Day 470 of retirement

May 28, 2011

Hi All

Saturday 21st May:

Up early and off to Gerald’s at 5:45am for our early morning hike. Headed for the Bagtinjon River, which is 3km up the road from his place. We hiked for about 5km up the river from the road exploring, as we have not been up this way before.

At the 5km mark we found the Butterfly Falls Lodge. It is a Nipa Hut built on a big rock in the middle of the river. Just don’t be there during a Typhoon or monsoon or you could get wet feet (very wet feet…..). Oohhhh and it is for rent. If you’re looking for a secluded retreat this is your place. See the pics.

Back to Bagtinjon Township where Gerald had organized a Trike to pick us up and deliver us back to his house.

Great hike walking in the river as the water is flowing again from all the rain.

Home for a nice cool shower and a hot lunch. Then off to Joseph’s Mini-Mart for some Wi-Fi and Guy had a manicure / pedicure there as well.

Called into the bakery for some delights on the way home.

Got a couple texts from Deb (my cousin) to say that she and Pam had arrived in Manila with Mike arriving round midnight. They will all arrive here at the airport at 9:00am tomorrow morning.

Sunday 22nd May:

Meet Ron at 7:15am and off to the airport to pick up Deb, Pam and Mike. They arrived 20 minutes early with their luggage so we loaded everything into Ron’s (pick up) limo service and headed for the cottage.

Quick unpack and we headed for the beach for a swim, as it was rather a hot one. Spent an hour or so floating about shooting the breeze. Guy was “laboring over a hot stove” and had lunch ready for us on our return.

After lunch it was siesta time, especially for Mike who only has had a few hours sleep in the last 24 due to traveling from New Zealand. At 3:00pm it was time to head for Gasan to get some Pineapple juice for the Malibu rum and some beer for the gang.

Waiting on the road for a Jeepney and along came Ron who picked us up and gave the gang a guide tour of Gasan and the Catholic Cathedral over looking town.

We bought our supplies and meet Ron in Barbarossa for some Halo-Halo and Mango smoothies. Just as we were leaving the Santacrusan parade (like a mayflower festival) was coming down the street complete with marching band. So we watched them all pass us by. See the pics.

Back home and we sat on the beach and watched another magnificent sun set. So much for our “quiet” day. Everybody crashed at 10.30pm ish.

Monday 23rd May:

After a good night sleep by all it was a lazy morning lounging round. Guy and I did a quick trip into Gasan to get some supplies for the next two days and pick up our washing from Pearly Bubbles. The gang chilled at the cottage till our return.

We packed up and headed for the Hot Springs down by Buenavista. First stop was Curba Grill for lunch where we had a very nice Lomi and Crispy Pata (Pork Knuckle). A few beers were inhaled by some of the gang to help wash down the meal.

Then a nice 2km walk to the Hot Springs and into the hot and cold pools, which was very refreshing indeed. One of the grounds men directed us to a private pool where we had the whole area to ourselves complete with Nipa Hut.

A few more beers eerrrr I mean drinks were consumed while we relaxed in the nice gentle breeze in the Nipa Hut.

Back to Buenavista by Trike where we managed to fit the five big westerners and two locals (7 all up) in / on the Trike. I was hanging off the back of the sidecar. Very amusing.

A wander round Buenavista and into the Jeepney for the trip back home.

Another great day was had by all.

Tuesday 24th May:

Up nice and early and we walked to the market in Gasan, except Mike. He elected to sleep in for a bit while we were away.

Very nice stroll into Gasan with a quick stop at the port to check on the Bangka to Mindoro tomorrow for the gang. Typhoon Chedeng is still way out east so hopefully the gang will get off the island and Chedeng continues its northward passage.

Got all our supplies at the market and Deb and Pam had a good look round while enjoying a fresh banana cue. Caught the Jeepney back home where we rested up in the Nipa Hut before Deb, Pam and Mike went for a swim, Guy read and I had a little siesta.

After lunch John (the pom) called in to meet the gang and have a chat. Once he left we all pilled into a Jeepney and headed for Boac. First stop was the museum where the gang got a private tour, as they were the only people there.

Off to the local motel / hotel for some iced tea and Wi-Fi to get up to date on emails, Facebook, etc.

Home at 5:30pm with a top up of the beer supplies as this is the last night before the gang head off to Boracay tomorrow. Guy cooked up a nice big pot of Sinigang and Deb cooked some fresh fish from the market this morning.

A little accident occurred where Guy was getting some stuff out the fridge and a beer bottle fell out, smashed on the floor and left a nice gash on her right big toe. Pam the nurse swung into action and the gash was butterflied up, antiseptic cream applied and wrapped up. All good.

Brilliant lightning storm off in the distance tonight. Lasted for about an hour all up. The lightning bolts would light up the whole bay from time to time.

The night was finished off with Pam, Mike and Guy partaking in some very fine Karaoke (after a few beers of course).

Wednesday 25th May:

Up and the gang all packed to head to Mindoro on the morning Bangka. Also checked Typhon Chedeng’s current status and Marinduque now has a Signal 1 (118-130kph winds) alert. This means that all boat traffic off the island is cancelled.

We headed to Gasan Port at 7:30am anyway just to be sure and yep the Bangka was cancelled. Also heard that all the Ro-Ro’s are cancelled as well.

So Ron invited all five of us back to his place for breakfast. Quick stop at the bakery for some treats and off to Ron’s. As we were now at a loose end, Ron offered a trip round the island to while away the day.

Quick stop at the cottage for swimming gear and off we went. Mike and I sat in the back of the pick up with the girls in the front with Ron. First stop was a look at Elephant Island (The 6 Star Resort) from across the bay.

We continued on round the southern end of the island and the rough dirt road to the Cagpo Beach Resort, which is run by Harry (Aussie) and his wife Charmaine (Local). We had a very nice swim before lunch. For food we ordered five different dishes and shared. It was very very yummy. A few beers and glasses of wine were consumed to wash down the lunch as we chatted to Harry.

Deb even found some Australian wine that Harry had so a couple of bottles were purchased for tonight.

We sat in the Nipa Hut and enjoyed an afternoon storm pass by, which cooled down things nicely.

No sign of Typhoon Chedeng as the water was glassy calm.

Headed back home over the mountain pass on the southern end of the island. On the way we called in to see Lyf (Danish) and his wife Elena (local) for a chat. After a coffee and Coke we headed for home after another great day out.

We shall see what tomorrow brings for our visitors’ exit from the island and Typhoon Chedeng.

Thursday 26th May:

Up at 6:30am and a text off to the Bangka man to get a status report and yep the boat is cancelled again today as Marinduque is still on signal 1 Typhoon warning. Guy managed to get the number of Vicki’s nephew who works at the airport an he gave us the Zest Air contact to see if there are any flights off the island would be available tomorrow (no flights today).

So into Barbarossa for lunch and see what we can organize.

There is one plane tomorrow but it is fully booked. So Guy put Deb, Pam and Mike down as standby just in case seats become available. Ooohhhh and the one way price has nearly doubled as well due to the demand.

Also the local’s reckoned that the boats (Ro-Ro and Bangka’s) won’t be running till Sunday. The plan is to see if the Bangka will be operating in the morning (will know by 6:30am) and if not head to the airport at 7:30am and see if the gang can get a seat on the plane. The next plane out is on Sunday.

So the gang could be here till Sunday either way. Oooohhhh well the joys of travelling in the Philippines during a Typhoon.

After Barbarossa Guy headed off to Mahjong and we four hit the marker for some veggies for dinner. Deb & Pam were right in there getting the best veggies from the market store owners. We picked some grilled chicken from the man who cooks them over the coals by hand on the roadside. Then a stop at the bakery for a few goodies and we caught the Jeepney home.  We also stopped at the house where Guy plays mahjong so the gang can see what the game being played looked like.

The humidity was quite bad now so it was in for a swim. The Typhoon wind was now starting to hit us, as there were now waves it was getting windy on the beach. But it cooled us off a bit so all good.

We are finally getting some Typhoon weather after two days of flat calm conditions.

Friday 27th May:

Got a text from the Bangka man at 5:30am to say the boat is running. Marinduque no longer has a signal 1 Typhoon warning so all good. The gang was all packed up and on the way by 7:15am in Ron’s Limo service.

As we have a new washer / cleaner woman (Cyress) starting today I stayed at the cottage to get her organized while Guy went with the gang to make sure all was good at Gasan Port and they make the Bangka. The sea is still a little rough but the wind has dropped so their 3-hour Bangka trip shouldn’t be too bad.

Oooohhh dear. Just got a text from Guy and the Bangka is now re-scheduled for 12:00noon. A follow-up call from Guy and the boat has now been cancelled all together till tomorrow. Later in the day we also heard that the Ro-Ro’s were all cancelled as well due to the rough seas. So there has been no boat traffic to and from the island for 3 days now.

Everybody arrived back at the cottage, again, for another day in paradise. Guy and I did a run into the market and we got some fresh fish (cooked it Adobo style) and veggies for lunch and dinner.

Contacted Ron about the possibility of going to a waterfall over Santa Cruz way but he is busy with workers at his place fixing his fence. So after a yummy lunch it was a designated rest day. Some swam, some slept, some read and some did all. Snacks consisted of fresh Jackfruit and Pineapple.

A very relaxing day indeed.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy.

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Day 463 of retirement

May 21, 2011

Hi All

Saturday 14th May:

Leisurely morning and breakfast watching the world go by. Guy cooked some Mongo (legume), Malunggay (small leaf) and Ampalaya (bitter apple) for the next few days. It’s a vegetarian dish and very yummy.

Had this with some Adobo fish for lunch and Adobo Pork for dinner that was cooked yesterday and marinated for the day.

Guy off to Mahjong with Vicki at midday and I headed for Joseph’s Mini-Mart to post the blog and some Wi-Fi. An afternoon storm hit while I was there but all good as it had passed by the time I headed for home.

A nice walk up the beach on dusk to finish off the day although it was rather humid after the storm.

Guy arrived home with a little loss today at Mahjong. She is having a bit of a bad run at the moment so looking for a change in luck. Oohhh well you win some, you lose some…….

Sunday 15th May:

Rubbish day today so set out rounding up the trash and burning the burnable stuff. It was dam hot doing the burn out in the hot sun and I was bathed in sweat by the time I was finished. A nice cool shower was most welcome.

Didn’t get to wash and wax the Thunder Monster as I ran out of time. Oh well always tomorrow……

Early lunch and at midday we headed for Gasan where I dropped Guy off at Mahjong (she had a small win today) and I hit Barbarossa for the expat gathering. Nine expats in attendance today so many interesting conversations were to be enjoyed.

Home in time for leftovers for dinner and then settled in to watch the France MotoGP race. Casey Stoner had a brilliant ride and came first on his Honda.

Monday 16th May:

Up at 5:00am and off to meet Gerald for our early morning hike. Short one today, which was good as we got back by 9:00am and beat the heat. On arrival back at Gerald’s a cold drink followed by a nice hot cup of tea was enjoyed by all.

Guy walked into the market in Gasan early and got some supplies. A Jeepney home was the order of the day with the groceries.

After a nice cool shower I managed a little nap before a very yummy Pork rice dish with chili for lunch. Then we both had a very nice siesta as it was quite hot again today.

As the Thunder Monster missed her wash and wax yesterday I parked her in the shade and gave a very loving wash and wax. She is almost one year old now and still as shiny as the day we bought her. She has 5,400km on the clock at present and will make about 6,000km at her first birthday.

More Pork rice for dinner, another cool shower and we settled in for the evening.

Tuesday 17th May:

The alarm went off at 5:45am as we planned to walk into the market, as it is market day in Gasan. But as it was coolish and just right for sleeping we kind of went back to sleep and only arose at 10:00am. AAhhhhh the joys of retirement.

Up at 10:00am and sort of merged breakfast and lunch together. Guy off to Mahjong with Vicki at midday and I was about to go exploring when a huge storm loomed back in the mountains. Lots of thunder and lightning but we missed the rain as it went south.

So after a little siesta I walked in Gasan (left at 1:30pm) to do some shopping. Met Geoff (Pom) and Kevin (Aussie) at Barbarossa for an iced tea to cool off after the walk in.

Did the shopping and stowed it in my backpack and proceeded to walk home along the beach, as the tide was right out. Was very pleasant with the sea breeze although still quite humid.

Made it home at 4:00pm after a nice 12km stroll to get the groceries. Guy home just after 5:00pm and yep, shall we say her wallet was a little lighter once again.

Wednesday 18th May:

Clean up morning this morning. Sorted out our rubbish then hit the beach and cleaned up our section. Actually we are pretty lucky as there isn’t much rubbish that does wash up. Just the usual few food wrappers and the odd plastic bottle.

After an early lunch I dropped Guy off at Mahjong and headed for Joseph’s Mini-Mart for some Wi-Fi. Caught up on emails and checked all our bank accounts and Superannuation funds and updated our records. Busy day.

Huge storm hit while I was there but all gone and the road was dry by the time I left for home.

Some nice fresh Pandecoco’s from the bakery finished off the day nicely.

Thursday 19th May:

Nice hot still morning greeted us on the veranda for breakfast. Guy broke out the Zumba DVD and proceeded to work up a real sweat.

I hit the beach and as the tide was very high once again (high tides cover the rocks) it was perfect for a swim. Very nice and refreshing as I drifted along with the tide and the goggles on. Not much to see but very pleasant.

After a cool shower for us both Guy headed in early to Mahjong as there is a festival in town and food is being served at the gambling house.

At 12:00noon Ron picked me up and we headed for Boac. I was after an electric fan and a few delicacies (Bacon & Chocnut (a peanut sweet)) that we can’t get on Gasan. Found the exact fan I was after as we need an extra one for our visitors on Sunday (my cousin Deb & two friends are arriving).

We called in to see Wayne (aussie) and Grace (Local) on the way home where we were plied with some very refreshing cold fruit juice and yummy sandwiches.

Once back in Gasan we called into to see Roger (American missionary) as he and his family will be leaving the Philippines in November and have a house full of furniture that they will be looking at selling. Could be perfect timing for us to pick up some furniture in very good condition (it will be about 3 years old in November).

They are in a rented house in Gasan and there is the possibility that the house will also be up for rent as well. Could be a walk in for us and a walk out for them. Too early to plan anything yet but we shall see later in the year.

Friday 20th May:

Leah our washer lady was supposed to turn up today but she was a no show. Guy managed to get hold of her later in the morning and she has resigned from her job here. Oohhhh well back to recruiting a new washer / cleaning lady. Guy sent a few texts to friends to see who was about.

Off to the market for some supplies and also called into “Pearly Bubbles” laundry next to the market. Basically their charges, for our washing load, are roughly the same as we paid Leah (P200 ($4.50 AUS)). So back home and loaded up the washing on the Thunder Monster and we dropped it off at Pearly Bubbles to see how they go. Pick up is on Sunday.

Dropped into Manfred’s (Austrian) and Shirley (local) to have a look at two small houses that they have for rent. Was interesting to see them and compare the buildings, facilities and rent to where we are now.

We dropped into the larger Sari Sari store in Gasan and they had Hersey Chocolate Kiss ice cream in. Every now and then they get some ice cream in so it was our first special purchase in 10 months of being here. Home and had to sample it. Pretty dam good I must say.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy


Day 456 of retirement

May 14, 2011

Hi All

Saturday 7th May:

A rest day today. Guy spent the morning reading and I did a bit of a clean up in the yard of the fallen coconut palms and even watched a bit of TV while dozing on the couch.

After lunch we headed for Joseph’s Mini-Mart to post the blog and catch up on emails. Access was a bit sketchy today with it being slow and dropping out but managed to get done what we wanted.

Made it home before the drizzly rain hit. And then at 7:00pm a brownout hit. It lasted till 9:30pm

Sunday 8th May:

Well at about 3:00am this morning tropical storm “Bebeng” hit us on the island. Strong winds, horizontal rain and very rough seas. The power was cut at 7:00am just as we got up. So cranked up the gas stove for a hot cuppa.

Pretty much house bound as the storm rages outside. It has been labeled a Typhoon signal no. 1 for Marinduque (30-60pkh winds).

Lots of coconut palms coming down outside and only one small leak in the roof so all good.

But in the midst of all this Guy did manage to get to Mahjong at midday. Vicki drove up to the gate and Guy made a dash for the car. She is a bit like the US Postal service with her Mahjong (no weather conditions will stop her…..).

The wind dropped and the rain eased late in the afternoon so I had a look see but everything around the cottage is fine. No power by dinner so cooked up some rice to go with smoked eggs and tomato and consumed by “head light”.

Power finally came back on at 11:00pm (16 hour brownout).

Monday 9th May:

The tropical storm is still with us but the rain has reduced to showers and the wind has abated a bit. After a trip to the market we weighted our options for traveling to Manila.

We are trying to get to Manila today and were going to catch the 4:00pm Ro-Ro at Balanacan Port but canned that and aimed for the 8:00pm at Cawit Port, hoping that the wind and rough seas will settle down a bit at night.

Well we arrived at Cawit at 6:30pm just to be informed that the Ro-Ro was cancelled due to the rough seas. So then the mad panic began as everybody was told that the 10:30pm Ro-Ro from Balanacan was a goer.

There were Jeepneys, Trikes Mini Vans and the JAC liner bus all scrambling to get all the passengers on board for the trip to Balanacan. Organized chaos.

Guy and I climbed aboard a Jeepney and at 8:00pm we arrived at Balanacan with the masses. The terminal is full to over flowing for the wait. And wouldn’t you know it the Ro-Ro was late arriving which meant we didn’t leave till 11:45pm. The Ro-Ro was absolutely packed out. On our bench seat which usually holds four adults, we had four adults and three kids so things were a little cramped.

But the one good thing was that by leaving so late the wind had dropped and the seas were quite calm. Due to the tropical storm I was having visions of me once again heaving up my innards over the side of the boat. But I made it to Lucena fit and well.

We arrived at Lucena at 2:00am and hit the bus to Kamias (where Guy’s Mum and sister live), which was also full. And to liven up things the air conditioner in this bus was freezing. We used the window curtains to block off the vents and had a couple of “air line blankets” (thanks to Jordan & Jo’s last trip here) to try and keep warm ish. The crazy thing was that outside the bus it was hot and humid. One of the joys of Filipino bus travel I guess.

Four hours later (6:00am) we arrived at Beth’s place (Guy’s sister) and crashed till 10:00am. We slept very well as we didn’t get much sleep on the Ro-Ro or bus. I managed to get a little more than Guy as I can sleep pretty much anywhere anytime (a handy trick from my Adventure Racing and Mountain Climbing days).

Tuesday 10th May:

After breakfast with Guy’s Mum (who lives next door) we caught a cab to Sto Domingo to pick up my new toy (Fuji X100 camera).

We arrived at YKL (the Philippines Fuji distributor) and caught up with Paulo (pronounced Puw-lo) who I have been dealing with for some months now waiting for the camera to arrive. I must say that Paulo’s service has been outstanding. He has kept me informed via email and text and answers any questions within hours.  And as it turned out, his wife is from Marinduque.

Picked up the new Fuji X100 camera after Paulo made sure everything was in the box and camera was working. From here we took a short walk down the road to the huge Sto Domingo Catholic Cathedral for a look-see. A very impressive structure.

From here it was time to hit the Mall so off we went in a Jeepney this time. We arrived for lunch at Shakey’s and enjoyed some Mojos (potato thingies and dip) and the best pizza in town.

Spent the afternoon enjoying a Chai Latte while on Wi-Fi and playing with the X100 (I had a screen protector fitted to it as well).

Did our “island” shopping just before we left to come back to Beth’s so we now have our little luxuries to take back to Marinduque with us.

Guy’s Mum cooked up a nice big pot of Sinigang (my favorite) so a very pleasant finish to the day.

Wednesday 11th May:

Good night’s sleep last night and a leisurely breakfast with Guy’s Mum. Midday ish we headed for Greenhills Mall. I was after a new camera bag and spare lens cap for the new X100 camera.

Found exactly what I needed and we had a light long lunch in the food court. Another cab to the Mall of Asia (MOA) across town arriving at 2:00pm ish as we are having dinner there with a group of Guy’s friends at 6:30pm.

We set up at good old Starbucks with Chai Latte’s and Wi-Fi. We used this as our base taking turns to wander round the Mall. Well I did most of the wandering and Guy was on the Nintendo.

Just on 6:00pm we headed for Max’s restaurant the long way round the Mall. Caught up with all for dinner and there was lots of food and chatter.

Gigi (one of Guy’s friends) gave us a ride part way home and then we attempted to hail a cab. 10:00pm at night and the traffic was still gridlocked and no cabs. Eventually after about 20 minutes we were able to beat all the other cab hailers and commandeered a cab for home (thanks to the help of a young man who goes in the middle of the road to hail a cab for you in exchange for small change).

Thursday 12th May:

Up at 5:15am and off to the JAC liner bus depot a couple of blocks away. Made the 6:00pm bus for Lucena Port and some 4-hours later we arrived. Caught the 12:00 noon Ro-Ro back to the island and the sea was mirror calm thank goodness. As the Ro-Ro wasn’t full we had a nice soft bench seat all to ourselves. I was able to lie down and get a nice little nap. We arrived at Balanacan at 2:15pm and Ron (our limo service) was there waiting for us. Off we went to the Barbarossa (Gasan) for cheeseburgers and fries. Made it to the cottage at 4:00pm and man it is ssssooooo good to be home. Hot but a nice afternoon sea breeze greeted us along with a refreshing cool shower and hot cup of tea.

Friday 13th May:

Leah here for the washing and cleaning today. Just as well as it has been 2-weeks since our last wash due to the tropical storm and the Manila trip. Also had to turn my jocks inside out to use again………

Quick trip into the market for some supplies. Bought a nice big fresh fish which was filleted for us and I also de-boned the fillets before cooking, just to be sure. I hate fish bones in my food by the way. Turned out very nice if I say so myself. We kept the fish carcass and gave it to Leah as she will make a nice big fish soup out of it. I’m not a fish soup person, as I just don’t like the bones.

Guy off to Mahjong at midday with Vicki. Once Leah finished up I headed for the Marelco office (the power cooperative for the island) to get the usage figures for the last six months for the cottage as we are re-negotiating the rent with Yolanda at present. The power cost has gone up so need to establish what our usage is and what Yolanda’s is for the other buildings she has here.

P50 and half-hour later I have my printout (they actually had the info on a computer surprise surprise) so time to do some number crunching in good old Excel. Just me being anally retentive … again….

Guy back from Mahjong (lost again) and we enjoyed some more Adobo Fish with rice.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy


Day 449 of retirement

May 7, 2011

Hi All

Saturday 30th April:

A nice leisurely morning to ourselves. I sorted and burnt the weekly rubbish pile while Guy sorted the washing from yesterday. After lunch we headed for Joseph’s Mini-Mart where I posted the blog, sorted email and had a bit of a surf.

Guy had a manicure / pedicure and a quick check of her email. Back home with some fresh sweet Star Apples and Mangoes for dinner.

A stroll up the beach was quite hot and sticky due to the humidity from the rainstorm yesterday. But a nice cool refreshing shower washed away the sweat and cooled things down for the evening.

Sunday 1st May:

Thunder Monster wash and wax day as she has missed her pampering over the last few weeks due to our visitors. She is once again all nice and shiny and ready to face the world.

At 12:00 noon I dropped Guy off at Mahjong and I headed for Barbarossa for the expat catch up. Usual crowd with eight expats in attendance and many problems of the world were resolved.

Back home at 4:00pm and had a nice siesta till 5:00pm when Guy arrived home. After dinner I settled in to watch the MotoGP live. Casey Stoner came in third so was a great way to finish off the day.

Monday 2nd May:

Very nice sleep in till 10:00am after a bit of a late one watching the MotoGP last night followed by a leisurely brunch sitting on the front veranda enjoying the sea breeze as it is rather hot again today.

Into the market for some supplies and home to the news that Osama Bin Laden is dead. All over the BBC and CNN. I guess this will fill the news for the next few days.

After lunch we headed off to Boac to get some photo’s printed. John (the pom) wanted some of his Barangay’s (Bangbang) street dance group from the Moriones Festival so he could send them to his relatives back in England. John is old school in that he has no computer hence no email. So all his correspondence is via snail mail.

Also have some more photos of the locals that I will distribute over the next week.

Called into John’s on the way home and dropped off his pics and had a nice cool drink and a chat.

Home to a nice siesta before dinner.

Tuesday 3rd May:

Up early and off walking (6km) to Gasan markets at 7:00am as it is market day. Got what we needed and caught the Jeepney home arriving at 9:00am.

It is now the hottest part of the year so by 10:00am the day is bloody hot and then the humidity kicks in for the afternoon. So if you need to do anything active you need to get it done early.

At noon Guy headed off to Mahjong with Vicki and I went cruising on the Thunder Monster. Checked out a new track along a river to the beach, went to our block and finally had a look at the Sulfur Springs out by the Hot Springs.

The Sulfur Springs is run by the Barangay (local council) and has been in a bit of a state of disrepair. I heard that the Barangay was fixing it up so went for a look. Work has commenced but they have a long way to go to match the Hot Springs resort, which is privately run and run very well with great facilities.

I love hopping on the Thunder Monster and headed off cruising with nowhere in particular to go. Just exploring where ever it takes my fancy.

Home for a siesta before Guy arrived. Guy informed me that there was a parade in Gasan called Santacrusan, which is about the patron saint for flowers. We took a ride in and watched the parade once again with lots of drums drumming. Home on dark in the highest humid part of the day.

Wednesday 4th May:

Our first year in the Philippines:

Well one year ago today Guy and I arrived in the Philippines to begin a new life adventure. It has been a year of great learning for us both as we encountered challenges we knew we would face and challenges we never knew existed. We have learnt so so much about ourselves, each other and our new home and loved every minute of it (can say that now…… yes there were a few moments at one time or another wondering what the hell we had done…).

All we can say is bring on year 2 and all the challenges and discoveries it has to throw at us.

Year 2:

We slept in till 11:00am this morning after going to bed at 11:00pm last night (yep we slept for 12 hours and it feels grand). There was a brownout round midnight till about 6:00am as I remember waking when the fan went off and came back on.

The night wasn’t too hot or humid with the fan off as we are still able to sleep okay.

At midday I dropped Guy off at Mahjong and I headed to Joseph’s Mini-Mart for some Wi-Fi. Back home by 4:00pm ish for a nice little siesta before Guy arrived home.

Nice big storm at the moment (6:30pm) with heavy rain, thunder & lightning. It is most welcome, as it will clear the air, cool things down a bit (over night anyway) and settle the dust (and water the garden).

In fact the rain was so heavy that I went out and had a great refreshing cool shower, shampoo included, in the storm. Was a bit surreal standing showering in the dark (with a little light off the veranda) with lightning flashing all round you. Loved it.

Going to be steamy tomorrow but will deal with that tomorrow…..

Thursday 5th May:

Brownout again last night. Started at 11:30pm as we were going to bed and ended in the early hours of the morning as the fan coming back on woke me.

Leisurely morning. I rounded up all the rubbish and did a burn up. Took a bit of doing as everything was still a little damp from the storm yesterday but managed to get all the rubbish burnt.

Guy off to Mahjong at midday and siesta time for me as it rained again in the early afternoon. Once the rain stopped and I awoke from my siesta, I headed for a walk back over the road into the rice paddy valleys to deliver some more photos to the locals. I delivered three lots of pics and the families loved their photos. Lots of laughs from everybody and many a thank you.

Just after we finished dinner (6:00pm) off went the power for 1.5 hours just to be difficult. But back on at 7:30pm so not tooooo bad.

Friday 6th May:

Up at 5:00am and off to Gerald’s for a hike leaving his place at 6:00am. Due to the rain and being slippery back in them there hills we did a beach walk for a couple of hours (about 7km). Very pleasant indeed.

Guy walked into the Gasan market (6km) when I left and caught the Jeepney back home with supplies.

Leah was supposed to arrive at 9:00am this morning for cleaning and washing. But still not here at 9:30am so Guy rang her. Took a few tries but Guy eventually got through and she was sick so will come on Sunday now.

So after lunch Guy headed for Mahjong and I headed for Joseph’s Mini-Mart for some Wi-Fi.

Now I have been really good re buying gadgets over the last 18 months. I haven’t bought any (which is a record for me). But I got an email today from YKL (The Fuji distributor for the Philippines) that informed me the new X100 camera is now available (I had asked them to let me know when it arrived).

So some quick negotiations with YKL and they will hold one for me till next Tuesday and give me a 5% discount if I pay cash. So a quick chat to Guy and we will do an even quicker trip to Manila on Monday and back on Tuesday to pick up the new toy. This new camera will replace my aging Canon G9. Still keeping the G9 as a back up / foul weather shooting camera.

Back home at 4:00pm and yep, a brownout. Lasted for an hour so once Guy got home at 5:00pm we eat dinner early just to be sure, to be sure.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy