This Week in the Philippines 3.8.17: Smoking Bans, Drug Busts and Randy Koreans


Well, it’s another rainy day in Dumaguete city, and although it’s rather dreary, I am thankful for the continued cool weather.  Right now, it’s about 76 degrees Fahrenheit.  It was so cold this morning, in fact, that I had to break out a long sleeve t-shirt and my flannel Simpsons PJ bottoms.  The PJ’s were more than a little musty, so that should give you some indication of how long it’s been since I’ve last need cold weather garb.  Man, El Nino 2014/2016 was no joke….

Michell and I are both working this morning, trying to catch up on a few deadlines so that we can go to Bohol this weekend.  Hopefully, by then, the weather will have improved.

Temperature this Morning!!

This article is a companion to the LIVECAST I did yesterday covering some newsworthy events that have occurred in the Philippines over the past few weeks. This week we’ve got the nation-wide smoking ban, entrapped sex tourists and a major drug bust in our very own sleepy seaside town of Dumaguete. Plus, suspended expat vlogger sites, the impounding of loud exhaust motorbikes and the suggested Expat Channel of the Week.

Last Week’s Trivia Winners
Congratulations to George C, Kirk S, Bluegrass Bill and Mike A provided the correct answer to last week’s trivia question, noting that the guitarist who modeled his look after Hunz Hall of the Bowery Boys was indeed Rick Nielsen.  All four contestants received a free copy of our e-book, Chasing Your Philippine Dream:  An Expat’s Guide to the Philippines.

Now, without any further ado, let’s get to the news!


President Duterte to Sign Nationwide Smoking Ban
President Duterte signed an executive order this past Tuesday banning smoking in all public places around the nation.  The order is modeled after the policy that he enforced while the long-time mayor of Davao. 

The Philippines health secretary went on record stating, “There will be no smoking in public places anymore, whether they be indoor or outdoor. Parks, bus stations, and even in vehicles. All these are considered public places. It’s an order to the executive branch. It’s up to the local government units also to draft their, shall we call, ordinances to implement this executive order. It’s different from a law.”

The Manila Times further added “the executive order is intended to prevent children, the poor, and the public from smoking in public places.” 

My Take: So I guess the smoking ban doesn’t affect the wealthy elite?  Meh, I don’t really see this going to far. Many edicts passed down from on high in Luzon don’t seem to echo strongly across the rest of the nation.  Yes, local provinces and cities will enact the ordinances but they’re rarely rigorously enforced.  Dumageute has had a smoking ban for years, and I have yet to see it enforced.  Same for the mandatory helmet laws.

Despite this, the nationwide smoking ban is definitely a step in the right direction.  Smoking is nasty and is one of the biggest health risks worldwide, causing millions of deaths and a incalculable amount of health care expenditures.  Now, if they could only doing something about all those burning trash piles and belching diesel trucks….


Philippine Expat Vlogger Site Taken Down
The notorious Peter Vandever’s YouTube channel disappeared this week.  I’m not gonna get into the munande (read: pathetic) details on this guy as many folks already know about him and his reputation was ruined long ago.  If you’re actually interested in who he is, simply do a Google search on his name. Or you can simply check out the site.  The irony is that site actually used to be his – and then he forgot to renew his domain name….

Personally, I find the loss of his channel rather disheartening.  When I used to get really sad or depressed or overwhelmed by my innumerable “First World” problems, I could always take solace in going to his channel, watching a few of vids and consoling myself with “Well, at least I’m not him……”

Although Petey stated that his channel was down due to “being professionally hacked,” I’m sure he’ll be back. 

Ya just can’t keep a good hobo down!!  😉

Peter the Fish Head
One of Angel’s Grandkids

Philippine Expat Vlogger Channel of the Week
This week’s recommended Philippines expat vlog channel belongs to Barry Jordan.  If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like trying to live in the Philippines on around $500 USD a month, Barry Jordan’s channel will answer your most pressing questions.  Barry is quite an interesting character, and his channel most effectively reflects that.  Check it out.

Drug Bust in Dumaguete City
Our sleepy seaside community of Dumaguete was recently rock with revelations of a major drug bust.  The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) arrested a suspected courier carrying 1 kilogram of what is believed to be shabu (methamphetamine) worth an estimated 3.8 million pesos ($76,000 USD).  The PDEA officers noted that the suspect was arrested during in an entrapment operation in Barangay Taclobo this past Saturday. 

The Courier was allegedly working for a major drug gang operating out of the notorious New Bilibid Prison on Luzon.  Courier operations around the country are said to be conducted by texts and phone calls coming from the prison.

My Take:  Imma not gonna get involved in the drug drama!! I’m only gonna say, with over 7,700 drug pushers and addicts being killed across the country this past year, the suspect should be grateful he’s still alive. 


Impounded Loud Motorbikes and 40 KMPH

Dumaguete police and LTO finally started enforcing the “loud muffler” ordinance, impounding hundreds of motorbikes across the city.  Once seized, the aftermarket mufflers (usually “DBS” brand) are cut off and the owner is issued a fine.  Local Dumaguetuenos are praising the LTO and PNP for actively getting these howling beasts off the street.  I guess even for Filipinos used to a cacophony of daily noise, the loud bikes were just a little too much.  Yay!!

Impounded Motor with DBS Muffler

Nine Korean nationals were recently arrested in Cebu for engaging the services of a Korean sex tour service.  The Korean nationals each paid 250,000 pesos to engage in a sexual holiday with a selection of local Cebuanas 19 to 21 years of age.  The sex service was allegedly run online by three Koreans and a local Filipina who provided the actual escorts.  The nine Korean nationals did not resist arrest but the four ringleaders of the operation are still at large

Charges will be filed against the nine suspects for violating various anti human trafficking Republic Acts.  Direct charges will also be brought against the individuals operating the sex tour service once they are apprehended.

The Filipina “escorts” were each paid 2,000 pesos a day for the three days that they were supposed to pleasure their assigned sex tourists.  Of the nine “rescued” Filipinas, seven left after the raid while two remained behind with the police to testify against the tourists. 

If convicted, the nine Korean nationals could each face 6 to 12 years in a Filipino prison.

My Take:  First off, I always tend to wonder at the police and paper referring to “rescuing” the victims (escort prostitutes) in operations such as these.  Not to sound callow, but I am pretty sure these are prostitutes engaging themselves in pay-to-play services for monetary gain.  If they were underage, then I can see using the term “rescue.”  For adults, perhaps not as much.

Regardless, here is yet another example of the dangers of involving oneself in transactional sexual services of any kind whilst in the Philippines.  Caveat emptor!!

Ok, that’s it for this week.  See ya next week.

Same Bat-time.

Same Bat-channel.

Early morning fisherpeeps – Silliman Beach
Some impounded loud muffler bikes


  1. Hey Ned.
    In one of your videos recently you commented that a lot of Expats who have come to the Philippines from Thailand are disappointed in Philippines cuisine because it is so limited compared to Thai cuisine.
    I have noticed this myself but have also noticed that the Philippines has more foreign style restaurants and therefore the Philippines has more multi-cultural cuisine at least in the larger towns.
    This is a lot better than Thailand which even in Bangkok only seems to have Thai restaurants, McD and Pizza restaurants.
    A few place I did see foreign cuisine in Thailand was at 5 star resorts and hotels but they usually charged premium prices because they were 5 star resorts or hotels even if the food was not 5 star quality and they were usually into neuvo-cuisine which is all BS about presentation and not about satisfying your hunger.
    Being a bachelor now; the ex was Chinese and upgraded to a richer, smarter(?), older model once she got Australian citizenship; and my cooking skills being limited to frying, grilling and pushing buttons on the microwave, I was wondering if the catering school I saw near Silliman University ran basic cooking skills courses, so I can get the basics up to speed before I pop over to Thailand to learn to cook Thai food.
    No, I’m not going to set up a Thai restaurant in Dumaguete but once I am confident I am not going to poison anyone I will have Thai nights at home for invited guests.
    Does Dumaguete have any Steak Houses like “Sizzler”(Australian franchise restaurant chain)?

    1. Wow. Thanks for that, Martin. I didn’t know that about Thailand as I have never been there. Filipino food can actually be quite good – but it’s not usually in resaurants – it’s when someone invites you over for a home-cooked meal. Duma does not have steak houses but the filet mignon over at Mooon Cafe is actually quite good for 270 pesos! And yes – you SHOULD open a Thai restaurant in Dumaguete. We have a great Chinese and Korean resto – all we need is a solid Thai and Indian place!!!!

      1. Sorry Ned, I have to learn to cook normal food first before I even try anything special like Thai food.
        Never really acquired the skills in the Army because I ate in the mess when in camp and ate rat packs in the early days and MREs later when I was in the field.
        You are more likely to get an Indian restaurant before a Thai restaurant from what I have been hearing about a change in the cultural diversity of the expat community in Dumaguete.
        I love a good curry as well.

    2. I’ve never had a problem with Philippine food. I’ve always enjoyed it, although I did introduce Texas style chili and grilled cheese sandwiches to my wife and daughter. Pancit and sigsig are among my favorites, but I stand my ground on balut. Or is it bilat? One I’ll eat, the other I won’t… Cheers!

  2. hello ned and mechelle i will betraveling to pagadain city for 1 month do you consider this a safe city to be in ?if not pls advise precaution s i am going there to spend time with my honey bunney pls respond thank dale

    1. I was in Pagadian city a few years back. I wouldn’t want to go back and it has nothing to do with it being safe or not. I didn’t enjoy my time there. Why are you going there for a month???

  3. Do you mean as an old retired Vietnam vet,who happens to be a smoker…I can’t go anywhere in town and smoke???? Bars,hotels ,walking down the street,restaurants????? So before I retire to your town????say it ain’t so ???? oh,and by the way,thanks for a great site,and I hope you are both doing well….

      1. Hey ned, I hope everything is going well for you and question for ya??Are there any places in town where you can purchase E-cigs,or any vap products??

  4. Been to phils and Thailand numerous times. True it’s harder to find western food in smaller cities in Thailand but not all that hard. I love phils but with all due respect, Filipino food can not hold a candle to Thai food ????

  5. And as far as those Korean guys, couldn’t they just go to a bar or even the malls and find that for 2000 pesos a day?

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