Day 561 of retirement

August 27, 2011

Hi All

Saturday 20th August:

Gasan Festival Day today. Gasan is 402 years old so there are various festivities happening.

We headed in to the covered basketball court at 10:00am for the “Drum & Glockenspiel” competition. There are four local schools that have put together teams to compete. There is lots of drumming & glockenspieling and the kids (quite young) get right into their dance routine.

They have up to ten minutes to perform their routine. And the great thing is that there are four prizes so everybody goes home happy.

Following on was the announcing of the first, second and third prizes for the Kalesa (horse drawn carriage) competition. The one Guy loved (see the pic) came in third.

Tonight they had dancing back in the covered basketball court but as it was rainy we didn’t attend.

After the “Drum & Glockenspiel” competition” we headed for the market to re-supply and home for lunch.

After lunch we headed to the Boac Hotel for some Wi-Fi, which was stable although not real fast. Got the blog posted and both sorted out our emails.

It rained on the way to Boac so it was ponchos on and also rained on the way home so ponchos on once again. At least it isn’t cold.

Dinner is a big pot of chicken adobo with veg. Yum……

Sunday 21st August:

Thunder Monster wash and wax this morning. Guy off to Mahjong at 10:00am for an early start.

I headed to Barbarossa at midday and wouldn’t you know it, it rained on the way in. So poor old Thunder Monster got dirty pretty quickly. Ooooohhhh well it is the wet season.

Usual crowd at Barbarossa. Meet Lyndon a young aussie guy who is married to a local gal. He is here on holiday while sorting out an aussie residency for his wife. Also Andreas (young Swedish guy) was back. He has been along the last few weeks as his fiancé is from Gasan and they are getting married here next Saturday.

A few of us are going along, as he knows no other “westerners” here on Marinduque.

Monday 22nd August:

Power off sometime during the night and back on at 7:00am. Then off again from 11:30am to 1:30pm (2-hours).

Up at 5:00am (in the brownout) for our Monday walk but at 5:30am a nice storm hit (rain, thunder and lightning). So after a few texts with Gerald we called off the walk. It rained until 9:00am so a good call.

Guy is still suffering from her cold and I have a touch of it as well, we slept in till 11:00am (purely for medical purposes of course).

Late lunch and off to Gasan via Jeepney to replace our empty spare gas cylinder (13kg cylinder for gas cooking stove). Caught a Trike back with the full gas cylinder.

We then walked down the road to our local Sari-Sari store to replenish my Coke supplies. A walk back along the beach finished up the day nicely.

I also finished my 7th book of the year, “The Dogs of War” by Frederick Forsyth. Started my 8th book of the year “The Negotiator” by Frederick Forsyth.

Tuesday 23rd August:

Market day so in to get some supplies for the next few days.

Then off to see Ron who has just got back from the USA after being away for the last 4-weeks. He was out so will go back tomorrow and catch up.

Guy off to Mahjong at midday. On the way in we dropped off my Mountains Designs “Outrace” daypack at the one eyed sowing machine man as it has started to come to bits at the top. I bought it new in February 2010 and it has been used pretty much daily ever since and served me well in all my travels and weather conditions.

The man sowed in a patch on the frayed side and also did the same on the other side just incase. He did a great job for the sum of P40 ($0.95 AUS).

After dropping Guy off I had a nice little siesta at home. Then a trip to the Boac Hotel for some Wi-Fi was in order (42km round trip).

Cruised home along the coast in the late afternoon cool sea breeze.

Wednesday 24th August:

John (the Pom) dropped in for a chat and a cup of tea round 8:30am. After he left we headed up to see Ron and Vicki who have returned after being back in the USA for just over 4-weeks. Had a good chat to them and caught up in all their travels.

Ron (he’s a very spritely 76 years old) is a reformed alcoholic (36 years dry now) and met his daughter (54 years old) for the first time in 15 odd years and two grand kids for the first time ever. It all went well and we saw the beautiful photo album that they made for Ron with all their pics.

After lunch we had a trip to Buenavista to see our architect Montemayor. He has completed the plans for the Japanese house next to ours and is also going to supervise the building so very interested to see the plans and costing.

The house is a two-story three-bedroom place of 84-square metres in total. Our proposed house is a single story, two-bedroom, 96 square metre dwelling.

They are looking at a cost estimate of P20,000 per square metre which equals to P1,680,000 ($40,000 AUS) in total.

Building will start in a week or so and they expect / want to be in the house by Christmas. We shall be following the process very closely and learn what we can, ready for building our house. At this stage that maybe next year (2012). We shall see.

Power off at 9:00pm so we went to bed for an early night.

Thursday 25th August:

Power back on when we got up but off at 10:00am till 11:00am.

I spent a couple of hours cleaning up the beach as we had a nice high tide last night that has deposited all the rubbish in one nice neat line.

Got the incinerator going and deposited all the picked litter into it. Got a separate firing going on the beach and burnt up a lot of the coconut, bamboo and other wooden stuff.

Guy off to Mahjong with Vicki at midday and I caught up with Ron and we headed for Boac. After a few supplies there we went to see Wayne (Aussie) and Grace (Local) for a chat. Grace as usual plied us with soup, noodles and cold drinks.

The rain set in and it rained most of the afternoon as we get the tail end of Typhoon “Mina”. It didn’t effect us directly as it is way out east of us.

Also looks like we maybe back on rolling brownouts. The generator is looking even better.

The power went off at midnight.

Friday 26th August:

The power came back on at 8:30am (8.5-hours brownout).

As Guy recovers from her cold, I got it last night. Sore throat (took some drugs) and generally feeling “flat”. Ooohhhh well plenty time to recover.

Zieyrish here at 8:00 to do the washing. As I didn’t know when the power would come back on, I carted water from the hand pump on the well for Zieyrish. And of course just as I finished, the power came back on.

We headed into the market for supplies for the next few days and some nice fresh Pandecoco’s.

After lunch it was off to the Boac Hotel for some Wi-Fi. Emails and stuff all done and back home at 3:30pm. Just after 4:00pm off went the power till midnight ish.

Yep we are back on 8-hour rotating power rationing again. Lack of fuel for the generators is what we are hearing is the issue, again….

Life is still good.

Trevor & Guy


Day 554 of retirement

August 20, 2011

Hi All

Saturday 13th August:

Guy off to Gasan at 9:00am to meet Juliet (Gerald’s wife) and have a look at a house for rent. Turns out to be three houses (1 large & 2 smaller) in one on a large fenced block. It is smaller than the cottage and not on the beach so will give it a miss. A nice place though.

Then Guy had a manicure booked for 10:00am and the lady didn’t show up. So she headed for the market and texted me. But the SMART mobile network has been playing up the last few days and her texts didn’t get through.

As I hadn’t heard from Guy at 11:00am I headed into Gasan and caught up with her at the market. Her three texts arrived just as we meet up.

Got our supplies and back home for lunch. After lunch off to the Tahanan Sa Isok Hotel in Boac to post the blog and check emails. Back home at 3:30pm (with a quick stop to get some Mangoes) to a brownout. Power back on at 4:15pm then off again from 7:00pm till 9:00pm as the evening storm goes through.

At 5:00pm our next-door neighbors (the Priest and parents) were having a traditional ‘Putong’ ceremony (literally translated as ‘crowning one’s head) for their guests (parents and two kids) from South Africa who are visiting. It involves you sitting in front of a group who sing a welcoming song to you and adorn you with “crowns”.

And finally you throw coins and or sweets into the crowd (mainly for the kids) for all to scramble for. We were invited over for dinner but as we had already eaten we visited and chatted for a while.

The drum kit the singers were using was a real beauty. It consisted of three plastic buckets with lids and a piece of flatten tin for the drums and cymbal. And the base drum was a twenty-litre plastic water container. The sound was actually very very good.

Sunday 14th August:

Thunder Monster wash and wax day. Gave her a good going over today especially with the wax. All nice and shiny and protected once again.

Guy off to 10:00am Mahjong and I left for Barbarossa for the expat gathering at noon. Usual crowd who solved all the problems of the world.

Back home in time to watch the MotoGP at Brno, Czech Republic. Great to see Casey Stoner win once again and extend his lead in the world championship.

And a monumental day today as we had power on for the whole 24-hours. First time in many weeks.

Monday 15th August:

Off to Gerald’s for our 6:00am walk. As it has rained quite heavily the last few days, going back into the boondocks and the Peaks is out of the question (too muddy and slippery). We went for a walk down to and then along the beach towards Buenavista. Then back partway on the beach and the remainder along the road. A good 2-hour walk to stretch the legs was enjoyed.

Guy has picked up a bit of a cold (probably from Manila last week as her sister Beth had it) so is not feeling the best. After lunch we headed off to see Rose our hairdresser.

I had a haircut and Guy was in for a cut and colour and even managed to get her nails done as well. Cheered her up a bit.

Then at 2:00pm we had a brownout till 3:30pm, which is very acceptable given the last few weeks.

Broke out the good old “Codral” (courtesy of my son Jas from AUS) tonight for Guy. Hopefully will help her get some sleep.

Tuesday 16th August:

Guy had a rough night last night with her cold (coughed most of the night). And I think that I have also caught it as well now. Headache and feeling very flat this morning.

After a slow rise we headed for the market (Gasan market day) for some supplies for the next few days. Stocked up and back home for a late breakfast at 10:00am.

I had a bit of an early siesta before lunch, which helped the cold. Guy cooked up a big pot of beef (Buffalo I’m thinking) Sinigang that will do us for the next few days.

Then she was off to Mahjong for the afternoon.

It rained steadily for pretty much the whole afternoon so I settled into a DVD and reading my 6th book of the year, “The Fourth Protocol” by Frederick Forsyth.

There was a short break in the rain for a half hour so I cleaned up the yard of the fallen coconut palms. I stacked them up next to the incinerator to dry out and then be used to help burn up the rubbish as they burn really well.

Wednesday 17th August:

Guy had a rough night coughing so a very easy day at home (no Mahjong so she must be sick….).

Spent the day mostly reading and finished my 6th book of the year, “The Fourth Protocol” by Frederick Forsyth. A good read once again.

Guy had a few good siestas in between the cold and flu drugs and she is starting to loose her voice now as well.

Afternoon storm hit at 3:30pm for a couple of hours and cooled things down a little.

A very nice quiet relaxing day was had by all.

Thursday 18th August:

Guy had a reasonable night last night and is feeling a little better this morning.

Into the market after breakfast and then she was off to Mahjong at midday (she must be feeling better).

Now to all you people who are sitting at your PCs connected to your fast broadband, I envy you.

After lunch I had a 46km round trip which included three Wi-Fi stops to get everything done I needed to.

Firstly went to Joseph’s Mini-Mart and managed a connection which lasted for an hour then it crashed. I proceeded to Tahanan Sa Isok (in Boac) and their Wi-Fi was “broken”. So next stop was the Boac Hotel. Their Wi-Fi was on and working, all be it rather slowwwwww. At least I was able to complete my web business there.

Then headed for home and a walk up the beach to work off my lack of Wi-Fi frustrations. Just one of the joys of living on Marinduque. Hey at the end of the day I was able to get done what I wanted to, so all good.

Friday 19th August:

Up early for our walk but it is still raining as it has been all night. So the walk is called off. Gerald caught the Jeepney to our place instead of the walk at 6:30am for a cup of tea, a chat and to drop off a book for John, which I will give to him Sunday at Barbarossa.

Zieyrish here at 8:00am ish for the washing and cleaning. The rain stopped at 9:00am and stayed away for the rest of the day so got the washing done and dried.

Guy still has her head cold so another quiet day. She is taking Codral night and day drugs, which tend to make her a little sleepy. She slept for a good part of the day so is getting good rest and recovery from the cold.

Must say I too managed a little siesta as well as I also have a touch of the cold but nothing like Guy has.

I’m reading my 7th book of the year, “The Dogs of War” by Frederick Forsyth. Another great read.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy

Other Stuff:

Marcopper Mine Marinduque:

Back on the 24th July 2011 – Day 527 blog I gave a brief history of the Marcopper / Placer Dome mining disaster on Marinduque.

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.

Thanks to Brian (my brother in-law) I have some links to documents on the whole disaster, which make for some very interesting reading.

This the 2005 Mining Ombudsman Report and is the best one to read to give you an overall perspective on the incident:

http://www.oxfam.org.au/resources/filestore/originals/OAus-MiningOmbudsmanMarinduque-0305.pdf

There’s also the scientific report from 2004:

http://www.oxfam.org.au/resources/filestore/originals/OAus-WaterQualityMogpogRiver-0904.pdf

And another from 2005

http://www.oxfam.org.au/resources/filestore/originals/OAus-AssessmentAcidEcosystem-0405.pdf

Plus the summary OXFAM page:

http://www.oxfam.org.au/explore/mining/our-work-with-communities/marinduque-island-the-philippines


Day 547 of retirement

August 13, 2011

Hi All

Saturday 6th August:

Power back on at 1:00am and off again at 9:00am (8-hours). Got up did my usual routine of fill, charge, wash and shower then back to bed.

After breakfast I started on the cleanup on the beach. As I started to heap up all the rubbish (coconut, bamboo and litter stuff) the local kids saw what I was up to and joined in. These kids are the “Teebo” kids. This group of kids  can’t say Trevor so call me Teebo.

Anyway they lasted about half an hour and helped heaps. But as you know any kids anywhere in the world always likes a fire to play with. They were using a shovel I had to get out coals and cook corn on it along with poking and prodding the fire with long sticks.

I lasted for 2.5-hours and I was drained and a ball of sweat. After the first hour I went for a swim to cool off which helped a bit but it didn’t take long to get all sweaty again in the humidity and heat of the bonfire.

When I finished I had a scoop shower and man it was good. Had a little siesta and then off into Barbarossa and treated myself to a cheeseburger with fries. They have a generator so the fans were working to keep cool. Meet Geoff there for a chat as well.

Also learned that John (Aussie I meet last Sunday) couldn’t hack the brownouts and island life in general and has packed up and gone back to AUS and working (he’s a used car salesman from Darwin). He was retiring here and had been here for a couple of months and is building a house. So not sure what has happened to the house.

Then off exploring north of Gasan on the Thunder Monster. Spent a few hours cruising the back roads along the coast and into the interior. Had a great time then back home for the power coming back on at 4:30pm and off at 5:15pm till 6:15pm.

A few nervous moments during that 1-hour brownout wondering if we would get any power tonight……

Sunday 7th August:

Power off at midnight and back on at 8:00am.

Guy off to a 10:00am Mahjong game so I spent the morning washing and waxing the Thunder Monster and preparing the cottage for a time in Manila (defrosting the fridge, rubbish disposal and bring the gas bottle, stove and Thunder Monster inside).

At midday, into the Barbarossa for the expat gathering (small gathering today). Back home at 3:00pm and final pack for Manila. Then off to Cawit Port for the 8:00pm Ro-Ro.

We arrived at the port at 6:00pm and it was quite eerie as there was no power so the whole port was blacked out apart from a few candles a couple of the food stall owners had lit.

The Ro-Ro didn’t leave till 9:00pm (an hour late) but the crossing was uneventful (bit rough at the start but smoothed off…. thank goodness). The Ro-Ro was full so no room to stretch out and sleep but I did manage a few naps in the 3-hour crossing leaning against the wall.

Monday 8th August:

On the bus at midnight and after our quickest trip from Lucena to Manila thus far, we made it right on 3:00am (3-hour bus trip). Quick walk to Beth’s place and into bed by 3:30am. We slept till 8:00am, showered and then off on a Trike, LRT and Jeepney to the immigration bureau across town.

Arrive there at 10:00am and as I went to enter ,I was barred access. All men have to now wear long pants (no shorts) to enter. And I wasn’t the only one caught out. There was quite a group of men there trying to get in but they held us all back.

So Guy went in to start the paper war process and 15 minutes later came out to see what we could do to get me in. She had a chat to one of the “Fixers” outside and asked if anybody would hire me a pair of pants for the day. And sure enough this guy produced a pair of old blue track pants that I was able to pull over my shorts (just) but were a tad short on the legs.

Anyway they worked a treat and in I went in my “fashionable” trackie pants on. Initially he charged us P50 ($1.20 AUS) but I finished wearing them most of the day so the hire went up to P70 ($1.70 AUS). A bargain…

Once in we had to pay P5,600 ($130.00 AUS) to get my passport stamped with the Probationary Residency VISA. This amount was for the express processing (2-4 hours) other wise you have to wait 10-hours (next day basically).

So with my passport stamped this means I am now a Filipino in waiting and provided I’m good for the next 12-months (and stay in the country for 6-months + 1-day concurrently) it will then become permanent.

Then we headed over to the I-Card section to get my ACR (Identity Card) processed. After lots of paper work in duplicate, being stamped by various windows and paying P2,630 ($60.00 AUS), I was electronically finger printed and my photo was taken prisoner style (front and side).

Then I had to go and have my fingerprints taken again in hard copy. The good old ink on fingers trick. Had both hands and all my fingers done and also had to provide two passport photos to go with the fingerprints.

Submitted all this paper work and job done. Yyyeeaaaaa at last…..

My ACR will be ready for pickup in a couple of weeks but we can authorize Jerry (Guy’s brother) to pick it up on my behalf so we don’t have to come back for it. I will then pick it up when next we are in Manila.

So 6-hours after it all began we had completed the final step in the paper processing of my residency. Into a cab (after returning the trackie pants) and off to a mall close by for a Chai for me and a Zagu for Guy. On the LRT and back home feeling rather exhausted after our hectic day.

Tuesday 9th August:

I must say that we are enjoying having power for 24-hours straight after the island rationing. We keep waiting for the fan and lights to go off……

After a shower and breakfast it was off to the Attorneys Office about a block away to get an authorization certified for Jerry (Guy’s Brother) to be able to pick up my ACR I-Card when it is ready in a couple of weeks.

P400 ($10.00 AUS) later and all done. There are four copies of the certification produced (1 for the attorney and 3 for us). They were produced on a good old-fashioned typewriter with carbon paper. I actually remember back in AUS using this same process a “little” while ago. But hey it works a treat.

Then off to the Mall for some Wi-Fi, Chai Latte and some meat for lunch. We hit the “Kangaroo Jack” restaurant for some ribs and a steak. The ribs were grand and the steak was okay but just not quite the same as a good old steak back in AUS. But the chips with cheese, chili beef and garlic were awfully good.

We hit Starbucks for the Wi-Fi and I wandered and did my shopping for a few bits while Guy tidied up her email. She had hundreds of emails in her inbox and after a couple of hours it was back to a dozen or so.

Time to get our last few luxuries from the supermarket and back to a chicken adobo and fish dinner cooked by Guy’s Mum.

We leave tomorrow morning early to head back home to the island.

Wednesday 10th August:

Up and off to the JAC Liner Bus station earlyish. The bus left at 5:50am and after a smooth trip we arrived at Lucena Port at 10:30am. Got our tickets for the midday Ro-Ro to Balanacan Port.

Ro-Ro left on time (midday) and we arrived at Balanacan at 3:00pm. The crossing was very smooth and we had the Ro-Ro with the bunk beds so we both managed a nice nap.

At one stage we had a large pod of Porpoises surfing the wake of the Ro-Ro and leaping out of the water next to us. A very nice highlight of the crossing.

Onto a Jeepney at Balanacan and home just after 4:00pm (10-hours after leaving Manila).

A very enjoyable hot cup of tea was consumed as we relaxed. So, so good to be home and we have power. Bonus.

Thursday 11th August:

Well it appears that we have arrived back to a reasonable power supply. When we paid the power bill today at the cooperative they informed us that they had a fuel delivery on Monday so pretty much full power till next Monday (with the odd brownout still).

If they get another re-fueling before Monday (none so far) the power stays on. If not, it will be back to rationing and scheduled brownouts. Got to think positive thoughts about the fuel delivery.

Into the market to re-supply for the next few days. After lunch Guy off to Mahjong (hasn’t played since Sunday) as her fingers were twitching.

I headed for Boac and some Wi-Fi. This was easier said than done. I went into Boac to the “Tahanan Sa Isok” hotel as they have good fast Wi-Fi and it is a bit more reliable than Joseph’s Mini-Mart. When I arrived there was a conference going on so I decided to go back to Joseph’s Mini-Mart.

Arrived there and had real trouble connecting. As it turned out there was a woman there with a Windows Netbook who was having the same problem so wasn’t just me. We persevered with the guy to fix it but after an hour I gave up and left.

Back to the Tahanan Sa Isok Hotel and finished up sitting in the reception area as it was the only free space due to the conference. Anyway the Wi-Fi was reliable and fast so got all my stuff done.

Then downtown for a few supplies and some re-charge cards for our Dream Satellite TV services (P650 per month ($15 AUS)). It had poured with rain in Boac (stopped now) so there was water everywhere.

Headed for home and just outside of Gasan there was a nice big storm in front of me. Quick stop and put on my poncho and off into the storm. It poured with water running over the road everywhere. Fun on the Thunder Monster.

Made it home mostly dry just as it stopped. Ooohhh well at least it isn’t cold.

Nice big pot of Pork Adobo for dinner.

Had a brownout from 8:00pm to 9:30pm (1.5-hours) so pretty happy with that.

Friday 12th August:

Up and off to Gerald’s for our walk. Today we explored a new track the went round the south of Jungle Peak. We actually found our way round and a possible track to the river behind.

We ran out of time so took a GPS waypoint and will come back another day and explore further. On the way out we took another detour on a track that we recon would take us to the track round Circle Peak (where we were last week). And sure enough it did so, now we know all the tracks that go up to Meadows, Jungle and Circle Peaks.

We just need to find our way through the other side to the river now. It is close.

Back home for a nice cool shower, siesta and lunch. Off to Gasan to see Rose our hairdresser. She was busy today so we have booked for Monday afternoon for a cut for me and a colour for Guy.

I did the rubbish burn up in the afternoon and continued cleaning up the beach, burning the litter collected in the incinerator with the rubbish. Hot sweaty work. We had a brownout from 3:30pm to 5:00pm so had a scoop shower from the hand pump on the well to wash all the sweat away.

Nice relaxing evening with a big storm (lightning and rain) going through with a brownout (6:30pm to 8:30pm) to accompany it.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy


Day 540 of retirement

August 6, 2011

Hi All

Saturday 30th July:

Power back on at 8:00am and lasted till 4:00pm (8-hours).

Guy off to Mahjong for the early game starting at 10:00am. As it is a beautiful day I washed and waxed the Thunder Monster as she has been neglected these last few weeks with the Typhoon and stormy weather.

After lunch I headed for Boac for some Wi-Fi, as we have power today. Got the blog posted and after stuff all done and cruised the 20km back along the coast enjoying the ride.

Stopped in at the Gasan bakery for some goodies and then home for a nice hot cup of tea and some Pandecoco buns.

Sunday 31st July:

Power back on at 12:30am and lasted till 8:00am (7.5-hours).

I got up at 12:30am and topped up the water containers, made sure all electronic devices were charging and had a shower as it was very still and humid. Felt much better after my shower so back to bed.

It is the Thunder Monsters first birthday today. She has travelled some 7,300km and served us extremely well. She got her present yesterday, as we had power, which was a nice soapy wash and wax (no power during the day today). She needed it after the last couple of weeks of riding in the storms.

Guy off to Mahjong at 9:30am for an early start. I ran her in on the Thunder Monster and back home till midday and the expat gathering at Barbarossa. Good gathering today with nine attendees. Six of these being Aussies (almost a cricket team) with two being Poms and one Swiss. So as you can imagine the Poms copped a bit of stick.

John (a new aussie) joined us today. He is building a house just up the road from us. He has only been here for three months but is retiring here for good.

Home and the power came back on at 5:15pm and lasted till 10:00pm (4 ¾ -hours). Got short changed tonight with our power allocation……

Monday 1st August:

Up and off to Gerald’s at 6:00am for our early morning walk. We were going to walk up to Butterfly Falls along the river but as the weather was looking stormy (didn’t want to get caught in a flash flood) we decided to just go up the track to the boondocks and back.

Back home 8:30am ish and the power came back on at 9:00am (off for 11-hours last night) then died at 1:30pm (4.5-hours).

After breakfast Guy and I caught the Jeepney (raining at this stage) into the market for some supplies for the next couple of days. Guy is cooking up a pot of Chicken Adobo with veggies (spuds, carrots & peas).

With the 1:30pm brownout we adjourned to the Nipa hut for some reading and a bit of a siesta. I checked at 3:00pm and the power was back on once again.

Late in the afternoon the fishermen and their families were back on the beach with their net trying to catch their supper. The whole family are there from old to babies and everybody gets involved pulling the net. We haven’t seen them here for about 6-months or so.

They ran their net out twice and caught next to nothing. They did catch a small Stingray and I watched as one guy used a rock to carefully remove the barb from its tail to render it safe.

Power off at 4:00pm so all up today we only received 5-hours of supply.

The best news today is that my Filipino Residency has been approved. We head for Manila next week to finalize and get my ACR Card. Wwoooo hhooooo.

Tuesday 2nd August:

Power back on at 12:30am so I got up and did my usual ritual of filling, charging and washing then back to bed. Off again at 8:00am sharp (7.5-hours power).

Market day in Gasan so we cruised in for some fresh fruit and a few other supplies. We dropped them home and then went looking for John (the aussie whom I met Sunday). Turns out he is currently living about 1.5km up the road from us.

John was away so we meet his wife, Nerisa and teenage son Josh. Had a good chat to them and then went for a cruise to have a look at the house they are building which is about 1.5km from where they are now off the main road.

Guy off to Mahjong at Midday and Geoff called in for a chat. He had been working on John’s small generator all morning and had finally got it working. Turns out it was the spark plug lead (got spark once replaced) and the carbie was all gummed up from lack of use (over a year since John last used it).

As it is a still humid day, time for a siesta after all the activity.

Spent the afternoon cleaning all my camera gear, which included 3 cameras (Canon G9, Leica M8.2 & Fuji X100) and 3 lens (15mm, 35mm & 90mm). The sensor on my Leica M8.2 was rather dirty but after a few goes I got it nice and clean.

When I left AUS I bought a heap of sensor cleaners (Sensor Swab (Type 1 pre-moistened with E2)) with me for the M8.2 sensor cleaning. Also got Jason (my son) to bring a few more when he visited us at Easter time so got enough for a year or two. They are the best cleaners I have ever used and highly recommend them.

I have a little bit of fungi growing on the 90mm lens so in the process of trying to eradicate it. It doesn’t affect the photos at all so just got to keep the lens in a ventilated spot and expose them to direct sunlight frequently.

Also hung out a belt, shoes and jeans that are starting to go moldy once again. A day in the sun fixes them for a while.

Wednesday 3rd August:

Power back on at 8:30am till 4:00pm (7.5-hours).

Guy off to the market and I meet up with John (The Pom) and he escorted me to see Ivan (aussie) the chicken farmer. Ivan lives by Boac and has a chicken farm where he raises them for eating only (no eggs).

I have not been to his farm before so was interested to see his operation. He has a very efficient process there and he is very meticulous how he runs things. When you enter the property you have to rinse your shoes/thongs in a disinfectant wash to help prevent disease. He recycles all the waste from the chickens into compost. It is used for fertilizer on rice paddies and gardens.

He also has a Tilapia (freshwater fish) pond which is teaming with fish.

We had a coffee, juice and a chat with him before John headed off to Boac and I came home to a nice big fresh pot of beef Sinigang that Guy had cooked.

Thursday 4th August:

Power back on at 1:30am so once again I got up and did my usual ritual then back to bed. Went off at 8:00am on the dot (6.5-hours).

Guy off to an early Mahjong game (10:00am) at a new den of iniquity today. So on the way of dropping her off we detoured via the market for some supplies. I dropped the supplies at the cottage and headed down to our block to see how the Japanese house (next to us) is progressing.

They have cleared the block, got the well (water well) sorted and are building a couple of Nipa Huts for storage of building materials. I cruised down to Buenavista for a look-see on the way home, as it is a beautiful day for cruising.

Our neighbors are having a big wedding reception today. The neighbors are an old couple whose son is a priest in the Vatican. He has built them a very nice house and visits in August each year for about 4 weeks. They have lots of other family here on the island that regularly drop in also.

It is one of their sons (the priests brother) who is getting married so it is a large family affair.

I joined them for lunch at the invite of the priest and had a great lunch. They were all very friendly even though I knew practically nobody. The bride’s mother looked after me and before I left I had to have my pic taken with the bride and groom.

I spent a leisurely afternoon being serenaded by all the Dean Martin love songs from next door as they had a generator running for the festivities.

Power back on at 5:00pm for the evening and off at midnight (7-hours).

Friday 5th August:

Up early and off to Gerald’s for our morning walk. As it hasn’t rained for a few days and things have dried a little we headed back into the boondocks to explore a track we found previously.

As it turned out it led to a peak and then back around to the track we came up on. So we have named this one “Circle Peak” (Gerald named this one). So we now have Meadows, Jungle and Circle Peaks that we have explored.

Still much more to explore up there as each time we explore one track, we find two more.

Our aim is to find a way through the ridge line (a short cut) to the river beyond and Butterfly Falls. At the moment you have to go down the main road to the river and then follow it into the falls, which is quite a way.

Back home and the power came back on at 8:00am. All good as Zieyrish was here for the washing and cleaning.

After lunch we headed into Boac for some Wi-Fi as we have power until 4:00pm today.

Then a leisurely cruise home to a romantic candle lit evening (well LCD headlight lit evening…).

Life is still good.

Trevor & Guy

Other Stuff:

The Brownouts:

At present we are getting 8-hours of power then 8-hours of no power, day in day out. In times of a Tropical Storm or Typhoon the power is cut automatically for the duration of the bad weather. This can last from 24-31 hours (31 being the longest brownout we have had so far).

All this is due to a fuel shortage for the generators that supply the island power.

It works like this:

  • There is a cooperative that supplies the power to the island. They put up and maintain the lines, read the power meters and charge the end users for the power they use.
  • There is another company who runs the generators and sells the power to the cooperative.
  • There is another company who sells the fuel to the company who operate the generators.

What is currently happening is that:

  • The cooperative are not getting all the money in for the power they are selling to the end user. For various reasons.
  • The generator company is not being paid for all the power they are supplying to the cooperative.
  • The fuel supplier is not being paid for all the fuel that has been supplied and has limited the fuel supply so the generators are switched off for 8-hours at a time because of no fuel.

This has been happening for many years but it is at one of its worst times now. We can only hope that somehow it gets sorted out and we get a reasonable power supply back.

Now that we know when the power will be on and off we work around it and live quite comfortably. Ooohhhh well at least it keeps the power bill down.

The only way round the power cuts is to have your own generator and run it as required. But this is an expensive option due to fuel costs. A litre of fuel here is currently running at about $1.50 AUS per litre and these generators can use between 1 & 2 litres per hour.

Most of the expats have a generator but only run it for short periods, mainly to keep the fridges and freezers cold.

I am still looking at options.