Saturday 26th June:
Well today it finally happened. Somebody has tried to sell us swampland. Got a call on some prime beachfront property for sale, which is owned by a Chinese family. So agreed to go have a look.
Well we had to walk down a muddy road then along the beach and there it was all nicely cleared, except for the coconut trees. The land behind the beach was about 1m lower than the beach (first warning sign). Upon looking behind the bushes on the back of the block there were rice paddies (second warning sign) and to the right was a quite large creek (third strike and out…).
Come middle of the wet season this place will be fit for a fish pond. So thanks but no thanks……
Went back to Laura’s sub division and had a look at the beach at high tide and also wandered round the land looking at the bit we are interested in. Picked where we would build a house and checked the access from the road. All good. We are meeting Laura tomorrow for further discussions.
Then Jeepney into Boac for our one large meal for the day. Found a nice little place (Tahanan Sa Isok Hotel) in the back streets with very good food and free Wi-Fi (I love free Wi-Fi).
Guy went and had her nails down (for P70 $1.75 AUS) so I caught up on web stuff, email and tidied up my Gmail account. Just waiting for the rain to stop at the moment so we can wander round Boac before heading back to Eastpoint.
Ooohhh and the brown outs are back. Friday night we had 3 overnight and tonight had another one for half an hour.
Sunday 27th June:
Interesting day today. We meet Laura at the Barbarosa in Gasan midmorning and had further discussions on the proposed purchase of 2,908sqm of her beachfront land. We shall see…….
Then I meet with the expats at midday at the Barbarosa (They meet here every Sunday) while Guy went off with the girls and played Mahjong. They play slightly different than she is used to so a learning experience for her.
I spent all afternoon with the Poms John & Geoff, the Germans Eric & Hans, the Danish Aussie Ivan (was in Melbourne for 20 years) and the German Aussie Harry (30 years in Coffs Harbor). I got “lots” of advice as the beers flowed. Was very entertaining and I did actually get some good tips from them all. They are a great bunch of blokes, beer and all.
Back to the Eastpoint and Guy and I have just put together a proposal and emailed it off to Laura for the possible purchase of 2,908sqm of her beachfront property. Getting interesting now……….
Monday 28th June:
Early start this morning as we headed for the island of Romblon. Caught the Jeepney to Gasan port then onto a passenger Bangka to Pinamalayan back on Mindoro.
A leisurely 3 hour trip which was a little rough in the middle. But they pulled out the deck chairs for this trip and set them up on the top deck. So we actually managed to get some sleep laid back in the deck chairs.
From Pinamalayan we caught a Mini Van to the port of Roxas. As there is only one Bangka a day to Odiongan (on Romblon) at 10:00am each day, we are overnighting in Roxas in a lovely little place called “Pauline’s”. Has air-con and Sat TV so all good. Sadly no flushing toilet and the shower doesn’t work so a scoop shower is in order.
Also meet a kiwi guy and his son (Eric and Jett) from Melbourne who are going to Boracay. They arrived with us and discovered that the next boat only left at 8:00pm. There was supposed to be one at 4:00pm but it never turned up. So had a late lunch / early dinner with them.
We had our afternoon siesta and then decided a Halo-halo was in order. Couldn’t get one at the port so a Trik ride into town (5km away) was in order. First place was shut then our very industrious Trik driver took us on a bit of a tour of the town and found us a Halo-halo place. He even waited for us and brought us back to the port. He did charge us P150 ($3.75) which is quite steep…….
Tuesday 29th June:
Arrived at the port at 8:45am and discovered that there was a Bangka going to Looc at 9:00am and the Odiongan Bangka was only leaving at 11:00am. Looc is down the road from Odiongan so decided to go early as the weather was building to be very stormy.
We had a big storm last night, which also caused another brownout.
So off we went and 4.5 hours later we arrived in Looc. This was our roughest trip yet with rain and rough conditions on the water as we went through a storm. But I must say that the Bangka rides very well in these conditions with its sharp deep Vee and outriggers. I made it without getting sea sick, yyeeeaaaaa……
And for entertainment on the trip we had a pod of porpoises pay us a visit. They were jumping right out of the water and giving us the eye, especially the mother with a young small baby. And as usual the flying fish were bouncing off the wave tops and as there were some larger waves they would glide up and over the crest then down into the trough before over the crest again. All very entertaining.
Now let me say that there isn’t much in Looc. 5-minute walk and you have covered the town. We are staying at Angelique’s Inn right in the centre of town. Room is nice and big with air-con but nothing else (no TV). The bathrooms are shared with the 4 other rooms but as there are only a few of us staying here it should be okay.
Ooohhh and another brownout as we ordered dinner. Luckily Angelique has a generator.
Tomorrow we are leaving town and going to check out the Gishells Beach Resort just down the road, about 4kms.
Wednesday 30th June:
Made it to Gishells Beach Resort. Caught a Trik (a rather well used Trik….) which was an adventure all in itself. About 1 km out of town we hit the back dirt roads. Just before the resort there was a rather steep hill. Well the poor old Trik struggled and twice I had to jump off and push to keep us moving forward.
The resort is isolated from the town. There are 3 rooms with air-con (quite small with no views or balcony) and one large Nipa Hut (Bamboo Hut, no air-con, only fans). No TV once again. We have opted for the Nipa Hut as it has lots of room and a balcony with bamboo chairs that over looks the beach and it catches the afternoon sea breeze nicely.
The floor is made of bamboo slats, which means it isn’t solid (ventilated is a good description). Drop anything small and it will fall about 1 metre to the ground below (the Nipa hut is on stilts). But this also means that the breeze comes through the floor, which certainly aids in cooling the room.
There is no restaurant so what you do is order what you want from the housekeeper and she relays your order back to town. It is prepared at a local restaurant and then they bring it out to the resort for you. You can get bottled water here but that is about it. Hey it works and the food was great and hot so all good.
Beach is “white coral sand” and is okay but as you get out a bit it turns to weeds and rocks. Tried out my new goggles and snorkel and all good although there isn’t much to see here.
Got some washing done as we sat on the “restaurant” balcony and watch the world (well local fishermen) go by.
It’s 10:00pm as we play cards. The housekeeper has gone home. The owner lives in town and there are no other guests here. So we have the whole resort to ourselves. Felt a bit like one of those horror movies where the couple check into the hotel and find themselves all alone battling the hillbilly locals.
Thursday 1st July:
Well the brownouts continue. Had about 4 last night. Was okay in the Nipa Hut as it only affected the fan and it was coolish anyway.
The Toku’s were back and throughout the night they serenaded us with their calls. Unfortunately they didn’t manage to eat all the mosquitoes. I got attacked for the first time on our travels. Out came the “Rid” then crawled under the sheet and all good. Guy hid under the sheet all night so she was okay. Mossie coils will be out tonight.
Went for my morning swim / snorkel. The Lonely Planet (now 2 years old) reports that snorkelling off the beach is good. Sadly from my exploration the coral has since all died. The El Nino has had a dramatic effect on coral over the last few years and it is certainly evident here. Very sad seeing all the dead baby giant clams, coral and no fish life.
Lunch was a bit late today (only two hours). Bit of a mix-up in placing our order but hey, at least it did arrive today…..
Once again we have the whole resort to ourselves for the night. Played cards on the balcony till 8:30pm ish when once again a brownout hit us so off to bed as we waited for the vampires and werewolves to arrive…….
Friday 2nd July:
Early start as our Trik was waiting for us at 6:30am to take us back to Looc to catch the Jeepney. We caught the Jeepney that headed round the south of the island for the port of San Agustin.
Lets just say that the Jeepney was “Rustic” in appearance and operation as it bumped, rattled and rolled it’s way to San Agustin. The road round (about 50km) wasn’t much better. There were some good bits with some very rough, dusty and narrow bits cut into the cliff side. The good thing was that we took 2 hours to cover the 50km so it was a slow ride which means we were able to get a good look at the country side.
So all in all a very interesting ride.
San Agustin is a very pleasant place. It is on the waterfront with the mountains directly behind. They have developed the long pier front with a sea wall, paved walking track and concrete seats. There are two piers for the Bangkas and the Ro-Ros to dock.
We are staying in the Felnor Lodge on the first floor right on the pier front. The room is huge (3 beds) with air-con (No TV) and a balcony to sit on and watch the Bangkas and Ro-Ros come and go all the while catching the sea breeze. Just watching a Ro-Ro unload now as they load up the Triks with sacks (21 sacks per load) of rice for the market. Very pleasant.
Have had a walk round the markets in the town square just behind us and they have everything you could need. Had our big lunch in one of the many eateries. Got lots of “Hi Joe” greetings as well. Very friendly people. A stark difference to Looc.
Ooohhh and wouldn’t you know it. Brownout when we arrived. Power was on for a while in the early afternoon but then brownout again. Nothing you can do about it so a siesta was in order.
From a very chilled out
Trevor & Guy