Day 677 of retirement

The photos below are the first installment of the walk round the island. The rest will be on the blog next week.
If you wish to see the descriptions on each photo remember to click on “Permalink” on the lower right of the pic in the slide show.

Hi All

Monday 12th December:

Up early and I walked to Gerald’s place for a final catch up on the logistics for our walk commencing on Thursday. Gerald was unable to do a walk as he had to head to Boac later in the morning to sort out some bank problems with his British bank.

On the walk back home I ran into Ron about 2km out so got a ride with him and had a chat to him re his support for us on Friday and Saturday. I will deliver him a run sheet tomorrow with his “duties”.

After a shower and breakfast Guy and I also headed to Boac and Goodchow for some Wi-Fi and to get the blog posted. It was a busy day in Boac with people everywhere getting into the Xmas spirit including the beggars.

We paid our annual PhilHealth Private Health insurance bill today for 2012. The total cost for 12 months is P1,200 ($30.00 AUS). Beats my old Medibank Private payments back in AUS.

We had a pizza for lunch, which was pretty good, then cruised back home early afternoon in time for a little siesta.

As the sun was finally shining through, and the rain departed, I hung out the remaining damp washing to dry. Almost all dry now with only a few things left which can dry inside.

And to finish off the evening a brownout from 8:00pm till 10:30pm.

Tuesday 13th December:

After lunch Guy off to Mahjong at midday and I headed to see Ron and ran through the run sheet with him for his support role on Friday and Saturday of our round the island walk. All sorted out and off to Barbarossa for a cold iced tea and some slloowww broadband.

Mid afternoon Guy rang to see where I was so came on by from her mahjong game, as she wasn’t feeling well. She has had a bit of a tummy bug for the last few days and it hit her again this afternoon.

We stopped by at the market in Gasan to get my last piece of high tec equipment for the walk (a nice blue & white 16 rib umbrella as the cheap ones only have 8 ribs) and she booked in for a hair colour next Monday with Rose.

And of course just as we left for home on the Thunder Monster the afternoon storm hit so on with the ponchos. By the time we got home the road was dry and we were out of the storm and into sunshine.

Wednesday 14th December:

After a leisurely morning and lunch I dropped Guy off at Mahjong at midday and headed to the market to get some supplies for Guy while I’m away for the next three days.

Home just as the afternoon storm hit and did a pack of all my gear into my backpack and the day bag that Ron will carry. As usual way too much stuff in my backpack so had to cull some stuff out.

An afternoon siesta was in order after the rigors of packing.

Did a re-check of my gear after dinner and an early night was in order as I’m up at 4:00am.

Thursday 15th December:

12-hours on the road and 45km covered today.

Up at 4:00am and packed all my gear ready to go. At 5:00am I meet Gerald on the road in a Trike and we headed off to Gasan (Barbarossa) which was our starting point for the round the island walk.

We left Gasan at 5:20am still in the dark (daylight at 6:00am). First quick stop was at Gerald’s house after a couple hours walking for some iced tea. Then we headed for Buenavista.

Just as we were leaving Buenavista headed over the Mt Malindig road, Gerald got a text from Juliet (Wife) that Leif and Elena (where we were supposed to be staying that night) were away so no accommodation was available for us that night. We looked at options for Ron to pick us up and drop us back in the morning or make our way straight through to Torrijos which would make it a big 45km walk day.

Guy did some checking and found us some “accommodation” in Torrijos so we deiced to go for it.

Where Leif lives we stopped for a lunch stop just down from his place and lo and behold he was home. So we had a chat to them and they said we could stay the night if we wished. We both had a feeling of something not quite right so off to Torrijos we went.

The weather was cloudy with some sunny periods so not too bad for walking. When the sun came out it got pretty hot and humid which made it tough walking. This is also the remote end of the island so there are not many villages along the way to break up walking distances. Very pretty part of the island though.

We both were going okay till the last 5km into Torrijos when we hit the wall. That last 5km was the longest 5km I have ever walked and Gerald was faring worst than me at this stage. We arrived in Torrijos at 5:30pm just as it was getting dark.

Our accommodation was not very nice either. A twin room with two beds and nothing else. A pillow and a single sheet were on the bed and that’s it. Ooooh it did have a flush toilet and scoop shower.

We found some food and retired, as we were knackered. But then the Karaoke started up directly below us and it felt like they were in the room with us. That stopped round 11:00pm ish.

Friday 16th December:

10-hours on the road and 28km covered today.

At 3:30am (yes 3:30am it was) the church across the road started up the Filipino christmas tradition of midnight mass with lots of bells ringing and singing. It was a midnight mass at 3:30am. So not much sleep was had last night.  This midnight mass is for 12 days to Christmas and the belief is that if you attended all 12 masses, any wish you have will come true.

I woke up with a huge half golf ball size blister on my right side heel, which meant I couldn’t get my foot into my hiking shoe. I was lucky as my TEVA sandals were fine and I could walk without aggravating the blister.

We had a few biscuits for breakfast and headed off at first light (6:00am) for Santa Cruz. We made it to the 20km mark when Ron, Juliet and Guy caught up with us with some cold/hot drinks and some hot chicken rice.

A leisurely 2-hour stop at this point to eat and avoid the midday sun was in order. At 4:00pm we arrived in Santa Cruz and hit a little café for some cold and hot drinks. We had 1.5-hours to kill till Randle (one of Juliet’s old students who is now a teacher in IT) was off work and would pick us up to stay at his place that night.

The weather was reasonably cloudy today so walking was a little more pleasant. My trusty umbrella served me well when the sun did come out.

At 5:30pm Randle caught up with us and we Triked to his place on the outskirts of Santa Cruz. Randle is 26 and lives with his mum in a very nice house. They feed us heaps of food and drinks for dinner and looked after us very very well. Ooohhhh and the shower was pretty dam good as well.

Saturday 17th December:

6-hours on the road and 25km covered today.

We both slept rather well that night with no karaoke or early morning mass across the road to disturb us. At 6:00am we Triked it back to the town centre and off we headed for Mogpog some 25km away.

I strapped up my feet so the TEVA’s wouldn’t rub and all was good.

The weather today was cloudy with a bit of drizzly rain which made for our best walking day so far.

We arrived in Mogpog right on 12:00noon and were checking into a very nice little hotel called the Hilltop. Ron and Juliet arrived with some very yummy quiche and drinks about 5 minutes after. We all sat up on the big balcony at the hotel in the breeze and enjoyed a great lunch.

After Ron and Juliet left, Gerald and I showered and rested up (with a little siesta) for the afternoon. The ladies in the hotel were great and also looked after our dinner menu selection. Once we ordered some Pork Adobo and Chop Suey they went to the market to get the ingredients so it was all nice and fresh.

At 4:00pm we went for a “little” wander down to the cathedral and round the town for a look. It was a slow walk as the last couple of days had taken their toll on our frail old bodies………

At 5:30pm the ladies at the hotel laid out our dinner on the table on the balcony and we enjoyed them even more, as it was very nice fresh food.

Off to bed by 8:00pm and just to make us feel at home, we had a brownout for a few hours. Didn’t bother us too much though as we hit the hay.

Sunday 18th December:

5.5-hours on the road and 22km covered today.

Up at 4:30am with biscuits (Me) / cake bar thingy (Gerald) for breakfast and ready to go at 5:30am. Was still dark but we headed off anyway as it got light by 6:00am.

We made Boac at 7:00am and looked for somewhere to maybe get some breakfast but everything was closed, so just kept on walking. A big rainstorm hit us just out from Boac which lasted for an hour ish. I had my trusty umbrella and Gerald pulled on a poncho so all good.

We plodded on counting down the km as we neared Gasan and the finishing point. At 3 minutes to 11:00am we arrive back at the Barbarossa having walked round the island in the 4 days. Guy and Juliet joined us to celebrate out triumphant return in Barbarossa.

Over the next hour the expats arrived for the Sunday expat gathering but we didn’t stay too long as the adrenaline and endorphins began to wear off and the stiffness / tiredness set in. Ron dropped us home and it was time for a nice long shower, a hot cup of tea and a little “rest”.

Spent the rest of the afternoon unpacking my pack, my support bag of left over food and clothes, dirty clothes and medical stuff I used on my feet.

Also popped the half golf ball sized blister on the side of my right heel. Once drained of all the gunk I cut away all the skin to expose the “new” skin. Plenty of Betadine was applied followed by antiseptic cream.

Yeaaaa my own bed tonight to sleep in. You can’t beat your own bed……

Monday 19th December:

Bit of a lazy morning. Guy off to the market for some supplies as I cleaned up the blister and applied copious amounts of antiseptic cream once again.

After lunch Guy had a hairdresser appointment at 1:00pm in town so we rode in. I hit Barbarossa for some slow broadband and a chat to Geoff and John.

Met “Dude” a younger American guy who is back in town. Dude has a bit of a reputation as being “out there”. Met him as I was leaving so shall reserve my judgment on Dude for now.

Home to a siesta and Guy rolled up later in the afternoon.

Tuesday 20th December:

A big sleep in this morning was in order. We got up round 11:00am, had a brunch and Guy was off to Mahjong. I spent the afternoon updating the blog document and processing all the photos and data from my heart rate monitor and GPS.

I did a quick trip into town for a few supplies and discovered the local store had some ice cream in stock. They don’t have it very often so just had to get a small tub of Vanilla and Almond. Very very yummy….

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy

Walk round Marinduque Summary (120km):

Gerald (Pom expat and fellow hiker) and I decided to walk round the island starting and finishing in Gasan in a counter clockwise direction. It is something that Gerald has always wanted to do but couldn’t find anybody else crazy enough to join him till I came along.

The aim of the walk was to experience all the different landscapes, communities, cultures and people of the island up close and personal.

We had a fantastic walk meeting lots of very friendly, cheerful, smiling and chatty people. On the less populated eastern side of the island we saw people who looked like they were ready to cut you in little bits and bury you in the jungle but with “good morning” and a smile they would break into a big grin and a “good morning” right back at you.

As Gerald can speak a little bit of Tagalog he had great pleasure in telling everybody who asked “where are you go” exactly what we were doing. Some didn’t believe us and the ones who did (about 2/3 believed us) were left chattering and laughing at the crazy westerners.

It was interesting seeing people’s reaction when Gerald spoke to them. You couldn’t tell if they were surprised at a westerner talking in Tagalog to them or the fact that we were walking round the island. People don’t walk here unless you have to. There are Jeepneys and Trikes everywhere.

The kids were great, asking whom we were, where we were from and what were we doing.

I have been round the island a few times now with Ron and on the Thunder Monster but walking, I saw many things that I haven’t seen before like a group of about a dozen weavers on these old wooden machines weaving these beautiful colorful mats.

How did I fare:

I burnt 10,207 calories over the four days walking 120km.

We basically stopped every 2-hours when walking for a 15-minute break to eat and drink (also drank while walking) and at midday stopped for a 1.5 to 2.0-hours ish break to eat lunch and avoid some of the midday heat and humidity.

I struggled when the sun was out and the humidity was high which luckily was only about a quarter of the time on the road. I had an umbrella that I used and it helped in the sunny bits.

My feet got very hot, sweated and the outcome was blisters (never had this problem before). My feet were better in the TEVA’s but still I had to be careful of hot spots. Luckily none of the blisters were on the soles of my feet so walking was fine as long as I strapped the hot spots.

I had the usual aches and pains but nothing serious, as our packs were pretty light (10kgs for mine) due to our support crew meeting us with fresh supplies of food and clothes.

The weather was mainly overcast with some rain, which is why Gerald chose this time of the year to do the walk. My new piece of hi-tech hiking equipment (the blue & white 16 rib umbrella) served me well in the sunny and rainy bits.

Over all it was a fantastic walk and Gerald and I both thoroughly enjoyed seeing the island close up and personal and meeting lots of great friendly happy people. Would we do it again? Maybe with a few new twists!

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