LIVECAST: Mawari Liberated, Support for Drug War, Manila Unsafe and Underwear is a Thing…..



Mabuhay one and all to the Philippine Dreams bi-monthly This Week in the Philippines Livecast, where attempt to address issues that could affect foreigners living, studying, working, retiring or doing basically anything in the Philippines.  It’s all about the good, the bad and the sometimes ugly side of daily life in our little archipelago.

This week, we’ll be talking the two-day transportation strike, the liberation of Marawi, Filipino support for the drug war, underwear Facebook profile pix and a few recent studies examining the safety and security of living in Manila.

But first….

Congratulations to friend of the channel, Sara, who just gave birth to a baby girl.  Congratulations on your dai, dai.  (Just don’t call her Neeed.)  Wub you, Sara!

This Weeks Corporate Sponsor
This week’s returning corporate sponsor is Chasing Your Philippine Dream: An Expats Guide to the Philippines.  If you are considering living, working or retiring to the Philippines, this is the resource you’ve been looking for. And if that isn’t enough, it also comes with a 100 percent money back guarantee.  It slices, it dices, it purees!!!  My 450+ e-book is pretty damn good, and for $10.95 it’s an absolute bargain. You can find the link to the book by clicking HERE.

If you’ve found what I do to be of some value, consider supporting the ongoing efforts on my Patreon site.  Special thanks to all patrons, past and present including Sir Rico, Dan N., Tom D., 1Dir, Casey S., Dave H., Dale S., Sir Ahmed, Kevin F., and my latest patrons, Donn and Merabel. Also thanks once more to Martin, who was nice enough to grace me with a bunch of pasalubong (rash guard, new swimming goggles, a cool hat and a boatload of sci-fi books).  Thanks also for that absolutely wonderful Tuesday morning hangover….

Thanks to everyone who has helped support the work that I do.  It is MUCH appreciated!

joe rogan and duncan trussell

Free Stuff
Podcasts have really blown up in the past few years.  I just seriously started with them six months ago and am pretty much hooked.  (For those who don’t know, podcasts are simply audio programs that you either listen to online or with dedicated phone apps.)  These free shows cover virtually every topic known to man (and woman) and many are simultaneously entertaining and edifying.  If you haven’t checked them out yet, I highly recommend you do.  The easiest way to listen to podcasts is to simply download an app such as Podcast Addict to your iOS or Google device and subscribe to what channels you are interested.  As far as my subscriber list goes,  at this point it includes:

NPR’s Radiolab
– The orginal podcast.  Incredibly well produced and every episode will challenge what you know and how you think. 

Joe Rogan Experience – Joe has one of the biggest – if not the biggest – podcasts in the world, each chock full of comedy and groovy guests. 
Duncan Trussell Family Hour – Self described raspy, lesbian-voiced woo-woo hippy who covers lots of topics on hallucinogenics and spirituality.  
We Watch Wrestling – I don’t have time to actually watch wrasslin, but I listen to this podcast every week.  One of the casters (Matt) used to actually work for the WWE and the whole crew adds a good amount of substance, style and hilarity to the world’s favorite ‘fake’ sport. 
Reveal – This podcasts reminds me a lot of Radiolab –  very professional investigative reporting that is well produced and always tries to provide both ‘side’ of any story. 
The United States of Anxiety Culture Wars – Yes, there is a culture war going on in the United States, and this podcast pretty much covers all the bases. Great information in these post-truth times. 


Last week’s trivia question:
This outlaw from the southern hemisphere is famous for building primitive body armor out of boiler plate and having shoot outs with local constabulary. His last words before being hung were, “Such is life.”  Who was this man and what is his nickname in his home country?  The answer was of course, the infamous Ned Kelly (sometimes referred to as “Buckethead”), and Scott Pearson was first to email the correct answer and for that he received a free copy of my ebook, Chasing Your Philippine Dream:  An Expat’s Guide to the Philippines.  A number of folks also guessed correctly in the video’s comment section, but remember that you have to email the answer in to get the prize.

ned kelly
my namesake

Also note that Kenton Mattingly was also the first email and identify that the headphones I held up during the last Livecast were Koss Porta Pros, one of the highest rated (and incredibly cheap) headphones that have been around for over 25 years. He was also sent a free copy of our book and noted that he also has problems with the foam earpads in the Philippines.  To combat the damage caused by the incessant humidity, I actually bought six pairs of replacement ear pads when I was in the US this past year.

If you are an audiophile, you already now about Koss Porta Pros.  If not, check out the review HERE

You can also purchase a pair through the affiliate link noted below:



This week’s trivia question:
This common household appliance is typically used or keeping yummy Mango Floats nice and chill.  In past Livecasts I have also noted that it serves an important secondary function, at least in my house.  What is this household appliance and what is this important secondary function?  The first person to email the correct answer to get a free copy of our book, a $10.95 value at any of your local book retailers.  And in case you haven’t watched prior Livecasts, here’s a hint:  basura.

The correct answer was a freezer, which is a great place to store food garbage until trash day so that your house isn’t overrun by marauding ants. No one guessed it, so there were no winners this week

Underwear is a Thing……
OK, so this is an odd fad in the Philippines.  I have noticed that some of the guys in the “People You May Know” feed on my Facebook are rocking crotch shots of themselves as their main profile picture.  Come to find out, this seems to mostly a thing with the Filipino gay community but also seems to be going a bit more “mainstream.”  Unfortunately, the Philippine lesbian community hasn’t taken up the same fad as I have yet to see profile pix of gals rocking their favorite panties.  Bigly sad!

(I will do you a solid and not include an image….)

On to the News….

Transportation Strike
Jeepney drivers across the nation conducted a two-day strike to protest what they see as an “unjust” jeepney modernization plan.  The transport group, PISTON (unpronounceable Tagalog acronym) reported that 225,000 of the 250,000 franchised jeepneys across the nation joined the strike which resulted in the government preemptively shutting down some schools and job sites.  The modernization plan is intended to replace most of the smoke-belching diesel monstrosities with electric vehicles in order to increase transportation efficacy and cut down on pollution.  National transport groups are protesting that up to 600,000 jeepney drivers and 300,000 operators would be driven into unemployment if the plan is brought to fruition.  Despite the nation-wide strike, the government still intends to move forward with the plan.  In response, the director of PISTON stated: “If they will continue the plan, we will also continue our strike.  We have no choice.”

philippines jeepney

Ned Can’t Talk
A quick Thanks to whoever corrected me on last week’s Livestream when I was using decisive instead of divisive.  Words are hard!!

philippine pnp police swat drug war

Most Filipinos in Support of Drug War
A Pulse Asia survey conducted in September noted that 88 percent of polled Filipinos supported the nation’s violent war against drugs.  Nine percent noted that they were unsure of the methodologies employed and only 2 percent stated that they were opposed.  Yep, two percent.  Despite this, 76 percent expressed concern that some innocent victims were getting caught up in the drug war, most notably the drama surrounding the killing of Kian Delos Santos. 

Despite the latter reservations, the government seems to be pleased with the report, with spokesman Ernesto Abella declaring, “”This goes to show that our people appreciate the administration’s efforts to reduce the incidence of crime and make the streets safer and the communities more peaceful.”

He then went on to say of the Catholic Church, “”It is unfortunate that the Church has been a staunch critic of the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign. We appeal to the Catholic Church hierarchy to encourage some of its leaders to be more cautious in their pronouncements that drive a wedge among the flock.”

The Pulse Survey also noted that 73 percent of the respondents believe that extra-judicial killings are taking place. 

This comes President Duterte’s recent decision to strip the Philippines National Police of their leadership in the Drug War, placing the much smaller Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in that position, with the PNP only providing support to their operations.  This decision by the president seems to come after a drop in trust and satisfaction scores conducted by another survey last month.


Marawi City Liberated – Mostly
As I am typing this up, the Philippine government has just declared that the fighting in Mawari on the southern island of Mindanao has finally come to an end, with President Duterte stating, “”I hereby declare Marawi City liberated from the terrorist influence that marks the beginning of rehabilitation of Marawi.”

Military leaders added that the fighting is not yet over but it will only be “a matter of days” until the last opposition is mopped up.  On Monday, the government noted that the deaths of two major terrorist leaders in the city left the remaining rebels without any leadership. 

It took the Philippines military nearly five months to overcome the Maute terrorist clan, killing a reported 857 enemy combatants.  162 government soldiers were killed during the conflict as were 47 civilians.

Mawari city – once home to over 200,000 Filipinos – is the largest city in the province of Lanao del Sur and is also its capital.  Much of the once-bustling burg is now a plain of raw, somewhat glowing rubble.


Manila is Unsafe(?)
The city of Manila was recently listed the 10th most unsafe place to live in the world, according to the 2017 Safe Cities Index.  I posted this article up on my Facebook page and commenters ripped into it with a quickness. This is the first time that Manila has appeared on the Safe Cities Index, and the index measured the safety of a city based on a variety of social and economic factors including health care, infrastructure (transportation, internet, electricity), physical safety, and the like.  The study goes on to note that Manila was lacking in income, technology skills, and dealing with infectious diseases and the increasing threat of climate change.  Most the ten most unsafe cities on the report are in Southeast Asia.

Another relevant study noted that Manila is also one of the most stressful places to live in the world, citing rampant pollution, congestion and “hellish” traffic

Finally, another study just released by the United Nations has noted that about 720,000 Filipinos are at risk of being displaced due to natural disasters such as typhoons, tsunamis, earthquakes and flooding. South and Southeast Asia was once again in the top 10 and the Philippines came in at number 5 greatest risk among the 204 countries that were taken into consideration. Topping the list were India, China, Bangladesh and Vietnam.

manila most dangerous cities in the world


And speaking of dangers posed to the Philippines, here are some photos taken around Dumaguete over the past few days.  A low pressure area is stalled out to the west and Tropical Storm Paolo is chugging along to the east, resulting in the worst flooding I have seen here since 2013.

So, that’s pretty much it.  Take care everyone and see ya next time!






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