Leaving the Philippines but like McArthur I shall return!

The age in which we live today is far more opinionated than it once was. I am not sure if this is the rise of Celebrity nonsense shows like X – Factor where there “has to be” an opinion or something deeper.

But the fact is I have left the Philippines at least for now and we will continue to grow things there even if I am abroad. The reality is for me the kids are getting a bit older and I want an international recognised education for them. As well as the social network that can be developed into a business network. The Philippines doesn’t have the same level of opportunities that the West can offer.

I say West but don’t say UK? The fact is I am looking at Europe for our home and which country is still negotiable. I lived in Germany for 6 years as a child and it feels more like home to me than the UK in many ways. My schooling was mainly there in my last school years and its a country I have a fondness for. The strict rules that are often enforced in Germany others find a bit strange or annoying. The joke about towels on chairs at swimming pools is something that crops up in UK TV shows with stereotyping Germans. But I will see they just think differently and offer a way of life I actually love.

May not live in Germany though we will simply see what opportunities occur and right now the main thing is looking at life outside of the Philippines.

Matt Wilkie back in the UK and enjoying back at work surveying.

This week has also been a good week with my new car turning up for work. As its something that also gets overlooked with my life in the Philippines is I come from a professional background.

I had 5 job offers within 2 weeks of being back in the UK and have been contacted multiple times already for more work. The fact is most people going to the Philippines are at retirement age. The rest are mainly made up with people looking for something different, travellers, people escaping something or professionals.

Although we have had a good life in the Philippines for me I know I can make a bigger difference to my children’s future in Europe. They will get a positive impact here and on top of that the ability to decide to go back to the Philippines or not will be their choice.

For me I have seen over the years the legacy die with expats and this is caused by short sighted thinking. Retire or move to the Philippines and the paranoia of the wife taking them for everything (yes some of it is well founded I know!). But the husband dies and the money goes with them. Be it being business enterprise or pension the grim reality is that the family is then often dropped into poverty.

Its also something I considered myself is that much of the money we generate comes from the way I am and naturally can see money in ideas. I could not leave my family in a situation where they couldn’t take care of themselves and its one of the reasons I am driven towards the change alongside education.

But also I will say my time in the Philippines is full of happy times and fondness. There were good and bad times but the funny thing is even when life was difficult we were happy. Because we work through them as a family.

Yet I am not abandoning the Philippines, unusually though I am not focusing on many of the things I normally do as I need to focus on family and work for a while. I have several charity projects I will complete once things are stable and I will help others where I can. Yet my time commitments have changed for 2014 to make all this happen.

I wish everyone good luck for this year and those on hard times right now I am thinking of you and if I can find some solutions to the problems your facing.

A mind blown works of art

Everyone of us has it’s own talent and skill that we can humbly share to everybody. This is a gift that we should not have to be greedy upon.

While just viewing on pictures, I came across this wonderful work of art from an amazing landscape artist named Andres Amador. He’s got numerous massive sand arts which are incredibly stunning and beautiful. While looking all of his works, I myself couldn’t think of how his creative and brilliant mind works knowing that the canvas he’s working on is definitely a huge one and thus you’ll have to know how to measure and balance once masterpiece. Not only that, he also need to consider the tide for it is uncontrollable and by anytime the waves will just wash away his work forever, where it took him hours creating this intricate masterpieces. And what’s left now is those pictures taken as a witness of his magnificent works of art.

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This artist lives in San Francisco, California. He just simply uses rake to create this works of art. He usually wake up early in the morning to prepare everything, go to the beach and see if it’s low tide. He finds the beauty of nature natural and thus he often sees sand beaches as a best canvas to use. He finds it enjoyable and he loves to be at the beach thus he prefer to draw it in there. I was wondering why he chose to be doing it in the sand but whatever it is, the result is awesome and pleasing to the eye. 

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He use a rope to measure the geometrical pattern of his masterpiece and even draw from scratch as a guide on what he needs to draw. People who can see this personally were so lucky for this is only temporary and by just a few minutes this will be washed away. Sad it may seem but this is what he wants and this what makes him a unique artist.

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According to him, it only takes a couple of hours to create this once the tide is low. He need to be fast and vigilant to finish his work for it is a matter of time since they are up to the waves coming in and will soon wash away the masterpiece. Though it will be gone that easy still he finds it worth doing for and fulfilling to see what he constructs.

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He even does this with a group of people that will help him with the design as a part of a team building activity or exercise. He teaches and guides them on what they have to do to complete their work before the high tide. Not only that, he also help people making proposals. How sweet, isn’t it?

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By raking up the wet sand, he finds it easy to make the beachscapes possible and make contrasting sand colors. He can play with the designs and landscaping as if it’s effortless.

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Andres’ works of art are simply one of a kind and knowing that these delicate creations are temporary one way or another makes them more beautiful. It goes to show how brilliant he is to be able to come up with such a sublime art.

Custom made clothing made to measure and style.

Matt Wilkie - 2014-01-28 11.46 (1)I decided to get some suits made in the Philippines but also now starting a small side line business as well.

Fact is the Philippines has some fantastic tailors and seamstresses. As well as designers, I have to admit though its much easier to find a design elsewhere due to the cut and styles at the moment. This is mainly due to a “Asian cut” being very different to the European. Jackets are a lot shorter for example. But its not really a big problem as everything is custom made to measure.

In fact you don’t need to be in the Philippines either as the measurements can be done via Skype with the designer and tailor to get the correct measurements. I have had 2 suits and 4 pairs of trousers made. The suit in the photo is very similar in design and the same Cashmere material and pattern that costs £1,000 in London. But I can sell and produce these at £200 + Postage for those interested.

Adding to that custom made wedding dresses, children’s clothes and other high quality clothing can all be done remotely. If your expecting to compete with ASDA price or another supermarket would want to remind you its quality not quantity its one off clothing made specifically for you.

If interested drop me a message.


Why a foreign boyfriend or husband that reads is important.

You cannot predict how a relationship will begin or end with someone closely but you can reduce the risk of bad experiences by looking at traits in a person. Finding a partner who is a strong reader is one of of these things.

reading-a-bookBut also its also worth a foreigner looking at before seeking to start a partnership as well. As someone who reads has several good things going for them. The very fact they keep themselves occupied means they are less likely to get themselves into trouble or stray.

The regular reading also means that their vocabulary and knowledge is growing but also may have an interest you can share. They are also likely to be good at handling finances and have a longer attention span.

Its an art that many people are losing and if you knew that Americans read less than one book a year finding someone who’s a regular reader and keen to continue reading may be a needle in a haystack. But they are also very likely to be a person who thinks things through. They are a keeper in a relationship and focused as an adult.

For a Filipino its worth getting into the same habits if you can as you can learn from each other, knowledge should be embraced and life shared. Reality TV shows and things like Facebook have battered the brain power of the planet but it doesn’t mean go down without a fight!

An hour with your head in a book is going to increase your knowledge every day while browsing the web is just going to see the clock tick and not really achieving anything. The book is a clear path from beginning to end and as such more selection has taken place than a Google search on a word.

By very nature avid readers are going to be more organised because they are organising themselves on a regular basis to release them time to read. Which also means they are going to be generally better organised in life and have more time for their partner.

Top 10 tropical fruits in the Philippines

The Philippines has a tropical maritime climate and is usually hot and humid thus producing delicious and mouthwatering fruits in different areas. Some of these fruits are seasonal and some are regular. These fruits can be found fresh in the local market and a few have been exported which is a good sign of market trading.

1. Philippine Mangoes (Mangga). This is claimed to be the world’s sweetest fruit base on the World Guinness Book of Records recorded in 1995. This is the national fruit of the Philippines. Places like Zambales and Guimaras in Iloilo harvests the sweetest mangoes. This is also one of the major exporting product of the Philippines which is rich in Vitamins A&C.

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2. Lanzones. This is generally grown for fruits. It also contains vitamin B1, B2 and a little of vitamin C. The best known spot for sweetest lanzones is at Camiguin. The place is known for it’s annual lanzones festival where tourists have come to witness and experience the event.

Lanzones

3. Durian. This fruit is known for it’s unique aroma. When you smell it, you don’t want to taste it for it really has a bad odor but contradicting to it’s odor is the taste of the King of All Tropical Fruits. The province of Davao is where we find this. Some considered this as an aphrodisiac. There has been different products made from this such as durian candies, cakes and ice creams.

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4. Jackfruit (Langka). This fruit is so sweet not only in taste but also the odor when ripe. This is also one of the ingredients when cooking turon and ginataan. This can also be cooked as kinalaw if it’s not ripe.

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5. Sugar Apple (Atis). This is also called sweet sop. This is a yellowish-green fruit with sweet edible pulp that has a sweet-smelling fragrance when ripe. It is somewhat effortful when eating this since this has a lot of small seeds. Unlike other fruits, this can be found anywhere in the country and often grown in rural areas.

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6. Rambutan. This is a unique hairy fruit which is sweet and juicy when fresh. This is an energy giving fruit and grows mostly in tropical countries. This fruit is usually produced in the provinces of Laguna, Batangas, Nueva Vizcaya, Mindoro, Panay Island and parts of Mindanao.

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7. Avocado (Alligator Pear). This is very invigorating as fruit shake. This helps lower cholesterol levels and is said as the World’s Healthiest Food. This is found anywhere in the region but major producers are in the provinces of Cordillera Autonomous Region and Region II. You can buy this in local markets with a very affordable price.

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8. Santol. This a sweet-sour mouthwatering fruit that puts your taste glands into a frenzy mode. This has a sour to sweet taste that Filipinos loved especially living in rural areas. This is a very productive tree that can produce fruits five to seven years after planting. This tree is vigorous and can thrive even a prolonged dry season.

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9. Chico (Sapodilla). The fruit has a sweet, dessert-like flavor which is a delicious tropical fruit. This is also used in folk medicine as a cure for diarrhea by boiling the young fruits. This replenishes energy and revitalizes the body instantly because of the minerals and vitamins present in it.

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10. Kaimito (Star Apple). The fruit gets its name from the star pattern that can be seen by slicing through the fruit horizontally. This comes with two colors, green and violet. Both are having a sweet delicious taste. You can also pair this with condensed milk, put it in a freezer and once frozen it’s like an ice candy star apple flavor. This is also used in folk medicine as a remedy for diarrhea same goes with chico.

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THE TOP 5 FAVORITE CEBUANO DISHES

Survey results from 50 respondents

  • LECHON       -30%
  • LARANG        -20%
  • BUWAD         -15%
  • GINABOT/PONGKO2X     -11%            
  • BBQ/GRILLED/FRIED/DIMSUM -8%
  • UTAN BISAYA/HUMBA
  • 16% OTHERS

1) LECHON (ROASTED PIG)
Considered as the National Dish in the Philippines. A local favorite of all ages, serve during special holidays, fiestas, birthdays and other big celebrations.
Lechon or Roasted Pig, is carefully cooked and seasoned using various herbs and spices, consisting lemongrass, onion, peppercorns, garlic, salt and pepper. The pig is skewered on a large bamboo pole and is attached to turn into a rotisserie over the charcoal pit. It is roasted on all sides for several hours until it’s done. The cooking process involves basting constantly resulting to a crispy pork skin. Cebu’s lechon was dubbed by American TV personality and Chef Anthony Bourdain as the Best Pig In Asia.

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2) LARANG (HOT AND SOUR FISH STEW WITH COCONUT MILK)
This is somewhat like a cross-section of the already famous “tinowa and sinigang” but with coconut milk. This Cebuano favorite is made of white meat fish, parrot fish, stingray or whatever you fancy. Start off with sautéing in oil the minced ginger, onions, garlic, green finger chilies and spring onions. Then the tomato wedges, kamias or tamarind is added until they soften and season with salt and pepper. The fish is added and is simmered for a few minutes. You can add hot water depending on how sloppy you wanted. Then the coconut milk is added and here you can adjust seasoning according to your preference. This is popular along the streets across Crown Regency in Jones Avenue.

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3) BUWAD (DRIED-SALTED FISH) , GINAMOS (FERMENTED SALTED ANCHOVIES)

Cebu, the Queen City of the South is arguably best known for its “BUWAD” tasty dried/salted fishes and squids of all sorts, shapes and colors. Bantayan Island Northern part of Cebu is the dried fish Capital.

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4) GINABOT (porcine internal organs) or referred to as “chicharong bulaklak” in Luzon.  But a lot of misconception where most people think it as intestines, they are technically called “mesentery.” They are a kind of connective tissues between the intestines and other internal organs, read more details in Wikipedia. The top four contender, the so called Pongko2x menu, a particular favorite amongst university students. Who wouldn’t say no to ngohiong, lumpia na tawgi, longganiza etc.

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5)   GRILLED PORK/ BARBECUE/ ADOBO/ SIOMAI AND HUMBA/UTAN BISAYA

siomaihumbaaaadobo and sinugba

Among other favorites that made up the 16% were the following:
“    POCHERO   
“    PAKLAY
“    BALBACUA
“    GINATAAN
“    SINIGANG
“    PALIYA
“    INUN-ONAN
“    MONGGOS
“    TINOWA
“    KINILAW
“    SA-ANG
“    CALDERAT
“    LANSIAO
“    DUGO2X
“    HALANG2X
“    SARDINAS W/ EGG
“    CRISPY PATA
“    LECHON MANOK
“    TALONG (torta/kilaw)
“    GREEN MANGO WITH HIPON