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

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.


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