Monday 21st June:
Back to the Mall today to try and catch a movie, stock up on last minute supplies and escape the midday heat. It is definitely hotter here in Manila than the provinces, with the heat radiating off the roads and buildings. Even after the afternoon rain it does cool down for a while but then it gets really humid due to everything being so hot.
The movie was a non-event as there wasn’t anything we wanted to see so Starbucks (no coffee as it is crap) and free Wi-Fi it was. There is a supermarket across from Starbucks so while we took turns to catch up on emails and a few forums we belong to, shopping for those last minute goodies was in order. Then back to Guy’s Mum’s pork Adobo and fish.
Tuesday 22nd June:
6:00am start (which is rather early for us) with the final packing and off to the bus station some 500m from home. On the bus to the Port of Lucena by 6:50am and arrived at 11:50 some 5 hours later. Was a good trip, as the buses don’t travel that fast due to all the traffic so you get to see the countryside.
As we arrived at the port, the Ro-Ro was about to leave in 10 minutes so we just made it with no waiting time, so happy with that. Three hours later we arrived in Balanacan (Marinduque) and once again the fly fish on the crossing entertained us. Amazing creatures as they glide and skip across the waves. Ooohhh and no sea sickness for me (didn’t take any drugs this time) so even happier……
Jeepney to Boac for our late lunch and back to the one big meal a day (including a Halo-Halo). Then another Jeepney to the Eastpoint Hotel between Boac and Gasan, which is central to our activities for the next three days.
Eastpoint is luxury for us as it has air-con, hot shower, cable TV, free Wi-Fi and is on the beach (Black volcanic sand/rocks but okay for swimming). And all for the princely sum of P750 ($18.75) per night.
Wednesday 23rd June:
Hard day at the office today with a 7:00am start and back home at 6:00pm. Looking at property all day on the west side of the island.
Meet John the Pom “at the far end of the bridge past the airport” (the instructions to the Jeepney driver) and he showed us a couple of properties on the beach. First one no good as the house was not in good condition. Second one was okay but built in a river flood plain (yep it will flood one day) and out of our price range.
Then off to meet his wife “at the first house past the old Mayor’s house with the multi coloured fence” (Jeeney driver got us there no worries). This is the very nice cottage that she is completing for rental which we are also interested in. She bought her beachfront property a few years ago and is just finishing it, so she is a good source of information and advice and being a local knows everybody.
Curba Grill (The one out by the Hot Springs) was the next stop for a leisurely lunch. Great food but they only have one CD, “Kenny Rodgers Greatest Hits” and they play it over and over and over. If I have to listen to the “The coward of the county” one more time……………..
Finally meet with Laura the lady with new sub-division and beach frontage. Went and had a look at the block and beachfront and discussed the details of what would be required if we were to purchase. We are looking at 1,000 square metres with 45m beach frontage. Current price is P500 ($12.5) per square metre. So that equates to P500,000 ($12,500). The beach is the volcanic sand with the large smooth rocks. Perfectly okay for swimming.
Then back to Eastpoint and had a good chat to the owner lady as she knows everybody and anybody and gave some great advice on what to look for when buying property here.
Thursday 24th June:
No property visits today but into Boac to check out motorcycles.
Caught up with Yolanda (John the Poms wife), before leaving our hotel, to discuss renting her new cottage (will be ready in 2-4 weeks) and another possible property on the beach next to her cottage. At this stage it looks like we can rent her new 2 bedroom cottage on the beach for P10,000 ($250 AUS) per month. Absolute bargain. So we are considering renting for some months as we take our time to investigate property. Still considering our options, as we still want to go to Romblon and Palawan.
Into Boac and visited the two motorcycle shops. Looking at a 125cc or 175cc.
To give you an idea of the prices these are the bikes we looked at:
- Honda XRM 125cc P58,900 ($1,500 AUS). This is an auto, no clutch.
- Suzuki Thunder 125cc P67,900 ($1,700 AUS). Clutch bike.
- Kawasaki Barako 175cc P77,400 ($1,950 AUS). This is a Trik ready bike, which means is has a beefed up suspension and frame for the addition of a Trik sidecar. Not looking at a sidecar yet but it gives us the option later on.
Then we were amused by a Suzuki “go slow” contest. Suzuki were running a promo day in the town square where they will service your Suzuki for free (Chain lube, adjust and oil change) and ran a competition to see who could go the slowest between the cones (see the pic). Very amusing and no I didn’t have a go.
Arriving back at Eastpoint Hotel there was another brown out (so no air-con). So off to the beach for our daily beach walk, then back to the bamboo floating pontoon for a quick siesta. Back to the room at 6:00pm and the power is back.
Friday 25th June:
Another busy day at the office. Went down south to the remote property and had a look but not for us. The description was that it is on the national road with the beach directly across the road. Well that was correct, except that they failed to tell us that the beach was full of fishermen’s houses.
Then back to Yolanda’s Cottage for a quick catch-up with her as she had another property to look at by the airport.
Called in and had a chat to Laura (new sub-division) at the Barbarosa Western Restaurant in Gasan on a proposal we had in mind for beach frontage property with access of our own off the main road. What we want is a 40m by 40m block on the beach with a 15m x 100m access from the main road. This would give us a total of 3,100 square metres of land, which would give us plenty of room away from our neighbours.
Should it all work out we would then build our bungalow on the beach and once the land was cleared of the rubbish (leaving all the coconut & big trees) we would plant fruit trees (like Mangoes). She is considering it at this stage. We shall see.
And while we were at the restaurant, we ran into Geoff (another Pom) and as it turns out Geoff’s wife plays Mahjong on Sundays while the boys meet at the Barbarosa. So guess what Guy is doing on Sunday while I meet the boys????? She hasn’t played since we left AUS so she is rather delighted.
She is delighted and excited but daunted as they play the game with a joker tile, so she is hoping that ‘beginner’s luck’ will be on her side! It is also acceptable to have a ‘quota’ of money you can lose. Geoff’s wife’s is P500 ($12.50) so Guy will start her first game with that.
Then visited the last property behind the airport. Once again not for us. But it was amusing getting there. We caught a bicycle Trik from the airport to get to the property. As we approached the runway the Trik pedals through a narrow entrance, looks left & right and across the runway we go. And this is the main airport for the island. Had me going “what the……..”.
So now not heading for Romblon till Monday. Mahjong needs to be played on Sunday.
The deal with Marinduque for us on why we are now considering buying here (before even getting to Palawan or Bohol) is:
- Proximity and easy access to Manila, you can leave one place and be in the other within 1 day without flying and the total cost of transport is P1000 return and Guy’s mum’s house is walking distance from the bus station
- With our budget, we doubt very much whether we will find a white sandy beach anywhere else, we seem to be 20 years too late to get a real bargain.
- The island is very peaceful and the locals are friendly. Also the expat community is small and they all seem to be very warm to other expats considering to retire here
- We are now happy to let go of our white sandy beach in exchange for the quiet and simple life that this island has to offer for our slice of paradise.
- The dialect spoken here is Tagalog so Guy is right at home. No need to learn new dialect.
- It feels right. We both feel right at home here and can see ourselves growing old in our little plantation and Bungalow on the beach.
We will still continue to travel to the other islands using this as our base and can now concentrate on enjoying the sights rather than constantly being on the lookout for a real estate bargain.
Till next time from the hard working retirees.
Trevor & Guy