music.  I still wish it was open mic so I could play my guitar and have control of the key and tempo!  The alcohol ban was in effect, so we were a little more restrained than most Karaoke performers.  I turned in the number for  The Everly Brothers' "Bye Bye Love" but got Simon and Garfunkles' "Bridge Over Troubled Water" instead.  Grace's friends thought I sang it well, but I was NOT happy with my performance.  I am a "BassAtone,"  Too high for bass, and too low for baritone.  It is hell for me to try to sing any "standard arrangement" because the pitch is always wrong for me.  One of Grace's friends told me that Karaoke was the number one form of entertainment in the Philippines, and every neighborhood does seem to have at least one Karaoke bar.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Political Reality - A President Can't Create Meaningful Change By Themselves

The President of the United States of America and the President of the Philippines have a lot in common.  Both are young reformers.  Both were elected because of a deep emotional appeal to the people who voted for them.  President Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III was primarily elected because his mom was the least corrupt President the Philippines has ever had, and people remember her fondly.  President Aquino didn't have a lot of political experience.  He is dealing with a situation where corruption is an every day way of life.  I've written about how I have paid an extra 1500 to 2000 pesos to a fixer to get my visa extension processed faster.  The fixer keeps some of the money for themselves, and gives some to each of the people who allow the application to be processed out of turn and waive the required 1 hour wait after you get approval for your extension request form and have paid the fee.  This means that someone else's application has to wait a little longer to get processed while the fixer's clients are expedited.  President Aquino has asked the people to start reducing corruption at the basic level of not using the service of a fixer when they have to deal with the government.  The corruption I have described seems innocuous, but if you look at it as the fixer running the department and disrupting the work flow of the office, and think of the hardship paying that extra "fee" is for most Filipinos, you can see how harmful it is.  The biggest ethical issue here is that the fixer gets a government employee to break or ignore rules and policies.  If they will allow my application to be exempt from the mandatory 1 hour wait, what else are they willing to do for money?  Would they let a terrorist get a visa for enough money?  Corruption has to stop, both here and in the US.  President Aquino is asking all Filipinos to stop using the services of a fixer as a first step toward ending corruption in government.  If there is no demand for the service, it will cease to be an attractive career choice.

When I applied for my last visa extension, I filled out the form myself and did not have any trouble getting it accepted.  Grace and I went to Starbucks across the street and had a leisurely lunch so that we got back about the time the 1 hour was up.  It was actually another 30 minutes before my papers were processed, probably because someone else was using the fixer to get fast service.  Now people will only support this initiative if government offices work efficiently and give reasonable service.  The Bureau of Foreign Affairs is in charge of passport applications, and they have designed their process to prevent fixers from having access to the office.  They also require appointments to accept applications and have the process as standardized and streamlined as possible.  Grace got her processing done in a little less than two hours.  Once the application is accepted, it takes 20 working days to get your passport, or you can pay extra to get it in 10 working days.  If all government offices attempted to make their service reasonably user friendly and gave reasonable customer service, it would eliminate the perception that a fixer could make life easier and was worth the fee.

There are many other areas in Philippine government where corruption is a way of life, and President Aquino has more power over Philippine government than the U.S. President has over the U.S. government, so he is making progress in some areas.  Customs is terribly corrupt and what you are charged for import taxes seems to depend on the mood of the agent who processes your shipment.  President Aquino fired the head of the Customs Service and appointed someone he hopes will clean up the corruption.  Of course President Obama can't do a lot of the things Mr. Aquino can because of the limits on the power of the American President.  But even with his wider powers, President Aquino is not going to be able to clean up government corruption by himself, and it looks like the legislature here is as corrupt as the U.S. Congress, and his efforts are going to fall just as short as President Obama is perceived to be by American voters who just don't understand the political realities.

Now people will say, "But we gave him a Democratic majority in Congress, why didn't he get more done?"  Well, you have Democrats like Larry Kissel of the 8th Congressional District in North Carolina.  Now most of the district is Cabarrus County and the City of Concord, but a majority of the votes come from rural areas.  People in Concord mostly support the President's platform, but Representative Kissel knows that if he wants to get reelected, he can't support the programs that will really help people because his rural constituants think that helping others is socialism.  Interestingly enough, the people in the Buckle of the Bible Belt seem to be really selective in their reading of the Bible and forget about all the lessons Jesus taught about the importance of helping others, even when the only reward is knowing you did the right thing.  So although there is an apparent Democratic majority in Congress, the reality is that for a host of reasons, President Obama can't count on a lot of the members of his party to support the party platform.  You can forgive Representative Kissel for breaking ranks by saying that he is representing the people of his district, and that is true, but he is letting down the rest of America by failing to vote for measures that would be good for most Americans.  There are many Larry Kissels in Congress, and while he is indeed representing his constituants, other members of Congress are on the payroll of various special interest groups and corporations.  If you break down prior occupations of members of Congress, I believe "lawyer" is first and "insurance broker or agent" is second.  Is it surprising that it has always been difficult to get any real insurance reform or regulation through Congress?

So the message I want to leave you with is that you can't blame the President of either the U.S. or the Philippines for not getting their agendas approved and made law when voters elect legislators who will not support their party leadership or are more interested in the interests of a corporation than what is good for the people they represent.  If you want to get the things that are broken in government fixed, you have to stop being comfortable with the status quo and do some work to help elect honest people with the intelligence and wisdom to use government resources efficiently to help the greatest number of citizens.  You have to get out and work for candidates, go vote even when it is cold or rainy, and above all, take back government from the special interest groups and corporations.  Please get informed on the issues, where candidates stand on the issues, and then, please, please, please go vote!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Sorry State of Cheese in the Philippines

Now I KNOW that selling America on putting cheese on every burger has contributed to the obesity epidemic and hasn't measurably improved the economy in Wisconsin, but good cheese is available most places in the U.S. and really GREAT cheese is sold at nearly every gas station and convenience store in Wisconsin.

And speaking of Convenience Stores, I have to personally endorse the Kwik Trip stores, because they are NOT your average convenience store.  I got to see them first hand when I visited my on line friend Kate last Christmas.  The store headquarters offices and warehouses are in LaCrosse.  The chain is family owned and run.  They have really high quality coffee, great tasting hot and cold locally made snack foods, and good cheese at all their little white stores.  I don't know if you have ever bought an apple at a convenience store and thought it tasted like a cross between cardboard and plastic, but that won't happen to you at Kwik Trip.  Their produce is like what you find in the high end, specialty market, and even in December and January was always fresh and delicious.  Get this!  They are working to INCREASE what they make and the services they use IN HOUSE.  They don't hire some trucking company or logistics firm to deliver.  They own the trucks and hire the drivers who make the deliveries.  AND guess what?  Are you listening Harvard Business School? They are increasing their profitability by hiring Americans from their local area to do the work, make the products they sell, and provide the services the company needs.

And now, back to cheese.

In Wisconsin, there are cheese outlet stores where you can get "cheese curds" which are part of the production process that didn't make it into the retail package, but are totally delicious.  The outlet store may have 100 different kinds of cheese, and all of it is great tasting, behaves the way it ought to when you cook with it, and above all, has great and memorable flavor!

I am so sad to report that Cheese Whiz is definitely the best cheese available in the Philippines.  The stuff they put on burgers is called "Cheddar," but it needs to have the buttons ripped from it's tunic and the epaulettes cut off and trodden under foot for conduct unbecoming cheese.  It is a pale, sickly yellow color, almost a disgusting white...not surprising considering the preoccupation with lightening beautiful brown skin...  All the cheese Grace has used in cooking is related to this travesty and makes Velveta look like a medal winning entry at the Wisconsin State Fair.  It has NO taste.  It turns to liquid, not tasty, gooey, goodness like real cheese should.  I think I need to hold a parade, a la Gordon Ramsey's "Bring Back Real Gravy" parade and proudly march to the Department of Agriculture with "Bring REAL Cheese to the Philippines" banners flying.  Of course they don't like public expressions of discontent here, so I guess I better just rant to you guys.  Maybe I can save up for a flight to New Zealand and get some REAL cheese before I die of disgustingly low cholesterol and pristine arteries.

World Wide Obesity Epidemic

I have witheld judgement as to the state of the public girth in the Philippines, and I can now say with certainty that among people with access to fast food and the income to buy it regularly, Filipino waist lines are definitely expanding.  It isn't evident in the clothes readily available for sale in department stores, but I am seeing more and more large people.  Not as bad as Omaha, Nebraska or Council Bluffs, Iowa with their ready access to Golden Corral and the casino all you can eat troughs, but there are enough large people here that the Paranaque Doctor's Hospital recently hosted a community forum on obesity, so I'm not the only one who is noticing the trend.  I think if KFC could limit people to the half ounce of gravy that is their nutritional bench mark "serving" (and all the other fast food places do the same thing with their fattening add ons) it might be possible to slow the expansion of girth.  However, people, being people, demand the "Gravy Pump" and the corporations make their employees sell "up sizing" so it is practically impossible for good health and weight maintenance to exist in the same universe with fast food stores.  I stoically refuse to upsize, but yesterday, the standard issue iced tea was 12 ounces.  Taking the ice into consideration, that gives you about 8 drinkable ounces.  I do wish I had upsized the drink.  I ended up buying a 250ml bottle of water for 25p to get the dehydration factor under control.  I was seriously irritated when the water bottle was only 250ml.  500ml is really what I'd call an "adult serving" of water.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

In Sickness and in Health...

I went to the dentist to get a cavity filled and a leaking filling replaced.  Total cost was about $100, including 2 x-rays.  I got there late in the day, so the dentist examined me, then told me to come back the next day to get the fillings.  By the way, how often can you find  dentist who will give you an appointment for fillings the same day?  The dentist looked very young to me, and when she took the x-rays, she had me sit on an office chair in one corner of the treatment room.  There was no shielding, and she didn't wear a lead apron.  I know modern dental equipment is much safer than it used to be, but she seemed so young, the teacher gene in me got activated, and I had to tell her the story of my childhood dentist and hero, Dr. Paul Atkins.  Dr. Atkins was a man of many talents.  He directed an all volunteer brass band in Des Moines, Iowa for many years and looked like John Phillip Sousa when he was in his director's uniform.  Dr. Atkins did some of the first research on why some farm families had excellent teeth and never got cavities,  while other families had soft teeth that needed constant filling.  He analyzed the chemicals in the well water, and found that there was always some form of fluoride in the water of the families with good teeth.  The Polk County Health Department raided his office regularly because he was experimenting with very diluted solutions of Sodium Fluoride, an extremely deadly poison.  We went to the dentist every 3 months when I was a kid.  Dr. Atkins gave us all fluoride treatments, and we used a rinse every day that he made himself.  Dr. Atkins did not use cheap ingredients, and insisted on pure peppermint oil for the flavoring.  Dr. Atkins took cruises to Hawaii every year, and he showed slides of his latest trip on the ceiling of his office while he was working on your teeth.  He was a high tech guy in a low tech time.  He had a Webcor reel to reel tape recorder and a sound track for each slide show that was synchronized with the slides.  He was also something of a "character."  His best friend was a pediatrician, and in that day, tonsillectomy was the treatment of choice for kids who got sick a lot.  I missed most of first grade due to toxic tonsils, and when Dr. Folk got tired of coming out in the middle of the night to give me a shot of penicillin, I got mine taken out.  And now, back to our story...Dr. Atkins decided he was tired of being sick all winter and that he needed his tonsils out.  He asked his friend to show him the instrument he used to take out tonsils.  Apparently it had a loop of very thin wire that went around a tonsil lobe and a spring loaded mechanism that pulled the wire tight and cut off the tonsil when the doctor pulled a trigger.  Dr. Atkins closed his office early one day and using his dental mirror, cut out one of his tonsils.  The mail man saw him lying on his office floor in a pool of blood, and thought he had killed himself.  They battered down his office door and took him to the hospital, where he recovered nicely, but he never had the other tonsil taken out.  I think the hula girls in Dr. Atkins' slides are probably responsible for my love of brown skin and straight, black hair.  Dr. Atkins died when he was 84 from exposure to x-rays.  Because he was a high tech guy, he started using x-rays as soon as they were available and the early machines were not shielded properly.  I gave the dentist a short version of the story and asked her if she had ever thought about the possibility of x-ray exposure being bad for her health.  I thought she was going to cry, so I apologized and told her my teacher gene gave me a compulsion to share information, if even remotely applicable.  She told me her shielding was low tech and awkward, and that she knew she should protect herself better.  Apparently showing concern for someone you just met doesn't happen too often here.  Grace and I discussed how old the dentist was.  I was thinking mid twenties, and Grace said she was 32.  When we came back the next day, the office assistant told us that another dentist would do my fillings because the one who had examined me got sick and could not come in to work.  Dr. Atkins never used Novocain unless the filling was very deep and he suspected the filling could evolve into a root canal.  I was somewhat surprised when the dentist we went to after Dr. Atkins died always used Novocain.  So, for the last 50 years, every dentist I've seen has used anesthetic when doing fillings.  Imagine my surprise when the dentist, an even younger looking woman, started drilling without giving me a shot.  It didn't really hurt, but when she got done, I felt like I had been throwing hay bales on the wagon all day.  Grace asked the office assistant, and the first dentist was indeed 32, while the one who did my fillings was 25.  I am guessing that the first dentist came down with some really nasty virus, because Grace and I have both been sick for the last three days.  I had a temp a little over 101, after conversion...our thermometer only displays Celsius.  I slept almost all day yesterday.  The virus was a strange one.  We both felt terribly tired and needed to sleep a lot.  When we first started feeling better, we found that the urge to pee would come on suddenly, and we didn't dare try to wait because we had no control of the muscle that prevents "accidents."  Those strange symptoms and the fever were all the bug did to us.  No congestion, coughing, or intestinal malfunctions.  I had my H1N1 flu shot along with the local varieties, and the symptoms don't really match any "flu" I've read about.  Grace got sick first, and I took care of her, then I got sick, and she took care of me.  I was sicker, and she did a lot more taking care of.   I seem to be OK now, but I put her to bed early because she still had a low grade fever tonight.

I have an appointment at the U.S. Embassy on Wednesday to swear before a Counselor Officer that I'm legally divorced and have not married anyone since my divorce.  He fills out a form and notarizes it.  The form is required to get a marriage license.  After we have the form, we have to go to City Hall to get the license, then we have to wait 10 days before we can see the judge and get married.  We are planning to go to Puerto Galera sometime after we get married.  Grace thinks it might be a good place for us to live.  We both want to get away from Manila.  An undeveloped beach town seems like a good place to me, and they have a yacht club, so maybe I'll be able to get in some sailing.  Diving is the big attraction, and the coral there is still healthy.  Grace and I agreed that snorkeling was probably all the deeper we wanted to dive.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Truth in Advertising

This post would probably be more useful if I had a larger readership, but I think it is worthwhile to more directly address the harmful stereotypes that self serving, so called "dating" sites perpetuate in order to sell memberships.  I am talking specifically to American men who want to meet Filipinas.  I am very direct, in your face, and to some extent, crude in this post, so be warned, and if you are easily offended, go to a Disney site or some other pleasant fantasy monger.

First, it IS true that many Filipinas want a foreign husband.  This is because unemployment is high and alcohol abuse and domestic violence are high too.  Many Filipinas think all Americans are rich and that if they have an American husband, they will have a secure and stress free life.  For that reason, there are many sites that have lots of Filipina members.  Typically, men have to pay a membership charge to email women and to see more than their basic profile and any additional pictures.  The web sites tell you that all Filipinas are beautiful, and of course all women are beautiful in their own way, but not all Filipinas look like the PR image the web sites say is the norm.  Think about all the women you have ever seen walking down the street in America.  How many of them look like beauty pageant winners, swim suit models, or professional dancers?  How many dress in the latest designer clothes all the time?  You see Paris Hilton in the news all the time, but she is so rich you need to completely disregard her and anyone else in the "famously beautiful" category when you think about the "average" American woman.  This is the stereotypical image of Filipinas I'm talking about:

Now there are LOTS of very cute girls walking around Manila, (I don't think posting pics of "average" girls would serve any useful purpose because my idea of cute or beautiful will probably not match yours, and a small, random sample of pics can't show the diversity of appearance or do justice to Filipinas.) but think about your chances of meeting, talking to, and getting the interest of any really cute girl in the U.S.  It's not going to be any easier in the Philippines to meet a swim suit model and have her be interested in you than it would be in the U.S. unless you are VERY rich and have lots of contacts in the Philippines.  For the average American guy, this kind of girl is not any more available or accessible in the Philippines than in the U.S.  So what I'm telling you is that there are lots of cute girls, but you need to be able to see beyond the surface and appreciate all a girl's good qualities and be willing to accept a girl who looks good to you, but is not perfect in the way an air brushed swim suit model's pictures are perfect.  If you have ever heard Dr. Drew Pinsky talk about relationships and why you really don't want to date a stripper, you will do better picking girls to get to know and date than if you go strictly on looks.  As Dr. Drew says, any girl who looks at men as a "mark" or a "john" is only able to take advantage, not give of themselves or be part of a real relationship.  This means you are much better off chatting up a shop girl than thinking you will find eternal happiness with a bar girl.  This pretty much applies to all "performers," like porn actresses, strippers, and to a large extent, web cam models.  Remember, they are selling fantasy, and that doesn't translate to a successful relationship in the real world.

However, not all Filipinas want to go to the U.S.  My girlfriend likes the Philippines, and does not want to live anyplace else.  I think my retirement income goes farther in the Philippines, so I'm quite happy she wants to live here.  Don't assume that a girl will change her mind about that, even if she does fall in love with you.  She may not want to go shovel the snow off your sidewalk in Buffalo or dig out the driveway in Minot.  The Philippines is a tropical country after all, and to people here, anything cooler than 70 degrees F is chilly.  Taking most Filipinas to places with winter temps of -20 degrees F is not a kind thing to do.

Another stereotype that web sites sell is that all Asian women are "submissive."  The sites give the impression that all Asian women will cook and clean while dressed like a fashion model and then offer unlimited hot sex.  They imply that the Asian woman will do whatever you want and not complain or have an opinion of her own.  Get REAL guys.  If you believe this, you are dumber than you look.  This is the information age.  Filipinas are connected to the internet and are texting and talking on their cell phones a lot of the time.  They know what's going on in the world, and have their own opinions just like American women.  There are Filipinas who think their husband should do all the cooking and cleaning while waiting on THEM hand and foot.  Filipinas have just as wide a spectrum of opinions on relationships as American women and just as many will tell you exactly what they think.  Not all Filipinas are perpetually horny and eager to satisfy your every fantasy.  Some are scared of sex with a man, and may not have any experience with a man or only have actual experience with another woman.  Some are willing to use sex to lead a man around by the penis to get what they want.  Some have had really bad experiences and sex has not been pleasurable for them.  Some see it as a necessary evil in order to have a relationship with a man so that there is a possibility of having a husband and family.  Even if you are lucky enough to find a girl who likes sex, she may not want to do everything you would like to do.  She may have very strong feelings on the subject and not be willing to try what you have in mind.  I think the most important thing for a man to remember is NOT to have expectations.  You need to get to know an individual person in order to find out what she is comfortable with.

I am ashamed of the way American X boyfriends have treated Filipinas I know.  American men are getting a deserved reputation as liars, braggarts, and selfish bastards.  Filipinas don't appreciate "Wham, Bam, Thank You Mam" any more than American women or for that matter, women any where in the world.  Would you like it if a girl jumped on you, pumped twice, came and left you unsatisfied, then rolled over and went to sleep?    Girls I have met here have been bullied or guilt-tripped or talked to death until they did what the American man who claimed to love them wanted.  Guys have come here to meet a girl, knowing she had a child, then complained at her about her kid, spanked her kid, or told the girl that he doesn't want the trouble of raising a kid.  Other guys have mentally tortured girls until the poor women felt totally worthless and that everything she does is either wrong or not good enough to please the guy.  What kind of relationship are these guys thinking they are going to have when they act like that?  I suggest that if you find nothing wrong with the behaviors I have described, you go to and plunk down your $6,000 for a doll that looks just the way you dreamed of, (you can even get "elf ears")  won't ever complain, and won't care if you slap her around or only care about your own pleasure.

If you are a nice guy, act like it.  Do what you say you will do.  Don't yell or complain if things are not as comfortable or convenient as in the U.S.  If you have read any of my blog, you should realize by this time that the Philippines are NOT the U.S. and it definitely is not the girl's fault.  Do some reading.  Find out what to say and do to make girls feel good.  It's so much easier to say something positive and make a girl feel happy about you and herself than to tear her down.  If she is so terrible, why do you want to be with her in the first place?  Spend some time concentrating on learning how to make her feel good. If you give her pleasure, and she has never experienced that before, you are going to get all the sex you want, and be her hero too.  That's a much better place to be emotionally when starting a relationship than being the "Selfish American Prick."  American men tend to be in a hurry and want to "get to the good stuff."  Take your time.  Foreplay is not a waste of time.  If you take the time to make her feel so hot she can't wait, the foreplay will have been SO worth the time.  I used to get bored with kissing, but my girlfriend is such a good kisser, I am never bored and never in a hurry to do something else.  Kissing, if properly done, IS a form of foreplay.  These observations are based on actual personal experience and observation, not some theory, so if you want practical knowledge that has proven results, pay attention.   If you really want a relationship, love affair, or marriage, remember that there is another PERSON involved and treat her like a person.  She may not have a phD, but she knows a lot more about how to live in the Philippines than you do, and you ought to treat her with respect.  If you don't respect women, or can't respect a Filipina, then go to the above mentioned web site, and get a doll.  Did I mention that you are a lot better off with a Filipina if you don't brag?  It is especially important not to lie.  Exaggerating about your job or income IS lying.  Don't do it.  If you do, you will attract girls who just care about money, and drive away girls who are capable of having a real relationship and loving someone.

If you have been talking to a girl online, even for 2 years, YOU DO NOT KNOW HER!  You have a mental image of her that you assembled from bits and pieces of all your conversations.  A lot of that image is filled in by your imagination and a lot of who you THINK she is comes from your own wishful thinking.  The only way to really know a person is to really listen to them and spend time face to face.  Don't just hear what you want to hear.  Don't ignore something that is a strong dislike for her.  She will not magically change just to be with you unless she is an actress who wants to con you.

I'm not perfect, but I do try to be a good guy.  I'm as lucky as can be because I accidentally bumped into a girl who is cute, smart, fun and funny, a good cook, kind, considerate, clean, loving, sexy, and who shows her love for me in everything she does.  She is not like the stereotypical image I had of my "dream girl" Filipina, but after only a short time talking with her, I realized that really didn't matter to me at all.  I have tried throughout this blog to avoid personal TMI situations, so I'm not going to talk about specifics. All I'll say is that I'm very happy and feel like I have everything I ever dreamed of, and more.

So if you have dreams of a love affair with a Filipina, you can be happy too if you are willing to be realistic, treat her with respect, and learn to think about her likes and needs as much as you think about your own, then act like it so she can see you are a good guy and NOT a "Selfish American Prick."

Monday, October 4, 2010

Personal Care and other musings

I grew up in the American Midwest.  In Iowa farming country, people went out of their way to appear "average middle class" even when they had a lot of money.  Things like facials and massages and pedicures were not things in my realm of experience.  About two years ago, I got so fat I couldn't bend over to cut my own toe nails, so I got my first pedicure.  It was a very pleasant experience, and even after I lost weight, and could bend over easily, I continued to get a pedicure about every three weeks.  I never understood why women would wait for a particular hair stylist, but when Kim, the lady who usually did my toe nails was not there one day, I found out.  Some people are just better at some things than other people.

Grace likes massages and facials and manicures and pedicures and body scrubs and anything else of that category.  She is very careful with money in most areas, but cosmetics and personal care services make up a big part of her budget.  When we were in Baguio, I noticed that my teeth needed cleaning, and the spa where Grace was getting a facial had a dentist, so I got my teeth cleaned.  A free facial went with the cleaning, so I got my first facial.  I have to say that there are a lot worse ways to spend some relaxation time.  Grace was in the next chair, and we held hands while we got our facials.  I'm old enough that I don't give a damn about what people think of me, so call me a "girlie man" if you will, but I think seeing what your wife or girl friend goes through to be beautiful for her guy is a worthwhile thing to do.  I have big pores on my nose, and I liked the way I looked after the facial, when my whole face was squeaky clean.

It is sometimes difficult when your girlfriend loves you so much that she imagines you are mad at her if you don't have a big smile on your face 24 x 7.  This is a problem for grumpy old men who have aches and pains that tend to creep up when out shopping.  I guess the solution is to stop being a grumpy old man.  So I suppose this is a cautionary tale of the "be careful what you wish for because you just might get it" variety.  My girlfriend is 26, and I'm 62.  I've always liked younger women because besides their obvious charms, they usually have less emotional baggage and are able to believe in true love like this hopeless romantic.  The up side is that my experience has made me a better person than when I was 26, and I know how to do a lot of things better than I did when I was 26.  This is a real advantage because skill does make a difference.  Of course the down side is that I have to make sure I'm not punishing her for something someone else did to me years ago, and that I can't just become a curmudgeon.  I have to try to have optimism and a positive outlook to stay in sync with her youthful hopefulness.

I guess the moral of this story is that if you are a mature American guy, dreaming of having a hot, young Asian girl friend, you better be prepared to have a younger outlook on life.  Remember that just because she doesn't have your education or experience doesn't mean she won't have opinions, likes, dislikes, or will instantly adopt all your beliefs.  She is a real person, not a doll, and you need to remember that if you plan to live in her country, she is the expert and you are like a new born babe.  You don't know JACK about how things are done, even (especially) if you are an international business man.  Things are so different from the US that you need to be led around by the hand to keep out of trouble.  Also, your image of what the perfect girl is like won't match up with many real women.  You need to be able to be open minded, because the best girl for you may not look exactly like you imagined, and the girl who looks exactly the way you imagined may be toxic for you.  If you have been talking to a girl online, you need to remember that no matter how long you have been talking, you DON'T know her.  You have a mental image, and a lot of it is filled in from your imagination and wishful thinking, so you don't know the real person.  Don't expect everything to be perfect immediately.  No matter how good her English, there are cultural differences and idioms that get in the way of communication.  It will take a while to work out the kinks.
If you are a good person, and treat her like a real person, these things can be worked out, with a little time and effort.  Don't be fooled by ads that tell you all Asian women are submissive and treat their man like a king.  They are real people with just as much variation as you found among American women.  Be honest. Don't try to bullshit her or brag about how much money or power you have.  The good ones don't care that much as long as you can pay the rent and buy groceries, and the ones who care about that stuff will usually try to take advantage of you or get as much from you as possible.