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How Life Changes, My History

I have written a little about my past and for two years I have written about my life living here in Davao City in the Philippines. I am not going to bore you with stories of my childhood but feel like telling about how my life brought me here. In my younger years and with the aptitude testing when I enlisted in the Army I was always told I had an aptitude for electronics. I always enjoyed using my hands but preferred working with wood. I also enjoyed ceramics especially using a potter’s wheel.   In 1972 at a point of unemployment and no real direction my mom convinced me to go to attend a technical school for electronics and TV repair. I was scared because all I knew about electricity and electronics is if you turn on the light switch and the light did not get bright, first you check to see it is plugged in, second you check the light bulb, third call an electrician. Well with the style of teaching in a technical school, I graduated the second in my class.

I worked in different areas of electronics from a technician and field service for telephone answering machines to building closed circuit video security control systems. That was in New York, and then in 1997, I moved to Southern California and was employed at first installing these types of systems. I had put security systems in Hughes Aerospace facilities and was onsite at the Playboy Mansion for 6 months installing a full perimeter security system.

Eventually I moved into the computer field service industry. I started on an old IBM System 3 system installing and service peripheral equipment for Memorex. After they sold their Small Business Systems division I changed jobs and worked for Decision Data whose name to fame was their 96 and 80 column punch card machines. I later moved to working on complete systems for Prime Computers. Eventually I ended up with a company in the Apple and PC industry originally names Corvus and then renamed t Atrix. Since home computers are a throw away industry, the need for many service personnel declined and I knew I needed a new profession.

At the age of 39, I went back to school for an associates degree in Computer Aided Design and Drafting at ITT Technical Institute. Over the next 18 months we learned drafting for every discipline: Mechanical, Electrical, Electromechanical, Civil, Structural and Architectural. Many times the teachers would ask the calls which discipline we wanted to work in. I always answered, whoever is hiring. After the third semester ended, which was architecture and in the need of a job, I sent resumes to all local architectural offices. I received a call from an Architect who worked from his home and offered me sub-contract work. I worked from home and earned some income while I finished my schooling. Eventually he hired me full time. I worked for him for three years doing everything from room additions, renovations to custom homes and development model programs.

After three years and the need to move on and need for a new location, I accepted a position in Florida near where my mom retired to from New York. There I worked for a few firms doing large custom residential projects. With my need to learn and my drive to be better at my profession I ended up at a firm that mainly did production homes. That is the models sold in a development and then adding changes and options for each sold house. Eventually I became a project manager and my client added to their program doing some townhouses and condominiums. With hard work and the close relationship I developed with my client, I was promoted to a Senior Project Manager running at times 8 projects at a time.

Then the start of the housing market downturn began. I could see with the less work coming into the office and since I was not a licensed Architect, my days there were numbered. About that time I was contacted by an employment search firm to apply for a position as Architectural Production Manager for a large home builder. This company was the oldest home builder in America and had been in business since 1952.  Unfortunately one and a half years later because of bad corporate management and their desire to get all the money they could and run, they laid off 97% of the company and then went bankrupt.

With the housing sales dropping, there was not much new design business. Most of the developers were just trying to sell what they had in stock and get save their butts. With this going on, there was not much in the employment opportunities available. With this, and from Elena and me wanting to be together, we decided the best was for me to move to the Philippines instead of waiting for her to receive her fiancée visa and move to the States. So that is what I did.

Now since I am here, and my experience in house design, computer drafting and my associations with a local Filipino Architect, I offer my assistance and knowledge to anyone needing my services. I have a few interested parties and I will see if the current cost of construction here in the Philippines, will fit in their budget to build their own home.

No matter what happens and how busy I might become, I will still give you my life stories, experiences and observations living in Davao. I will also always be here to answer questions and assist anyone needing my help. I hope I did not bore you too much with a non-Philippine article.

22 Responses to “How Life Changes, My History”

  1. don m. says:

    Very intresting. It is very intresting hearig the life history of my felow travelers. The webs we weave.

    • Bruce says:

      With this article, I was working on a different idea and then I started rambling. I then realized after all this time, why not write more about myself. I have also started an idea for a blog and then e-book “This Life of an American Failure” Telling about the highs and lows of my live, but I might fail at that too. “-(

  2. Evelyn says:

    hi bruce…see?here i am again?i read your site first n foremost…hahahaha..
    anyway, thank you for sharing your life story with us…
    hello to elena…

  3. Gene says:

    Hi Bruce,

    We really enjoyed your article. Its amazing how many things change in life. And even more amazing to think of all the things that had to happen to lead us to where we are today, living in the Philippines. I know if someone had told me 20 years ago that I’d ever leave the US to live in Asia, I would have said they were crazy. Looking at it all in hindsight one can see the path that needed to be traveled. While at the time it’s hard to see where to lay that next stone to build the path.
    I think most things in life happen for a reason and in the end work for our good and experience. Although at times, I have a hard time finding the good in brownouts and mosquitos! Maybe it’s designed to teach patients or some such thing???

    I was surprised to learn that you lived in my childhood stomping grounds of So. California. Those were the good old days of crusing Van Nuys Blvd. and drinking coffee with friends at Dupars or Denny’s till 3am.

    Well, guess I’ll go back to eating pealed coconuts—or is it grapes???

    Have a great one Bruce!!!

    • Bruce says:

      I am glad you enjoyed my article and little biography. At times I have looked back in my life and wondered where I would be then if I had made a different decision when there was a fork in the road of life. Who knows where the future will lead us. I just hope we make better decisions.

      I had never lived in the LA area except if you consider Belmont Shore area of Long Beach as LA. But with my years in California and the different service industries, I probably been in most of Southern California.

      If your not sure if your pealing grapes or coconuts, coconuts are tougher on the fingernails.

  4. Evelyn says:

    hi,bruce, i have never tried this one?but because u r my friend?i will look and buy this carne asada burrito just for you..OK?
    i’ll buy some for elena,too..LOL

    • Bruce says:

      The best is if you can find a little mexican market that has a hot food section. They make it fresh to order with you choosing the extras. Big Ed’s or Big Burrito ( one is the store and the other is the name of their biggest item), if I remember correctly is a chain restaurant. Food is good there.

  5. Anthony says:

    Hi Bruce, Yes life has its many twists and turns. Your site is powerful in the sence that it is one of a kind. Being American like you i know what it takes to adapt and adjust in life espically coming to our new homes and adopted country. I admire your drive and resolve to make a new life in our adopted city of Davao. I probably like you have a new language and i call it filipinelish, basically i have started to speak in broken english like my wife and her family. Wow ,you met Ninoys Son!. Hope to be there for Christmas and have you give me a whopping in spades. Got your number, expect a call in the next few days.

    • Bruce says:

      I do not think my site is one of a kind. There are many expat bloggers. I do hope the quality and information of my articles are enjoyable, entertaining and informative to expats living here or planning to come.
      Yes I met Ninoys son Noynoy. He was meeting his campaign people in Davao and I just happened to be there. He was gracious when I asked to have a photo with him.
      I look forward to meeting you in person and who ever gets whopped, I am sure we will have a fun evening.

  6. John Ray says:


    I am deeply touched by your last paragraph…I am very thankful for your friendship and hope that you will be blessed in your life… As of now life is such so hectic here…I still get to use the internet now and then and will be posting on my site next week. So many rewrites to do…Hope you are doing great…

    • Bruce says:

      I talk of you and our friendship often. Becoming friends and being about to help you makes me feel I am doing something good.
      I know how your time can be directed elsewhere, but if you want your site to succeed, you have to post on a constant basis, or else your readers will stop visiting.
      If your too busy with rewrites, maybe subcontract to me.

  7. Abaniko says:

    Bruce, you are in the best place. I’m sre you’ll eventually love Davao and will find it extremely difficult to leave the place later. I’m originally from there and go home at least three times a year including Christmas. Enjoy your stay in the city. People are generally nice in Davao, there’s fresh air and the foods are affordable.

  8. steve says:

    Hello Bruce. I live in Davao city. You and Elena came to our house just after you arrived here in Davao a couple of years ago give or take a few months.I do read your blog every now and then. Its hard for me to see to read much because of my left eye is bad. Glad to hear that you are doing o.k. here. My wife now owns store on Quezon Blvd. along the main road there.

    • Bruce says:

      Of course I remember you. Unfortunately with time and life, we have not been able to visit. I hope you are doing well under the medical circumstantial, you have a good wife that makes life better.
      I do not know where Quezon Blvd in Davao is located. Maybe let me know where and the store name and we can drop in if in the neighborhood.

  9. steve says:

    The store name is Estrella store and it is across the street from Rodreguez park. Maybe your wife knows where it is. Im not sure about the spelling of the park name.I never go down there but my wife and kids are there every day.They have these little 6 oz. bottles of coke for like 5 or 6 pesos. Its amazing to me how much better the soft drinks taste here in Davao.

  10. roger says:


    I hope youre joking when you talk about being a “failure” in your life. Put it in its true perspective – Your nations’s economy failed you! Apart from being a self confessed smoker, you are a decent bloke (thats Aussie for “good guy”). By the way, tell Elena to bloody well find out where Estrella Park is!

    • Bruce says:

      In many ways I think I am correct. I never planned for my future and retirement, I ended up in professions that changed and I was not “educated” well enough for lateral job movement and was lost for an occupation. I think I should have been a barber, no matter how bad the economy, men will need haircuts.

  11. roger says:


    So many of us dont think of the future beyond the next holiday/vacation proposal. I kind of fell into my last job. Mum always told me to “get a job in the public circus (read “service”) and thats what i did. It was full of people spending their elongated morning and afternoon teatime (“read coffee break”) discussing the seniority list and their position on it, i.e. when they expected to make a grade 3 or 7 or something. After a couple of years and night school to enable enrolment at uni. I jumped ship and went out into the real world. Sometimes I wonder what “grade” I would have reached if I’d stuck it out. Certainly the superannuation would have been far better but hey! I have done a lot more with my life and feel more fulfilled. You are on a continuing adventure called “life” with an exciting foreign woman in an unusual place. Times can get hard but they can also get better. Live it out! Hope that I can get over to Davao some time. At present Thailand is my thing but I have a feeling that there is a pinay waiting around the next corner. Scary thought, isnt it? By the way, where do you locate the “emoticons” on your blog?

    • Bruce says:

      My father always said to work for the government since you have a secure job and good pension. I never found a slot for me.
      I have not added the emotions option to the site. I will look into it.

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