Day 1,152 of retirement

August 12, 2020

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Hi All

Friday 1st May 2020:

Lockdown continues. 6 weeks down with this next stint lasting 2 weeks.

There are two categories of quarantine now. Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) and General Community Quarantine (GCQ).

GCQ is for areas that are under control with no and or minimal virus exposure.

ECQ is for areas that still have virus issues. Marinduque is under ECQ as requested by the governor so that quarantine violators can be dealt with by the Police more efficiently and keep our island virus free.

Monday 11th May 2020:

Just what you need in a lockdown. Tropical Depression (makings of a typhoon) Ambo is headed our way. Looks like arriving Friday near Marinduque.

Thursday 14th May 2020:

Typhoon “Ambo” (the first one for the season) is due to hit us tomorrow morning (Friday 15th).
Ambo is currently a Signal 2 which is winds of greater than 61 km/h and up to 120 km/h.
Enacted our typhoon survival plan and prepared for the onslaught. Bring Ambo on.

Friday 15th May 2020:

Well, Typhoon Ambo came and went and we survived un-scratched.

Initially Ambo was a Category 3 (121-170 km/h winds) and looked like Marinduque was in for a direct hit. But as it closed in on us this morning, it weakened and went right so we only got the edge of the Typhoon.

Actual conditions were equivalent to a Category 1 (30-60 km/h winds). It was very unpleasant for about 4 hours as we were hit by the storm’s edge. Then as the typhoon passed us by, wind and rain settled down.

The power was off for 8 hours so very manageable.

The Castle came through in flying colours once again.

Sunday 17th May 2020:

Wwwooo hhhooo. As of yesterday, 16th May we are at General Community Quarantine (GCQ) which is the lowest qualification (no virus on the island).  The main difference for us is no more permits required for us to get to Gasan (large market and 11km away) and Buenavista (small market 4km away). You still need a permit to get to Boac (capital).

Just back from the Gasan market which has heaps more food available now.  So things just got a little bit easier and it feels grand after 8.5 weeks in lockdown. 1.5 weeks to go on the next GCQ instalment. Ends Sunday 31st May.

Monday 18th May 2020:

With travel restrictions relaxed it was time to catch up with expats John (Pom) and Gerald (Pom).
John visited us at the Castle in the am for coffee and a great catchup.
At 1:30pm I visited Gerald for a catchup.
We all performed social distancing at both gatherings. It has been 2 months since we caught up in person so was very nice to talk in person once again.

Tuesday 19th May 2020:

Very happy day at The Castle today. After 2 months in lockdown our maid, Cherry is back. We have been cleaning up the Castle but nobody cleans a house like Cherry.
So good to have her back on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Monday 1st June 2020:

Today, Monday the 1st June, we entered a Modified General Community Quarantine for the next two weeks on the island.
The main change for us is that we are now free to travel round the island with permits no longer required.
Travel by air and sea to the mainland is still banned for all but essential services (Eg: medical, food). There is talk of the airport opening mid-July. But in the time frame of the pandemic this is a long way off.
We are fine. Plenty of fresh food. Guy has been excelling with her cooking skills. We are enjoying some restaurant quality dishes.

Friday 5th June 2020:

Caught up with John (Pom) for a walk back into the hill behind Gasan. Our first outing in 3 months. It was very hot and humid but ooohhh so great to get out and about once again.

Friday 19th June 2020:

The earth just moved. Minor earthquake here. A magnitude 4.0 on Mindoro Island.

Saturday 20th June 2020:

Brownout today from 8:00am to 5:30pm. Scheduled for maintenance to generators. Ooohhh well a 2-hour massage will help to make the day pass quicker.

Wednesday 24th June 2020:

Our electrician, Joel, replaced the main fuse breaker and box to our house supply. He replaced the box with a custom-made waterproof housing to keep the breaker free from water and corrosion. We had some issues.
To visit us and measure up the waterproof housing, construct the box and install it, P2,500 ($75.00 AUS).
Awesome work by Joel.

Sunday 5th July 2020:

Got 4 of the boys (same boys who built our house) back today to setup and pour concrete tiles from the house to the front fence beach. All part of the ongoing landscaping project. Total cost of 4 wages. $52.00 AUS.

Friday 31st August 2020:

The Habagat season has arrived. The habagat season is characterized by hot and humid weather, frequent heavy rainfall, and a prevailing wind from the western parts (rough seas).

Tuesday 12th August 2020:

Guy and I are both doing fine locked away on our island.

Times have been trying in these chaotic periods ranging from full island lock down to a more relaxed quarantine.

Currently on the lowest quarantine so we are able to freely move round the island. Travel to and from the island is still heavily restricted which is good for virus control. Marinduque is currently virus free so living on an island does have some benefits.

Have been a bit lax with the blog as life is pretty quiet over the last 3 months.

We have the ABC on our satellite TV so keeping up with Australia’s virus happenings. Certainly, an interesting time in AUS.

Hope you guys and gals are all well.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy


Day 1,045 of retirement

April 27, 2020

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Hi All

Saturday 15th February 2020:

Up early (5:15am) to catch the plane (7:30am) to Manila. Left Emma at Ron and Vicky’s and they drove us to the airport.

Here till Wednesday. Guy catching up with old school friends and also commencing my residency application which is known as an ACR.

I did have an ACR but I let it expire and immigration will not renew it so have to do the whole application process again.

Sunday 16th & Monday 17th February 2020:

Guy caught up with family and old school/college friends.

Tuesday 18th February:

Up early (4:30am) and off to the NBI offices for my security clearance for my residency ACR card.

Arrived at 5:20am and there were still 20 ish people in front of us.

Got the paper work done and will be back in two weeks to pick up my clearance.

Spent a few hours at the Mall of Asia purchasing some luxury goodies to take back to the island.

Wednesday 19th February 2020:

Up at 4:45am and off to terminal 4 at the airport for our 5:30am flight back to Marinduque. It is a nice short 45-minute flight so all good for my motion sickness.

Ron and Vicky picked us up at the airport in Emma. We dropped them back at their place (4km up the road from us and made our way home. Sssooooo good to be home again at OUR place.

Wednesday 4th March 2020:

Up early (5:15am) to catch the 7:30am flight to Manila. The task at hand is to get all the paper work lodged for my ACR (to become a Philippine resident).
First stop was the NBI to collect my security clearance papers (like a Police background check). Then off to immigration.
Spent the whole day at immigration going from window to widow, floor to floor (3 floors) getting the correct documents signed and authenticated. At midday the only working lift broke so had to use the stairs for lots of trips up and down the floors.
So, after submitting all my paper work, having an interview with an attorney, having my biometrics collected (face and finger prints) and paying P13,000 ($410 AUS) the application process is completed.
My ACR card will be available in 6 weeks ish.
Going to sleep well tonight.

Thursday 5th March 2020:

Early start again at 5:15am and off to St Luke’s Medical Center for a Golden Health Screening Package. It is aimed at older people (50+ like us) to give them a complete health check.

From 7:00am till midday we were pricked, prodded, had blood extracted (for a battery of tests), peed into a jar (also for a number of tests), x-rayed (chest), ultra-sounded (Bladder, Liver, Kidney, Prostrate etc.) stress tested on a treadmill (for the heart), ears and eyes tested and asked a thousand questions.

Will get all the results in 3-5 days.

Initial results are that we are both fighting fit but will reserve judgement till the official results are in.

The service was outstanding. Lots of professional staff and very friendly and helpful.

Cost for Guy was P24,787 ($775.00 AUS) and mine was P28,961 ($905.00 AUS).

Friday 6th March 2020:

Leisurely day today after the last two hectic days.

After a sleep-in it was off to see Guy’s mum and family.

Next stop was The Mall of Asia (MOA) for some luxury item to take back to the island (Cheese, nuts, etc).

Saturday 7th March 2020:

Up at 3:25am and made our way to the airport to catch the 5:30am flight back home to Marinduque. Nice smooth 40-minute flight so all good.

So nice to get back home again and relax.

Thursday 12th March 2020:

Up at 3:30am to hand over Emma’s (Toyota SUV) keys to our part time driver Willie. Emma needs a 10,00km service at the Toyota service centre on the mainland.

To get there, Willie drove for an hour to get to the port. Then 3 hours on the Ro Ro. Finally, a 2-hour drive to the San Pablo Toyota service centre.

All done and he arrived back at the Castle at 10:00pm.

Friday 13th March 2020:

Awoke to the news that Metro Manila will be shut down March 15 to April 14 with the military and police keeping everyone inside their homes. Very limited air, sea or land travel permitted to and from Manila.

Later in the day we also heard that Santa Cruz (opposite side of the island to us) was going into lockdown same as Manila.

We are okay on the island. We reviewed our typhoon survival kit and added a few things, all good.

Some shelves in the Gasan supermarket are now bare as locals start to panic buy, but mostly limited to essential stuff like 2-minute noodles and canned milk.

Better stock up on “toilet” paper.

Saturday 14th March 2020:

First report of a person being monitored for the virus on the island. He travelled from overseas, so a potential virus carrier.

Sunday 15th March 2020:

Marinduque is now under complete quarantine, except that food, supplies, & medical personnel can come from the mainland. Everyone else is to self-quarantine.
We will just have to sit on the front veranda and watch the world go by for a while.

Friday 20th March 2020:

Just tried to get to our local market (Buenavista 4km away) and were informed we would need a permit. Permit obtained from checkpoint near us, so all good. We can only travel within our local area.
To go to Boac some 30km away there are only 10 permits per day available and they have over 200 requests for today.
We are fine travelling on our permit. Can get everything we need locally.

Friday 27th March 2020:

Our local Barangay (like a suburb) is allowing people to go to the local town (at the moment) of Buenavista (4km away) to get restocked with food.

You need a pass which can be obtained from a checkpoint 200m up the road from the Castle. This enables the number of people that are in the township at any one time to be controlled.

Once in town you need to show this card at some shops to get served. Once you are on the way home you have to drop off the pass and get signed out.

We drove in and I stayed in the car while Guy shopped. Shopping was pretty quick as there was nobody about. There was a reasonable selection of food available, about 50% of veggies that we normally have. Groceries are also still in plentiful supply, but stock like eggs and chicken are being held at the port due to bird (?) flu…. same thing for fruits coming from the mainland are not coming as often as everyone like, 2 of the 3 fruit stalls that we normally go to are closed today.

We are both doing fine and taking in the serenity.

Saturday 4th April 2020:
When your locked down, you need to utilise all of the fruit you can. This includes the Watermelon rind. Guy found a recipe to turn it into yummy candy. It really is very nice.

Check out this web site.
Search for – Watermelon rind > 10 Ways to Eat Watermelon Rind > 10. Candied Rind
Happy cooking….

Tuesday 7th April 2020:

Shopping day today. Down to our trusty checkpoint and got our permit to go to Gasan. Plenty of fresh fruit, veggies and meat available.
On the way home we bought a bag of fresh treats from the bakery for the good folk manning the checkpoint. They are there day in, day out and do an awesome job in controlling travel on the island.

Wednesday 15th April 2020:

4 weeks today we entered lockdown on Marinduque. We have been out 4 times (with a permit) during that time to get fresh food.
The lockdown has been extended to 30th April so 2 weeks to go. Hopefully at this time the lockdown will be scaled back gradually.
During the 4 weeks we had 4 virus infections on the island. They were quarantined and made a full recovery. The island is currently virus free.
We are very lucky to be in our own home on a large block (2,908 square meters) so we can wander about. Being on the beach helps as well.
I hope you are all well and here’s to getting back to the NEW normal.

Our lockdown is meant to end on this Thursday 30th April after a 6-week stint.

Saturday 25th April 2020:

As of an update by the government from yesterday, a Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) is supposed to end on April 30 but was extended in some areas for an additional 2 weeks, including Metro Manila and other areas of the country with virus hot spots.

Areas under a general community quarantine (GCQ) (this includes Marinduque) will be allowed to reopen manufacturing, electronics and exports, e-commerce, repair and maintenance services, and housing and office services.

The island is still virus free so all air and Ro Ro access is for freight, food and authorised people only. Hopefully the permit for local travel will be eased so we can catchup with friends and Guy can play Mahjong again.

So, here is to recovering to the new “Normal”.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy


Day 971 of retirement

February 11, 2020

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Hi All

Monday 27th January 2020:

Back on the road today with 13.5 people (0.5 is Ysabelle a 3-year-old) in the 15-seater Toyota van. It is a bit of a tight fit with us and all our luggage. Including Guy’s mum’s wheelchair.

After a 5-hour drive, we arrived at Plaridel (down south on the mainland) for the night.

Tuesday 28th January 2020:

Off to Tabgon, Caramoan, in the middle of nowhere. One road in and same road back out. 8.5 hours with the last 3 being a bit of a goat track in the mountains to Tabgon.

At one stage I had to scout the track on foot with a torch to make sure we were on the right track. We were.

Very basic accommodation. No hot water or flush toilet. Do have air-conditioning though.

Wednesday 29th January 2020:

Back out the goat track we came in on (1.5-hour journey) then off to Legazpi for 2 nights. Drive time today was 6-hours.

Due to a combination of bad roads, dubious accommodation (bad Airbnb experience), sick kids and our wheelchair bound mother, we decided to go 5 star for our last two nights on our road trip to see Mayon Volcano. We all realised that not having hot water for showers, flushing toilets, towels and soap is not fun anymore.

Thursday 30th January 2020:

Out sightseeing today round the Mayon Volcano. Visited some ruins of old stone churches, the famous Cagsawa Church which was destroyed when the volcano erupted in 1814.

In the afternoon the adults rested up and the kids went ATV (4-wheeler motorbikes) riding out in the river bed.

Friday 31st January 2020:

Early start today as we head home. Guy and I are being dropped off at Lucena to catch the Ro Ro back home. The others are headed for Manila.

After a 10-hour van ride, 3 hour Ro Ro crossing and 1 hour in Emma we made it home at 10:30pm. Time for a cup of tea and a lay down.

Saturday 1st February 2020:

No chance to sleep in as Cherry the maid is here to clean and wash. At 8:30am our carpenter arrived with our last wardrobe for the guest bedroom.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy


Day 955 of retirement

January 26, 2020

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Hi All

Sunday 12th January 2020:

What’s the world coming tooooo? The Taal volcano on the mainland is erupting. Forced evacuations of surrounding areas. Won’t directly affect us at this time.

Monday 13th January 2020:

All flights to and from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Manila) are on hold after Taal Volcano spewed ash to 55,000 feet.

Just went out to the car, there is some very fine ash on it. It has reached us.

Tuesday 14th January 2020:

The Taal volcano has quietened down after Monday’s eruption. It is till venting huge clouds of ash though.
The airport has partially opened. Flights depend on the ash density and direction.
The huge ash clean-up has started adjacent Taal. Ash up to 1 meter deep in places. Has also rained and this has led to huge patches of mud.
Today, creaks have started to appear in the ground adjacent Taal. Could herald another eruption. Time will tell.

Saturday 18th January 2020:

Left Marinduque by plane for Manila. Having an overnight stop over and catching the plane flight to El Nido in Palawan tomorrow.

Sunday 19th January 2020:

A later departure (only 30 minutes) for our 1.5-hour flight to El Nido.

We are in a 4-bedroom three-bathroom house as we are sharing with Guy’s three sisters (from Philippines, Australia and NZ) and 3 nieces and nephews who are visiting.

All settled in and a very nice dinner at the Art Café by the beach.

Monday 20th January 2010:

Off island hopping for the day. Today is one of the top 5 worst excursions we have encountered.

We had our crew man at the house at 8:45am having us hurry along (a 10-minute walk) for a 9:00am start. We arrived at 9:00am and finally left the beach at 10:30am.

Our Bangka was the oldest, slowest and grottiest one in the whole fleet. It also belched diesel fumes into the cabin from time to time.

Guy noticed that the Bangka was rated for 15 people. There were 17 people on the boat. When queried about the over limit passenger they said it was now rated for 17 people.

After stop 1 of 5 islands, the wind picked up and it got very rough and lasted all day. Of course, that set my seasickness off. I was crook for the rest of the day.

At one stage the Bangka was meters from crashing into the cliff (at stop 2) as the wind was stronger than the old Bangka’s propulsion. The Bangka next to us threw a line across and pulled us away from the cliff.

So, all in all not a good day all round.

Tuesday 21st January 2020:

Went beach hopping today in a van. Visited three beaches and a great day was had by all.

Wednesday 22nd January 2020:

A rest day for Guy and I exploring El Nido as the rest of the gang are back island hopping for the day. On a new boat today after the clunker from Monday.

Thursday 23rd January 2020:

All piled into a van for the 260km trip down to Puerto Princesa.

Followed the coast most of the way but it was a very up and down windy road. Took us 5-hours to get here.

Rested up ready for the underground river tour tomorrow.

Friday 24th January 2020:

Off to the underground river from Puerto Princesa. A 1h 45m van ride, 20-minute bangka ride and then a 45-minute tour of the river. Plus, lots of waiting round to get onto the bangka and river tour boat.

A very spectacular cruise up the river. We each had an audio system that gave us the history of the river and location of where we were on the river.

Saturday 25th January 2020:

Our van man picked us up at 11:00am and took us to the local mall for lunch. Then some sightseeing round Puerto Princesa. He dropped us off at the airport at 3:00pm for our 7:00pm flight back to Manila.

Guy went and checked with the airline and they could fit all 8 of us on the 4:00pm flight. So, a dash to the gate and we all made the earlier 4:00pm flight.

We walked from terminal 3 to our accommodation on the sky walkway. A 20-minute walk and we were at our accommodation for the night.

Sunday 26th January 2020:

Rest day today.

The 6 others all went to the Mall of Asia for the day while Guy and I went to the St Luke’s hospital to check out an Executive Health check-up.

They do a full check of you over 1 day and then provide you with the results online. Looking at getting it done in February.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy

Day 906 of retirement

December 8, 2019

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Hi All

Tuesday 5th November 2019:
Emma (Toyota Rush) was due for her 5,000km service at the “local” Toyota dealership in San Pablo on the mainland. To get there it is a 1 hour drive to the port, a 3 hour Ro Ro (Ferry) ride and a 2 hour drive to San Pablo.
As Guy and I are not comfortable driving on the main land yet we hired Willie, our part time drive, to take the vehicle to San Pablo and back for the service.
He picked up Emma at 4:00am and delivered her back to us at 7:30pm all serviced. A long 15.5 hour day for Willie.
His cost was P3,000 ($86.00 AUS).
Awesome service, Willie.

Wednesday 6th November 2019:

A wild and woolie day as tropical depression Quiel hits us with wind, rain and rough seas. It’s moving away from us, so all good.
Got food and movies. What more could you want?

Thursday 7th November 2019:

The wild and woolie weather is still with us. Tropical depression Quiel could turn into a typhoon as per the weather forecast. Will know by tomorrow.
Today is the wettest day so far this year (2019) according to Gerald (Pom) who keeps meticulous rainfall records.
The power is on and off all day as well.

Saturday 9th November 2019:

The weather is almost back to normal this morning. Typhoon Quiel has left the building and headed towards Vietnam, weakening as it goes.
Clean up time.

Wednesday 13th November 2019:

Tropical storm “Ramon” is skirting up the east coast of the Philippines. Looks like we will get some heavy rain over the next few days.

Thursday 14th November 2019:
Scheduled brownout today 8:00am to 5:30pm. Same this Saturday. Also raining due to tropical depression Ramon skirting us by, so nice and cool. Movies on the laptop time after a siesta.

Guy at Mahjong.

Saturday 16th November 2019:

No power for the day due to a scheduled brownout (8:30am to 5:30pm).

Guy off to Mahjong in Gasan (they had power) and I got into cleaning mode. Washed all the windows (salt spray), sorted all the rubbish and lubed all the door handles/locks.

Sunday 17th November 2019:

Pamper day today. After a sleep in it was off to the hairdresser for a cut for me and a cut and style for Guy. Total cost: P150 ($4.30 AUS).

Then lunch of home-made burgers, fries and drink. Total cost: P150 ($4.30 AUS).

Finally, a manicure and pedicure for us both. Total cost: P300 ($8.60 AUS).

Emma also got a wash and detail. Cost: P250 ($7,20 AUS).

Monday 18th November 2019:

This morning at 7:00am the power went off at the Castle. I contacted Gerald (Pom) who lives just up the road and he had power as did our neighbour.
So I did the usual and checked all the fuses and still nothing.
So we drove into Buenavista to Marelco, the power supply company at 8:00am. They would have a crew to the house within the hour.
The Marelco crew arrived and determined that the issue was at the breaker switch just after the meter which is our responsibility.
So a call to our electrical contractor who did the house wiring and he came straight out with an electrician.
They replaced the faulty breaker switch and we have power back within the hour.
Cost: Breaker switch P1,300 ($37 AUS) and installation P200 ($6 AUS). Awesome service by all once again.

Monday 25th November 2019:

In Lucena (on the mainland) for the day, shopping.
After 1-hour drive to the port, 2.5-hour Ro Ro crossing and 15 m drive to mall we have arrived.

Real cheese, top of the shopping list. Mmmmmm cheese. Managed to get everything on the list.
Back to Marinduque on the 4:30pm Ro Ro. Arrived home at 9:00pm.

Wednesday 27th November 2019:

Got the plumber back today to replace my shower water heater. Unbeknownst to us the original ones we bought don’t operate correctly with our low flow water supply from our well and pressurised water tank.

Guy’s works sometimes and mine has stopped all together. Once the plumber installed my new low flow heater it worked fine. Will replace Guy’s on our next trip to the mainland (Lucena).

Plumber cost to install the new water heater P500 ($14.00AUS).

Tuesday 3rd December 2019:

Well that was interesting. Typhoon Tisoy a Cat 3 typhoon 120 – 170kph winds (only 4 Cats in total) hit us with a vengeance this morning. The worst of it lasted for 6 hours as the eye passed us close by.

There was torrential rain combined with gale force winds which was scary and exhilarating all at the same. The wind gusts would sound like a freight train and then hit with a vengeance. It is the scariest storm I have ever been in.

The yard outside the house is trashed. Trees stripped bare, bent and broken. The Castle is covered in shredded leaves. Looks like a camouflage pattern on the walls.

But I must say that the Castle came through with flying colours. We were perfectly safe tucked up inside.

After the stormed passed it was chaos. Our track into the Castle was completely blocked with fallen trees which also bought down the power lines to us and our two neighbours. The main road was blocked in both directions from our gate with big trees down. One of the people across the road was wading waist deep in water outside his house.

Our neighbours rallied and over a period of 4 hours they had cleared the road, got the power lines back up on posts and then helped me clear the Castle yard. A real community effort. Awesome team work, guys.

Also discovered we have a swimming pool with waterfall on the Castle. During the torrential downpours, the roof drains were overwhelmed so once several inches of water collected on the roof it would cascade down the stairs (it was designed that way) like waterfalls. As you can imagine the torrential downpour dumped a LOT of water so it was quite spectacular at times.

All in all, very happy with the Castle and how she performed in such a nasty Typhoon.

Thursday 5th December 2019:

Getting internet and phone signal involves a 60km round trip to Boac the capital. The drive gives us the opportunity to charge our phones and power block so it not a complete loss.
Started the clean up this morning. Had the chainsaw man in to cut a huge tree that had fallen across our power line. The cable is fine and all clear now. Power restoration is looking like 4-6 weeks. Lots of power poles snapped like match sticks.
Guy and I cleared the roof of all the vegetation. Started to clean the walls and verandas. Weeks of cleaning up to come.
Saturday 7th December 2019:

Enjoying a bit of luxury. Flushing toilet, running water, hot shower, power & internet. In Manila till Monday for Guy’s high school batch Xmas gathering. Then back to none of the above.

Going to check out generators tomorrow while we are here.

Life is good.


Trevor & Guy.


Day 872 of retirement

November 4, 2019

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Hi All

Tuesday 1st October 2019:
Had the local council assessors here this morning to assess our property for council rates which are due in December.

We have 2,908 square meters in total of which 1,600 square meters will be classed as residential (where the house resides) and the remaining 498 square meters will be classed as agriculture as it is all jungle at present.

Previously we paid 29 Pesos (83 cents AUS) for the whole block.

Just got to supply some documentation to the assessor and will get our new rate amount in November. It is going to be just a tab more that 29 Pesos.

Thursday 3rd October 2019:

We had our usual 2-hour massage this morning. During my massage we had a big monsoon thunderstorm. Thunder, lightning and heavy rain. Nature provided a great musical background to the massage.

After lunch it was into Gasan for a haircut for me and a colour for Guy. Total cost 300P ($8.60 AUS). Getting ready for our holiday back to Aus. Leave Saturday morning for Manila.

Friday 4th October 2019:

Spent the day sorting out the Castle for our 3 weeks away in AUS. Ruby parked in the bedroom, washing machine in the hallway and everything off the back veranda inside.

Emma is being left at Ron (Yank) and Vickie’s just up the road from us (4km away). Vickie is driving us to the airport and picking us up on our return so works out well.

Saturday 5th September 2019:

Left Marinduque this morning and now in Manila for the night. Leave Manila tomorrow night (Sunday) for an 8-hour flight to Sydney.
Arrive in Sydney Monday am, pick up a hire car and then off to Canberra arriving early afternoon.
Here we come Australia for the next 3 weeks.

We are overnighting in a condo by the international airport. The awesome lady caretaker allowed us a 4-hour early checking (10:00am) and a 4-hour late check out tomorrow (4:00pm) as our flight isn’t till 8:00pm.

Sunday 6th September 2019:

Left Manila at 8:00pm and arrived in Sydney at 7:30am local time after an 8 hour rather bumpy flight.

Monday 7th October 2019:

As the flight was rather bumpy, we didn’t get much sleep during the flight. By the time we arrived in Sydney (7:30am) we both were a little under the weather.

Got SIM cards organised for our mobiles, picked up the hire car (got a free upgrade) and headed for Canberra and two very excited grandkids.

Arrived in Canberra at 12:30pm and we both crashed for a very relaxing siesta. Aria joined Guy for her siesta and also had a nice afternoon nap.

Tuesday 8th October 2019:

First job today was to get Guy’s Australian passport renewed as it has less than six months left on it.

We did the online renewal last night, printed off the required documents and visited the local Australian Post Office this morning. They took the required pics and lodged it all for us. Guy’s new passport should be here next week as we requested express processing so we get it before we leave AUS in 2 weeks.

Very quick, easy and painless.

Spent the afternoon getting jumped on by the grandies.

Wednesday 9th October 2019:

Visited Floriade in Canberra today. The largest spring festival in Australia. Colour everywhere.

Friday 11th October 2019:

Guy got an email saying that her new passport was ready for pickup. Not bad service since she only lodged it on Tuesday. The passports are processed and printed in Canberra so I guess that that saves 2-4 days postage and handling.

Saturday 12th / Sunday 13th October 2019:

Hung with the grandkids who have way more energy than we have.

Monday 14th October 2019:

Left Canberra for Sydney on the next leg of our holiday. Staying at a friend’s AirBnb (thanks Katie) which is centrally located in Brookvale, Sydney.

The next three days are dedicated to sorting out a small storage locker we have here from when we moved to the Philippines in November 2018.

We will cull the items rather aggressively and pack up the last remaining item and send them to Marinduque.

Then off to Adelaide for the weekend to see my family.

Caught up with Jordan (Guy’s son) for dinner. He is doing very well for himself here in Sydney.

Tuesday 15th October 2019:

After sorting our gear all day, we both went out to dinner.

I caught up with my old Battery world co-workers (Craig, Ross & Chris) and Guy caught up with the girls for bingo. Awesome steak at The Bored Monkey.

Wednesday 16th October 2019:

The last of our possessions here in AUS have now been boxed up and are on their way to the Philippines.
We spent the last 2 days going through our small storage locker here in Sydney. We threw out about half of our old belongings and the rest are on their way to the Castle in the Philippines in 4 boxes (Approx 3 cubic meters).
The Castle on Marinduque is now home.

Thursday 17th October 2019:

As we finished our storage locker sorting a day early, we had a “rest” day today.

After a sleep-in it was off to Palm Beach for a leisurely drive followed by brunch.

Had our afternoon siesta and back to The Bored Monkey restaurant for an awesome steak dinner.

Friday 18th October 2019:

Up early and off to the airport for our flight to Adelaide.

Made it to Adelaide and was picked up by Sandy and Brian (sister and brolaw) in their new Tesla 3. Brian gave us a demo of the 0 to 100 in 3.4sec. Holy sh….t Batman. G force power. You are literally forced back in the seat. Impressive.

Saturday 19th October 2019:

Meet up with the boys (Rik, Jason & Mikey) in Adelaide for lunch.

Did a bit of shopping and back to Port Willunga to Sandy and Brian’s beach house where we are staying.

Sunday 20th October 2019:

Family day today. The Kloeden clan all meet at Port Willunga for lunch. It was a rare occasion for all four Kloeden kids to be together (Lyn (from WA), Sandy (Adelaide), Me (Philippines) and Craig (Adelaide). Also partners and kids rounded off the crowd. My cousin Deb also drove for 4 hours from Naracoorte to visit.

A feast of food was cooked up and enjoyed by all. The awesome lunch was followed by a walk down the beach.

Monday 21st October 2019:

After a sleep in it was off to the airport to catch our flight back to Sydney. Picked up our hire car and stayed in Sydney for the night as we arrived at 6:30pm. Driving to Canberra tomorrow.

Tuesday 22nd October 2019:

Up and off to check our four boxes from the storage locker had been picked up. They had, so closed the rental on the locker.

Off to Canberra arriving mid-afternoon.

Wednesday 23rd – Sunday 27th October 2019:

Hanging with the grand kids.

Monday 28th October 2019:

First leg of 3 on our trip back home to Marinduque. Drove from Canberra to Sydney and staying the night. Second leg is flying Sydney to Manila tomorrow midday. Third leg is flying Manila to Marinduque on Wednesday.
Caught up with Jordan (Guy’s son) for dinner.

Tuesday 29th October 2019:

Off to the airport for our midday flight back to Manila. Arrived at 5:30pm and made our way to the condo we booked. Turns out that the lady forgot our booking and she was booked out.

So, she managed to get a friend to call us who had a condo available just up the road.

All good and we had a bed for the night.

Wednesday 30th October 2019:

Up at 2:15am and off to the domestic airport for our 5:00am flight to home, Marinduque. Landed on the island at 6:10am and were picked up by Ron (Yank) and Vicki (wife) who drove to their house where we picked up Emma. She had a holiday at Ron’s house while we were away.

Home at last at 7:00am and a nice hot cup of tea on the veranda welcomed us home.

At 8:30am the power went out till 1:00pm. The island welcoming us home.

Thursday 31st October 2019:

Busy day. I was up at 4:00am as I couldn’t sleep. My body clock thought it was still on Sydney time (7:00am) so time to get up.

At least I had a good internet signal so managed to update both our iPhones and my MacBookPro.

At 7:30am our awesome maid Cherry and husband Bong arrived. Cherry cleaned inside and out and did our washing. Bong is reclaiming our back yard from the jungle as there was rain while we were away and the jungle growth took off.

At 8:30am our massage lady Ailyn arrived for a two-hour massage each. Bliss.

After lunch it was off to the ATM in Gasan (11km away) which was offline, as it is most of the time. So, we drove to the Municipal Centre near Boac (25km away) which has a more reliable ATM. We are now all cashed up.

Back home for a late afternoon dump of rain. Cooled down things as well so very welcome.

Friday 1st November 2019:

Quiet day today. After a leisurely breakfast it was off for a manicure/pedicure each at the Mahjong house in Gasan.

No Mahjong today so I ventured off to see Gerald (Pom) for a catch up.

Saturday 2nd – Sunday 3rd – Monday 4th November 2019:

Quiet days.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy



Day 835 of retirement

September 28, 2019

Click on a photo below for the slide show. The slide show has the descriptions of each pic below the photos. You can also leave comments in this area.

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Hi All

Wednesday 4th September 2019:
Rubbish day today. Did a clean-up along the beach and filled another 20L old concrete bag full. I have six full bags from the last 3 weeks to burn up.

It is hard to burn rubbish due to the humidity but I managed with the help from some coconut tree branches.

Thursday 5th September 2019:

Started the day with a two-hour massage each from our awesome masseuse.

Spent a relaxing day at home as Guy wasn’t playing Mahjong.

The Habagat is back with rough seas, wind and a little rain. Rough conditions for a few days. Hoping it will clear up by Monday as we want to do a shopping trip to Lucena in Emma.

Involves a 1-hour Emma drive to the port, 3-hour Ro Ro crossing and 30-minute drive to the Mall in Lucena. Won’t go if it looks like rough seas due to my sea sickness.

Saturday 7th September 2019:

Brownout from 8:30am to 5:30pm (9 hours scheduled brownout). Time to relax under the veranda in the sea breeze.

The maid came early so got the washing done.

Power was finally restored at 8:00pm some 11.5 hours later. Also went off at 10:00pm for another hour.

Sunday 8th September 2019:

The Habagat is back. Not too bad in the morning but gets rather rough in the afternoon.

Had to new SS gate installed this morning. It replaced the old bamboo gate that was rather bendy and twisty after constant use. The bamboo gate served us well but time to upgrade.

Monday 9th September 2019:

Thanks all for the birthday wishes. Had a relaxing day with breakfast on the veranda watching the fishermen in the bay.

Lunch date with Guy at a “Posh” restaurant. Siesta after lunch. And caught up with John (Pom) for late afternoon drink.
And the island threw in a 5-hour brownout (1-6pm) just for good measure.

Tuesday 10th September 2019:

Had the Aluminium window, door, mirror crew back this morning to mount our two half mirrors in the guest bedrooms, replace one of the automatic door closers and check and adjust the two other closers.

And all at no cost to us. Great service.

Wednesday 11th September 2019:

Up at 5:00am and off to the port (1-hour drive in Emma) to meet the 6:30am Ro Ro to the mainland. Arrived at 9:30 (3 hours crossing) and drove to the Mall in Lucena (30-minute drive). Arrived at the Mall right on opening at 10:00am.

Shopped till 4:00pm then drove back to the terminal to catch the 6:30pm Ro Ro back to the island.

After another rough 3-hour Ro Ro crossing, we hit the road for home arriving at 10:30pm. Luckily, I took a sea sick tablet as the trip home was rather rough. Even Guy felt it. I was okay thanks to the tablet.

A long day but we were able to get everything we were after.

Thursday 12th September 2019:

Started the day with a two-hour massage each. Then off to the market for some supplies and then spent the day unpacking/putting together some of our purchases.

Cherry the maid was here in the afternoon today for her duties.

Friday 13th September 2019:

Tropical depression Marilyn hit us this morning. It was really weird as it was mirror calm on the sea, no wind and not high tide. But it did rain steady for most of the day which was very welcome as it is very dry here for a monsoon season.

Saturday 14th September 2019:

Yesterday was the calm before the storm. Only a mild depression but back to windy, rough conditions.

Monday 23rd September 2019:

Busy day today. Picked up Garry and Rexy (From AUS) who have a house 4km ish away from us. They are here at the moment for a visit as they spend part of the year here and rest back in VIC AUS.

Made our way to the other side of the island to see another aussie Harry who has a resort on the eastern side of the island.

We meet Ron (Yank) and Willie (His driver) there but alas Harry was in Boac for the day. So, we had lunch at a very nice roadside canteen.

On the way home we called into Pulang Lupa which is a historical site up in the mountains which commemorates a famous battle between the Filipinos and Americans which the Filipinos won 9 September 13th 1900).

A great day was had by all.

Wednesday 25th September 2019

Been a quiet week. Had a mild Habagat come through. Lasted for 4 days. At least this one bought some much needed rain.

Thursday 26th September 2019:

Got Ruby re-registered for another 12 months today.
It involved:
1. Visiting an emission tester and have a probe placed up the exhaust for several minutes. P350 ($10 AUS).
2. Purchase third party insurance. P450 ($13 AUS).
3. Get registration completed and paper work issued P550 ($16 AUS).
Grand total P1,350 ($39 AUS).
All done for another year.
PS: There is no comprehensive insurance for motorbikes here.
PSS: Emma is good for 3 years before re-registration being a new car.

Friday 27th September 2019:

Hot muggy day = Awesome sunset. Sunset put on a real spectacle for us tonight.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy


Day 808 of retirement

September 1, 2019

Click on a photo below for the slide show. The slide show has the descriptions of each pic below the photos. You can also leave comments in this area.

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Hi All

Monday 12thAugust 2019:
A nice fine day so, clean up time. Hosed off the front veranda and cleaned all the windows.

Also got Emma to the carwash for a scrub clean.

Tuesday 13thAugust 2019:

The Habagat is back again. The fine weather only lasted a day. Only a mild Habagat at present, so all good.

Ruby got her wash and clean today. Took her for a good run as well, as she is feeling a little neglected over these last few weeks of rough weather.

Friday 16thAugust 2019:

Started the day with our two-hour massage each.

Cherry the maid was here to clean as well.

I spent the afternoon cleaning up the beach. Firstly, I picked up all the trash (man-made) and got a fire going and burnt up the trash.

All the vegetation trash is still on the beach as there is just too much to gather up and burn in one go. Estimating a week’s work for me to clean up.

Saturday 17thAugust 2019:

The maid was here for cloths washing day.

I took Emma to the car wash for her weekly wash and shine.

After lunch, Guy was off to Mahjong and I caught up with Ron (American) for several hours.

Sunday 18thAugust 2019:

Off to the market for some supplies for lunch.

Came to Guy’s Mahjong house for my manicure/pedicure.

The Habagat has dissipated, so nice and calm, hot and humid. So time for a nice afternoon siesta.

Monday 19thAugust 2019:

Last night whilst cleaning my teeth I finished up with a whole filling with some tooth fragment in my hand and a hole in my top gum.

First thing this morning we called a dentist in Boac who we saw 7 years ago when we lived here. She said come on up (45-minute drive) and she would fit me in straight away.

45 minutes after arriving she had cleaned up the remaining tooth and filled it all up back to new. Will need to have an x-ray in the future to see what tooth I have left but all good for now.

Awesome service once again.

Total cost was P700 ($20.00 AUS).

Wednesday 21stAugust 2019:

Went for a walk round the beach today while it is overcast and a little cooler.

Tropical Storm “INENG” is sliding north of us. Shouldn’t affect us too much.

Thursday 22ndAugust 2019:

Started the day with a 2-hour massage each.

In the afternoon the local school kids cleaned up the beach as part of their science course on keeping our environment clean. They did a great job.

Friday 23rdAugust 2019:

After yesterday’s great effort by the local school kids to pile up the coconut, bamboo and banana vegetation, we had the local council workers come along and burn up the piles today.

As this vegetation had been submerged in sea water it is very hard to burn. But with lots of poking the fires, 95% of the vegetation burnt up to give us our beach back.

Tuesday 27thAugust 2019:

Massages, pedicure/manicure, Mahjong, pottering round the Castle and cruising on Ruby have consumed the last 5 days.

Off to Manila tomorrow till Saturday. Visiting Guy’s family especially her sister visiting from Queensland, Australia.

Flying over and back as the airport is now open once again. Only a 45 minute flight which beats the Ro Ro and bus (10 hours ish).

Wednesday 28thAugust 2019:

In Manila for a few days. Only took 2 hours from home to hotel as we flew (the airport on the island is now open). So rather than 10 hours (bus, Ro Ro) a very pleasant 2 hours is grand.

I love shopping at the malls here in Manila. When you walk in you are met by numerous staff who are there to help you. If they can’t help you, they will direct you to somebody who can.

Awesome customer service.

Thursday 29thAugust 2019:

A very successful day as we got everything done, we had to.

Managed to do some shopping for small stuff at the mall. Restricted to 20kg each on the flight home so have to watch what we buy.

Friday 30thAugust 2019:

Busy day doing some shopping and catching up with Guy’s family especially her sister Nida visiting from Brisbane in Aus.

Saturday 31stAugust 2019:

Up at 2:30am to get to the airport for our 5:45am flight home to the island. This afternoon’s siesta is looking good.

Back home to the Castle after a slight delay at the airport. Now sitting on the front veranda with warm buns from the bakery with vegemite and a cup of tea/coffee. Mmmmmmm. Vegemite courtesy of Guys sister from Brisbane (AUS) who is visiting Manila.

Sunday 1stSeptember 2019:

Huge happy birthday to my beautiful wife. It’s been an awesome adventure so far and looking forward to many more awesome years ahead. Love my Guy. Xxxooo

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy


Day 787 of retirement

August 11, 2019

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Hi All

Wednesday 31stJuly 2019:
We have another Habagat (ha-bag-at) hit us last night. It consists of rough seas, strong winds, rain and king tides. The Habagat is part of the summer monsoon weather system so we will be getting them for another 4 more months ish.

Luckily it isn’t too bad, No king tide (a high one only), no gale force winds (strong but okay), little rain but very rough seas.

Should clear by the weekend.

Thursday 1stAugust 2019:

The Habagat persisted today. At low tide (afternoon) I couldn’t believe all the rubbish washed up on the beach. I spent ages bagging it all up (2 x 20L bags worth) then burning all 5 bags of rubbish that I have collected over the last week.

Guy was off to Mahjong for the afternoon and Cherry (maid) was busy this morning so came this afternoon to clean (no washing today).

Another brownout late in the afternoon.

Sunday 4thAugust 2019:

The Habagat (ha-bag-at) that hit us last Tuesday night is hanging on (5 days so far and looking at many more days of rough weather). The wind, rain and high tides haven’t been too bad. Just the sea is very very rough.

Guy and I had planned a visit to Lucena on the mainland for a day trip to do some luxury shopping (food and some household goods). This trip involves 6 hours on the Ro Ro (3 hours each way). And with the seas so rough and my seasickness I won’t be leaving the island till things settle down.

Nothing we need is urgent so we can wait. The joys of the monsoon season.

Monday 5thAugust 2019:

Up at 4:30am to check the weather forecast for today. The Habagat is still as strong as ever with extremely rough waters forecast for today.

So back to bed. No Lucena trip today.

After breakfast off to Boac to book our plan flights to Manila later in the month to see Guy’s family.

Thursday 8thAugust 2019:

Guy and I were serenaded by the Castle today as we enjoyed our two hour massage each this morning.

The Habagat (ha-bag-at) that hit us last Tuesday night is hanging on (9 days so far and looking at many more days of rough weather). The wind, rain and high tides haven’t been too bad. Just the sea is very very rough (lots of rubbish (man and nature made on the beach)). Going to be a big clean up when the storms abate.
We are in an unusual weather pattern at the moment. We have the Habagat from the south, typhoon Hanna to the north (moving away from us but we are caught in the tail) and tropical depression Krosa (the start of a typhoon) to the east.
All these weather conditions combined are producing one very rough unpleasant set of living conditions.

Saturday 10thAugust 2019:
Finally got a sunset tonight after two weeks of clouds and monsoon storms/Habagat. Storms are starting to dissipate at long last.
Sunday 11thAugust 2019:

Over the last few days the storms have slowly started to blow themselves out. Still a little windy and rough but nothing like it has been. Time to start cleaning the salty coating off the front of the house and windows.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy


Day 773 of retirement

July 28, 2019

Click on a photo below for the slide show. The slide show has the descriptions of each pic below the photos. You can also leave comments in this area.

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Hi All

Saturday 13thJuly 2019:
It has been a quiet week and it was great. Still the usual maid services, massages, manicure/pedicure, Mahjong, pottering round the castle and exploring on Ruby.

A tropical depression is forming way south of us. May just dissipate or could develop into the first typhoon of the season. We will know in a few days.

Tuesday 16thJuly 2019:

Got a tropical depression (called Falcon) warning this morning. These can turn into Typhoons. Had a quick look on the web and it is still some ways off Marinduque. They are predicting that it will go north and we will only get the edge of it but you just never know. The ETA on Marinduque is Wednesday morning so we shall see.

We did our first Typhoon readiness check, which consisted of:

  • Checking our rice and food supplies (tinned and packet food) – Check
  • Filled up Ruby and Emma with gas – Check
  • Have an extra full gas cylinder for cooking – Check
  • Containers of drinking water (120L in total) – Check
  • Batteries for our head torches & candles – Check
  • Check hand pump on well – Check
  • Filled outside water barrel & buckets (washing and flushing water) – Check
  • Get extra cash to buy stuff if required (in case ATMs go down) – Check
  • Will get some fresh fruit and bakery stuff – Check
  • Charge up all our phones, power bank, camera and laptop batteries – Check
  • Ruby tucked up in the pump shed – Check
  • Veranda furniture moving inside the Castle – Check
  • Quick check outside for loose objects – Check

Wednesday 17thJuly 2019:
The tail end of tropical depression “Falcon” hit us last night. Windy, rough seas and rain. Nothing serious in our part of the woods.
A day home watching movies while Guy plays Mahjong is the go. Ooohh provided there are no brownouts.
PS: The castle is singing once again.

Brownout finally hit us. Looks like a dark night ahead. Not much rain but blowing a gale. High tide made it to our front fence but no damage. Tide going out now. Time to break out a good book.

Thursday 18thJuly 2019:

Blowing a gale today as the storm (tropical depression Falcon) heads away from the Philippines. Little rain but very rough seas. All the Roros have been held in port since yesterday morning.

High tide again which made it to the front fence but no damage.

Rolling brownouts as well. Power on for a few hours then off for an hour. We can live with that.

Saturday 20thJuly 2019:

Awoke this morning to blue skies, calm clear seas and a gentle sea breeze.Storm all gone.

First job was to get Emma to the carwash to clean off the salty residue collected over the last 3 days during the storm.

The boys took a good hour to give her a good rinse, wash, rinse, vacuum and detail. (P250 $7.00 AUS).

Guy off to Mahjong after lunch and I spent the afternoon cleaning all the glass doors and windows of the salty residue. Back to brand new once again.

Monday 22ndJuly 2019:

Off on a round the island cruise in Emma today with Ron and Guy (130km round trip).

Picked up Ron (American) at 7:30am and off in an anti-clock wise direction. We made our way through Buenavista then Torrijos and White Beach for a walk up the beach

Next stop was Sta Cruz.

Here we caught up with Scott (American) and Janie (local wife). Had a great catch up with them then off to Mogpog where we caught up with Tim (American) and Lody (local wife). Left there with some very nice local honey.

Into Boac for lunch and dropped Ron back home at 3:30pm.

A great day was had by all.

Tuesday 23rdto Wednesday 24thJuly 2019:

Quiet couple of days which has been good. Guy at Mahjong and I have been weeding and pruning as the grass/jungle is going crazy with the rain and sunshine.

Thursday 25thJuly 2019:

Gerald (Pom) dropped in to use my hotspot. He lives 2km from us but in a valley so no signal.

Went for a walk with him down to the local fishing village after WiFi usage.

Guy off to Mahjong after lunch and I pottered round the block. I enjoy my pottering.

Saturday 27thJuly 2019:

Busy morning as we had the maid here for the morning. We each had our 2-hour massage which was heaven.

Also had the carpenter here to fix a few things on the cupboard doors on the back veranda. He needs some parts so will be back later in the week.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy.