This Week in the Philippines 8.9.17: Un-arrestable Americans, Trigger Happy Mayors and Dangerous Veggies

Today is Wednesday, August 9, 2017, the first day of the rest of our lives…

This Week’s Corporate Sponsor: Brought to you this week by Magnolia Industries, proud provider of delectable Cheeze Squeeze, a heady miasma of water, cheese products and vegetable oil. Magnolia Cheeze Squeeze is a safe and easy way to enjoy cheese spread. Boasting a re-sealable applicator tip and sheathed in an aluminum doy pack, Cheeze Sqeeze will not break and is safe for kids to handle. Cheeze Squeeze!  – Bring it anywhere, anytime!!

Weather – It’s been pretty nice since that three week period of near-constant rain.  I think a lot of it has to do with the insulation, car port cover and tree-shade that surrounds the house, and I will probably do a video and blog article on “cooling your house” in the tropics at some point.


Last week’s trivia question: I love reading and particularly enjoy science fiction and fantasy.  The series of books that got me into fantasy at a very early age featured a protagonist that was a pig keeper and a famous Welsh warrior named Prince Gwydion.    Correct answer was Lloyd Alexander and his Chronicles of Prydain series and Paul J, Mike O and Malkier67 were all sent a free copy of my ebook, Chasing Your Philippine Dream:  An Expat’s Guide to the Philippines. 

A Filipina named Nancy actually beat Malkier67 to the answer but she wrote:

Hi Ned,

My answer: Lloyd Alexander

Also one of my favorite series 🙂

I doubt I’ll win, but if I do, no need to send me the book.  I’m a local.  Please send it to an expat instead.  I’ll be happy with just the bragging rights 😀

Well, Nancy, there’s your bragging rights and it was very nice of you to pass on the book to someone who obviously needed it more than you did.  Actually, I sent her a copy – I hope she actually doesn’t read it….]

This week’s trivia question: Continuing on last week’s topic of science fiction and fantasy  – This British author is know for his “grimdark” take on conventional fantasy.  He, too, is one of my favorite authors of all time and his series featured a yellow-eyed half-demon, a self-loathing torturer, and a rather likeable nine-fingered beserker who also unfortunately happened to be an unwitting child killer. First correct answer emailed to gets you a free copy of our book, Chasing Your Philippine Dream…..

Clarification from last week’s Livecast:  Someone pointed out – and I didn’t make it perfectly clear during the broadcast – that foreigners can still indeed have balikbayan boxes mailed to them, regardless of the new BOC regulations.  The problem, however, is that any value over 10,000 pesos ($200 USD) will be subjected to the Philippines vicarious – if not downright byzantine – tax and tariff scheme. 

And speaking of the Bureau of Customs, a BOC employee who was fired from his job for “green laning” a 6 Billion peso shipment of shabu from China has recently disappeared.  Hmmmmm…..

Six Billion Pesos of Shabu….

Patreon Update

I have long-neglected my Patreon site.  I set it up a few years back and intended to provide patreon backers with additional content but never got around to it. I am going to try to rectify that now by providing a monthly Google Hangout chat where patreon supporters can be involved in an open discussion on life in the Philippines. This is basically directed towards folks who have not yet taken the expat plunge, but expatriates already living the dream (and probably possessed of more experience than myself) are also more than welcome. The Hangout will NOT be publically published, so we’ll probably be able to talk about things that I would be reticent to discuss on either YouTube or my websites. 

Right now, I am planning on doing the first Hangout at 8 PM local time, Sunday August 13. (If you live on the East Coast of the US that would be 8 AM Sunday morning.) You have to have a gmail account in order to access and participate in the Hangout.  This will be the first one, so maybe I can find a few folks to help me out with a test Hangout. If you are interested, please email me at

OK, enough with all that horrible e-begging…

And thanks to everyone who has helped support my work – past, present and future.  It is much appreciated!

First Subscriber Question
come from long-time viewer and very dear friend of the channel, Aaron Wilson.

Aaron Asks “Ned, I see you eating raw vegetables that were washed with that dirty Dumaguete city tap water.  Aren’t you worried about contracting some horrific intestinal parasites?”

Thanks for the question, Aaron. You’re a real peach. First off, I have never gotten sick from the food or water in the Philippines, and I have been here for nearly four years. That is probably more luck than anything else. I also take care to rinse the veggies three times and then set them out to dry. Same with washing dishes.  Although you could conceivably mix some vinegar into the rinse water, the US Food and Drug Administration recommends only rinsing fruits and vegetables with plain old water.  There was also a meta-analysis conducted on seven studies on Montezuma’s revenge/traveler diarrhea.  They concluded that whether you took precautions or not, 30-50% of people traveling outside their home nation would get some form of food or water sickness, usually e. coli.  I don’t sweat it that much, and I think I have built up at least some resistance to the local bugs.  Of far greater concern are mosquitoes (Zika, malaria, dengue and a few other exotic pathogens), hepatitis A and B (so get your Twinrix vaccines!) and motorbike accidents.


Foreigner who allegedly bragged he ‘couldn’t get arrested’ because he’s American gets arrested
An American national by the name of Gary Maraviglia was arrested last week after threating a city councilor at the Davao City Mall.  The American – who is president of an electrical transmission corporation of the US – also reported bragged that he couldn’t be arrested because of his nationality.

Mr. Maraviglia apparently got upset after believing that Davao city councilor Al Ryan Alejandre took a photo of his credit card.  The American alleged challenged Councilor Alejandre to a fist fight and some reports mention a shotgun. 

Ironically enough, it appears as if the city councilor involved in the case is also the chairman of Davao’s international relations and tourism committee.

No further information is available at this point, but I am sure there is more to the story….  Not all the facts are in, but do yourself a favor, and never tell a connected Filipino that you can’t be arrested because you’re American (or any other foreign nationality).

They don’t like that much.


And since we are on the subject:

Kevin Suzuki asks:

Q: Ned, I have heard that Filipinos tend to be rather sensitive and thin skinned. It seems like foreigners take a lot of heat if they make comments on the pollution, poverty, lack of infrastructure, President Duterte and the like.  What are your thoughts on this?

A: Thanks, Kevin. Yep, generally speaking Filipinos do tend to be rather sensitive about certain things.  Hereabouts it’s referred to as “balat sibuyas,” literally ‘onion skinned.’   A sense of national amor propio (love of self) also plays apart, all of which seems to be informally codified under the general term “Pinoy pride”.   But at least it’s not as bad as Thailand, where you can be imprisoned for 20 to 40 years for speaking poorly about the king. 

King of the North!!!!

Speaking of which, I have been somewhat disappointed with the first three episodes of season seven Game of Thrones.  I am not sure why, but it just seems to be missing something.

Mayor Beaten Up in Iloilo City

Things got a little out of hand this past June 1st when a municipal mayor in Iloilo City was beaten up and hospitalized after firing a sidearm during a sidewalk scuffle.

Mayor Jose de Paula was attending a party at a local resort celebrating a victory of his town’s basketball team. Also in attendance at the resort was a LGBT (lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender) group. The mayor apparently had a little too much to drink and reportedly tried to engage with the LGBT group.  The host of the LGBT group did not recognize the mayor and reported him for being a ‘gatecrasher.”  Angered at not being recognized, Mayor De Paula reportedly pulled out pistol and fired shots into the air, one of which allegedly grazed a 20 year-old Filipino in the abdomen.

After firing the shots, the mayor scrambled to get to his vehicle. A village official stopped De Paula and asked him to give over his gun.  The apparently inebriated mayor refused to give up his weapon and a fight broke up with a group of men setting upon the mayor and beating him to the point of requiring hospitalization.

Hmmmm… perhaps another case of being a bit to balat sibuyas?

The mayor – who seems like a very nice guy – was very embarrassed about the incident and made a public apology.

Mayor de Paula

Read more about this at PhilStar.


Peter Vandever asks:

Q: “Ned, I have been seeing your photographs and they look really amazing.  What kind of camera are you using and how did you become an expert patographer in only a few months?”

A:  Thanks, Peter, I really appreciate that.  I am using a Nikon D5100 with a Tamron 18-200 lens.  As for me suddenly becoming an [witches claw] “expert patographer in only a few months,” the answer is simple:  Adobe Lightroom.


And finally, the battle against ISIS in Mindanao continues, the US is thinking about assisting with airstrikes (yippee – another foreign war), the Mayor of Ozamis in Misamis along with 14 of his security staff were killed during a 2 AM drug raid on his compound, the ASEAN summit has concluded and we just found out that North Korea can nuke two-thirds of the continental United States.

Time to get another Pilsen delivery….






  1. IMO, the trick with GoT is to watch more than one episode at a time.
    Love Sci-fi & Fantasy as well. I have read Battlefield Earth numerous times, author Gregory Benford, and anything Shannara for Fantasy.

  2. Hey Ned are you running Voice Recognition / Transcription software because this article is word for word from your last live cast or did spend a long and painful day or two re-listening to the video and transcribing it by hand for the article? If you are using software, which one is it?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *