Day 512 of retirement

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

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