Day 324 of retirement

Hi All

Sunday 26th December:

Nice quiet morning after the feasting yesterday. Laid about and of course ate just a little more food. All finished off with my favorite, Buko Salad.

Headed to the mall in the afternoon to get a few things and enjoy a nice hot Chai Latte.

The Chai’s are one of the luxuries we enjoy whenever we come back to Manila from the island. The Chai is pretty close to what we used to make back in AUS so got to be happy with that.

A very light dinner and preparing for Guy’s 35-year high school reunion gathering tomorrow. It will be interesting to see all her old school mates including a few “old boyfriends”. I do know a few of them already from other gatherings here in Manila I have attended.

Monday 27th December:

Off to Guy’s 35th high school reunion for the day. Beth took us to the Villamor Air Base Elementary School out by the airport. Where the original school was, it is now all high-rises and malls. The school was moved many years ago down the road to a low lying area that is prone to flooding during Typhoons, but okay for a school.

Guy got to meet some of her old school mates (including old boyfriends) that she hadn’t seen for 35 years so it was a pretty exciting day all round. I was lucky as I already knew a few of these people from previous gatherings.

There was of course copious amounts of food, drinks and activities during the day. It was very well organized with some 100 alumni and all up over 300 people there for the day. The activities included games for the big and little kids and dance routines from the kids, which weren’t bad.

One of the activities was “bingo” where you had a sheet of questions about people who you had to then name and get them to sign to say it was correct. One of the questions was “Name somebody who can’t speak Tagalog?”. I was a very popular choice for that question and signed a few sheets.

Guy and I were crowned the “honeymoon couple” as we were only married back in February so still in that honeymoon phase.

The only other westerner there was Doug (from Sydney) who I knew already, so we were definitely in the minority.

Once again I must say that the Pilipino people are very very friendly and hospitable and I didn’t feel left out at all.  I get to take a lot of pictures as it seems to be everyone’s favourite activity, they pose and cameras come from everywhere and take shots after shots after shots……

Tuesday 28th December:

Bit of a sleep in this morning after the big day yesterday. After lunch Guy and I headed off to the beauty parlor so Guy could get made up for the reunion gala ball tonight. The parlor has free Wi-Fi in this little lounge waiting area so I spent a couple of hours there catching up on emails and surfing the web.

Didith, one of Guy’s classmates, arrived at the salon for a salon finish hair and the two of them headed off to the event dropping me off at the end of the street as I then walked home. This is a spouse free event so I had the night to myself.

It was about 4:30pm ish and a beautiful evening so I grabbed the camera and went wandering round the streets and took a few pics of the locals enjoying the evening.

Enjoyed nice freshly cooked fish and rice for dinner as cooked by Guy’s mum then retire to a MacBook maintenance night. I verified my backup disk and made sure it was fit and well. I backed up my MacBook disk (I use Time Machine) then successfully ran Disk Repair over my disk to rectify one minor error I had. This was followed by another Time Machine backup and all went well.

As I have the original 160Gb disk (I installed a 500Gb disk at new) from my MacBook I decided to use it as a spare boot / install disk. I can then use it to boot and run disk utilities if I ever have an issue with my main MacBook disk.

A quick call to my Brother Craig back in AUS and he sent me links to some docs on how to easily setup the USB boot disk from the original install DVD. A few hours later and all successfully done. I now have a bootable USB disk with the Mac OS, Mac applications and MS Office for Mac 2008 images.

I shall leave the original install DVDs in a safe place and carry the spare bootable disk with me back to the island. Going to also get a 16Gb USB stick (no moving parts) and make that into a bootable drive as well just to be sure to be sure.

Guy arrived home at 4:00am after a great night with the gang. They had a great turnout at the Ball and all enjoyed it. After the function ended round midnight these guys and gals headed for an all night cafe and continued gossiping about the good old days.

Wednesday 29th December:

At 10:00am ish we headed off to the Immigration office (an MRT & Jeepney ride to get there) to submit my paper work for my permanent residence in the Philippines. We made sure we had all the correct papers and form filled out. I had to get a photo taken, which were able to do there, so attached it to the form and lined up for processing.

The woman checked everything and yes all the correct papers were there BUT our Australian marriage certificate needs to be authorized. Now to do this we had to go to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) across town. So in a cab we went to the DFA “new” building. Upon trying to get entry to this building we were told that for marriage certificate authorization you had to go to the DFA “old” building back towards town.

So in another cab and back we went to the old DFA building and after lining up for an hour we were told that no sorry this building is only for Pilipino marriage certificates and you have to go to the new DFA building for foreign ones.

So back again we went to the new DFA and sure enough we found the right window this time. We were presented with a form to fill out in quadruplets and had to supply the same amount of copied documents requested. Well wouldn’t you know it we had left one document at home but had all the rest.

So back home we came to fill out the forms and round up the quadruplet copies of documents and back again tomorrow.

We arrive back home just after 4:00pm after a loooooong day of document chasing just in time for a quick siesta before dinner cooked by Guy’s Mum.

Thursday 30th December:

We spent the morning going through all our documents and pulling out the documents that the DFA have asked for, the documents we reckon they will ask for and the documents they don’t know about but will probably ask for.

They also had a form that had to hand printed four times, no photocopies allowed. So I created it in Word with all the tables and we typed the info in and printed it four times (they accepted these printouts but wouldn’t accept photocopies, mmmmm…).

Also Guy did a very polite covering letter asking for them to please consider processing the documents ASAP.

Then off to the printers round the corner and we got five copies of everything (4 for DFA & 1 spare for us). Some 50 odd printouts latter (total cost P83 ($2.08 AUS)) we were ready to hit the MRT and a Taxi ride back to the DFA across town. And of course by this time it is pouring rain just to make the exchanging of vehicles that little more interesting.

Back to the DFA and submitted our four copies of “everything” we had. The poor guy was a little bombarded with all the paper work and had to make a call to check on ‘something’, which turned out to be Guy’s reacquisition of her Filipino citizenship which took place ‘after we got married’, the usual process is that one of the parties getting married should be a Filipino before the ceremony. Anyway he accepted everything, and told us that they will send our paperwork to the Phil Embassy in Sydney to find out whether they will accept our marriage for registration and if so, then the process of getting it registered will begin.

And now the best part, it could take 2-4 months for this process!

We then headed to the big Mall of Asia on the waterfront for a nice hot Chai and a rest up as we were meeting a group of Guy’s friends there at 6:00pm for dinner. The rain was bucketing down at this stage.

We all met at a very nice Chinese restaurant for way too much but very yummy food. We won’t mention the couple that only arrived at 8:00pm, will we Naty? Who was followed shortly by Aura…….

Anyway it was during Guy explaining to everyone the last few days dealings with the DFA that one of the gals said, why don’t we just get married again here in the Philippines and problem solved as the marriage certificate is registered in the Philippines and is approved for my papers immediately.

Don’t know why we didn’t think of that. So Guy is in the process of checking it out with a friend of hers who works in the courts that this will indeed solve all our marriage certificate issues for my residency. The only possible little glitch is that we are both divorced (divorce papers are from AUS & not Philippines) from previous marriages back in AUS.

Then a stop over at another party (more of Guy’s old school friends) and home about 1:00am. We then found that the big steel gates at Guy’s mum’s house were bolted shut and we couldn’t get in and everybody seems to be asleep, surprise, surprise…. So after some bending, twisting and stretching with my long arms I was able to “break in” and off to bed we went.

Guy was also exhausted as she has picked up a flu thing (sore throat and achy body). I suspect that it is from our comings and goings in the air-conditioning in the Malls and the smog that was rather bad this last week. All the rain yesterday has cleared things a bit now.

Bring back the crisp clean air of Marinduque.

Friday 31st December:

Guy has the flu thing well and truly (sore throat & achy body) and after the last few days’ mental stress of dealing with the DFA, a very quiet day at home was enjoyed by all. Had a nice 2-hour siesta after lunch then a quiet stroll round the block in the cool evening breeze.

The weather is very pleasant here after the rain yesterday cleared the air. High 20Cs during the day and low 20Cs at night and the humidity is very bearable.

The fireworks has well and truly hit now just on dark. Sounds like world war three outside. And there are some pretty big bangs going off out there. Big enough to set off the entire car alarms in the street from time to time.

Jerry (Guy’s brother) brought out the big gun. It is a PVC tube about 3’ long with a screw cap in one end. You unscrew it and squirt in Metho and screw cap back on, give it a shake and hit the built in electric igniter and this goes off like a canon. Very very loud indeed.

Well as midnight rolled around the celebrations hit full swing. Right on midnight the whole area was lit up with all the fireworks. Our street was end-to-end full of firecrackers, fountains of sparks and flame and the whole sky (360 degrees) was lit up with skyrockets. And these skyrockets were the full on colored star burst ones.

The noise was deafening and with some of really big crackers you had to cover your ears as the sound/percussion wave hit you. It lasted for about 30 minutes and was very very impressive. Felt like being in the middle of the Sydney Harbour bridge during the fire works display.

We all then retreated to Guy’s Mum’s to eat noodles for good luck and have our special treat of ice cream. Man the ice cream was dam good. I even had seconds.

We all then settled back and watch the movie 2012 on cable. Crap movie and most of the kids fell asleep watching it. 3:00am and off to bed after the noisiest New Years Eve I have ever experienced.

Saturday 1st January 2011:

Happy New Year you alllllllll……. And here’s to all the great adventures awaiting us all.

This is the one-day of the year that the Malls are closed so a bit of a sleep in and then lots of sitting round, watched a few movies on cable and of course more eating.

Guy’s flu is much better today but with her kids arriving on Monday she rested up ready for a hectic week. Her fever has broken but she still has the sore throat and generally feeling achy and flat.

As it was a beautiful crisp cool evening I went for a long slow stroll round the streets and watched a couple of the street parties in action. They had the usual games for the kids as in egg throwing / catching and a clay pot suspended on a string, blindfold the kids and see if they can hit it. At one gathering they were handing out food parcels to the locals that consisted of rice and some tinned goods.

Lots of hi Joes and happy New Year.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy

Other Stuff:

Interesting news item came through during the week. All the Police in this one area have had their M16, shotgun and pistol barrel ends sealed with masking tape and signed by the local Police Chief.

Why you ask?

Well the Police can get a little carried away with all the New Years celebrations and have been known to fire their weapons into the air to celebrate. The President wants it stopped as it is a bit of a dangerous thing to do, as there have been “injuries” in the past.

So if your muzzle tape is broken by firing your weapon you have to explain why.

I recon that the cops at Sydney New Years celebrations should let off a few rounds to celebrate. It could make for an interesting evening…….

Update: There were 546 injuries New Years Eve from fireworks and stray bullets. (526 fireworks & 20 stray bullets).

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