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Our House and Lot in the Philippines

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My wife, Josie, and I had a contractor build our house in 2006. The only things that were completely finished that year was the house itself and the riprap walls on two sides of the lot. So far, it has survived dozens of tropical storms, including multiple typhoons, and multiple earthquakes. Over the course of more than 15 years, we've completed a few home improvements, replaced a few things and repaired a few things. Our house is in pretty good shape, all things considered. Building the House As I mentioned when I wrote about Olongapo being my retirement home , we already owned the lot we built the house on. Originally, we bought the lot for one reason: To keep people from building anything between the creek and our other lot. When we moved to the Philippines in 2006, we wanted to buy a house and lot somewhere else in Olongapo. We spent more than a month looking around, and we only found a few we liked. Of those we liked, most were overpriced. The others were pawned by their

My Raspberry Pi 400 Desktop Computer

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A Raspberry Pi 400 desktop computer is my newest computer. I've owned several desktop computers and several laptop computers since I got into IBM-PC compatible computers in 1994. Most of them became obsolete long before they wore out. I still have the laptop computer I'm currently using (obviously) as well as another with similar specifications sitting in the master bedroom of my house in the Philippines. When I bought this one in 2018, I sent the other one home with other things in a balikbayan box . The Raspberry Pi and Other Single Board Computers I noticed the Raspberry Pi single board computers when I was researching alternative computing platforms in 2019. There were choices I hadn't considered before. I found mini-computers and stick computers among them. The mini computers came with no peripherals and weren't as inexpensive as they should have been. The stick computers didn't seem to have enough memory or power to do what they were designed to do, at leas

Fat-burning Foods and Catabolic Foods

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Some fat-burning foods are better than others. According to some people, there isn't any science behind the myth of catabolic and negative calorie foods. Well, there is, but not from the perspective that's usually presented when you read about it at various websites. Thermogenics is where it's at, and Health.com can probably explain it better than I can. The Catabolic Foods Myth It's not really a myth. It's just hard to comprehend when you want to deal with hard, numerical facts. Each person burns a certain amount of calories per day, and anything less is going to cause you to burn the fat you have stored in your body. The number of calories per day that you normally burn is going to change depending on how active you are and how fast your body metabolizes what you've eaten. Let's suppose you burn 2000 calories per day. That means you need to burn 125 calories per hour if you stay awake for 16 hours per day. Sure, you burn calories when you sleep, but

Junior and Senior Proms in the Philippines

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Are there junior and senior proms in the Philippines? Yes, and that's exactly what they're called in the Philippines. I know this because I paid for a cousin's tuxedo rental in 2008 and a nephew's junior prom in 2013. It doesn't make sense to call them junior and senior proms in the Philippines, of course, because they refer to high school years by year numbers. It's even more confusing now that high school includes two more years. The "Prom" in Junior and Senior Proms is Short for Promenade A lot of people know the junior and senior proms as formal dances, but they have no idea that prom is short for promenade. Promenade has a few meanings, but the short form is specific to the formal dance at the end of an academic year. It's called other things in other places, but the Philippines uses the same terms used in the United States for things like this. I graduated from high school more than four decades ago. I didn't attend the junior and se

Drumstick Tree is English for Malunggay in the Philippines

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The Filipino word for the drumstick tree is malunggay . It's called by other names in other places. I never saw it sold in the United States until I spent time on Oahu in Hawaii. It seems like it grows wild in the Philippines, like a weed, but it doesn't. The reason it's seen so much is that people spill seeds from the seed pods everywhere when they're eating. It doesn't take long for the seeds to take root in a tropical climate. The name of this species of plant is Moringa oleifera . The English name is "drumstick tree" according to Wikipedia, but I've never heard it called that anywhere. I've heard it called "moringa" in some places. The Drumstick Tree I'm sure you can find it in some Asian markets, but I doubt it'll be called "drumstick" anything. If you live in a place where it can grow (not in the cold areas of the country, frost and snow will kill it), you're probably better off growing your own. That is, i

Warehouse Club Stores in the Philippines

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I'm familiar with warehouse club stores, even if I don't want to be. My first experience with one was unusual, to say the least. My first 13 years of life were in a small city. The biggest grocery store was Safeway, and I can't even remember the name of the biggest department store. There was only one franchise store in the city that I can remember, Dairy Queen. And it only served ice cream. Times have definitely changed. Warehouse Club Stores in the United States My first experience was a Gemco somewhere near the base I was stationed at in San Diego, California. Two of us went there and as we were trying to enter the store, the security guard asked to see our membership cards. It took a few minutes of explanations to get us to understand what we were dealing with. Luckily, membership cards were only a dollar, and we could get them somewhere near the front of the store. That was the first and the last time I paid for a membership card. Other warehouse club stores have

Street Food and Street Vendors in Olongapo, Philippines

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Despite what you may hear from other foreigners, some street food in Olongapo is as good as what you would find at any American backyard barbecue. I'm being generous. There's probably more food to avoid than not. Various Kinds of Street Food I can't tell you about all about the street food, only what I've observed being sold. And that's only in places very close to my house in Olongapo. I don't actively seek any of it out. I only know what I know from my experiences in a few different areas, all in Olongapo. Still, I can't name some things I've seen. I never buy anything for myself from street vendors, but others in my extended family do. Chickens and Chicken Parts Filipinos won't let any part of the chicken go to waste, except for the feathers. They use every other part in some type of dish. We (me and my wife, Josie) buy barbecued chicken from various neighborhoods near us. I'll eat chicken legs, thighs, wings and breasts. I won't eat