Thursday, October 22, 2009


What a difference a day makes. Last night at this time I was feeling miserable; something I ate or drank got the best of me. Luckily the prescription the doctor sent with me seems to have done the job: I felt good enough to eat this evening and so far so good. Maralee read somewhere that 80% of travelers to the Philippines experience some level of sickness, so you can add me to the majority.

Tuesday night our team was treated to an evening at a local real estate developers home. It was quite a palace in a gated neighborhood. This was probably the nicest home I have ever visited as a guest: an elegant Asian-style home made from exquisite materials throughout. The dining room floor was rimmed with a pool filled with fish--to enter you cross a small bridge. The walls of the large sitting room in the back opened completely to create a wonderful atmosphere. However, there were a couple things that made me a bit uncomfortable during the visit. As we drove up one of the first things you see is a guard with a machine gun in hand. I was also unaccustomed to having so many hired people in the home to help with the arrangements.

The husband, Charles, is a member of an organization named BNEFIT our team is working with that is working to promote more IT jobs in the area. He has plans to build a huge office park with retail, residential and office space; even plans for a large convention center. He shared the plans with us while we were there--quite a vision considering the general business environment here in Bacolod.

After enjoying an evening of hospitality and a wonderful dinner, we headed back to our hotel. Of course, I couldn't help but think of the huge contrast displayed by this experience. Each day as we walk the streets outside of the gated community we see so many people with nothing in homes that look like they will collapse with a strong wind. It's a different world.

I hope Charles is successful in his plans for the business park. Certainly that would significantly add to his wealth; however, it would also bring many good paying jobs to the city. It takes people with vision and aspirations like Charles to help bring a new level of prosperity to Bacolod.

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