Oct 162012

BeachI base myself  in the Philippines during the winter months for several reasons.  The culture here is very friendly towards Americans, and nearly everyone is speaking some English.  The cost of living is quite low, despite the dollar’s drop from an exchange rate of 55 Pesos to 41 over the past five years.  For example, I live in a very comfortable 2-bedroom apartment in a quiet, gated, comfortable setting for about $150 per month.  Not bad!  The beaches here are fantastic!

It’s only around $100 from here to any of the other locations in Southeast Asia where I do a lot of my mining-related projects during the winter months.  Manilla is a main hub that will get me to anywhere else I need to go.

There is incredible gold down on the southern island of Mindanao; but that is just another one of those places where you can easily “lose your head” over gold.  Though that could all change in time, since one of the two significant Muslim separatist groups signed a peace treaty with the government here yesterday.  Meanwhile, I mainly use this as a comfortable place to live and manage my other responsibilities over the Internet between mining projects.

Another reason I like to live here is that every day is an adventure.  Just driving my car to the mall across town can be an extreme or terribly frustrating ordeal.  The rules of the road here are not the same as in America.  It took me a while to adjust. The answer is to never make any fast moves and always have lots of patience. After all, this is not my country. So now I just turn the music up loud and treat my drive across town like an action adventure, never in a hurry, always amazed at what can happen on the road.  I laugh a lot.  Sometimes I even get jolted into the realization that I am happy to be alive!

There are a lot of retired Americans and Australians over here, so there is a nice social scene, and also a comfortable night life for a single guy such as myself.  It’s a lot better than television!  I also have some Extreme Prospector buddies who have settled over here.

While there are plenty of benefits to living here, there is also the continuous struggle of coping with a different culture.  I have learned to balance things, mainly because I don’t attempt to do any serious business in the Philippines.   To give you an idea how things can go, here is an email I just received from one of my prospecting buddies who lives down south of me:

    “Dave; I am making plans to return to the US in 2014 to prospect for gold and a rich woman who will volunteer to support me.

Why am I returning?  Because my questionable better half, Rose, went to see a healer a few days ago.  This healer is a person who does not have a medical degree, but heals people and dispenses medicine, this time in a bottle with a Gin label.  I believe Rose might have had a mild stroke and needed to go to the hospital.  But she insisted on going to the healer.

She returned home later with 3 Gin bottles stuffed with plant stems and leaves floating in a clear liquid.  The bottles are 120 Pesos each ($3).  Once she finishes these bottles, she has to go back over to this Muslim area and refill the order 3 more times.

I have to respect their customs but I am reaching my limit since I am an evolution-type thinker.  The person that went with her believes that Rose has rabies because of her bad headaches.  I asked Rose if she was bitten by a rabid dog.  Rose said she didn’t get bitten, but she did eat a dog that didn’t taste too good.  So she thinks she caught rabies.  I do not know what the healer gave Rose to cure her rabies.  But I sure hope it works!”

Oct 132012

I just returned back to the Philippines from Bangkok.  It is nice to be back again in my normal routine.  We are getting hot, sunny weather here now.  It rained cats and dogs all 4 days that I was in Thailand.  I got caught out in it several times and got soaked.  My umbrella was not able to protect me from the heavy downpour bouncing off the ground.

The thing that amazes me about Southeast Asia is how fast the economy is moving.  I went to one of several huge shopping malls near where I live yesterday to buy some groceries.  The whole place was packed with thousands and thousands of shoppers.  It was the same way in the 3 different (huge) shopping malls I visited in Thailand earlier this week.  I’ll include an image, though the view through my camera lens did not capture the magnitude of the bustling economy.

One of the best ways to get a perception of how things are going, is to compare with other, similar situations.  All you need to do is visit the shopping centers in these other countries to realize there is definitely something very wrong with how America is being managed.  We need to look back before it is too late and figure out where we lost our way.  I addressed this in several chapters of Extreme Prospector.  I’d really like to hear your comments on my facebook page.


Catch me on Animal Planet!

 Dave Mack's - Extreme Prospector Blog  Comments Off on Catch me on Animal Planet!
Aug 062012

Dave McCracken - Lost Treasure Hunters

I recently teamed up with Discovery Network and four other specialists to participate in an adventure-packed expedition to locate the famous Golconda diamond mines of India. Lost for maybe 250 years, the world’s most famous diamonds originated from these very same mines, including the Hope Diamond.

The (very) challenging project forced our team to overcome a myriad of obstacles, including extreme weather, treacherous locations on land and in water, venomous snakes, crocodiles and language barriers, all within a culture that is rife with superstition and an unshakeable belief that anyone who attempts to find the lost mines would be cursed.

Indian Diamond WorkersAnimal Planet will cover the entire adventure in five continuing episodes. Here is the first episode of Lost Treasure Hunters. It is very exciting to see early promotional material now being played on the Internet.  Fellow cast member, Steve Newbery, has posted summaries for each of the initial five episodes right here. 

We constructed and shipped a very special suction dredge to India from Happy Camp,California to support this project.  While you will have to watch the show to see how it all plays out, I believe you will be pleased with the expanded exposure to suction dredging as a means to uncover fortune and economic opportunities.

Diamond Dredge - Lost Treasure Hunters



I personally believe a big part of moving the legal and political realities more in our favor is to increase awareness broadly about what we do.  Surveys show that most people like the idea of being able to go out and discover fun and fortune. The Discovery specials on suction dredging in Alaska are also helping a lot with this.