Day 107 of retirement

May 13, 2010

Hi All

Quick update as we maybe out of contact for a few weeks. Going bush.

Friday 28th:

Well we made it in Boac and explored the Tourist info centre and the Museum, which gave a great insight into some of the history of Marinduque. The island has a strong Spanish past and this is certainly reflected in the Cathedral / fort that still stands on the highest part of town. Had a look and it is indeed very impressive and dates back to the 18th century (was thinking of you Ian B as I took a few snaps…).

Ooohhh and they have a mountain bike club on the island. Saw some pics of the riding and it looks pretty good. Just dam hot. So big tick for Marinduque from me (no 29ers though Ivan and Kim).

Caught up with Philip (Guy’s best fiends hubby) and as it turns out tomorrow (Saturday) he is lending us his car while he is at his school reunion. So with his son (Guy’s god son) and nephew we are going to do a road trip round the island (only 120km in total) and scout out some places to explore over the next few weeks.

And the bonus is that Aura (Philips wife) sent some chocolate brownies and French pastries down for us. They are dam good, as we haven’t had any of this stuff since leaving Manila.

Had our first rain today as well. 4:00pm it fell down and at 5:00pm it stopped. So hopefully the wet is on the way. Was great as it settled the dust and cooled things down a bit although was a tab muggy.

Another two brown outs today / tonight. Thank goodness for Mac laptop batteries…..

Saturday 29th:

Today we had Angelo (Guy’s godson) and Jerry (a nephew) take us on a road trip round the island. We did the whole circumnavigation including the southern peninsula, which involved 25km of rough, dusty dirt road (we were in a 4×4). Got a good feel for the island and its layout.

Right at the tip down south is a place call Elephant Island. Now this is an island that has a six star resort for the rich and famous. As the Lonely Planet says:

Try the newly-opened 6-star Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa located at Elephant Island (formerly Isla Perro) in Buenavista town. Guests are treated in this resort in a very Mediterranean way that resembles the vibe of the Greek island of Santorini. Amenities include seaside pools and Jacuzzis, a 9-hole golf course, a function/dining hall and bar. From the Marinduque airport, guests are transported to the island via a private yacht or helicopter. Rooms and terraces cost from $350-$1,100 USD (food not included).

See the pics. It is very impressive but just a little over our budget.

Also managed to check out the hot springs outside of Buenavista on the mountain road to Torrijos. We are heading there on Monday for a few days. The springs hold medicinal powers so we shall be swimming in them purely for medicinal purposes.

The next stop after that is about 5 km outside Torrijos (east side of the island) at the far end of White Beach at a home stay called Marilous home stay. Now home stay here is different to B&B in Aus. Here home stay means that you take over the home and stay in it.

Anyway Marilous has a stretch of land that goes from the main road down to the ocean (about 500m long). On it she has her cottage up by the road and a “shack” down by the waters edge. To get to the shack you have to go through three gates and dodge the cattle having their siesta under the shady trees.

Now this is a real Robinson Crusoe shack. It consists of two bedrooms with bathrooms (no flush toilet and only cold water) side by side with a huge veranda out front that has a gas cooker, a fridge that works whenever the power decides to work and some pots and pans. Twenty steps off the veranda and you have your own private white beach with coconut palms for shade.

You have to supply all your own food and drinking water from town (5km away). You can also apparently walk over the small headland to the far end of White Beach for basic supplies but that hasn’t been confirmed yet. Oohhh and there is an Indian Mango tree loaded with fresh mangoes that are free for the taking. We brought a few back with us and are eating them right now. They are eaten green and taste like a sweet apple. Very yummy and we will indeed relieve the tree of a few more.

Other than that you’re on your own. So we are going to spend a week there after the hot springs and go Robinson Crusoe for a while.  Marilou also informs us that we can get fresh fish from the fishermen who peddle their catch of the day by the beach over the headland. She has enough dried coconut husks to barbeque a ton of fish (coconut husks are burnt as fuel for the barbie).

Also there is a hammock but needs a bit of work so might have to be my task for the week to fix it.

Sunday 30th:

A leisurely midday swim and off to Gason (where we arrived) to visit the German restaurant for a late lunch and a bit of good old German food. And very nice it was.

And as luck has it there were 4 other expatriates (Finish, Danish, Aussie (actually Danish Aussie from Melbourne) & Pom) there who all now live in the area. Seems that the Gason area is a popular “retirement” area for foreigners.

The Pom was full of knowledge on who lives where and what is for sale and rent. Very good info actually. So we swapped numbers and on our return in a few weeks we are going to look at some possible leads. His wife is about to complete a long-term rental, fully furnished cottage on the beach (black sandy beach) just down the road from Gason which will have a look at.

Then a quick trip to Boac to get a cheap goggles & snorkel for our Robinson Crusoe beach later this week and time to pack ready to leave in the morning.


Marinduque is known as the second most peaceful province in the Philippines. Crime is almost non-existent and the people are all very friendly and helpful. The island has a really good “vibe” about it that you can actually feel. If you’re looking for nightlife forget Marinduque. If you want the quiet life this is a good place to explore. We still have some waterfalls and caves to explore yet.

Now as we are heading to the mountains for the hot springs and then over to the east coast we maybe out of touch for a few weeks. At this stage we haven’t found any Wi-Fi on the east coast so will be back in contact on our return to the west coast and it’s free Wi-Fi.

Ooohhh mobile phone coverage is fine is these areas so if you have any exciting news from home text me……

Take care you all and see you in a few weeks (hopefully sooner if I can find a connection).

Trev & Guy

Day 104 of retirement

May 13, 2010

Hi All

Tuesday 25th:

We arrived in Calapan today after a two-hour Jeepney ride from Sabang (one Jeepney change in Puerto Galera). The road was okay but had some rough dusty bits and was very windy.

I was feeling a little car sick when we arrived and it was the hottest part of the day, siestas time it was. After our nap we headed out to explore Calapan. Started walking to the Pier but it turned out to be further than expected so we got a tour of the town on a Trik.

Calapan is the capital of the second province on Mondoro. The main town is away from the pier and is just another city. No beaches to speak of. Just  another city.

We stayed at the Ricelands II Inn just off the main drag. Was okay with a nice restaurant with good food. We scored a room with air-con, cable TV and free Wi-Fi. Luxury…..

So tomorrow we have decided to head straight for Pinamalayan ready for the Thursday morning Bangka to Marinduque Island and more beaches.

26th Wednesday:

Decided to take an air-conditioned mini van to Pinamalayan over the Jeepney. Cost was only 20PP (50 cents) more in the van so a no brainer. We were stuffed in the van like sardines but at least it was cool. Arrived at 12:30pm so off to the local café for lunch and back to the room for siesta.

We are staying at the Blue Waves Hotel (no air-con or TV just fans) on the beach just down from the pier. We are on the first floor with a little balcony overlooking the beach and it catches the cool sea breeze nicely. Also the Trik man gave us a free ride to the hotel. When we told him where we were going said why go there, as there is nothing there. That was music to our ears as this is what we are looking for.

The beach here is the black volcanic sand so very hot during the day and also makes the water quite dirty at the shoreline so not good for swimming. But at about 4:30pm all the locals arrived for the cool sea breeze and stayed till well after dark to eat, swim and just chill.

Pinamalayan  is a largish fishing village with two Bangka’s that go to Marinduque so is our kind of village. We walked round the town and it has everything including a couple of ATMs so we are all cashed up for the next few weeks now. All we want is a Pinamalayan with a white sandy beach. We are getting closer……

There was also a festival down by the pier tonight. Had a DJ for all the local young kids. Was great to watch and seeing everybody having a great time. The Philippinos like do like their dancing and Karaoke. Oooohhh and their food. Haven’t had a bad meal yet.

Early start tomorrow as the Bangka leaves at 8:00am ish. When we arrived at the pier today to checkout the Bangka the crew offered us the night on the Bangka for free if we wanted it. Let me tell you the only way I would be sleeping on that boat would be in a dry dock.

27th Thursday:

Well we made it on board the cargo Bangka with all the chickens, rice, salt, Bananas, Mangos, wedding presents & dress, other stuff and all the other passengers. You had to get aboard via a dingy which ferry’s you to the Bangka and you then climb aboard with all your gear. Guy tested the boarding process with a bit of twirl as she boarded which had all the Bangka boys hauling her aboard.

Leisurely 3 hours cruise across the bay with the occasional flying fish showing us a display of their talents. These fish are amazing. They come up out the water and glide a foot or so about the waves for a 100m or so. They also bounce off the waves to keep going. Quite entertaining.

Arrived at Gasan and the chaos of unloading continued. All these tiny Bangka’s pull up next to the boat and you throw your gear in with yourself and off to the wharf where you have the boys haul you and your gear up the 5 foot high wall. They even managed to get two new 175cc motorbikes on and off the Bangka with this process.

Guy had a good chat to two locals on the way over and we got some good advice on the island.

Today we meet up with Charlin and her husband Joseph (he’s American) who are staying at the same hotel as us. The story is that Guy started corresponding with her via the Internet via the Marinduque website. Her and hubby work in Seoul, Korea, but own a house (where her mum & dad and two brothers and sister live) just down the road from the hotel. As there is a festival in town (see the pic) the tradition is to watch the parade and then have a big cook up and share all the food with friends and family.

Charlin was very gracious in inviting Guy and I along to meet all her family and enjoy some fantastic food. Once again I can’t say enough on how friendly and sharing the people are here. But Guy said that it is traditional hospitality that is being shown to us by the locals and something that happens everywhere in the Philippines.

Friday 28th:

Well a bit of a sleep in today. Got up at midday, had breakfast in bed (nuts & Polvoron (local thing)), sent this email, then time for siesta till after 3 ish.

Going into Boac later to catch-up with one of Guy’s friend’s husband who has arrived for his school reunion.  Also checking out the local tourist centre about home stay on the island (Like B&B in Aus).

Well siesta time.

Take care all.

From a very relaxed Trevor & Guy.

Day 101 of retirement

May 13, 2010

Hi All

Quick update as we have free Wi-Fi access.

Sunday 23rd May:

Today we left Mengie’s paradise for Sabang Beach. A 45 minute Trik ride along the coast with a rider who didn’t think he was Casey Stoner was very pleasant.

Sabang Beach (More of a port as no real beach due to rocks) is a diving mecca. All the resorts along the beachfront cater for divers so lots of boats coming and going with all the divers and their gear. And then of course the 24 hours bars to entertain them at night.

We are staying at the Villa Sabang resort up on the side of the mountain (well it feels like one walking all the steps in the heat). It’s away from all the 24-hour bars but does have a great view of the bay from our enclosed balcony. And Guy did a great negotiation on the room. We managed to get a largish air-conditioned room with a fridge (that kind of works) and a TV so catching up on some world news.

Monday 24th May:

Quiet day. Slept in and had late breakie at Tina’s watching the dive boats come and go. Then a stroll round town. Escaped the midday heat with a siesta and then walked to Small and Big La  Laguna beaches (well not beaches as all rocky). These are the newer parts of town to the left of Sabang Beach. And the further you go the more expensive they get (a couple of 5 Star large resorts). All still diving orientated.

If you’re a diver Sabang is your kind of place. If you’re after a beach resort with swimming, give it a miss. Tomorrow we head down the coast to Calapan for a few days.

Tuesday 25th:

Off to Calapan we go (via Jeepney) once we finish breakie at Tina’s.

Other Stuff:

Further to booking rooms as we travel. You get to negotiate the price of the room on arrival and leaving.

And air-conditioning in your room here basically means that it is 5 degrees cooler than outside. So 40 degrees outside means 35 degrees inside and so forth.

Found some scales and looks like Guy and I have lost about 4-5kgs each since leaving Aus. And we feel bloody good for it. Another 4kgs each or so and we will slim, taught and terrific……….

Am also seeing more of the dark side of the Philippines. The western males with their young “escorts”. Quite obvious and quite sad.

Take care all.

Trev & Guy

Day 99 of retirement

May 13, 2010

Hi all

Wednesday 19th:

Well just enjoyed another glorious sunset as we devour a very very tasty Pork chop with gravy and veggies dinner from Mengie’s. The go now is that we see what Mengie is cooking for the family each day and we join in. Works for her and us.

It’s 8:00pm ish (Wednesday) at the moment as we watch the squid boys out on the bay squiding. The way you squid here is to firstly let off skyrockets which attract the squid to your area and then get them to the boat with LED flashing coloured lights. Interesting fun process and great for the spectators. Though I suspect that the skyrocket thing is just so the boys can have some fun.

Mengie informs us it is fresh squid for dinner tomorrow night, provided the boys catch some.

Thursday 20th:

And fresh squid it has been. We had grilled bay squid stuffed with tomato and then adobo squid (squid cooked in its ink with coconut vinegar) served with rice for dinner tonight (Thursday). And it was delicious. Even my doggie tummy liked it.

Did our walk down the beach tonight (Thursday) and ventured to the other side (White Beach) where all the popular tourist resorts are. See the attached pic. We are so glad we didn’t finished up there.

Our days at the moment pretty much consist of getting up between 9 – 10am and having brekkie. Our favorite is Mengie’s fresh mango pancakes with local wild honey. Then a swim and our morning nap under the palm trees and my run to the loo. Lunch is a few snacks that we have with us before a swim or two and then the afternoon siesta between 1-3:00pm back under the Palm trees. This is the hottest part of the day and things pretty much grind to a halt in the quieter parts of town.

Round 4 ish it starts to cool down a bit ready for our afternoon walk with dinner at 7ish. Update our travel diary after dinner and in bed round 10ish.

And no air-conditioning all week so starting to acclimatize but it is a struggle with the heat. We have a ceiling fan in the room that works great at night though.

Now I have been known to not be able to sit still for too long but you will all be very impressed, I am actually able to now while away my days without any strenuous activity. Being bloody hot and a bit crook does help to curb my desire to do too much.

And another brownout (blackout as known back in AUS) tonight (Thursday) for several hours. Thank god for Petzel Head torches. We finished up eating our squid dinner by candlelight. Very romantic…

Friday 21st:

Well miracles do happen. Day two and the gastro bug has disappeared. Knew sending the email for help would scare the bug off. If I get through tomorrow (Saturday) with all things normal Guy & Trev are going to celebrate.

Saturday 22nd:

Today has been the coolest day we have had since arrival. Was very pleasant under the palms with odd swim to keep cool but not stifling heat. Also noticed that the nights are starting to get muggier as well so looks like the build up to the wet maybe happening. Supposed to start in June.

Tomorrow we hit the road again after 6 days R&R and all the bugs now sorted. Three days clean for me and Guy’s gastro and cough all good too.

Leave Mengie’s and head for Sabang Beach on the northeastern side of Mindoro. A couple nights here and then we head south to hit Pinamalayan by Thursday to catch the Bangka to Marinduque Island.

Looking to stay at Calapan on the way down and explore the local tribe who live in the area called the Mangyan. They are mountain people and still live in their traditional ways.

We will be arriving at the port of Gasan south of the capital Boac on Marinduque. Then head for Boac where we are meeting up with friends of Guy’s from Manila who are visiting for the weekend. The week after will be exploring the island and see what we can find as this is one of our possible final resting places

Other Stuff:

Booking our accommodation is pretty simple here in the provinces. You find out the mobile number of the place you want to stay and text them with the dates and type of room you want (Basically air conditioned or not). After a few texts it is all booked. No phone calls, no credit card deposit. Works a treat.

One thing we have to get used to is we are now living in a “cash” society. Out here in the provinces it is all cash, no credit cards (apart from the major resorts). So we have to make sure that we have ample cash with us between ATMs. These are usually located in the capital of the island but not all islands.

So as we have to carry a reasonable amount of cash with us we have our little system of breaking down the cash to 4 stashes. One goes in each backpack and we each carry a stash on us. My credit card is feeling very unloved and I’m loving it.

Till we next find some free Wi-Fi.

Trev & Guy

Day 95 of retirement

May 13, 2010

Hi all

Well we left another stinker of a hot one in Manila on Monday. Caught the bus just round the corner from home so was good not having to go to far in the heat. A quick Trik ride got us to the station with all the luggage (two day packs and one 85 litre pack)….

Then a 2.5 hour air-conditioned (Yyyeeeaaa) bus trip to the port of Batangas. During the bus ride it stops for comfort (toilet) stops along the way where all the food vendors come on board and try to sell their wares (apples, caramelized peanuts, Pork crackling, cold drinks and other stuff I have no idea what it was).

From here we caught a motorized Bangka (see pic of the boat) to White Beach. Now I’m not a fan of boats at the best of times (I get sea sick) but I must admit that the 1 hour Banka ride was actually quite good. They are long wooden boats with Bamboo stabilizers out each side so they cut through the wind chop without any rock and roll. This is going to be our chief mode of transport for a while now as we island hop.

A quick Trik ride to Mengie’s resort (as recommended by the Lonely Planet) right at the western end of the beach away from all the big resorts, bars and tourist spots followed by our first swim which was pretty dam good.

Mengie’s is run by a very talkative but helpful lady who will cook you a meal anytime (24×7), organize a massage, be the bar maid, organize “her” guides for exploring and a hike to the local water falls, organize “her” Trik boys to take you anywhere and look after you and anything else you want.

We were only the 4th & 5th “tourists” checked in so had the pick of the rooms. Ours consisted of a ceiling fan, bed, cold shower and toilet. No TV, no fridge, no cupboards. But hey for $15 a night and 50m from “our” private beach who can complain. We spent all of time on the beach anyway under the coconut trees 10m from the water. But you need to beware of falling coconuts…..

It is definitely cooler here with the sea breeze so glad to leave the sweltering Manila behind right now.

Looks like we will be here for a few more days (Till the weekend at least). We were going to go down the beach to another resort but after an inspection today we found out it is quite expensive and full of “tourists”.

But we did discover that it does have free Wi-Fi so hence this email.

Also I’m still struggling with my gastro and Guy still has her cough so what better place to recuperate.

We are spending our days lounging on the beach lounges (made out of bamboo but quite comfortable), swinging in the hammock, swimming to keep cool and our evening walk up to the other end of the beach. Mengie keeps us fed and watered with nice local fresh food and cold bottled water with the odd Coke thrown in.

Ooohhhh I had a one-hour massage by a lovely little old lady under the coconut palms on the beach who has very strong and slightly rough hands. It was like having a massage and body scrub all at once. Got the full head to toe treatment for the princely sum of $6.50. It was very very nice. Quick swim after and all was good. Might have to indulge in one more before we leave…

Well today the power was out all day. They call them brown outs here. Power goes out and your not sure when it will be back on. But being on the beach all day who cares.

And one other thing I have now noticed. Have a look at your wallet / purse and count up all the cards you have (Credit, Debit, Medical, Auto Club, Other Club, etc.) I had heaps. In my wallet now I have two cards. A Credit card linked to my account back in Aus and a Debit Card for our account with the Bank in the Philippines. I also have an emergency numbers contact card (With AUS and Philippines contacts on it) and cash. My wallet has never been so thin. Love it.

Trev & Guy

PS: Broadband is really bad on the islands so we have to seek out free Wi-Fi at expensive hotels. Till next time…..

Medical Advice: Sent 19th May 2010

Hi All

Hey to all you medical folk (Andrea your advice would be greatly accepted) or folk who know medical folk, I’m after a bit of advice.

I have had this gastro thing for 13 days now and can’t shake it. It works like this. I have been eating the local food and drinking the local water since arriving over 2 weeks ago.

Whenever I eat my first meal for the day (doesn’t matter what time it is, morning or afternoon) I have a gastro attack after about 1.5 hours. It comes on fast and I need to find a loo within 15 minutes or so. The outcome is loose to runny. No blood is present at all or any other odd looking stuff.

If I eat later in the day again it has the same effect but not as severe.

When I eat dinner at night all is fine. I can eat whatever I like with no effect. No gastro at all.

I feel fine otherwise and have no other effects. Can operate as normal. I drink water and all is fine. Coke before dinner sets it off but with dinner is fine.

So when traveling I don’t eat till dinnertime. I do drink water though and I’m fine. I have lost my appetite so not feeling hungry but do eat a decent dinner each night. I am also now on a dairy free intake as well. No cheese, yogurt or milk (used to eat heaps of this back in AUS).

Also no more tea. I was a 15-cup a day drinker 3 weeks ago.

I have lost a few kilos. But not a problem and I have a few more to loose anyway. Great diet program. Anybody want one???

I have taken a course of three Zedd 500 (Azithromycin Tablets 500mg by spirit) and it didn’t make any difference.

I still have a three tablet course of Pfizer Azithromycin Dihydrate 500mg tablets (Zithromax) that I bought locally.

I also have Pfizer Simplotan 500mg (4 tablets taken at once) for Giardia. I have had a good read of my Travel Doctor medical guide and don’t seem to fit the Giardia symptoms. But I could be wrong.

Also have gastro-stop but haven’t used it. I am able to manage the “attacks” by managing my eating and drinking.

So anybody got any advice on what this bug might be and how to kick it??????

All help greatly appreciated.


Gastro Trev


Huge thanks to everybody for the great help and suggestions. As luck would have it the day I sent the email the gastro bug decided to move on. But if it does come back I’m prepared.

Day 92 of retirement

May 13, 2010

Hi All

Well tomorrow (Monday) is the day we head bush for the white sandy beaches experience. We delayed our departure a few days to enable us both to recover from our ailments. My gastro which still isn’t 100% but manageable and Guy’s cough and she also had a touch of the gastro.

We are heading by bus to the port of Batangas where we will catch the ferry to the island of Mindoro. We arrive in Puerto Galera which is known as one of the diving Mecca’s of the Philippines. Turn left and you head to all the diving resorts. Turn right and you hit the beaches for “the beach bums” according to the Lonely Planet. So right it will be for us.

Accommodation will be at cheaper hotels and home stay (bit like a B&B) and either on or close to the beach. Transport round the islands will be a combination of Bus, Jeepney and Trik. So should be a bit of an experience for us both.

From here will explore Mindoro for a week or two and then catch another ferry across to Marinduque for another week or two. Then onto Boracay, Bohol and Palawan as the fair winds take us. If we like a place we will stay a while and if not we can just move on. No set time table at all.

The heat here is pretty dam hot and humid at the moment. Guy and I are “coping” just (thank god for Malls). The days are extremely hot especially from 1:00pm to 4:00pm (high 30s to low 40sC everyday). Have been talking to the locals and even they are finding it a struggle. Apparently this is the hottest it has been for many many years and all due to the El Nino effect. Trust us to land in a heat wave but if we can survive this we can survive anything.

Once the sun goes down at 6:00pm (same every night year round due to close to the equator) it isn’t too bad as you tend to get a bit of a breeze. We tend to go for walks round the neighborhood at night. It is very pleasant as everybody comes outdoors into the streets to enjoy the cool. To sleep we have the air-con just to cool the room and then sleep with just a fan on.

Everybody is waiting for the wet to start in a few weeks (June). Will be wet and sticky but at least will cool things down a bit. And then of course we will be waiting for our first Typhoon experience (well me anyway).

Remember the pics I sent with all the election banners, well 99% of them are now all gone. You wouldn’t know there had been an election. I’m impressed actually with how they cleaned everything up.

Ooohh and speaking of interesting election happenings. In our neighborhood the Mayoral candidate (who lost) handed out 1500PP ($37 AUS) to all the Trik operators to buy their votes. And in the province where the existing president Arroyo was running for congress, she paid each family in the slums 3,000PP ($75 AUS). Rumor has it that she must win the seat so she is immune to corruption charges. While you are still holding a public office here you are immune to corruption charges.

Maybe Aussie politicians’ could learn a thing or two……….

Well at our favorite mall café at the moment escaping the midday heat and purchasing our last few supplies for the great adventure that awaits us.

We are really looking forward to our first white sandy beach and a swim to escape the heat. And a sea breeze at night to cool things off as well.

Not sure when will next be online as communications could be sketchy on the islands.

So till next we meet take care all and enjoy your winter…..

Trev & Guy

PS: Sorry no new photos this time.

Day 90 of retirement

May 13, 2010

Hi all

Well we have been getting out and about a bit now. Was out looking at a property estate on Tuesday about 45km outside of Manila. Have been also looking at apartments in a new complex out by the harbour (the good area of town), just out from the city centre and next to the Mall of Asia (Philippines biggest Mall).

We are not looking to buy but this now gives us a benchmark for when we are looking for our bungalow on the beach. Basically you are looking at about $65,000 for a fully furnished 1-bedroom high-rise apartment with outdoor pool, games area, private cinema and courtesy air-conditioned bus service to downtown and the airport.

The estate house outside of Manila is about $50,000 for a three-bedroom two-story place. OOooohhh and three bedrooms here is about the same size a one and a half aussie bedrooms so quite small houses really.

On the way to visit the estate our driver was pulled over by the local traffic police. He was after his bribe eerrrr I mean on the spot fine. The go here is that you pay the police man the bribe eeerrr I mean on the spot and he puts it in his pocket for lunch money.

Anyway Guy pulled out the flash card she has from her Police Chief friend (the one who organized our speedy transition through the airport) and presented it to the local police man. Needless to say we were allowed to go free with no bribe eerrr on the spot fine being paid. To all the Ducati boys and girls, recon this would work on the old Pacific Highway with the boys in blue????

We also ventured to the Green Hills Mall, which was advertised on the plane as the place to buy Pearls in Manila. Basically it is a market / mall that is divided into sections (Pearls & jewelry, Cloths & Shoes & Handbags, Mobile phones & accessories, Cameras & computer stuff). Makes it so easy to find what you want. Must say the Pearls were impressive and no we didn’t buy any.

They also have a Paddies Market section but it was closed.

I loved the camera section saw a very nice “Pearl colored” Panasonic GF1 going cheap….. And no I didn’t buy it…..

Also in the mobile phone section you can buy any phone you want unlocked and for half of the price you pay in Aus. The only phones that still commanded a high price were the iPhones. 16G unlocked was about $800 Aus.

And if after you have all your Pearls, cameras, phones, cloths, shoes, handbags and jewelry and your feeling a little vulnerable for your safety your can get Pepper spray for $5.00 a can or a SIG 9mm auto with all the licenses to carry it unrestricted for $1,200 aus. And no I didn’t buy one……..

Well back at the Mall again today at our favourite cafe. We love it as they don’t mind you sitting here for hours with your laptops plugged into their power. And they serve a nice Mango Iced Tea. OOohh and they have a 5 star toilet (it has a seat and loo paper). Very handy for me in my delicate state at the moment. All the standard Mall toilets have no seats and no paper. They are clean though.

I’m still getting over my gastro. Last antibiotic pill tonight. So we shall see. I also wanted to stock up on antibiotics as I realized I only had one course with me. In AUS it requires a visit to the doc to get a prescription for the pills (which were about $30?). Here you walk into a chemist and walk out with the pills. Got a pack of pills (3 pills for 1 course) for $12. So have cheap spares now.

Guy now has a sore throat and a cough so we might delay our departure to the provinces for a few days. Will decide tomorrow, Friday. It is rather nice that we can come and go as we please with no deadlines.

Visited the provinces down south on Wednesday with Beth and family (they took the day off work) for a local towns patron saint’s feast (locals cook up a feast and share it with all who visit). Spent most of the day with a friend of Guy’s who we will spend a few days with on the way south. No running water (well water with hand pump in the house), no air con, no flushing loo…… Typical province living. Was a reality check for me but good as it has made me rethink what we will take with us when we do head down south. I only really needed a 1/3 of what I brought over with me. Learning how to live simply very fast.

Also visited a local market and bought some Jack fruit, Green Indian Mango (Tastes like a sweet apple), Buko Pie (young coconut meat) and pineapple. And all came with a free tasting first. All very sweet and refreshing.

Will let you all know when we head south once we recover from our current welcome to the Philippines teething challenges.


Guy (with a cough) & Trevor (to scared to cough for fear of a rear end explosion….)

Day 86 of retirement

May 13, 2010

Hi All

Well have had gastro for the last 3 days. Not real bad but enough to give me the shits (pun intended…). Feeling a bit crap, runny tummy have to watch what I eat.

Drugs come out of the medical kit tonight. I’ve had enough.

Well election day and it is organized ciaos. Went for a walk to the polling booth this morning for a look see. See the attached pics.

Okay here is some of the local food I have been eating.

Pork with blood jelly. Pork cooked with Pork blood with some herbs, spices and vinegar. Eaten with rice. Actually very nice.

Also eating lots of fish (Milk fish (Bangus local name), Galunggong (poor man’s fish) with rice (well some anyway as the appetite is still missing in action). The fish is fresh and then pan fried. Bangus was marinated overnight first and then dipped in Soya sauce with kalamansi (local lime). All very tasty.

Tonight it is Tilapia (another local fish) which is fried and served with rice and the Soya / kalamansi dip. And all the fish are freshwater fish.

Went out for dinner with Guy’s school friends the other night and had a full suckling pig carved and served with herbs and spices. Was very nice as well.

My walk round the neighborhood was interesting as each section has everything, Church, Police, school, polling booth, medical centre, mechanics (car, jeepney, bikes (motor and ride)), hardware, food vendors, bakery, basketball court, etc.

Was great to have Jerry as the tour guide. He pointed out all the local “attractions” and had me in a sweat as we dodged all the traffic. Standing in the middle of four lanes of traffic trying to cross the road was interesting.

Ooohh and watch where you walk. Excavation holes in the footpath are un-marked. No OH&S here.

As for my tea drinking. I was drinking 12-15 cups of tea a day back in AUS. Tea is just not drank here. All coffee (The American influence) So I have gone from my 12-15 cups to none or one a day (we found a box of tea bags). Struggled the first few days with a caffeine headache but pretty much recovered now. It is just to hot to drink hot drinks anyway.

But at the Mall the other day we found a café that sold “Chai Tea” (hot or cold). So we had to try one. MMMmmmmm the idea was there but I guess it was better that nothing.

And my diet is basically now also dairy free. There is no fresh milk here. All coffee creamer (powdered). No cheese or yogurt. Diet really is rice with fish, pork and chicken. Ooohh and sweet bread rolls baked by the corner bakery each night.

We are sleeping lots at the moment 8-11hours a day. With the heat and just getting used to a whole new environment (huge culture change for me) is exhausting. But I must say that with all this sleep, eating healthy food and no more tea caffeine I am actually feeling “healthier” when I am awake (gastro excluded…). Oooohhh and not working might help a bit tooooo. And even loosing a few kilos too.

Hope all is well with you all.

Great to get your emails from home and lands far away. Keep them coming….


Joe (What I am called on the streets… Hey Tim…)

Day 83 of retirement

May 13, 2010

Hi All

Well Guy and I have made it safe and sound to Manila with all our luggage.

We left Adelaide on Tuesday morning and had a bad flight to Sydney flying through thunder storms. I was a little seedy but the time we hit Sydney so the 2.5 hour stop over was very welcome.

We also meet up with Jordan & Jo (Guy’s kids) for an hour at the International terminal so that was good.

The flight to Manila was 8 hours of un-eventful nothing. Usual crap movies and food. At least it was smooth so no more motion sickness…

Arrived in Manila just after 7:00pm local time (9:00pm EST) and were greeted by two Airport Police officials. Guy happens to know one the Police heads at the airport and as he was unable to meet us he sent two of his offsiders to look after us.

We were given a VIP escort through Philippines immigration (got our passports stamped with no questions asked) and customs (no bag inspections at all). It was 15 minutes from off the plane to getting out the terminal. Quickest ever exit out of any foreign airport for me and loved it.

We were then meet by a school friend (and her hubby) of Guy’s who took us out for a quick bite to eat before heading to Quezon (the old Manila) to stay with Guy’s sister and Mum who live next to each other.

I started eating and drinking the local food and water immediately. So now it is a waiting game for the gastro. Day 2 and still okay (Touch wood….). Hopefully all those nasty bugs I pickup from my other trips might have build up some anti-bodies. I guess time will tell. OOohhh and I have lost my appetite since we have arrived. Still not all bad as I can certainly afford to loose a few kilo’s…

Wednesday was spent getting mobile phones (Note my new number below), mobile broadband and a bank account sorted. Turns out I am now officially an “Alien” in the Philippines, according to the bank. Never been an Alien before……. But I am a good Alien…

Today we went into Manila to an international food fare at the world trade centre. Lots of Asian food displays and some very weird tastings. There was an Australia stand and they were serving oatmeal porridge and apple juice. And served by locals. Weird…….

We are now into the hottest months of the year here and it is hot and humid. Bit of a wake up call for us both. We have definitely slowed down a bit. We have aircon in our room so sleeping at night is fine. But that 1:00pm to 4:00pm period is dam hot. Beaches here we come….

There is a HUGE mall not far from where we are that is nicely air-conditioned so might have to be a few trips there if it gets tooooo hot.

Have also been sampling the local transport which includes Triks (Motor bike with side car), Jeepney (stretched jeep) and the Light rail. All very interesting, each in their own right. We have access to a car but there ain’t no way I am driving in this traffic.

The Jeepneys are an interesting concept. They drive a fixed route and have no designated stops. You just hail them from the roadside and they will drop you off where ever you want. Works well. Cost Guy and I a grand total of 50 cents to get into the city today (30km trip).

We will be here in Manila till Saturday 15th May now. Get the elections out of the way on Monday, let the dust settle and then we hit the road. Must say I’m definitely looking forward to the beaches. I’m not a city bloke I’m afraid.

Going out to get some pics tomorrow morning of the neighborhood with Jerry (Guy’s brother). He is going to provide me with an escort so I don’t get lost or mugged. I am the only “white man” in the neighbourhood so tend to stand out a bit. But all very friendly people.

He has been great escorting us round and ensuring we pay “local” prices.

Will send some pics after my little outing tomorrow.

OOohhhhh and the Gastro has finally hit me. Not to bad actually just feeling crap (pardon the pun), running tummy. So watching what I eat and drinking lots of water (Sorren all those tips from previous climbs are coming in handy).

Drugs next if it persists.

Well elections tomorrow so we shall see what it brings……

Take care all and some of your cooler weather would be most welcomed right now.

Trevor & Guy.

Note my new number: +63 999 412 1981

Day 80 of retirement

May 13, 2010

Hi All

Well the first chapter in our new adventure is ending and chapter 2 is commencing tomorrow on the 4th May at 8:00am. Guy & I head for the Philippines arriving tomorrow night.

The first couple of weeks we are staying In Manila with Guy’s sister and Mum while we get ourselves organized with setting up bank accounts etc.

Also the Philippines Presidential elections are on Monday 10th May so not the best time to travel. We will watch the happenings with interest before we commit to traveling in the provinces. With over 600 candidates should be an interesting election.

Oooohhhhh if there are any riots in Manila on the news look for the tall Aussie giving you a wave……..

The islands we are then heading for are Mindoro, Marinduque, Boracay, Bohol and then Palawan. Google these places if you’re looking for further info. Marinduque looks very promising at the moment. Got beaches, caves, water falls, trekking, snorkeling and diving. And I can always add mountain biking…..

Check out this web site.

“Hospitality and friendliness are a common trait among Marinduquenos.”

After arriving in Adelaide on 23rd March we have enjoyed some quiet time along with catching up with family and friends at Port Willunga. Lots of walks on the beach (a few swims) and sleep ins. And I’m re-exploring my long time love of photography. Lots of time to snap away round the beach and play with the pics.

And at long last the closing off our Australian life is completed. This involved closing off some 14 financial commitments (Gas, Power, Phone, Broadband, Credit Cards, etc.). And changing my contact details on some 31 websites (Banks, email, Qantas, Super Funds, Investments, Forums, etc.). Very liberating process and for the first time in my life in the month of June I will have zero bills to pay with none coming in after that. Awesome feeling……

Is kind of nice to now have zero commitments, and everything we have is ours (all be it one backpack full). It has been a bit of a journey though. We went from a house full of stuff to a van full to a station wagon full and now two back packs full. Has taken me 3 packs to finally get down to one back pack full. Only took Guy two packs. Have had to leave a box full of “spares” at Sandy’s (sisters) place.

So my next communication will be from a land far away and our new home. Excited and a little nervous all at the same time but all good.

Take care all.

Trevor & Guy.

PS: And a couple of final pics of “our” beach at Port Willunga.