Sam I Am Blog

My Newspaper of News, Lifestyle,Culture

Home Sweet Home

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HOME SWEET HOME_6581_resized1


by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

During the Holidays of 2011, my wife, Christy and I moved to the Republic of the Philippines.  In the front yard is tall coconut trees and banana plants.

The move from the United States to the Philippines means that, in addition. to having a different place to live there are different expectations in different countries.  I will try to show some of these differences in pictures in future blogs.  But, that is for future blogs.  For now, I have some photos to look at for the next edition.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

February 2, 2012 at 9:35 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Responses

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  1. Sam, this is wonderful! I feel like I’m visiting the Phillipines through your eyes! How awesome! And, I love, love, love your new home! It’s beautiful! I’m looking forward to your next post!

    Lillie (Russell) Tidwell

    February 2, 2012 at 10:03 PM

    • Lillie,

      Thank you for the compliment. It is always nice when a writer hears from a reader. It is really nice when a writer hears from a reader from his childhood because it means people are curious about what you are up to.

      If you have ever had those dreams of sitting on a beach under a coconut tree on the sand and watching the ocean waves wash up to the shore, then, the Philippines is one of those real world places that lives up to the mental picture.

      My brother-in-law, Rafael, is currently recovering from spleen surgery. Thus, my blogging has been off over the last couple of weeks. My wife, Christy, I, and members of her family spent about the last two weeks shuttling back and forth from the family farm to The Divine Word Hospital in Tacloban City.

      Now, that Rafael is home and recuperating; I hope to be able to catch up on my photo editing and blogging in the next few days.

      Thanks again for your comments, Lillie. Keep visiting the blog and feel free to make your comments. I’m one of those writers that likes to hear from readers.



      February 9, 2012 at 9:38 AM

  2. Sam, will you come home every once in a while? It looks very pretty and peaceful. What’s the goverment like over there? And what about snakes?

    Vickie Moore

    February 4, 2012 at 7:03 AM

    • Vickie,

      I’m pretty sure the move to the Philippines is permanent.

      In my young G.I. days, Uncle Sam would cut the orders to send you overseas and even allow you to fly back to the States “On Leave.” The nice thing is that Uncle Sam paid all the expenses associated with travel. Now, that I am a retired American civilian, (i.e. retiree), I can truly appreciate the Pentagon procedures to send the troops overseas and bring them back home again on a regular basis and even to allow them to fly to the States on vacation.

      The passport and visa procedure for traveling overseas is pretty streamlined. I got my new passport by filling out the renewal form at the U.S. Post Office in Crane. I was told it would take five weeks – I got mine in three, but I had gotten my first US Passport back in the 1980s, so the renewal process may be quicker that the issuance of passports for the first time.

      In my experience, visas always seem to take longer.

      The Government of the Philippines is not an exact carbon copy of the United States Government. Fortunately, though, the Government of the Philippines is comfortably familiar. The Philippines has the Sandigabayan, which is their Supreme Court. Americans have the FBI and Filipinos have the NBI – National Bureau of Investigation. Like the US, the Philippines has the executive and legislative branches which have the president, and their congress. It is nice also that the Philippines has a very active media from television to newspapers. Whenever I get to Tacloban City, I buy a “Manila Bulletin,” “The Philippine Star” and “The Philippine Inquirer” – all national newspapers published in English, which also have their own websites.

      ABS CBN is the popular television network and probably about a sixth of their aired programming is in English, usually the programs are in Tagalog. When you considered there are 7,107 islands that make up the Republic of the Philippines; it is amazing that the government and the media is able to function as well as it does over such a vast area.

      Imagine if each state in the United States was surrounded by a large body of water and you can see how the Internet and cell phones are essential to keeping government, the media and even family members connected. The island of Luzon is the home to Manila, the capitol city, so probably most Americans think of Luzon as the Philippines. Cebu (pronounced “Say – boo”), Leyte (pronounced “Lay- tay”), Samar (pronounced “Sah – mar “) and Mindanao (pronounced “Men – den – now”) are also islands of te Philippines whose names are common to western newspaper readers.

      Cebu is famous for the variety of agricultural products that come from the islan. United States General of the Army Douglas MacArthur made Leyte a household word during World War II, when he and the official party waded ashore to start the Liberation of the Philippines. The island of Leyte is in the Eastern Visayas group of islands.

      Samar, I call, “Samhain Island” and “Halloween Island,” because in the culture Filipinos love to tell Samar stories. If anything is mysterious, supernatural, paranormal or out of the ordinary – nine times out of ten – Filipinos will tell you it happened in Samar. Samar is also the island associated with “The Filipino Witch Doctor.” The San Juanico Bridge is a beautiful and extremely long brdge that connects Leyte and Samar. I’ve travelled through Samar. It is a beautiful island that in daylight looks like Luzon and Leyte, but as the sun goes down there is that feeling of there probably is more here than meets the eye.

      Mindinao is an island I have yet to visit.

      Tourist books say the Philippines is 80 percent Catholic. I would put the percentage at 90 percent and guess that 95 percent is probably more correct. I’ve seen Baptist churches, Seven Day Adventists and even the more prominent Ingelsia Ni Christo churches in the Philippines. But, I don’t see the Vatican losing any sleep anytime soon about Filipinos changing their religion because the people seem comfortable with the religion of their grandparents and parents.

      When it comes to religion – Mindinao is a different story. It is suppose to be Muslim. I haven’t been there, so I only know what people tell me. Another thing that causes Americans and Europeans to stay away from Mindinao as a tourist destination is because of the island’s reputation of supposedly being associated with terrorism.

      The Philippines has several political parties, which maybe a blessing over the United States traditional two party system. In the US, from local to the White House, we get stuck with Democrats or Republicans. The Philippines political parties I’m still studying and researching, but they seem to have several. The Gabriella party seems to be a women’s party that champions women’s issues.

      Since I’m a pro-military retiree, I always check the newspapers for stories on the Armed Forces of the Philippines because like the United States Armed Forces they are dedicated professionals.

      Ah, yes, snakes ? In Tagalog the word for snake is: Ahas (pronounced Ah- hoss) Not to be confused with the Tagalog word: Ahso (pronounced Ah – so), which is the word for dog.

      In the Philippines like in southwest Missouri, it seems everyone has a snake story. We live out in the country, so I keep my eyes open. To date I have been lucky because the only snake that I have saw was a big yellow and white boa constrictor that some guy had around his neck at Ocean Park, a popular tourist attraction, at the Port of Manila, on Manila Bay, in the capital city.

      To be honest, like back in Missouri, I don’t go looking for snakes.

      Since we do live in the country, whenever I am outside I look down before I take a step.The woods of southwest Missouri has the sycamore, oaks and walnut trees as well as the poison oak and poison ivy and the old grape vines. Here in rural Leyte, in the Philippines, the heat and the rainfall produces thick vegetation, coconut trees, banana plants, jack fruit trees, thick clumps of grass and what landscapers in the States would call “Elephant Ear” ferns The elephant ear ferns come in small to large sizes. Basically, you need a really good bush hog to do any serious cleaning of farm land. The rice farmers usually just rely on their families and their machetes to cut away the dense brush.

      The Republic of the Philippines is a beautiful country and if you are looking for a budget friendly exotic travel destination, then, “the P.I.” should be at the top of your list. Get a good night’s sleep before you go to the airport because if you fly from the midwest, then, your flight will be at least 20 hours. You will fly over the International Date Line, which means you’ll have to reset your watch. The length of the flight proves that “jet lag” is a reality for any traveler in their 30s and beyond. Whether you fly to or sail to the Philippines, it is worth the adventure.

      Take care, Vickie. I hope you and your family are well. Please, stay in touch.



      February 9, 2012 at 9:27 AM

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