I'm just a small fish in a small corner of this big Laguna, and this is how I've been swimming it

20 January, 2013

Coconut Water

   People walk by and look up. They stare at these. I cannot understand what they say to each other in their languages. The man I handed one to early this year (after he stood there with his kid, staring), has been passing by and looking again. Well, they CAN buy it at the market, but somehow, sharing with neighbors is more fun.

  The sound can tickle your bladder.  Just as drinking this will.  It hydrates so refreshingly and clears the urinary tract.  We are lucky to have it fresh.  I know it's convenient, but honestly, coconut water preserved in tetra packs doesn't cut it for me. I suspect many feel the same and that's why I often see the shelf full.  I mean, we're in Laguna! How are you doing, beverage bottling company?

Cool Sunday evening, Warm Bulalo

Santa Rosa-Tagaytay highway, 6 pm, approximately 21 degrees celsius.

We hardly cook or eat beef and pork.  We can, and do, however, enjoy it once in a while.  We can, and did, walk from home and back.  In the current weather walking around these parts is...a breeze. (pardon that!)

19 January, 2013

Hiring a housekeeper

     I shouldn't tease. After all, this is one of the most difficult things to do and I don't even have the right solution.  I will just speak from my experiences in this area.

   Lately I have been meeting more and more locals, mothers like myself who have chosen to live without a live-in helper.  We thus hire 'part-timers'.  The woman who offered her services to me, for example,  struck a deal with her solo businessman employer for her to get 'sideline' jobs.  He didn't require her to hang around the house anyway, and he encouraged her to get the other jobs in order to earn more and keep sane. 

   So there is a category of helpers here who are hired by companies to keep house on a live-out basis for their expat staff.  A helper can be minding up to 5 houses in one village per contract.   Of course that also depends on how many men actually live in one house.  It is also her choice how many houses to take on. Mostly the tasks are just cleaning, laundry and ironing.  There is a little bit of cooking.  There are two sub-categories.  There is the helper who lives in one of the staff houses and takes care of around three. There is the helper who lives in the barangay and thus gets to be with her children.  In most of my friends'opinions this seems a good situation for many of the women as they do not have to leave their children.  They can go to school while she works nearby.  Sadly, most of those I've met have 3 to 5 children just one year apart.  Most of them also claim their husbands either do not earn much or are not employed.

   I've also just recently learned that the tricycle fare from say, the Caltex gas station at the corner of the highway and Laguna blvd, to the barangay Inchican in Silang (towards Westgrove) costs Php 70 per head, in a shared tricycle.   So most of the workers walk home.   This is not a far distance, and we wonder if it has to do with the fact that the road traversed is within the Laguna Technopark's jurisdiction.

15 January, 2013

Pics from Months Past for Moments Present

  Simple things to enjoy here while it's still slightly suburban. It isn't, but versus Muntinlupa...you get it.

     Enter Malitlit, Santa Rosa, through the empty Eton toll exit in the golden hour just before the sun sets.
      Have sushi and ramen at Ippon Yari.

     With your favorite beer or even sake of course.

Back to the Bad Men--A HOAX!

  Okay so the next day I learned from the helper next door that this helper is gone. She talked too much, she said. I pressed and let on about what I thought I knew based on what she said, and she brushed it off...the helper was indeed nutty and made up that camera story.  This neighbor's helper said although she didn't want to, entered the bathroom upon the nutty one's pleading.  So she inspected the hole.  She says it is nothing more than a hole through which a hook or screw must have been inserted, and there was nothing inside. Besides, she said, it would be too difficult to install something with wiring just through that hole. There was no other opening in the ceiling.

  I'll just post something about hiring help around these parts.

  Unbelievable. Am I really going to, in the new year, go back to one of my earlier posts about the indiscretions of expatriate Asian men around my area? I have turned a blind eye to the quality of many women around--to the depths they've sunk (with regard to what they are really after and how they get it).  I have avoided any eye contact with the men living in company staff houses, having known my neighbor to be indecent. I have been opening myself only to the decent mothers and  young people, ignoring frequent sightings of the obviously skanky.  And now this. Well, maybe it's actually a candle--a signal that morality and decency still are alive where you do not expect them.

    A helper nearby--I'll call her Gracia--feels comfy enough to converse with me after having purchased something from my garage sale once a couple months ago.  Well, it's she who mostly does the talking. She often mentioned her singing at the church choir.  Once, my helper muttered to me that this helper has a screw loose (may sayad daw).  After hearing that, my perception of her did change--although a seemingly decent and very nice person, I did notice an other-worldliness.  Her moods for example, were a bit unpredictable. Sweet smile one day, ignoring me the next.  Ah but then aren't most women this way...   However she would talk again and again about her being in the church choir. 

    Anyway I often see her strolling in the evening.  On the morning of one such night, she was seated on the same park bench she was on the night before, wearing the same outfit, which was not a uniform.  Of all the people to hear what she had to say again, it had to be me. As I walked past, she asked me seriously if I knew about "videos...small, tiny video cameras".  As in cctv, webcams, that sort of thing.  She then showed me a photo on her phone of a hole roughly bored through her bathroom's ceiling.  Her employers had installed a "Christmas-light-like" object with a wire in there, she claimed. I instantly pitied her, but also challenged her with some skepticism.  Just to put things in perspective---did she actually see the gadget? Does it light up? Is there a room where they can view what that 'camera' captures?  Do they view porn? Do they get drunk?

     To all these, she answered, yes. She said there IS a room which remains locked, which they never let her clean.  She says there is a computer in there. She said she has seen their dirty magazines where women are so extremely exposed.  She said they often bring home prostitutes. She said they drink, try to convince her to drink, and get drunk. She also said they have offered her money should she need it (implying that there is extra work). 

     She then launched into a tirade of rhetorical questions:  Did they really think all women are easy? Aren't they satisfied with all the women they bring home and pay? Did they think just throwing money at her will make her succumb?  She also said her other employer, from another Asian country, once tried to kiss her.  So this is where it gets a little wild.

     Not that it's too wild an idea for these men, who live with other male colleagues in one home, to engage in all their perversions.  But for this one helper to accuse two different employers in two different homes in the area just makes her credibility suspect.  And while I know face and physical form usually do not have much to do with being a target for this kind of harrassment, I have to say this helper does not have the figure nor face for it.
Anyway, I was ready to offer her some duct tape to cover the hole. And maybe paint for the 'camera'.

    So she called the cops on her employers but the police say they can do nothing until they find an actual video of her being circulated.  She called the security on them, along with the company's coordinator, who hired her in the first place.  The men have of course denied the allegations.  They have ordered her to clean the 'locked' room, to prove there is nothing related to any 'spy cam' as she called it.  And, they have denied her request to resign before they find a replacement.  They are also apparently concerned about being unable to find another house to rent, after being accused. 

    Of course I'm still not 100% sure about what's going on. After all, I've only heard from her.  Was there really a camera anyway?  I'm not sure I want to know any more.  I'm curious to know about who owns the house.  

    So, does she have a screw loose? Maybe. What would she gain by making up something like this? Nothing.  So I am believing her story, it's safer to help her out with advice than to just shrug it off as her being nuts.  I hope she does get to leave very soon. It's not a very safe position to be in.  I know past helpers of other drunk bastards in the neighborhood would either lock themselves in their rooms to keep safe; behave like mothers and scold their employers; or just quit.

    Well, hello 2013, and sorry. The aim was to blog again (obviously been scarce) about developing life in this City of Santa Rosa and not gossip about its social ills.  I guess, like in most cities and in one of its many villages, there is this dark side despite manicured lawns, flowering trees and screaming children.   It's the real world after all.  As I said, maybe this helper, with all her talk of the church choir, and with a reputation for being crazy (which good people are often branded as), is actually a candle.  And it's just another day in "Wisteria Lane".