Day 652 of retirement

November 26, 2011

Hi All

Monday 21st November:

After a bit of a sleep in, we headed off to Goodchow in Boac for some Wi-Fi and our lunch treat out as we missed our usual Saturday.

There was some rain about but we managed to miss the showers mostly. Just got a bit damp at a couple of spots on the road.

Cruised back home mid afternoon to a nice hot cup of tea.

I found some Bacon in Boac so we had Bacon rice for dinner. Very nice.

Tuesday 22nd November:

Market day today so off to get some nice fresh meat and veggies for the next few days.

We had a small brownout from 11:45am to 12:45pm (1-hour).

Guy off to Mahjong at midday and I had a nice little siesta. John (Pom) arrived at 12:30pm for a cup of tea and a chat. Once he left I walked up to see Gerald (45 minute walk). I have my Polar heart rate monitor (S625X) with me and have started using it on our big walks. The problem I have is that the software that enables you to view all the data only runs on a Windows system.

And I’m not about to “infect” my Mac with a Windows partition so Gerald is going to install the software on his Windows PC. He has an USB Infrared reader so it should all work. We shall see in the next few days.

Walked back along the coast with a very refreshing cool shower once home. Guy arrived home not long after with a small win at Mahjong.

Wednesday 23rd November:

Up and off to see Ron and Vicki at 9:30am. Ron has a massage once a week with Eileen and he swears by her so we are off to meet her and see if we can utilize her services as well. She charges P200 ($5.00 AUS) for a 2-hour massage.

So after a chat to her she will be at our cottage each Thursday at 9:00am. Guy and I will alternate with the massage and may even double up if the need is there. Guy is first up tomorrow as I’m walking with Gerald. Our walking will be back to Monday and Friday as of next week so my turn next week for a massage.

Home and Frank (Aussie) and Rosie called by for a chat and iced tea. They are looking at moving back to the mainland in 2012 up by Subic Bay. Frank is 73 and even though he is in good health now, he wants to be near better medical facilities in the years to come hence the move.

A little siesta after lunch followed by a quick trip into Barbarossa to try for some Broadband as Guy had some banking to do. Managed to get a slloowwww connection so Guy was able to get the banking done with a quick check of email.

Thursday 24th November:

Up just before 5:00am and we have a brownout so had to get ready for my walk with Gerald by headlight. The power did come back on at 5:20am so had power till I left at 5:40am.

We did an 18.4km loop walk back in the hills behind Buenavista. We have done this one before and it is a good solid walk up a big hill just out of Buenavista. Most of the walk wasn’t too bad, heat and humidity wise but in the last hour the sun came out and it got pretty hot and humid.

But all in all a great walk and I’m feeling good.

Arrived home just after Guy’s two-hour massage finished (Cost P200 ($5.00 AUS)). She loved it and looked very fresh and chilled. My turn next week as we have every Thursday morning booked for now.

Guy off to Mahjong after lunch, and I did a quick trip to Goodchow in Boac for some Wi-Fi. There were rainstorms about but I managed to skirt round them, luckily. Just some wet roads to navigate.

Home for a late afternoon siesta before dinner.

Power off at 7:30pm and came back on at 12:30am.

Friday 25th November:

When the power came back on at 12:30am I got up and turned off a couple of lights that were left on. Up again at 6:30am and put the washing out for Cherry so she can start whenever she arrives.

No walk this morning as we did our walk yesterday. Back to our regular Monday and Friday walks next week.

Cherry finished the washing and cleaning at midday so we “rested” for the rest of the day by reading, a siesta and a bit of TV.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy

Day 647 of retirement

November 21, 2011

Hi All

Saturday 12th November:

Off to the market after breakfast for some supplies for the next few days. The fresh corn is starting to trickle back to the market so we got very nice sweet cooked ones to devour.

At midday we headed to Boac and Goodchow for some Wi-Fi and a light lunch as we had sampled the corn before we left home. Goodchow had a party happening at 2:00pm so we left and cruised back home along the coast.

We called into the Barangay Pangi hall (council office) and dropped off some pics I had taken of group of kids on All Saints Day. They were there with one of the parents so got enough pics to go round to all the kids.

Home and once again we are trying the “beef”. Got the butcher to finely chop the beef into “mince” and mixed it with some Italian spaghetti sauce. MMmmmm the beef here is just not beef I’m afraid. Never had “tough” spaghetti sauce before. It is great in Adobo or Sinigang (gets stewed basically) so will have to stick to that I’m afraid.

Power went off at 5:00pm and remained off all night.

Sunday 13th November:

Power came back on at 7:30am (Off for 14.5-hours). Then off again at 10:00am and back on at 11:00am and off again at 6:15pm and back on at 7:00pm. Aaahhhhhh. It has been a while since we have had an extended brownout. The water barrels were all full so scoop showers and washing dishes was all good.

I think that the power company would have been lynched if the power wasn’t on for the day as it was the big boxing fight between Manny Pacquiao (Filipino congressman and international world champion in 8 divisions) and Juan Marquez (Mexican) in Vegas.

Guy off for a manicure / pedicure and Mahjong at 10:30am and I walked into Barbarossa for the expat gathering at 12:00noon. The island was like a ghost town on the way into Gasan as every few houses there was a TV going with everybody gather round ready for the big fight with Manny.

I made it into Barbarossa as the fight started. These two boxers have met on two previous occasions and it was one draw and one win to Manny. The fight went the full twelve rounds with Manny taking a points decision win.

I walked back home in the afternoon sea breeze and managed to have a shower and cook dinner before the power went off at 6:15pm (came back on at 7:00pm).

Monday 14th November:

Up early and off to Gerald’s for our morning walk. Only a short one today (1.5-hours) as we are resting up for a big one on Saturday. Doing a 30km walk round the bottom of the island.

Arrived back home and John (Pom) dropped by for a coffee and a chat and to inspect the new “Buckingham Palace” gates going up at the cottage. They are nice big steel gates with the crest of an Oak Tree on them and the name of the property on them, which is “Oaklands”. It’s an English thing…

Filled up our new 180L water container. So now we have 380L of water available in the event of an extended brownout for washing and the loo.

After lunch had a nice siesta as a thunderstorm went through later in the afternoon.

Tuesday 15th November:

Woke up early as we were going to walk into the market in town. But it was raining so a Jeepney ride it was.

As it was raining at the market everybody had his or her umbrellas up. And with me being a foot taller than everybody else I was lucky not to get my eye poked out……

Guy off to Mahjong at midday and I had a nice little siesta. As it was still drizzling rain (but at least no wind) I broke out the umbrella and walked into Gasan and back (10km total). Had an Iced Tea at Barbarossa and managed to get a very sllloowww broadband signal, which was just enough to download email.

Nice cool shower when I arrived home and a relaxing evening apart from a brownout between 8:30pm and 9:30pm to ensure we don’t take the Kuryente (the electricity pronounced Kor-i-en-ty) for granted.

Wednesday 16th November:

After breakfast we headed back into the rice fields across the road to see Cherry, our old washer lady who had a baby 7 months ago. She and her family (husband and 4 girls aged from 7 months to 16 years old) live back in this valley behind us. To get there you have go through the rice fields, which are all flooded at the moment with the second rice crop of the year in progress. And after the rain yesterday it was a little muddy and slippery in places but we made it with no mishaps.

After some fresh Buko juice (Coconut) straight off the tree we made our way back home in time for a rest before lunch.

After the after lunch siesta it was rubbish burn up time with a quick cleanup of the beach.

Thursday 17th November:

Off to the market for supplies for the next few days before breakfast.

Guy off to Mahjong at midday and I headed to Goodchow in Boac for some Wi-Fi. I managed to get a Skype connection (voice only) to my good friend Lisa P back in Sydney. We had a good old chat and catch up on all the latest with us both.

Cruised back home along the coast and dropped into a store in Gasan for some goodies for my big walk on Saturday and they had ice cream in. They very rarely have it (the freezer doesn’t work so good in the brownouts) so a real treat. Of course I had to try some. Got a small tub of “Hershey’s Heath” (English Toffee in vanilla ice cream with chocolate swirls).

Very quick dash home to get it into the freezer before it melted. Made it and had just a little sample. Yuummmmmmmmm ooohhhhh…..

Friday 18th November:

No walk this morning as we are doing it tomorrow. Going to do 30km round the wild southern end of the island.

Washing and our regular lady Zieyrish is no more. There has been a family dispute and she (and family) has gone to Manila. But as luck happened Cherry our original washer lady is back. Her baby is now 7 months old so she can leave her for a few hours with hubby and do our washing and cleaning.

She also brings her 16 year old daughter to help which makes the job that much quicker.

And a real treat for breakfast as John (the pom) had Yolanda (his wife and our landlady) drop off some “Coon Extra Tasty cheese” (Made in AUS). He was in Manila this week and found us a block. So we had cheese on crackers with vegemite for breakfast. So so so good. The last time we had good cheese was back in January when I found some Coon cheese in a supermarket in Manila.

After lunch I went for a walk back in the rice fields behind us exploring a couple of the valleys that feed into the paddies. I love the look on the people’s faces when I pop up in the middle of nowhere. The common question is “where are you going?”.

Saturday 19th November:

Off to Gerald’s where Ron (the Yank) picked us up and drove us to Lief’s place back in the mountains on the northern slopes of Mount Malindig.

At 6:45am Gerald and I left Leif’s place and headed east down to the coast to Sihi where we turned south to follow the rough track that goes round the bottom of the island and the southern slope of Mount Malindig. From there we finished up back on the west coast at Buenavista some 6km from Gerald’s house. As we were feeling pretty good, we walked to Gerald’s to finish off the day. The total trip distance was 33km.

We stopped for a break each 2-hours (roughly 10km) where we drank, ate and rested our feet with our shoes off. The stops were for 20-25 minutes.

I suffered a bit on the second 10km leg where we were in the sun (no clouds) and it was very hot and humid with no wind. At the end of this leg we had lunch and fluids on the beach in the breeze under a big tree. That helped me heaps and I was ready to go again.

The last 13km was pretty good as the skies clouded over and as we were back on the coast where we had a nice breeze. We bought a cold iced tea in Buenavista and had a pleasant slow stroll back to Gerald’s, which was 6km up the road.

We covered 33km in 7h 42m which is about 4.2km/hr overall including rest stops. We had 55m rest time in total (we had 3 rest stops) so walk time was 6h 47m which is 5.0km/hr ish walking speed. And I burnt up 3,216 calories.

Overall a great day and we both feel that we are now ready to tackle our round the island 120km walk in 4-weeks.

I arrived back home at 3:00pm to a very refreshing cool shower and a bit of a siesta on the couch. Feeling a tad stiff tonight so will see what tomorrow brings.

Sunday 20th November:

Feeling okay this morning after the big walk. Just a little stiff.

The Thunder Monster got her usual wash & wax. At midday I headed for the Barbarossa expat gathering and dropped Guy off at Mahjong along the way.

Usual gathering who managed to solve all the problems of the world.

I started my 13th book of the year “A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush” by Eric Newby after finishing my 12th book of the year “Spy Catcher” by Peter Wright. I’m enjoying this reading thing.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy

Day 638 of retirement

November 12, 2011

Hi All

Saturday 5th November:

Off to Goodchow in Boac for our Saturday lunch treat and some Wi-Fi. Got the blog posted and some photographs printed to be delivered to a group of kids I photographed in the cemetery at All Saints day. We will drop them off next week at the Barangay Hall (like a town hall).

Found some ice cream in Boac so bought a tub and made the dash for home hoping it wouldn’t melt before it made it to our freezer. It was a little soft but all okay. And man does it taste good.

John and Geoff were here when we arrived home so had a chat to them under the Nipa Hut in the cool afternoon breeze.

Guy made a big pot of Pork Sinigang for dinner and tomorrow’s meals.

Sunday 6th November:

Thunder wash and wax this morning. It actually rained while I was washing her so continued with the wash in the rain. She got a good rinse. Then the rain stopped so I could dry and shine her up.

Guy off to Mahjong at 10:00am for her early game. At 11:00am I walked into Gasan for the expat gathering. Stopped into the local print shop to print out some info on Gout for John (Pom). He had a nasty Gout attack last week so I downloaded some info for him on what causes it and what can be done to alleviate it (The Uric Acid build up).

Usual expat gathering and walked back home as well for a 12km round trip (more training for the round the island walk).

Home and settled in for the Valencia MotoGP where Casey Stoner won the final race of the season and is the new number 1 for 2012.

Monday 7th November:

Public holiday today. It is a Muslim day but not sure exactly what it is about.

Gerald caught a Jeepney to my place this morning at 6:00am and we walked to Tabionan and back. This is a walk back into the boondocks where you walk up and over the ridge and down to the Dawis River on the other side. Then turn around and walk back (15.5km trip in 3h 23m).

It was a great workout with the ups and downs and some nice humidity thrown in for good measure.

A nice cold ice tea was enjoyed by all on our return. Guy did her Zumba this morning and joined us for a cup of tea to finish off all our activities for the morning.

After lunch a leisurely afternoon with a very nice siesta.

Tuesday 8th November:

We were going to walk into the market this morning but managed to sleep through the alarm so rode in once we were up and about.

Guy tried something a bit different today. She bought some spare ribs, adobo cooked them then browned / crisped them in the fry pan. Very very tasty indeed.

Guy off to Mahjong at midday and I headed for Goodchow in Boac. I hit the Wi-Fi as I had a couple of program updates I had to download so needed a good few hours to get what I required.

Downloads all success and cruised back home along the coast in the cool afternoon. Stopped off at the ATM so all cashed up. The fruit lady also had some fresh Rambutans so a couple of kilos found their way into my bag.

My bung eye was starting to bother me again. We shall see how it goes over night.

Wednesday 9th November:

Not a good night’s sleep as my right eye once again flared up. Feels like sandpaper under my eyelid. I was using some eye drops we had but they didn’t help much.

Guy caught the Jeepney into town for some supplies in the morning and bought some new eye drops for “itchy eyes”. This helped a lot and I used it through out the day.

I slept for most of the day on the siesta couch with sunglasses on and stayed out of the bright sunlight. Feeling a little better tonight.

If this eye irritation persists I’ll get Ron to take me to see his eye doctor who consults on the island (Santa Cruz) each Monday. He is trained in the USA and now has his main office in Manila. He operated on Ron’s eyes some time ago so comes highly recommended.

Thursday 10th November:

Eye much better this morning and I got a good night’s sleep. Took it easy again today as still a little scratchy.

After lunch Guy was off to Mahjong and I decided to stretch the legs and go for a walk into Gasan. I wore some nice dark sunglasses and headed off. I meet Ron in his pickup about 2km out so hitched a ride to Barbarossa and had a cold iced tea with him and Geoff.

A slow walk back home in the afternoon sea breeze was very refreshing and the eye survived very nicely.

Friday 11th November:

The eye is much better this morning and on the mend.

Up just before 5:00am and we had a brownout but the power came back on just after 5:00am so all good.

Off to Gerald’s for our 6:00am morning walk. Today we did the walk from his house to Kalong (up in the boondocks) and back, twice. We pushed our selves to see if we could do it in under 3-hours given that there is 455m (1,493ft) of ascent and it was hot and very humid. We were both drenched by the time we had finished the laps

But we did manage to do the two laps (13.2km total) in a total time of 2h 41m, which we are both very pleased with. Our fitness is coming nicely in preparation for our round the island walk (120km total) in December.

Back home at 9:30am to Zieyrish doing our washing and cleaning along with a brownout for good measure. The power was off till 12:00 noon. It has been a good while since we had a decent brownout and I must say we haven’t missed it.

A leisurely afternoon, resting up my eye as it still a bit scratchy.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy

Day 631 of retirement

November 5, 2011

Hi All

Friday 28th October:

Up early for our usual Friday walk. But as it had rained most of the night, was still drizzling and there was thunder and lightning about, so we called the walk off.

Zieyrish here at 8:00am for the washing and cleaning. We did have another brownout at 9:00am ish that lasted for an hour. After Zieyrish finished late morning, we headed for Boac and Goodchow for lunch and some Wi-Fi. Going exploring with Ron tomorrow so posted the blog a day early.

While we were in the restaurant Guy spotted this guy and his family sitting a couple of tables away from us that she thought she knew from her school days back in Manila. I’ll let her tell the story:

His name is Edwin John David who finished 3rd honor in our high school graduating class of 1975.  He went to the same university I went to but different campus and we both took up Accounting.  Never saw him again after college, but with all our long lost high school alumni in our numerous school reunions, he’s one we always want to hear from. 

So I can’t believe my eyes when there he was, sitting 10 feet from me in this restaurant, in this isolated island we now call home.  Anyway, the story was simple, his family is from Marinduque and he was visiting his dad with his wife and daughter, his dad lives next to our barangay and knows everyone I know on the island.

The island is starting to get busy, as it is “All Saints Day” on Tuesday the 1st of November. It is where everybody visits his or her deceased loved ones at the cemetery. So all the people from the provinces who have moved away return to their home lands for this occasion.

Tuesday night is the big occasion at the cemetery where all the candles are lit at night and it is quite an amazing sight.

Saturday 29th October:

I was picked up by Ron at 7:00am with Gerald joining us soon after. We headed over Torrijos way to have a look at the “Pulang Lupa” memorial situated up on a mountaintop about 6km off the main road.

This is where on September 13th 1900, the Filipinos (The Marinduque Revolutionary Force) had a battle with the occupying American forces and defeated them. The hostilities lasted till April 1901 when the Marinduque Revolutionary Force surrendered to the Americans forces in Boac.

Ron had borrowed Vicki’s 4×4 as we had heard that the track up wasn’t in good condition. Luckily the road wasn’t too bad at all.

The memorial is a beautiful place with sweeping views of Torrijos (including Mt Malindig) round to Santa Cruz. It is starting to become somewhat over grown so hopefully the locals will save it before it gets too bad.

For lunch we stopped in the Curba Grill (near Buenavista) for cheese and bacon burgers with home made fries and iced tea to wash it all down.

Guy had a quiet morning doing her Zumba then a quick trip into town on the Jeepney for some supplies.

John (Pom) dropped in for a chat and informed us of another aussie and his fiancée (she’s a local gal) are here on the island living in Bacong Bacong (our Barangay). He is from Sydney and worked in IT so shall have to track him down.

Siesta time in the afternoon.

Sunday 30th October:

Usual wash and wax for the Thunder monster on a glorious morning.

Guy off to Mahjong at 10:15am for an early start. I headed for Barbarossa at midday for a catch up with the expats. Eight in attendance today with an aussie called Simon wandering past so we hauled him in for a chat. He is traveling round the Philippines and heads back to Manila tonight and off to Thailand on Wednesday.

Cruised back home to watch a stunning sunset to finish off a pleasant day.

Monday 31st October:

It is a public holiday today including tomorrow and Wednesday.

Up early and off to Gerald’s for our morning walk. We decided to do the walk from his place up into the boondocks to Kalong and back. We have marked out a start and finish spot and are going to start timing our walk, up and back, to see how our fitness is progressing.

This morning we did the 3.5km up and back (7km ish round trip) in about 80 minutes. Next trip I will use the GPS and get an accurate km and ascent / descent reading.

Gerald and I are planning a walk round the island, some 120km, in either December this year or February in 2012. So we are looking at upping our training with longer walks with some “mountain” climbing strength work as well.

Guy off to Mahjong at 11:00am and I was back at Gerald’s at 12:30am. We headed for Buenavista to catch up with Anders Myrene (Norweign) who is a missionary here with his wife (she is Malaysian) and three children (new born, 2 & 4 years old). They arrived in 2009 and are here till 2012.

Anders is just back from Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia (Sabah) ( where he climbed Low’s Peak (the highest point), which is 4,095m (14,435 feet) high. Had a good chat to him and looked at his photographs of the trip. A very interesting part of the world.

Home in time for a late afternoon siesta before dinner.

Tuesday 1st November:

Had good intentions of walking into the market this morning but when I got up at 6:00am it was drizzling rain so back to bed. Midmorning the rain stopped so we rode the Thunder Monster into the market. At the cemetery, just this side of Gasan, we hit the organized chaos of “All Saints Day” (A Public holiday).

This is the day you visit your dead relations in the cemetery with candles, flowers and offerings of food. The island is the busiest I have seen it in a long time with all the “mainlanders” coming home for the day.

Did my rubbish burn up before lunch. Also got a fire going on the beach and did a big cleanup. Not much litter, mainly drift wood (coconut, bamboo, etc.) so burnt up very nicely. We have a nice clean beach now.

After lunch a siesta was in order. At 4:00pm we walked to the cemetery (4.5km) to experience All Saints Day with the candles lighting up the grounds once it was dark. I took some pics then we started to walk back home. About half way we got a lift from a Trike man on his way home and going our way.

Wednesday 2nd November:

The last of the All Saints Day Public holiday today. All the visitors are leaving the island and heading back to their respective homes for another year.

Rest day today for us. We hung out round the house with the midday movie, some reading and a siesta thrown in.

I did a quick trip into town for a few supplies dodging the afternoon storms. A nice relaxing day all round.

Thursday 3rd November:

Quiet day. Guy off to Mahjong at midday and I headed for Goodchow in Boac for some Wi-Fi.

I am finding that I spend less and less time on the net these days. I know that a 44km round trip to get Wi-Fi access does dampen the enthusiasm a bit. I find that I check email, do blog stuff, look at few camera sites, check the weather, check Facebook (mainly to see what friends are up to) and look up anything as requested by the expats who are in the IT wilderness.

And that’s it. I have amazed myself on what I can actually do without when I don’t have it.

Friday 4th November:

Up early and off to Gerald’s for our long walk this morning. We arranged for Ron to pick us at 6:00am and drive us to Lyf’s (Danish guy) place at the foot of Mount Malindig some 21.5km away.

From there we walked back to Gerald’s house along the roadway in just over 4-hours. It was a good solid walk with 1-hour of up hill (to get to the high point at the foot of Malindig) and then the remaining 3-hours downhill and on the flat.

You see so much more walking than you do riding by on the Thunder Monster and you get to chat to locals. Basically here if you are walking (rather than taking a Trike or Jeepney) you are considered to be poor, as you can’t afford the fare. They all think we are mad for walking when we can ride.

We are in training for our walk round the island in either December or February. We are looking at doing the 120km walk over 4 days so as to avoid the heat and humidity of the afternoons. The aim is to do the main body of our walking in the mornings starting at sunrise and walking till noon ish.

Then rest up in the afternoon ready for an early start the next day. Our plan is to walk approximately 30km on day 1, 40km on day 2, 25km on day 3 and 25km on day 4.

Had a nice siesta after lunch and feeling pretty good after the long walk.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy