A Quick Break at Pico Sands, Nasugbu

Today marks 12 days since getting my redundancy notice at work. I’ll be traveling to Hong Kong on May 20th and staying for around two weeks – available for meetings and also appreciate any tips on networking events I should attend. (I’m already registered for Cloud Expo Asia and planning to go to Web Wednesday.)

I received the official news of being made redundant on May 4th (the day after my birthday). We already had a reservation for a holiday at a beach resort for 4 days starting on May 6th. I decided to keep that because getting away for a few days to chill wasn’t going to hurt – also my wife had come in for my birthday and I thought she needed a “real” vacation as well.

Actually I’d waited until almost the last minute to book something and May being summer in the Philippines, a lot of the places I had in mind were already fully booked for that weekend. I decided it had to be a place I could drive to because I didn’t want to deal with the airports here.

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Everything is Broken

Random thoughts on a random day ….

I Read the News This Week Oh Boy

Manila’s MRT commuter rail line breaks down almost daily. This past Monday it was due to “tracks failure.” Meanwhile, there are reports that 48 new train cars ordered 4 years ago and built in China and yet to be deployed are defective and unusable – repairs slated to take three years.

A safety net at a construction site that wasn’t so safe.

Power failure at Rizal Hall when President Duterte was hosting a state banquet.

4,000 police will be guarding the area around the ASEAN summit this weekend. They forgot to order portapotties for them.

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Subculture Live at B-Side

My buddies in the band Subculture played a Sepultura tribute show at B-Side and I tagged along, quite happy that I would finally have a chance to shoot a band with my Fujifilm X-T2. When I arrived there, I saw the bands were setting up to play in an area that had zero lighting – just the ambient lighting from the surrounding bars and the almost-full moon above. But I was there, I had the camera with me, I bit my lip and got on with it. Everything was shot with the Fujifilm XF 23mm F2.0 lens, most shots were at ISO 10,000.

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Random Thoughts and Photos

Part One – Manila Taxi Drivers Suck

Saturday night I wanted to go out and find some bands to shoot with my new camera. I was talking to an American friend and he said he’d come with if we went to the Hard Rock. Since drinking would be involved, we both left our cars at home and took a Grab over to Makati.

We got to the Hard Rock waaaayyyyy too early. It was 7:30, there was practically no one else there, they told us the bands don’t start till after 9:30. We sat in the bar and had dinner and then it was 8:00 and still time to kill so we went for a walk – Cafe Havana where we had some drinks and admired the view, then Spicy Fingers, and then back to Hard Rock. It was boring cover band night, I kept hoping for something better, but by the time the band on stage decided to torture us with Toto, I said it was time to leave.

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PLDT – Why Do You Make Me Hate You So Much?

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks and I’ve been meaning to write an update but I’ve just been that busy. I was in Hong Kong for 8 days and meant to write something about that but the time has eluded me. Also the company I work for has been bought and it’s not immediately clear what that means for my future.

Anyway, last month, I was a little bit late in paying bills – sheer laziness, no other reason. I paid my monthly PLDT bill a couple of days after the due date. But here’s the thing – it was due on a Thursday, I paid it on Saturday, the payment registered on their system on Monday, and then they still cut my service on Tuesday because essentially their systems are so fucking shitmongous that they couldn’t cross-process the information on time.

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Are All Philippine Banks As Incompetent as BPI?

BPI. Bank of the Philippine Islands. They’re the only bank I deal with here, as they’re the ones with my mortgage. They make dealing with HSBC back in Hong Kong seem like nirvana by comparison.

Go into any branch any time of day for any transaction that requires a teller and you are guaranteed to be there for an hour. Their ATM machines are filthy and prone to outages.

I’m up late tonight and want to pay bills online but I can’t because their website is down. You can get to the home page but you can’t log in.

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Some Days Are Good Enough

It is 5:39 AM as I start writing this post. I’ve been up since 3 AM. There are several reasons for this.

I’ve started taking a medication called Champix, which is supposed to help one quit smoking by somehow reducing the, um, enjoyment one gets from a cigarette and from nicotine. Actually I’d started taking it in November but went off it when my mother died. I’d felt it starting to work and always intended to give it another try and started with it again last week. One of the common side effects is insomnia, which I’ve got. Another is very vivid dreams, which I’ve got. One rare side effect apparently is suicidal thoughts, which so far I don’t have.

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A Few Good Days

I need distractions. I’m so horrified by the events in the U.S. during the past ten days but I don’t know what to say about them, what to add to the discussion. I need distractions.

Friends from Hong Kong (American husband, Filipino wife) have a house in Angeles. We drove up there for the weekend. The drive itself is quite okay – well it’s roughly 60 miles but takes almost 2-1/2 hours if you drive straight through. The NLEX highway has plenty of American-style rest stops – the larger ones not only have gas stations but also have 15 or 20 fast food chains. The ones on the drive south also feature outlet stores from Nike, Adidas and others, crafts shops, even a shop selling ATV’s.

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Manila – It’s the Little Things

Yeah. More bitching and moaning. But a lot of you seem to enjoy it!

When you are a foreign resident here, you are required to show up in person at the Bureau of Immigration every January to prove you are still alive and in the Philippines. You can fill out the relevant form for this online but you are still required to make an appearance. I get the feeling it is one of those “we make you do it because we can” things.

The main office of the BI is in Intramuros. It is just 14 miles from where I live but it takes longer to drive there than it does to fly from Manila to Hong Kong. The BI website lists an office in Makati. I tried to contact that office based upon the information available on their web site – I tried calling but the “main number” rings over to a fax machine and an email I sent to them was returned as undeliverable. This is a common factor with Philippines government web sites – unreliable, confusing and/or missing information.

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