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

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Vegetable Garden

We had already a kind of vegetable garden, but the dogs, usually at night when they are released, damaged the garden or even destroyed whole plants, and even they ate some vegetables like chili's.

So I decided to relocate this part of the garden to the backside, outside the fence near to the fish pond, where we run now the risk of people picking (stealing) our vegetables as they sometimes do already e.g. young bamboo shoots and telapia's from the fish pond.

We will see what happens.

Some more pictures you can find below.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela R.I.P.

"Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world."

Since Nelson Mandela died last Thursday, 5th of December 2013, so many articles & comments are published and all government leaders over the world are praising this great man, I also want to spend a few words and memories.

But before doing so, I want to express my abhorrence of two messages I came across from countries where people are being tyrannized today similar as what happened during "apartheid" with the black people in South Africa during the last century.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Pump Priming Problem Solved

Copy from the design book of my supplier
In my post "Deep well pump" which I wrote in December 2010, I described my project to install a water pump on our premises.

As the title indicates it would be a DEEP WELL pump. But, as I now understand it is not a deep well, but a shallow well pump, although the main pipe is quite long. Let me explain.

The first couple of weeks after installation in 2010 we had sometimes the problem that the pump could not prime very well, and we had to help the pump by filling the pump/pipe with water, just as you do with a hand pump if not used for some time. The plumber was here several times and eventually the problem was solved, mainly by putting "vulcaseal" on the fittings, to ensure the whole system was air-tight.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Status and outlook 2 weeks after typhoon Haiyan / Yolanda struck the Philippines

Today it's 2 weeks since the most powerful typhoon ever hit land, struck the Philippines.

We have all seen the enormous devastation and the grief and pain of the affected people in the region, especially on the islands Samar, Leyte and Cebu.

The way the government handled this disaster, got a lot of criticism from abroad and of course from the affected people themselves.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Tropical Cyclone HAIYAN (international) - YOLANDA (Philippines)

TRAIL OF DESTRUCTION shows houses destroyed by the strong winds caused by Typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban City. AFP
Sta. Barbara

Although there is not much to report on the latest typhoon Haiyan [Yolanda] from our perspective in the province of Pangasinan, north Luzon, I still want to post our experience and some facts on my blog to inform family and other interested friends.

To summarize we have not had much nuisance from this typhoon. When the typhoon made it's first - of the total of 5 - landfall last Friday November 8 at 4.40 am (see map below with the eye track), the weather here (200 km north of Manila) was excellent. 

Courtesy Hong Kong Observatory

Only Saturday November 9 it became quite windy. I measured winds of 30 kph and gusts of 40 kph. We had almost no rainfall the last couple of days, and while writing this post, the weather is excellent again.

I followed the news on what happened via Internet, CNN and Al Jazeera, as strangely enough only on Friday and Saturday major local TV stations reported on the typhoon and its devastating effect, but now, Sunday, the regular programs go on, and only news bulletins give info, there is here no one station that reports 24 hours on the disaster.

I am afraid that the number of casualties reported as 1000+, will become much higher as soon as communication infrastructure is restored and relieve programs from abroad will reveal what really happened on the many islands affected by this typhoon.

We are very lucky that this monster typhoon was this time hitting the Visaya's and not north Luzon.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Electric Energy Cost

In my November 2010 post I reported about our electric connection. At that time we were still building the fence and a month later started building our house.

Of course electricity usage was still minimal, but when we started living in our house, mid 2011, the usage increased.

I collected all " Statement of Account" details and put the details in a spreadsheet, to be able to make trend graphs and analysis, which I want to share in this post.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tropical Cyclone NARI (international) - SANTI (Philippines)

Courtesy HK Observatory
Sta Barbara

Last weekend we experienced the impact of typhoon Nari. We were quite well prepared in case it would be flooded again, like enough food for a week, no urgent business the week following the typhoon, etc.

Landfall was expected on Friday 11  Oktober and the track of the eye was expected to pass Dagupan City on Saturday, only 10 km's from our place. That's why there were some TV reporters staying in and reporting from Dagupan.

Friday daytime was still calm, almost no wind and no rain, but the highest signal #3 was forcasted within 24 hours for Pangasinan province. The evening and night the rain and wind started and intensity increased during the night. The following morning (Saturday) it was almost calm again. We were surprised about the track speed and limited intensity of this typhoon, it was much faster all over than we anticipated.

Courtesy HK Observatory
The track over north Luzon island was more south than predicted, see the map. Tarlac city is located about 63 km's south of our place. The previous one Utor / Labuyo passed our place 80 km's northerly.

As the rain was much less than with the previous typhoon, so luckily we had no flooding this time.

It is said that there were 13 people left dead and 43.000 displaced and of course a lot of material damage caused by the typhoon.

The typhoon made landfall as a category #3, but weakened to a 2 and later a 1 category, while crossing Luzon.

Unfortunately my weather-station computer has some problems, so I cannot present here graphical weather  data, hopefully next time I will do.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Cignal additional Set Top Boxes

Early this week I picked up my second STB (Set Top Box) in Magic Appliances, Nepo Mall, Dagupan.

The box is a HS8871 from Skyworth and looks like the unit on the picture, only the front controls are a bit different.
So it is different from the first box I got with my initial contract, see also my earlier post here.

To my surprise I got as well a new satellite dish, single standard LNB and mounting brackets. It seems to be new policy to use a dedicated dish for each STB with a single standard LNB. Would you like to have as many dishes as STB's and TV's in your house? The more dishes visible, the more attractive for burglars!!!! 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Tropical Cyclone: UTOR - Labuyo

Sta Barbara

Courtesy Hong Kong Observatory

The eye of the typhoon passed by our place at a distance of ca. 80 km.
Our area was flooded for 2-3 days.

MODIS satellite image of Typhoon Utor taken at 04:30 UTC on Sunday, August 11. Image credit: NASA.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Ilocos visit

July 2013 we visited my sister in law as she was seriously ill for some time. Luckily it's going much better now and she doesn't need further support from us.

They live in a rural area in Batac, Ilocos Norte, the most northern province of the Philippines, and perhaps also one of the most beautiful provinces, although other people might not agree with me.

Batac is also well known from the Ferdinand Marcos museum and mausoleum and other connected places to this dictator (and family), who misused his people and his country. Surprisingly many Filipino's still adore him and his family.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Four horrifying biographies of holocaust victims

In front of me are four books that I recently read.
Four biographies that all have the holocaust, during World War II (WWII), as central theme, but from different perspectives and in different periods.

I read the Dutch translations/originals, as I bought them when I was in the Netherlands early this year.

The titles are listed below (in the order I read them) and I have indicated to which period(s) they apply (see below):
  1. Period 1 & 2: "Alles ging aan flarden; Het oorlogsdagboek van Klaartje de Zwarte-Walvisch"; no English translation available, but this would be a fair translation: "WWII diary of Klaartje de Zwarte - Walvisch"; about Dutch Klaartje de Zwarte; author: Arianne Zwiers, 2009, see my earlier blog post of this book.
  2. Period 2 & 3: "De man die naar Auschwitz wilde";original title: "The man who broke into Auschwitz"; about British POW Denis Avey; author: Rob Broomby, 2012
  3. Period 1 & 2 & 3: "Overlever"; English original title: "Survivor"; about Polish Sam Pivnick; co-author: M.J. Trow, 2012
  4. Period 1 & 2 & 3: "Anne Frank 1929-1945"; the final biography; about Dutch Anne Frank; author: Carol Ann Lee, 2009
I recognize the following three periods of the holocaust and have indicated in the book list above, which period(s) they cover:

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Philippines Import Duty and Tax for High-tech products

Last week I ordered two Raspberry Pi computers for some hobby projects I am planning to do the next couple of months or so. Delivery was this week.

I will publish the project(s) results of it of course on this blog. One of them will be probably an on-line weather station.

I was surprised again to discover how much you pay for importing goods from abroad. Also in 2012, I ordered some high tech equipment for our swimming pool, also quite some import fees to pay.

So I thought it might be helpful for people living in the Philippines to share the details of import duties and tax for this type of high-tech goods.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Jules Haeck

As you might have noticed, I was in the Netherlands 2 months ago to escort my mother returning to the Netherlands.

As her neighbor is a very well known woman (90+ years of age) in Hengelo city, spouse of a house-broker in Hengelo,  who knows many people in and around the city, I asked her for an interview to find out some details I need for a blog post about my father, which I am planning to write soon.

It turned out that she was also familiar with the family (history) of one of my friends at elementary school in Hengelo in the 1950's.

Gina was one of my best friends, and I visited her home frequently, as she lived close to our school, the Hengelose School Vereniging (HSV) in the center of Hengelo, whilst I lived far away from school, in a new neighborhood near to the Berflo Es a neighborhood in the south of the city.

Her father Izak, a Jewish men who I met of course, had a wholesale fruit and vegetable business, with the warehouse connected to their home. Her mother Mary was originally from England, so Gina mastered fluent Dutch and English. That time I had no single clue of their background and I doubt Gina did.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Dutch Radio

Since I have my (Samsung) tab and regularly nose about in different stores like the Google Play and Chrome stores, I found many interesting apps and Chrome plugins.

One of the amazing apps is the "Dutch Radio" app, which brings me all the dutch radio stations in real time (streaming mode).

I had never thought it would be possible to listen in real time to Dutch radio in the Philippines, without any hick-ups, even to radio music, which is of real good quality.

Our Internet connection is a wireless broadband (WiMax) in a rural area and is of quite good quality but has limited speed (1Mbps). I assume the app has a large buffer to bridge transmission data gaps.

So now I often do my daily PC work with my earphones in and listening to late night or early morning radio programs. While writing this post I am listening to the program "Vroege vogels" (or literally Early Birds), which is broadcasted every Sunday morning.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Steve Jobs' biography

Cover page biography, Steve 1955-2011
Sta. Barbara

One of the reasons that I didn't publish many posts the last two months, is that while traveling to Europe back and forth, taking care of my mother after her accident in the Philippines, I read the biography of Steve Jobs and the aftermath it had.

I will explain.

Just before we would travel to the Netherlands beginning of March, I purchased the biography of Steve Jobs, just to have some reading material while travelling and because he was in IT-business like I was in the same period of our lives, say from the seventies last century until beginning of the tenths this century, so a period of 40+ years.

He was a bit younger then I am and much more smart with many more talents. Anyway it felt as if I knew him quite well from an IT business perspective. In my early business years we even purchased some Apple LISA computers to test them for our text processing learning project in the computer department where I worked that time, which was a product created by Steve and named after his first daughter Lisa.


Yara and 3 white puppies
Last week our dog Yara delivered again a septet of puppies, like she did in September 2012.
See my post at that time Dog Birth and the Remaining puppies in February this year.

So again seven puppies and again is the father our German Sheppard.

However within the first two days 2 puppies died already, so what remains are five puppies, 3 white like the mother and 2 brown like the father.

Four puppies are female and one is male. We don't know yet whether we will keep one or more of the puppies, but at least they will stay here until they are 8 weeks old, then we will decide.

This brief report is basically meant for my mother and daughter, as they know the dogs here and have some affection to the father and mother and the two remaining puppies from the first delivery in September last year, called "Vlekje" and "De Neus", typical Dutch names, aren't they?

In the picture below you see all the puppies, the mother and in the background in front of the car "De Neus" from the first delivery.

Mother, 5 puppies and daughter "De Neus".

Friday, April 12, 2013

VAT refund for non-European travellers

It's a while since I did my last post, but I had my reasons. Anyway here we go again.

When I was in the Netherlands I bought some electronic equipment, as it is usually more expensive and/or not available in the Philippines.

Indeed the camera I bought, a Canon IXUS HS240, is not being sold in the Philippines. It's a nice small HD camera, with many options including video shooting and WiFi for uploading the pictures to another device, like your PC or another Canon camera or your smart phone.
Price was 169 Euro, including 30 Euro VAT.

Further I bought 2 pads and some memory flash cards. The pads are a Samsung 10.1 inch (N8010) and a 7.0 inch (P3100) with SIM for in total 993 Euro, including 172 Euro VAT.

Later on I found that these pads are cheaper in the Philippines, but anyway it was a good purchase after all, because there was a Samsung promo for both pads, refunding 50 Euro each. They transferred the promo already to my account, so within 2 weeks. And of course because of the refunding of VAT I would claim.

As you can see on the Customer Receipt, the refunded VAT is much lower than I paid in the shop. It means that from the total VAT I paid - VAT in the Netherlands is 21%, so a total of 201 Euro - they incurred 71 Euro for their services or 7.3%. Here is a link to Global Blue's refunding payment calculater, however I am doubting to go there again.

I guess a better option is https://www.vatfree.com/en/for-travelers#faq , they ask 5% for their services for purchases between 1001 and 2000 Euro. So next time I will try this one.

For general info on the procedure for VAT refunding at Schiphol airport, visit this link.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Rotterdam - photo album March 2013

In addition to my previous blog post about Rotterdam I posted a small (family) photo album with the photo shots made with my new camera.

The album can be found here.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


SS Rotterdam, Katendrecht
On March first, I escorted my mother back to the Netherlands, as her wintering period was over and she needed further treatment in the Netherlands for her injuries (see my blog Shoulder Dislocation).

I am staying here for 3 weeks, first of all to help my mother as a care-giver, as she can almost not use her both arms, and further to solve some administrative problems like income tax obligations and preparing logistics for materials I need in the Philippines.

Not to forget of course meeting my other family members and especially my two kids, who are living here without their father already more than 2 years.

They promised me to prepare an outing day in Rotterdam as a birthday gift for my 65th anniversary. My son is living in Rotterdam for several months now, with his girlfriend, and he is still discovering the city.

Friday, February 22, 2013

WWII diary of Klaartje de Zwarte - Walvisch: "Alles ging aan flarden"

Klaartje at a wedding in april 1940
Recently I read the WWII diary of Klaartje de Zwarte - Walvisch, which was first published in 2009. It is a very straightforward day-to-day description of a Jewish woman originating from Amsterdam, from 22 March to 4 July 1943. She was killed on 16 July in extermination camp Sobibor in east Poland. In Sobibor at least 167.000 people were killed, most of them Jews.

I was so impressed of this diary that I want to share the existence of this story with everyone who is reading my blog posts. Of course the diary and the publication are written in Dutch and there seems to be no English translation (yet), so I will copy an English summary, and I will give you some interesting links to different sources, in Dutch and English.

Contrary to Anne Frank's diary, which described her life during the hiding of the Frank's family in Amsterdam, the diary of Klaartje describes the period in Amsterdam before she was deported to the concentration camps in Vught and Westerbork and during her life in these camps. Horrible what she and the other inmates had to endure day and night and day after day.

It is amazing that the anonymous diary was saved by her brother-in-law, just before she was transported from camp Westerbork to the death camp Sobibor. It took until 2008 before the diary was rediscovered by some TV-makers and was revealed in a booklet in 2009, with the title "Alles ging aan flarden" or translated in English "Everything went to pieces".

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Shoulder Dislocation

Only 5 minutes before the accident, enjoying life at the porch
My mother is wintering here in the Philippines to avoid the cold months in Europe.

She joins us wherever we go and last Wednesday we went to my Dutch friend and his Filipino wife in San Jacinto, Pangasinan. They are there to visit their family and to have a family celebration next week.

It happened that my mother wanted to go to the CR (Comfort Room) and as she didn't see a little step between the kitchen and living room and hence stumbled, fell down on the tiles and hurt her shoulder and upper arm. The reason is that she has "macular degeneration", as a result she has a very limited sight, which is a big problem if you have to walk in a unknown place. So we should have assisted her, give her a hand or so, but we didn't and she did not ask for it. Pity!!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Remaining puppies

Puppy cage, November 2012, ca. 2 months old
Last year one of our dogs got seven puppies, the father was my German Sheppard, see my blog post in September last year.

So it is more than 4 months since they were born. We had a nice time with the puppies.

Now and then I released them, so they could run around the house and enjoy the freedom.

The rest of the day they were in their specially made puppy area. In this area we have a cage where they go when we clean the area.

Already in November we gave away one of the puppies to my sister in law for her birthday, so on most video shoots you will see only 6 puppies.

Friday, February 1, 2013

"Bread maker" or "Bread Machine"

Freshly baked bread
It's a couple of weeks now since I made my first bread and I like to share the background for making my own bread, the selection process, the technical difficulties to get a machine and my first experiences.


If your background is European and you experienced the bread in the Philippines (or in other Asian countries, perhaps excluding Vietnam with its French background) you understand what I am missing here.

Then you know that the bread here is not what we call bread in Europe and the different things we put on top of the bread is also very limited, like jam, cheese, meat/sausage slices, spreads.

I love European bread, like you can find in e.g. Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Greece. Different tastes, crusts, shapes, flour sources. And of course the many cheese and sausage toppings and all kind of spreads.

If you don't have this background, you probably don't understand my problem and better skip the rest of this blog.

Friday, January 18, 2013


We delayed the purchase of an air-con until now, but since my mother is staying here to winter the cold period in the Netherlands, I decided to install an air-con, as she is sleeping in the warmest room of our house.

The size of the bedroom is such that we need a 1.5 hp air-con. The air-con was ordered on Wednesday, January 13th and would be delivered next day, while the installation was scheduled for Saturday.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Flat Tire

Last Wednesday 1/9/13 we went to Urdaneta for ordering an air-con for one of our guestrooms, the one my mother is using when she is here.

Only 500 meters from home we heard a repeating sound in the backside of the car. I stopped the car and checked outside. It was a flat tire. Now I realized why the people we passed by were looking at: I drove from my house already with a flat tire until here.

Luckily I had all my tools and hydraulic jack in the car. Within 5 minutes I had more than 10 boys around the car, wanting to see what was going on and how I fixed the problem. It took me 10-15 minutes to replace the flat tire wheel with the spare. As I was full of sweat and had dirty hands, we decided to go back home, change shirt and wash my hands.

With a delay of 30 minutes we headed again to Urdaneta and my first stop was at the tire center Starman Enterprises Inc. next to CSI on Manila North Road, the road to Villasis.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Happy New Year 2013

Christmas 2012
Sta. Barbara

Fist of all let me wish you and your relatives a happy and prosperous New Year.

Frequent readers of my blog may wonder what happened with me and my blog.

Don't worry, I just had no time and enough energy to write new blogs, as I was busy preparing our clean kitchen, many small projects and preparing for the visit of my mother and daughter during Christmas 2012, starting December 19 and a lot of paperwork including travelling to Manila 4 times in 2 weeks.

I have lots of ideas for my next posts, such as our new kitchen project, family visit, Hundred Islands, Baguio, automatic gate opener, passport renewal, LTO, etc.

So stay tuned for my 2013 blog posts or even better subscribe for e-mail updates or as a follower in the right hand frame.


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