Stickman Readers' Submissions December 18th, 2009

Philippine Islands

I am an Australian man, aged 33, divorced with kids. I recently visited the Philippine Islands (PI) and decided to share some thoughts, hoping to give back what I have taken from Stickman's site. I have read roughly 600 submissions on Stick's site thus far and have found it to be a highly entertaining read. For the sake of being relevant to this site, I will include what I did see of the nightlife. This adventure occurred prior to my finding Stickman's website.

A quick mention of authors in the reader's submissions on this site. Dana's early submissions became something to really look forward too, though some of his work after "Thai Thoughts And Anecdotes Part 10" had me puzzled (though entertained none the less!). The Londoner also was well worth reading. Phil (The author of For Jiraporn)
has some real moving stories. I find his style of writing to be truly captivating. I actually tried to contact him, but his email doesn't work anymore. Pothole always writes interesting stories too, often causing me to giggle. I should
also mention that the stories from "Cent" are a great read, with each entry being another chapter to spy at life from his perspective. Anyway, I will move on to my story. I hope you find it at least a little interesting.

I had been in an internet based relationship with a Filipina for almost twelve months and was heading over to finally marry her. For the sake of anonymity I'll call her Sheila (a universal name for females in Australia as opposed to "bloke"). I had never even considered leaving my state before this time, let alone my country. I had never flown in an aircraft, having only ever traveled by bus or train. A sheltered man in a sheltered life.

I had lived a fairly typical life until this point. I had married my high school sweetheart (a regular Caucasian, Australian woman), settled down and had children. Fifteen years later, my wife left me for some bloke who worked with her. Fatter, older (13 years older than myself, 14 older than her) and with nothing more to offer (from what I can tell) than myself. I met some local women through dating sites and had some short lived relationships. I was unable to find a spark with any of these women to sustain a long term relationship. 2009 was to change my life.

I have always admired the beauty of Asian women. I find them physically attractive. And although contact with Asian women in my life had been very limited, I had always heard that they were very sweet and loving wives. One day while checking out a couple of dating sites, I saw an ad on a page showing some pretty Asian ladies and clicked on it. It was a link to an Asian dating site for Western men to find the lady of their dreams. I created a profile and began browsing their profiles.

I did make contact with some of the ladies, but I was not happy with the system of contact. You had to purchase "credits" which were used to send a letter to a lady. The letter was then translated and given to the lady. She would then write a reply which was translated to English and sent to you at the cost of another credit. I soon changed tack and created profiles on Cherry Blossom and Filipina Heart, which simply required a monthly fee for full access to the female profiles. By now I was convinced an Asian wife was the way to go!

It didn't take long to make some friends in Cherry Chat (Cherry Blossom website) and soon found myself in what they told me was an "MU" (Mutual Understanding), where the lady and myself cut contact with other people of the opposite sex and focused only on each other. I soon discovered that she was actually involved with an American man as well. I understand why the women do this, and hold no ill feeling. They keep as many men as they can interested while they wait to see which one will pan out. However, this did not interest me. So I moved on to Filipina Heart.

Within days of chatting in the chat room in Filipina Heart, I found a lady who had left her husband because he had upset her one time too many with his wandering ways. "Sheila" and I spent a lot of time together and amused each other to no end. We entered an MU within days and we were both very pleased with each other. We moved to Skype and set our clients to "Auto answer with cam". If and when our calls dropped out, we could call each other even if the other party were AFK or asleep. We virtually lived together (double entendre?).

Before leaving Australia I had had conversations with Sheila where she had said that she was surprised that we don't have security guards everywhere. I did not know what to make of that point at that time, but soon understood very well.

The big day arrived. I left home and went to my local airport. An hour domestic flight later I was at an international airport. After eighteen hours total travel I finally landed in Manila. I had told my fiancé to meet me outside Immigration, because I had never traveled anywhere before and had no idea where I was going or what I was doing. I was lost before I arrived. As I exited Immigration, I was a little surprised by the police standing around with shotguns but no fiancé.

Two police officers asked me if everything was okay. I explained that I was expecting my fiancé to meet me where I was standing. They went back to their post and vaguely watched for a little while. I must have been obviously out of place and they returned with more officers. This time five gun-wielding officers were asking me if everything was okay. I am not used to being in close proximity to armed men and began to feel uncomfortable. I was asked if I had money and said "No. Is there some place nearby I could exchange some Australian dollars for Pesos?" I was pointed to a nearby exchange terminal and quickly headed that way. I was just honestly glad to be moving away from the police!

After getting some Pesos I decided that rather than hanging around for my new found 'friends' to return, I would find my way out of the airport. After heading down and out I found the street and on the other side was a fence with what must have been many hundreds or people shouting and yelling god only knows what. Near the street crossing I spotted Sheila with another lady. I quickly crossed the road, gave Sheila a hug and was introduced to her friend Pinay1 (Pinay is a Filipino female as is Filipina).

I asked where I could find a taxi and Sheila informed me they had a taxi already. Now due to my own failing I had told Sheila to meet me at the airport at 5:30PM. When in fact, I did not land until 9:30PM. I wasn't sure how the time zones worked on my tickets, and so I checked on a Manila website and my flight was due at 5:30PM (local time). Ironically, my ticket said 9:30PM. Go figure. So, I said to her "You're telling me that the taxi has been waiting for me since 5:30PM?" and she replied

"Yes. It's ok. We gave him dinner". Now fearing the wraith of a bored and tired taxi driver, we headed for the taxi. When we arrived, I was greeted by a happy Filipino man who smiled and helped me place my luggage in the boot. We climbed in to the taxi and I reached for my seat belt. I couldn't find it. I asked Sheila where it was, and she informed me that nobody has seat belts in the back. I have always used a seat belt and did not feel comfortable with not using one. We pulled out to the airport car park and began our trek onwards. The driver pointed out places of interest, such as the floating restaurant in Manila Bay, as we drove on.

After about thirty minutes we dropped off Pinay1 and arranged to meet her at her house in the morning. Another twenty or thirty minutes later we arrived at our hotel. Sheila began an (seemingly friendly) argument with the driver. It was in Tagalog and I could not understand it. She eventually told me to pay the driver (I had insisted on paying) P750 ($17 AUD). It turned out she was not happy with that, because the fare was P500 ($12 AUD). I laughed and said after making him wait so long, I am not surprised that he wanted a good tip. He had also offered to be our driver for the next day for P1500 ($35 AUD). After giving us his phone number, he departed.

Our night in the hotel (Astro Hotel I believe, across the road from Pure Gold SM in Malabon) was ok. It had A/C but it was very small. The room cost about P1200 ($28 AUD) for the night. If I understood the signs outside it seems they charge by the hour. Could this be a "short time hotel"? Downstairs in the lobby was some cramped looking booths with men and women possibly making out. I didn't stare long enough to actually tell. It only served to make me more convinced that prostitutes used these hotels. I wasn't able to get a clear answer from my fiancé on this subject. It was also my introduction to what would become 'normal' bathroom antics. The toilet did not flush and there was no hot water. At least the shower worked. Flushing a toilet with a small bucket seemed almost comical initially.

The next morning we jumped in a Jeepney and headed for Pinay1's house. After a while we got out and jumped in a tricycle. The tricycles are motorbikes with a narrow sidecar on the right side. The tricycle took us all the way to the house. The area was poor and I quickly felt like I was indeed in a third world country. It smelled bad and was dirty. The water on the side of the road was black and looked like something I should not go near. We entered the house which was pleasantly clean and void of foul odours. I was introduced to Pinoy1 (Pinoy is a Filipino male) by Pinay1 whom I had met the previous night. We settled in and started to have friendly conversation, in English.

After a few San Miguel, Pinoy1 offered to show me some cock fighting. Out to the small dirty street we went with two birds. Pinoy1 let them fight for a few seconds at a time so as not to hurt them too much because he wanted to fight them again soon. In mere seconds these birds were capable of causing each other to lose feathers and bleed. We don't do anything like this back in Australia and I must admit that I found it quite fascinating to watch. We had lunch with Pinay1 and Pinoy1 and then headed back to :Pure Gold SM.

As we were about to enter Pure Gold SM, I was surprised that there were two security guards outside holding shotguns. We had to pass through guarded doors to enter and then had hand held metal detectors swiped over us. Interestingly to me, much less attention was paid to myself than all the Filipinos around me, including Sheila. It finally dawned on me why (as mentioned earlier) Sheila had made a point of saying that she was surprised that we did not have security guards everywhere. Now I understood. Virtually everywhere we went in the PI we had to negotiate armed guards to enter. Some (probably most) were armed with shotguns, some with hand guns (big ones!) and some with assault rifles. I think the assault rifles looked to me like M16s, but I am no expert.

That afternoon we headed for our destination: Cabanatuan City. We took a bus at the main terminal and unbeknownst to us at that time, my Sheila got us on a normal A/C bus. You see, we could have caught a bus using the SCTEX. These buses are readily recognised by the large white sign in the front window . What's the difference, I hear you ask? A pertinent question, my reader. SCTEX is multiple hours faster due to it being a toll expressway with little traffic. And, costing the same (P180 ($4 AUD)) as the normal A/C bus not using the SCTEX. It wasn't until a later trip that my Sheila discovered the SCTEX busses.

We arrived in Cabanatuan City well after twilight. It was dark and seemingly mysterious to me. There were Jeepneys and tricycles everywhere. I could hardly believe the traffic density, but the fact that the vehicles were foreign to my eyes set the mood. I thought to myself "Wow, I am in Asia!"

One of the things which I would like the mention at this point is the traffic. Not only is it dense, but suicidal to an untrained eye. From the moment I started traveling through Luzon (the main northern island of the PI), I noticed that drivers seemed to be maniacal. Their antics were unsettling initially. They dodge and weave each other in a way that was borderline frightening. I frequently saw vehicles on the wrong side of the road and often in to oncoming traffic. It seemed to me that he who beeped their horn the most was the one less willing to give way and other vehicles would be forced to dodge them. This may not actually be how it works but it was my perception of the chaos. It was not uncommon for tricycles to pass oncoming traffic on the wrong side of the road to overtake traffic in their own lane. Sometimes three lanes had five lanes of vehicles, while two lane roads had four lanes of traffic.

We met Nanay (mum in Tagalog) and the relatives who lived with her. Two of Sheila's brother, one of their wives, two of Shiela's daughters and a daughter from another sister. We were in a squatters' hut on Maharlika Highway. The house was of course nothing like what I am used too. Its construction was quite basic, some "hollow blocks", timber and tin. Most of the timbers were termite ridden. The hollow blocks which made up the back wall seemed to be a fence for an adjacent property. There was a sewerage line running under the floor. It was an exposed concrete channel for the majority of its length but for where it passed under the house. It ran under the house from our bedroom to the kitchen. The floor of the house was a concrete slab over this sewerage line. At all times inside the house you could, of course, smell it. It was very unpleasant, but I more or less did get used to it.

The bathroom was the centre of the house with three concrete walls and a tin door. The walls and door did not reach the ceiling. Wait, what ceiling? I mean roof. So, whilst bathing other people within the house could see your head. The toilet was a regular ceramic bowl concreted in to the floor. Beside it was a large, black, plastic bucket full of water. The large bucket had a smaller bucket floating in it. This smaller bucket had a handle on it and is used both to flush the toilet and to pour water over yourself for bathing. I was not impressed with cold showers so Sheila decided to boil water using the wok and then fill the large bucket in the bathroom. She would then wash me, dry me and send me to get dressed with the clothes she had laid out on our bed. I would then return and give her the hose to fill the large bucket, flushing the hot water out of it. She wanted cold showers. Even with lukewarm water she would complain that it was hot. We showered several times a day due to the humidity.

The kitchen had a bench running along the length of the far wall and a table, across from that bench, along the wall adjoining the bathroom. The long bench was concrete with a plastic cover over it which was cleaned numerous times a day. It had a bare concrete sink in it. On the far end of that bench was also a gas stove with a wok. The table had knick knacks on it and a large exposed lever style switch for the hose. The hose was used to wash the kitchen several times a day and to fill the bathroom bucket. Dinner plates had been borrowed from friends because of the Western man coming. I am not sure what they normally ate off. But, I know they usually ate with their fingers. So, they had also borrowed forks and spoons. I asked where the knives were, but this only confused Sheila. It took a little to get used to eating with fork and spoon. I love getting pampered like any man. It is definitely something we appreciate in Asian ladies. But, after a few days I had to stop Sheila feeding me. I made her eat her own dinner with me. In 15 years of living with her ex husband, she had never done this.

The next morning Sheila and I headed to NE Pacific SM. We bought lots of food stuffs that Sheila wanted me to try and she gave me the tour. Sheila is a frugal woman and though people frequently tried to charge extra because of the fact she was with "Joe", she would haggle prices down. Filipino call Western men "Joe". It's probably the same as Thai calling Western men "Farang". Everywhere I went people shouted "Hi Joe!" I would always just smile, wave and say "G'day mate". I always felt welcomed by locals. The SMs (Shopping Mall) were very similar to an Australian supermarket. She then took me to a market.

I loved the atmosphere of the markets, but was shocked at their smell. The markets are very dense. The middle areas where the meats are sold is a little more open with enough room for a few people to stand shoulder to shoulder between the tables, but the other areas were so narrow that I had to turn sideways to get through sections of them. Some parts smelled of fresh seafood and meats but other parts stunk. And no, I don't mean that the meat area smelled good and the rest smelled bad. A lot of the bad smells came from within the meat area. The smell was so bad in my opinion, that it was on par with a rubbish dump. I did like buying fish though. I would literally pick up live fish from shallow water and place them on scales. When I had my desired weight I would let the vendor know. He'd then kill the fish and bag them up. There's no refrigeration at Nanay's so we visited markets daily. Once I discovered the price of meat was essentially the same from the SMs, I told Sheila we'd be going to those for meat from then on.

We went to McDonalds one day. To enter the door we had to pass two security guards with shotguns, two SWAT with what I think were M16s and then a police officer with a large pistol was stationed inside the doorway. Sheila wanted to use the bathroom so I decided to order. Surely I can at least order food in a country where everyone basically speaks English anyway, right? Well, sort of. I approached the counter and said "G'day, may I have two Big Macs please?". The lady serving me then seemed to think for a moment before saying "Two Big Mac, no lettuce". I was confused already. I had no idea why she had said no lettuce. I said "could I have two regular Big Mac, please?" I am not sure who was more confused by that point. But, she again said very clearly "Two Big Mac, no lettuce". This went back and forth a couple of times and Sheila returned to rescue me from the madness that was my lunch order. It seems that, to anyone in the building, it was simple and straightforward. It was acknowledged that I wanted two Big Macs, but the shop has no lettuce. I sat down with my 'two Big Mac, no lettuce' and ate merrily. I was simply glad to eat a piece of food I recognised, albeit minus the lettuce. As I sat there, I noticed people around me were eating rice. I couldn't believe it. They were eating rice in McDonalds!

We went fishing a few times with the, by now, brothers-in-law (BIL's). We used bamboo poles to fish with and the bait was earthworms dug from gardens before setting out on our adventure. Our first attempt to catch fish was beside the bridge over to Sta Rosa. A recent typhoon had flooded much of Sta Rosa and the waters had broken the banks on both sides of the bridge. Seeing the BIL's go down the concrete embankment to fish from near the water's edge I proceeded down the steep gradient to do the same.

Not long after we began BIL1 pointed out that a black coloured snake was swimming on the surface in my direction. Standing there looking at the snake I quickly realised that I am in Asia and god knows what sort of snake this is or if it can kill me. I half panicked and tried to scramble up the concrete and back up to the road. I of course, in my rush and frantic attempts to scale this steep incline, slipped numerous times and saw the snake continue in my direction. I'd take a few steps up and slide back down towards the water. I got more and more urgent and BIL2 came to help pull me up while BIL1 began to laugh at the sight. By the time I had concluded my sliding, fumbling, scrambling up to the road's edge, we all began laughing. I had successfully entertained them with my tourist antics. And, it was to be the joke of the family for some days to come. Sheila seemed to enjoy telling this story to every family member.

Our second attempt to catch fish was more adventurous as we traveled farther from home and ventured to several locations including a couple of streams. I enjoyed these rides in the family tricycle as it gave me opportunity to see the local countryside. Before leaving home I had expected to see a lot of rice paddies. I was not disappointed. I even saw the rice drying on roads, just as I had heard. It is apparently illegal, but evidentially common. Rice was drying on many rides forcing traffic to share single lanes. An entire afternoon of fishing and travel was had throughout the areas surrounding Cabanatuan City, but only one fish was caught. A single fish measuring roughly three inches in length.

On the third day of fishing we spent an entire day along a small stream with some trees growing close to the bank, providing shade. With rice paddy's on both sides of the stream and lush green foliage everywhere I looked it was a pleasant place to be. We could hear almost no traffic, apart from the occasional distant vehicle. The only noise apart from the sounds of the stream and some birds was our voices. Getting here we had brought two tricycles. BIL2 driving Sheila and I in one while BIL3 brought BIL1 in the other. BIL1 had held a plastic chair on the roof the entire way. When we set ourselves up at our fishing location BIL1 placed the chair by the bank and told me to sit down! He had brought this chair for me to be comfortable. Sheila & I shared the chair for the rest of the day. I was never able to understand clearly why but they didn't take women fishing. My time in the PI had been the first times Sheila had ever been fishing. On this day, she caught two fish. I, also caught two fish. Another forty or so were caught between the other three men. They ranged in size between two inches and three inches. I was told this is normal. I laughed. They did not understand why.

When we arrived back at the house, Sheila went and fried the fish whole for "puluten". Puluten is any food served while drinking alcohol. Puluten is always served while drinking alcohol. BIL1 also purchased some BBQ chicken blood and BBQ chicken feet. After some coaxing I was convinced to try the blood. Quite to my surprise it tasted fine. I tried the chicken feet and enjoyed them too. From then on, I willingly ate chicken blood and feet whenever they were served. I refused to try chicken heads or intestines. I had my limits. And my limits were respected. I did try pigs ears and, though they tasted fine, I had trouble swallowing them. The thought of chewing on ears was not to my liking.

We drank most nights as alcohol was cheap. We were buying bottles of local vodka for P60 ($1.40 AUD). I was buying the local Fortune cigarettes because they were half the price of Marlboro. A pack of Fortune was costing about P17 ($0.40 AUD). Cases of San Miguel beer were about P430 ($10 AUD).

Food was cheap and readily available everywhere. Stalls seem to litter the countryside everywhere you look. Dishes sold for as little as P10 ($0.23 AUD). I would eat two or three dishes with some rice. One evening Sheila and I decided to order some food from a vendor in a backstreet. Her dishes were all P10 and they smell great as you approach. She had never had a Western man eat her food before and she very excitedly yelled out for her neighbours to come watch. Another female customer asked me if I was Korean! Sheila was probably as shocked by this query as I was. Sheila said to her before I could even answer "Korea is still Asia, he Western man".

Sheila had told me she didn't want me to go to whore houses. I understood why. I was not disappointed. I have never paid for sex and have no interest to. I have no problems with the trade, nor their clients. I simply have no interest in it personally. Besides that, I was in a relationship and have never considered cheating on a partner: paid for or otherwise. One evening BIL2 rang on his way home from work. Sheila handed me her mobile (it's a mobile phone damn it, we invented it and we named it). BIL2 asked if I would join him, BIL1 and some work mates at a pub. I asked Sheila what she thought and she said it was okay. I told BIL2 I would go and he said he'd pick me up shortly.

Now, I had no idea what a pub was in the PI. I simply assumed it was like an Australian pub. A place to purchase drinks and relax amongst other patrons. How wrong I was. Sheila told me not to 'go with other girl'. I laughed at her and told her I had no interest to.

BIL2 picked me up in the tricycle with BIL1 onboard and off we went to the pub. The pub was in Sta Rosa but not too far from home. We turned off the main road and down a small dark road. The area seemed a little seedy and dark to me. We pulled up outside the pub which seemed like just another dark building front along this small street. As we entered I realised it was nothing like an Australian pub. Upon entering the small establishment lit by red lights, there was a cashier area on the right and the room had maybe four tables with seats around them. At the end of the left wall was a doorway leading off to a room with a white light in it. The left end of the back wall had a room leading off to what was the toilet which also had a white light. The right end of the back wall had another doorway with a red light emanating from it. In the middle of the back wall was a "videoke" machine.

Sitting down at the first table on the right I discovered the chairs were very uncomfortable. And our large group was crammed in quite tightly. BIL1, BIL2, Workmate1 (WM), WM2 and myself. We ordered San Miguel beers and settled in. The manager brought warm beers and a bucket of ice with glasses. Being a foreigner, I quickly told them no ice for me. I drank my first beer warm. Not something an Australian chooses to do under normal circumstances. From then on all my beers were brought to me cold. Every time the manager saw that the ice was running low he brought more. The boys never once had to ask for ice.

Once I had time to observe my surroundings fully, I noticed that there were a lot more women than men. While I pondered that thought, the manager approached me. He asked me if I would like a lady to sit with me. Now, keep in mind that I had not found Stickman's website prior to this trip. I was somewhat confused. I said "No, thank you", my confusion obviously written across my face: BIL1 told me I should. He then told me every woman in the place was a "whore"! I was shocked. Not only was I shocked that I was surrounded in whores, but simultaneously that Sheila had been fine with me coming here. Surely she knew what Filipino "pubs" were like?

I had never seen a whore before. I didn't know what one was supposed to look like. I couldn't help but notice they looked like normal, beautiful, Asian women. I had not envisioned what a whore should look like, only that they would be different to regular women. Quite probably a silly notion, but one I had held none the less. I was also told by BIL2 that the room on the right of the back wall was a bedroom. You could pay P1500 ($35 AUD) to have sex with the whores. I had not yet heard of bar fines or ST/LT and so did not enquire. Deciding to just go with the flow and enjoy myself, more San Miguel was in order. I quite enjoy this beer incidentally.

As the night wore on I saw men giving whores Peso coins which allowed them to go queue a song to sing. The women seemed to really enjoy the singing and some were quite good at it. I don't know if they got a cut from the profits from the videoke machine, but I wouldn't be surprised. Some of the men especially from my table also sang a lot of songs. WM1 was quite good at singing and urged me to sing, but I didn't want the pub to close. WM2 was a little rough, but the whores gave him lots of encouragement. BIL 1 & 2 do this as a regular thing and so are really good. WM1 left quite early.

We had told Sheila that we'd be home around midnight, but the BIL's had other plans which that hadn't informed me of. It was around midnight that the other patrons left, but we stayed. And it was only then that the whores got a lot more friendly. While the pub is busier the whores will come and sit on your lap, or beside you if you request, but after our group was alone they got a lot friendlier. Both BIL's had a whore in their laps. BIL2 was kissing his and having all sorts of fun. BIL1 held his girl and talked to her about who knows what. BIL2 is married, BIL1 in a serious relationship. Of course the events of the evening were just between us men, but that they encouraged me to do it too was a surprise. Particularly as Sheila's ex had been cheating on her and this is why the family were all mad at him, and why she had left him. Were the ladies attractive? Hell yes. One was a bit too 'big' for me, not quite as fat arsed as some Australian women, but big for Filipinas. I found one to be very attractive. She was 18 BIL2 told me. She had a beautiful size 6 figure. If I wanted one, she was the one. Most of the other girls were extremely attractive, this one just seemed to hit the mark for me.

The workmates left a little after midnight and then it was just three of us men and some eight or nine whores. Even at the busiest time there had only been about seven men. We drank a few more beers and it was 2AM before we got out of there. As we were leaving about four of the whores asked BIL2 in Tagalog, and then he translated, if they could kiss me. I refused. They then asked if they could hug me. I refused. I wasn't much fun! I know the boys wouldn't have told Sheila, but I couldn't do it anyway. For me it's not whether I'd be found out, but rather, would I want her doing it with other men. When you consider that both of us were single when we met because our partners cheated on us, it makes sense I think. Anyway, they seemed to pout about it while giving us our farewell. The whole night only cost P500 ($12 AUD) which BIL1 insisted on paying, although I did force him to take P100 before we left.

We arrived back at Nanay's house and BIL2 headed off to his house where his wife was waiting for him. BIL1 and myself went inside to go to bed. Sheila woke up as I came inside our room. I apologised for waking her and she said she thought I had gone with one of the girls. I asked if she had known there were whores there and she said "Of course, it's a pub…" I pondered this a while as I readied myself for bed and then as I laid down beside her I said "It doesn't matter where we get our appetite as long as we come home for dinner". She thought about that for a little and then smiled. And I did indeed have an appetite.

The family made no expectation of me for money. When I did spend money it was greatly appreciated. I bought a truck load of soil for Nanay to expand her potted garden and I paid the electricity bill. BIL2's daughter had a birthday and he was a little depressed because he couldn't afford to do anything for her birthday. Sheila and I hit NE Pacific, bought a birthday cake, alcohol, puluten and whatever else we could think of and turned up at their house with as many family members as we could find. A good night was had by all and my niece got a birthday party. She gave me a hug and a kiss for that.

The night before I was due to head back to Manila I arranged to have a drink at BIL4's house. With two cases of San Miguel, drinks for the ladies, a carton of smokes for the men and plenty of puluten it all came to about P1500 ($35 AUD). BIL1 also hired a videoke and everyone sat around drinking, eating and singing. It was a good night and was a great way to finish my time in Cabanatuan City.

The next morning we boarded a bus and returned to Manila. We checked in to the Nice Hotel a mere 50 metres or so from the Astro, again across the road from Pure Gold SM. It too seemed to be a short time hotel charging by the hour and cost about the same price. P1200 ($28 AUD) for twenty-four hours. This hotel had flushing toilets, my first in a few weeks. The hot water tap wasn't hot or even warm, but it was warmer than the cold water. The A/C was a great relief. Most of our time in the PI we carried small towels everywhere to wipe sweat off our heads and faces.

That afternoon, Sheila's eldest daughter met us in Pure Gold SM with her daughter. She led us to the entertainment area full of games. Sheila had her first daughter at a very young age and that daughter too had a daughter at a young age. I married a grandmother! I'm 33 years old. How can I be a grandfather!? Anyway, we spent a couple of hours there and the girls had a good time together. Sheila works outside the PI. So this was the first she had spent time with her family in two years. She works in a foreign country sending money home to feed her children. Hopefully we'll put an end to that very soon.

The next morning we all took a taxi to Rizal Park. Rizal is a national hero in the PI. Apparently he was assassinated at the location of the park named in his honour. There's a large statue of him there now and it is guarded by soldiers armed with traditional looking rifles with bayonets. I joked to Sheila that they guard his statue so rigorously to make up for their failing to guard him. Of course, she did not see the funny side. In all, we spent a few hours walking around the park. I read the stories on many of the statues, such as Lapu Lapu. It turns out that he and his men killed Magellan. Lapu Lapu was also the first Filipino to raise weapons against colonists too I believe.

We returned to the Nice Hotel and had fun just being alone together for the night. Shelia ordered countless snacks from room service. Have you ever noticed how much food Filipino people eat? I swear it is constant. How they don't all get fat I will never know. They can easily eat five meals in a day with rice and then several snacks between. I couldn't do it. I could not consume the amount of food they could. And I wished I could. So much delicious food and not enough time to enjoy it all. Although they do eat some things I will not. Pork blood stew for example. Just looking at it was more than I could handle.

At one point I had decided to try to find something other than rice for the family to eat for breakfast. A lady came past selling pandasals (small bread buns). I bought fifty of these so the whole family could have some. I felt clever. I had found a way to avoid eating rice for breakfast. The entire family was pleased. They had something to go with their rice. I felt a little disappointed, but decided I would find something else. A few days later a woman passed selling peanut butter. That's it! I bought two jars of peanut butter and waited for the pandasal lady. She arrived and I bought another fifty pandasals. Right. peanut butter on pandasals! The entire family was pleased. They had something to go with their rice. I was defeated. There was no deviating them from rice even for one meal. Not even peanut butter and bread. At least they enjoyed their peanut butter, bread and rice breakfast.

I had found in Sheila the perfect wife for myself. We fit together just perfectly. She was sweet beyond anything I could have imagined. Her sexual appetite is ravenous. She had only ever had missionary sex before meeting me, but was eager to learn and nothing was out of bounds. I don't know if all Asian women have higher sexual interest than their Western counterparts, but I had heard as much, and my experience has showed me as much. None of that using sex as a tool business. In the fifteen years I was with my ex wife, though she never once said "no", but she showed no interest and never once came to me for sex. At one time I had stopped going to her for sex to see how long before she'd come to me. Three months later I went to her. Sheila very openly lets me know when she wants it, and I love it. I'm not only basing that on the three weeks we had together in the PI either. Even when we're apart on the internet she wants cybersex regularly.

Sheila came to the airport with me the next afternoon. I did not want to leave her. I was almost in tears holding her in my arms waiting to enter the airport. 18 hours later I was back at home. Almost immediately I felt depressed and wanted to be back in the PI. I missed Sheila of course. I also missed her family. My ex wife's family never made me feel welcome. They never made me feel like part of the family. I felt like I belonged with Sheila's family immediately after meeting them. Being back at home, alone, I missed them all. After I get Sheila settled in Australia I think I would like to go back to the PI regularly to visit.

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Stickman's thoughts:

Very nice to read indeed.

Good luck on getting her down to Australia.

nana plaza