Monthly Archives: June 2014

World Cup Fever

FIFA World Cup 2014
I really should have put this out earlier but I’ve been busy lately. I’ve said it before that research is not my strength and trying to find out where expats or Filipinos for that matter can watch the World Cup from Brazil has not been an easy task. On top of that, I’m about as technical as a caveman and I really don’t know how to explain about streaming online, etc. so I will just assume your cleverer than me with all that side of things and will keep this simple. Live streams are available but I’m about as much use as a fish to mend your car when it comes to explaining how it works.

One of the tragedies of being in a nation that is not much into football means that it’s not easy finding somewhere to watch the games. It’s especially more difficult when the host nation, Brazil is 11 hours behind the Philippines, meaning the games are from midnight to the early hours of the morning.

For everyone’s benefit, the FIFA World Cup website provides a full schedule of the games and kick off times locally. As you can see, this is a World Cup for the nocturnal if you are in the Philippines.

I hoped that I would have found a list online of bars and venues throughout the Philippines where you can watch the games but I’ve had little time to find any such lists and I don’t have the resources to search the nation for places to watch.
Check out any sports bars or expat bars in your area. I hope readers will provide more information as to where people can watch the game and I will update the list as I receive the information.

TV Coverage

First of all, just in case anyone doesn’t know already, Balls Channel is covering every game. The last match of the group games where they play simultaneously will show a delayed version of one match and the other game live. Balls is a sports cable channel which is subscription based so check with your provider to have it added to your viewing access.

Another option available for Sky Cable subscribers is a pay per view option.

If you’re coming to the Philippines during the World Cup, be sure to check with the hotel where you plan to stay that they have coverage available; if not, book another hotel that offers full coverage in your room.

Places To Watch the World Cup

Many like to soak up the atmosphere by watching it live with others. As there are people here from all over the world, it should be a cosmopolitan affair. Information has not been easy to find for venues covering the World Cup outside of Metro Manila. Sorry I can’t be of more help but I suggest you search for sports bars in your location and give them a call.

If anyone can inform me of places I haven’t mentioned whether in Metro Manila or any province then give me as much information as possible and I will add it to the list. The places I have found so far that seem to be covering the World Cup are as follows:

H & J Sports Bar

Felipe St.
(02) 954 1130

Skinny Mike’s Sports Bar

32nd St. corner Justice Drive
Bonifacio Global City
(02) 551 1853


8471 Kalayaan Avenue
Makati City
(02) 897 3335


31 Polaris Street
Bel-Air Village
Makati City
(02) 898 2189

Union Jack Tavern

2nd Level, Festival Supermall
Muntinlupa City
(02) 850 3739
(It was suggested to me by the management to make reservations before you attend as they need to obtain permits.)

Gweilos Bar & Restaurant

Eastwood City Walk 1, E Rodriguez Jr Ave.
Quezon City
(02) 421 2283

Mario’s Kitchen

1st Floor, The Exchange Regency Hotel
Exchange Road corner Jade Drive
Brgy. San Antonio
Ortigas Center
(02) 425 3695

Mario’s Kitchen

G/F F&M Lopez II Bldg
109 Palanca St.
Legazpi Village
(02) 584 2945

Snap Sports Bar

CCP Complex
Roxas Boulevard
Pasay City
1300 Metro Manila
(02) 832 6993


Crafty’s Rooftop Bar and Restaraunt

Station 2 Main Road 
(Above Crafts of Boracay Supermarket) 
(036) 288 6857

Rumbas Sports Bar & Restaurant

(showing the England Matches that start at 12 Midnight)
D’mall Station 2
Boracay Island
(036) 288 5971

I would say that if you’re in the English-speaking republic of Makati, then you’re going to be well-served with choices as to where to watch games. In the provinces, it may be another matter.

The timings of the games suggest it is not going to be easy with games going on between midnight and 9 AM here. Many places would need special permits for extensions to their usual bar hours so always call first.

Even with the places I have listed here, always call before you go as I’m sure in certain cases they may not be open so check to save yourself a wasted journey and potentially missing the games.

This could be the best World Cup ever and one I’m sure many would not want to miss. Brazil is the Mecca of football fans the world over. The music and culture of Brazil will add flavour to the most exciting sports event on earth I’m sure. Enjoy.


Leave a comment

Filed under Philippine Football, Sports


Rivermaya4Whilst the mainstream of the Filipino music scene continued to suck throughout the 90’s, an innovation called Rivermaya was happening. Speaking as someone who just got to know them by hearing a few tracks, I’m not qualified to describe the complex changing of members. Over the years they have had more ins and outs than the pre-season transfer market in the premier league.

However, the information is out there so you can keep track of the comings and goings if you care enough. I tried to follow it; I had to lie down after as it appears that they have kept going in various formats to the extent that many believe it’s time to stop. Later day Rivermaya sadly seem to be as much a tribute to the name Rivermaya but the substance has gone long before.

However, their most formative years were the earlier days. I’m here to introduce to outsiders another side of the Philippines which of course includes Filipino music and I really can’t be bothered to be a rock journalist.

Rivermaya3I will just leave it to other sources to map out the history of Rivermaya for you. Discover them for yourselves with a few suggestions from a time when they had Rico Blanco, who was the chief composer and possibly the most relevant member.

I think of all the Filipino bands I’ve come to hear in my time exploring local music in this country, Rivermaya has caught my ear as among the most original. I hear the British influence very clearly but I always found they had enough of themselves in the music to still call it unique.

The brilliance of Rico Blanco is obvious and I shall be featuring his marvelous solo work in another piece.

The musical revolution is still slowly moving forward. Bands like Rivermaya helped to set it on course. Of all the bands I’ve heard here, Rivermaya is among my favourites.

Many say that without Rico Blanco or Bamboo Mañalac, it isn’t Rivermaya anymore. They are nothing like as big now as they were in the mid 90’s up to mid 2000’s. Maybe it is time to stop now as the era highlighted here has left its stamp as being Rivermaya and no later line up using the name was ever going to make much of an impression following them.


Photo Credit:

You’ll be Safe Here

241 (My Favorite Song)


A Love to Share

1 Comment

Filed under Manila, Philippine Music

Road to Recovery

As this is to be my last post about my first trip to Catigan, I think I need to explain my approach. It’s hardly compulsive reading for some I know. While writing it, I was very conscious of that. It’s some fat English geezer playing native, I’m sure has come to some readers minds. Well, I was there for my own reasons, I didn’t go seeking a story, and I’m not from the BBC giving a report or making a documentary. I’m an amateur blogger with a cell phone for a camera. I came to spend time with my kids and all I can write about is how it was from where I was sitting. Sorry, if I haven’t interviewed tribal elders or videoed native dances but I never saw any.

It’s been largely about me. The reason I have approached this recent series of 7 articles in this manner is because all I can realistically do is relate it to my adaptation and experiences for whatever reason I was there. I cannot write through the eyes of a local as I’m not a local.

My blog is an attempt to create an alternative insight based on my limited experiences and relate it to other foreigners who are curious about life here. I found myself in Catigan and had no wish or intention to make it this personal, but I could not see any other way to credibly write it. So having justified my mundane approach, I will continue.

After leaving the hospital, I went home in a legal sidecar. Had no choice, it was late and nothing else available so 180 peso later I’m dropped at the end of the path. Every pothole, of which there are many, made the sidecar shake, rattle and roll and where as normally I would hardly notice it, after the accident, every movement felt like I was being hit with an iron bar.

After being dropped to where sidecars could go no further, I had a 20-minute walk to the house down a bumpy path. Fortunately, it was a dry night and although pitch black, I didn’t have the concern of having to negotiate its treacherous nature when wet. If it had rained that night, I simply wouldn’t have made it home as I could not bear the pain of a fall in my current condition. 


The Walk Home When Wet

Walking was agony too, although not as bad as the sidecar ride. Eventually, I made it home and then it started to hurt. 

Poorly Equipped For Recovery

I had a day’s worth of medication for pain and anti- biotic as that’s all I could afford at the time and settled down to recover. It soon became apparent that I couldn’t lie down which is all I wanted to do but I couldn’t. I slept in a plastic chair as that was as comfortable as I could get. Over the next few days, I just felt worse as the agony set in and became a prolonged and difficult time.

I couldn’t dress, wash, use my beloved toilet and above all, I simply couldn’t rest properly which was what my aching body was crying out for. I was better standing and could walk but with great pain and extremely slowly. After many hours, I decided to force myself down so I could rest. I was in agony. It took me around 10 minutes to get down on one knee and I became simply stuck there unable to get back up or lie down. When helped, I had to ask to be left to do it myself as any pull in the wrong direction was agony. It was pain like I’d never known before and I managed it by simply gritting my teeth and forcing myself through the pain barrier and eventually, I made it onto the hard wooden floor which was my bed and rested. It took me around an hour to get down there. Little did I know at the time that getting up was going to be a whole heap worse.

Money being so tight I could only afford to complete the course of antibiotics and had to suffer the pain as painkillers was an extra expense I couldn’t afford, but I knew the antibiotics was crucial to my well being. They weren’t cheap. I used mefenamic acid for a painkiller as it was inexpensive but it wasn’t really helping as much as I would have liked.

Other injuries came to light, one of which was a broken tooth which was giving me as much agony as the other injuries and I was having one hell of a bad time. I was totally helpless for around a week. As time went on, I kept pushing myself and eventually was able to stand from a lying position and I started walking round the locality gingerly which I felt at the time was my best way to fight back against the injuries and pain. By this time, the locals had worked out I had no money therefore I had no friendly morale boosting visits.

My kids kept looking at me sympathetically and pointing to my wounds and saying “Yayay Daddy” and I could only reply “yes, yayay”. I can’t find anything online that confirms this as a childlike Visayan word for hurt, but that seems to be the meaning of it with my kids.

I am not complaining too much about the hospital as they are just a part of the system. It is not the fault of the private hospital system that this country cannot protect its poor. It wasn’t nice to be put in the situation I was in and I’m sure many will unkindly be thinking that as I’m a foreigner then I should be left to suffer anyway if I have no money. Unfortunately, that does seem to be the thinking with some here.

Equality of Poverty

If they treat me that way due to lack of money I can only surmise that that’s how a poor Filipino is treated, too. As I pointed out in Crash, it may have been another matter had my injuries been life threatening, I have no way of knowing. However, I cannot understand the logic of one public hospital only in a huge city like Davao. The difficulties of living in a place like Catigan became increasingly obvious.From all the research I have done, it would seem that Davao Medical Center is the only public hospital in Davao but it must be said also that it has an excellent reputation.

It then got me to thinking, what if one of my sons was bitten by a venomous snake. What happens? It would take about an hour to get a sidecar or bike most likely and that’s after carrying them for 20 to 30 minutes to where you can find a bike.

I see the problems due to remoteness and geography; it became all too clear that getting sick in a place like Catigan was not a good position to be in.

Not much happened due to my condition over the course of my last month. I was in the same flip flops as millions perhaps throughout the Philippines. I had no money left as my income was cut off. Public hospital was an option it must be said, but so far when you’re not fit to travel.

Tortured by Professionals

My tooth had developed an abyss which was causing me agony. I couldn’t simply grin and bear it, I was in a lot of pain. I was expecting treatment for my abyss before any thought of pulling a tooth. However, the dentist had dollar and pound signs in his eyes when he saw a foreigner and he had other ideas. I asked him not to stick his poking stick into the tooth affected as it was agony. Within 12 seconds of me saying it he pushed it in hard and it made me almost jump right out the chair and hit the ceiling. I thought for a minute I was in a scene from Marathon Man He wasn’t even listening to me although he spoke perfect English. He was going on and on about how much he would charge me to clean my teeth and then proceeded to try and pull the tooth which I had already told him was too painful to be touched.

I listened as he told me he will pull it easy; I foolishly agreed to let him try. The abyss really needed to be treated first. He kept telling me I was a baby and I should just endure it. He gave me around 5 injections of Novocaine in all and after each attempt it was agony and he still would not give up till I said “no more, stop now.”

It’s hard to say what his motive was as I told him again and again I had little money. By the way, he was telling me how badly I need a whitening clean for my teeth and to book it for the future. I got the feeling he wasn’t listening, and if he was, he didn’t believe me.

He was like a mad man and he charged me plenty of money for my torture. Every Novocaine injection, he obviously charged me for. He wanted the extra 400 pesos which would have been the charge had he managed to successfully pull it. Each shot of Novocaine was a separate charge. It was hard to believe how much he salivated over my perceived money even to the extent that he was prepared to give me agony to get his hands on a little of it. I can only speculate but sometimes being seen as rich when you don’t have money makes that poverty all the harder to bear.

I didn’t care if my teeth were purple. No amount of Novocaine was ever going to numb the pain and I left as quickly as I could. I’m not a softy, believe me. This was an almost surreal experience for me. It felt like a date with Jeffrey Dahmer.

Worse part was I had let myself get talked into being tortured. I kept telling him it was no good, it was too painful; he was like a dentist possessed. I was too messed up by the experience to simply take my mouth to another dentist besides he had had the last of my available cash at the time.

I believe, in his mind, no matter how much pulling that tooth was going to hurt me with an abyss under it, he wanted it removed so we could move onto the next stage which would have been to have my teeth gleaming like pearls which naturally, as a foreigner, I could afford. Professionals can often be the worse examples of greed in this country.

Sensing that my ribs may be cracked and my shoulder damaged, I went around Toril enquiring about the price of x-rays. They weren’t hugely expensive but I just so happened to have virtually nothing at this time. It was food for the kids or x-ray. Obviously, it was no contest so I went home just to pray things will heal themselves.

I improved, got most of my mobility back and had no further treatment. I still don’t know if I had cracked a rib. People tell me since the accident, my ribcage had become just a little out of shape. It was a simple case of no money, I had to just go on. It took around four months to recover and I still have clicking sensations in my rib and occasional shoulder pain. I have no idea what damage there is but I’m ok now.

I’m sure millions of people here have felt that awful feeling of helplessness that comes with having no money.

I recovered and went back to Cavite where I had come from and fully recovered there with a toilet, cold shower and a bed to lie on. Heaven, I needed my city softy convenience to recover from what was a very nasty accident from which I have to say,I was very, very lucky and proud of myself for enduring it even though it wasn’t really through choice.

A month after the accident, I left Catigan and all my new found fitness didn’t really seem relevant anymore. However, I believe having lost weight and having eaten so well on fresh vegetables and fruits, my body was better equipped to recover from the injuries.

I went back to the city and for a few months lived the easy life again. I was only just getting to the stage where I was actually learning about how people live in Catigan. To learn more I would have to return.

I watched, listened but didn’t learn much at all as I was so caught up in adapting to notice others' lives. Events hampered my education and I would return a few months later to try again having my health back and a little wiser as to how people live outside of the city.So it was sad farewells to my boys but I vowed to return. Next time, I would actually learn something.

So what’s the point in telling you all this? Well, if I was a Filipino telling you how life was so different for me in a new environment, I’m not sure anyone would be interested. I guess the thinking may be, well, you’re a Filipino that’s what your used to so what’s to talk about. Well, as a foreigner, I relate this story of adaptation and people are curious because I’m a foreigner. That’s a shame because I was playing at it in some respects, these people or some of them are treated like this every day. It’s not malice, just simply lack of facilities and when you're incapacitated, being in a place like Catigan makes everything seem so far away.

By the time I was well enough to travel to public hospital many miles away on a jeepney, I was not in so much need of any help.

Yes, I had briefly lived in a little paradise. However, the conditions and problems of living in paradise were all too obvious, especially when you don’t have money, which applies to most in this community. So my mundane tale of 4 months in Catigan is for a reason. So you have shared how it was for me over these 7 articles. Do many question how it is for millions of others?

Leave a comment

Filed under Impressions, Philippines, Travel