About AH

About AdoboHamburger.com A photo of my wife and me.

Welcome to AdoboHamburger.com! I’m Jason Cook.

About Me

My Philippines Connection

In 2007, I met a woman online named Menchu. It wasn’t on a dating or introduction site, it was by accident. There was something about her that was electric. She was smart and funny. She made me laugh and was able to match my sarcasm and sense of humor. She had a tough attitude yet she was tender, too. And she was very pretty.

We chatted online almost daily for over a year. We spent about four hours a day online together. I was in a comfy chair in a comfy home with high-speed internet in the US. She was on hard plastic chairs in internet cafes with slow Philippine internet.

In 2008 I made my first trip to Davao City to meet her. I had never been on such a trip by myself before. Seattle to Honolulu, Honolulu to Manila, Manila to Davao! Wow! I should tell you that I’m very hard of hearing and that trip was truly scary for me. But I had to meet her.

After ten days in Davao with Menchu, I knew she was the one. I was pretty sure she knew I was the one, too, since she didn’t ditch me and run screaming into the jungle.

In 2010 we went through the fiance visa process, she traveled alone on her own scary trip to the US and we were married in Seattle.

We visited the Philippines twice more, in 2012 and 2013.

A Scary Time, A Big Decision

I lost more of my hearing later in 2013. My right ear – my “good” one – just stopped working one day.

I wasn’t able to do my job as a building engineer any longer. I had one half-good ear and I could hardly communicate with the tenants at the company’s properties.

I had an MRI but it showed everything was normal. One of the best Ear, Nose, and Throat doctors in Seattle didn’t know why my hearing had disappeared.

I had a $1200 steroid shot directly into my ear through my ear drum TWICE. Nothing helped. I faced a hard decision.

We decided to sell our condo in Seattle and move to Davao City, Philippines. We’ve been here full-time since November of 2014.

About This Site

When I created AdoboHamburger.com, I took the most common “American” and “Filipino” things, the hamburger and adobo, and put them together. It was a metaphor for my wife and me.

I thought then that all I would be writing about was the “adobo vs. hamburger” things. The experts call it “culture shock”, the differences that drive mixed culture couples crazy.

The problem was that I wasn’t experiencing much “shock” being married to Menchu.

She loved American stuff as much as I loved Filipino stuff. We agreed on most things. Her family wasn’t the crazy kind. The little differences we had seemed too small to write about.

When we moved here to Davao City I found that I still wasn’t “culture shocked”. My problems were simple, everyday ones.

Questions that never came up on my vacations here were coming up now that I was living here. Where should we travel to? What kind of wine can I get here? Which store has the best tools? Where’s all the cheese?

So instead of posts about differences between Filipinos and Americans, I was writing posts about visiting Boracay, or what kinds of wines or cheeses I found here in Davao.

Because of that, I changed the focus of AdoboHamburger.com from “culture shock” to “Travel, food, and expat life in the Philippines”.

For sure, there are things that make me shake my head here and I write about them. I just think it’s far more interesting for people to see how houses are built here than to wonder why taxi drivers toot their horns a lot.

So let’s go see what’s happening out there and thanks for reading about AdoboHamburger.com!