Sunday 15th August:
Back to Gasan for Guy to play her Sunday afternoon Mahjong and me to catch up with the expats at Barbarosa (German Restaurant) who now has just installed Wi-Fi. So was able to do emails and post today’s blog. Being just 6km from the cottage it will have to suffice for our web access, as we have nothing here.
Is good meeting the guys each Sunday as I run past them ideas and thoughts I have picked up during the week.
Brownout for an hour in the mid afternoon. Getting used to them now. Nothing you can do so just wait cause it will come back on eventually.
Monday 16th August:
Off to Manila today to get Guy’s Filipino citizenship papers as they have now been processed and approved. Left the cottage at 10:30am and headed via Jeepney to Kawit Port, caught the midday Ro-Ro to Lucena and a bus trip to Manila with a two-block walk to Beth’s house (Guy’s sister). All in the time of 11 hours door to door. Getting used to these road trips now as I did manage to get some sleep on the Ro-Ro (3.5 hour trip). And on the bus they had the “Karate Kid” movie playing, which certainly helped the trip go faster.
This is the first time we have traveled with empty packs. As we have clothes still here in Manila we literally only had the clothes we were wearing. The aim is to stock up on some food and supplies that are not available on the island. Things like Gladwrap, good tea bags, pasta, etc.
Also Guy will be bringing back some more clothes as we are now settled into the cottage. Okay I might bring back some tooooooo….
Tuesday 17th August:
Off to the immigration office expecting a long wait but within 15 minutes Guy had her brand new citizenship certificate. We once again checked up on my requirements for when I apply for mine in the New Year and all good. I will apply for my permanent residency by January next year then I can stay as long as I want with the visa renewable every 12 months.
So now we can officially own land here in the Philippines. Meeting Laura tomorrow here in Manila to make the final block payment and commence the title change to our names.
Then off to the markets to get some fishing net for our Nipa Hut roof. It is thrown over the coconut-thatched roof to hold it down in the strong winds (Typhoons). Had to cart this largish bundle with me all day and had it checked by every security guard we came across in all the MRT / LRT stations and the Mall cops. They all looked strange at me when I told them it was fishing net.
Meet Aura (Guy’s best friend) for a long leisurely lunch at the Mall of Asia.
At 6:00pm ish it was time to head home. Quick Jeepney to the MRT station and onto the MRT for a 20-minute ride home. Or so we thought. At about the second station an announcement was made that there was “an incident” ahead with a train and we were grounded. As it was rush hour we were all packed in like sardines. After 10 minutes of nothing we decided to get off the sardine can and try for a cab. Got the cab okay but he informed us that there was a total traffic jam going north due to the train incident.
So we opted to go back into town and catch two different LRT’s the long way home. Well 2 hours later we arrived home. Hey at least we made it.
The MRT / LRT system is fantastic when it is working. But when there is an incident, everything grinds to a halt. So I have now survived my first MRT / LRT incident and lived to tell the tail.
Wednesday 18th August:
Put on some clothes that I hadn’t worn for many months today and man I have lost some weight. No scales here but I recon it would be 8-10 kilos. I have gone from the 4th hole in my belt back to the 1st one. I haven’t been able to do that for about 10 years. And it feels damn good to be slim, trim and terrific again.
Off to the lawyers office first thing and meet Laura there to sign the final “Deed of absolute sale” document which is required to enable the transfer of title to us. Then off to the bank and made the final payment to Laura. All that is left now for us to do is to go to the Lands office in Boac (Marinduque) and present the paper work, pay the fee, and we get a new clear title to our block. All very exciting
Off to the Mall for some Wi-Fi and stocking up on supplies to take back to Marinduque. Also topped up the Nintendo DSi XL with some new games from the shop we bought it off. We get all the free games (not the latest) we want from their catalogue for life. Just pick what you want, leave the mini SD card and 30 minutes later all loaded. We don’t ask where the games come from.
We caught up with Zeny (good friend of Guy’s from Australia here at the moment) for lunch. Guy and Zeny had a great catch up and chin wag.
And upon arrival home Guy’s mum had Rice, Sinigang and Fish waiting for us. Very nice way to finish the day.
Thursday 19th August:
Quick trip to the Mall after a bit of a sleep-in to get our final supplies. We now have a rice cooker and electric kettle for the cottage (our little luxuries). Also raided Beth’s DVD collection and have taken a wide selection as we have a TV & DVD but no reception.
Plus a few food items as well. We actually found some Australian Parmesan Cheese so got a few packets for our pasta dishes (had to get the pasta here as well).
Caught the “6:00pm” Jac Liner bus from round the corner to Lucena. Now the go is that the bus is “scheduled” to leave at 6:00pm. What happens is that the doors open at 4:00pm and when it is full they go, regardless of the time. So Guy and I and our entire luggage arrived at 4:00pm. We were the second people on the bus surprise surprise. The bus finished up leaving at 5:45pm so a bit of a wait on the bus. But they did show a movie so the time went pretty quick.
Then onto the Ro-Ro at midnight and arrive on the island round 4:00am. The Jac Liner bus does a trip round the island dropping off it’s passengers and goods and goes right past our front door so all-good. Got to the cottage at 5:00am ish with our 5 bags / boxes of stuff all intact. Happy about that.
The trip wasn’t too bad as we did managed to get a few hours sleep. Although sleeping on a narrow plastic bench seat laying down is an art form all in it self (balancing in your sleep….).
Man it was good to be “home”. We both agree that for the first time since we arrived in the Philippines we feel like we are home. Great feeling.
Friday 20th August:
Bit of a sleep in then off to the block to check out the Nipa Hut progress. The boys have done a fantastic job and with a few more days work all will be done.
Quick trip into Boac to the PNBank to deposit a bank cheque that we got from the BPI Bank while we were in Manila. We now have local bank access to some cash so all good.
Stopped off at the Gasan markets on the way home and got a few local fresh supplies. Especially from our bakery. They have some really nice coconut filled breads things.
While I was in Manila I bought a few tools for the bike. Damn shame as I have all I need back in AUS but no good there. Anyway I forgot a tire gauge to measure PSI. No problem as gas stations have air and gauges. Or so I thought. Nobody has a gauge for sale here on the island. The two petrol stations I went too had air but no tires gauges. You just pump up the tire till its full.
In Boac went to a local gas station and the guy had a gauge. Well it looked like a gauge. Basically the margin of error was about 10PSI and it looked like it was used by Noah to build the Ark. Anyway tires on the Thunder Monster are now pumped up to about the right PSI. I shall keep looking for a gauge.
It’s the little things like this that make you realize you are living a simple life here.
Saturday 21st August:
Brownout last night that started at 5:00pm and no power till about 2:00am this morning. We were pretty tired anyway from the all nighter traveling last night so to bed at 9:00pm and we crashed.
Usual trip to the block as the guys here work 6 days a week. And Saturday is also payday for them so paid Yolanda as they are her workers. There has been a bit of “pay in advance” happening during the week as well so we need to keep enough cash at hand to cater for all the paychecks.
Also as Yolanda was working on the cottage block today she cooked us lunch. Pork Blood Jelly with red rice was the order of the day and it was very very yummy.
Pulled out both of my camera’s (Canon G9 & Leica M8.2) and gave them a clean. Made sure the lenses were all nice and clean and wiped over them to remove any salt spray. One of the downsides living by the beach. Got to look after anything electronic just that bit more to minimize any corrosion damage.
Quick trip into Gasan for Wi-Fi to see how the Geoquest gang was doing. Ben Scott, Wayne Morrison and two others (team of 4) are currently doing a 48-hour adventure race (kayak, MTB & Trek) up in the Lake Macquarie (NSW) area. They are being supported by Dean Saul and Wayne’s wife Jenny and others. Sent them a quick email via the Geoquest website.
Caught in the afternoon rain for the ride back to the cottage but not too wet plus it is warm so not cold at all like good old AUS winter at the moment.
Nice and relaxed at the moment after a leisurely day.
Life is good.
Trevor & Guy