Day 533 of retirement

July 30, 2011

Hi All

Sunday 24th July:

Power on at 9:00am and lasted till 4:00pm (7 whole hours).

I dropped Guy off in Gasan as she had a manicure / pedicure booked for 10:00am. She then headed off to Mahjong for her midday game.

I headed for Boac taking my chances on getting some Wi-Fi as I haven’t had any this week due to the brownouts. I arrived at the Boac Wi-Fi only to discover that there was no signal. I connected my USB Broadband but it was just not playing ball at all.

So a quick chat to the nice girls at the front counter and all that was required was to turn on the router. Wwooo hhhhooooo I had Wi-Fi. As I didn’t know how long it would last I got the blog posted first, did my banking, did email, checked the Philippines Immigration web site for my residency approval (not yet there)  and download an update for my Capture Pro V6 (photo editing software).

On my bike and back to Barbarossa for the expat gathering in the rain. It was sunny by the time I hit Gasan so dried out pretty quick. Just made it back home (3:45pm) before the rain hit again (as it was very heavy I had a nice refreshing shower in the storm) and of course off went the power for today.

Oohhhh well 7 hours of power today was pretty good.

Monday 25th July:

Power came back on at 3:00am so got up and filled all the water containers and made sure all electronic devices were plugged in. Off again at 8:00am so managed 5-hours of power.

Back to bed till 5:00am when I got up for my walk with Gerald and to watch the MotoGP race at Laguna Seca, USA, before the walk. It has been raining all night here and after a look outside (still drizzling), Gerald and I decided to cancel the walk for today. We have a big tropical depression over us at the moment. Lots of rain but thankfully no wind…. Yet….

Great MotoGP race with Casey Stoner taking the win and gaining a few more points over Lorenzo in the championship. Casey’s win just added to a huge weekend of aussie wins with Caddel Evans winning the Tour de France (first aussie ever).

Power back on at 4:30pm till midnight on the stroke (7.5-hours). Got to see the Australian Network ABC news (on at 5:00pm each day) for the first time in many days.

It has been raining all day here as we are now under the influence of Tropical Depression “JUANING”. The one good thing is that it has cooled things down very nicely so fans not required (none anyway due to the brownout).

Reading my 6th book “Dead Lucky” by Lincoln Hall. This is the story of an Australian mountaineer who climbed Everest, got stuck below the summit over night and was left for dead. He obviously survived and tells his story after losing eight fingertips and some toes to frost bite. Great read.

Tuesday 26th July:

Power came back on at 1:30am, some 25.5-hours after going off.

Well last night JUANING arrived (It is now a Signal 1 Typhoon (45-60kph winds)) announcing itself with lots of strong winds and rain this morning. The sea is the roughest I have seen it here. And once again it is going north of us so we are getting the fringe of it, thankfully.

John and I were going to go visit Ivan (Chicken farmer) but I texted him to cancel that. Don’t fancy venturing out on the Thunder Monster in these conditions. Lots of debris down just round the cottage already (coconuts & big palm leaves).

Guy and I caught the Jeepney into the market as we are out of fresh food. Lots of non-perishables in the cupboard but time for some fresh stuff. Even though it is market day, a lot of the stall holders didn’t bother setting up in the wind and rain of JUANING so a small market today.

Got some Pork for adobo (will last a day or so without refrigeration), veggies and some very sweet mangoes.

Guy off to Mahjong at midday so nothing to do but batten down, start book number seven (Finished Dead Lucky last night and started “Stone Alone” the Bill Wyman story), siesta a little, eat fresh mangoes and have the odd cup of tea for good measure. I also sat and watch the storm go by as I find it quite mesmerizing seeing storms rage whether it be down low or high in the mountains. If only we could harness all that power to make power…..

Oohhh and wait for the power to come back on which, given the Typhoon Signal 1, won’t be anytime soon……

Wednesday 27th July:

Power back on at 1:30am (25.5-hours after going off) so got up and filled all the water containers, made sure all electronic devices were charging and did the dishes. Back to bed at 2:30am.

Power off again at 8:00am till 5:00pm (9-hours). At least we had 6.5-hours of power in the early morning.

I did a quick cleanup round the cottage mainly removing the big coconut palms out of the way. Also had to replace the bamboo pole that holds the Satellite cable to the house. A large palm had fallen hitting the post and broke it. Found a bamboo replacement pole, dug out the old stump and replaced it.

After an early lunch with the weather now calmed down Guy and I walked into Gasan to stretch our legs after being cooped up for the last two days. Meet Geoff at Barbarossa for some cold iced tea and had a chat to him re setting up a generator at the cottage (he’s and electrician). Just might have to do it soooooon.

Scored some delights at the bakery and home for a cup of tea and some buns in the breeze of the Nipa Hut.

Had a stroll up the beach to check out the damage. Nothing major other than we have lost about 1-metre of sand off our beach. Also lots of coconut and bamboo washed up. I feel another bonfire on the beach coming on.

Power back on at 5:00pm till 12:00 midnight (7-hours).

Thursday 28th July:

Power on at 9:00am till 4:30pm (7.5-hours).

Guy headed off to Mahjong at midday and I hit Joseph’s Mini-Mart for some Wi-Fi (hoping that the power would stay on) after 4-days off the air. Caught up on blog and email stuff and some updates for the MacBook Pro.

Was a nice day when I left but on the way home the afternoon rain came so a wet ride home. Made it home in time to have a shower before we lost the power.

Friday 29th July:

Power on at 12:30am and off again at 8:00am (7.5-hours).

Up early and off to Gerald’s for our morning walk. As it is extremely wet at the moment we walked up the “road” behind his place to the end and back again. Will be awhile now before we get back into them there hills.

Zieyrish here for the washing and cleaning. I had filled up all the water container for washing yesterday so she has enough water to complete the job.

Tropical Storm “KABAYAN” is now forming south east of us and is expected to influence our weather in a couple of days. So we shall see what we get out of this little beauty.

After lunch Geoff called in and I then headed to his place as he is working on John’s generator (he hasn’t used it in 12-months). We played round with it for a while testing the spark and then made sure it was getting to the carbie.

Problem was that the o-ring that seals the carbie fuel bowl to the body has perished and so fuel runs everywhere.

Geoff will see if he can get another one before we proceed any further.

Power back on at 4:30pm and off at midnight (6.5-hours with a short 1-hour brownout in the middle).

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy

Day 527 of retirement

July 24, 2011

Hi All

Sunday 17th July:

Guy off to an early Mahjong game today (10:00am). So as I didn’t get to post the blog yesterday I decided to drop her off and head for Joseph’s Mini-Mart for some Wi-Fi before the expat gathering at midday.

Now Joseph’s Mini-Mart doesn’t open till 1:00pm on weekends but if you have the password from the day before (which I did) you can access Wi-Fi sitting outside.

So arrived setup and no signal. Checked inside the window and yep, they had pulled the plug on the router. Best laid plans hey……

So I tried the USB Broadband but it wasn’t going to play either (connected but so ssslloowwww….).

So my only other choice is to go into Boac to this little hotel in the back streets as they have Wi-Fi also. But you’re never quite sure what you will find there. Sometimes they have a password, other times not. Last time we were there they told us they were going to restrict it to guests only.

Anyway rolled up and found the signal and no password required this time so connected and finally got the blog posted.

Cruised back to Gasan just before noon and meet the expat crew in Barbarossa for the afternoon.

Home at 4:00pm and settled in to watch the MotoGP race at Sachsenring, Germany. Casey Stoner came in third after a good three-way tussle for the first three places. He’s still leading the championship, which is all good.

Monday 18th July:

Off nice and early to Gerald’s for our walk. Today we are going exploring to try and get to Meadows Peak and or Jungle Peak (peaks I have named). They are these two peaks with a saddle between them that we have been eyeing off from down in the valley. One peak is covered in jungle (hence Jungle Peak) and the other has these nice alpine meadows on the summit (hence Meadows Peak).

So off we went up into the boondocks as it is still nice and dry so no muddy slippery trails (no rain for the last week). After a bit of a climb and a lot of lost sweat we made it to the summit of Meadows Peak. The view was stunning looking along the coast and out to sea and well worth the hike. We backtracked the way we came up and passed another track that looked like it goes to Jungle Peak. We will explore this track on our Friday hike.

I arrived home just as Guy also arrived back from the market. A very refreshing cool shower was superb. This was followed by a mid morning breakfast in the cool breeze and a pre lunch siesta.

After lunch we headed for Joseph’s Mini-Mart for Guy to catch-up on her email. We arrived and I spent the next 40-minutes trying to connect to their Wi-Fi. Turned out to be a router problem, which was fixed by the good old power off, power on highly technical process.

I left Guy emailing and made my way into Boac to get some pics printed for delivery to the recipients over the next little while. Arrived back and the Wi-Fi died again.

Time to head home.

Tuesday 19th July:

Trip to the market in the morning. Guy off to Mahjong at midday. After lunch a siesta then caught up with Geoff at Barbarossa for an Iced Tea. Finally off to Boac for some Wi-Fi.  And to top it all off a brownout that started at 8:00pm and lasted till ?????

Wednesday 20th July:

Brownout still on this morning. Geoff called in at 8:00am and we headed off to Boac to catch up with John for coffee. After a chat to John, Geoff and I went exploring over Santa Cruz way. First stop was at the gates to old Marcopper mining site (see below for mine history). It is 12km off the main road and a bit of a goat track in places.

You can’t get to the actual mine as it is guarded, as there are things there that the old company doesn’t want you to see. This was the site where a tailing dam breached some 14 years ago and let the cocktail of goodies into the Boac River causing a rather large environmental catastrophe.

Then back to the Kawa Kawa Falls rock pool for a swim to wash off the sweat and dust. On the way home we dropped into Dave’s (Canadian) place in Mogpog for a nice cool drink.

Home and still no power.

Thursday 21st July:

At 3:00am the power came back on some 31 hours after going off. This is our longest brownout yet but we survived (also off from 10:30am to 12:30pm (2-hours) and 3:00pm till 8:00pm (5-hours)).

So got up immediately and re-filled up all our water containers plus put every electronic device we have onto charge. Also finished off cleaning out the fridge freezer, which was well and truly defrosted by this time. All this running round made me hot, bothered and thirsty. So as Guy was up as well we had a nice cup of tea followed by a cool shower.

Then back to bed with the fan now gently blowing over us.

John called in at 9:45am for a chat and just after he left at 10:30am off went the power once again. Several rumors are floating round re the brownouts. Some say that the main generator plant has a major breakdown and the other that they have no fuel to run the engines (the fuel bill had not been paid which has happened before).

What ever the reason we have no power……..

The two main things with extended power outages (some have been for a week after a major Typhoon) is water (drinking and other) and cash.

The filtered drinking water comes from a plant in Gasan that only produces when there is power. So hence we have to keep enough reserves to last for in excess of a week. We have four 20L containers, which should last us a couple of weeks.

Other water for scoop showers, toilet and washing dishes is the main concern. The barrels we have will last us for about 2-3 days max. We have a well with a hand pump but it isn’t very reliable. I tried to get it to work this morning and no go.

You also need a good cash reserve to buy food and fuel for the Thunder Monster. You can’t use a credit card here even if you wanted to. It is all cash. The cash is dispensed through the ATM’s, which don’t work in a brownout.

The banks do have generators but they have quite large limits on withdrawals over the counter. PNB has an over the counter minimum of P50,000 ($1,200.00 AUS). So you need to keep a cash stash for emergencies.

Even though bigger businesses have generators they all need fuel to run them and after a couple of days running this becomes a whole new issue of re-fueling.

It really goes to show how much our lives depend on electricity.

And then there are your camera, laptops, Nintendos and mobile phone batteries. After a while they run flat so need recharging.

So we might need to look at more containers for our water or the ultimate solution is to get a generator so we can power up the water pump, fridge, TV, lights, etc., as required.

Friday 22nd July:

Power off at midnight last night and back on at 11:00am this morning (11-hours). Off again at 4:00pm till 5:00pm Saturday (25-hours).

Off to Gerald’s for our early morning walk. We headed for Jungle Peak and made it about two thirds of the way up and it started to drizzle. So we hightailed it down. It wasn’t getting wet that was the problem, it was that we were on a very steep clay hillside track. The track is fine in the dry but if it gets wet it is down right dangerous due to the very greasy surface.

We made it down before the track got slippery. Iced tea followed by some Earl Grey at Gerald’s was refreshing.

Zieyrish here for the washing and cleaning when I arrived home. I had filled extra water containers for the washing anticipating the brownout. But with the power back on at 11:00am all was good.

Guy and I did a market run and I also hit my local Sari-Sari store to get some fresh Coke in a glass 1L bottle for P25 ($0.60 AUS) each (tastes better than plastic bottles).

Lunch and siesta was the order of the day with more reading to follow. I am reading “The Fist of God” by Frederick Forsyth and loving it. I’m a bit of an action/thriller reader, I have discovered.

Had our first rainstorm this afternoon in just over a week. Just what we needed as it was getting awful dry, hot and humid. Nothing like a good storm to clear the air.

Saturday 23rd July:

The power came back on at 5:00pm today some 25-hours after going off. It came on briefly at 12:30am for 20 minutes so I got up and refilled the water containers before it died once again. Power off again at 10:15pm till ????

Another stormy rainy day today. A nice big storm this morning has cleared the air and cooled things down a bit so quite bearable nice today without the electric fan.

Guy off to Mahjong at midday and I went for a walk up the beach in between rain showers. I also finished reading my 5th book of the year “The Fist of God” by Frederick Forsyth.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy

Other Stuff:

Marcopper Mine – Marinduque:

The mine open in 1975 and was operated by Marcopper (Pilipino company with links to the old Marcos regime). Placer Dome (Canadian) were the owners of the mine.

The mine was predominately a Copper mine but one of the by products they also discovered was Gold. Rumor has it that the mine set up cost was recouped within the first 12 months.

They had their own power generation plant, which also feed power back into the island grid (a lot less brownouts back then). They also had their own township up at the mine for several thousand workers.

In 1996 a Tailings Dam failed and deposited 1.2M cubic metres of Tailings into the Boac River (Tailings contained heavy metals) causing a huge environmental catastrophe for those living on the river. The mine was then closed. Apparently all the equipment was just left and still stands there slowly being consumed by mother nature.

Approximately 20% of these Tailings still remain in the river some 15 years on. The other 80% of the Tailings have been cleaned up and or washed out to sea.

There are still more tailings stored on the mine site. The site is still guarded and no body is allowed to enter. I wonder why?

Day 520 of retirement

July 17, 2011

Hi All

Saturday 9th July:

Clean up day today after our time in Manila. It is amazing how dusty / sandy things get here. Seems like half the beach some how makes its way inside the cottage.

Rubbish all sorted with the incinerator load and the recyclables taken down to the main road. And once again within 5 minutes of leaving the recyclables on the road they were recycled again by the locals. Anything they don’t use they sell to the junk man for a few Pesos.

The junk men come round on these beat up old Trikes and collect basically anything left out for them. Quite a sight when they are all loaded up. They do buy metal and glass but it is only for a few Pesos at the most.

Guy off to Mahjong at midday and I headed for Joseph’s Mini-Mart for some Wi-Fi. Also called into Boac for a few supplies and on the way out called into the Honda motorcycle dealer.

There I met Eugene, this young guy, who has this “CPI” (Korean) 200cc Motard motorbike. Now I have no issues riding the Thunder Monster round in Teva’s, shorts & Tee-shirt but the Motard could get you into serious trouble in that get up. So no Motard for me.

It is a fun looking bike though and can be yours for P87,000 ($2,000 AUS).

It was a beautiful late afternoon as I cruised home along the coast on the Thunder Monster.

Aaahhhhh so good to be back on the island after Manila.

Sunday 10th July:

Up and about as Guy is off to Mahjong early today (10:00am) as she hasn’t played for a week. The fingers were beginning to twitch…

John (the Pom) came at10:15am with his motorbike and we change his oil and replace the filter. A cup of tea was consumed by all during the work and all done by 11:15am so we adjourned to the Nipa Hut till 11:45am. Then it was off to Barbarossa for the expat gathering.

Usual crowd at the gathering today. Back home for a nice relaxing evening.

Monday 11th July:

Off to Gerald’s at 6:00am for our Monday morning walk. Very nice leisurely 1.5km walk back into the boondocks was had by all.

Nice cool iced tea followed by hot peppermint tea before heading for home. Arrived to find Guy doing her Zumba class with the gang on the DVD. Quick shower as we are meeting Gerald and Juliet in Gasan to have a look at a house for sale at 9:00am.

Meet them at the house, which is right on the beachfront. It has a very sturdy seawall protecting it but in a storm I reckon you would have sea spray coming in the front windows as you are only a matter of 2m from the water’s edge. Not for us.

Into the market to get supplies for the next few days. Home for lunch and a siesta followed after my early start.

Spent a few hours in the afternoon applying bleach to the concrete path on two sides of the house to kill off the green algae. As it is constantly wet at this time of the year (wet season) it gets this algae on it that gets slippery when wet. I tried a test section with bleach a week ago and it has worked a treat in killing off the algae. Will take a few touchups from time to time but heaps better now.

Tuesday 12th July:

Leisurely day. Guy off to Mahjong at midday and I hit Joseph’s Mini-Mart for some Wi-Fi. Lovely cruise along the coast there and back on the Thunder Monster.

Wednesday 13th July:

Busy morning this morning. We called in to see Ron and Vicki as they are off to the USA for a month early on Friday morning. Had a good old chinwag to them and off to our block.

Laura (Barbarossa owner and lady we bought our block off) has sold a block on the beach (next to ours) to a Japanese man and his Filipino wife. As they did not buy additional land for their own access road, Laura has provided a 5m wide Right of Way (ROW) into their block.

This ROW goes all the way to the beach and borders on our southern boundary. The Japanese block is across the road from our southern boundary. This now means that when we build we won’t have to clear any of our 15m wide access road to get to our block as we can use the ROW. We can leave our access as natural vegetation with maybe a few cleared spot for some fruit trees.

The Japanese are looking at building soon so we shall see how they go building there and get a few tips. It will also work to our advantage when we do eventually build as they can keep a watch over our construction and materials.

Home for a lunch of Sinigang (brewed yesterday) and fresh rice. Appetizers were fresh Pineapple and Indian Mangoes. Yum…..

A siesta after lunch followed by a long walk on the beach as Guy did her Zumba. With all the storms lately a lot of the sand has “moved” so the beach is very stony at present.

Thursday 14th July:

Off to the market late morning for our supplies for the next few days. I dropped Guy off at Mahjong for the afternoon and headed back home for lunch (freshly cooked sweet corn from the market) and my afternoon siesta.

After my nap (anywhere from 30mins to 1-hour) I went exploring on the Thunder Monster for the rest of the afternoon.

Explored one road up into them there hills out from Gasan and came across this little old Catholic Church. These little churches (all sorts of denominations) are dotted all over the island in some remote locations. Even in the remote locations they are looked after reasonably well.

Then headed off looking for the Talao Caves out from Gasan. I tried once before to find them but no luck.

I rode to the end of the road (8km back into the boondocks) and came across a family of mum, dad and two teenage kids. Between the kids and dad we had, shall we say, an interesting conversation. Each person knew a few English words so after some chattering I managed to let them know I was Australian and I was looking for the caves.

It appears that the caves are a considerable walk from the road’s end and you will need a guide to find them. So will have to come back early one morning, hire a guide and allow the whole day to get to the caves and back.

Back home for a nice cold Coke and a leisurely evening.

Friday 15th July:

Up early and off to Gerald’s for our walk. Left his place just before 6am and headed back into the boondocks. It hasn’t rained for five or so days so we took our chances that it wouldn’t be too slippery. Was pretty good with only a couple of spots that were a little slippery.

We tried once before (by the back way) to get to the Grotto (huge statue of the Virgin Mary) that is situated on a ridge top south of Gerald’s place, but missed the ridge we had to get to. Guy and I have been there before but we came in via the road and then climbed up through the gardens to get to the Grotto.

This time we made it and came out right at the back of the Grotto. After surveying the valley below (and stunning views of Mt Malindig) we hiked out along the ridgeline back to the main road just south of our block. A swift walk along the road for 20-minutes and we were back at Gerald’s for iced tea followed by hot peppermint tea.

Also just as we arrived back from the walk the power came back on after a 1-hour brownout. We timed it well.

Back home and Zieyrish was doing the washing and cleaning. Brownouts hits us for a couple more short periods (15-minutes) during the day.

Cherry our old washer / cleaning lady dropped in with her husband and 3-month old daughter Chloe. Doug & Bec and Ben & Kim, Chloe is now wearing some of your baby clothes.

Afternoon siesta and then my rubbish burn up. It was extremely hot and humid and I was a ball of sweat by the time I finished. A nice cool shower followed by an ice cold Coke finished off the day very nicely.

Saturday 16th July:

Well after a week or so of no brownouts they are back. Today we had a brownout from 10:30am to 12:30pm and then again from 2:30pm to 4:30pm.

Guy headed for Mahjong at 11:00am and at 12-noon I went into the market for some supplies. By the time I got back the power was back on so all good.

At 1:30pm (after lunch) I cruised to Joseph’s Mini-Mart for some Wi-Fi and to post the blog. Just got their and all set up and the second brownout hit. I tried my USB Broadband but it too was not playing ball.

I waited round for a while but no power so cruised back home, arriving just as the power came back on.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy

Day 512 of retirement

July 9, 2011

Hi All

Saturday 2nd July:

John arrived mid morning for a cup of tea and a chat. After he left a quick lunch and Guy headed off to Mahjong.

I was off to Joseph’s Mini-Mart for some Wi-Fi with a quick stop into the market for some supplies for dinner.

Back home 4:00pm ish and settled in for a relaxing evening of watching a couple more episodes of “The Wire (Season 5)” and the MotoGP qualifying at Mugello, Italy. Casey Stoner on pole once again.

Sunday 3rd July:

Thunder wash and wax day. She got an extra special clean today after all the riding in the wet this last week. And then she was tucked up inside the cottage as we are headed for Manila tomorrow.

Guy left for Mahjong early as they were looking for her to play at the ‘big stakes’ table. At midday I caught a Jeepney into Barbarossa for the expats gathering. As it turned out it was the right move as it has been raining on and off all day. Only a small gathering today with five of us all up.

I caught a ride home with Ron just as the afternoon storm hit. We also had a brownout for 1 ¼ hours at 1:15pm. But all back on by the time I arrived home.

Sorted out all our documents needed for Manila and packed.

At 7:15pm just before the start of the MotoGP Mugello Italy race, (as a storm passed by us) we had a brownout……. Ooohhh well at least it came back on to see the last 9 laps and Casey Stoner come in third and maintain his lead on the world championship.

Monday 4th July:

Up at 5:00am and a final packing making sure we have all my papers. Ron picked us up at 6:00am and off we went to Balanacan Port to catch the Ro-Ro followed by the JAC Liner bus to Manila.

Well at 4:00pm we arrived in a wet Manila after a 1-hour Ron limo trip, 3-hours on the Ro-Ro and 5-hours on the bus with 1-hour waiting round as we transitioned between transport modes (a 10-hour journey in total).

The Ro-Ro we were on this time had these bunk beds on two deck levels rather than seats. They had a very thin foam mattress on them but it wasn’t too bad. It was actually quite nice being able to lay down comfortably with the sea breeze as we chugged along. I did manage to get a bit of a siesta on the way across.

The bus trip was the same old, same old. Getting to know the route now and what is coming up when. Still enjoy it though as you always see something that you haven’t seen before. Guy was doing the nodding head trick on the bus as she dozed.

Did the meet and greet with Guy’s Mum and brother and then off to the Mall for our first Chai Latte in 8-weeks and man it was good. We aim to spend as little time as possible in Manila so we did our luxury stuff shopping today at the Mall so hopefully we can leave either Wednesday night or Thursday for our paradise.

Guy’s Mum cooked up some very nice fish, prawns and crabs for dinner. I passed on the crab but the fish and prawns were outstanding, as always with Guy’s Mum’s cooking.

Tuesday 5th July:

Up and off to the Immigration Department to submit my residency papers. A quick side trip to Beth’s work (Guy’s sister) to pick up a printed out document and a Trike delivered us to the LRT. We rode this to the end of the line and then a Jeepney ride dropped us off right outside the Immigration office.

After 7 separate cubical visits, the paper work is all done and paid for and all this took just 1-hour. The next step is an interview with an immigration lawyer on Thursday at 10:00am and once this is completed the system will then produce my residency certificate (in about 6-8 weeks).

I must say that even with getting all the paper work signed, stamped, sealed and paid for, it is very efficient. Each station knows what is required and they direct you to the next station once completed. And all the staff are very polite and helpful. Great customer service.

From the immigration office we wandered over the bridge and round the corner to the government office that sells maps. I have been after some topographical maps of Marinduque so I can see where our hikes and Thunder Monster explorations take us and plan some new ones. The only maps they had were 1:50,000 (1:25,000 scale is much better) so I bought the three maps that cover the island.

Gerald actually has an old copy of these maps, which we have been using but always nice to have your own.

From there we caught a peddle Trike to Quiapo (only about 1.5km away) looking for the “cheap” DVD shop that John recommended to us as they have all the mini series sets available. Upon arrival we looked round and after asking the locals we discovered that the DVD shops had been raided recently by the pirating pulis The stock was confiscated and the shops are shut down.

From there a Trike to the local SM Mall for lunch at Shakey’s and our usual meal of Mojos (fried potato thingies with dip) and pizza (our junk food lash out). And all washed down by a Chai Latte at Starbucks.

Off to Sto Domingo and YKL (the Fuji distributor) to get a lens hood and 8GB SanDisk SD Card for my new X100 camera. Had the camera for a couple of months now and absolutely love it for what I use it for.

Final cab ride back to Beth’s place just as the afternoon rainstorm hit at 3:30pm. Cooled things down a bit so very welcomed.

Wednesday 6th July:

Leisurely morning then at 11:00am we boarded the MRT for Makati City which is the central business district of Manila. We found the CitiBank main office as Guy had some business to attend to there. As it turned out her account is in Australia she has to deal directly with CitiBank customer service back in AUS.

So they were kind enough to connect us through to the AUS customer service desk. Guy got her business sorted and during this transaction discovered that she was talking to a fellow Filipino sitting in a call centre not two blocks from where we were.

The wonders of modern technology hey…….

On our way back to the MRT station we came across the good old aussie “Outback Steak House”. Now these are scattered throughout the world and we have been to the ones in Sydney (AUS), Atlanta Georgia (USA) and now Manila (Philippines). They are all setout the same and I must say the food has been great at them all as well. Some very delicious tender ribs were consumed as I am missing my red meat, just a little.

Back to the MRT station and off to the SM Mall in Quezon City (Our local Mall). Got ourselves setup in Starbucks and caught up on emails and web stuff while sipping our Chai Latte’s. Also finished off purchasing our last few luxury items to take back to Marinduque before heading back to Beth’s for the evening.

Thursday 7th July:

Trains, Trike’s, Taxi’s, Jeepney’s, , rush hour, torrential downpour, 100% humidity = Manila in the wet – Time for this country boy to return back to the bush.

In amongst all of the above we made our way back to the immigration department for our interview today.

Now as some of you may know I do tend to be a little early to any appointments I do have. Well upon arrival at the immigration department (room 417 at 10:00am) we kind of discovered that we were exactly 24-hours early. Dddooo hhhhoooo…..

Anyway Guy had a chat to very nice young man and he informed us we should go back down stairs and fill out the appropriate form requesting an “early” meeting and submit it to the appropriate window we may be able to reschedule our interview for today.

Guy completed the paper work and upon arrival back at room 417 we were told that we would indeed be able to have our interview today. So we waited and at 11:00am we were ushered in for our interview.

The interview is more of an information / Q&A session. We had the process explained to us along with the associated costs and all our questions were answered. Once again the customer service was outstanding (and NO bribes were paid…).

The remaining process from here is:

  • The paper work is now to be approved by the Immigration Board in 2-3 weeks. We can check on their website to see when it is completed.
  • Once approved back to the Immigration Department to get a 12-month probationary residency VISA.
  • Then get my ACR (ID Card), which will show that I am a probationary permanent resident.
  • I must live in the Philippines for a minimum continuous period of 6 months + 1 day within the next 12 months.
  • After 10 months I can then apply for my ACR to be changed to permanent resident.
  • I am then a permanent resident of the Philippines and become resident number 90,000,001.
  • I’ll pay P350 ($8.00 AUS) annual subscription for this privilege.
  • The ACR is issued for 5 years after which time I get a new one basically with an updated photo.
  • And all this cost us P11,000 ($250 AUS). A heck of a bargain.

After immigration we made our way to an SM Mall close by for lunch and our final Chai Latte. Back to Beth’s place, packed and off to the JAC Liner bus station for our trip home to the island (we both are so looking forward to getting home). We hit the JAC Bus Liner station at 4:00pm with bus leaving 6:30pm.

Friday 8th July:

At 4:30am we arrived at the cottage some 12.5 hours after leaving (4.5-hours on the Bus, 3.5- hours on the Ro-Ro (was a bit rough but okay) & 4.5-hours waiting). We both managed to snooze a little on the Ro-Ro but rather tired by the time we hit home.

After a nice hot cup of tea and a bit of winding down we hit the hay at 5:30am and slept till midday.

Off to the market to get some fresh supplies for dinner. Then unpacked all our goodies from Manila and a relaxing afternoon as the afternoon rain arrives.

Oohhh the Thunder Monster has a new blanket. A nice silver water proof one with a draw cord at the bottom to snug up the cover and keep her nice and dry. The maiden run in the afternoon rainstorm and worked a treat.

Guy cooked up a nice big pot of chicken rice for dinner and for tomorrow as well. Nothing like good old home cooking.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy

Day 505 of retirement

July 2, 2011

Hi All

Saturday 25th June:

At 8:00am Zieyrish back to do the washing and cleaning. Very windy day but at least no rain. Had a brownout from 10:15am to 11:30am right in the middle of Zieyrish doing the washing means no water (water is an electric pump from the well). But as we have two emergency containers of water outside she was able to finish the washing.

I did a bit of a cleanup in the yard of the blown down coconut palms. Sorted out our rubbish and took all the glass, metal and plastic down to the roadside drop off. Then walked to the Sari-Sari store to replenish my Coke supplies.

On the way back, I noticed that my bag of recyclables was already gone as the locals use the cans and bottles for storing their house hold liquids.

After lunch, off to Joseph’s Mini-Mart for some Wi-Fi and blog posting. Home in time to get the washing before it blows away (wind is still blowing strong).

Finished off the evening watching the Assen MotoGP race. Casey Stoner came in second thus extending his lead at the top of the ladder. But a long way to go yet……..

Sunday 26th June:

Weather has settled down now so we are back to sunshine and a nice breeze this morning.

Thunder Monster got her usual wash and wax plus chain adjustment and a go over to be sure to be sure that she is in tip top condition, which she is of course (As my old Ducati mates would attest tooooo).

Dropped Guy off at Mahjong at midday and I headed for the expat gathering at the Barbarossa. Great turnout today with 10 people coming and going.

It was on a sad note that Harry’s (Aussie) mate (Also an Aussie) was over here visiting Mindoro and suffered a heart attack and died. He was 50 years old. You just never know do you.

Monday 27th June:

Day 500 of retirement. All I can say is bring on the next 500 and the next and the next ………. Life is good.

Up at 5:00am and off to Gerald’s for our Monday walk. Weather is back to normal so good to get back out after missing all last week due to the crap weather.

Cold Ice Tea followed by peppermint tea after walk was very refreshing. Home to nice cool shower followed by a banana que which guy had pickup at the market. She did a market run via Jeepney in my absence and got some nice fresh supplies.

Siesta after lunch and then it was time to do my de-molding as we have a nice sunny day. Got out my leather belt, shoes, big backpack and two camera bags. The mold was just starting to show once again in the hot humid weather. Once the items have been out in the sun for a few hours I brush off the mold with a stiff brush.

In the evening I lit the incinerator to burn up the household rubbish and also cleaned up our beach frontage of litter after the storms last week. Not much to pick up so the beach is clean once again.

Tuesday 28th June:

Up this morning and it looks like the GLOBE mobile phone network (the one Guy is on) is down. I have signal on my SMART network but Guy has no signal at all.

Guy went into Mahjong at midday and her phone was fine in town. Back home and looks like the GLOBE tower outside our place is down (no signal). Wonder how long it will be down???? Update. It came back on later in the night.

I made my way to Joseph’s Mini-Mart for some Wi-Fi and then, as it was a glorious afternoon, I cruised on the Thunder Monster along the coast. I explored a couple of roads that I hadn’t been down before and just went where my nose took me. Had a great time.

Guy also received word this afternoon that her brother Jerry has picked up our authenticated Australian marriage certificate so I can now become a citizen of the Philippines. As you may remember because we were married in Australia, the Philippines immigration required that it be authenticated by the Philippines embassy back in Australia.

When were back in AUS in March this year, Guy contacted the embassy and they sorted it out for us (they were very very helpful) and sent the official certified back here. It has just now made it through the Philippines system.

So we are looking at going to Manila next week to lodge my residency papers and then wait another month (or two) to have them processed and my residency issued.

Wednesday 29th June:

Brownout this morning from 7:30am to 8:30am and then again for another hour at 11:30am.

I headed for John’s place at 9:00am to catch up with John, Geoff and Wayne to go for a walk back in the boondocks behind John’s house. Wayne cancelled so it was just the three of us.

We had a great 1.5 hours walk along the ridgeline as we had Nilo (one of John’s workers) guide us, who kept us on the right track as there were many tracks going in all directions. We all sweated buckets in the humid jungle but a nice breeze on the way down was most welcome.

Back to John’s for drinks and some chicken soup, roast chicken (John had just cooked in his Turbo) and fresh Rye bread (also cooked in the Turbo) with real cheese. So all in all a very civilized morning indeed.

I called into the market on the way home for some little sausages for dinner. Just made it home for a nice cool shower and a hot cup of tea and the afternoon rainstorm hit.

Brownout from 2:00pm to 4:00pm so a nice afternoon siesta was enjoyed followed by fresh Mangoes for afternoon tea.

Dave the Canadian from over Mogpog way is back for a month or so. He called in while I was out with the boys and had a chat to Guy. Ron and I are off to see him tomorrow afternoon for a catch up.

Thursday 30th June:

Leisurely morning. Guy headed to Mahjong at midday and I caught up with Ron.

First stop was Boac for a few supplies and then we headed for Dave (Canadian) and Crissa’s (Local) house (Mogpog way) for a catch-up as Dave is back for a few weeks. Dave works in the Oil Tar Sands up north in Alberta (Canada) and due to massive forest fires the mining has been closed down for the moment.

Crissa cooked up a very yummy lunch and we chatted to them for several hours about life, love and the universe.

Back home just after 4:00pm to be greeted by the afternoon rain and a brownout. Power back on at 4:30pm so all good.

Friday 1st July 2011:

Up at 5:00am and off to Gerald’s for our early morning walk. Drizzled rain a bit but was quite nice as it cooled things down just a bit.

Back home at 8:30am and Zieyrish was here for the cleaning and washing. The sky was rather dark and stormy but decided to go ahead and do the washing anyway. It will get a good fresh rinse if it rains.

After lunch a nice little siesta was in order then we headed for Joseph’s Mini-Mart (20km away) for some Wi-Fi and Guy’s manicure and pedicure. Hit a nice big rain storm about 5km from Joseph’s but we did manage to get our ponchos on so didn’t get to wet at all.

By the time we left just after 4:00pm the rain had cleared and we had a dry run home. Quick stop at the bakery for some Pandecoco and our lives were complete.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy