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Sunday 22nd January:
We had a sleep in till 11:30am ish and then had breakfast in the apartment (Melted cheese on toast).
At 2:00pm we grabbed a taxi and headed off to the Mall of Asia concert grounds for the Katy Perry concert. We arrived and found the correct gate at 3:00pm ish. There was already a small line up at this gate but the kids were at the front of the line.
Guy and I left them there and went exploring to firstly find a place to meet after the concert and a place for the kids to eat before the concert. I then took their place in the line while Guy took them off to eat as the security guys told us that the gates would open at 5:00pm.
Well, wouldn’t you know it, they opened the first gate (there are two gates to go through to get in) at 4:00pm while the kids were away. So I just surged in with the crowd (the kids had the tickets) and got a spot at the second gate, luckily managing to get past the guards with no ticket.
A quick call to Guy and the kids came a running. Jordan had finished his dinner but Jo had to leave half of hers. On arrival the kids were stopped at the first gate by security. But after some hand waving by me to the security guard he let them into the second gate where I gave them their spot in the crowd.
Guy and I got them some water and managed to get it to them over the fence and we left them there. We hit the Mall of Asia for some wandering.
We found the Columbia outdoor shop had a sale on shirts so I got 2 and Guy got 1. Also found a really good backpack to replace my daypack that is disintegrating from use. We then hit Starbuck for some Chai, Wi-Fi and people watching while waiting for the kids.
Just before 10:00pm we headed back to the venue only to discover that Katy Perry hadn’t been on stage yet. So off to a Chinese restaurant for a snack and mango shake. We arrived back at the venue at 11:00am and Katy was playing. At 11:30pm she finished and the masses hit the streets. The streets and traffic were gridlocked so we walked across the road to the sea shore and sat on the sea wall for a while.
At 12:30am we decided to hit the streets and see if we could get a cab or a Jeepney to take us to the main road where we would get a cab. Within 30 seconds of getting to the road we saw a group “negotiating” with a cab driver and they failed to reach an agreement. In these circumstances the cab drivers can pick and choose what fares they want and charge anything they want (just cab drivers all round the world).
So we cut right in and agreed on P400 ($9.50 AUS) for the trip home. The normal cost is P250 ($6.00 AUS). Little did he know we were willing to pay more. Home by 1:00am.
The kids were hungry so we did a 24-hour MacDonald’s delivery to the hotel which took over an hour. In bed by 3:30am. It has been a long day.
Monday 24th January:
Our plan was to get out of the apartment by 10:00am and off for a family lunch at Guy’s mum’s place. After the late one last night we managed to make it out by 10:30am, so not too bad.
We had a family lunch with Guy’s mum’s very yummy Sinigang (she makes the best Sinigang followed closely by Guy, of course). Jo’s biological sister from the provinces was there with her two boys for a visit, so all good.
After lunch it was off to the Mega Mall and back to Greenhills for the kids last shopping chance to get rid of their Pesos.
As it is the Chinese new years day, the dragons were everywhere. In the supermarket isles and the markets with their drumming and plucking small envelopes with money in them from high places.
Had our final dinner and on the way home the kids did a final DVD purchase. I picked up our washing (P180 ($4.30 AUS) for 6kgs) from the Kuff N’ Kollar laundry service in the basement of the hotel. We found that one of my tee-shirts was missing so a quick trip to the laundry service and they found my tee, so all good.
We did a first pack with the kids and they are currently 13kgs over weight with their bags. As Guy has organized Ed to escort them through check in, we are hoping that he can get them some excess baggage allowance.
Tuesday 25th January:
Everybody had a sleep in this morning. At 11:00am it was shower time and then the final pack. We weighed the final three bags and they had about 15kgs over their 40kg total allowance. Guy texted Ed (Policeman friend at the airport) to let him know. Ed texted back that he was busy but one of his offsiders will look after us.
Off for our last lunch and a very quick last minute shop by the kids. Off to the airport at 2:00pm. Arrived at 3:00pm and Verdeflor (Ed’s offsider) meet us took the kids and Guy into the departure area (I stayed in a restaurant in the terminal) to check in and pay the terminal fee. The airport was packed so very grateful for Verdeflor’s help. And the kids got away with their 15kgs excess baggage so they were very happy.
The kids came back to the restaurant till an hour before departure. Guy met a batch mate of hers (Ben) in the airport who works there as well. He escorted the kids back through the terminal crowds (via the flight crew gate) to immigration and the departure area as Verdeflor had left us at this stage.
Guy and I hung round for 30-minutes just in case there were any issues but all good. The kids were on their way home after a fantastic 21-day visit all round. The apartment was very quiet when we arrived back.
We went to the supermarket and got a few supplies and had a dinner of cheese, ham and tomato melts as we have a mini toaster oven in the apartment. We also hit the DVD sellers in the alley way (we know it well) and got 20 more TV series to while away the hours back on the island.
Wednesday 26th January:
Up and about and our first job was to contact Qantas in Manila and see if I could extend an old frequent flyer ticket from last year to December this year. Took 2-hours to finally get through only to learn that it expires in March and no, we can’t extend it, which we sort of knew anyway.
Late morning off to the Ali Mall just up the road to pickup Guy’s TAG watch. She had all seals and battery replaced and the band cleaned and all for P900 ($21.00 AUS). We plunked ourselves in a lovely French Bakers cafe for lunch with good and fast Wi-Fi. While Guy caught up on web stuff, I wandered round for a look see.
I came across this great outdoors store with lots of good stuff. Now, when I came to the Philippines I brought with me my MSR Pocket Rocket Butane stove. It use butane cylinders with a screw top and you can’t get them here (they have a bayonet top).
Now in this shop they had the MSR stove so I enquired on how they connect it to the bayonet gas cylinders available here. The guy produced an adaptor for P150 ($3.60 AUS) and the gas cylinders for P75 ($1.80 AUS). I bought the adaptor and a couple of gas cylinders so now, can use my stove on our longer hikes. Very happy…..
They also had climbing rope (only place I have found that has it so far) from 2mm up to 11mm so I got some at various sizes as I use it for making small rigs for my packs and camera stuff.
Back to the apartment late afternoon with some gourmet supplies for the island. Did a pack of all our stuff as we are heading home tomorrow at 4:00pm on the JAC liner. Means we can put our luggage on the Bus at the station and not have to touch it till we arrive home (JAC liner drops us off at the front gate of the cottage).
We ate in for dinner and had toasted aussie coon cheese and tomato and man they were good.
Thursday 26th January:
The last morning in the apartment was a leisurely one. The caretaker was going to meet us at 12:00noon but texted us to say she couldn’t make it and just hand the keys to the administration office in the basement.
Midmorning we went for the last stroll to the supermarket for a couple of supplies. As it turned out, we were ready to go at noon so after dropping off the keys we headed for Guy’s mum’s place for lunch. After lunch we chilled there till 3:30pm when it was time to make our way to the JAC liner bus depot, 5-minutes away by Trike.
We arrived with 3 pieces of luggage and are leaving with 5. The extras are supplies that we are unable to get on the island (things like cheese, specialty tea, body wash, shampoo, cooking spices & sauces, etc.).
The beauty of the JAC liner is that we can stow the baggage on the bus and we don’t have to touch it till we are dropped off at our front door on the island. The JAC liner is great for us bringing big stuff back to the island.
Some 12-hours later (after a Trike-Bus-Ro-Ro-Bus ride) we hit Marinduque. I was lucky that I was able to doze on the Bus and actually slept for the 3-hours on the Ro-Ro. As it was only about a third full, Guy and I had a hard plastic bench seat each to lie on. Guy got a bit of sleep on the Ro-Ro as well. The Ro-Ro crossing was a little rough so very glad I was able to sleep through it and not suffer from seasickness.
Friday 27th January:
At 3:15am we were welcomed home to the island by a brownout. The bus dropped us off at the cottage at 4:00am in the dark. I was wide-awake but Guy was rather tired so she hit the hay.
At 5:00am the power came on as I was enjoying a cup of tea. So I got the fridge and water pump going and made sure they were all okay after being switched off for a month. At 5:15am I hit the sack as well.
Round 10:00am ish I got up and started to unpack all our goodies. After uncovering the Thunder Monster and rolling her outside, I attempted to fire her up. Took a bit of doing as she suffered from a lack of fuel problem that I have had before. Finally got her going but she is a bit rough at the moment. Will drop in to the mechanic tomorrow in Gasan and see what he can do.
Midday we cruised into the market and restocked up on supplies. The afternoon we spent chilling and sorting out the last of the stuff from Manila.
Brownout from 3:00pm to 3:45pm to welcome us back, again.
Life is good.
Trevor & Guy