There are four threads in the Jake Universe.
You are about to read one of those that deals mostly, but not completely, with the Philippines.
Though the first three, (The Jake's Journals,) start identically, events move each thread in a radically different direction. This version is identical to version “close to home” through half of the first chapter. I have placed a <Split>where they diverge. It is identical to The Philippines – Joyfully until the <Split-2>. By the end of chapter 1, you are in a completely different story.]
There is nothing innocent about me, or what happened to me. I make no apologies for my choices or the results.
I was divorced for the third time in my life in 2003. I am not proud of that. Sad is the best way to describe it. Three times divorced is not a record any man should strive to achieve.
My first marriage was a fool's errand. I was 18 and she was 17 and pregnant. She - we - got pregnant in July. We were married in October, the nineteenth to be exact, and our son was born in May. By the time he was eight months old, she was gone and so was my son. What happened? Hell, I'd be lying if I told you that my memories were accurate. I have told the story so many times that I no longer know what is true and what's invention. All I can be sure of is that she ran away with a drummer from a rock band. After all these years, I still remember his name. I will keep his last name from these pages – but his first name was Kenny. Within the year of her leaving me, we were divorced. That was in Vermont. I was twenty when I got the final divorce judgment. All I can say is that over the years, my assessment that she was clinically nuts seems to have been borne out.
It would be eleven years before I married again.
I had some short-term girlfriends in those long years, but for the most part I was alone. There were a few intense relationships, each lasting about a year. Between each, there were years of true celibacy. I never learned to play the field or date casually. I was either playing with all my chips on the table or I was sitting it out completely. During those celibate years I would wonder if my fate was to be married to my right hand for the rest of my life. The failed marriage had left me feeling that I was not desirable; that I was incapable of attracting a truly desirable woman. Most of my relationships were with damaged women who had little to give me, and no way to grow into a healthy relationship. Why were they damaged? The reasons varied, but the fact is that I sought them out. I figured that with them I had a chance of getting lucky for a day or two. I didn't give myself a chance with women who weren't damaged. I didn't try. Or ... you could say with some honesty, I didn't know how. In all honesty, maybe I still don't.
My second marriage lasted exactly thirteen years. The divorce was granted by the court on our wedding anniversary. (The odds are 364:1 and considering 365 random things probably happen each day, it's not as unlikely as you might think.) There were a few days of good marriage, followed by twelve years of hell. For the last few years we slept in separate rooms and lived separate lives. I finally swallowed my pride/shame and admitted defeat. I left the marriage because it was the only sane thing left to do. It was that or continuing to live with a woman who had a hard time distinguishing her funds from the funds of others. Her first embezzlement had cost me in the end about ninety thousand dollars. When I left the marriage she was playing fast and loose with federal funds and I wanted no part of it. The judge didn't believe me and pounded me in the divorce decree.
Five years later, I married again. I thought I had learned from my past disasters, but that was not the case. We were together a little over eight years before I left the marital residence and seven months later, she filed for divorce. She was a good woman. Not nuts, not a thief, but damaged in other ways. Truth be told, was I not damaged? I was and am damaged by the events of my life. It is fair to say that the marriage just did not 'take.' It was both our faults. On my side, it was probably far too much scar tissue from my past experiences.
So here I am, overweight, with high blood pressure, and false teeth. I snore so loud that I bet you can hear me if we have rooms next to each other in a hotel.
In many ways I am a good man, but for whatever reason marriage and I do not work well. Was it my entire fault each time? As you can tell, I think not; however after three failures, you have to question my ability to make good choices!
Could I get married again? Sure, I guess, if I married someone who I had no interest in, but what's the point in that. The sad truth is that at this point in my life I am only emotionally responsive to slim, pretty women at least fifteen years my junior and, in truth, usually even younger. Considering all that I am, no one of such a group, who has her head on straight, is going to put me on her 'A' list.
Truthfully, I really don't want to marry again.
For the entire time I was in my three marriages, I was not rich and sometimes I was pretty poor.
During my entire last marriage, I was in a lawsuit to recover income and ownership that was illegally taken from me over a year prior to the marriage. Even though we got along OK financially, there was this big payday always hanging out there.
It is still hanging out there when we get divorced.
I am fifty-seven. I have a house to live in. (I had never sold my house when I moved into my third wife's home. That should have set off alarms!) I am alone, just barely getting by financially, and sexually starved. As much as I would like to get laid regularly and frequently, there are no options.
Hell, for the first seven months back in my house I sleep on a couch. I go through so many variations on how to set up the couch as my bed that I give them version numbers. By the time the mattress I purchased finally arrives, I am on Couch v4.2-5. It actually works quite well.
Family? I have a son age 39 and a daughter aged 37. Both live in a different state. Though I love them both very much, they have little to do with my life on a daily basis.
I live in a truly rural part of the American West. The kids live in NYC.
Once the reality of the third divorce sinks into my skull, I know that I do not want another wife. I do not want, will not be able to find, a mistress; but need the ministrations of a prostitute on a regular basis. While my need for emotional intimacy will go unmet, my need for physical intimacy might be met. There are only two problems: I do not know any prostitutes; I do not have the money to pay for one, yet. But that might change.
I just hang out; not quite a hermit but without anything going on either.
When the legal settlement finally comes about, that is the state I have been in for a while.
The settlement does not leave me filthy rich as some got to be in the "dot com" boom of the nineties, but I am now financially secure. In addition, I am still working and drawing a salary. I can easily afford a prostitute. I figure I would allocate two thousand dollars a month for whatever that will get me. The rest I will invest. As I am in a rural area, I have no idea how much those dollars will purchase in services, assuming there are any services to purchase.
Finding a prostitute is not easy in a small town. <Split> As I continue my search for one, I have an unexpected visitor.
My mother, age 93, decides it is time to see her son. She flies 2000 miles and I pick her up at the Airport in Denver. Her time with me is in some ways a revelation.
She says, It's my fault – and your father's – that you have failed at the marriages. We never argued. We had a perfect marriage and you never learned how to deal with normal marriage issues. We were a bad role model.
Well, in truth, that is a bunch of bullshit. Bullshit, to the extent that it is her fault. She is right that they never seemed to argue, but that is because they both respected each other and because as much as he chose not to exercise his authority, we all knew he had it. He had the final say, if one was needed. It just never seemed to be needed.
What came next isn't bullshit, it is just plain crazy.
She says, Go find a girl. Look overseas. Find a girl who will give you children.
I look at her. She is nuts. I probably say as much.
She insists that I am not too old and that other men have done it. Finally she says that if I go to meet a girl, she will help pay for the trip. She can afford it (as can I) but it is sort of a 'double dog dare you' type of thing.
Before I put her back on a plane to go home I am looking at Asian dating websites. I post my profile on a couple of them. One of them is a loser and nothing comes of it. The other comes alive in a way I cannot believe. I am inundated by offers from women who want to meet me.
So now my less that intense interest in the possibility is refocused. This thing is becoming real and serious. I have no idea about the process. Before I go an inch farther, it is time for homework.
I learn that there is a formal process for becoming engaged overseas and bringing the fiancée back to the USA for marriage. At which point the girl gets a provisional green card. It is not easy, it is bureaucratic, but that means it is also doable.
All along, I had said, and I say here again, I really did not want another wife. I am having second thoughts about this even as I start the process. I decide, that even if I do get married, I will make sure by all, including legal means, that I have no obligations to be monogamous.
Still the Visa rules make it damned hard to bring in a Mistress. In fact, the Visa rules are incredibly restrictive.
My web/dating profile includes my correct height, weight, age and an honest picture. I list all my drawbacks and make it clear I am looking for a woman who would bear me children. By my calculations that means she has to be no older than 35 presently. That will make her at least 22 years younger than I am.
I get a few invites from older women, but the flood is from women aged from 25 to 34. I get a serious one from an eighteen-year-old! Are they all pretty? No, but a surprising number are attractive to my eyes. I have in subsequent years come to the conclusion that Anglos assess beauty in Asian women differently than do Asian women assessing Asian women. But from my vantage point it is like walking into a candy store. There is a proviso. I have read many warnings about cons and that women aren't always what they appear to be. This issue of doctored (photo-shopped) photos, and doctored letters is irrelevant when dealing with women in the Philippines since those women I deal with can read/write and speak English and will engage with you over a webcam at an internet café. It costs the Filipina ₱20 (Philippine Pesos) for an hour at the café to chat with me.
Knowing what the women really look like, sound like and such was not an issue. If you don't send them money, it is hard for them to scam you. Some do essentially demand money and those I turn away from with alacrity.
I make it clear to all the women I meet, this way, that when I head over to the Philippines, that I am not there just to meet only them. I will meet a number of women before I make a choice. That in retrospect is a very smart move.
By the time I am ready to travel in August 2003, I am interested in three women. Each has a daughter. The women range in age from 25 through 32. I will call them Drama, Ganda (pronounced G-ah-n-da) and Joy.
Drama is 25 with a five-year-old. Not only the youngest, she is the smallest. At 4' 10" and 90 pounds a US woman's petite XXS size dress fits her fine. I am to learn she is a fickle girl, full of passion, who is in ways a real drama queen. Being with her is fun, but staying with her would have been impossible. While it takes a while to convince her it is over, I know it is over for her long before I make my final choice. We do spend four outrageously fun days. She wears the clothing I bought for her. I insist she not wear panties – which drives her crazy but I do not care. She is cute as you please and I fuck her in every hole she has, but one, each day. But we are not to be together beyond those four days.
I will write about the other two in a bit. They were the ones I was really going to seriously consider. First, I will paint a picture of the Philippines as I saw it in the summer of 2003 and explain a few oddities of the country.
The plane rides to get there are endless. I have a two hour flight by jet-prop to the Denver airport. From there a flight to Los Angeles. In LA I leave the domestic flights terminal and walk outside in the hot, humid Southland air to the international departure terminal. So far I have been up since 3:30AM (MDT) to catch my 6:05am flight to Denver and now in LA as I stand on line at the Philippine Airlines departure counter it is 9:00PM (PDT). My plane will leave LA at 11:14PM that evening. We will have a refueling in Guam, where no one will leave the plane, and then arrive in the Philippines at 6AM (Philippine Time). That translates to 4PM back home ... or the fact that I have left my bed some 37 hours earlier. Do you think you can sleep on the plane? Ha! Bless the Filipinos. They feed me five times on that flight. You can catnap but that is it.
The Republic of the Philippines is part of the Malaysian Archipelago. Filipinos are racially related to Thais and others in the region. There are two official languages in the country. Tagalog (also called Filipino) and English. Yes, English is an official language. There are 7,107 islands in the country, but not too many really large ones. The largest is Luzon island, and that is where one will find Manila. Most people in Manila speak a form of Tagalog from childhood on, but not all, and on Luzon but outside of Manila, they often speak other languages. On most other islands they speak one of the other one hundred and seventy-five languages in their home. Since the schools teach in Tagalog and English, many Filipinos speak at least three languages by the time they graduate high school at age 161. In southern Mindanao where much of this journal concerns itself, the common languages are Visayan (also called Cebuano) and Ilonggo. Some residents of southern Mindanao will speak Visayan, Ilonggo, Tagalog and English.
The weather in the Philippines normally ranges from the 80's Fahrenheit into the 90's. It will make a guy from the States sweat, but it is not nearly as hot as Austin, TX or Phoenix, AZ during the summer. Most do not use air conditioning, which they call air-con, but all the malls are air conditioned. Taxis pretty much will be marked with Air-Con on their doors to assure you of a more comfortable ride.
When I get to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA2) terminal #1, I am really tired. After I make my way to the front of the line, luckily the Immigration and Customs folks at the airport just basically wave me through with a welcome to the Philippines.
I am careful to find a metered cab out front – I had been warned that this was necessary. Off I ride to the Best Western in the old part of Manila proper. Greater Manila is like Greater New York City to the extent that there are essentially many cities that are all lumped together and called Manila. Makati is the financial center. Quezon City has some of the more wealthy areas. Old Manila is the original city and it is no longer the true hub of either government or business. Still it is where the US embassy is found.
My first sight of Greater Manila leaves an impression that stays with me to this day and it is not far off the map. Think about a capitalist system without meaningful laws regarding commerce, no planning and a real entrepreneurial spirit. It looks like Manhattan on an acid trip. The traffic looks exactly the same. I drive in the outer provinces in the Philippines but I will never drive in Greater Manila. And that is from a guy who has driven a tractor-trailer through both NYC and Chicago. Driving in Greater Manila is an elaborate game of chicken, although when you are in the middle of it, it more closely resembles bumper cars where no one exactly touches.
I get to the hotel at 7:15AM with a boost of adrenaline thanks to the drive. My room at the Best Western including my internet access is about $44US per day.
I had arranged for Ganda to meet me there at 9:30. I take a shower, change my clothes and lay down for a nap. At 9:40 there is a knock on the door. Ganda has been escorted up by a bellhop. I tip him and Ganda enters the room.
How can I explain this so that you will really appreciate what transpires? You know I am fat. By fat I do not mean grossly corpulent. But I do carry far too much weight. I am 58. I have gray hair and a gray beard. Into the room walks this 28 year-old beauty in high heels and a dress that comes to mid-thigh. She is wearing minimal makeup and precious little else. Her face is really pretty and her smile is tinged with a trembling fear as the door closes behind her.
All I am able to say to her is, Wow you are beautiful! She smiles. We sit on the edge of the bed and try to talk but that is just not working. We are fumbling badly. I kiss her and she kisses back. And we lay back on the bed kissing. Slowly the kissing becomes more intense and the clothes started to come off. By noon she is naked and I am in her bareback. She is as active as I. Giving as well as taking. We take turns, I eating her pussy that has no smell at all! The pussy is clean shaven; not a hint of hair. She goes down on me and does a good job though she does not swallow. We fuck like rabbits in between rest breaks. (When using Viagra, which I do right before I lay down, and then again later a few times again as the days continues, there is an interesting side effect. You can stay hard for a long time but it is hard to cum.) By 4PM we decide we are hungry. We shower and go downstairs to the hotel restaurant for a meal.
Once done we retire once more to the room and commence more lovemaking. She weighs 96 pounds and I am 220. She is a small, pretty Asian beauty and I am just a white guy with nothing special about me. What I am experiencing is out of this world. She denies me nothing. She allows me to take her ass as well as her pussy. Anything I want, it is OK with her. The next day after we finally get out of bed at 10AM following a morning of more fucking and sucking, we go shopping for a few things at a Mall and then return to more sex. Under her dress, she wears a thong and a small padded bra, that is all. Fucking her means only lifting up the hem of her dress. When we are out she hangs onto me like losing touch would mean her death. She sticks to me and simply refuses to let go.
In the first three days we have not learned much about each other, other than I am not going to hurt her and she doesn't want to lose me. But, the first three days are all we have at that time and she knows it. She knows I am about to meet someone else.
One thing I have discovered is that she doesn't have a home, or an apartment, or even a rented room. She has what is known in the Philippines as a bed-spacer. Like much in that portion of population in the archipelago, a huge section of the society manages in an ad hoc fashion. A bed-spacer is a room that is converted into a dormitory for either women or men by a homeowner. The room may be small. It contains three, four or more beds and there is, somewhere in the place, a communal but essentially single use bathroom. So renting a bed-spacer is renting a bed in that room and having access to a toilet and cold shower. There is also no hot water. That is the norm. Except for where foreigners stay, no one has hot water.
In fact if you ask a Filipino about it they tend to laugh or giggle at you. If you, as a foreigner lease a place and want a hot shower, there is (as I discovered) an option. It is possible to purchase a hot water device for your shower. It connects to the wall in the shower were the spigot is found normally. The water enters the tank and exits via a flexible hose and showerhead. It is an on demand system. The heater uses electricity. It has a cord that runs from the tank to an outlet. (Normally the outlet is just to the side of the tank on the wall above where the shower-curtain hangs. It works fine, but, never in a million years, would it get UL approval in the US!)
Ganda is working at a call center. Not one that takes calls from disgruntled US citizens calling an 800 number. No, in this case she is selling BlackBerry phones with long-term contracts to small UK businesses. It is done by cold calls. Since the UK is 8 hours different from the Philippines their workday starts at 2pm and runs until midnight or later. Split-2
The night before I leave, I ask her if she would agree to be with me if I added other women to our life. She is less than happy. She wants to know what she is doing wrong. I tell her she isn't doing anything wrong, which is why I am asking. She is truly confused but fundamentally she says she is willing.
On the last day Ganda and I am together, I get an email asking for money from Joy. I had told the girls, not to ask me for money and she has broken the rule; plus she says it is for her daughter. I didn't like the sound of that and tell her I am canceling. I decided that of all the girls I was expecting to meet, Ganda is probably the best bet.
I am aware Ganda has a daughter, but, clearly, she is not staying at a bed-spacer. I gather that the child is in the care of the extended family on the Island of Mindanao.
I am concerned about Ganda's living arrangement. Ganda is sharing her bed-spacer room with four other girls. Her shift work runs counter to the routines of the other girls and Ganda is not ever getting a full night's sleep. Noise and movement of the others is a constant in her life. While I am away with Drama, who I had pretty much written off but am still going to meet, I arrange for Ganda to stay in my room at the hotel and take meals there on my credit. I give her a few thousand pesos to cover cab fees, back and forth, to work. She will be in my room when I get back.
To see Drama I will be on a different island in the Philippines. I want to see Ganda again before I leave. She knows we have enjoyed each other, but there certainly is nothing settled. Her hesitancy about other women in my bed make her a not perfect candidate but she says she is willing. We will see when I return.
§ § §
1 - The school age was ordered to be raised to age 18 a some years later, but it was 16 at this time.
2 - Rather that pronouncing the letters like is done in the USA, in the Philippines they say, nah-eee-aa.
§ § §