Sunday 20th February 2011:
Power on all night and all day.
Sunday so the Thunder Monster wash and wax time. Gave her a good going over this morning and that little extra wax in places not normally waxed.
At midday I dropped Guy off at the office and I headed to Barbarossa to catch up with the expats.
Had a good chat to Wayne (retired doctor from Brisbane) on where the Australian pension regulations are going for people living overseas. Currently we are not eligible for the pension but that may change in the future with an agreement being discussed between Australia and the Philippines. Fingers and toes crossed.
Home just on dark and dinner warmed up quickly just in case of a brownout but thankfully power remained on.
Monday 21st February:
Up at 5:00am for hike with Gerald and left the cottage at 6:10am. We did a bit of exploring off track today to see if we could find a short cut to the Tabionan Road that leads to the Dawis River. The path started behind the cottage and for a couple of km took us up to a ridge line which we then traversed, aiming for the highest point on the map on the Tabionan road.
The first three km ish on the ridge was fine as we followed some open ground and a few existing tracks. Then the tracks ran out and a bit of bush bashing was required.
I brushed off my map reading skills from old and as we had a 1:50,000 map (not the best in hilly terrain) and we pretty much kept on our compass heading sticking to the ridge tops with a few saddle crossings to get to the next ridge.
We were also lucky enough to have a GPS fix on the high point from our walk last Friday, so a quick check every now and then confirmed that we were going in the right direction and how far we had to go.
With about 800m to go (and we could see the hill top) we were stopped by a steep ravine with impenetrable vegetation. So close yet so far. But with some back tracking and a big step down to the valley bottom and up the other side, we made it to the road only 400m off our target, so we were both very pleased with ourselves.
We had a quick look at a track that lead into the jungle from the high point but this will require another day to explore as it disappeared off into the valley towards the Dawis River.
This short cut was 5.6km and the road round was only 4.5km so not really a short cut but ooohhh so much more fun.
We headed for home back down the road and 12km (3h 36m) later we were back at the cottage for some nice cold iced tea as the sun was well and truly up and had a sting to it.
Guy had once again walked into the Gasan markets (6km), done the shopping and caught the Jeepney home so a nice big pot of Beef Sinigang with fresh Jack fruit for lunch was enjoyed immensely.
A nice long siesta followed.
A quick trip into Gasan for some Pineapple Juice (and a few other supplies) to go with the Malibu Rum for cocktails before dinner. Power has been on all night and all day. When will the next brownout hit?
Tuesday 22nd February:
We were caught sleeping in this morning. John arrived at 9:30am ish for his semi regular visit and we were still in bed after watching the late night movie last night.
He stayed till 11:00am ish then Guy was off to the office with Vicki after a quick lunch. I headed for the block and spent some time slashing the growth round the Nipa Hut and along the boundary lines. Wasn’t too bad as the dry season is here now so no new stuff growing.
Home and chopped up the pile of coconut palms, which I use for burning up the rubbish in the incinerator. Then a walk down the road to the local Sari Sari store for some Coke supplies. Walked home along the beach in the cool of the afternoon sea breeze, which was very pleasant indeed.
I warmed up dinner (Beef Sinigang with rice) just as Guy arrived home (she won today) at 5:30pm, just in case of a brownout. No brownouts for about 48 hours now so I’m guessing that we are due for one in the next day or so.
Wednesday 23rd February:
Up at 8:30am, boarded the Thunder Monster and off to Tabionan back in them there hills (a 30 minute Thunder ride compared to a 2 hour hike) to catch the high school kids before class and drop off the pics I took last Friday. The kids were full of smiles, laughter and lots of “thank you” as I had printed off one pic for each student plus a few spares.
We were invited back on Friday night to cover their Prom night but I politely declined, as I really wouldn’t like to be riding home in the middle of the night on that fire trail.
Guy and I both noticed that the students are made up of 90% girls. The drop out rate amongst boys here, especially in high school, is pretty high. It is compulsory to attend school but it isn’t really policed.
On arrival back home we enjoyed our breakfast sitting on the front veranda watching the world go by. Then into the Gasan market for some supplies. Guy made a Pumpkin soup with ground Pork wrapped in cabbage leaves.
Now Guy needed some toothpicks to hold the cabbage rolls together so off I went to get some. Tried a couple of the local Sari Sari stores but no luck. Into Gasan and finished up at the market (and some 5 stores later) and finally found some. Just one of the challenges of living on Marinduque.
But it was worth it as the cabbage rolls were very yummy.
Siesta after lunch and then into Barbraossa for a quick broadband email check and home to watch the sun set.
Thursday 24th February:
Very nice sleep in this morning till 10:00am followed by a leisurely breakfast.
Guy off to the office with Vicki and I was scheduled to catch up with Ron. But he rang to say that he was still up on the mountain road, which was blocked by a fallen tree. He was waiting for one of the locals to find a chainsaw so they could clear the tree and open the road and didn’t know when the road would be cleared.
I watched the midday movie (was okay B-grade movie) and then headed to Joseph’s Mini-Mart for some Wi-Fi and to tidy up my email. Finished up and enjoyed a beautiful afternoon ride back home along the coast with a stop at the bakery for some fresh Pan de Coco buns. Guy got home just on 5:00pm and had another big win today.
Friday 25th February:
Was supposed to go hiking with Gerald this morning but he had to postpone, so Guy and I decided to walk into Gasan market and back (12km round trip) for a few supplies. We left home at 7:00am ish and arrived back at 9:15am. It was a beautiful morning for a walk, not too hot nor humid. And you get to see so much more while walking, of the locals and their neighborhood. Had the camera with me of course and took a few pics and chatted to the locals.
Breakfast and lunch kind of merged into one till 1:00pm when we left for Boac. First stop was at PhilHealth to pay our private health insurance for the rest of the year. All up the total cost for 12 months is P1,200 ($30.00 AUS). Bargain…..
Then we headed a couple of km past the Boac river out west to visit Wayne (Aussie) and Grace (Local). Had a great chat to them and a good look at the house that they built last year. So got a few good tips from them on the challenges of building here on the island.
On the way home we called into the local hairdresser in Gasan and booked in for Wednesday to get ourselves “more” beautiful for our trip back to Australia in a couple of weeks.
Arrived home just on dark after a great day out.
Saturday 26th February:
A leisurely day with Cherry here first thing to carry out the washing and cleaning. I did the rubbish burning and have now found a great process of burning that ensures everything burns up. I layer dried coconut palms with rubbish and dried coconut husks in the incinerator. A couple layers of this and it burns a treat.
After lunch with Cherry (as we supply her with lunch) we headed into Joseph’s Mini-Mart for some Wi-Fi.
And wouldn’t you know it I couldn’t connect. Tried a few things and then phone my Brother Craig (the Mac expert). He was able to determine what the issue was, which was at the supplier side of things. After a few more tries I was finally allocated an IP address and all was good.
Had a good online chat to Jason (my son) and it looks like he and Mike will be visiting us round the 16th to 29th April (for Easter) so really looking forward to showing them “our” island and the huge Easter Moriones Festival.
Leisurely ride back home in the beautiful cool of the even with a quick stop at the bakery for the usual treats.
Life is good.
Trevor & Guy