Day 247 of retirement

Hi All

Sunday 10th October:

Our last day in Manila so back to our second home, the mall, for some supplies that we can’t get on the island. These include our favorite gourmet nuts, Polvoron (sweets made from milk powder, flour & sugar), dried mango, Choc Nut (sweets made from peanuts, coconut & sugar) Guy’s Kopiko 3 in 1 Brown Coffee and some condiments for cooking.

We are slowly discovering where to get some of our more “special” treats on the island but still can’t get the above treats.

I also needed some tools for the Thunder Monster. As previously stated I couldn’t get a tire pressure gauge anywhere on the island so this was on the top of my list for the hardware store at the mall. Finished up getting 2 tire pressure gauges, small socket set, feeler gauge, tire valve tool, bike wax shampoo and some good spray on wax chain lube. All for the princely sum of P1,500 ($38.00 AUS). It is a real pity as I have most of this still back in AUS but would cost twice as much to ship but for $38.00 can’t complain.

Back to Guy’s Mum’s for a fish dinner and then Guy headed out to play Mahjong while I packed.

Monday 11th October:

Well the alarm went off at 5:30am just as Guy walked in the door from her all nighters Mahjong game. And to add insult to injury she lost this time (she was a winner last time she played with this group).

Quick shower and off to the bus station a few blocks away arriving there at 6:15am.

7:00am departure from Manila and 5 hours later we arrived in Lucena port to catch the Ro-Ro. Three hours later we arrived in Balanacan port and into a Jeepney for the ride back to the cottage where we arrived at 4:30pm. So a bit of a long day (10.5 hours) but a bit quicker than usual. Usually takes about twelve hours for this trip.

First job on arrival was a nice hot cup of tea down in the Nipa hut as the sea breeze hit. Quite hot and humid here at present but the hot tea went down a real treat.

Yolanda and the boys were here working on the property as well so Nato (one of the boys) was dispatched up a coconut tree for 4 coconuts for fresh Buko juice, which is currently in the fridge chilling for our nightcap.

Dinner was some nice freshly cooked rice (sick of “eating out” food in Manila) and some Adobo Tuna (from a can), which is almost as good as fresh adobo.

We both agree that it is really good to be “home” on Marinduque. Each time we come back here from Manila it feels more and more like our home.

We are looking forward to the next few months (until Xmas) just exploring and doing what we want, when we want, how we want.

Life is dam good….

Tuesday 12th October:

Very pleasant surprise this morning, our food parcel from Alina R (Newcastle, NSW, AUS) arrived 4 weeks after she sent it. After visiting the Gasan Tuesday markets for some supplies we called into the post office and there was Alina’s parcel ready and waiting for us.

This was a “test” parcel to see how the postal system would work and work it did. Actually I wasn’t worried about the Philippines Postal service, was more worried that Australia Post would lose it…… ha ha ha

The tea is in perfect condition but the chocolates are a little melted but hey any good melted chocolate is better than none. So if any of you want to send us some Haighs chocolate (dark choc, wink wink nudge nudge) suggest you put it in a zip lock bag so when it arrives we will put in the fridge to harden it back up and break off chunks as required.

Huge thanks to Alina for the parcel. It was the highlight of our day.

Was good to get back on the Thunder Monster today after 2 weeks away. Felt great riding into Gasan with the wind in our faces as we cruised…..

October is the wettest month here on Marinduque and today certainly lived up to that. Absolutely poured for several hours (90mm fell), complete with thunder and lightening, so I took advantage of the situation and had a long cool shower under the down pipe complete with hair shampoo. Very refreshing.

We also had some minor flooding on the up hillside of the house. As the water runs down the hill it can go left or right. Left means it runs past the cottage and right means it pools up against the wall and yep it went right.

So Norman (one of the boys who is working here today) knocked a hole in the retaining wall to drain the dam while I created a diversion drain about 2m long to get the water to go left. Worked a treat but will need to modify my landscaping efforts when the rain stops to accommodate the diversion drain.

I was feeling a little vulnerable during the drain excavation as I was using a metal handled shovel with all the lightening around. I survived so all good.

Had a nice cool Buko juice for afternoon tea as we sat and watched the lighting show and listened to the thunder music.

The one good thing about these storms is that they cool things down a bit (till the sun comes out again) so we enjoy it while we could.

Wednesday 13th October:

Having a chat to the boys this morning and they said that the storm yesterday was the heaviest so far this wet season (90mm in 2 hours). There was some minor flooding but nothing serious. Talking to Ron (the yank) and the rice paddies out back of his place all flooded but all gone today. The local rivers are flowing the highest I have seen as well.

It is incredible that today out riding you couldn’t tell that there was a huge storm yesterday. The water drains away so quickly and as the soil is quite sandy right along the coast there are no puddles or pools of water anywhere. The rice paddies tend to start about 0.5km to 1.0km back from the coast

Cherry our washer lady was back and earned her money today as we had more than the usual load from our two weeks in Manila, holiday.

Quick trip up to our block for a look and no flooding from the storm, so all good. But man it has been 3 weeks since I was there and with all the rain and sunshine, the jungle re growth has gone berserk. Will do some trimming myself but will leave it for 3 weeks (till after October which is the wettest month here) and get the boys back for a few days to slash it all back.

We dropped into Ron (the yank) and Vickie’s on the way home for a chat and to drop some Choc nut and Polvoron as a thanks for organizing fresh Buko for us so we can make our special Buko juice.

Ron also knows a really good ear and eye doctor on the island and will take Guy and I there on Monday, as Guy wants’ to have here ears checked. He will pick us up on Monday morning and take us to Santa Cruz (about 1 hour away at the top of the island) and introduce us to the doc.

Oooohhh and of course Guy and Vicki just happened to organize to play Mahjong tomorrow. Mmmmm might have to go exploring on the Thunder Monster.

Afternoon storm didn’t hit till 6:30pm tonight so was able to get in a lovely one hour stroll up the beach before hand. Very pleasant.

Thursday 14th October:

Had a “drop in for a chat” visit from John (the pom) this morning just as Guy was leaving for Mahjong with Vicki. He stayed for a couple of hours (we drank tea & coffee under the Nipa Hut and solved world peace…) as we were hit by the edge of a thunderstorm.

Once the storm passed he left and the skies cleared. So I grabbed the camera and went exploring on the Thunder Monster for the afternoon round the local area. Got lots of great pics of people, places and things.

Called into the Gasan markets for some fresh supplies as well. Got 1.5kg of sweet ladyfinger bananas, 1.0kg of Lansones (sweet fruit) and six Pan De Coco buns (buns filled with sweet coconut) and all this for P90 ($2.25 AUS) in total.

Back home for a nice cold Coke and some fresh fruit for a late afternoon tea. Guy returned from Mahjong and sadly had a P300 ($7.50 AUS) loss today. Oh well you win some you lose some.

Dinner tonight was some Pork (cooked Adobo style) with pumpkin and snake beans cooked in coconut milk with rice. Must say I do like the food here and it is actually pretty dam healthy as well.

I am now back to the first hole in my belt (was at hole 4 back in AUS). Haven’t been in that hole for many years and it feels dam good.

Oohhh and Alina I finished off the chocolates today. Even melted they were very very nice. I am savoring the tea for special occasions (had a couple so far).

Friday 15th October:

Off to Boac today with Laura to finalize the title to our block.  Meet Laura in Gasan and we rode in on the Thunder Monster (as it was a gorgeous day after all the rain) and Laura and Dong (Her partner’s name) drove in. We meet at the “Land Registration Authority (Registry of Deeds)” office at the municipal centre where all the government offices are situated. I counted eight there but I’m sure there are more. They love their government offices.

As this was going to take a while I went across the road to a very nice little restaurant that just happened to have nice fast Wi-Fi, so I settled in with a cold Coke and the MacBook. After about 1.5 hours Guy and the crew turned up to say that they had to go back in an hour to finalize the process and we will then get the new title to our block.

So we had a leisurely lunch at the restaurant while we waited. Very nice food and very reasonably priced. Guy and I had a plate of noodles for two, which cost P70 ($1.75 AUS).

After lunch they went back to the office to finalize the title and of course pay a small “gratitude” fee for having it all done so quickly. 1.5 hours later we had our brand new title for the block. We are now officially land barons with 2,908 sqm of jungle paradise with a 40m frontage onto the beach. Wwwooo hhooooo….

Then off to the PhilHealth office to sign up for private medical coverage. As Guy is a citizen she is registered as a member and I am a dependant so get coverage as well. All we needed was the registration form completed along with a copy of Guy’s birth certificate, our marriage license and my passport.

The way it works is that there is only one fee paid by all. PhilHealth then have recommended hospitals and doctors that you get more coverage at than other not so recommended ones. We are still trying to figure it all out on the claiming side. Spoke to Laura and she had her son in a hospital in Lucena (where the island’s Ro-Ro docks) a while back and they paid about 70% of all her costs.

And the cost of this coverage is P300 ($7.50 AUS) per quarter or P1,200 ($30.00 AUS) per year. It is highly subsidized by the government here for a fee like that. Ooohhh and there is a three month waiting period so we can’t get sick till January.

Back home in time for the sunset and a nice leisurely dinner of left over’s and all washed down with a nice hot cup of tea.

Discovered a really good desert tonight. Sliced up the sweet lady finger banana’s, sprinkled some brown sugar over them and added some evaporated milk and mixed it all up. Left stand for 30 minutes and yum. Yea I have a bit of a sweet tooth.

Saturday 16th October:

Got our first Typhoon (Juan) warning this morning while in Gasan. Had a quick look on the web and it is still some ways off Marinduque. They are predicting that it will go north and we will only get the edge of it but you just never know. The ETA on Marinduque is Monday morning so we shall see.

We did our first Typhoon readiness check, which consisted of:

  • Checking our rice and food supplies (tinned and packet) – Check
  • Filled up the Thunder Monster with gas – Check
  • Have an extra full gas cylinder for cooking – Check
  • Ordered another container of drinking water (80L in total) – Check
  • Checked batteries for our head torches – Check
  • Filled outside water barrels (washing and flushing water) – Check
  • Have cash to buy stuff if required – Check
  • Will get some fresh fruit and bakery stuff  – Sunday
  • Charge up all our phones, camera and laptop batteries – Sunday
  • Thunder Monster inside – Sunday night
  • Quick check outside for loose objects outside – Sunday night

So now it is just a waiting game.

Did some actual work this morning. Was in at Barbarossa as they are having trouble with their Wi-Fi router. Removed all the security settings and I still couldn’t connect. I have no issues with any other Wi-Fi connections on the island (was connected to another network yesterday) so looks like it could be a router issue. Laura will get one of the government network specialists to come have a look. I didn’t want to mess with it too much, just checked the obvious things like security settings.

Felt rather weird doing work type stuff.

Very thundery and rainy at present so an afternoon siesta is in order. Cleared up at 4:30pm ish so off for an hour stroll up the beach and watch the sunset with a nice cold Coke.

Dinner was some very nice Pumpkin soup that Guy made from some fresh pumpkin from the market with my banana, sugar & evaporated milk desert and all washed down with a nice hot cup of tea.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy

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One Response to Day 247 of retirement

  1. Alina says:

    Hey Trev
    I’m so glad the chockies and tea arrived ok. Now all the Adelaide folk can safely send Haighs!xxx

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