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It was not too long ago--a few weeks before I flew in--when another shooting incident happened at the Mactan International Airport. We used to think that airports are some kind of sanctuary, the fastest point of exit in times of domestic trouble. Now, it seems Mactan Airport has become a regular crime scene. To think that Cebu is working hard to sell itself as a tourist destination.

Then there is this series of robbery-with-murder incidents perpetrated against taxi drivers. Five taxi drivers have already fallen victim to this modus operandi since I arrived last May 31. At first, I was so apprehensive I limited my routine to childrens' school, office and supermarket. But now, just like every other Cebuano, I've learned to take things in stride. I just pray a lot more than I used to.

Philippine Provinces / Re: Japanese Kidnapped in Sulu
« on: July 18, 2010, 08:16:21 PM »

Barato bitaw kaayo dire Bay Hubs. Dinner of blue marlin and mushroom with oyster sauce, plus an exotic concoction of fruit shake, costs half the dinner I had at this fancy Nivel Hills resto in Cebu two nights ago--and tastes twice as delicious and fresh. I'm enjoying rediscovering our islands on the guise of business.

Philippine Provinces / Re: Japanese Kidnapped in Sulu
« on: July 18, 2010, 07:53:09 PM »

Ha, ha. O ang hunter nahimong hunted. It's odd to be laughing at this now because I am presently in Zamboanga City. I just conducted my business within the hotel premises for the whole day kay murag kulba gyud mogawas-gawas. Surprisingly, there are so many foreigners today in the hotel. This mustn't be such a scary place.

Philippine Business News / Re: Crime in Bohol Island
« on: June 21, 2010, 10:38:13 AM »
Wala ma'y worry sa akong personal safety sa Cebu, kay akong ruta gabiyo ra man sa CDU, balay, Ayala, SM, Park Mall, ug mga guarded establishments where I sometimes bring guests around. Nabag-uhan lang ko nga outside the premises of guarded campuses, malls, hotels and home, murag dili man ka kalakaw nga tadlong kay kulbaan gyud ka. Siguro na-reverse culture shock lang ko. On the other hand, it's good to always be cautious in your every move. This is the only place you call "home" where you are not at home when it comes to personal safety.

Philippine Business News / Re: Crime in Bohol Island
« on: June 20, 2010, 02:03:29 PM »
Any crime is still one too many. Having just settled back in the Philippines, I am shocked by the seeming nonchalance of people at heinous crimes committed just within their neighborhood, dismissing them as "targeted" crimes. On the day a suspected asset, housewife of an imprisoned drug dealer, was shot at close range by her gate here in Mandaue City, life continued as usual in Cebu. A colleague at work even joked that where he used to live, his first greeting to the street boys in the morning was, "Who got shot last night?" More than the crime itself, acceptance of crime as part of everyday life is chilling.

Perhaps the resort has priced itself beyond the reach of the market, and is therefore unable to meet its overhead requirements. Daghan bitaw resorts nga daghan ra kaayo ug empleyado who are untrained for hospitality service. High price and bad service keep away customers. The problem is that it is so hard to lay off workers when the business is having a hard time meeting its bottom-line cost. I suspect the wife is not professionally trained to run the resort, and wants to stay out of the mess.

General Topic / Re: Maajong Bagbiyahe Sir Benne
« on: June 16, 2010, 05:55:49 PM »
Just a little more than two years after dear Aya posted this thread, I accidentally dug this up! When this page first turned up, I really thought this was for my present homecoming--kay ingon ra ba ko magdugay ko inig uli this time. Murag gibantay-bantayan gyud diay niya akong pag-uli, kay gimingaw tingali ug balita sa Bohol. I'm sure up where she's now, wala na'y kahidlaw ... Well Aya, as you can see, I am really happy to be back home -- perhaps for good ... Thanks for being my guardian angel!

Anonymous Diary Blog / Re: At Home in Cebu
« on: June 10, 2010, 06:49:47 AM »
Hi Pads,

This is a short-term intensive training program to re-fit our health workers' (nurses, caregivers, etc.) skills for employment at Japanese hospitals. Because of visa issues, this is limited for now only to Japanese descendants up to the third generation who are given preferential treatment for residency in Japan. In the next few months, we are planning to widen the scope of skills development to English teaching and engineers, for which there is a rising demand as well.


Anonymous Diary Blog / Re: At Home in Cebu
« on: June 08, 2010, 08:03:03 PM »
The upside of the lingering recession in Japan is that more small-to-medium scale Japanese businesses are moving to the Philippines, especially in Cebu. I am happy to field their queries, since their setting shop here will certainly improve our local employment situation.

Anonymous Diary Blog / Re: At Home in Cebu
« on: June 08, 2010, 07:59:46 PM »
Now I'm off the holiday mode and into real-work mode. I'll be in Manila tomorrow for a series of interview with prospective scholarship grantees, sponsored by Japanese hospitals. For now, we're limiting acceptance to those who are descended from Japanese up to the third generation. I didn't know that there are so many of them!

Anonymous Diary Blog / Re: At Home in Cebu
« on: June 07, 2010, 12:54:32 PM »
Thanks for all the wishes. Being a frequent traveler to the Philippines even before, none of the things I've encountered have really surprised me that much--yet. I have a high tolerance for change, even drastic change.

The important thing is that I am very happy with my new work. Malipayon gyud ang maestro ug bright kaayo ang mga estudyante. Filipinos are really gifted polyglots. My students are now able to read, write and form Japanese sentences in kana just within a week. I am starting to feel the acceleration of my work pace. In two to three months, I'll take on additional responsibilities, and naturally, pressures, in the new company to which this joint project will evolve. For now, I am relishing the breather that I've not had in a long time.

I was home with the kids in Bohol last weekend. I think this will be my routine--weekdays in Cebu and weekends in Bohol. In my past life, weekdays and weekends just seamlessly flowed into each other. We spent a night at Bohol Beach Club, courtesy of my Japanese guests. The following day, I bruised my hands gardening with the kids in the backyard...

Init pa gihapon kaayo diri, pero gaulan-ulan na. More update later!

Anonymous Diary Blog / At Home in Cebu
« on: June 04, 2010, 04:34:37 PM »
I've been home -- mostly in Cebu -- for more than a week now.

It's exhilarating to be home, to shift gear to an easy routine, and to interface more with people than with the computer screen (as was my previous daily grind). I am actually surprised that I have a lot of time to watch free concerts, with a choice of venue between Ayala and SM, after work. This was unimaginable before, when I was always in a frenzy 24/7 and yet felt grossly underpaid. I know I will get busier as the days go by, so I'm just enjoying my time while I still can in this soft transition.

I am surprised by Cebu's development. The Ayala area is slowly becoming a replica of Makati. Cebu is becoming not only an economic hub, but also a cosmopolitan city. The sad part is that alongside the glass buildings are shanties. Having been away for so long, it took sometime for me to absorb the flashy display of prosperity and the stark poverty--the latter seems to be the only thing that remains unchanged through the years.

I am still feeling my way around. I still find myself counting in foreign currency once in a while. But I've now learned to negotiate with the taxi drivers--and to demand for my 5-peso change. I now slowly remember the streets, but I don't know if I will ever have the confidence to drive in them.

My laptop is running low on battery. I'll sign off for now. Thanks for all the help.

Inspiration & Hope / Re: How To Stay Young
« on: May 17, 2010, 07:07:35 AM »
I'm surprised that I was the first to reply to this post. True to what the article says, time whizzed by... Paspasa sa panahon kung nagkaedad na ta uy!

Inspiration & Hope / Re: Life is all about choices
« on: May 11, 2010, 05:31:54 AM »
Excited na bitaw ko nga kulba-kulbaan pud. After being out of the country for two decades, some people say this decision is a bold leap of faith. Para di ta ma-OT ba, let me just say I made this decision a long time ago to be back home in my mid-40's and sought the opportunities to fulfill it. Gusto pud nako suwayan ang bag-ong career while still at my prime back home. I was even willing to settle for a teaching job at a local university, and it's just a bonus I'm being offered this opportunity by a Japanese company so close to home. I'll start my work on June 1. Sige, kita-kita ta pohon sa Cebu o Bohol ...

Special Dates and Events / Re: Happy Birthday, Willmerit!
« on: May 10, 2010, 10:29:43 PM »
Happy birthday!

Inspiration & Hope / Re: Life is all about choices
« on: May 10, 2010, 10:24:01 PM »

Pila naman diay ka Bay Hubs? As though you'd ever choose to answer!

Inspiration & Hope / Re: Life is all about choices
« on: May 10, 2010, 10:16:41 PM »

Knowing Bay Hubs, and his repertoire of repartees, he has apparently no choice but to be profound this time because everyone is jumping on this simple morning pep talk like they are being asked to react on a philosophical treatise.

Bitaw Bay, I am just amazed by your range of verbal persona--from binugoy to professorial. Still, I'm sure you exercise a choice to be which one for the occasion.

Sagbayan - Bohol / Re: Sagbayan Peak
« on: May 10, 2010, 08:34:36 PM »
Last year man tingali ko niadto with my kids. The place is nice, but it does not offer as sweeping a panorama as the one in Carmen. It lacks original concept, the setting is out of synch with the local background and thus seems pretentious. If re-conceptualized, I think it has great potential. For one, it offers a unique view of Cebu's city lights at night. The rolling hills and the lush stretches in between should be planted with colorful indigenous flowering plants such as the ones in the Gardens of Malasag in CDO. I notice that we lack botanical parks featuring endemic flora such as the ones found in Singapore and Japan. I think Sagbayan should be developed into such a place, to complement its butterfly dome and other features.

Mao gyud. Automation is long overdue. Murag outdated na kaayo ang pag-ihap sa kamot ug dugay nga paghuwat sa resulta. I just hope that with pockets of election failure in Mindanao and sporadic mechanical glitches, the people will understand that these are expected of anything done for the first time, and not a grand scheme to manipulate results in certain candidates' favor. Kini pud si Gloria, wala na unta naghuwat sa last stretch sa iyang administration bag-o i-implement ang automation. These are forseeable incidents, and enough leeway in terms of time and corrective action should have been put in place.

Imbis automated, slow-motion man hinuon ang piniliay ron. I just hope Bohol will show the example of political maturity by accepting who the winner is. After all, in a democracy it is the number of heads and not the decibel of voice that determines the winner. I have supported Montano but I could not vote for a local official where I am, so I defer to the wisdom of the Boholano majority.

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