Paradise Can Kill!

Retirement? Now What?
Retirement? Now What?

 Since the day we made the decision and began telling our friends and acquaintances that we  planned to move to the Philippines, the most common question thrown at me is – “What are you  going to do there?” My first and easiest response has always been “Nothing, absolutely nothing!”  but after a while, I began applying more thought to what has become a nagging question. Over and  over again I asked myself the same thing…what will I do there? It’s been long known that  retirement can be bad for your health and that workers who retire earlier have higher mortality  rates with little to drive them after retirement. So, the question morphs into this: If you retire early  to the Philippines (or your other chosen paradise) with nothing to do, and with an abundance of  volunteers around to do everything else for you, will you be destined for an early grave? Okay, it  sounds like a proven and logical dilemma.

Laziness Kills!
Laziness Kills!

Yesterday, I visited a new video posted by an online acquaintance and fellow blogger “Reekay,” who recently settled into his secluded jungle residence on the island of Bohol. From there, Reekay issues his thoughts, both in writing and on video, on living in the Philippines. His newest Just Thinking Out Loud video take on retirement is credible and as real as it gets and should be required food for thought to anyone who is looking to retire in the Philippines. While Henry Velez’s video message is not some parody to some fright night summer camp movie, he is on target with his topic and re-introduces some very specific points about allowing one’s mind and body to become idol in retirement. He also reiterates what’s known to be a true end result of a sedentary lifestyle choice. The resulting conclusion is that life in Paradise Can Kill You!

Staying Busy!
Staying Busy!

 Last fall when I first placed the For Sale sign in our yard, the idea of moving to  paradise began to set in. The question “what will you do?” was still the most  dominant question being asked of me and like some premonition to Reekay’s  video, I began thinking about my own longevity. I knew that I would need to  occupy my days with something productive to fight off that so-called ERS (early  rigamortis syndrome). I began asking myself the same questions Reekay had  posed  in his video – what will I do? Aside from the easiest answer I could  muster –  “relax and enjoy life”, and knowing myself even better than my wife  does, I  concluded that I needed a bucket list. Not a bucket list in the sense of  things  I’ve never done, but a list of things I thoroughly enjoy doing and that  could keep  me busy in my retirement. So, I got busy setting some goals. First,  I identified  the most self-serving and relaxing things I knew that I enjoyed.  Then I regressed some and thought about all the things I enjoyed doing when I previously lived in the tropics as a young man. I easily narrowed it down to partying, sex and cliff diving! Okay, that was a much younger man! I knew all that wasn’t possibly going to work so through some soul-searching and honest deliberation, I figured it out. I had to give up the cliff diving!

I knew some things were certain. I love being in and around tropical waters and I like fishing, swimming, snorkeling and diving. I also like bike riding and playing racquetball. So, I worked on a solution. I made the commitment to ship our mountain bikes with our household goods. Over the next several months, I purchased new fishing poles, reels, and tackle. I purchased new snorkel gear, reef shoes and a new fishing kayak. Many of those things were shipped in balikbayan boxes but the larger items were placed in our HHG shipment last week. Problem solved!

My retirement modus operandi of things to keep me busy along with my fitness goals were all set…all except for the racquetball thing. So I got busy on that front too. Several months ago, I began searching for any information I could find about racquetball in the Philippines. While I did find that racquetball is played there, there are only a handful of indoor courts located here and there, mainly in the Subic Bay and Metro Manila areas. Where I am headed – Samar Island – nada, zilch, zero!

One outdoor court is all I need!
One outdoor court is all I need!

So like in the old Kevin Costner movie Field of Dreams, the whisper from the corn “build it and it will come” just showed up and kept resounding in my head until the idea hit me like a ton of bricks. I thought about how basketball was such a true and devoted part of the Philippine culture and how it is truly the “national pastime” there. I also figured that if Filipinos could handle playing basketball outdoors, day and night (sometimes rain or shine), then why couldn’t I solicit some interest and build an outdoor racquetball court? Aside from their warm and friendly disposition, Filipinos are strongly competitive in nature. Obviously, outdoor games in the Philippines are well suited to the weather conditions and like Southern California or Florida, the game can be played year round. Well, now I’m excited to say that my bit of inspiration turned into initiative and grew into a reality over the past few weeks when I landed the official support of World Outdoor Racquetball (WOR) officials in the U.S. and Mexico. Since there are currently no identified outdoor racquetball facilities in the Philippines, a mutual and tentative agreement has been reached, I will head to the Philippines as WOR Western Pacific Region Director with the goal of developing WOR in SE Asia. The job of introducing, developing, teaching, and providing direct support in building the sport, well….that’s enough to keep anybody in retirement busy, and yes, I can still play…I just don’t go horizontal anymore!

Now I will just need to find more time for snorkeling, diving, fishing, kayaking and biking.

WOR Logo
WOR is on facebook!


Anyone wishing to know more about World Outdoor Racquetball? Please watch this video   or contact me through this site.

 WORTaking the fastest game in the world outdoors with attitude and action!

9 thoughts on “Paradise Can Kill!

  1. Randy…. reading your recent post here is interesting…. the one smart thing you did was send your kayak and other items you can use here on Samar Island. My longest stretch staying there was 9 months…. having my own XRM 125 Honda is what saves me from going crazy from boredom sometimes. A couple things that don’t always make the day so pretty is the hot scorching sun. During the middle of the day…. it’s pretty bad and you can get burned fast. When its not the sun its the pouring down rain like buckets of water…. but! I have learned to ride with the proper clothing…a scarf around my neck to use to cover my mouth from the pollution on the highway and also to protect my neck from burning. My helmet also helps keep me cooler. On good days you can get on the water with your kayak…that you will enjoy. I know that Calbayog has bike club… they are pretty tough…and take long trips to Catabalogan and up to Catarman… I think they even ride down to Tacloban…. you have to be in good shape and water will keep you alive…heheheh There is a workout Gym in Calbayog… Travis Kraft the Philippines superman told me about his workouts there…says its pretty much up to par. There are a lot of fiesta’s….lots of drunks out there… have to watch out for that… they drive drunk and sometimes they can be a problem. Downtown, you and your wife can enjoy some of the places to relax…like Special Occasions, and you know there are a few more other places to have a bite to eat and have a cooler. If the bridge is done and the metro mall is done… then the city will be more easy to get around…its not a good thing right now…so your wait is not going to hurt you for that. I think you know that Randy Mendoza is the Immigration Officer in Calbayog City…located near the Justice offices….I have renewed my visa there for the last 3 years… but now I might just do it at the 4th level of the Alaya Mall in Cebu. Basketball is a big thing in Calbayog, but sometimes people get shot there…? usually during the elections, its pretty normal. We have a basketball and tennis court owned by the 7th day Adventist chuch behind our house… I think you’d like to play tennis there? Also just down the road it’s my pleasure to take a dip in the Marju Krisel Resort Pool, owned by the Mayor Ron Aquino and his wife Maam Lina… they are very nice people. Of course up the highway, there are some other nice places to hit the beach…. One resort not to many know about is called Spice of Life Resort, its not far from San Antonio Island…. and while your in Calbayog … take a few days and take a small ferry boat out to San Antonio Island and stay a few days…. Are you planning on getting motor like a small Honda there? if you do… we could do some riding around different villages with our wifes there….that’s a fun experience and they’d enjoy it with us. Other than all the things I mentioned here…. you will enjoy picking up fruits at the fruit stands and taking them home and making fruit shakes and frying your own hamburger…. Calbayog does not know how to make a real American burger…but when Im there… I make them up with onions and ketchup and mustard and extra’s…also Maria cooks up real fries… then a bunch of chips on the side… and a San Miguel beer goes down the hatch beautifully…. ok…….said enough here…. thanks for your post…love hearing all the stuff you put there… im a big fan! hehehehe

  2. Hey Tom, just counting down the days until we leave. My kayaking will be reserved for those mostly cloudy days or mornings or evenings. When we lived in the Calif desert we had to do all things in the morning or evenings as the mid day temps would literally kill you if you put yourself out there for very long. Hope to get my 13A package off this week to the consulate in Chicago. My wife Teri used to ride with me around Zambales on my Honda Magna 700 back in the mid 80’s. I’m sure she wouldn’t let me pull the same power displays like I did when we were younger. Once we get there we will focus on finishing up the house and getting settled. After that, I’m game for just about anything. What do you make your hamburgers with there? Are HB buns easy to find?

  3. Tom, do you think the Adventist Church would be open to building an outdoor racquetball court? Do they have the space?

  4. I think the 7th Day Adventist might consider your suggestion to build a raquet ball court on their Church, School, basketball, tennis court, gardens, properties . Can only meet with them and I don’t see how they could refuse a sponsorship for something good like that. I forgot that the 7th Day Adventist hospital is also on that property… and I think some open field area could be a good place for the court….. Since many of the college kids love to play tennis there…Im sure they would love having a raquet ball court… I’ll find out more from Maria and see what she has to say about it…. we are not member there but all of our nephews and nieces play basketball there if the gate is open. I think using the tennis court requires a fee. Anyway, the 7th Day Adventist Church has done some nice landscaping and keeping that property up…. I think they have some sponsors from Australia that I met my last trip there during a Australian/Philippino wedding at the church. But they did complain aboujt the small CR in the Church… and it not being so well kept. But the floor and roof of the church and the painting on the outside walls is well done. More later……………..

  5. Randy…. just down the Highway from where we live in San Policarpo is a bakery that makes great hamburger buns like we get over here in the US. The hamburger I buy from the Monterey Meat Shop was pretty lean and fresh…. I must have bought 30 or 40 pounds of it my last trip there…. I usually buy two packages that makes about 8 hamburgers for our family…. Maria cuts up the slices of onions….and I fry them up seperatly but just a small amount of them with the burgers for flavor…our sons Kenvin (19) and Kenneth (18) don’t like onions and pick them out if I put to many of them in it. They hate mustard too…but I love it. We also have a french fries cutters Bob who in Cagsalaoso gave us…. Thank God we can get potatoes there…and they are pretty good. Making spagetti …. I try to get the sauces over in Cebu…Calbayog has some Del Monte sauces…but the sweet sauces they use there like at the Jolibee taste terrible to us…. the calbayogians only use the sweet sauce that is a very different flavor for us. We also make american style pork chops…fried again with onions… and some green beans go good with that… the rice is calbayog is in many grades….the better stuff doesn’t have the sand particles in it… and we pay more for the better stuff…but our mama works two months in the rice mill and gets two sacks of rice each year. Anyway….after 4 years in the calbayog….I have learned how to eat good… grilled cheese sandwiches, the better bacon and eggs toast and pancakes for breakfast and the stuff we eat here in the US…. My first trip there… I could not find the right stuff…so I ate whatever I could find… its was different, but we are accustomed to what we get used to eating in the US …. The Marcial’s Grill has a pretty good memu… and Maam Gina and her brother who own it are good friends to us…. ribs and vegetables there are better than any other places in calbayog…. I think you will enjoy it there…. The Marju makes the best pancit… your wife will tell you that and you will like it too I think. There is a chicken stand downtown that opens on the main Tomas Gomez Ave at about 5 every night…. the husband and wife there make fried chicken that compares to our crispy or original KFC… they also change the oil often and keep it clean… I always buy about 10 pieces for about 130 or 140 pesos for our family…. we make our own colesaw with mayo and other stuff. For juices….you can get Welch’s grape juice at the Justmar Food store and the Mercury Drug store has cereals and the HP Protien Power that mixes easy with milk… for milk we use the Nino power or fresh milk in quart containers. We visit the market to get our apples, carrots, onions, mango’s and spices and kiwi fruit…. Accross from the Metro Bank in Calbayog is a popular fruit stand…and the chopped ice coffee and other flavored things and ice cream cones are great there… nice place to stop when your in town…. ok …enough blabble blabble here… I know you probably know about all of this stuff from your past experience in the philippines…but just thought I’d share a little more of what Im used to…. God Bless, and excited to see you and yours in Calbayog later… later I want you to meet Bob and Amy… they came from New York… have a nice modern home in Cagsalaoso. Bob has a sari sari store and amy teaches school out of town in a village up the highway. Bob always is a hub for pesi and quite a interesting guy… he reminds me of yourself and the big move….. Here is Bob Cole’s facebook page… I think you can view it or get added.

  6. Glad to hear you’ll be keeping busy once you get here.. doing what we enjoy, that’s what it’s all about. 🙂 Glad to see we’re on the same wavelength. ha!

  7. I’ve never played “outdoor” racquetball before, but it looks harder than “indoor”. There’s no back wall or ceiling and the walls don’t go all the way back. I like racquetball so I’d be willing to give it a try, but it seems you’d have to be in better shape to play outdoors, especially if you are playing singles.

  8. Singles in Outdoor is a tough game. Many times, doubles are the norm. Either way, you better be in some kinda shape before you attempt playing in the heat and humidity, especially when your not used to it. Most Filipinos that can play basketball or other outdoor sports will do well at racquetball. I will just have to create the interest.

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