Day 205 of retirement

Hi All

Sunday 29th August:

Awoke to another brownout (went off at about 5:00am). Didn’t come back on till about 3:00pm so a long one, again.

Off to Gasan for Guy’s Mahjong session and my catch-up with the expats at the Barbarosa. Had a good turnout today (8 all up consisting of 2 Americans, 1 German, 1 Swiss, 2 Pommies and 2 Aussies). The other Aussie is Kevin the plumber from Coffs Harbour. He has arrived to build house and live here with his wife on 5 hectares (a coconut and rice farm) just up the road from us. This is his retirement at age 55.

Of course we solved all the problems of the world and Marinduque. Never a dull moment when we all get together with a demographic like that.

Back to the cottage (5:30pm) and power so topping up the water containers was number one job.

Walk on the beach and watch the sun go down (nothing spectacular as all cloudy) and then a quick shower, just incase we lose power.

Light dinner consisting of some cucumber, tomatoes, rice and canned adobo Tuna followed by the last of the Lansones.

Relaxed and ready for my cup of tea before bed. Aaaahhhhhh……..

Monday 30th August:

Quiet day today after the hectic weekend.

Yolanda and the boys are here working on the block behind the cottage (Yolanda owns that one as well). They are planting Banana’s and more coconuts and trimming the grass.

It’s really great when they are working here as Yolanda cooks lunch for them and always has enough for us as well.

Today we had a homemade soup recipe, which consisted of Malungay leaves (local tree which is growing here at the cottage), corn (from Yolanda’s farm and shaved off the cob), chili, garlic and some dried pork. All brewed up and boiled for a while and then eaten with red rice. Very healthy and tastes dam good too and our one big meal for the day..

Quick trip to the block and on the way home got some more corn on the cob (both cooked for dinner tonight and un-cooked for tomorrow) from our “supermarket” just up the road. The corn is all in season now and is very sweet. You can buy it cooked or uncooked, 3 cobs for P10 ($0.25 AUS)

After our leisurely evening walk up the beach some nice hot corn on the cob washed down with a nice hot cup of tea was in order for dinner. I have found a really good powdered milk (no dairy available here on the island (milk or cheese)) so the tea isn’t too bad at all

Tuesday 31st August:

Quick 7:30am trip to the Gasan Market as it is Market Tuesday. The one big day where all the hills people come to town so the market doubles in size. We meet one of the boys there so he could buy me my very own Bolo. Got the blade for P150 ($3.75 AUS) and he will make me the handle and the sheath to go with it.

Then I can slash away in the jungle to my hearts content. Actually need it at the block as some of the area that the boys cleared has already started to re-grow so needs a trim.

Third time lucky. The Thunder Monster got her first service today (500km with 750km on the clock). The mechanic turned up on time (9:00am) and with the correct parts. Miracles do happen. While we were waiting we wandered back to the Gasan Markets and stocked up on some fresh produce (took some pics as well as I love markets).

Made it back home in time for one of Yolanda’s lavish home cooked lunches as the boys are working at the cottage today doing some fencing. Today we had a veggie soup that consisted of snake beans, bitter apple with some other herbs and spices. Also a Fish Sinigang all consumed with red rice. Very nice and healthy.

Quick trip into Gasan to the Barbarossa Restaurant for free Wi-Fi later in the afternoon, then home for fresh corn on the cob for dinner (we boiled up the fresh cobs ourselves). We had three cobs each at a cost of P2 each ($0.05 AUS). So we feed ourselves for 15 cents each and it was dam good.

Made up a fresh batch of Buko Juice as per the recipe in the Saturday 28th August post. It’s in the fridge chilling ready for tomorrow. Small sample was taken just to be sure it was okay. See the pics for a pic of the Buko Juice.

Wednesday 1st September:

Guy’s birthday today. Nice hot cup of coffee (well 3 in 1) for her and a tea for me to kick start the day. Then for morning tea we sampled the Buko Juice from yesterday and yep it was outstanding. Man I love this stuff, I could live on it.

Cherry is here doing the washing and cleaning the house so Guy is indeed in for a leisurely day.

Into the market to get a few supplies and some “pastries” for afternoon tea with the boys who are back fencing today.

Yolanda made us another outstanding lunch with all her own produce grown here at the cottage and her farm. She does spoil us but hey, who are we to argue with a local.

Into Barbarossa for Wi-Fi for Guy to catch up on her birthday wishes and back for afternoon tea. Yolanda outdid herself with a great spread where everybody joined in. Noodles were served as it is good luck and will give you a long and prosperous life when eaten on your birthday. All followed with our “pastries”.

Oohhh Alina we had a red wine to celebrate. It was a “Californian” red from Argentina. It was okay but would have killed for a good old aussie red. The boys finished it off and then sang happy birthday to Guy in English and Tagalog so it must have been good.

And right on queue there was a brownout and a big afternoon thunderstorm hit. Been two days without a brownout so I guess it was time…. Oohhh well we are all watered and fed so no complaints here.

Thursday 2nd September:

Well at long last the boys will finish our Nipa Hut at the block today. Been a while but now all done. We went to see them mid morning and took them some coconut cake (fresh from the roadside vendors) for morning tea along with their wages (in cash of course). They have done a great job so now we have a place to keep the sun and rain off us when we are working there.

The final cost was P32,100 ($823 AUS at the current exchange rate) and it took 1 month to complete.

Lunch was the left over noodles and grilled fish from yesterday and it was even tastier today. Followed by a nice 1.5-hour walk up the beach and back down the road. Meet Francis (The Hot Springs manager and local developer) along the way for a great chat on all the local gossip (who’s buying what land & houses).

More sweet corn on cob on the stove for dinner. The boys turned up at 5:00pm ish to drop off their tools so Guy got them to get us 4 more Buko. Nato is the coconut tree climber and in a flash was up the tree and had our coconuts for us. They are in the fridge chilling so will make fresh Buko Juice tomorrow (we need more condensed milk).

Cherry turned up to deliver my very own Bolo (local machete) as well. The blade I bought at the market on Tuesday now has a handle, sheath and cord belt. It’s a real one, not one of those tourist trophies…. Had to laugh as the “belt” was made for a local so I will have to add another 6” to it for the “fat” westerner.

Friday 3rd September:

Early start for us (7:30am) as we are going into Boac with Laura who is making the final Land Tax payment so we can then have the block title transferred into our names. All went well and in about 2 weeks (once the tax has been cleared) we will have the title transferred over and the land is then officially ours (at long last). Wwwwooo hhhoooo……

Had lunch in Boac at the free Wi-Fi hotel so was able to upload my pics for Sunday’s blog post and a catch-up on emails.

Stopped past the market and bought a few supplies including some fresh sweet Lansones.

Back home in the late afternoon and after a “few” Lansones made a fresh batch of Buko Juice as well. In the fridge chilling now. More sweet corn on the cob for dinner with some more Lansones and just a taste of Buko Juice.

What more could you ask for.

Now I have been known to be a bit of a spreadsheet man. I keep track of everything. So since we have been here in the Philippines I have tracked our costs just to see what we can live on per day.

Now that we are settled and have a home, we are living on an average of less than P900 ($23.00 AUS) per day. This includes our cottage rent (includes power), all food, treats (Guy’s beauty pampering), Cherry (the wash, clean & cook lady) and running the Thunder Monster.  This equates to about $8,500 AUS per year. We have allowed almost double that amount so are very pleased with our living allowance calculations so far. Of course this does jump up when we go back to Manila or travel round the islands but these trips are now becoming less frequent.

Saturday 4th September:

Bit of a sleep in as it is Saturday. Then off to the market by the airport past Gasan. We were a bit late getting there as the vendors were starting to pack up but did manage to get our fresh sweet corn supplies and a few other bits.

Called into the Gasan market for some freshly cooked Pork blood jelly and sauté pumpkin with snake beans as we were going past. Bought enough for the next two days and will cook up some rice to go with it all.

Then a quick trip to the block to see our finally finished Nipa Hut. Love it and can see us spending many an evening catching the sea breeze watching the world go by.

Spent the rest of the day looking at houses. Inspected 4 existing houses and there is only 1 that we might be interested in. It is owned and built by Hans (German) who due to ill health has to move back to the mainland to be closer to medical help. It is quite big and on a very nicely landscaped block but he is asking too much at present. Definitely worth a look though.

We are still keeping our options open for the next 6 months or so as to whether we build or buy an existing house.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy

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One Response to Day 205 of retirement

  1. Wayne Button says:

    Hi Guy and Trevor,

    Happy belated birthday Guy! I’m glad to hear that you had a nice day. Alessandra had her 10th Birthday on the 29th Aug, so birthdays evrywhere.

    Trevor, I really enjoy reading your blogs and almost everytime it makes me wants to stand up from my desk and declare “Right, you can stick your job, i’m off”.
    Maybe one day i will!

    With any luck, next year I will be returning to the UK and Europe for the whole summer. The plan is to bring Alessandra over for a few weeks so she can see her Grandad and aunties/uncles etc.
    I want to spend more time with my Dad as he will be turning 83 next year.
    There are a few things i want to do in Europe also like hike around the French alps and see a little of the Croatian coast.

    Things in Sydney are just the same. Ther spit bridge in generally grid locked most days inc weekends!

    The weather is getting warmer but this weekend we just had really high winds that caused havoc on the south coast with tree and house roofs ripped up.

    Christchurch (NZ) has just had a big earthquake. Lots of houses and streets with huge gaps in them. A large number of building will need to be demolished.

    I’m well and just keeping my head low and saving for my trip next year. Looking forward to spending the summer here first with Alessandra and friends first.

    I will try and write again sometime.

    Until then, you guy’s just continue to chill out (seems like you’re doing a good job of it) while we (idiots) keep the wheels of industry in motion… 😦
    Cheers,
    Wayne.

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