Day 547 of retirement

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

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