Thursday, May 31, 2007


She was going to a high school dance. Her dress was gorgeous. Her hair was a masterpiece. She is dating a handsome youngman who cares deeply about her. Yet with all this, she was almost in tears. I asked her what was wrong. She told me, through the pain, that she wished that for one day she could be WHITE.

It is normal of young people to be very critical of themselves. They often want this a little bigger or that a little smaller. This is a normal part of growing up and finding your own identity. What bothers me this obsession with white skin is not limited to young people. The store shelves here in the Philippines are filled with soaps and lotions that “whiten” skin. There are TV commercials for white skin treatments. All your major movies stars have “light” colored skin.

I am not intelligent enough to know why there seems to be this national obsession with white skin. Is it a remnant of colonialism when the ruling class was light skinned? Is it a desire to meet some standard of beauty created by nonFilipinos? Is it merely the desire to be different or exotic? I do not know. I do know I will never get use to children rubbing my skin as if it had magical properties.

Let me give you a little perspective. First the majority of the world is NOT white. Second, dark skin protects the person from skin cancer. Naturally dark skin is healthy. Finally some of the world’s most beautiful women are NOT white. Halle Berry is said to be the most beautiful woman in the world. She is only the most current non-white beauty to capture that title. Every year American women spend BILLIONS of dollars and many long hours in the sun trying to get that beautiful dark skin that is natural to most Filipinas. My Philippine sisters you should glory in your beautiful skin color. God has blessed you. Walk proud and if that jerk wants a white skinned woman, he is not worthy of you anyway. There is someone out there that thinks YOU are the most beautiful woman in the world, brown skin included.


Philippines is not the only nation in the world where the people urinate in public. There is a major European nation where the average citizen pees in public almost everyday. (324 days a year). Even their women urinate in public an average of 22 times per year. That is not to excuse this unhealthy behavior, it just proves that the Philippines is not unique in this regard.

You will never see me standing beside the road peeing. It is not because I am afraid someone will peek and see all those stories about American men are not true. I do not pee for one reason… I LOVE THE PHILIPPINES. Urine is pollution. Urinating in public is unhealthy for all living things.

The average American urinates in public only 8 times a year. This is with good reason. In America this activity can be a very serious crime. It can be classified as a “sex” crime. This would require the peeing “criminal” to register with police wherever he went.

My objection is for health reasons alone. Everyday approximately 75,469 gallons of human urine pollutes our beautiful city. That is 2.6 MILLION gallons of pee a month. How can that be good for the health of each of us?

I am not political. It is not my place as a guest here to be involved in local or national politics. But I attended an open meeting of the mayor as he presented a program to clean-up pollution. I was impressed with the professional presentation and the comprehensive plan. Currently the water table is not polluted but that will not stay that way if we neglect to plan for the future. If you go to the boulevard on a hot day, you can smell the future .

Pollution and raw sewage are a threat to every man, woman and child in Oriental Negros. It does not matter if you are rich or poor; disease is an equal opportunity killer. We need to work together for the survival of this beautiful city.

Be an Everyday Hero. Stop pollution; get your septic tank pumped. Get familiar with the mayors new clean water program. You will never know whose life your might save. It could be your own or even your child’s.


I was only a fresh faced fifteen year old high school student. I can still remember her name, Miding Miraflor. I was in love. Not some sweaty lust but pure innocent adoration. For me she was the very essence of beauty. Around five foot two or three, she had long silky raven black hair. Her voice was soft and her eyes flashed with intelligence and humor. With flawlessly cinnamon brown skin, she had delicate features that would make angels flush with envy.

My love was pure and innocent. I dreamt of running my fingers through her soft hair. Holding her close, I wanted to feel the gentle touch of her fingers on my cheek. I ached to have her look at me, to see me. But that was not to be. She had a boyfirnd and barely knew I was alive.

The only person who might have suspected my love was her brother, Fausto. He even stole one of her senior pictures and gave it to me. But even he could not suspect the depth of my infatuation. He did not know how often I lay in my moonlit bedroom gazing at her picture with tears filling my eyes. He never knew how my chest ached from the hole her absence left in my heart.

One day I asked him innocently, “What nationality are you?” I barely knew there was a place called the Philippines, much less what the people looked like. My naiveté and ignorance were boundless. With a burst of raw anger that literally caused me to step back in shock, Fausto said, “American! Why?” His eyes burned with anger. It was years before I understood why he was so angry, all I did know was I had asked the wrong question.

For me the question was a simple desire to know the source of his sister’s incomparable beauty. For him the question was the prelude to prejudice, bigotry and pain. There was a single question but two very different frames of reference, two different life experiences.

Now some 52 years later I find myself again stumbling around asking questions and making statements; not always understanding the ramifications or the responses. I ask you to be patient with me and to know there is no ugliness in my heart, just ignorance.


A very nice lady sent me a copy of a newspaper column by a British journalist named Matthew Sutherland. Seems Mr. Sutherland is a long time resident here. He wrote a humorous column about life for expatriates in the Philippines. He talked about the uniqueness of Filipino names, eating balut, and even other Pinoy eating habits. I found it entertaining, even educational. She must really like his writing as the column was ten years old. She suggested I might do something similar in my column.

I told her I could not write that kind of column. It would be easy to find humor in the differences between our cultures but writing about it would be inappropriate. You are my host; I am your guest. As your guest I do not make fun of your culture. I do not criticize this country or its people. The Philippine people have treated me well. They have been excellent hosts. I want to be a good guest. If I do not like life here I can always go back to America.

Everyday people, expatiates and Filipinos, sit around and complain about the things they see wrong here. I even had one Filipino apologize for the graft and corruption in his country. You need a little perspective. The problems you face here are not unique to the Philippines. Every country had had them or has them now.

There was an American TV show called the “Untouchables”. The show was based on a group of historically real “honest” policemen. Why was this so unusual? At that time almost all policemen, judges and politicians, in America, were crooks or on the payroll of a crook. There are those that say one of your Philippine Presidential elections was “bought”. Do not know if that is true but I do know American President Kennedy bought his Presidential election. He even joked about it later saying his father refused to pay for a landslide victory. Dishonesty and greed are human sins NOT Pinoy traits. Like other countries you will solve your problems and you will solve them the Pinoy way.

There are a lot of very intelligent Filipinos working hard to make this a better country. These patriots know the problems and the possible solutions far better than I. As I told my friend Dindo Generoso, who is constantly trying to improve conditions here in Dumaguete, I may not know how to solve these problems, but I will hold your coat while you do. My role in the Philippines is to be a good guest, respect and honor my host and not create more problems. I hope I am doing that.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


I was at Mass. When we stood to sing, I saw a little seven year old girl about three rows in front of me. She had the distinctive features of a Down Syndrome child. I was overwhelmed with a sudden sense of sadness. I felt so sorry for her, not because she as likely to die before her twentieth birthday. I felt sad because here was a beautiful innocent child that would miss so much of life. She would probably never have a boyfriend. Never know the thrill of her first romantic kiss. She would never be married or know the full joy of motherhood. As I stood there feeling sorry for her, she looked up at her father beside her. As he gazes down at her they smiled and her tiny hand slid into his. I suddenly felt sorry for myself. I would never know the depth of pure simple love that they shared at that moment.

God gives us challenges; He gives us love in strange ways.

The other day a nice Filipina lady told me about little Kate Lozada. She is only seven months old but already she had adult size problems. Problems that can kill this sweet tiny little baby. You see little Kate has a congenital heart defect. If she does not get an operation soon she will not survive. Her mother works in the pharmacy at Silliman University Medical Center but just can not afford the expensive surgery. She is forced to sit helplessly by and watch her tiny innocent baby die a little each day. In desperation she has appealed to every charitable organization she could find. Only to be turned down. My friend asked me to see if I could help. I told her I would try.

I took all the information I had to some friends who regularly do charity medical work. They were not too optimistic. The operation is VERY expensive, around 500,000 pesos. Also it is highly likely the baby will be retarded and has a limited life expectancy. Possibly that is why the charitable organizations turned her down. I admit, here I get little angry. People claim to be against abortion, the killing of a fetus, but are perfectly willing to let a baby die when it could be saved, merely because “it won’t live long anyway”. I can not help but think of that sweet little girl in the church and how much love her father would never have gotten had she died. How much pain her loss would have brought to her family.

To those Everyday Heroes that read my column. Those who want to help as I do, even though my help is meager compared to the need. The mother has established a trust bank account for contributions, the pediatrician is Dr Glenda N. Nuico and the mother can be contracted at 09173141942.


I went to a local store to buy some playing cards. The clerk, seeing I was foreigner, picked up the “girlie” cards. I bought another style.

The street vendor who sells sunglasses and watches always brings out the pornography and Viagra whenever he sees a foreigner.

Four Filipinos were discussing a Cebu massage parlor that supposedly gave more than massages. Each admitted they had never tried the “extras”. They all turned and looked at me. They were disappointed the foreigner had never tried them either.

Let’s face the truth; foreigners do no have a great reputation here in the Philippines. Everyone talks about the drunken driving foreigner who kills Filipinos. You hear about the ugly foreigner who cavorts with prostitutes, or molests children, or rapes women. Sadly sometimes these stories are even true.

Let me tell you about the “ugly” foreigners I have met here in Dumaguete.

There is Jack. He and his Filipina wife run an orphanage. They provide a home, food, clothes and even an education for Filipino children who have nothing.

How about Joe, he fell in love with a Filipina. You might be shocked to find out; he never touched her until after they were married.

There is Tom, who along with his Filipino brothers spends his weekends providing free medical and dental services to those who can not afford it.

Now there is George who along with two other “ugly” foreigners supports twenty-three Filipino students. They will have an education thanks to those ugly foreigners.

Then there is Bill. He is currently working trying to help battered women. He has done so many things from trying to help Emergency Medical Team save lives to lecturing on the dangers of AIDs.

I could list many more people just like these. You may not like those “idiot” foreigners, but I am pretty proud of them.

So the next time you hear about some ugly foreigner, there are at least fifty more that are not so ugly. In fact many of those foreigners are very nice people.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


I have fought in two wars. I have jumped from airplanes and climbed mountains. I have faced poisonous snakes and vicious jungle animals. The other day a young Filipina almost made me cry.

I came back to my apartment with an arm load of books. A little girl who works in nearby business asked me if she might borrow a book to read. I told her rather than loan her a book, I would take her to Hypermart and let her pick out her own books.

I fully expected her to select romance novels or some other escapist entertainment reading. I was shocked to see her pick out huge school books. These massive tomes were on geology, physics and math. It became obvious she was desperately trying to educate herself. The vision of her studying these huge books in a vain attempt to change her fate still moves me.

I am currently putting six people through school. Seven if you count my wife. This is not much; I know others who are doing much more. I know three Americans who are paying the tuition on twenty-three students. They are not the only ones.

The city of Dumaguete has a program to educate almost two hundred “street” children. They want to give these children a chance to break the yoke of poverty. In addition to an education the city wants them to get at least one good meal each day. Unless these children are properly nourished they can never reach their full potential.

As with most government projects, they are short of funds. The children need uniforms, books and supplies as well as food. Seeing the need, one of the nicest ladies I know has stepped forward. Negros Chronicles own “Mam Le Le”. She is, as always, hard at work trying to gather support to fill the need. A veteran of Dumaguete’s Habitat for Humanity, she knows that a hand up is better than a hand out.

She is my “EVERYDAY HERO”.


A nice lady shared her story with me the other day. I want to share it with you not because it is especially unusual but because it is NOT especially unusual.

She lived in a simple home with her husband and five young children. They did not have much but they were a happy family. She and her husband both worked hard to provide a good home. There were no frills but a lot of love.

While visiting Cebu her husband was murdered. Suddenly she was the sole support for her family. She worked hard but no matter how hard, there never seemed to be enough time or money. Her life and family were slowly falling apart. She prayed to God for help. God answered her prayer with a chance meeting on the internet. The man was a foreigner. They exchanged emails for over a year before he came to the Philippines to meet her. He had a beautiful home in America, while she lived in a simple cement block house and washed her clothes in a nearby stream. He drove a big fancy car, while she road a pedicab to work every morning. She was a widow with FIVE children. No man wants someone else’s family. He returned to America.

He returned to America and sold everything he had. He came back to the Philippines and married her in a big church wedding. They have been married for four beautiful years. He not only adopted her children, he has become the loving father they needed. They have blossomed into confident, outgoing young adults. Two of them already have a successful growing business. He has taught them so many things. He not only gave them a beautiful home but also gave them beautiful hearts.

Now why did I tell you this story? I consider him an Everyday Hero, but there is more to this than just that. He is 71 years old. Soon God will call him home. Before he goes, and before the everyday hero in your life goes. Take the time to tell them just how very special they are and how much you love them.


Living in a small fishing village far from the big city the little girl’s life was sweet and simple. Her father was a handsome hard working fisherman. Then tragedy struck. A man high on shabu murdered her father. Their only source of income was gone.

With no education or job skills her mother was forced to break up the family and go to the big city to find work. She sent back what money she could but there was never enough. Finally at age eight the little girl went to work doing laundry and other household chores. The following years were virtual slavery. Most of the time she got only one or two hours sleep. Often she was not paid but just allowed to sleep on the floor and eat leftovers. As she grew and became more attractive her problems increased. If she was not fighting off the sexual advances of her employer she was fired by the wife in fear that she would stop fighting.

Finally at seventeen she ran away to the big city to find real work for real money. She worked as a store clerk, waitress and even an untrained caregiver.

Her patient, an American, was dying of lung cancer. She made sure he was fed and took his medicine. She held his hand as he writhed in pain all night. She cleaned his soiled linens. Finally when he died he showed his gratitude for her honest and devoted care by giving her a small monetary gift.

For the first time in her short troubled life she had some money. She had never had any fancy clothes or fancy food. She had never dated any young boys. She had never gone dancing or to the disco. What should she do with her new wealth?

First, she built her mother a Sari-Sari store. Then she gave her stepfather a used pedicab. She then put the rest of the money in the bank and went back to school. She graduated from high school and is now enrolled in Silliman University. She is helping her sisters get their education. She is determined to become a nurse. She is equally determined to rebuild her shattered family. She is an “Everyday Hero”.

I could tell you her name but she doest not want the attention. Her story is just one of thousands of hard working, honest and compassionate Filipinas and Filipinos. She and they are the real faces of the Philippines.


Did you know in 1923 Santa Barbara California was a beautiful city but Pedro Flores was still homesick for his beloved Philippines. One day he picked up a piece of wood and began to carve a toy just like his father taught him so many years before. When he finished and started to play with his new toy, it was almost like being a kid again, almost like being back home in Negros Oriental.
As Pedro amused himself a crowd began to gather. They had never seen such an amazing toy. Soon he was flooded with request for this wonderful toy. The demand became so great he had to open a factory in 1928. By going to schools and holding tournaments his new business grew steadily. By 1929 Pedro had opened two additional factories, one in Los Angeles and one in Hollywood. He eventually employed over 600 people and produced over 300,000 toys daily.
In 1930 the American economy crashed but Pedro was still doing an unheard of volume of business. While all around him other companies were going bankrupt, his business flourished. His toys were so popular he was offered $ 300,000 for the company. Even without the depression, this was a huge amount of money in those days. Pedro sold the company.

Now for the rest of the story.

That company became Duncan Toys, one of the largest toy companies in the world. You can find Duncan Yo-Yo’s in almost every country. There are National Yo-Yo Tournaments every year in fifteen countries. Duncan Toys does billions of dollars in sales every year and it all started with a Pinoy who was homesick.


This is not so much about Filipino media accuracy as World media accuracy.

I want to give you some headlines about a country you will never read about in the media. These are true facts about a real place. It is almost the same size as Iraq. The population is almost identical to Iraq. Interestingly enough you NEVER hear the media screaming about these shocking facts.

Last Night They Suffered 6 Violent Deaths. ( that the average every single night for an annual total of 2,196 nightly murders ; three times as many that are killed in Iraq annually)

Two Hundred Poor Citizens Were Butchered This Month!

600 Women Raped in February & Over 600 Violent Robberies and Assaults in March (Talk about Iraq having a police / security problem)

You heard about Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison scandal, this country has 170,000 prisoners crammed into its prison system (more criminals than Germany and France put together), which cost its citizens 7 billion dollars each year. Here are some actual headlines about these prisons: "Guards Watch as Inmates are Raped!" And "CorrectionOfficer Accused of Having Sex with Under-Aged Detainee! " Kind of makes Abu Ghraib seem like a fraternity party.

In less than two years Saddam was given a trial, sentenced to death and executed. This country had a heinous murderer on death row for 26 years before justice was finally done.

In the five years America has been in Iraq, we have tragically lost 3,500 lives; In this country over 20,000 lives were needlessly lost during that same period of time.

There are an estimated 2,000 terrorists in Iraq. A few of these terrorists are from other countries. This country has 150,000 violent criminals from another country in its prisons with thousands more that are still roaming free and hurting innocent citizens.

The media wants us to seal the Iraqi border. That border is almost 3,000 miles long. There are Iraqis who live and work on both sides of the border and cross it legally many times each day. This other country has only a 150 mile international border and they can not keep out invaders. An estimated 1 million infiltrators cross illegally every year.

Much has been made about the fact that Baghdad has electrical problems. The media ignores the fact that electricity outside of Baghdad has improved 600%. In this country the people pay outrageously high electric bills and still have an average of 32 days a year with black outs (no power). They also have frequent brown outs(reduced power).

Iraq has had an economic surge since the invasion. Business has never been better. The oilfields are back to 92% production. Profits are pouring into the government. A sergeant in the 1 st Cav Division along with Texas A&M University has boosted Iraq produce production to a level where the Iraqis now export. You never hear these things, nor do you hear about this other country, despite being a major agricultural center, has run a 3 billion dollar debt each month for the past several years.

What is the name of this horrible country? What is the name of this country so much worse than Iraq? They call it “CALIFORNIA”. Is California really a worse place to live than Iraq? Having lived in California I can tell you it is a great place to live.

What is my point? The media can distort the truth and make ANYPLACE seem worse than it actually is. . Ask yourself two questions. Seventy percent of the American people, based on distorted reports from the media, have decided Iraq is a failure.
The questions are: "Why have the troops in Iraq, the people who know the whole truth about the war, the people who risk their lives everyday…...Why have they , by poll, voted overwhelmingly in support of the war?" and " Why do the soldiers re-enlist and extend tours of duty at unprecedented levels?"
Just maybe the troops know something the media is not telling you.


What characteristics make a boy into “A MAN !”? Most anthropologist and sociologists seem to agree that usually those characteristics are the same as those that make him attractive to women. Women are usually attracted to those features that make a man, a good provider, a good protector, a good mate. For example, world wide, women seem to prefer men taller than themselves. Taller men represent power and the ability to protect the smaller woman. Most of the other general “manly” traits (muscularity, aggressiveness, self confidence, etc) seem to match a similar general worldwide criterion.

So the “mystery is”, how did being able to drink large amounts of alcohol become a desirable trait for a “real” man. How does being a slobbering, almost incoherent, drunk make you a better provider? How does barely being able to stand, much less walk, make you a good protector? How does not being able to function sexually make you a better mate? As the loving son of an alcoholic, I can tell you it does not make you a better father. It took my father 54 years to commit alcoholic “suicide.” The world lost a good man and I got to watch him slowly kill himself.

Alcohol is a “legal” drug; but it is still a drug. Like most drugs, if it is not used properly it can damage or even kill you. My next door neighbor wakes up each morning to searing pain. There is a rock hardness near his diaphragm. To ease the pain he gets drunk, everyday. Judging from this and several other symptoms, my opinion is that he probably has cirrhosis of the liver. The alcohol destroys the cells of his liver and leaves hard nonfunctioning scar tissue. Every time he gets drunk, more of his liver will die. Within two years he will probably die, and his wife and children will be alone. She will have to go to work and the teenage boys will not have the father they need to help them become men.

I asked some young men why they sit around each night and drink tuba. The best they could come up with was, “We need some kind of recreation.” When I had the temerity to suggest they could do things less destructive like playing with their children, repair and clean their homes or try to improve their community they withdrew from the conversation. This is not just a Philippine problem. Drop by the Why Not tonight and you will find a host of foreigners pickling their livers, committing slow suicide.

For me, the male who chooses NOT to drink has to be stronger and be more of a man than those who yield to this “phalse paradigm”. Males who stay alive and teach their son’s how to be “men” are the real men, the real Everyday Heroes.


It is almost a curse. While most people can see or hear something and accept it without question, I am plagued by a mind that asks “WHY?” and “HOW?” As a child I spent several hours figuring out how a car speedometer works.
Last night, I lay awake listening to the neighborhood dogs. Obviously they were “talking”. I could discern when a dog heard something it did not like. His barks were single and separate. When the dog saw someone or something it did not like, the barks were a series that was repeated several times. When a female in heat got a nose under her tail she did not like, she gave a distinctive snapping nasty snarl. All of this is based on years of observation and working in animal rescue shelters. There is one behavior I do not understand, the wail.
Every once in awhile a dog will give a mournful cry which is quickly picked up and echoed by all dogs within hearing. I have nothing I can relate this to but human behavior which may or may not be valid. Could this be a cry of pain and frustration? Could the wailer need the understanding and support of his friends?
In the year I have been writing this column, I have wailed in frustration a couple of times. All I got was silence. I began to think I was alone. I began to think no one cared about the ugly things some of us do to each other, both Pinoy and foreigner, or how some of us disgrace our countries with our bad behavior. I began to think instead of bringing us together, I was driving us apart. I even wrote a “good-bye” column; which my editor refused to print.
Yesterday I received my first email of real support. Surprisingly, it was NOT from a fellow American who should understand me and what I am trying to do, but from a German reading my column in his second language.
He was angry how some of his fellow countrymen seem to find only negative things to say about the Philippines and her people. How many of his countrymen spent most of their time so drunk they can not even hold an intelligent conversation. He was enraged that many of them disgraced themselves and their country with their crude, rude and crass behavior. Finally he was angry at the “good” Germans who tolerate and do nothing about these outrages.
He echoed my frequently expressed sentiments. If you can not be a good guest in the Philippines; if you can not be on your best behavior and represent your country with pride; if you are so upset with the Philippine culture and its people and can not find anything positive to say; YOU SHOULD SHUT-UP OR JUST GO HOME!
This is not America. This is not Germany. This is the Philippines. Love and respect it or go someplace else to show your ass. Your money does not buy you the right to disrespect your host.
My emailer authorized me to use his name and thoughts in the column. I decided not to print his name but I will call upon him to continue to set the example. Continue to help me try to change the negative image of foreigners in this country. Most important help, me spotlight the many GOOD foreigners that are not given the respect they deserve. I ask him to continue to stand up and be counted as a good guest, you are an Everyday Hero.


Did you know in 1870 the Chinese in New York City decided to create an Asian community, later to be dubbed “Chinatown”. The selected streets have a distinctive Chinese flavor that still exists today. It is a major tourist attraction and a frequent location for movies.
Even earlier than this, in 1848, there was a Chinese community created in San Francisco. Today San Francisco’s “Chinatown” ,with it’s narrow twisted streets and complex underground tunnels steeped in “Tong War” mystique, still attracts thousands of tourists every year.
But what was the oldest Asian community in America? It was a little fishing village called “Saint Malo “established 240 years ago (1763). The houses and general lifestyle were exactly like that enjoyed in their home country, but even before it was destroyed in 1915, no tourists ever bothered to visit.

Now for the rest of the story.

Saint Malo was the oldest of six Pinoy villages in the swamps of Louisiana. The largest village was “Manila Village”; eventually that was destroyed by a storm in 1965. Now, how did Filipinos get to North America 14 years before the Declaration of Independence was signed? Simple, they came the same way we did, by boat. They were sailors on Spanish galleons and a variety of other sailing vessels. Often they were treated worse than slaves, so when they had a chance, they deserted. These hardy Filipinos lived secretly in the Louisiana swamps for almost 100 years. Their existence and lifestyle was revealed in a newspaper article published in 1883.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Did you know during the war of 1812, American Major General Andrew Jackson took a ragtag group ( “regular army troops, state militia, western sharpshooters, two regiments, Spanish fishermen and pirates from the Delta Swamps.”) and defended New Orleans from a British invasion. General Jackson had only 1,500 men standing alone against 8,000 seasoned British troops. At 8 to 1 odds a British victory was almost a sure thing.
Andrew Jackson, later our 7th President, was known as “Old Hickory” because of his flinty toughness. His motley army was equally as tough. They mauled the British troops. Jackson’s army lost less than 25 troops while the British lost over 2,000 including three general officers. The Battle of New Orleans or sometimes called the Battle of Chalmette Plantation was the last major battle of the long war.

Now for the rest of the story

Filipinos were there and fought along side of General Jackson for the freedom and sovereignty of America. “Spanish fishermen” were also known as “Manilamen”. These hardy fishermen / fighters had been crewmen (slaves?) on Spanish galleons. They jumped ship and lived in the swamps of Louisiana. I find it interesting that Filipinos fought for America’s freedom before we saw fit to give them theirs.


I write this column for several reasons. First, to honor those we often do not hear about or just forget. Second reason is to entertain and, hopefully, to help improve our quality of life. Finally I do this to stimulate your thoughts and to encourage you to actively participate. I am gratified that many of you do send me thoughts, stories and encouragement. (

The other day I heard a story that disturbed me. According to a Filipino friend, some people hunt and kill birds by using "old vinyl" records. They take these records, go into the jungle at night and burn them. The fumes of the burning records kill birds that are sleeping in the trees. Now I am NOT upset by killing the birds. Feeding your family is more important than a few birds. What upsets me is burning the vinyl records! Let me explain.

For ten years I owned an antique and collectible store. I also sold antiques and collectibles world wide on the internet. Old vinyl records can be very valuable. There is a record worth $10,000 (540,000 pesos). That was the price paid for it TEN YEARS ago and that copy was damaged. Today the price would probably be triple for a good copy.

Now do not get too excited, not all records are valuable. Many are good for little more than hunting birds, but there are many that are prized by “vinyl freaks” (collectors). I can tell you many things about how to identify and sell these antiques and collectibles. You would be surprised what is valuable. I have sold old plastic Pez candy dispensers for hundreds of dollars. Many are worth thousands of dollars. Things do not need to be “old”. A first edition hard back book of Sue Grafton’s “A is for Alibi” from the early 60’s, would sell for $2,000 to $3,000 today. Old toys are also very collectible. Those associated with cartoon characters and TV shows are in high demand. I have sold old metal lunch boxes for hundreds of dollars. Even plastic lunch boxes are gaining in collectiblity.

The things people collect and the prices they will pay are amazing. I know people who collect old candy bars. Another man collects old church doors. You name something and chances are somewhere, someone collects it. I have an extensive file on these collectors and markets.

Turning that junk in the closet and garage into money is a skill. The value of anything depends on where you sell it. The “Antique Road Show”, a popular TV show about antiques, would have you believe an item is worth a specific amount but that is not true. If you go into an American book store you will find hundreds of “price guides”. They claim to tell you what an antique or collectible is worth. That also is false. The key to getting a high sales price is where you sell it.

That $10,000 vinyl record is the soundtrack from the movie “The Caine Mutiny” featuring Humphrey Bogart on the cover. If you want more information on these and other collectibles and how to market just drop me an email. Good luck on you treasure hunt.


Did you know in order for you to be in the “crème de la crème” of American high society; your ancestors must have sailed to North America on the Mayflower in 1620. American society attaches some mysterious special status to these early settlers. Later colonists or immigrants lack class and were considered “late comers”.

Now for the rest of the story.

While it is true the Filipinos ( Indios Luzones ) who landed at Morro Bay California in 1587 did not establish a colony they did beat the pilgrims to North America by some 33 years. The Filipinos who were shipwreck near present day San Francisco Bay beat them by only 25 years. Wonder if the ancestors of those Filipinos would consider the pilgrims as the “late comers” and not fit for high society?


Did you know Pedro Calungsod was a seventeen year old Visayan boy. In his short life he was quite accomplished. Besides being an artist, singer and carpenter, he could read, speak and write Spanish, Visayan and Chamorro. It was because of his linguistic abilities that Father Diego Luis De San Vitores ask Pedro to accompany him to the Marianas in 1668. Father Diego wanted to catechize the Chamorro natives. When the Chamorro Chief’s wife asked to have her daughter baptized, Father Diego fail to get the Chief’s approval. Pedro tried to protect Father Diego. Both were hacked to death with catanas and their mutilated bodies were dumped into the sea.

Now for the rest of the story

In 2000 Pope John Paul II made little Pedro Calungsod a Saint. Negros has it's own home grown saint.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Pick up almost any newspaper and you will think that all the people that live here in the Philippines are corrupt, greedy and immoral. This is NOT the Philippines I know and love. It is time to stop concentrating on the small negative elements and pay tribute to the greater majority of the people who live and work in this beautiful country.

This column is dedicated to bring a new perspective to the news and honor “Everyday Heroes” that walk among us. We will not only reveal the true face of the Philippine people but also acknowledge the selfless contribution of some of our foreign guests.

The Philippine community and the expatriate community can accomplish many great things if we work together for the betterment of all. We can be more together than we ever were apart. Who is an “Everyday Hero”? I have met dozens of these heroes in the short year that I have lived here. These heroes exemplify the true nature of the Philippine people and our little community.

I have taught at several universities and schools around the world. I volunteered to work, for a short while, at a local high school. Like in my own country, the teachers were not paid enough. Many were fathers and mothers with heavy responsibilities at home. Yet all of them devoted many long unpaid hours of overtime. I saw teachers’ breakdown and cry because a student had failed. These teachers truly care about their students. This level of dedication and personal sacrifice is very rare in the world. Yet here in the Philippines it is common and most often unheralded. They are honest, hard working dedicated professionals. They are the true face of the Philippines. They are “Everyday Heroes”.

We are not here to promote any business, political agenda or organization. Our purpose here is to reveal the true beauty of the Philippines and her people. We strive to bring harmony between our host and guests for mutual advancement. If the reader knows of more quiet heroes that deserve recognition please feel free to send the information to

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


My father was a wise man. One of the things he taught me was, “If you want to know a person's character; Do not listen to their words ; Watch what they do”. Your actions reveal your true character. Everyday, I learn more about the Philippine people and their values.

I was standing in Hypermart the other day counting my money to be sure I could pay for my groceries. A young Filipino tapped me on the shoulder and handed me a fist full of pesos. He said simply, “Sir, your dropped this”. In many countries where I have lived this would never have happened. My money would have been gone. A cynic might suggest this was an aberration but this is not the only example of the true values of the Philippine people I have experienced.

While volunteering at a local high school I saw two young girls turn into the office several thousand pesos they had found. This was a small fortune to these young girls yet they returned it to its rightful owner.

This and other examples force me to the conclusion that the basic nature of the Philippine people is to be honest. The graft and corruption you read about in the news is the “aberration”.

Let me show you one more example of the “true” nature of the Philippine people.

While living in Cebu, I rode an elevator each morning. Often I shared the elevator with Filipinos. Consistently when they left the elevator all of them would stop, reach back and press the close button. They took time out of their busy day to help me have a better day by not waiting for the timer to close the door. Admittedly this is a small thing but it speaks volumes about Pinoy culture.

Most Filipinos accept these events as just how things are done. They find nothing remarkable or extraordinary but trust me in a world filled with selfishness, insensitivity and greed it is very remarkable.

It is the true face of the Philippines.

Monday, May 21, 2007


It was FIESTA !! The basketball court was rockin’. Beautiful girls and handsome men were everywhere. Laughter and music pulsed through the small village.
I was sitting at a table with my mother-in-law while my wife did her thing on the dance floor. I looked up and a small group of young men came walking out of the darkness. Instinctively, from many years as a nightclub bouncer, I knew these boys were bad news. Individually they looked like everyone else, but as a group they had a sinister “feel” about them. I fell back into my bouncer mode. I started looking for the leader, searching for hidden weapons and trying to identify the trouble maker. There are those that just “talk” and those that are truly dangerous. If there was trouble, I wanted to know who needed to be watched. I glanced at my mother-in-law and she whispered, “Rugby Boys”.
Now I added “sadness’ to my list of feelings about these boys. They were the future of the Philippines and they were committing suicide by millimeters each day. They did not know their future but after years of drug counseling I knew their probable tragic future.
Usually it will start with a rash or sensitivity around the mouth and nose. Later there will be a cough. Sometimes they will cough up blood or small pieces of a sponge like material. Then there will be the nose bleeds. For apparently no reason their nose will suddenly start to bleed. Additional symptoms depend on what they are “huffing” or “sniffing”. Often it will be a quick death (SSDS). They will get pneumonia, have sudden heart failure or simply pass out and drowned in their own vomit. More often it is a long lingering painful death that hurts everyone who cares about them. Their body will be slowly poisoned until the kidneys shut down (renal failure). In addition to destroying the kidneys, “huffing” can destroy the nervous system, the liver and even the brain. For a variety of reasons, some doctors feel that “glue sniffing” is even more dangerous than intravenous use of heroin or “shabu”.
As a parent, how can you tell if your child is “sniffing?” Remember glue is only one of a long list of things these kids use to get high (hypoxia). Often the first sign is the odor of paint, solvents or glue on your child’s skin, clothes or breath. Look for signs of inebriation such as slurred speech, dilated pupils and strange behavior. Check the trash for signs of inhalant misuse. Look for empty solvent containers, tubes or cans or bags with solvent residue inside. (NOTE: I have not listed chemicals that can be used because I do not want to give children a shopping list)
What can you do to get your child to stop inhalant abuse? This behavior is highly addictive. First, get medical attention for your child. Doctors have more experience with the problem and potentially have more credibility. Second, change or monitor your child’s friends. While inhalant abuse can be a solo pastime, it often is a group behavior.
Finally, monitor and challenge your child with new productive activities. Get more involved in your child’s life. Be more than a friend; be a parent. Idle hands and minds are truly the devils playground.


Hopie must have had African Royalty in her family tree. She walked with her head held high in regal pride. Her beautiful black satin skin celebrated her heritage every day. How we became friends was an accident. She is an ardent Black Muslim and detests things white. She ates no white bread and drank no white milk. She, of course, did not associate with white people. We met while I was working in an all black night club. She thought I was “high yellow” (black term for a light skinned black) and by the time she discovered I was white it was too late, we were friends. what followed was an educational experience for both of us.

I learned how racial prejudice looks and feels through her eyes, her pain. It is easy to see the big abuses but there are little hidden everyday abuses white people never notice. I felt, through her, the righteous anger that must be suppressed and the frustration that must be swallowed. I had been blind and she helped me see.

Hopie learned from me too.

One night, as the dashboard light show on her face, Hopie confessed. She said quietly, “Jim, you know we do not talk about it and we are not very proud of it but I have a grandmother who is part white.” I drove on in silence, trying to decide what I would say. Finally I said, “Hopie, what would you say if I told you, my family does not talk about it and we are not proud of it but I have a grandmother who is part black?” There was a long pause as he stared into the night. Quietly she said, “I did not say that did I?” I responded, “That is exactly what you said.”

In that moment I taught Hopie the very thing she hated and fought all her life; she had become, a racist bigot.

Bigotry and prejudice are an insidious ugly cruelty that can hide in any of us. We must not allow it to twist our souls. Grouping people under a single label and hating them is lazy, cruel and unfair.

When you see someone who hates a whole race of people or an entire culture, do not hate them, pity them. They not only are hurting themselves, they are missing a whole new world of experiences and knowledge.


There were twin brothers named Al and Bill. While these young boys looked alike they were very different when it came to how they looked at life. Al was always very happy. No matter how bad things got he always knew they would get better. Bill, on the other hand, was never happy.

Their father asked them what they wanted for their birthday. Both boys asked for a horse. Their father decided to teach them a small lesson about life. He gave Bill a beautiful little horse, but all Al got was a big room full of horse manure.

After a few hours the father went to check on his sons. He found Bill sitting on the ground crying his eyes out. The father asked his son, “What is wrong? Why are you crying? You have this beautiful horse to ride,” Bill looked up and sobbed, “The horse is going to die. I know the horse is going to die.?

The father went to see his other son. He found Al laughing and happily digging through the horse manure. The father said, “How can you be so happy with a room full of horse manure?” Without stopping his digging Al replied, “There is so much horse manure here, there has to be a horse in here somewhere!”

Many of us think that happiness is “out there somewhere”, when in reality it is inside all of us. It is not a horse or money or even power. It is how we think. It is thinking the glass is half full not half empty.

Some eastern philosophies teach that we generate “karma”. When we think or act positively, positive things happen to us. I have found this to be true for me. If I do nice things for others, nice seem to happen to me. I do not know “why” this happens, it just does. I also have watched others who wrap themselves in negativity living miserable lives. I do not think this is a coincidence.

Try this experiment in your life. Go for an entire day doing and saying only positive things. do not complain or criticize anyone or anything for a day. If you fall down, think how GOOD it is you were not hurt more seriously. If you lose 100 pesos, be glad it wasn’t 1,000 pesos. Whatever happens try to find the “positive” side.

I think you will find you have a pretty good day.


One of the things I love most about the Pinoy culture is its sense of family. It is obvious that most Filipinos respect the elderly and adore the children. One could say the family unit is the “heart” of the Pinoy culture. But like most places in the world, even here, there is an ominous secret shame. It is every parent’s most horrible nightmare. Their sweet innocent child is sexually molested.
The popular myth is that the evil pervert is some stranger. But the harsh reality is the molester is most often a family member or someone trusted by the family. Most children are abused where they should be the safest, in their own home.
In the Philippines, four out of every ten people you see will be a child under the age of 19. One of those four children will have been sexually abused. These innocent little children will be emotionally scarred, maybe even physically scarred, for the rest of their lives. This abuse destroys their sense of self worth and shatters their personal security. The molester does not just destroy their innocence; he or she destroys the child’s entire life.
We as adults, as parents, have a duty to assure every child has certain basic needs. Children need food, shelter, education, discipline, love, affection, nurturing and security. Protection of a child is everybody’s job. When you suspect a child is being abused you must tell the parents and the authorities.
What are the signs that child abuse may be happening?
· The child tells stories of a sexual nature.
· The child acts out sexual activities. They touch or fondle their own and others peoples
private areas.
· There is a radical change in the child’s normal behavior. They become withdrawn, silly,
unruly or destructive.
· The child starts acting rebellious. They run away or start fighting.
· There is a sudden change in the child’s eating habits.
· The child has pain, itching, discharge, bleeding, unexplained bruising or a change in their
walking habits.
· A sudden onset of bedwetting, nightmares and other sleep disturbances can indicate the
child has problems.
· The child exhibits a fear of certain people or strangers. They do not want to be left alone
with a relative, teacher or babysitter.

I stress these are just indicators. Having one or more of these does not mean your child HAS been molested but just may have been molested. It is an ugly possibility that deserves your attention.

What can you teach your child that will help keep them safe?
· Teach them the difference between “good touching” and “bad touching”. Someone
touching their private parts or wanting them touch the other person’s private parts is
“bad touching”. “Bad touching” must be reported to both Mommy and Daddy immediately.
· Teach your children to stay away from strangers, especially if that stranger wants their
help or offers them money or gifts. One technique is to have them tell you and get your
permission BEFORE they talk to or help a stranger.
· Each child should be taught there are no “secrets” they can not tell their Mommy and
Daddy. They should report to Mommy and Daddy anyone asking them to keep a secret.
· Teach them that taking off their clothes is a private activity. When they change clothes,
take a bath or get naked they should do it alone and not in front of people. Mommy or
Daddy need to be with them even when a Doctor examines them.
· Teach your child to be safe. They should avoid being alone and stay with other children in
groups when possible.
· Finally, if the child feels uncomfortable about the way someone is acting toward them they
should tell both Mommy and Daddy immediately.

As a parent what else should you do to help protect your child?
· Know where your children are at all times.
· Know who your child’s friends are and what they are doing together.
· Be on the look-out for teenagers or adults that are paying an unusual amount of attention
to your child. If they are spending too much time with or giving gifts to your child you
should investigate.
· Chose your Yaya and other people who spend time alone with your child very carefully.
· Do not be mislead by your child’s age. Babies unable to walk or talk have been molested.
· Teach your child that they can talk to you about anything. Even if they make a mistake,
you love them and are on their side.
· Finally, if your child is abused seek out professional medical care. The damage and scars
are not always visible.

If you suspect child abuse, seek professional help from as many sources as you can find. Talk to your Priest, your doctor, everyone who can give you help protecting your child. There is even a web site for your use ( ).
The last thing I want to do is unduly alarm parents or scare children. But we MUST protect our most vulnerable, protect our most innocent, protect our nation’s greatest treasure, our children !

Sunday, May 20, 2007


I just can not seem to win!

My Foreign friends are mad at me because I denigrate their country. Now a Filipina lady, I respect, has taken me to task because I do not denigrate the Philippines. In her view, I present a “false” rosy picture of life here in the Philippines.

Besides this anomaly, I am constantly being bombarded by people who want me to write about their favorite complaint. They are not happy about the burning trash and air pollution. Traffic is a nightmare. They hate the fact that their wife’s brother never goes to work. They do not like that some men drink tuba each night, while their children go hungry. Maybe they were robbed at gun point and writing about it in my column will somehow stop crime.

It is time to set the record straight. My column was not created to highlight the negative or bitch and complain. There are a lot of people doing that already. My column is meant to present the hidden positive side of our community. To pay tribute to those who are a plus in that community, both Filipino and Foreigner. My column is here to entertain and to inform, hopefully to help improve your life. I have no political, religious or other hidden agenda other than to bring us together and improve the quality of our lives.

To my foreign critics, I do not denigrate other countries. If I give an unpleasant fact, I never even name the other country. I tell the raw unvarnished truth about America because I earned that privilege. I went to war and literally risked my life for America. I did that not once, but twice. That is more than most of my critics can claim. (The records to prove that statement are on file in the Negros Chronicle office) One American friend admitted what I said about America was true, but in his words, we had a responsibility to present only the good view of American life. With almost a million Filipinos living and working in America, do you seriously think there is any “secret” shame about America that the Philippine people
do not already know? How can I expect my readers to believe me about their country if I do not tell the whole truth about my own country? I love America. I am ready to risk my life again should America ask me, but America is not perfect and I wont pretend she is. America is still a work in progress.

Now to my Filipina friend who says I present a false “rosy” image of life here in the Philippines. You are correct. I never claimed to be telling the complete story. If you want to know the ugly side of Philippine life, you have just to read the rest of the newspaper. My point is the rest of the newspaper is not the complete story either. I started
my column because no one was telling the positive side.

There is no way I can make everyone happy and I won’t even try. I was never very good at kissing backsides. I tell things the way I see them. I try to be as open and as honest as I possibly can. If I am wrong. I will admit it and take my punishment. If I hurt your feelings, I am sorry, that was / is not my intention.

The editor of the Negros Chronicle is a fair minded man. If you wish to present your view, you should send him a letter. I am sure he will publish it and we can let
the readers decide.

If you know of an Everyday Hero, individual or organization, that deserves my attention, please feel free to send the information by email to

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Most people associate Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with the Vietnam War. But this illness has been with us in one form or another since even before the American Civil War. Then it was called “Soldier’s Heart” or “Nostalgia.” During World War I it was called “Shell Shock” and in World War II it was called “Battle Fatigue.”

For many years, people, even doctors, felt the victims were malingering, suffering little more than cowardice. Over those same many years case studies have proven it is a real illness brought on by trauma. The latest case was Canadian General Romeo Dallaire in charge of the United Nations Peace Keeping Force in Rwanda. After being forced to watch helplessly as thousands of women and children were slaughtered, he suffered severe depression and committed suicide.

Hollywood has had a great time making PTSD victims seem like dangerous ticking time bombs. When Hollywood needs a villain they trot out some Vietnam Veteran, he has a flashback and then he kills his family. The truth is PTSD victims are more of a danger to themselves than they are anyone else. And I have another surprise for you. Anyone can get PTSD; you do not have to go to war. Many people here and around the world have PTSD and they never wore a uniform or fired a shot in anger. In fact some of you reading this column probably have PTSD and do not even know it.

A diagnosis of PTSD requires that four criteria be met. First, the individual must have been exposed to an extremely stressful and traumatic event beyond the range of normal human experience. Second, the individual must periodically and persistently re-experience the event. This re-experiencing can take different forms, such as recurrent nightmares, flashbacks during which he re-lives the trauma, or just simply the inability to forget the event. Third, the individual is persistent in avoiding events related to the trauma.
The symptoms for PTSD can manifest themselves in a wide variety of forms. The most common manifestations are bursts of anger, strong irritability, heightened startle response to loud noises, trouble sleeping, and physiological evidence of fear when re-exposed to a traumatic event. Other possible symptoms can range from headaches, tremors and sweating to hypervigilance, nightmares and substance abuse. The best way to tell if you or your loved one has this illness is to get tested. The Philippine Mental Health Agency has a battery of tests and an excellent staff who can determine if you suffer this illness. I have PTSD. My wife, at age eight, watched her father murdered and suffers PTSD. My best friend spent three months in the hospital because of PTSD. The shame is not in being sick. The shame is not seeking proper treatment. Illnesses never get better through neglect. Yes, PTSD will often respond to proper medical treatment. It can be controlled and even cured. Be an Everyday Hero. Face your possible illness with courage and get proper medical treatment. It will change your life and the lives of those who love you.


They were two different foreigners with almost the same story. They went to a local government office on some minor official business. Suddenly they were met by an enraged Filipino waving a gun and screaming, “You ********* foreigners are ruining my country!!!” He actually threatened to kill them.

Both Americans were shocked. They could not imagine why they deserved this treatment. What had they done? I was “shocked” too, but not at the Filipino as much as at my expatriate friends.

Now, I do not condone the actions of the government official but I understand the causes. I understand why he became enraged. One of the reasons I write this column is to respond to that rage.

I was “shocked” by my expatriate friends because just a week before they sat silently by and watched an American stand in a public place and say ugly, nasty things about the Philippines and the culture. They did not stop him. They did not even criticize him for his violation of every Filipino within hearing. Some months ago other foreigners sat by as another foul mouthed American said even more ugly nasty things about the Philippines. They did not stop him either. Finally a normally quiet security guard came over and politely asked him not to talk bad about his country. Do foreigners think these incidents are not talked about in Pinoy community? Do you think these proud polite people are not angered by these and other outrages? Here some foreigners routinely talk to Filipinas like they are whores. These women are somebody’s sister, somebody’s wife, they deserve respect. In America this conduct would probably get your butt whipped on the spot. Fortunately for them most Filipinos are more polite, tolerant and respectful.

There are rules of conduct for guests in our home and in your country. When you act or allow others to act in a boorish obnoxious way, do not be shocked when someone screams out in frustration. In “Bambi” the Disney film Flower said, “If you can not say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” That is pretty smart for a skunk. There are problems in every country. Publicly pointing out even real problems here serves no useful purpose and often hurts others. If you do not like life here in the Philippines you can always go home.

To the enraged government official I want to say; it is not all foreigners. Most foreigners respect and love this country. There are many foreigners that are even actively working to help the Philippines improve the quality of life here. So do not blame all foreigners for the acts of a few.


People who see me zipping around Dumaguete City on my red motorcycle in the pouring rain, might just think I like the rain. They would be correct. I have always had a special affection for rain.

There is a mist rain in Puerto Rico. You can be walking in the beautiful tropical sunshine with not a cloud in the sky, when suddenly your skin will be covered in a clean cool wet mist. The mist is so fine you can not even see it.

Near Victoria Falls in Africa it rains all the time. The trees are constantly wet, the ground is covered with thick soft green moss and there is a beautiful rainbow every day.

I loved watching the green grey curtain of monsoon rain sweep across the rice paddies of Vietnam. The wind would swirl and whip the palm trees. They looked almost like they were dancing in the rain.

Parking on a high bluff, I would watch the thunder storms roll across the Arizona desert. Each huge black cloud silhouetted with lightening. It was like God was celebrating life with his own private fireworks display.

While working on a sail boat in the Caribbean I would go to the bow and climb into the rigging. Off in the distance I could watch a wall of rain as it came rolling at us across the sea.

In the Philippines I like the sound of the rain. It is like the “white noise” you get when you lose the signal on your TV. That sound blocks out all other noises. For me the best sleep is the “rain sleep”.

The next time it rains do not get mad, enjoy it. Walk out in it. Get soaked to the skin in it. Everything seems cleaner and fresher after a good rain. I like to think God’s crying for us and His tears are washing away all the filth and grim of the world.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


This is the perfect location for the crooks to use the Bumpkin Bump scam. In fact a variation on that scam was used here Dumaguete City just recently. The victim was a sweet lady trying to help a stranger understand modern technology. The next victim might be you.

The “Bumpkin Bump” uses your desire to help a stranger in trouble and ends up costing you money. Here is how it works.

The crook may pretend to be a foreigner unfamiliar with local banks or merely an ignorant villager from the country who does not know how to use an ATM machine. He will “flash” an envelope full of cash he wants to put into the bank. He will claim to not know how to operate the ATM machine and worried he can not get his money back once it is in the bank. He asks you to show him how things work by drawing funds out of our account. Usually he will ask you to hold his money and yours in the envelope whilehe runs to get the rest of his money for deposit.

He never returns and when you check the envelope, all you find is cut newspapers. Your money is gone and so is his. The example I gave is typical but there are minor variations in many countries. Anytime someone wants you to remove money from your account, be very wary. It very likely is a scam to steal that money. How does he switch the money? There are several techniques but the usual one is to drop the packet. The switch takes place when he bends over to pick it up.

What you do if this cruel heartless crook attempts to make you his next victim? First, do not confront him. A crook desperate to stay out of jail might harm you. You should invent some plausible excuse not to play his game. I suggest saying something like you would like to help, but you have drawn the limit on your account for today. Explain that some people put a limit on the amount money that can be taken out on any single day to prevent theft. Offer to demonstrate the procedure but do not remove any money. He will usually move on to his next gullible victim. Finally, look at his person closely so that whey you report his suspicious behavior to the police. A good idea is to note scars or other distinguishing features that can later be used to capture this person before he can hurt others. We need to put scum like this out of business.

Finally, knowledge is power. Again, share this information with friends and neighbors who might not read my column. Be an everyday hero and help keep our community safe.

Monday, May 14, 2007


In the past few months I have read of two separate incidents where our citizens have been robbed in broad daylight, on our city streets. These ladies who might be your mother or wife, were victims of a heartless team of scam artist. These scam artist use trickery to steal their money. Almost any of us can be their next victim. I am writing this series of articles to help you spot them before they make you their next victim.

The “Pigeon Drop” scheme originated in China over 1,000 years ago about the same time paper money was first invented. Since then it has spread around the world and is a danger no matter where you live. The example I am going to give is typical but there are minor variations in many countries.

The “Pigeon Drop” team usually consists of two people. The first member befriends you or strikes up a conversation in a public area. The “hook” member of the team approaches you both. He has something of value he just found. Usually this is a packet of money. He shows you the money. This is called the “flash” meant to get your attention. The conversation that follows may vary but it usually has four characteristic features:

You decide to keep and split the money or sell the valuable item and split that money.
The two strangers suggest getting some legal advice. Sometimes one of them will claim to be lawyer’s secretary whose office is nearby.
They will suggest your put up some good faith money from your pocket, which will be returned, when you finally make the split. They will let your hold the money “next to your heart”.
They will invent some reason to leave but promise to come right back and split the money you are holding. They trust you.

They never return. When you examine the packet you find nothing of value; usually the packet is just cut pieces of newspaper. The switch takes place in a variety of ways. The usual way is when the con artist suggests holding the money “next to your heart so no one will steal it”, he demonstrates. While the packet is out of sight; the switch is made.

What should you do if this cruel heartless team of crooks attempts to make you their next victim? First, do not confront them. Crooks desperate to stay out of jail, might hurt you. You should invent some plausible excuse not play their game. I suggest saying, honestly, that your religion forbids you profiting from the misfortune of others. Stick to your position. They will try to corrupt you and change your mind. Next, look at these people closely so that when you report them to the police, you can give the police something to help them put these parasites out of business. A good idea is to note scars or other distinguishing features that can later be used to identify and capture them. Finally, knowledge is power, share this information with friends and neighbors who might not read my column. Be an everyday hero and help keep our community safe.


Most Filipinos want to help banks and the police stop crime. The Bank Examiner scheme uses your civic sense of responsibility against you and is again designed to separate your from your hard earned savings.

The man will appear to be very professional and official. He will claim to be an investigator from your bank or an undercover police investigator. He will tell you they think one of the tellers at your bank is stealing and they want your help to catch him. They may even give you a confidential phone number at the bank which you can call to verify the story. You will be asked to withdraw money from your account and let them secretly mark it or record the numbers. Then they want you to take it to a specific teller and re-deposit the money. They say there is absolutely no risk to you or your money. When you go to the teller and attempt to deposit your money, there is nothing but cut newspaper in the envelope. Of course, your never see the investigator or your money again and the secret phone number leads nowhere. Banks never use depositor funds to investigate themselves.

What you do if this cruel heartless crook attempts to make you his next victim? First, do not confront him. I have no idea what he might do if he though you could put him in jail for impersonating a police officer or bank official. If you are brave enough, your might offer to cooperate tomorrow, as your account is over it daily limit. Then when he returns have “real” police there to arrest him. Personally, I just would politely refuse. Say you are not interested in getting involved. Again, look at this person closely so that when you report his suspicious behavior to the police, you can give the police something to help them put this parasite out of business. A good idea is to note scars, tattoos or other distinguishing features that can later be used to identify him. Finally, knowledge is power, share this information with friends and neighbors who might not read my column. Be an everyday hero and help keep our community safe.


The posters are up. The countdown begins. On April 21st, the first of five elimination tournaments will be held in Guihulngan. The top thirty of that district’s best and brightest young chess players will quality to come to Dumaguete City and complete in the first ever Filipino-Foreigner Friendship Foundation’s Summer Chess Tournament. The top prize; a full year’s tuition and books at a local University. This elimination tournament will be quickly followed by elimination rounds in Tanjay (25-26 April), Zamboanguita (28-29 April), Dumaguete City (2-3 May) and culminate with the finals to be held at Foundation University (5-8 May). One hundred and twenty of our finest young people have a chance to build a future and change their destiny.

Previously, young Oriental Negros chess players had to compete at the national level and place in the top three finalists to win a similar prize. Thanks to the generosity of both Filipinos and Foreigners we can now reward excellence right here at home in Dumaguete.

Starting with the award winning, Governor George P. Arnaiz, the list of local dignititaries involved is mind blowing. The elimination tournaments will be supervised by volunteers from our academic fraternity such as Dr. Propetosa Lima (Tanjay City) Dr. Maria Milagros Velez (Bayawan City) Mario C. Andong (Bais City) Lecerio Napao (Dumaguete City) and Aleli R. Abne (Oriental Negros). Oriental Negros Club 64, a volunteer organization and local chess club, under the experienced direction of its Secretary Florendo Zamora will supervise the entire tournament. Foundation University’s Dr. Mira D. Sinco through her son Victor “Dean” Sinco has generously offered the campus facilities for the tournament finals. Even the Land Bank has supported the event by providing a secure two party account to guarantee all donations are ONLY used for the event prizes. The administrative costs will be paid by the Foundation members. There are hundreds of volunteers both young and old working hard behind the scenes to make this event happen.

A rich father, in Augusta Georgia, once asked me what business he should buy for his son, who was graduating from high school. I told him, “If you love your son, you will make him work to build his “own business” Charity solves the immediate problem, but it often robs the recipient of his pride, self-confidence and a sense of self-worth. When you reward hard work and excellence; you build pride, self-confidence and character. With these tools young people have a good chance for success in life. It is our mission to see that our best and brightest have the chance to acquire and use these tools.


Wilnar’s entire family, especially his mother, worked hard to give him a “normal” life. She sent him to a regular school and encouraged him to be active in sports. But, Wilnar’s life was not normal and in his own words it often “hurt”, “Wilnar’s World” was a silent world with no music or laughter. He never heard his mother’s voice or the simple words, “I love you.” Often other children would not play with him afraid they would end like him. You see Wilnar was born deaf and could not speak.

Wilnar came to Daine & Bill Pool’s “One Candle Schoolhouse” at Tambobo Bay to learn about computers and found a whole new world. At first he was shy and reluctant to participate but soon he started to emerge. He had always been very good at math but he discovered he also had an artistic side. The T-shirt he is wearing is his own creation based on his name. If you go to you can see full color examples of his extraordinary artistic talent.

“One Candle Schoolhouse” has approximately twenty students. With their full support Wilnar began to develop his interpersonal skills. They all began to learn International Sign language and a wide variety of ways to express their collective intellectual and artistic talents. They created decorated note cards, jewelry, colorful candles, and individually stylized T-shirts which they sell to support the school. But this was not just a “one-way” exchange. Wilnar’s courage to accept new challenges gave others the courage to try their own challenges. Another deaf child in the school decided to enroll in public school, to face her own worst fears.

One Candle Schoolhouse went to the Great Physicians Rehabilitation Center (GPRehab) here in Dumaguete City. Wilnar and his classmates taught the differently abled wheelchairbound children how to tie dye and met yet new personal challenges. A field trip to Apo Island inspired Leonila Palalon to try and save an endangered reef. She is currently writing letters and Proposals to the government. Charlie Palallos dreams of building and repairing boats. When I visited the school he was hard at work refinishing a spar on a small sailboat.

I got an idea. If you have a talent you can share with these great kids, why not volunteering to be a guest teacher. They have a small kitchen, you could teach cooking. They have computers, you could teach programming. Maybe you know decoupage, knitting or some other creative craft. These kids are bright; they learn fast. Contact Diane or Bill Pool, There are only four more weeks of summer school so time is running out. If you are talentless, like me, just go down for a visit or become a sponsor for this inspiring grassroots program. It is a beautiful place to visit and you will never regret losing your heart to these wonderful kids.

Friday, May 11, 2007

TWO “T’s”

I was worried. After three years hard work trying to get into Officer Candidate School, we were about to be tested to see if we had the math skills to be an Army Engineering Officer. It took me three tries to get a passing grade in high school Algebra; I knew I was in trouble. Nothing I could do but give it my best.

All our work had to be done on a single sheet of paper and that was handed in with the test. After several long hours, we all sat in the classroom waiting to hear our fate. One by one we were called into the office. Some came out smiling. Others quietly began packing their bags. Sweat was rolling down my neck as I knocked on the door.

“First the good news, you passed” the Tac Officer said without smiling. Looking at my worksheet he continued, “What I want to know is how the hell you did it?” He never let me explain my “secret” but instead I ended up on the floor doing push-ups. In the next six months I spent almost as many hours doing push-ups as marching.

There are actually two secrets. First is a technique for taking tests. The second is a way of thinking.

TESTS: There are three basic types of written tests. First is the most difficult, the essay test. It is rarely used because it is time consuming and hard to grade.
Then there is the fill in test, which while less time consuming still is not “teacher friendly” like the multiple choice test.

In multiple choice test two of the possible answers are usually ridiculous. Those two choices most often can be immediately discarded. That leaves you a 50/50 chance of guessing the right answer. Often you can work the possible answer by figuring it backwards. Take the answers given and plug them in to see which one fits. If unanswered questions are counted wrong, obviously guessing is in your best interest.

When the test begins go completely through it; skipping all the hard questions and answering all the easy ones. I mark each question number with a simple code. If I think I know the answer I place a check by the number. If I am not sure; I put a question mark. Hard questions get a box.

I use all the time allotted. I never turn in my paper early. Take care and do not over think. When guessing, your initial spontaneous guess is usually correct. When preparing for a test; getting enough sleep is just as important as studying your books.

THINKING: Most schools around the world operate on memorizing information. They then expect you to regurgitate that information on demand. You can not possibly memorize everything. So it is more important to learn how to think. Learn how to take a small bit of information and find a larger unknown. Learn logic and deductive reasoning.

The brain is sort of like a muscle. The more you use it the stronger it gets. Never stop learning or being curious. Instead of listening to music all the time; watch educational television. Do you know what hyperthermia is or how to prevent it? How does a car speed-o-meter work? Can you start a fire without matches? Did you know the male seahorse gives birth, not the female? You NEVER know what bit of information will one day be useful, maybe even save your life. At the very least you will win a lot of trivia pursuit games.

To exercise your brain try these “Kojak Brain-Teasers”: The first five correct answers to my email ( get their names in the paper.

Fill in the blank spaces with the correct letters…

(NOTE: All the information you need to answer the question is provided)

Logic Problem:
Mr. and Mrs. Good and Mr. and Mrs. Smith each have different tastes in literature. One prefers history, another biography, another detective novels and another adventure stories. Of the four, only two have blue eyes, and one of those likes adventure stories best and her husband likes history best.

Mr. Good has brown eyes. What is Mrs. Good’s preference in literature?

Along with the names of the first five readers with correct answers, I will show you how to solve for the answers. Good luck.


Last month some friends stopped by to get my opinion on an email they had received. Seems they had just won an International lottery (De Lotto Netherlands) and all they needed to do is give the Lottery Headquaters a bank account number so they could deposit the $3,000,000.

This month I got an email from a “Cedia” Estrada. She was asking for my help in smuggling, out of the country, millions of dollars her “ex-President” husband had stolen from the Philippines. Only problem is “Erap’s” wife is named Luisa not Cedia.

Both of these are elaborate computer schemes designed to separate you from your money. Here are a few more (
- An offer to hook you up with thousands of dollars worth of government grants (free money) you are eligible for if you just apply.
- A person offers to buy something from you or your business paying with a cashiers check for more than the items price. The extra cash is yours to keep. No risk it is a “cashier’s check” good at any bank.
- People claim you failed to report for jury duty or some other official appearance and to avoid going to jail you need to provide them proof of your identity. They steal your identity and open up credit card accounts.
- There are several “work at home” schemes. One is you cash a check, then after extracting your forwarding fee, send the balance of the money to a third party. No risk, they will deposit the money in your account.
- They promise you $200 worth of gasoline coupons or a $500 dollar shopping spree at a big name shopping mall. All they want from you is a $3.49 filing fee.
-PayPal or Ebay will contact you and require you go to a linked site and update your information. Looks very official.
- A bank will contact you and request you tell them what to do with the $200,000 they have deposited under your name. the account has been inactive for over 5 years and they closed it.
-Hired as a secret shopper, you are asked to provide bank account information so they can deposit the money you need to make the required purchases.
- A job offer from a company in England. They want you to be their agent here in the Philippines.

Everyday crooks think up new way to “phish” your personal information or access to your accounts. The FBI ( recommends:

- Do not reply to email or pop-up messages requesting financial information.
- Do not open any links on these messages or “cut and paste” addresses from these messages.
- When asked to call your bank, do not call phone numbers provided in the computer message; use the one on your monthly statement.
- Keep your anti-virus/firewall up to date. Run a scan frequently.
- Do not email financial or personal information.
- Be very cautious about downloading or opening any email attachments even when you “know” the sender.
- Contact the bank or other financial institute and report anyone using their name to get information from you.

There are worm viruses that record and send everything you type to a third party. Be very careful to keep our computer virus free and avoid sending banking information or other personal data whenever possible.

General Rule: If it sounds too good to be true… it probably isn’t true.

They say you can not cheat an honest man. These schemes use the promise of easy money for little or no work. That is the hook they use to land you, their “phish”. Do not be a victim. Be an everyday hero and do not let your friends be a victim either.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


My wallet was missing. I could not figure out what had happened. I am always so very careful. Not only was a good hunk of money gone but my driver license, vehicle registration and credit cards were missing also. What a mess. Without my credit cards I could not access my bank. I had no money to buy food.

I contacted the bank and arranged for a replacement card to be sent by express mail. I borrowed money to live on and tightened my belt. Things were going to get rough.

About a month later I came downstairs to find a strange man and his wife at my door. Father Tulabing ministers to those in greatest need of hope. Every Sunday he has services for the families that live off Dumaguete City’s garbage. During confession one of his parishioners gave him the empty wallet. Father Tulabing then spent several days tracing me so that he could return my cards and license. I offered to reward him for his hard work but he refused. He is a remarkable man who after graduating from Foundation University turned away from a promising career to minister to others in need. The world needs more selfless dedicate men like this weeks everyday hero.

What happened to the money? The young man who found my wallet explained that he thought it was “gift from God.” After I figured out what happened, I can not say he is wrong. You see I had done something I had never done before. I had put my wallet on the TV table and it accidentally (?) got knocked into the trash. Out of the tons of trash this young lad found a small black wallet. Who can really say it was not a gift from God.

Maybe God wanted the money to help someone and also teach me a couple of valuable lessons. I now have two sets of registration papers, got a system set up to get a new card rapidly if I need it and most important I met a very special man and his lovely wife.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007


When I first arrived in Dumaguete, I was approached by a small gaggle of expatriates. They heard I was an ex-Green Beret and wanted me to “check out” a man who claimed not only to have been an ex-Green Beret but a “general with nine tours in Vietnam.” On the face of it they had good reason to suspect he had inflated his resume.

I was introduced to him and his wife at a local restaurant. After a few minutes I excused myself. Outside everybody hovered around trying to get the REAL story. They asked, “Is he a real Green Beret?” My response was simple, “It does not matter. He is dying. Let him have his dignity.”

A few months later he did die from lung cancer brought on by years of smoking. His death was bloody, painful and ugly but he died with his dignity intact. Now it can be told, he was a total fraud. A poor pathetic insecure man who felt he needed to lie to get respect.

In my opinion the vast majority of expatriates and local Filipinos tell the truth. I have met many individuals here that I personally admire and respect. None of them were “generals” or “ex-Green Berets” or captains of industry.

An example of this is a very nice local lady and her husband. She ran a small business that failed. Her husband works in a local business and they live modestly. After hours of long personal talks on a wide variety of subjects; after hours of watching this loving family in action, I grew to respect them to their true character not some false resume. Respect is born in truth and nurtured by reality.

Around the world we give far too much credit to “false” idols. Movie stars, Green Berets or sports athletes who have little to offer except their fame. They are often held in unjustified respect and awe. Many can do little more than throw a ball, kill something or cry for the camera yet we hang on their every word as if they had some brilliant insight. The American Congress even called a movie star to testify on the plight of America’s struggling small farmer. What were her qualifications for this honor? She once played a role as a small struggling farmerin a movie.

Condoleeza Rice got her Masters Degree at prodigious Notre Dame University and her Doctorate Degree at the University of Denver. She holds honors at six other Universities. She has functioned successfully at the highest levels of the American government for over sixteen years. Yet America hangs on every word from her many celebrity critics like Martin Sheen who failed his college entrance exam and Barbara Streisand who merely graduated from high school. Why do we believe them and not Ms Rice? Because they are movie stars and we like them. Hardly qualifications I find reassuring when the future of a nation is at stake.

If you are looking for people to admire; you do not need to go beyond the family breakfast table. I honor and admire hard working parents more than I ever will a “Rambo” wannabe or some pretty face on the movie screen. Their job is far harder and they get less credit. There is no special school for being a parent. They do not always get it right, but they keep trying day and night.

My landlady raised four boys and adopted her sister’s orphaned daughter. She worked long arduous hours in a small shop in the market. There were no frills, no fancy clothes or toys. She gave them values, responsibility, structure and love. Now they are all grown, educated and successful. Sadly she will never get a spot on TV news or be honored at some big banquet. Yet, what she did with over half her life against tremendous odds, deserves much more admiration and respect than someone like me, who just wore a funny green hat and spent a few hours in hell. Take a few minutes today and give our parents a big hug and a bigger thank you. They are your real heroes.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007


In my “personal” dictionary, next to the definition of “LADY”, is picture of Olga Lucia A. Uy. This is not because of her gender but because she is a living example of the classic meaning of the word. She is a devoted wife and loving mother. She is a passionate hard working member of our community. She not only writes a column for the Metro Post; but when there is a community need she is one of the first to step to the front and try to help. You can understand my shock to read her column “Move On, A--- le!”

For those who missed it, she tells of an encounter with a rude and crude foreigner. Mrs. Uy was turning her car to pick up her daughter at school. This hulking guest in the Philippines, screamed obscenities at her in front of children, for what he felt were her poor driving skills. She goes on to describe her justified rage and frustration at this breech of common courtesy and guest etiquette.

I have personal credo I try to live by: “Never do or say something negative, unless there is a chance for a positive result.” What did the crude American hope to accomplish with his ugly behavior? What would he have done if some guest in America had treated his wife and child that way? His answers to these questions will probably remain a mystery. There is no mystery, however, about what he had done. He has widened the gulf between host and guest. He has verified every ugly false thing ever said about a foreigner. He has not improved life here and in fact he has made it even more difficult for all of us.

The other day a foreigner was passing around a long list of things he felt were wrong here in the Philippines. I won’t mention the gall and breech of good guest behavior this constitutes but just ask; What did he hope to accomplish with this little negative exercise? How will this slap in the face of our host and friends improve anything? More important, why did the other foreigners tolerate this boorish act? By ignoring or allowing it to go unchallenged your de fact approve it and encourage it. It is time for foreigners to stand up for what is right. Time for us, the majority, to no longer tolerate the few ugly foreigners among us. If you would not tolerate this boorish behavior in your own country; why should you condone it here? The next time some foreigner starts to call his host vile names or spout some ugly rant, tell him to “shut up” and sit his butt down. If he does not know how to behave as a good guest, maybe he should just go home.

Be an Everyday Hero. Be part of the solution, not a part of the problem.


My favorite Pinoy author is Ms. Barbara Gonzalez. If you have not read her books you missed a treat. I sent her this letter.

Ms. Gonzalez,
I just finished your book “We’re History.” Unlike your aborted dinner companion, I did not borrow a copy; I bought one. I am eagerly looking forward to reading “How Do You Know Your Pearls Are Real.”

I very much enjoy your writing style. You took me on an almost poetic journey through Philippine history and the Pinoy mind. I enjoyed the trip.

I am afraid my writing style is not as polished or as eloquent. My somewhat harsher blunt style undoubtedly is a reflection of my career choices and lack of formal education. One of your passages rang true for me. “A writer’s life is a solitary life. Not because it has to be, but because it takes courage and honesty to be the kind of writer I like to be.”

I reserve my own critical writing for my countries foibles. As a guest here in the Philippines I do not feel it is proper to criticize my host. I love your country and if I could contribute in anyway to help her attain her full potential, I would. But as you and EDSA have taught me, any problems that may exist, the Filipino people are fully capable of solving in their own time, in their own way. My ignorant musings in this area would not help and more likely would harm.

Having said all that, I do have a question. I was captivated by your efforts to humanize Jose Rizal. While I see your goal was to bring him closer to the people he loved by showing his flaws; I worry this is a two edged sword.

All our mortal heroes have feet of clay; Martin Luther King held a mirror to the face of America’s bigotry and prejudice. He forced America to change her ignorant and ugly nature. He also broke his marriage vows and kept a mistress. Thomas Jefferson was one of America’s most brilliant founding fathers. A genius and enlightened soul without whom there very well might not have been a United States of America. He not only owned slaves but fathered at least one illegitimate child with his house slave, Sally Hemings.

Does knowing our heroes were flawed make them more human or does it help to excuse our own flaws? Does knowing our heroes have “warts” make us appreciate their accomplishments more or less?

People are better than they think they are. People can achieve more than they think they can. People need role models that set goals and standards high enough that they must stretch to match them. We need inspiration not excuses.

Please allow me to breech good etiquette and suggest, let Jose Rizal’s towering brilliance shine through and let his relatively minor flaws lay undisturbed in the dust of history.

I look forward tour next poetic journey…. Admiringly.


“Old Man Clarno” as a strange man. Thin form years of hard farm work under a hot broiling sun, he looked like a brown stick figure. His tan skin was stretched over his sharp angular frame. He had a sparkling smile but he rarely used it. Life was hard. All he had was a small one room shack and a tiny strip of farm land.

I say he was “strange” because he did not do things the way other people did. For example, he did not grow strawberries like other people. He had one patch under his window and a second smaller patch way at the other end of his land. Why two patches?

I did not care. With no money to buy strawberries that second patch became my target. I would sneak down out of the trees and steal handfuls of juicy sweet red strawberries. Somehow, stolen strawberries are sweeter than store bought. Once in awhile, “Old Man Clarno” would come running out waving his shotgun. I would run for the hills with birdshot flying over my head. He was a lousy shot.

It never occurred to me until years after his death, he knew who I was yet he never complained to my parents. All he had to do was tell my dad I stole his strawberries and my little narrow butt would have been hamburger. Why did he not report my ventures into crime?

“Old Man Clarno” was not strange, he was kind and intelligent. Obviously he wanted me to “steal” the berries. Not only did it keep me out of his other strawberry patch but it added a little excitement and drama to both our lives. I had the thrill of being a little wicked boy and the sweet taste of stolen berries. He had his cash crop safe from pillage.

The other day my wife’s teenage sister came running into the house all excited. She had just stolen two mangos from our neighbor’s tree. Of course I told her it was wrong to steal, but I did not make it a big deal out of it. I was remembering my own “outlaw” youth. I let her and her sister enjoy the sweetness of their stolen prizes. I then quietly went next door and paid our neighbor double what the mangos were worth. I made him also swear never to tell her I had paid. Why spoil the thrill of living dangerously?