Day 254 of retirement

Hi All

Sunday 17th October:

Woke to a glorious day. The calm before the storm (Typhoon) maybe.

Gave Thunder Monster her weekly clean this morning. Got some wax shampoo in Manila so gave her a good old wash and also waxed her as well after the wash. Try and keep the salty sea air at bay just a bit. Anyway she is now nice and shiny till the next storm.

Then Guy was off to Mahjong and I spent the afternoon with the expats. Had 8 in our group today (American, English, Aussie, Swiss, Danish). We are growing. And of course we once again solved world peace……..

Guy’s Mahjong went a little late we so finished up riding home in the dark on the Thunder Monster. This was our first time riding in the dark here and it was, interesting. People walk all over the road and other bikes and trikes ride round with their lights off. And the light on the Thunder Monster is an old filament globe so not real flash at all. Man where is a HID when you need one. We made it safely but will certainly avoid dark riding where we can.

More Typhoon waiting and last minute check list check.

Monday 18th October:

No Typhoon yet. The sea is getting quite rough, the skies are looking very stormy and the wind is picking up but no rain.

So with an early start, Ron picked us up at 7:00am and we headed for Santa Cruz, which is a one-hour drive, for Guy to see the ear doctor (Dr. Almonte). Arrived at 8:00am only to discover that he hasn’t made the trip due to the Typhoon warning out. He has his practice in Manila and consults on the island on Monday’s only, so if the Ro-Ro stops due to the Typhoon he is stranded here.

Oooohh well we will be back same time same place next Monday.

So given that we now have the whole day to ourselves we decided to do a road trip round the island and visit a few of Ron’s mates. Firstly we did a walk round Santa Cruz and Ron introduced us to the Police Chief and the local “Bunnings” (hardware) store owner. Two important people to know.

Then we visited Ellie (local), a Canadian friend’s wife who lives here on the island. Ray (her husband) is currently working back in Canada but his wife is still here for now. Had a great chat to her over a nice cup of green tea.

Then off down south through Torrijos and over the mountain pass to Buenavista. On the way over the pass we stopped at Lyf (Dutch) and Elena’s (local) place at the foot of Mt Malindig. Great place with fantastic views of Mt Malindig but it is quite remote and has no running water. Each day they have to cart water by bucket to fill up their containers and are more susceptible to brownouts as well.

Then we hit Curba Restaurant, just past the hot springs, for cheese & bacon burgers with fries for a late lunch. They were not too bad at all I must say.

It was great talking to all these folks and looking at their houses as we are still finalizing our design.

And as everybody knows everybody else on the island we were able to get some great feed back on people that we are looking at using for our house design and building. Also some tips and tricks on what to do and not what to do.

Made it home at 3:30pm after a great day out with Ron.

Typhoon-wise the sea is still quite rough. The skies are getting even stormier and the wind is picking up. Still looks like Typhoon Juan will hit well north of us though so all good. We will know by the morning what the go is.

Tuesday 19th October:

No Typhoon Juan here. It has passed well to the north of us up at the top of Luzon. Talking to locals in town this morning it has killed about 26 people up north so not good. All we have here is strong winds that have now turned from northerlies to southerlies with some very rough seas and no rain. Has come out quite humid as well so need a good storm to clear the air.

Ooohhh and the brownouts are back today with all the strong winds. Power has been off most of the morning.

Quick trip into the Gasan markets (the big weekly market day today) to get some fresh supplies of fruit (Lansones, Banana’s), chicken (for chicken rice), rice and a few other bits and pieces including corn on the cob. Ooohhh and a fresh banana que for morning tea washed down with a nice cold Coke.

Cooked up the corn for lunch and it was very sweet and tender. Got a good batch this time. We got some corn last week that when cooked was like eating road gravel. We now know what to look for so we get the good sweet tender stuff.

Off to Laura’s in Gasan tonight for her 49th birthday party. Very yummy food and of course we ate too much. Was an interesting party as there were all of Laura’s female friends but their partners don’t come along. It was an all female affair and I was the token male.

Wednesday 20th October:

Another windy rough day. The sea is very rough with the southerly blowing. Hopefully only one more day and things will calm down again.

I now have that head cold that Guy had a few weeks ago. Had the sore throat yesterday and now it is the runny nose and congested head. A few days rest will sort it out.

Did a quick trip up to the block and spent an hour slashing back the jungle round the Nipa Hut and the boundary line. If I trim it once a week I can keep on top of the re-growth. To get the rest of the block under control I’ll get the boys back in a month or so.

Cherry back for the washing day today. She finished up at about 1:00pm ish so we had lunch and headed into Barbarossa to check web stuff. I currently have a problem connecting to their Wi-Fi but the SMART broadband works fine there so have a backup. Still unable to connect so back to SMART broadband but at least is works okay in Gasan.

Ron also called in for a coffee so had a chat to him before heading home at 4:00pm ish and a brownout. I went for a walk up the beach in the wind and then a quick siesta before the power came back on at 6:00pm.

Light dinner and early to bed and try and get this cold under control.

Thursday 21st October:

Awoke to a brownout this morning. Guy said it went off at about 10:00pm last night and it only can back on 4:00pm this afternoon so a bit of a long one this time (18 hours). Ohhhh well we got to defrost the fridge at least.

Weather wise it is still blowing a Gale and the sea is rough.

Guy had a Mahjong date today at midday in Gasan so a bit of a sleep in. Then we headed to Barbarossa a little early to do email stuff. Barbarossa has a generator so we had power while we were there and the mobile/broadband network has backup power along with generators so all good.

Then I headed off exploring. I had seen a sign in Gasan saying “Talao Cave 6km” so I decided to try and fine the Cave. 6km later up this quite rough, steep, washed out dirt track I came to the end of the road and no Cave in sight. Asked a local but he just smiled and nodded each time I asked so I think he didn’t understand the aussie accent…..

On the way back down I spied this waterfall off in the forest so stopped for a look-see. Found this 20m high beautiful waterfall (see the pics) that came from a side creek and fell into the main river. Definitely a cool spot for a picnic and a swim on another day.

Then about half way down I took a right turn up another valley and went exploring on a much better road. Came to a river crossing that looked a little too deep for my liking so turned back for Gasan.

Quick stop at the market for some fresh Lansones and a couple of treats from the favorite bakery. Got home and still no power so went for a spin down to Buenavista and back. Got home just after 4:00pm and power at last. Guy said that apparently one of the power plants in Santa Cruz broke down hence the 18-hour brownout. They have three power plants on the island that supply all power and from what I gather they are all running at peak capacity. So when one breaks down the others can’t supply the power required so they just shut down the network or part there of.

At least we get a hot dinner.

Friday 22nd October:

Wwooo hhooooo the wind has dropped at last. Just a gentle breeze this morning after three days of strong winds.

And the head cold is on the mend. Feeling a little better this morning. Just all blocked up at the moment.

Had some banking, blog and email stuff to attend to so headed to a place just outside of Boac called Joseph’s Mini-Mart (opposite the Municipal Offices & Hospital & 20km from home). They do free Wi-Fi, meals and sell “corner store” type groceries. Very pleasant place and the food is cheap, very tasty and the Wi-Fi is fast. With the road works almost finished now it is a very pleasant ride there and back on the bike. We had a leisurely lunch there while we sorted out our business (Lunch was P150 ($3.75 AUS) for two good sized meals and three Iced Teas).

On the way home we called into the “Goat House” (they’re specialists in Goat meat meals) and picked up a couple of serves (including Kari-Kari a local Pork Blood Jelly delicacy) for tomorrow’s lunch.

Home in time for a quick cup of tea before we headed off for our afternoon walk up the beach. The wind and sea have calmed down today and as the tide was out we were able to walk below all the debris washed up the beach from the last three days of high winds. All this debris is made up of coconuts & coconut tree bits, bamboo, timber and some litter. It is quite dense in places and I have no idea where it all comes from.

After a big storm like this the locals heap up the debris in front of their homes on the beach and have bonfires in the evenings until it is all gone. You can see the glow of these fires dotted up the beach when dark. Also the smoke from these fires is a great mosquito repellant.

For the first time I managed to scale a coconut tree, detach some coconuts, de-husk them and get the Buko juice out without breaking my neck and making a mess. I guess I should clarify that the coconut tree I scaled was only about 3m tall and I used a make shift stand to get up, but hey, got to start some where. Fresh Buko juice in the fridge chilling.

Leftovers for dinner and a very pleasant evening with the power on for a change.

Saturday 23rd October:

Time for the Thunder Monsters second service (Oil change and strainer clean). Have the bike “booked in” at Starbike in Gasan for 9:00am this morning. So we got Milton, the boss, to text us when the mechanic arrived after the last time when he didn’t turn up for two days.

11:00am got the text the mechanic is there ready and waiting so 10 minutes later we dropped off the bike. We had to pay him in advance for the oil (P170 ($4.25 AUS)) so he could go down the road and get it from the supplier.

We walked to the market and got a few things and I printed off 10 copies of John’s puppy photos for him for his Christmas cards.

Back at Starbike an hour later and all done. When we enquired how much the service was the mechanic just said to pay him what we thought it was worth. So we gave him P100 ($2.50 AUS) and he was very happy with that. This equates to probably half of his days wages.

Thought about doing the service myself but it just isn’t worth it and we are supporting the local business by getting them to do it. The only thing I will do, and let no other do, is clean the Thunder Monster. Nobody cleans a bike like me. The Ducati folk back in Sydney will know what I’m talking about……..

It’s a nice sunny day out so got my moldy stuff hanging out on the line to de-mould them. See below re “Other Stuff – We Have Mould” for further info on the joys of mould we are now experiencing.

We had a drop in from Frank (Aussie) and Rosie (local) whole live about 5 km up the road from us towards Buenavista. They heard we were in town so dropped in to say hi. Frank is a retired Civil Engineer from Sydney living the good life here on Marinduque with his partner who is a local. Had a great chat and learnt a little more about the expat community here and some of the characters.

Today I kicked off my “Pics for People” project. I won’t double up so read below in the “Other Stuff” section for all about this project of mine to give something back, that I love doing, for a change.

Life is dam good.

Trevor & Guy

Other Stuff:

Pics for People:

Today I started a Trevor project “Pics for People”.


The people here on Marinduque are economically poor (one of the poorest provinces in the Philippines) but what they lack in monetary prosperity they exceed in culture, community and a really great smiling cheerful attitude. They live from day to day on a few dollars. Things like having pictures of the family are not on the priority list when you are just surviving to eat.

My Project:

As I love photography and always have a camera with me, I have started to collect some great pics of the people in their every day life. What I want to do is give back to these people hard copy pics of them, as they just don’t have any. So the aim is to process some of the best pics, printed them at the local Fuji quick print machine (6’ x 4” prints) and give them back to the people.

Current Status:

Today Guy and I made the first delivery of pics.

First stop was the weaver family from the last blog post. The whole family and friends all came out and were passing the pics round and having a great old laugh. The joy in their faces in seeing themselves / family was absolutely fantastic.

The sewing machine man that is blind in one eye was the next stop. He also loved his pic and shook my hand as thanks for his one and only picture of himself.

The supermarket lady (pic of her in front of her shop) was the final stop on our delivery route. Once again that huge toothless grin and “thank you” was all that was required to make it all worthwhile. She said “it was her Christmas present”.

Once we were home we went for our evening walk up the beach and made today’s final delivery to the family of the two boys (brothers) sitting in the Bangka. This family live on the beach in a shack and the dad is a fisherman. These guys always have a wave and a smile when I walk past them.

I gave them two pics, one for each son. The boys loved their pics as did mum and dad. We continued up the beach for our walk and on our return both of the boys came running out with this huge shell for us in thanks for their picture.

This shell will take pride of place in our new house and symbolizes that when you have nothing, you still have something to share.

So all in all we feel pretty dam good tonight after bringing something to these folks that they didn’t have before. The smiles, laughter, thankyou’s, handshakes and shell mean more than any money could buy.

This is now my way to give back something small that I love doing and provides people with something they didn’t have before. My project continues.

Life is dam good tonight….

We Have Mould:

Well now that we have been here for a few months we are discovering the joys of mould. With the heat and humidity we have discovered that there are some things that grow mould quicker than others.

I have a leather belt (the only leather we have here) and didn’t wear it for several weeks. When I retrieved it from hanging in the cupboard it was covered in mould.

My Macpac canvas backpack that has traveled the world over a few times also goes moldy quite quickly so I have to hang it out in the sunshine at least once a week and brush off the mould.

My bathroom bag is the same. It goes moldy very quickly and I keep it in the spare bedroom out of the damp bathroom. Had this bag for many many years as well.

Guy had a shirt that must have been hung up damp in the cupboard and it went moldy.

I have a felt camera lens pouch that was stored back in the cupboard and it went moldy. The lens was okay, luckily.

We now have to be really careful with our washing that we get it properly dry before you put it away.

If anybody has any ideas on how to prevent mould I would love to hear them.

One Response to Day 254 of retirement

  1. Bill Simpson says:

    Hi Trevor & Guy
    Thanks so much for your words of encouragement, they mean a lot to us both.
    Now, re the mould, try leaving a small container with bi-carb of soda in it in where the mould is a problem. the bi-carb absorbes the moisture that the mould loves.
    Looking forward to sharing buko juice in the future.
    Bill & Geraldine

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