Archive | August 2012

About Frank Sinatra and Jose Rizal

Stuff I’ve learned about the Philippines:

The Sinatra song “My Way” is banned in many karaoke bars in the Philippines because it has lead to fights and deaths when people sing it badly or because of revenge for insults hurled while singing. (This concerns me more than the recent floods).

There are 39 countries in the world named after people. How many can you name? (Without using wikipedia?) The Philippines was named after King Philip of Spain.

The Philippines is considered the most social-media addicted market in the world, has the highest Facebook penetration in the world and is considered the “texting” centre of the Universe (Thanks,

Don’t bother wearing a watch. No-one in the Philippines wears one. (Apparently I just have to “feel” time).

Don’t ever dis Jose Rizal or anyone called Aquino.

  1. Don’t mess with this cat.

    The Philippines has the largest diaspora network in the world. (Don’t feel bad. I had to look it up too.)

    A $10 red quaffer here costs about $70 in the Philippines. I can’t tell you how sad this makes me.

BTW: I really did know what diaspora means (See Point 9). And to my three friends who independently and coincidentally sent me a Filipino phrase that I should declare loudly to any Filipinos I meet by way of greeting, I checked. And it doesn’t mean what you said it means. Nasty.

Four days to departure.

T Minus One Week… and counting

We got take-away from a restaurant on the weekend, whose menu promised “a gastronomic journey through the best Asian food.” All the countries (and their signature dishes) were there… Vietnamese spring rolls, Malaysian satay, Singapore noodles, Japanese tempura, Chinese soups, Indonesian nasi-goreng – even Mongolia had its famous lamb – but the Philippines was conspicuous in its absence from the menu. Hmmm. Meredith tells me that I better get used to eating rice and pork. Three times a day. Hmmm.

This made me realize I know nothing really about the Philippines, except that they invented kareoke and were once ruled by a woman with a shoe fetish. Oh, and it is currently underwater.

Curse you, sheltered white anglo saxon protestant northern beaches upbringing, for my cultural ignorance (shakes fist in air)! We go in a week.  Better start reading.

“I did not have 3000 pairs of shoes. I had 1060.” (Imelda Marcos)


Gumboots anyone?

T minus 10 (days) and counting… Houston, we (may) have a problem.

Words following from our Baseco host, Mark: “We are in the fourth week of the weirdest weather pattern in ten years. Has not stopped raining… and come the night…wow, just dumps with such force that it pushes thru every crack and crevice… Fairview has water above house roofs again. River areas have been evacuated, landslides in many provinces. Many have lost homes and possessions. Yesterday our team gave food to some of those affected. It will take weeks for things to dry out… Your prayers are greatly appreciated.”

Maybe Paris would have been better choice for long service leave?

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Photos: Mark Pedder and AP

Philippines blog: the intro

This little cyber log is for our friends and acquaintances, with the aim of tracking the story of our trip to the Philippines in August – September 2012.

Here’s our plan: After a bit of a settle in to Manila, we’ll be visiting micro-finance projects in Cabanatuan and Iloilo (with Opportunity International) before returning to Baseco, Manila (with Mark and Christine Pedder of John 14:12 Ministries).

Baseco is what most of us would colloquially refer to as a “slum”, although that’s probably a bit non-PC. It’s reclaimed land dredged from Manila Bay; 60 acres with a population of about 100 000 people (Think, Stadium Australia). The Pedders run churches, school sponsorship, micro enterprise projects and health and housing programs. This is a convoluted way of saying they do whatever is necessary to help, serve and love the people of Baseco.

Mere has been to all these places before. And enjoyed them. Pete has not and so, apart from reading and prayerful consideration, has no real idea of what is about to happen. But it seemed like a good idea at the time.

We’ll post photos and text as we go, when we can, and Pete will do his best not to write emotional or self indulgent diatribes about poverty, social justice, the state of the world or the state of his stomach. But no promises. And yes, he will continue to write about himself in the third person.

Mere and Pete… as if you didn’t know