Day 118 of retirement

Hi All

Yep we still alive and kicking. Just been enjoying our time at “our” beach.

Friday 4th June:

Organized the cook today (via good old text messaging) to come and cook us Chicken Adobo, which will feed us for the next 2 days. As we were heading into Torrijos for the morning to get a few more supplies, the cook would come and cook the adobo at the shack and leave it in the cupboard away from the roving animals. Also we left “Toddy” to keep an eye on things and a great job he did.

We walked to White Beach and caught a Trik into town and found an Internet café but they didn’t have any Wi-Fi. They pointed us to the local store. Yep this guy had Wi-Fi and was happy to connect us in. And at a reasonable speed so we were able to send the last email update (Retirement 111) and catch up on email responses and some banking stuff. We were there for about 2.5 hours and it cost us P30 ($0.77). Bargain.

Back home and hot lunch waiting for us (Chicken Adobo with Rice). Very yummy and a real treat to not spend any effort in having home cooked meals when you have a ‘hard day’ at the office.

My afternoon’s work was to fix the hammock. It was pretty much split down the middle. So out came the trusty Swiss Army knife, found a piece of rope in a tree, unwound it and then stitched up the hammock (Robyn M, Neville would be proud of my net mending skills…..). Once my handy work was finished time for a siesta.

Another balmy evening as we watch the Gecko’s feast on all the bugs. Also saw, for the first time, the Tuko (Large Gecko). They are about 6”-12” long and make a very distinct sound (their call sounds like “Took-oooohhh”). Sounds like someone calling you. It is considered lucky to have these in your house as they eat all the bugs. We have two here so we are very lucky.

Saturday 5th June:

Leisurely day at the shack (rest day…). Swimming, (discovered my $3 goggles & snorkel from the local market don’t work so well, will get some good ones when we next pass through a diving centre), eating, siesta, more hammock work and a stroll to White Beach for a Coke. Finished up playing cards under the stars and watching our two Tuko’s catching grasshoppers and crickets attracted by the lights.

Oohhhh and my daily litter pick up on the beach. Marilou does a great job of keeping her shack area litter free so each low tide I pick up whatever litter has washed up. Not much to pick up but keeps “our” beach pristine.

Sunday 6th June:

Well, went to church this morning. Nope this isn’t a miss print and we didn’t get struck by lightning. Trev & Guy went to church. This all transpired with Guy meeting Ramon (on the boat over here). He has been really good in providing us with great local info and also further contacts in Palawan, Boracay and Ilo-ilo. Turns out he also is a pastor in one of the small local gospel churches and invited us along.

So this morning along we went. The service is done mostly in Tagalog so not sure what was happening but very casual and lots of smiles in this very warm little church. Part of the service is to welcome new comers and they invited Guy to speak and introduce us to the congregation, which she obliged.

Once again I can’t say how friendly and helpful the Filipinos are.

At 1:30pm Aurora (our lovely cook) arrived and cooked up a pot of Sinigang (Pork, taro, snake beans, tamarind and herbs & spices & eaten with rice) for the next two days. Sinigang is a cross between soup and stew and is one of my favorites. So a long lunch and siesta followed.

Meet Ramon again at 4:00pm for a guided tour of the local area and who owns what. The property boom has just started here on the beach frontage. But talking to locals the main issue on the east side of the island is reliable water. You have to rely on wells (which tend to be salty) or the local reservoir, which has water restrictions (basically you just can’t get any) in the summer and then the other extreme in the wet, too much water everywhere.

Ramon’s family owns pieces of land here and was offering us free ‘squatting’ privileges where the unwritten agreement is we build our shack and stay as long as we want and can leave anytime and leave the shack where it stands, apparently, this practice has been going on forever and seemed like an acceptable way of accommodation.  Sadly, the piece of land available has no beach frontage and we are not comfortable with this ‘practice’ as yet, so have not made any commitments.

After dinner Guy and I went for our usual night beach walk and just as we headed back we saw movement by the coconut shells pile by our bbq corner. And there they all were. About half a dozen of the Coconut crabs (from big to small) all emerging from the pile of coconut shells. Apparently they are very delicious to eat but they are also endangered so we let them be and were not game on killing/cooking these very prehistoric looking crabs.

Monday 7th June:

Back to work today. Tried to fix the cheap goggles but to no avail (where’s a tube of silicon when you need it). Although I did manage to see a beautiful little black and white stripped sea snake before the snorkel completely died.

Litter pickup on the beach and of course the mandatory swims to cool off in between jobs, eating and all followed by a siesta. Ooohhh and a quick stroll to White Beach for our Halo-halo and meet a fellow aussie called Harry from Coffs Harbor who owns a resort just down the road.

Hiring a motorbike tomorrow and going exploring / house hunting.

Tuesday 8th June:

Picked up the trusty Kawasaki 125cc this morning and off we headed. The aim was to circumnavigate the island in the reverse to what we did with the boys last week. As we were house / land hunting we concentrated on the section between Buenavista and Gasan.

So over the mountain pass we headed. It was a very twisty road up and down and okay but with a few rough sections (all concrete road). Not really Ducati monster type of road but definitely Multistrada country. Where’s a Multi when you need one….. But we had fun anyway even though I was 100hp down on my old S4RT. We finished up doing just under 200km for the day so our butts were a little numb (for $5.00 worth of fuel – slightly better than the S4RS hey Jukie, Matty and gang…).

This was also Guy’s first outing ever on the back of a bike, she was a bit nervous and sat up on our first bend, had to stop as I realized we are headed the wrong way and told Guy to just follow my lead on the bends and after the next couple of bends, she was doing it like a pro from then on.

So after a day of meeting with a new subdivision owner, developer cum builder, landlord with new cottage on the beach for long term rent, Pommy & German expats who currently live here we have three options on our accommodation and house hunting expedition.

  1. New cottage on the beach that will be available for long-term rent. It’s very nice (don’t know price yet as still to be finished).
  2. Purchase beachfront property about 900 sqm and build (to build a nice 2 bedroom house with water, power, furniture, landscaping and with a 175cc motorbike thrown in (P2,000,000 = $52,000 AUS). The lot has a 45m water frontage and is 20m deep.
  3. Purchase existing property on the beach but in a slightly more remote area which means 5km of dirt road to get to it (P800,000 = $21,000 AUS).  It has views of the 6 Star Elephant Island Resort so right down south.

The beaches for all of these are the dark volcanic sand with smooth rocks and pebbles. No white sandy beaches on the west side of the island. But they are very nice as all the rocks are very smooth and it is very acceptable for swimming. The water is crystal clear and warm.

So we have decided to stay here at Marilou’s for 3 more days (till Sunday 13th June) and are setting up further inspections to look at the properties just to give us ideas on what we can expect to pay at least here in Marinduque.

And so ends another tough day at the office.

Wednesday 9th June:

Quiet day today after yesterday’s adventure. Walked to White beach and bought two fresh Bonito (baby tuna kind of fish) for lunch for today and tomorrow. They were caught last night so nice and fresh

Filleted and fried strips of fish one for lunch. Eaten with rice and a dipping sauce consisting of Soy Sauce, coconut vinegar and calamansi (local lime). Very yummy and even healthy.

Siesta then Halo-halo as we watch the sunset from White Beach, again. Very quiet leisurely day.

Thursday 10th June:

Well the beat laid plans….. At 9:30am this morning Guy received a text from her good friend Desiree in Melbourne. She will be in Manila for the weekend for a wedding and was wondering if we could catch-up. So a quick review of our plans and we decided to do it.

By 11:30am we had cleaned the shack, packed and were on the Jeepney from Torrijos to Santa Cruz. Then switch to a mini van for the trip to the port of Balanacan where we caught the Ro-Ro (Roll on roll off ferry that transports vehicles and people) to Lucena. Final leg was on a Jac Liner bus that took us to within one block of Guy’s sister’s house (Beth) some 12 hours later (11:30pm).

Will be in Manila till early next week, stock on a few little “luxuries” while here, and then back on the road again.

Stuff:

As we have our own private estate here at Marliou’s, the dress code has gone even further down hill. Down to just my jocks now and loving it. And no the full Monty is not going to happen. With the intensity of the sun here, sun burnt bits that don’t see the sun could be very very painful.

To explain what the white beaches are here. They are definitely white, as they are made up of crushed coral. This makes them courser that the fine aussie golden sands we are used to. I would have to say that to date Australia has the best sandy beaches anywhere in the world. But don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with the white beaches here (quite happy to have my own little stretch here). They are just different. They say that the further you go south the finer the beaches become. We shall see.

I haven’t worn shoes now for 5 months and my feet love it. Wear thongs most of the time and Teva’s when traveling. My feet have never felt so good and been so healthy. OOohhh and no hair cut yet either…. Mmmmmmm dreadlocks or maybe braided?????

Guy is having concerns as her feet are developing hard skin around the edges and thinks that a foot spa is very much required to remove these ugly dead skin.  For those of you who do not know what a foot spa is, its where they will apply softening lotion on the foot and scrape off all the dead skin till it is baby bum smooth followed by a pedicure, not for me I’m afraid, though happy to try a pedicure maybe….

Life is good….

Trevor & Guy

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One Response to Day 118 of retirement

  1. Simon says:

    Not quite the duc, but still looks like you could get up to some fun on that bike!

    Looking pretty damn relaxed in that hammock too. Nice one.

    Si.

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