Do You Really Want To Live In Mindanao? {23}

Do You Really Want To Live In Mindanao?

If you have your heart set on living in the Philippines, Mindanao in particular, are you sure Mindanao is where you want to be? No, I’m not referring to the notion that it’s dangerous here; all the (rare) activities that make the news – bombings, kidnappings, political killings, etc. I’m referring to the infrastructure.

Specifically I’m referring to the power supply issues, though the congested roads and flooding issues due to development are real problems, too.

Why Litter? {4}

Why Litter?

I remember two national campaigns that were popular when I was a kid. One was the Smokey the Bear “Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires” and the other was the anti littering campaign “Every Litter Bit Hurts”, among other themes from Keep America Beautiful. Possibly it was my impressionable age, but those have always stuck with me. Particularly being a litterbug. It really bothers me.

There isn’t the same feeling of guilt displayed here for littering. No, it’s common place and as far as one can tell there is no thought given it whatsoever. Trash is thrown anywhere and everywhere. That’s not to say that some of it doesn’t get cleaned up. I think in many cases here in Davao, in particular areas, they do a decent job of cleaning up the trash (basura).

Sikwate {4}


The local drink made from native cacao has many names. I often use sikwate, but you will hear it called native chocolate, tsokolate, tskolate, tabelya, etc. Tableya is really the tablets before the drink is made, but some still refer to the drink in that manner. Regardless of the name used, it’s a treat.

When I first moved here I was making sikwate every morning. I found that to be a little too much, and have since resisted making it at home. I reserve my consumption for when I’m out and about, for the most part. Thankfully I’ve found a few places that make it.

The Moppers {2}

The Moppers

This one I understand. At least I understand the reason they exist. It’s not for cleanliness, as one might assume, it’s the creation of a job.

Moppers are everywhere. They can be incredibly frustrating at times, as they seem to hang out in the same place and can make it extremely difficult to maneuver around. Many times they don’t care. They’ve probably been in that spot for hours, and whether you need to pass isn’t a big concern to them. At least that is the impression I’m left with.

Davao Scheduled Brownouts {9}

Davao Scheduled Brownouts

Brownouts are part of life here in the Philippines. Those of us that live in, or near, the bigger cities are generally spared the frequency that those in the outer areas experience them. That’s recently changed for us in the Davao area.

It seems we’ve been put on a scheduled rotation with daily brownouts. The terms brownout and blackout are used interchangeably here, and I’ve heard various opinions in regards to the terms, but what I’m going to use for now is – brownout = scheduled, blackout = unscheduled. Regardless of the term you are fond of, we’ll be without electricity, and therefore water after 30 minutes, for 1-2 hours daily. For how long? That hasn’t been stated specifically, but potentially until the next power plant comes on board.

Why are Streets Renamed? {4}

Why are Streets Renamed?

I mentioned before about the lack of addresses here in the Philippines. That can make it difficult to locate places, especially those that are on streets that cover some distance. Another factor is that many of the streets’ names change.

I notice this more in the downtown area than elsewhere, but I can think of several right off the top of my head that have changed. How recently, I’m not sure. You see both names are still commonly used, and street signs (when you can find them) seem to indicate either the new or the old. I don’t see a system. Jeepneys will also use either name on their placards and route directions.

Bamboo Amp Stand {4}

Bamboo Amp Stand

As is often the situation here I came across a product that I thought I needed, but could not find a source for it locally. In those situations I can either order one and have it sent, usually balikbayan box, or try to make do with what I can manufacture. That’s what I did with my latest project.

I’ve had a lot of issues with my back/neck lately and attributed at least part of the problem to playing the guitar. At first I thought it was because of the chair I was using, so I bought an expensive chair from S & R that gave me good support and allowed the freedom for the guitar to sit naturally. Unfortunately that didn’t seem to help. After playing for 30 minutes or so my back was still killing me.

Why is the Philippines So Loud? {6}

Why is the Philippines So Loud?

This may become a regular, or more likely irregular, feature. Shorter articles asking why things are the way they are here in the Philippines. For the most part I won’t have the answer, that’s why I’m asking. I may have gotten an answer that didn’t really ring true, or conflicting answers, but probably no answer at all.

My first entry is, “why is everything so loud in the Philippines?”