A Very, Very Low Stress Day – In the Philippines

CAM06002My schedule on any given day is usually not very busy. In fact, it’s because I try to schedule out my various tasks for the week so that I only have one thing to do each day. It’s my, “One Thing” policy here in the Philippines (PH).

I’ve found that the only days I encounter real stress in the PH are the days when I get ambitious and try to take care of three or four items in one day. That’s when the slow pace here goes from being ‘relaxing’ to being a major source of aggravation. Traffic is slow. Lines move slowly. People walk slow. Everything in the Philippine universe is moving at half speed the moment you are in a hurry. But if you don’t need to be anywhere at any particular time, or you have allotted the ENTIRE day to just one task, then you can take it in stride.

So what was today like? Even by my standards (which are pretty low), this was an extremely lazy day for me. The night before I stayed up late watching ‘Iron Man 2’ with Lyn so we hit the hay around midnight. She had plans to meet her sister and visit their Mother all the next day so I set the alarm for 7am. I never heard the alarm go off, but apparently Lyn did. By 8am she was dressed and had my breakfast on the table with a plate over it to keep it warm. I gave her some money for the day and while she caught a tricycle to town.. I rolled back into bed.

Somewhere around 9:30am I thought I heard someone knocking on the door. I managed to get out of bed and found it was just the maintenance guy picking up our trash bins from the back patio. But.. as long as I was now out of bed, I plopped down in front of the breakfast at the table and surprisingly it was still slightly warm. (Eggs and hash browns, one of my favorite simple breakfasts.)

I fired up the laptop and ate while I answered comments and messages from both Facebook and Youtube. I skimmed my email since I only use that for banking and news article updates on current events in Asia.

If you’re anything like me, either Facebook or Youtube can become an eternal carousel of lost time. “Just one more video.. oh, I got a notification. what’s that about?” Back and forth from one site to the other and next thing you know, it’s already 12:30pm.

I look out the window and, yes, once again it is a beautiful, perfect day in the Philippines. No need to look up the weather. Sunny, clear skies, a few white clouds. Pretty much a picture perfect day here in the province. A gentle ocean breeze moves the coconut leaves just slightly. Everything in sight is lush greenery. Yes, truly another amazing day awaits.

I shuffled myself across the room and figured it’s about time I took a shower to officially get the day started. Ah, thank goodness for hot water on-demand. When you’re in the province it’s little luxuries like hot water that can start your day just right.

But, even so, I just wasn’t in the mood to do the whole “shampoo hair and shave” routine so I just basked in the hot water a while and dried off. I slipped on my favorite comfortable shorts and a Batman t-shirt, I was now officially ready to “do something”. But what to do?

As I mentioned, Lyn would be gone all day so that meant I could pretty much plan my day as I pleased. I probably should go to do my renewal at Immigration. But it’s Monday and everybody who didn’t do it on Friday will be there. Much better I go on Tuesday. Okay, scratch that off the list. I’d been meaning to do some writing here at the blog, but I wasn’t really sure yet what I’d be writing about so I figured I’d let my brain percolate just a bit longer.

Then it dawned on me.. “make some cole slaw.” I’ve never made cole slaw before but I have the internet, cabbage and other stuff in the fridge. How hard could it be? I went to FoodNetwork.com and rummaged though the fridge until I had what I needed. It’s very relaxing to prepare food when you’re not hungry. For me, anyway.

Okay, cole slaw was done and it came out “okay”. A little too much mustard but, I’ll make note of that for next time. And next time I’ll add raisins.

I figured I’d check up on some Groups that I run on Facebook. Technically that would count as a ‘task’, I suppose. Oh, look.. Youtube has a whole playlist devoted to the Stones. That blew another hour.

Before I knew it, it was now about 3:30pm and I really hadn’t done anything yet that wasn’t “maintenance” type stuff I do every day anyway. Got to think. What to do? Well, I could think a bit better with some music playing, so I fired up the USB player and selected a folder with about 130 songs from the 80’s. Ahh, that was a great time for music. For me anyway, I love 80’s music. I turned on one of the oscillating fans and figured after making that cole slaw I deserved a break and stretched out on the big leather couch to enjoy some music for a bit.

Lots of great music on that USB stick. Hours and hours of playlists. Stones, Neil Diamond, Kinks, Souxie & the Banshees, Disco, Bill Joel, Billy Idol, Motown, Blues, Reggae.. the songs just kept coming through as I laid out on the couch. Drifting off in my mind.

12687807_997076410380011_4822877271051558282_nMy bliss was suddenly disrupted as I received a text, from Lyn. She was still about an hour away and just letting me know she was on her way back via the bus.  I figured once she let me know she was almost to Dumaguete I’d go pick her up.  Everything faded to black as I drifted off to sleep, listening to something by INXS.  

I guess I must have dozed off (again) because the next thing I knew she was walking into the house. I’d fallen asleep with the door wide open, apparently. She came and sat down on the couch next to me.

So, how’d it go with your Mom and sister?“, I asked.
Hmph! I’m mad with you.”, was her response. But she wasn’t actually ‘mad’.. more like perturbed. But few Filipinas use the word ‘perturbed’.
Why?“, I asked.. still somewhat in a fog from my long, unplanned nap.
Because you did not answer my text.”
Oh. Well that’s because I was asleep. I can’t answer texts when I’m asleep.”

Kinda hard to argue with logic that solid, so she poked me in the ribs a few times and asked if I was hungry. “A grilled cheese sandwich and canton noodles would be nice.”, I replied.

She fixed up my sandwich and noodles, then she got comfortable and played some “Plants vs Zombies 2” to unwind. Me.. I moved the laptop out here to the cool patio, lit up a mosquito coil and asked DSCF4708myself, again, “What will I do today?“. Only now, it’s already 9pm so that somewhat limits my agenda.

I finally decided to tap out this article and call it a productive day. Then I’ll put “Iron Man 3” on so Lyn and we can just kick back and relax. As for uploading this article, I’ll schedule that for tomorrow morning, or evening. No point making it a hectic day.

See my latest videos at;  www.seetheph.com

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Author: Reekay V.

Since 2012 I’ve been traveling through various islands of the Philippines as a full-time Expat and spent 1999 living in Vietnam.

Share with me my ongoing adventures of life in the Philippines. Hopefully you find my observations helpful in your own adventures.
— Reekay


  1. I envy u Reekay for I have way too many projects to do and they keep me very busy !!!!!!!

  2. after 20 years married to same lady….she left me for younger fatter guy.(she now lives alone) i decided need partner in my life. choices then were, bar fly or church lady? did not like those..so booked flight to cebu with some guys. married sorta nice lady. did not last. short intro to quick to get to know her. retired. left her on vacation in cebu when she said she should kill me..prob not serious but she had issues. so packed and rode off. did not get far, met cute chick off the hiway. friends kicked in and introduced me to very nice proper lady now 10 years wife. and love the philippines, but she wanted to work so here i am in las vegas. but happy…life’s a bitch…happy hunting. love those ricky videos. keep em comming

      1. I just watched your videos with the singer in the band. I’ve been talking to a girl on the internet for about 71/2 months. I’m making plans to come meet her. You mentioned that meeting with the parents of the girl is a big step. So I met and talked with them through messenger video. The father kept saying I’m her first boyfriend. Her brother and sister referred to me as brother. Which I thought was a little odd considering I just talked with them a few times. With your experience meeting with the family even over video. Would this mean that she really is single or could the family just be playing there roles. I do understand culture differences . I’m in the US being so far away and never being to the Philippine’s I’m still wondering if I’m being miss lead any ideas or thoughts would be greatly appreciated thanks for your time.

        1. Hello Keith just my opinion and thoughts.7 1/2 months you should have a pretty good feel for what’s she’s about,however if your really into her go visit and spend time with her..the rest will be revealed.life is like a box of chocolates ya never know what your going to get.interestingly enough he never got the girl till he became rich.lol.just go and enjoy Keith.what’s her location in the Phil’s?and yours,just curious.

        2. There’s a survival axiom here among long-time expats and it goes like this; “Trust.. but verify.”

          While things may ‘look good’ from all you’ve gathered online, what you need to keep in mind is that Everything you think you know via online is questionable until verified. I can’t tell you if she’s really single, has no kids, etc and in reality, until you can verify this over time you need to play this out slowly. Don’t be in such a rush to make any commitments. If you plan to spend the rest of your life with her, taking a year to know each other, in person, is not much to ask.

          As Randy suggested, make a visit. What I call a ‘Recon’ visit. A fact-finding tour. Very low key of course. Use your best judgment to observe for details that either support or deny her claims. This can be tricky if she is prepared to deceive you. But if she’s ‘legit’, finding supportive evidence will be in abundance.

          Another thing, yes.. it’s great that the family welcomes you with open arms. But don’t let the inertia sweep you away. Don’t let the talk about ‘husband’, ‘marriage’, ‘setting a date’ push you into a timeline that is not of YOUR choosing. Filipinos are big on marriage. The older generation really does not ‘get’ our whole western idea of ‘dating’. In their mind, if you both like each other, you should be married as soon as a fiesta can be planned, preferably by next week.

          So.. observe and hold your ground. Don’t rush, just enjoy and make your promises sparingly.

          1. Really like what reekey said recon and verify.that’s exactly my first visit we met in Manila.and stayed in makati a few days.being single child,I met her mother at terminal 1.stayed a few days in makati.being my first trip to the Phil’s I was on watch,learn,observe.also key point that utmost important that reekey noted don’t commit too fast.a year is pretty good time frame.and don’t make promise’s without thinking or else you feel trapped which might be the best thing to happen in your life.trust till proven wrong..also promise’s you make they hold you to them trust me I know. Go slow.but most of all enjoy yourself.

            1. Thanks Randy and Reekay. For the advice .I’m getting ready for my trip to meet her next week.she wants us to go visit her family members in her province. Some US government web sites say her province is dangerous for fouriners and others say no it’s not. How can you tell for sure or is it just bad publicity? (Carmen,catabato)
              What do you think is a good dollar amount for a 10 vacation food,transportation, and activities. Is 50.00 a day enough for two people. Or should I adjust that higher. Thanks again keith

              1. Hello Keith safe travels in cotabato.I don’t know if your trip is to Manila first then cagayan de oro.then bus ride to cotabato.I personally would not travel to North or South cotabato,but know a few that have,and had no problem it is a Muslim part of the Phil’s.I’m not sure but I believe they had some problems in last few months clash with Moro gourp and government troops.however you might be advised by the government to have an escort to visit.I’m not trying to scare ya but honestly myself I wouldn’t venture any further then cagayan de oro.things get a little crazy Durning days leading up to there may 9 elections.but just be aware.hopefully thier family has strong ties in the community and gaurd you and care for your well being.have back up plan,don’t travel with a lot of money don’t show expensive or wear expensive things dress simple.have money wired or use credit card.and travel light.might be best to register before you leave Manila at the embassy before your travel south..and have mobile app for alerts.I don’t normally do this but I feel comfortable in Cebu,laup laup.keep in touch with friends and family daily as your plans,she might want to show you waterfalls places of interest ect.advise being in by dark.as far as cash and that’s 2300 piso per day.that’s pretty close for 2 people expenses per day if your going out to eat and travelling some..but I would consider under the amount I spend.but we normally shop and stock our place with food and waters drinks..that’s pretty cheap instead of going out all the time.if your staying with her family for sure its less cost effective. If you want time alone and decide to stay at a resort or hotel it could get spendy.I guess or presume your staying with her family for the duration.if you have a chance I suggest take a 2-3 days and go to camiquin island..CDO ferry to camiquin..have fun becareful my friend.

  3. I can relate some low stress sounds good.I feel the need for me time rest relaxation,when my lady visits her family for the day and I opt out she throws a fit hon hon please come…I tell just go ahead I will be fine.kiss goodbye from her and she always says no girls and keep your phone on omg….so she leaves I go poolside catch a swim get a buko drink watch TV…and take nice nap.check a few emails fb..shower and sleep.she texts about the time I’m sleeping..hon you ok.hon do you need anything from town.I say no just you mwaaaaauh.. See ya soon.funny thing when she returns I’m in a dead sleep..first thing she asks your hungry.lol…..and relays all the things I missed Durning her visit,and of course the gossip.I’m up to speed in 5 mins…but I really enjoyed my me time.

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