Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Balikbayan ako!

The clock is ticking and I'm about to leave the PH again, just writing a few notes before it's good night.

When we arrived here in the beginning of March I was lucky to get "bb" in the passport instead of the normal "21 days", it means I can stay for 1 year without any extensions added to my passport, now that I'm married to Karen AND brought the marriage contract translated into English with us to show the immigration office as we arrived. I was very happy to learn that I was now a "Balikbayan" / "A returning resident".

By looking at my older blogposts I can also see that I was really much more of a "foreginer" before than now, things are not as unusual anymore, today I noticed things that my Norwegian friends would react to but are now going past me almost without notice :-)

I got an infection in my soft tissue after an ant had bit me after a swim in a pool that perhaps was not as clean as we thought, antibiotics for 3 weeks, nice :-p

No more time to say anything else this time, cheers!

Oh, and now I like sinigang :-)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Leaving the thousand islands

It is definitely with mixed feelings we are now leaving the Philippines, going to Norway!
We arrive in the "worst" time possible for Karen, it's the coldest time and I'm thinking, well, now it can only get warmer :-)

So what about this place Land of Islands, it's a place where the people in general are very friendly, every white guy is a "Joe" as in "Hey Joe!" is being said/shouted towards me everytime we move out of Makati. It's a land where the class gap is bigger (than in Norway) this becuase it is not a welfare society. Again that fact leads to the temptation of gaining extra money from "gifts" or bribes to be even bigger. We hear about this also in Norway, and usually when it comes to government related things, the same is valid here only in wider bigger scale, it's not the minds of the people being more "corrupt" it's how the state work.
The intrastructure is (in basically everything) is far from what I'm used to but it works, you just have to plan more time moving between places, and people do. The busses have TVs showing either the local station with entertainment or a pirated movie bloody or not it seem to not matter as long as there is something rolling on the screen in front ;-)
Back home we also value education and family, I believe everyone, everywhere values at least family, here it is even more present. You are likely to live with your parents, brothers and sisters until you get married (or while taking education out of town).
I met a woman that is raising 5 teenagers on her own all sent to top private schools, and who is "the richest woman in miles area" about the shool system here, will you get into the school you want as long as you have the money? "No, because you have take a skills test". Again "Are you just paying for 'the name' of the school or do you really get much better education from school #1 to #2?" "Yes, you are definitel do". People travel to the Philippines to take better education and cheaper compared to their home country, students are head hunted direcly from schools to other countries.
Again - this is for the wealthy population who can afford the private schools.
Devoution to Catholicism is very clear, all over you see pictures and statues, unlike back home (in the land of protestants).
It's a warm country, in people's hearts and of course the temperature all year long. It's great for diving! We both took the "license to dive" here and recently we got the advanced license + nitrox license, much better taking this education in warm clear water than back home :-D
They Loooove videoke! (Karaoke), you find them "everywhere", bars, resaurants and resorts etc.
Right now it's our last day here, we have rented a videoke machine and everyone is singing :-)

Ok better end this so I can pack the computer and join the videoke fun :-)

Friday, January 11, 2008

A typical frustrated shopping event

It's not always easy!

So I'm out looking for "Silica Gel" (the small bags that absorb mousture that you may find a box of new shoes).
I'm prepared this time - bringing an example so I don't have to go through the painstaking process of trying to explain what/the purpose of what I need (As I didn't realize it was called "Silica Gel") "Small pellet that absorb moisture".
After my helper saw the example he let me straight to it :-) ("Wow this was easy" I'm thinking.)
Tip no 1: Bring an example or photo of what you need.
Not sure how many I need I dare to ask a girl passing how "effective" they are... Ok that's not an easy question, how can you meassure that... but after giggling in Taglish with some co-workers I get the answer (while she's trying to seem realy interrested in the product) "It's effective Sir".
Eh ok! Hehe so I grab 1 pack and hope it's effective "enough" :)

Now I need some Duct tape, I've bought this before and know were it's located but this time I take my time looking at all the 15+ types of tape available as I realy want the best one this time.
So I'm standing there with 2 types, one perhaps local brand and one of "Scotch", the latter 3 times more expensive and less tape.
This is just too strange to me so I again dare to ask the staff nearby.
(Warning the following reminds me about India.)
"Excuse me, can you tell me the difference between these two tapes, is it only the brand?"
- "...(looking)... Different brand Sir"
Tip no 2: Never ask more than 1 question in the same sentence! :D
(Starting to get fired up)
"Yes I'm telling you that, but I'm asking if there is any other difference, like the quality"
- ... "this one is better Sir" (says staff member nr 2)
"Why? Will this tear less easy than this one (and pointing at the cheap tape!)?"
- Yes Sir"
"Ok, so you're saying that the expensive tape is of less quality than the cheaper one?"
- ..."This one is 10% "off" Sir" (pointing at the expensive one)
Tip no 3: Don't always expect staff members to understand their own misstakes.

(I ended up getting the cheap tape, marked "Extra strength")

This was from "Ace Hardware" and in general this describes that staff's knowledge, some people has the knowledge they should while there are too many young people that work as "decoration" among the shelves.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

My first real earthquake!

Today I felt a "real" earthquake for the first time.

First we thought we were dizzy but then, no, the building is going from side to side!
The chime in the window was starting swing from side to side and to play, it lasted for about 20 seconds.

The earthquake was 6.0, but 4.2 in Luzon, as we live on the 20th floor it felt greater, 195Km from its origin.

Links to websites about the shake: USGS, GMANews

THE Volcano, Mount PInatubo

In 1991 the biggest explosion the world had seen in more than 100 years occurs, Mount Pinatubo errupted!

AMCI Batch 2006 organized a climb here and we joined :-)

Mainly we walked in what was a "small river" that after the erruption was converted into a "desert valley", not by lava but by flooding lahar (water and ash). Massive!

Monday, November 12, 2007


11.11.07 the day we sat personal records!

1.5 years ago I had maximum ran 7-8km, then after joining the training with AMCI we've been running longer and longer, first milestone was 10k, then our "exam" was 15k, then one day we did 20k (very slowly) so why not join the New Balance Power Race 25k? :-)
1 year ago 3k was a challenge for Karen, we both signed up!

The same day as we arrived at the airport from our "sidetrip" after the BMC Induction Climb, we headed for "Clark Freeport Zone" (Formely the biggest US army base outside of US, now it holds various establishments and private communities.) a very sceneric place! When I was feeling tired of running I would relax a bit and enjoy the good view to try and forget the lactic acid building up in my muscles ;)
Unfortunately I didn't run with my (1 kilo) camera so the 5 water buffalos grassing on big plains with mountain ranges in the background can only be imagined.

Here are some pictures:

My face is sooo red! :) and only half way...

So tired but smiling, of course!
12K, the last waterstation before the turning point at 12,5 (then going back the same way)

In the middle of nowhere and still going strong :)

Most of the AMCI people that joined the race (Only TB didn't finish)

FINISH! So happy :-))

Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, we did it!

Our precious feet longing for some pampering!

In the bag we got at the finishline there was a cream for helping aching mucles, a bandaid for the same and a tablet again for the same and today the day after there is a lot of aching going on! :D

Monday, August 20, 2007

TC2 Mariveles mountain ridges

The second training climb with BMC is well over, it was a great nature experience as I hope you can see from the pictures in the picasa album.

The treck took place along the mountain ridges of Mount Mariveles, Balaan, a 2-3 hour drive north of Manila (when there is little traffic).

We mostly walked "inside" the forest and had to use ropes in some places. The weather was on our side with clouds the first day, a little rain during the night and partially sunny the next day.

Here is the view we had before entering "The Jungle" and grass and big trees were the basic scenery.

Apart from my blisters this was a trouble free treck and we're both looking forward to TC3, a climb that will be over 3 days in colder and higher climate. :-)