When I was a doc, we often took family vacations with medical conferences. Alas, often I was in the meetings when my sons were at the pool, but you could stay over a night or two extra, but still claim a percentage of the travel and hotel as tax deductions.

And for conferences this made sense: you see, meeting those outside your area is important, and a lot of what you learn is by talking in coffee breaks with those from other areas. And resorts tend to have the infrastructure for such meetings.

But often you couldn’t get your CME certificate if you didn’t sign in, and sometimes if you didn’t take and pass a “post test” of the subject. And the IRS will check receipts if the numbers are too high.

So maybe there is a reason that several Congresspeople/senators just had to travel to luxourious $1000 a night Carribean resorts to “investigate” port security. Sure. I’m sure they do.

Now, as a transplanted Yank in the Philippines, could I suggest that the next time that Congress wants to take a vacation in a tropical paradise but don’t want to upset hard working taxpayers, could I suggest they come here?

They could stay at at the world’s most beautiful beaches in Boracay, and claim they are investigating the nearby Aklan oil spill. I even have a relative that could rent you the beach house.
Or they could visit the Chocolate hills, and claim they are checking how local officials cope with the local NPA. I have friends there who train local security guards that could give you the scoop.
Even Jolo Island has some nice beaches…but I’d probably not go there for another year or two. But my husband spent many years there as a doc, and could probably show you around.

Heck, you could even visit us here, and investigate how globalization is affecting the rice market.

Philipino food is great, and there are American, Japanese, and Chinese restaurants. People are friendly and although things are stolen all the time, you can just think of that as a charitable donation.

I should note that not all congresspeople are going on Luxiourious vacations however,. U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has just returned from a three-day trip to the Darfur region full of stories about the poverty, disease and hunger that plague the war-ravaged area of Sudan.

One doubts she spent a lot of time sipping Margaritas in $1000 dollar a night hotels in North Africa.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket. 

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