Welcome! I'm Brad, a retired American high school teacher who has been living in Cabanatuan City, the Philippines two and a half years. My adoptive/adopted Filipino family, the Javier-Aldonza-Guevarra-Academia clan, as well as the kind staff at the hotel where I live, have been friends and helpmates to me during this time; thanks to them for letting me describe here their trials, successes, heartaches, celebrations, passions, so that American readers can get an idea of Filipino life. It has, for the most part, been a very enjoyable stay. I'll post at least once a week. Tap the lower floors above for earlier posts, and, as ever, click the pics to embiggen them!

Gully washer from the front porch.


Rain Wash Over Us

A huge churning low to the west of the islands is pulling up wet weather. The Cabanatuan sky this morning was a study in light and dark grays; now the rain is falling in sheets. Deep rumblings of thunder to the south.

My low-grade fever and headaches departed two days ago, and the cough is now manageable. Probably just a tropical bug against which I hadn't yet grown adequate defenses. If it was COVID, the virus certainly didn't take to me the way it took to Jeff. Jeff, by the way, has lost his cough and was feeling fine when I spoke with him Monday morning.

 The rainy season lasts from June to the first part of October in the Philippines. Actual rain occurs mainly just in the afternoons and evenings, and it makes an appearance not every day but most days. Not surprisingly, these are the months when incidences of illness climb: respiratory infections, stomach bugs, dengue, vague malaises. COVID of course has only increased the sense that an assault on the body may be lying in wait around the next corner.

Governor Benjamin Diokno, head of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, believes that "the worst is over," with regard to COVID in the country, according to a piece in the Manila Times today. I punched up the worldometer stats for the Philippines, found no sign of a flattening of the "active cases" curve. The number of active cases is a little over 60,000, the number of deaths a little over 2,000. American readers, you cannot be much impressed by those numbers, I know, but here they have everyone's attention.

Up in San Jose City today: Lara with Cousin Zoey, Larry and Lori's newest grandchild.

And, over in Murca . . . well, Republicans finally put something on the table in the way of COVID relief. And House Speaker Pelosi's characterization of this HEALS Act as "pathetic" seems about right to me. It does not extend the eviction moratorium, and it lowers the unemployment assistance currently offered -- so as not to disincentivise a return to work, Republicans blithely explain. Truly, $600 a week does not go very far in most parts of the U.S. Now it is "too much"? And you're willing to let millions of Americans become homeless with cold weather not very far away?

One hopes the Democrats will be able to win important concessions before the bill goes to the White House.

Find ealier posts on the 4th Floor!