Day 359 of retirement

Hi All

Sunday 30th January 2011:

Brownout from 11:00pm last night to 7:00am this morning. Can live with that time frame, as it doesn’t impact on us too much at all. Just means we can’t watch the late movie on satellite TV…….

Being Sunday it was time for the Thunder Monster wash and wax. Has been 5 weeks (since the last wash & wax) with us being away and all so a little extra care with the wash and wax was required. She is now all clean and shiny.

Guy off to Mahjong and I caught up with the expats at Barbarossa. There was quite a crowd with ten of us there today. It was Germany day with the German’s making up half the group.

Guy and I back home just in time to sit on the beach and see a glorious sun set with the fishing boats cruising past on their way home after a hard day’s work.

Fired up the new rice cooker for dinner and all good. Just waiting for tonight’s brownout to commence now.

Monday 31st January:

Brownout from 11:00pm last night to 6:00am this morning.

I was up at 5:00am and leaving the cottage just after 6:00am to catch up with Gerald for a hike to find some waterfalls. Had a cup of tea made on the gas stove by headlight as it only gets light at about 6:15am. Power came back on at 6:00am so all good for Guy when she gets up.

Arrived at Gerald’s and in the process of parking the Thunder Monster in his driveway, we both had a little lay down. I flicked the side stand down with my foot and proceeded to tilt the bike onto the stand. Well my foot slipped and the side stand flicked back up. I struggled to keep the bike upright but it was on the point of no return.

It was a slow motion fall as the Thunder Monster and I both finished up on the ground in front of Juliet, Gerald’s wife. She rushed in to get Gerald but I was fine (just some skin off my left leg) and the Thunder Monster only suffered a scratch on the foot peg and clutch lever. I suffered more embarrassment than anything….

Gerald and I headed off on our hike with Gerald’s nephew as a guide this time as he knows these hills well. We hiked up and over the ridgeline down to a river and then proceeded to follow it up stream. The river got narrower with cliff walls closing in and we were now wading round the stones as trying to keep your feet dry was hopeless as the rocks were all covered in moss and very slippery.

We eventually found the falls and I had a quick swim to cool off. Then back to the small village 30 minutes away where Gerald had arranged for another relative with a Trike to pick us up and bring us home. Glad the Trike was there as we both were starting to feel it and the temperature and humidity was now increasing, as it was late morning.

We always start our hikes at day break and aim to complete them by midday due to the heat and humidity, so gives us 4-5 hours of hiking time in the jungle which is plenty right now as we start to get fit again. We are aiming for two hikes a week for now. Mondays and Fridays are the days as these days suit us both.

After lunch and a very nice little siesta Guy and I headed back to Buenavista to pay our land tax (council rates) for 2011. All done and we had to pay the princely sum of P55 ($1.40 AUS) for this year and that is with a 10% discount cause we paid in January.

If you pay in the last quarter of the previous calendar year you get a 20% discount and if you pay in the first calendar year quarter the discount is 10%. So this December we will pay and get our 20% discount of P11 ($0.28 AUS).

Back to the cottage for a nice relaxing evening as I must say I am a little tired.

Tuesday 1st February:

Brownout from 11:00pm last night to 6:00am this morning. And then the power goes off at 12:00 noon and comes back on at 3:00pm. Just got a text from Gerald to say that the new schedule times for brownouts are anywhere from 12:00 noon to 8:00pm till the 12th February. AAhhhgggg. “Not happy Jan…..” Ooohhh well a good excuse to go explore on the Thunder Monster then.

Sleep in this morning after the big day yesterday. Then off to the Gasan markets, as it is market day. Didn’t need much but topped up on a few supplies.

Guy was then off to her manicurist at 11:00am and then Mahjong for the rest of the day. After dropping her off at the manicurist I hit Barbarossa for some broadband activity to catch up on emails and stuff where I was hit with the 12:00 noon brownout.

So home for a nice hot cup of tea and a little siesta. Got some nice little sausage things at the market for dinner that I cooked up after the “rest” and my afternoon movie “The Hurt Locker” (one of the “cheapo” DVDs I bought in Manila).

Dinner and both showered before tonight’s brownout.

Wednesday 2nd February:

Brownout from 11:00pm last night to 6:00am this morning.

Off to Bridge this morning at 9:30am at Terry’s place just down the road. It was John and I against Terry and Guy. Final score was them 2 games and us 1 game.

Terry leant us a Bridge book and photocopied the first couple of chapters for us so Guy and I have been reading up. It is the bidding that takes a bit of getting used to but we are learning. Once we get into playing the cards I’m fine. We also have Bridge on the Nintendo XL so have been practicing. Long way to go yet but we are enjoying the game as it certainly exercises the old brain cells.

Back to the cottage and quick lunch and I then dropped Guy off at the “office” (Mahjong) for the afternoon.

I hit broadband at Barbarossa as I investigated the “Philippines Retirement Authority” (PRA). This is an agency that encourages people to retire in the Philippines and offers another way to get residency.

I already have my resident papers in the system and we are waiting for our marriage certificate to be authenticated. But we do need to look at all possibilities just in case we can speed up the process or short cut the system. We shall see as I have downloaded all the relevant paper work and we now need to read it and then a call to the PRA to see where I stand.

Back home and I headed off for a 1.5-hour stroll up the beach talking to and photographing the locals. A very pleasant time was had by all.

Dinner of leftovers and another day bites the dust.

Thursday 3rd February:

Brownout from 11:00pm last night to 6:00am this morning.

Nice sleep in this morning as all we have on today is Mahjong for Guy at noon. I dropped her off at the office and headed back home as there was a little drizzle of rain. Waited a few hours (watched the midday movie) and all good so I headed into the “supermarket” (Gasan markets) for our supplies.

Back home and off for a nice 1-hour ish walk up the beach. On my return it’s time to get dinner cooking. Guy is making chicken rice so I get the chicken a cooking.

The weather at the moment is quite cool and windy. By cool I mean high 20Cs during the day to low 20Cs at night and the humidity has dropped as well. I wear a tee-shirt instead of a singlet and we sleep with a sheet on us at night. It is actually very pleasant.

The wind is from the north so we are pretty protected where we are. The Ro-Ro out of Lucena actually turned back a few days ago due to the rough seas. We have two large ships (a container ship and fuel ship) anchored off Gasan in the calm waters waiting for the seas to abate so they can continue on their voyage.

Friday 4th February:

Well the brownout start at 11:00pm last night and the power only came on at 5:15pm today (18.5-hours brownout). Apparently this is going to be the norm for a while with the power only being available from 5:00pm to 11:00pm each day. Lots of rumors on why this is happening so who knows what the truth is and when / if it will end.

We are surviving okay, just means that you can’t store anything in the fridge / freezer. We just cook (Gas stove so all good) and eat fresh stuff each day. Looks like more fresh fruit and veg, which isn’t a bad thing anyway.

Up at 5:00am this morning as I was off hiking with Gerald and our guide (his nephew). We left his place at 6:30am and headed up to the top of the ridgeline behind his place. From there we traversed along for some time and then dropped down to the Dawis River. The walk along the path just below the ridge top was spectacular with views out over the coast and the surrounding islands and we saw a spectacular rainbow in one of the valleys.

It was quite slippery as it rained over night (drizzled a bit at the start of the walk) and the ground up on the ridges is very very sticky mud. We slipped and slide our way along and finally hit the river.

We followed the river for about 4km down to the main road and back to Gerald’s place. The river walk was fascinating due to the “Gold Rush” going on. Gold was found in the river years ago and apparently some more gold has been discovered recently. So in the one 2km section of the river there are about 30 gold prospectors with their pans and slush gates. Some are mining the riverbed (working in the running river bed) and others are mining the banks (digging big holes in the banks).

Basically they dig out the river sand and wash it in their homemade slush gates setup in the flowing river. The miners were not interested in showing us their gold apart from one guy who showed a few gold specs he had found.

The Dawis River is a beautiful walk in itself with towering white limestone cliffs on either side. 5 hours after leaving, we made it back suitably hot, sweaty and tired. Hikes here are not measured in km but in time due to the terrain and all the ups and downs and windy trails in the jungle.

Had my first “brush” with a nasty stinging plant today. All three of us took this little short cut along the riverbank and after walking through some native vegetation, all three of us then developed this burning sensation on our right legs on the shin. It really burnt for some hours and felt like a hot nail being pushed into your leg. Some 10-hours later and it is still tender to touch and it burns. Good old aussie Tea Tree oil is helping heaps.

Quick cup of tea at Gerald’s and home to a scoop shower (no power), lunch and then a very welcomed siesta for us both.

At 2:45pm we head to meet up with Berthold (German), Josephine (his Filipino wife) and Ingrid (German & semi retired family friend) for afternoon tea. They live on the other side of Gasan and currently spend half their time here on the island and the other half in Greece where Berthold has a Yacht Brokerage business. Ingrid also spends her time between Greece, Germany and the Philippines (she has houses in Greece & Germany).

Very pleasant afternoon chatting and we had a good look at their house for some ideas.

Home at 5:00pm just in time for the power to come back on. Filled up all the water containers we could find so Cherry can do our washing tomorrow morning, as we have no power for water till 5:00pm.

All electronic devices placed on chargers so we can survive till 5:00pm tomorrow.

Saturday 5th February:

Brownout from 3:00am to 5:00pm today then off again at 9:30pm (only on for 4.5 hours today). We called into the power company office this morning and they informed us that the 5:00pm to 11:00pm (6-hours electricity supply per day) time would remain for the month of February due to fuel shortages for the generators. Guy heard at Mahjong that this might not be so. Who knows?

So we currently have a minimum of 6-hours power per day but it could be more or it could be less. We are starting to look at getting our own generator…..

Cherry here to do the washing and cleaning. We filled up every water container we could find last night so she had enough water to do the washing. My rubbish incinerator burn up completed as well.

We then headed to Barbarossa as they have a generator to do some email catch ups via broadband which still works during the brownouts as the towers has batteries and generators to sustain power supplies. It was actually a bit faster than usual so all good.

At midday Guy headed to Mahjong and I finished off loading all the blog pics and doing my email stuff. Dropped off the laptop at home and headed for Boac to get some broadband and SMART phone load cards.

Also dropped in and finally got the Thunder Monster number plate from Starbike (where I bought the bike) some 6-months after buying the bike. Now try and figure this out:

  • I bought the Thunder Monster on July 30th 2010 and paid twelve months rego. So by my reckoning that would be my next rego is due in July 2011.
  • The rego papers are dated 10th January 2011.
  • Picked up number plate in February 2011 (after Starbike let me know the plate was ready).
  • I next have to register the Thunder Monster in February 2012 (for 12 months).
  • The last number on your plate indicates what month you have to register your bike (mine ends in 2 so February it is).
  • And my 12-18 months of rego for the princely sum of P889 ($23.00 AUS). Excludes comprehensive insurance which you can’t get anyway.

Some thing just doesn’t make sense here but hey who am I to query it. I have some how got 6 months free rego…. I think????

While in Boac I tried to get some cash but all three ATMs were off line due to the brownouts. We are okay for now but we will need to make sure we have a bit of a stash for circumstances like this.

I headed for home and picked up some dinner (Goat meat in a stew thingy).

Power back on at 5:00pm so filled up all the water barrels, showered and cooked up some rice for the goat stew quickly.

Think about how you would function right now with only 6-hours of power each day. Interesting challenge but we are surviving okay.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy



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