“I'd rather regret the things that I have done than the things that I have not.”
― Lucille Ball

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Innocent Man

It is unbelievable what I read in one of the latest books of John Grisham that I still had to read. I even was not aware until half way the book that this was non-fiction, as I know John as a fiction writer.

Below is a citation from John's website describing the feelings that popped up when I was reading the book.

If you believe that in America you are innocent until proven guilty, this book will shock you. If you believe in the death penalty, this book will disturb you. If you believe the criminal justice system is fair, this book will infuriate you.
While reading the book, I recognized suddenly that we have in The Netherlands similar cases, although we have luckily not the death penalty.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


It differs from country to country, but in my original home country - the Netherlands - you are officially entitled to enjoy your pension when you turn 65 years old, which I did last week.

To be honest, I am enjoying my (private) pension already 2.5 years, as I had the option to go for a pre-pension.

It means that you will get a monthly payment from the government, called AOW pension, and if you were employed for some time, you will get as well a private pension from your company/administration or the insurance company that was selected by your company to manage your pension.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Lizard tail beating

Almost everyone knows that a lizard can easily loose its tail, which will be regenerated again, or even it can decide even to loose it when the tail is fixed somehow somewhere.

What you might not know, at least I didn't know, that when the tail is lost it starts to beat like a heart muscle does when the heart is separated from the body and at the same sort of frequency. So maybe the tail muscle is similar as a heart muscle. Who knows?

Enjoy the  video.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Philippines Passport Renewal

DFA office for Filipino passports
It's a while ago that we started the processing of my wife's Filipino passport renewal, but it took a lot to reach the target.

To be more precise we went to Manila on July 16 to visit the American WWII memorial and cemetery and next day we had a meeting at DFA, the Department of Foreign Affairs consular service  for Filipino e-passports near to Mall of Asia. I was not allowed to enter the building, only applicants are.

The first hurdle was to get a Dual Citizenship Certificate. We got a paper from DFA with all the required documents to be presented to the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to get the certificate.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


Most people know Ikea.

If not, it is a well-known company, originally from Sweden, producing modern furniture. Since this year  headquarters in the Netherlands. It has outlets, large furniture malls, in all regions of the world, but not in the Philippines.

However, I found last week some Ikea products in the largest mall in Dagupan, CSI Lucao. See the two pictures.

I have always wondered why. My first thought was that it had to do with the tropical environment and wood fiendish insects, but that cannot be the reason, as there are Ikea's in Singapore and Thailand as well.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Dog Birth

Last night our dog Yara gave birth to seven nice puppies. The father is my German Sheppard.

As you can see on the picture below there are 3 white puppies and four brown ones. I guess these latter will resemble the German Sheppard.

It seems quite easy to get rid of them when they are a bit grown up. We have several people already interested. Maybe we will keep one or two of them.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


In front of the church all coffins are parked, 
and then moved into the church for the mass
My neighbor passed away a week ago. She was old, but could speak English quite well and liked to talk to me. She was the first neighbor who talked to me when we started to build our house, now almost two years ago. Now and then we met and had a brief social talk.

She left a husband and grand (grand) children, as her only child and son died already years ago.

As is usual in the Philippines, the dead body gets a kind of balsam, as they are exposed in a coffin for a week or so without any cooling. Temperature here is on average 30 degrees Celsius at daytime.

The coffin is installed in the house of the deceased, the body exposed in the coffin and  candles, lights and flowers are surrounding the coffin. Also an ad from the funeral company (funeraria) is displayed and there is a small reading desk with a condolences register and a box to drop money for the funeral.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Re-acquisition Philippine Citizenship

Asawa in front of BI
Early this week I decided to call BI (Bureau of Immigration) to ask them if the "Certificate of Re-acquisition / Retention of Philippine Citizenship", as it is called officially, was processed already for pick-up.

I called them because after almost 3 weeks waiting, since we applied, see my previous blog post, we still had no letter received from BI that we could come to pick-up the certificate, as was promised.

We were pleased that the call had a positive result, so decided to go on Wednesday and if the pick-up procedure would not take a lot of time, then we could even go to the Department of Foreign Affairs to proceed with the passport renewal process. They said that a new appointment was not required.

We left as usually 3.00 AM and arrived at BI around 9.30 AM. The Manila north-south traffic was killing this day, it took 1 and a half hours in the morning and more than 2 hours when we left Manila around 3.30 PM.
Waiting in BI ground floor

The procedure was quite simple this day. After showing the payment slip xerox, we could proceed to counter 404 (4th floor) and we got the original application form and a form that gave the details of the approval. From both we had to make a xerox (ground floor) and return to the same counter.

It took a minute of 10 and then the lady gave us all the papers, being the certificate, her old invalid Filipino passport, made unusable, and the payment slip.

That's it and that's all. No fine for not having a visa since her last entry in March this year. It means that she is again the authorized owner of our property and has all the other rights of a Filipino.

By 10.30 AM we left BI and decided to go to DFA to try to continue the passport renewal procedure.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

They demolished my former Office in Eindhoven

Last week my former office in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, was blown up, but something went wrong, see the video below.

I worked in this office from 1998 until 2000, as the global Millennium director of my company (Atos Origin, now ATOS), being responsible for a worldwide program to identify and repair "year 2000" problems of all IT systems, services and contracts at the turn of the century.

The office tower was a former Philips building, on the top floor was still an office of the retired Philips president Ir. (Engineer) Frits Philips, who died in 2005. I met him several times in the elevator. Now this elevator was the problem last week, see the video.

The remainder is called the Pisa Tower of Eindhoven and will be demolished manually.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Dual Citizenship for Filipino's

Taking the Oath of Allegiance in front of an attorney in BI Intramuros
A few weeks ago we went to the consular service of DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) in Manila, after we made an appointment via their call center, for the renewal of my asawa's Filipino passport.

It turned out that the call center lady had not asked for all the details and hence did not inform us correctly on the required documents in our case.

So it turned out that we missed one document, that should be issued by the BI (Bureau of Immigration), being the Certificate of Dual Citizenship.

I was not aware that according to Republic Act No 9225 of 2003, if a Filipino gets (or got in the past) a foreign citizenship, he/she will lose the Filipino citizenship, but is since 2003 eligible to retain it again after having taken the oath of allegiance.

So far so good, we could do this easily according to RA 9225, but BI has for the implementation of this law invented that you have to present a:
"Photocopy of Certificate of Naturalization or an original affidavit stating how foreign citizenship was acquired".
Of course we have such a document, but it is in Dutch and they can't read it here, so my conclusion was I need a legalized translation. I asked already our embassy in Manila whether they could help us, but they could not and referred me to the standard procedure you have to follow in the Netherlands and next in the Philippines. It is quite complicated, costly and it takes weeks or maybe even months. So I was not very happy and optimistic.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Rain, Rain, Rain

Our swimming pool in the flooded garden
The last couple of weeks we got an unusually lot of rain. Our garden was flooded again as we have not yet brought the garden above flood level.

The first week the rain was from typhoon Saola, who just passed the island of Luzon, however it made no land-fall and went off to the north, but most of the rain came the last two weeks just from the monsoon.

In  three weeks time we got much more than average this time of the year.

The average for July and August (62 days) are 341 mm and 398 mm, so a total of 739 mm or 250 mm for 3 weeks (21 days). The average figures are for Manila area, but we have the same climate as in Manila.

See the real accumulated rain data from my weather station in below graph. In the last 3 weeks we got 540 mm, while the average is 250 mm, so more than double.
In the last 2 weeks we got 350 mm, while the average is 166 mm, also more than double.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Manila American Cemetery and Memorial

Today just after noon we arrived in Manila for our visit tomorrow to DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) .

One of the reasons to book a hotel for tonight was that I wanted to visit the Manila American WWII Cemetery and Memorial in Ayala, Metro Manila.

Although it was cloudy, we were lucky that the rain came only late afternoon.

The cemetery is situated in Ayala in Metro Manila in a slightly hilly area, which gives perfect views. It is the largest overseas American war cemetery in the world. As usual the design and architecture of the scene and the buildings is awesome beautiful. Similar as the one we visited 2 years ago in Normandy, see my blog of that visit here Normandy 6th June 1944.

See as well my brief photographic overview and if you do, then click on the SlideShow button upper left corner.

I recently read quite a lot about WWII in Asia and the Asia-Pacific region, so I started to search for landmarks, and this cemetery is one of them. Another one is in Lingayen, see my previous blog post of the monument of the  WWII landings and assault in the Bay of Lingayen, under command of General Douglas MacArthur.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Licence Plate Certificate Renewal

This month I had to renew the licence plate certificate of my motorcycle and car. I should have done my motorcycle already in January this year, but just forgot to do it.

The procedure in the Philippines is that each year your licence for the vehicle has to be renewed and of course to be payed.

LTO or Land Transportation Office is the government office where you have to go. They also do driving license exams, initial request, conversion and renewal of driving licenses. Every big city has a LTO office. LTO has also a mobile phone application, where you can ask questions on procedures, but also get details on registered vehicles.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Alpe d'Huzes

Derde beklimming
Training ride
My son joined this month the 2012 version of the Dutch campaign "Alp d'Huzes" or "Alp d'Hu6", which is a degeneration of the mountain "Alp d'Huez" in the French Alps.

It is one of the famous mountains in the "Tour de France" (French for: "Biking around France"), the world's most famous bicycle competition, held every summer for three weeks in Europe, mainly in France but also a few days in neighboring countries.

The "Alp d'Huzes" campaign is an initiative started in 2006 to raise sponsor money for cancer research in the Netherlands. The idea is that volunteers - professional as well as amateur sportsmen and even cancer patients - bike uphill and down up to six times a day.

Sponsors of individual bikers pay for the whole event or a fixed amount of money for each uphill ride.  Via a website of the organization sponsors can indicate how much money they want to invest. And the biker will inform his or her sponsors via the same website on the progress of the training up-to six months before the campaign day, and of course the final results are published as well to all sponsors.

Alp d'Huez is also called the biking Mecca of the world. Each of the 21 hairpins are labeled and named after a former stage winner of the Tour de France. During the campaign there are professional photographers at start and finish and every hairpin. You can order and pay video shots via a sports website, the money again is for sponsoring the campaign.
The Climb: 15.2 kms (9.4 miles); Ascent: 1,150 metres (3,770 feet).

The intention is to bike the mountain 6 times a day - hence the name Alp d'Huzes as zes means 6 in Dutch - but depending on your start time and capabilities you can do less if you like. My son went for 4 times, but finally ended up with 3 rides (up and down), it was so heavy he told me and three was really his limit because he started late that day.

In 2006 the Alp d'Huzes campaign was done by 66 bikers and they raised a total sum of 370.000 euro. This year, six years later, there were 8.000 bikers joining - split over two days - who raised all together an amount of 28.484.000 euro (28.5 million).

Thursday, June 7, 2012


It seems that the financial problems in the Euro-zone are getting more worse than ever and consequently  the Euro is still on its way down to the initial value at its introduction in January 1999.

I believe that not all problems are identified yet or at least generally known, so a further decline is not impossible.

It is not only a problem for the Europeans in Europe - they may expect all kind of cost cutting measures from their governments - but also European pensionado's in non Euro-zone countries.

European pensionado's usually have a state and/or company pension based on the euro currency, and with a lower euro their income in the local currency of their new home country will be lower as well.

Recently the supreme court in the Netherlands decided that the cost cutting measure on state pension compensations for pensioners not paying tax in the Netherlands or at all - like in our case - was legally not acceptable, so the measure will be cancelled. Unfortunately it's only 34 euro.

Apart from that most pensions are not indexed - that is corrected for inflation - anymore since a couple of years, some pension funds will even decide to lower the monthly payments this and next years, because otherwise these funds are unable to guarantee their obligations towards future pensioners.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Vintage Classic Car Show Dagupan

A while ago we had to go to the SSS (Social Security System) in Dagupan A.B. Fernandez Boulevard east to deliver a form of the SVB (Social Insurance Bank) called a "Life Certificate" for my state pension called AOW. The SSS authorizes the certificate for the SVB, so they check whether I am alive, as well as my wife. This is to prevent the SVB will pay pensions to dead people, like what happened in Greece for many years.

We wanted to park our car opposite of SSS, on the car park of a small shopping center.

I was really amazed to see that they were unloading and positioning classic cars. Amazed because Filipino like everything new, so a show with old classic cars is not something I would expect to see in the Philippines. As I found out later, the show was part of the famous Dagupan Bangus festival, and organised by the Pangasinan based NorthStar Vintage Motor Club.

On display are a Ford Fairlane 500, Comet 202, 1968 Plymouth, Datsun 2407, Fiat, Volkwagon Beatle and more.

See some more pictures follow below.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

De Vliegende Hollander, Monday 7 May 1945

Side 1

Today I was scanning some old study books of my deceased father on aircraft technology before WWII. He was studying aircraft mechanics during the war. In one of the books I found already last year a handwritten religious poem of my father, this time I found a one page two-sided newspaper in A4 format, called "DE VLIEGENDE HOLLANDER", or in English: " The Flying Dutchman".

The newspaper was issued by the Allied Forces fighting against Germany and dated May 7, 1945. As the newspaper was meant for Dutch people in the Netherlands it is written in Dutch. I am sorry for not having an English translation.
Main articles are the surrender of the German armies in North West Germany and Denmark to Field Marshal Montgomery (Monty) on the Luneburger Heide in Germany and the surrender in the Netherlands of the German armies by Field Marshal Blaskowitz to General Foulkes in hotel "De Wereld" in Wageningen, with Prins Bernhard present and acting as representative for the Netherlands.

I am sure this newspaper will be somewhere in a museum in the Netherlands, but as I have here an original paper in very good condition, I wanted to share it on my blog with anyone interested in WWII history.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

River Cruise

Starting point for the river cruise
Mayor Lim of Dagupan City launched the idea of a river cruise in Dagupan in early 2011 and it was implemented July 1st the same year under the name "Dawel River Cruise". It was my intention to use it as one of the outings when my family was on visit Christmas last year. However it didn't fit in the schedule finally.

As my sister- and parents-  in-law came over from the US to the Philippines two weeks ago, I offered them to do the river cruise. So we went yesterday. It is really a Filipino style outing, I tell you why.

The day before I went there to inquire for details, like days of operation and departure times, number of persons, price. It was quite simple, they have 3 boats, actually catamarans (two hulls) and on top a kind of bahay kubo. It's a free service from the city and intended to stimulate tourism. Times of departure are 9.00 am and 2.00 pm, every day of the week. They have 2 different sizes of boats - two for ca. 25 persons and one for 40-45 persons - and no need to register in advance, however as we found out later you can do it.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Wedding in Bangkok

Unfortunately I didn't join the wedding ceremonial, which was last Saturday morning, as I didn't know the time and location, it wasn't on the invitation I got and because my visit should be a surprise for them, I didn't ask for it.

It seems to be an event you should have to pass through once in your life. It's according to Thai tradition and culture, with monks, flowers and of course fantastic cloths and colors.

Anyway I was there to join the wedding buffet. Starting 19.00 hours. I prepared myself - taking a bath and changing cloths @ 17.30 hours and then took the skytrain @ 6 pm from my hotel Lilla near BTS station Phra Khanong to Nana station, close to hotel The Landmark, where the buffet would be.

The seventh floor was used for a couple of wedding parties in parallel on this special Thai day. The date was specifically chosen: 5-5-2555, according to the Thai calendar.

It was N'Lek - the bride - who saw me first and she was really surprised to see me after 3 years, while very busy organizing the reception table at the entrance of Conservatory room.

We hugged of course extensively, but then I let her do her things, there would be ample time later tonight or tomorrow to talk and gossip.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Time Dislexia? and traveling stress!

Two of my friends in Bangkok I worked with during my stay there a couple of years ago decided to merry today. As I was invited, I had to go of course.

But what happened during my trip from Sta. Barbara to Bangkok striked me hard. It's not the first time this happened, but I was never so close to a mental disaster as yesterday.

I believe and always knew: I have TIME DYSLEXIA. It's not an official term, but I want to call it like that because what happens is that sometimes, but not always I read a wrong time. Let me explain.

My flight from Clark airport in Pampanga, Philippines, was scheduled for 16.15 hours. If you have a European Itinerary the time stamp is in 24 hours format, and I am used to that for time tables. However here the American format is used, so the stamp is 4.15 PM. When I am under stress I read this as 14.15 hours. And I was under stress as the bus that I took arrived  late in Dau!! It's a kind of dyslexia, however I couldn't find a description of similar cases, so it's not officially!!

What happened was that I had just disembarked the bus to Manila in Dau bus station, near to Clark airport and had taken the airport bus, a jeepney shuttle-bus. When we left for the airport I took my papers from my suitcase, as I couldn't do it in the bus, and wanted to check the exact departure time and other details. It was 14.15 hours that time and when I read the paper I really thought that the departure time was 14.15 hours in stead of 4.15 pm, so the plane was already about to depart were my thoughts.

I got crazy and quickly decided what to do. All kind of scenario's turned around in my head, like what would my friends think of me and my spouse and is there a way to find a solution and what about the lost money. I needed to unstress and go home to contemplate and check Internet for solutions if any and to contact my friends telling them what happened

I asked the driver to stop, got out and walked back to the bus station where we just departed from. From there I waited for the bus to bring me back home, meanwhile thinking what would happen if I came back home, a Thunderstorm, believe me. I found the bus that would bring me home and waited for it to depart again.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

LG Quality of Service

In December last year we bought our flat-screen 55 inch TV. We choose for LG as they had a nice offer for a smart TV including a wireless media box for free.

Only two months ago I connected the TV with an Ethernet cable to our central wireless router, as this has better quality than a wireless dongle connection. So far so good, all works fine.

However, a couple of weeks ago I wanted to connect the wireless media box, but it failed to connect to the TV. The media box is a kind of concentrator for the TV, so you can connect all kind of video (+audio) sources to the box, like a video player, karaoke set, satellite set-top box, etc. The box connects wirelessly to the TV, so you can even have your equipment in another place in the room and still play all on your TV, by selecting the source on the front panel of the box.

Here begins my story. Let me tell you that I am NOT unsatisfied with my purchase and also not with the final solution, but I am amazed how the LG service organisation(s) in this area is organized, or may be they are not, and about the money they are probably wasting!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Two Years Retired

It's already 2 years since I was allowed to enjoy my "pre-pension". In my case it was when I was 62.5 years old.

Usually in the Netherlands your pension starts with 65 years of age, although there are not so many people who really stop working at that age, but earlier or they are job-less and don't work anyway. On the other hand there are some who like to continue working beyond 65 years.

Just yesterday I read an article about KLM pilots, who retire already when they turn 56 years old. Many of them want to continue, but by KLM policy it is not allowed.

So what does it mean "pre-pension"? Well it is simply a period of time until you turn 65, whereas the employer's pension fund is paying your (reduced) salary, until you get a state pension. Most people these days have two or even more pensions as of 65 years old.

One is a state pension, second is the employer's pension fund and some have even a third pension, e.g. from the ex partner. It's quite complicated, to be honest. By the way it doesn't mean if you have three pensions that you get a lot of money. Usually in total it's 70% or less from your latest salary.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Holy Week

Volunteering Crucifixion Philippines, photo courtesy Wikipedia

It's Holy week in the Philippines this week. It is a significant religious festival in the week before Easter (the remembrance of the death of Jesus Christ), and the most important religious festivity after Christmas, being the remembrance of the birth of Jesus Christ.

It is also called Semana Santa (in Spanish) or Mahal na Araw (in Filipino). For many more details see Wikipedia.

Remember that the Philippines is a nation with 90% Catholics out of almost 100 million people, the biggest Catholic community in Asia.

Many private businesses, banks and government will close for a couple of days, some even the whole week, including the next Monday.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Graduation day

Yesterday was Graduation day at the Daniel Maramba National High School (DMNHS) in Sta. Barbara. You see here my step-daughter and wife walking to the row of class mates for the opening parade.

It was again a bewildering experience for me, to see that the whole program - from 8.00 am to 12.00 am - was prepared in detail like a story board, and very much based on the American tradition. It's one-way communication only.

After entry of all graduating students - with one parent only! - a flag ceremony was held by some students and I guess the Philippines hymn was sung. This seems to be daily practice in the Philippines.

Next a series of speeches started by some honorable guests - like the vice mayor - teachers and some students from 8.30 to 12.00 without a comfort break or any drinks offered.

I learned from one of the speeches that this year about 670 students graduated in this school only, and that there are significantly more girls than boys graduated. I noticed this already from the beginning as there were two equal areas in front of the stage with the speakers with a kind of aisle in the middle. Left were all the boys and right the girls. The girls area was much bigger than the boys area. This is confirmed by the article, which I will refer to below in this post.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

NAIA one of the worst airports

A few weeks ago I went again to Manila to pick-up my wife from the NAIA (Ninoy Acquino International Airport) airport, terminal 1.

Her flight from Dubai was expected to arrive @ 4.20 pm. That would mean that we would have to travel home when it was becoming dark and if I took our car I had to drive in complete dark on the provincial roads, what I don't prefer.

It's not pleasant driving in the dark and even dangerous as some cars and tricycles have no lights at all, so an accident is easily made and as a foreigner that is the worst you can befall, especially at night. So I decided to go by bus to Manila, Pasay bus terminal and then a taxi to the airport. I arrived @ 3.00 pm, so enough time to prepare for the best spot to pickup her.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Swimming Pool - Water Treatment

Right is our swimming pool as it was before and left after the water treatment system was installed and configured.

In a previous post I described and showed you the construction of our swimming pool. In this post I will focus on water treatment.

The chemical balance is now as it should be. The water is crystal clear. after many weeks of installing new water treatment equipment, learning how to operate it, trying chemicals, removing algae, testing the chemical and physical balance of the water and deciding what to do after each step.

The main problem with swimming pools is, especially in the tropics, that algae (microscopic plants) easily come into the pool (wind, birds, etc.) and start to multiply into millions coloring your pool green or yellow or black. Because of the high temperature (usually 30+ degrees Celsius), the algae really explode. Today the pool may be cristal clear, the next day its greenish and one day later you can't see the bottom anymore.

So you really need to treat the water. There are many solutions to it, usually with chemicals like chloride, algaecide to remove the algae, acids, carbonate, salt, metals. I am going to describe the solution I selected and why, the way I did it, the problems I had and the final results, together with some measurements in graphical form.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Satellite TV

Since a couple of weeks we have satellite TV from Cignal. We have chosen one of the post paid packages, giving us 50 channels of which 7 are HD. It is working perfectly, however sometimes the satellite tuner reboots itself, if I switch to another channel.

Installation took a couple of hours, laying the cable from the dish under the roof and via a specially prepared pipe down to the living room, positioning of the satellite dish was done by a portable TV and a tuner. Signal strength was 80% which seems to be the maximum strength you can get here in the Philippines.

Previously I had my own dish and tuner, but I couldn't get a satellite signal. It was my plan to find out which free to air channels (FTA) I could find here (on satellite NS-11) and eventually to buy a smart card for pay-TV, as my satellite tuner supports these cards. The problem is that the dish was made for Europe and the elevation angle was to small. I tried already with a 30 degree elevation adapter, but even that did not work.

Finally we decided to go for a full service direct-to-home satellite TV provider. From the 3 providers in the Philippines I am aware of Cignal seemed to be the most modern provider with quite some HD channels.

I still want to try my European dish and tuner, but that is another project, maybe next year. By then I also want to try to receive BVN TV (if it is still in the air after all cost cuttings in the Netherlands), which is on a transponder of the Thai-Com 5 satellite. The position is 79 degrees East (south of India), which is quite far from the Philippines. It seems you need a dish with a diameter of 2 meters. I couldn't find yet a company in the Philippines that is offering this size.

Footprint NS-11 NE Asia beam
If you are interested in geo-stationary satellites then I would recommend this site SatBeams. There I also found the footprint of the NS-11 on the left. The satellite (NS-11) position is exposed as well, just between Kalimantan and Malaka.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Brussels Sprouts (spruiten)

Because my friends here in the Philippines don't know what sprouts (English) or spruitjes (Dutch) are and I mentioned them in one of my previous posts, I want to introduce them to you now.

My asawa brought them here a few weeks ago when she returned from France. We have enjoyed them two times the last week.

Sprouts are little green cabbages (plural) with a very special taste. It is a winter vegetable, so you can buy them only outside the summer season in Europe.

We usually cook them (first clean them like you do with an onion, so peel off the dirty skin) for 20 minutes with a bit of salt. Then they are becoming soft and when you serve them, season them with nutmeg powder or fresh grated nutmeg.

Monday, March 19, 2012


Since I am emigrated to the Philippines, now almost 2 years ago, I believe I am in a position to judge what I miss from my home country and what I absolutely don't miss.

I tried to make a list of what I missed, as shown below, but I also thought about the things I absolutely don't like here, so made a list for it as well. What is not on the list I do not really miss, so the don't miss list must be very long.

And if you do make such a don't like list it is fair to make also a list of what I do like here, so I did as well, as this was a main reason to emigrate to my new citizenship country.

Here we go.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Robinsons Place Pangasinan

Last Thursday, March 15, the new mall of Robinsons in Calasiao, Pangasinan, opened its doors for the public.

The mall is called Robinsons Place Pangasinan, as it is the first mall of this kind in the province Pangasinan and the 30th in the Philippines.

There is another Robinsons mall in Dagupan - called Nepo mall - with a Robinsons super market and department store and Handyman, distance between the two 20 minutes by car, but the latter not according to the concept of Robinsons Place.

We were at the mall already 10.00 am to be sure to find a parking place and anxious to see what new shopping possibilities we would get, but only the department store opened in the morning. The rest of the mall was used to serve a lunch for individuals invited by Robinsons and to give staff ample time to prepare for the opening.

At 1.00 pm the guests left and the mall opened. The building has 2 levels and has a triangle shape. There is an atrium when you enter the main entrance.

Ground floor has some small shops, the super market and department store. The second level has also the department store and some small shops again, Handy man and Robinsons Appliances, a foot court and cinema.

Not all shops were ready yet to open the doors, but they will the coming weeks or months.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


A few weeks ago my asawa and her sister wanted to talk to me, it seemed to be urgent and their whispering voices was a sign of seriousness and fear.

The fact that they wanted to share with me was that according to a neighbor woman 300 meters away, there were some (young) man spotted recently, driving in a car and with face coverages, asking children playing on the barangay road, how many people are living in that big house (our house).

It seemed that they were surveying around, collecting info, probably for preparing a plan to commit a robbery or even worse to kidnap one of the residents of our house.

We had discussed before what type of security measures we should implement. I had a whole list of measures from guarding camera's to bulb-wire on top of the fence or even hiring a guard.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


One of the crops being grown in this area of the Philippines is tobacco. According to Wikipedia tobacco is a plant of the genus Nicotiana. There are about 70 different tobacco plants, I don't know which one they use here and to be honest, I am not interested as I stopped smoking more than 5 years ago.

This is not fair of course, the tobacco plant can also be consumed, used as a pesticide and is used in some medicines.

But of course the plant is almost always used for cigarettes. It is a cash crop in the United States, Cuba and China. I don't believe it is a cash crop in the Philippines - at least not for the farmers - as the price of cigarettes is very low here, one of the cheapest countries for cigarettes in Asia.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Re-regionizing your HP printer

This post is meant as a warning for those who might emigrate to another region in the world, or who will move as an expatriate.

If you are planning to do so and if you have an HP printer, then be aware that HP has regionalized its printers and ink cassettes.

This means that for example my HP Photosmart 3210 All-in-one printer, which I purchased in Hong Kong in 2005, has ink cartridges 363.

If I order them here in the Philippines I get exactly the same cartridge, but number 02. When I insert the cartridge in the printer it tells me that this cartridge is not meant for this printer.

The trick is that the region code in the printer determines which cartridge number should be inserted. If you want for example that the 02 cartridge will be accepted, HP can help you to re-regionalize your printer, in my case from Hong Kong to the Philippines.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Locomotive DB 64416

The German train company "Deutsche Reichsbahn" (today called Deutsche Bundesbahn or Deutsche Bahn or DB) has developed and built steam powered locomotives since the twenties in the last century.

These series of locomotions are numbered starting with series 01 in 1925. Series number 64 was built first in 1928 until 1940. A total of 520 locomotives are built until 1945. But ten years ago, when my father built one as a model train, scale 1:11, there are now built 521 locomotives :-) of this series.

Since he passed away 2 years ago (see my blogs "Arie" and "Pa thanks for all")  just before we would emigrate to the Philippines, my mother allowed me to bring one of his locomotives to the Philippines, just as a remembrance, I have searched for some info and background on this locomotive. I want to share it with my family and other interested readers.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cabinets - Dirty Kitchen

This is an older story, as I finished this project just before I started the swimming pool. But nevertheless I want to show you how we did the cabinets for our dirty kitchen.

You might not know what a dirty kitchen is, so I help you. It is basically an outside place for cooking, originally just a roof made of bamboo and some roof sheets, cooking on charcoal, even also a place to eat. Nowadays in modern houses a dirty kitchen is more modern, just a part of the house, and cooking with gas or charcoal.

The dirty kitchen is opposed to the clean kitchen, which is a place that you would show to your friends, or use for specialty cooking by the owner and asawa, while the dirty kitchen is used by the maid.

Here is my photo album. Klick on the "Slide show" button upper left corner.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Swimming Pool - Construction

Filling not completed yet
November 12, 2011 we started the construction of our swimming pool. The project was finished just before Christmas. The previous months and even the previous year I prepared the project, by making a technical design (pipes, pump, fittings) and architectural and physical design.

In 2010 I purchased the main appliances that we would need, to transport it in the container with our personal effects - see also my old blog on this subject- from Europe to the Philippines, as I didn't know where to buy this stuff in the Philippines. Meanwhile I found a company - called Amici - in Angeles City, where I eventually purchased the pool pump, which is a 3HP Pentair Water IntelliFlo VF-3050.

See also my photo album and then click on "Slideshow" in the left upper corner.

Meanwhile (2014) I did some re-constructions and expanded the pool, see my blog here, it includes also a photo album.

Monday, February 6, 2012


Ever heard of "Babymaker" or "baby maker"? I've never heard of it until last Saturday, when I went to Manila airport (NAIA) to bring my wife for her flight to France.

Near to the airport we saw 2 young ladies - I guess age 15 or 16 - rocking a baby in their arms and explicitly showing to everyone passing by.

The taxi driver told us these girls are "baby makers". They fuck and deliver a baby and then sell their baby for a large amount of money especially to foreigners. You can even order a baby in advance. On the way back from the airport I saw even a guy - under 20 - also rocking a baby along the street, probably with the same purpose, to sell it!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Wow, I've got my Permanent 13A Visa

In 2010 I started the procedure to apply for a 13A visa. The main reason was that we wanted to import our house hold and personal effects without paying import tax, which can be quite a lot in the Philippines.

In my previous blog I described already my experiences, see this link.

The first year you get a probationary 13A visa. Mine would expire December 15, 2011.

The Bureau of Immigration on its website is not clear in terms of timing. When should you start with the application for a permanent 13A visa? Some people say 3 month before expiry, others just a few weeks before expiry. I wanted to be sure that I was not too late, so I started early, October 11th, 2011, and I am glad I did.

Monday, January 16, 2012

New tourism slogan: It's more fun in the Philippines

It is not my intention to copy statements or articles from other sources to make my blogs, but in this case I have to.

The reason to do it now is that I want to be able to link blogs that I will post in the future to this slogan.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Weather station - part 1

Before we left the Netherlands, I bought some electronic equipment and put it in our container to transport it to the Philippines. One of the things I bought was a weather station, the idea was to publish the data of the station on my web site or blog.

Only September 28, 2011, a couple of months after we moved into our house, I installed for the first time the weather station on a temporary pole. It was just in the aftermath of the last typhoon of 2011, and I was very interested to see the data of the rain and wind speed sensors. Unfortunately after 3 days the outdoor unit was broken, and since that time I have only data from the indoor unit.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Family visit Christmas 2011

From Saturday 24 December until January 5, 2012, my mother, sister and brother in law visited us in the Philippines. It was there first trip to the Philippines.

Of course I made a photo album, which you can view if you like. Click on album and then on "Slide Show" upper left of the screen.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Banana (2)

Since two weeks we have banana's growing at our banana trees. In my previous blog I wrote already about our intention to plant banana trees. And we did late 2010. It's only now that we have the first banana's, not ready to harvest, but at least they are there. So it took about 15 months to produce the fruit.

My two house boys I had before, planted the trees. They came from their garden, so some from Santa Barbara  and some from San Carlos City. What they told me was that every tree is different. Indeed there are so many kinds here in the Philippines. So later on we will have from very small to large banana's. The problem is they didn't put signs and as they are not working for me anymore - why, that's another story - I don't know which tree is what type of banana. I like surprises.


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