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Kicking Back With American Expat Brother Tom


My American expat friend, Brother Tom, sent me a text message Wednesday morning. He was supervising the rice harvest at his farm and wanted me to come over. He was going to take some pictures of me in action. That sounded dangerously close to working so I replied that I would pass on that “opportunity” but would be happy to meet him later that evening for a round of San Miguels at our favorite hangout, The Shirven Hotel. It was my turn to buy. A bottle of Pale Pilsen costs 30 pesos (69 cents) as opposed to P13 (30 cents) for a bottle of Gold Eagle if purchased by the case, but since my expat friend was leaving to return to the States for six months, I threw caution to the wind and advised The Sainted Patient Wife I would be meeting my amigo later. My asawa did not protest, happy, I’m sure to get me out of “The Compound” for a couple of hours. American Expat Brother Tom

Besides, my expat friend from the Trappist Monastery told me he had an extra Green Lantern notebook he picked up when he saw the super-hero flick at SM City in Iloilo. Like I needed any incentive to kick back and share some tall tales and beer. Also, our favorite server, Mae, might be at The Shirven to bring us the beer in frosted mugs. That was a better incentive than the Green Lantern notebook. Mae is Brother Tom’s mountain biking partner and always charms us with her bubbly personality.

Walked over to our meeting place around 6 pm carrying the rechargeable flashlight my asawa insisted I bring along. It was twilight when I left “The Compound,” but I would be enveloped by darkness by the time I made the return trip home. There are street lights that line the path to “The Crossing” near where the hotel is located, but the majority of the time, the lights are out.

Mae later informed us that thieves steal the bulbs. I don’t know if they sell them for scrap or what. Some of our local tricycle drivers and motorcyclists could use some type of lighting because a good one-third of them never turn on their headlights even in the dead of night or early morning when my spouse and I do our daily walk. Guess they don’t want to have to replace burnt-out headlights.

If you think the local police are stopping them and giving them tickets, well, that’s not the case. Though a law may be on the books requiring vehicles to use lights during periods of darkness (and common sense would dictate it),  many laws in the Philippines are simply ignored and not enforced. That’s just the way it is.

I was a few minutes early and Mae, who indeed was on duty until 8 pm, served me a chilled San Miguel Pale Pilsen along with a frosty mug. Sipped my brew and chatted with Mae for awhile. Aside from a couple of employees, no one else was in the hotel or in the restaurant/bar area. Tom arrived a few minutes later on his bicycle, and his Pale Pilsen shortly arrived. We chatted for a couple of hours, covered a wide range of topics  including his rice harvest at the farm and nursed our San Migs, only drinking two bottles each. 

Paid our tab of P120, gave our attractive server a P50 tip, and she escorted Tom and I outside where I proceeded to tell her that I would be passing a huge bita tree on my why home where a Lady in White was often seen. Mae’s eyes widened. Tom brushed it off. I insisted the story of the multo, ghost, was true. I gave them both the short version of the story, but you can check it out here if you would like the full account. But be careful what time you read it. Might not want to do it before bedtime. I don’t want to be responsible for any nightmares you might have!

7 thoughts on “Kicking Back With American Expat Brother Tom

  1. Ah yes the WHITE LADY, there must be a million of those in the Island Paradise because everyone has a story about them.

  2. The Shirven Hotel sounds like a really nice place. I thought I had found the best place on Guimeras when I found Villia Igang. Mexican food or fish and chips ? Mever thought that would be on a menu over there.SMB in a frosted mug for only P30 ? Definately a bargain and good food. Will have to check the place out on the next Guimeras trip. Showing my Ledesco house at 3pm again today. Hopefully I can close a deal soon and take a long awaited 3 day weekend to Guimeras. Keep your fingers crossed and wish me luck. Look forward to meeting you and brother Tom after I return from subic on the 7th.

    1. Dave,

      Shirven sounds like a good place to go. Good scenery, good food, cold beer and good company. My kind of place. Take care

    2. Paul,

      What is the average price of houses in the subdivisions there? Just comparing prices from different areas. Thanks so much. Be safe on your trip to subic.

      1. Hi Papa D, the average price for a decent sized 3 br 2 ba home is P3.5M. They advertise them for 2.5M with the average lot size being 120 sqmtrs, but thats with no carport or perimeter gate or landscaping. So by the time your finished you will spend another P1M or so doing the finishing work.

        1. The prices I quoted were for those house and lot combination deals. I call them “cookie cutter subdivisions” because there are only 3 styles of house to chose from.
          Lots in my subdivision are going for P5,000 PSM and the average lot size is
          300. The next subdivision over is selling at P7,000 psm with the smallest lot being 300.
          The average cost to build and finish now is P16,000 PSM. Aomthing to think about when budgeting out to build your own. Then you have to supervise the builders because they wil take shortcuts and use inferior materials if you don’t watch them. On top of all that building by hand it took 7 months to finish my 3 br home.

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