Monday 2nd August:
Well today we packed our bags and headed for Yolanda’s cottage 6km south of Gasan. Dropped our gear and then headed another 5km south to our block. We have a couple of Yolanda’s local workers clearing the boundary line for us. And their fee is P170 ($4.25) per day each. So for P340 ($8.50) per day these guys will hack through the jungle and clear a line for us so we know where the boundary lines go.
From here we will then commence clearing the 40m x 40m “house” block so we can see where the Bungalow will best fit. Will get 4 workers for this job and will probably take a few weeks. Pretty much everything is done by manual labor. There are very few machines here on the island and with labor so cheap it really is a no brainer. So what if it takes a few weeks to do a job, it will get done and you are stimulating the local economy.
Meet with two local architects today to get an estimate plus an idea on the work involved to build. Processes are very similar to AUS but how they construct is slightly different. Anyway we will be here through out the building process and onsite everyday and we have told them so.
Over the next while we will select our preferred architect and start the process of finalizing the plans, getting a contract price, getting all the approvals required and then commence building.
Tonight is our first night with no power. And guess what? There is a brownout happening. And how do we know? All the neighbors are now in the dark. No lights on anywhere. Who needs electricity anyway….
And who said we would be bored in retirement……….
Tuesday 3rd August:
WWooo hhhoooo we have the power.
At 5:30pm today we got the power connected onto at the cottage. Still no water as they need to wire up the pump from the well yet so another scoop shower tonight and more buckets of water to flush the toilet. Water is for tomorrow. Then we will have all the mod cons. Running water, microwave, fridge and a TV with no reception but it has a DVD player. So might have to go to the market for some cheap, eeerrrrr I mean legal DVDs.
Back at the block today at midday to see what the guys had cleared. They are doing a great job just the two of them. By the weekend we should have the blocked slashed so we can see what’s where. And all for P2,200 ($55.00 AUS). They have pretty much cleared the section where the Bungalow will go so that was absolutely fantastic to see. It is all slowly falling into place.
And another meeting with the two architects today. They both have some more preliminary work to do and we will see them on Saturday. From here we will select one of them and it’s then all systems go. We pretty much know which one we will select already. He talks the talk but does know his stuff and has some good ideas as well. We shall see.
Well we are just about to settle down to our first DVD “Terminator Salvation” here on the island. Got it cheap in Manila but sadly it wouldn’t play on the Mac. But fine in the DVD player here.
Feels absolutely fantastic to be in our cottage and have a home base now. We will be here till we move into the Bungalow. At this stage, being very realistic, that is probably about this time next year with lots of grey hair for both Guy and I along the way.
Wednesday 4th August:
Back to the block and inspect the land clearing operation. The boys are making real progress. The section where the Bungalow will go is now cleared of the undergrowth. We haven’t touched any big trees, as we want to leave the ones that won’t interfere with the house.
These boys work from 7:00am to 12:00noon and from 1:00pm to 4:00pm with a smoko break twice a day. We pay them P200 ($5.00) per day each, which includes their food (they supply their own) and transport to the site (they catch a Jeepney).
We then went next-door and meet Vern (he’s a German) the original owner of the land) who has just arrived back after being in Germany for the last 3 months. Had a great chat to him as he has been here on Marinduque for 19 years on this property. He was able to give the history of the land and how it is one of the last tracks of native vegetation in this area.
He was also able to allay my fears of flooding in the area during Typhoons. You see there looked to be a bit of a creek in front of us and creeks flood in Typhoons. But it is actually an old series of fishponds that Vern had constructed but weren’t successful. Vern was able to assure us that where we are should be fine re flooding (touch wood).
Quick into Boac on the “Thunder Monster” for some supplies and free Wi-Fi to catch up on emails.
Another afternoon storm, but we made it home by the time the rain hit. And of course with each storm comes the brownout. Sitting here with no power, again….. Actually getting used to it now. Nothing you can do about it so between the MacBook and the Nintendo DSi XL, we are amused……
Today we have hired a local woman “Cherry” (she also works for Yolanda now 2 days a week) who lives across the road from us to do all our washing once a week and cook twice a week for us (2 full days in all). She will cook up enough food for 2-3 days at a time so we certainly won’t starve. All this for P170 ($4.25 AUS) per day plus the ingredients for the food. The other times when we need food we will eat from the roadside vendors where a meal for us both is less than P100 ($2.50 AUS) in total.
We may cook a fish or two from time to time on the charcoal stove out the back. But not much cooking going to happen here when you have great cooks on hand with fresh local produce available.
So all we have in the cupboard is some snacks (fruit, nuts, etc.) and tea/coffee. Yea I am now back to 1 cup of tea a day for breakfast. And the fridge has cold water, ice tea, Coke, ice for the Coke, fruit and the excess food.
Go to your fridge and pantry and see how much stuff you have. We were the same back in AUS. It is amazing how simply you can live in a situation like this.
Thursday 5th August:
Rained most of the morning so we slept in till 11:00am. Was rather nice.
We have power at the cottage but still no running water so scoop showers carting water from drums outside to flush the toilet and wash dishes.
The Plumber arrived after lunch and they proceeded to get the pump plumbing done at the well. By about 5:00pm it was connected and they decided to turn everything on. Well, what a fun time was had by all.
The shower couldn’t be turned off as the tap hit the wall. The hand basin has water spurting from the joints. The sink in the kitchen leaked. One of the pipes outside then blew apart so it all came to a screeching halt. The plumber will be back tomorrow…….
And we are going to build a house with these guys!!!!!!!!! No boring retirement here…..
I did a quick trip to the block and caught up with the boys. All the boundaries and house section are now cleared. When I got home Guy and I did a scale drawing of the block and cut out a little scale house and Nipa hut (bamboo beach shelter) and started placing them on the plan just to see how it all fitted. And fit it did so very pleased with that.
And to top off the day I washed “Thunder Monster” which I find very therapeutic. And for all the Ducati folk I used a bucket of water with a wet rag and paintbrush to get the dirt off and then some dry rags to polish her up. And finally tucked her in under her new cover. She polished up like new again.
Friday 6th August:
We headed into Boac (25km away) tomorrow with Laura to meet the Land Bank Manager. Laura knows the guy so introduced us so we can open a local account. We have a current account with BPI but they don’t have a branch in Marinduque so need to fix that. And with all the work we are about to commence we need a local bank to handle our funds with contractors etc.
As all the road works are between Gasan and Boac and with all the rain we took the Jeepney. Left the bike home as you get your legs all muddy and since we are meeting the bank manager figured we better set a good impression.
Big lunch at the free Wi-Fi hotel (P250 = $6.25 AUS) and while I “surfed” Guy went and had her nails done (P60 = $1.50 AUS). Stocked up on a few more supplies and back home.
Had a visit by Yolanda’s brother who is a Policeman. Arrived on his motorbike complete with M16 and loaded up ammo vest. He is on a 24-hour patrol on this section of coast as they are looking for some “outside” fisherman who are apparently “dynamite” fishing in this area. Haven’t heard any big bangs so hopefully they are not in our area.
Saturday 7th August:
Usual meeting with the two architects Arnel and Alex and we have a floor plan and sketches of our Bungalow. All very exciting. See the pics. Next week we have to decide who we will select for stage one which is to draw up all the plans including, electrical, plumbing & engineering, and have them submitted for approval to the local Barangay (council). Once approval is granted we then select a contractor to build. This can be the architect and his gang or another contractor who uses the approved plans. We are looking at the architect we select also doing the building, as it is much easier that way, dealing with one person for the whole project. He will also supply all the materials so we don’t have to worry about that. Our involvement will be to be onsite everyday watching what they all do, checking the materials and ensuring that the house is built as per the plan. Then the fun really starts.
For the second day in a row we are experiencing the Habagat (very strong southerly wind). It is blowing a gale, which in turn pushes up a king tide on the coast with big waves. Shuts down all the Ro-Ro’s and Bangka’s. Went to our block for a look-see and no flooding so that’s good (thankgoodness). From the cottage we can see the full force of the Habagat on the ocean. And all the time it is still hot and humid. Cools down a bit though which is nice especially at night. No sweating in bed.
Life is good.
Trevor & Guy
Courtesy of Ben Scott (thanks Benny…)
Marina of Malindig:
Marina is the fairy who lives in Malindig Mountain (just up the road from us). Her helpers/slaves are the Puggots. In addition to the Marina and the Duke Legend, Buenavistans have tales of townsfolks who befriend Marina. These friends lapse into catatonic states. During the catatonia, they are with Marina. Invisible to all humans, they travel through Buenavista and the rest of Marinduque and even going to Manila! However, Marina is very choosy about her friends and not everyone has the honor. Don Angel Sevilla was rumored to be her boyfriend.
The Puggots of Malindig:
The puggots are small, dark-colored, supernatural helpers/slaves of Marina, the fairy of Malindig. They also frequent the rivers and streams of Buenavista and are fond of the Bukal area of Bagakay. For centuries the puggots and the Buenavistans have had a love-hate relationship. While the puggots can be helpful, the stories often portray them as naughty mischief-makers.