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At Your Service

I have always been the type of person that enjoys helping others. Yes, at times, because of my kindness, people have taken advantage of me. Because it is in my nature, I have trouble not being helpful, but over time, I try to be careful.

With this site, and many readers, I have been asked to get information for some people, answer questions, locate items and also assist people either moving here or once here finding places to rent. I always do my best to help when asked.

About three months ago, one of the readers here contacted me. He was soon to arrive in Davao and asked if I know of a nice apartment to rent on a monthly basis for his stay. He was planning an extended vacation and felt if he could rent a place cheaper than a hotel, and had the ability to cook some of his own meals, he could remain here for a few months. The day he arrived, he emailed me, and then sent me a text. I told him of about the apartelle I posted about on June 30th. Click here to read.
I also offered to meet him at his hotel and drive him to see the accommodations. As soon as he viewed the apartment available, he said he would take it. I drove him back to his hotel where he checked out, brought his luggage down and I drove him back. He became a real friend that day and stayed here 2 ½ months until he needed to return home quickly because of an illness in his family.

Last Friday I was contacted again by an American who just arrived in Davao and with a similar request. This man is planning to live here in Davao but wanted to locate a place to rent, fully furnished with all the amenities including wifi or internet access. I directed him to the article I had posted, and again as in the past, I offered to pick him at his hotel and drive him to see the apartments. I met him at 10 am at a nearby coffee shop and we talked a little, then I drove him and his girlfriend to see the apartment. Just as with the previous person, he liked it right away and I drove him back to check out of his hotel and after we stopped for lunch, I brought him to move in. Just as the first person I met and showed the apartment, we sat for a few hours talking and soon realized we felt comfortable with each other to be friends.

With both these people, they asked to pay me something for my time and gasoline. I told them to give me what they felt they thought was applicable and I was treated fairly.

Also from my time here, and my associations with tradesman and architects, I have been asked for design assistance and to possibly help with getting a house built. Many times someone has needed a painter, electrician, carpenter, mason or other building or repair needs.

Recently a friend replaced an old hot water unit in his shower. The new unit drew more current than the old one and after about a minute of use, it blew the breaker. He asked me if I had an electrician. I contacted my best contact and two hours later, I brought my electrician to his house. The electrician went into the attic, checked the wiring and gave his recommendations, a part list of needs and his fee for labor. My friend agreed and within two hours, the job was done.

Earlier this week, another friend contacted me. He bought a new range with a lift cover and an exhaust fan unit. Unfortunately his kitchen cabinet was too low to even raise the glass cover. My friend wanted to have the cabinet bottom raised, the exhaust fan wired and a hole to the outside for the exhaust outlet. I contacted my carpenter and the next evening brought him to my friend’s house. They discussed the project and my friend also realized with the location of the range, he would have room to add an “L” extension to the lower cabinet between the range and the existing cabinet. My carpenter looked over the project, made a parts list and decided it would take four days with him and a helper. He gave my friend the labor fee and my friend agreed. The project started Wednesday and on Friday I visited the house, most of the work was done and the tile on the cabinet extension was complete. It matched so well, once painted, it would look original. Saturday I met with my friend in the evening and asked about the project. He told me it was done and he was completely satisfied with the work and will keep my friend in mind for future needs.

After we hired our domestic helper, Elena was asked by a few friends if she could get helpers for them. Elena called her sister-in-law and about a week later, she came to Davao with three girls for Elena’s friends.

I enjoy these situations. I get to help foreigners that need assistance and also get to help Filipinos whom I know with their businesses. If I make a commission, that is fine, but not my main objective. Maybe someday it will turn into a real business or someone will offer me a position or a way to earn some income because of our connections.

25 Responses to “At Your Service”

  1. david S. says:

    Ineresting read Bruce. It’s kind of you to help newcomers learn the ins and outs of resolving the day-to-day issues of living in the Philippines. Perhaps you should give serious consideration to setting out your shingle as the “Concierge of Davao”?

    • Bruce says:

      There are others doing the same in their own way. For now will offer here and will consider it. Thanks for the idea.

      • Augusto says:

        Hi Bruce:
        Talking to you from Spain
        are you still in the Philippines?
        I am married to filipino lady from
        Davao del Sur.
        Maybe we build a house near Bansalan
        however i still have to have a look to the lot and it´s location.
        Maybe when the time comes we can talk about it.

  2. Jerry F says:

    Nice to know you’re from nyc and now in Davao City. I myself is from Davao City and now living in Staten Island with my family. I too worked in a Construction related company and have some thoughts of coming back to Davao City due to the downturn of the construction industry here.

    Anyway your blog was very helpful to people who have no idea what to expect when they arrive in Davao City. Keep up the good work..your blog is a source of joy and pleasure to some expats away from home and for those who plan to relocate to Davao City.


    • Bruce says:

      Thank you for your appreciation. When you have a hot pastrami sandwich or some good pizza, think of me. Ohhh and a potato knish.
      Maybe if you move back here, we can join in a business.
      I am happy when Filipinos, here or abroad enjoy my site. Tell your friends. The more the merrier.

  3. jan says:

    I agree with David S, maybe you should start having your own little business: Davao Consultancy For Expats ??
    Give it a shot !!
    If you do not do it, someone else will…..

  4. Evelyn says:

    hi,bruce n elena, been missing reading your blog as i am bz facebooking…hahaha..well,nice to read this at your service topic of yours…and i agree to what was said and suggested to you about starting this kind of business..if you do, i’ll apply as one of your employees..hahaha..hello to elena…

    • Bruce says:

      You need to adjust your priorities. Reading and commenting to my site is first, taking care of your job second, eating third and then facebook. If I ever do such a business, you can purchase the GenSan franchise. hahahaha. Elena says hi.

  5. Riza says:

    hahah, how about call centers? i will be your account manager hehehe! kidding!

  6. Riza says:

    Haha, he told me to wait for him to win the lotto. We’re thinking of putting up just a small home business, and if Davao still has space for me, I probably would 🙂 nice offer though, hehehe.

  7. Riza says:

    Before I used to enjoy dried fish, but since my hypertension is up, I’m on a somekind of a diet, hehe. Mashed potatoes are nice especially with a bit of ground rosemary. Do you make it like that? I used to buy mc cormicks. (:

  8. Evelyn says:

    bruce ,learn to bake sweet potatoes instead and also sweet potato has a lot of antioxidants compared to the russett and white potatoes…
    now i just did what u told me to prioritize reading your blog..hahaha

    • Bruce says:

      Good Girl, you now know you need to read my site regularly so you do not miss my words of wisdom. 🙂 Also I need your input and additions.

      I do not know what camote (sweet potatoes) has to do with this article, but since you brought it up, I loved yams and sweet potatoes in the US, but comote here is has a gritty feel in the mouth like there is sand in it. I found you need to use a blender after cooked to remove the grit.

  9. Anthony says:

    I know you are thinking of our cultures sweet potato pie. Grandma was from Mississippi. You know that taste. Bruce, focus on the journey and be in the moment. You already as an American in the Phil and Davao are doing things no other American has ever done. Seems you and Bob could work together. Tell Him to share the wealth! I think your destiny in my eyes has been fulfilled. Now its just a matter of patience and time for the financial end to pick up. Be patient my brother.

    • Bruce says:

      ummm Sweet potato pie, bring a few with you on the trip.
      Bob and I have a similar audience and with his longer time online has a larger readership. About working together, he has his business and I have mine. When I have needed information or assistance, he usually responds to my emails and has even met with me at times. As for sharing the wealth, would you be willing to share your salary to a co-worker that earns less than you? If you like, click the “Donate” button and share with me. (joking)

  10. alantooth says:

    i hate mashed potatoes with rosemary, hehehe but i like my steak marinade in rosemary, olive oil and mustard, standard marinade for tenderloin, lols

    any mashed potato recipes here? i like it with gravy and sour cream….

    • Bruce says:

      I am happy with mashed potatoes with just butter and milk in the mix. Have you tried mixing in some roasted garlic, caramelized onions or even bacon bits. Potatoes are a great medium for the addition of any flavor to enhance a meal.
      The difficult part here is finding a good tender steak and not one from the vulcanize shop.

  11. peter nerwinski says:

    hi bruce,,i dont know if you can help me,,i am 53 yrs old & living in california usa,i visited davao twice since feb 2010. i stayed at azienda meo apartelle near nanay bebing buffet..i enjoyed hanging out in the blvd area of bushnoa,the trouble is i love davao & its people too much,,when i came back to usa,i found i lost my will to keep my dental lab biz goin,,it has been struggling due to the economy since 2008..the crash of the real estate market is resulting in all my properties but one lost to foreclosure,,i am doing ch7 bankrupcty,,my energy here is gone & my money & assets are gone,i dont seem to care,,my heart & mind is still in davao,,my fantasy of starting an internet cafe with a snack shop & photo service overtakes my every effort here,,i just want to take my last 5000usd & run to davao,,i would rather struggle there to survive than here..i have many skills & seem to have so much energy & spirit when i am in davao,,what do you think about this? do i have a chance for a life in davao starting from nothing? i hope you can help me with this dilemma,

    • Bruce says:


      I think you are crazy to move to the Philippines with $5000. You will be out of money before you ever get a business open and the percent of foreigners who have a profitable business is small. Stay in the US, live as careful as possible and save for a future time.

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