A Broken Rib, and an Invitation

On Monday I went shopping at the Mahagony Market here in Tagaytay. After living here for almost 5 months, I discovered this market only because I had to go to the Hall of Justice, which is located in front of it. (In a future post I’ll explain why I went there.) The Mahagony Market is a public market. Public markets are the poorer, less sophisticated version of the mall for Filipinos. You can often get better goods, or better prices, at a public market. And at a very large public market such as Mahagony Market, you can also get a very broad selection of goods.

The front part of the market has stalls selling everything from packets of tomato paste to newspapers, as well as services. Car insurance and legal services predominate, but haircuts are available, all sorts of dry goods, hardware and household items, etc. At the back of this section are some restaurants, with parking behind them. The back part of the market consists of two large concrete-floored structures with booths inside them. The one on the left is the “wet market” where all sorts of meats are sold. The one on the right sells fruits and vegetables.

The produce available at this market is fantastic, in most cases much better than, and less expensive than, the large supermarkets in the shopping malls. This is the only place I’ve found really good tomatoes. The tomatoes elsewhere tend to be small and not that sweet. Here they have beautiful red ripe sweet tomatoes in all sizes, including very large. I also found eggplants that come closer to those I bought in the US than ever before. Most eggplants here are the long thin Chinese variety. Lately I’ve found small round dull green eggplants in the supermarkets. At this market on Monday I finally found large round shiny purple eggplants. The one item I still cannot find anywhere except the large supermarkets is berries, and the only kind of berries available even there are strawberries.

Anyway, I had managed to get everything on my list at the market on Monday, including specific fruits, vegetables, plants, a whole chicken, hot dogs, tomato paste, and take-out bulalo from one of the restaurants. Bulalo is my favorite Filipino dish, one of the few that I can usually eat without modification as it fits in my very strict diet. Bulalo is a beef soup, made from the knee joints of the cow, including the bone, the marrow, very tender meat, a few vegetables, and a beefy broth.
Well, I was walking back to my car, which I parked behind the wet market. I had made several trips to the car already to place bags of groceries in it. At this point I was carrying 2 newspapers and a bag with my bucket of bulalo and 5 small packets of tomato paste. In the middle of the wet market is a small concrete ramp, about 4 feet long.

As I walked down the ramp, my feet slid out from under me and I fell back at an angle, on my left arm and left side. I fell pretty hard. I was in pain, and made some noise. A man who worked in the market was next to me, standing there as I got up, asking if I was alright. I asked for a chair, and he pointed to the other side of the wet market. I gathered my things and walked there. By the time I got there about 10 men had gathered, trying to be helpful. They suggested I go to the toilet to clean up, as I had dirt all over me. I sat down in the chair. The man who had sold me the chicken and hot dogs earlier brought me a cup of hot water, which I drank. The toilet did not look appealing. I took my shirt off and used it to clean my arm and my side. The men put my bags together, rebagged the bulalo, which had lost all its liquid but was otherwise intact.

I called Dindin, got in the car, shirtless, and drove home. We unpacked the car, and I ate the bulalo meat and vegetables.
Then Dindin drove me to the hospital, about 2 km away.

It turns out I broke a rib.

Tagaytay Hospital has been deemed a Center of Excellence, the highest rating for a hospital of its type. We went to the emergency room there. The whole experience that first day took about an hour. They took 4 x-rays, a doctor did a physcal exam, and explained things to me. I was not surprised to hear that there is not much to do for a broken rib, it heals on its own in 6-8 weeks. I was told to make an appointment with one of the hospital’s orthopedic surgeons the next day.
That first day at the hospital cost 1266 pesos, about $30, plus about $9 for 8 pain pills.

The next day I saw the orthopedic surgeon. That visit cost about $11, plus $17 for 7 pills of a different variety, they help with pain and also with inflammation.

I do have pain whenever I take a deep breath, cough, laugh, or move. Movement while lying down, or lying down or getting up from lying down, entails the worst pain. Despite that I slept a good 9 hours the first night, and have been able to sleep since. The pain is slowly reducing.

Of course, Dindin has been wonderful at taking care of me.

People sometimes want to know, What can I do to help you?
It is often difficult to do much from far away. But there is something you can do.

You can join me on my journey. I have embarked on a journey to write, publish, market, and sell my own books.
The first book is entitled, “Moving to the Philippines: The Complete Guide.”
This is a somewhat risky venture, as I am now living on my savings, and my plan is to make a living as an author and publisher. The next 4 books I am planning are:

Poems to End Hunger (book of poetry, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to The Hunger Project)
How I Beat Diabetes (nutrition/exercise/health)
A Stand For the Earth (expansion of a poem I wrote, The Earthist Creed, into a program of thought/action)
The Last Body (sci-fi/fantasy novel with time travel and genetic engineering themes)

I’m very excited about Moving to the Philippines, as I think there is a large market for this book, and I hope to enlist a variety of government agencies, organizations, and companies whose interests are aligned with the success of the book to help market it. But ultimately it will be up to me to promote, market, and sell the book. I’m working with some very experienced partners in the publishing industry to make this venture a success. So what can you do?

Right now, you can participate in this blog. Read the blog. Post a comment. Share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, email, etc. The wider the readership I can generate for this blog, the larger the platform I will have to market the book.

Later, there will be other exciting adventures in this journey. For example, you’ll have the opportunity to pre-order copies of the book, to purchase the book after publication, to read the book, to make suggestions for the book of for future editions, to review the book on Amazon.com or other sites you use, to give away your copy to someone else who will review it, etc. If you do read the book and find it worthwhile, perhaps you’ll have some ideas of your own about groups that might be interested in this book and how to approach them.

I realize that not everyone wants to move to the Philippines. But this is the first part of the journey, to make this first book a success, and after that, the sky’s the limit.

Thanks for reading.

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  • Amy  On May 11, 2011 at 6:35 pm


    Sorry to hear about the broken rib. Hope it heals quickly. Looking forward to reading chapters of “Moving to the Philippines: The Complete Guide.”

    – Amy

  • Al  On May 11, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    Good Grief Barry! We need to send you to school to learn how to fall. Seriously, I am sad to hear about your injury but impressed with the cost of your treatment. That alone, is a great reason for people on fixed incomes to consider such a move. Social Security would go a lot farther there than it does in California or anywhere in the USA. Will your book discuss the costs of your move? Did you learn anything that would make you do things differently if you ‘had it to do over again?’

    Heal well.

  • magicbarry  On May 11, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    Thanks, Amy and Al, for your good wishes. Yes, the book will definitely cover costs, both costs of living in the Philippines and costs of moving. I met another expat recently, in the hospital actually, who said a main reason he moved here is that he could not afford to live on his social security in the USA.
    In general no, I don’t think I’d do things differently. Of course, there are hundreds of details, small things I’ve learned, that had I known them I would have taken advantage of. That is part of the impetus for the book – I’ve learned so many things that could help others. And also the costs issue – for some people, a move to the Philippines might mean they can retire 20 years earlier, or that they can semi-retire and start a new career, at a higher standard of living than they could afford in their home country.

  • Larry Osman  On May 11, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    so sorry to hear about your broken rib. Glad you’re writing books – it’s a great experience! Your writing is quite enaging! Let me know when you’re feeling better and I can resume sending you jokes. – Oz

  • magicbarry  On May 11, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    Thanks, Os, for your comments. Yes, unfortunately laughter can hurt the most right now, due to the broken rib. But for those of you with intact ribs, check out my friend Larry Osman’s hilarious book, here: http://putitinyouract.wordpress.com/

  • Bobbi  On May 13, 2011 at 2:41 am



  • magicbarry  On May 15, 2011 at 5:35 am

    Living with a broken rib is a great training in how to be more careful, which is good as everyone is telling me to be more careful. If I walk too fast I’m in a lot of pain, so I walk slowly, and go up or down stairs even more slowly. However, the rib is healing. Now it is much less painful to breathe or laugh.

  • garybnorth  On May 15, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    You do live an adventurous life, so I guess a broken rib is just par for the course — but I wouldn’t chalk this up as your big literary “break”; that will be your subsequent book: “The Fall and Rise of an American in the Philippines”. As to the other impending books, my (figurative) money is on the diabetes one (self-help sells well), followed by the swashbuckling Philippine pirate story you’ll no doubt pen later (think: movie rights), and THEN you can do the “Moving to P” book for the Tourism Authority, along with the follow-up for its Homeland Economic Development Dept.: “Staying in the Philippines to Build Paradise on Earth”. (Hey, could happen…)

  • magicbarry  On May 15, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    Yes, Gary, I agree that the diabetes book has a great market too. But I’m off and running on Moving to the Philippines, I think it’s the best one to start, as there are many promotional partners who are easily accessible to me here. And I am engaged in writing it. I’m not quite ready to start writing my story about diabetes. It will take a different kind of research to complete. The Moving book will need revision every few years, as laws and other details change. And I’ve been thinking about the title and how to make it appeal to expats who already live here.

  • Jeff  On December 25, 2011 at 5:20 am

    Congrats on writing the book! Will this be an e-book or printed? If you can publish an e-book version, you can market it easily through ClickBank.com. I also live in the Philippines and make some extra money promoting Philippine Guides through them. It’s not too hard, and you already have a great blog with traffic. Check out how I put up my site at Philippine Expat Guide. From experience, I can tell you there is a great market for your book, and an E-Book would add a lot of value overall.

    I’m also in the process of starting a new web site – Blogs For Expats, which is intended to be a community site where Expats can learn to create web sites and make some extra money. I’d be honored if you would check it out and maybe even join. I’ve just started developing the site, and it has a long way to go. There’s really no content yet – still working on the layout, etc. I’m hoping I can launch the site by the end of January.

    Thanks, and Merry Christmas!

  • Barry C. Saiff  On December 27, 2011 at 7:23 am

    Thanks for the links. Clickbank looks very interesting. My initial plan was to self-publish both a softcover book and an ebook in a variety of formats, but not in PDF format. PDFs are easily “stolen” – they can be shared between users without limit, and they don’t work that well on a Kindle (although on an iPad they work fine). However, my plans have changed since I wrote this. Instead of writing and self-publishing my own book, I am now completing a chapter on the Philippines for a larger book on Moving to Southeast Asia. The folks managing that project will take care of all the publishing details.
    Regarding your Blogs for Expats, I think it’s a good idea. To succeed it needs 2 things: Substantial content, in other words, a good amount of information that will be useful to it’s target audience, and a large user base. One way to get started toward both is to post links to expat blogs you like. Perhaps you can write reviews of expat blogs, and invite other to review them. Maybe you can get some expat bloggers who are successfully earning money off of their blogs or related products to guest-blog on Blogs for Expats about what led to their success. But all of that will work better once you have more users. I’m not an expert on that, but you can find experts who can help you market your site.

  • Jeff  On December 29, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Those are some great ideas – thank you. I’m still in the beginning stages of building the site.

    I plan to add a member blog directory, and a general expat blog directory. They will both contain reviews, so that goes right along with you idea.

    I’ve got some forums and groups up and running (BuddyPress and BBPress), and I’m working on tutorials and videos for many aspects of online marketing.

    I’m adding a marketplace for higher value content – themes, plug-ins, e-books, video seminars, etc.

    Plus posting, posting, posting. And then more posting. hehe.

    Having guest bloggers would be great, but in general, you need to be a somewhat popular site before most bloggers will post their content on your site. Chicken and the egg, right?

    Thanks again – I appreciate the ideas.

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