Thursday 29th December:
Our masseuse Ailyn arrived at 9:00am and it was Guy’s turn today.
I headed for Boac and some Wi-Fi at 10:00am. I tried Goodchow first but it was slow so packed up and went to The Boac Hotel and all good. Got the blog posted and emails tidied up.
I caught up with John (Pom) in Goodchow and gave him his USB stick back with the processed pics of his Labrador puppies that I took yesterday. They turned out pretty good if I may say so myself.
Guy made her way to Mahjong at midday as I headed back to Gasan. I was going to have lunch in Boac but it was packed with people so came back to Barbarossa in Gasan. Had a burger with fries and they were very nice indeed.
Geoff (Pom) was there so had a chat to him.
Home after 1:00pm for a siesta and a cool shower as the weather has cleared and the sun & humidity is creeping back.
Friday 30th December:
Cherry here for our washing and cleaning day.
At 9:00am I rode up to see Gerald for a cup of tea and a chat and to swap over my MacBook backup drives. I have 2 x 1GB USB drives. One is used for my daily Time Machine backups and the other is stored at Gerald’s (Off site backup). I swap them round each week to keep them current.
After lunch we headed for Boac and The Boac Hotel for some Wi-Fi. Guy’s turn to sort out her email. We also managed to Skype Jo (Guy’s daughter) for a chat. She and Jordan will be here in the Philippines on the 4th January so only 5-days to go.
I tried the ATM in Boac but it was out of order. The ATM back in Gasan was working so go cashed up as we leave for Manila on Monday morning.
Sad news when we returned to the cottage. Nato (one of Yolanda’s workers) was working here at the cottage when he received a call that his baby girl (less than a year old) had just died. She was born prematurely and was quite sick at the time and sadly she never recovered. Nato’s other children are twin teenage boys and a daughter.
Yolanda gave Nato the wood to make the coffin and we contributed for the funeral costs. Makes you realize how lucky we are in the west with medical care when having our children and they become ill.
Saturday 31st December:
The Thunder Monster got a very thorough wash and wax this morning as she will be tucked away in the cottage for the next four weeks while we are away.
After lunch Guy was off to Mahjong and I did a quick run into Gasan to fuel up the Thunder Monster for her rest.
I spent the afternoon with a bit of a siesta then tidied up round the cottage and burnt up all the rubbish which got me very hot and a ball of sweat. A nice cold shower fixed that.
And just to see us out in 2011 we had a brownout at 5:30pm. Luckily it came back on at 6:15pm.
We made it to midnight, saw in 2012 and off to bed.
Sunday 1st January 2012:
Bit of a sleep-in followed by a leisurely morning. At midday Guy and I caught a Trike into town for her Mahjong and my expat gathering.
I walked home just after 3:00pm and proceeded to sort the stuff we are taking away with us tomorrow. We have a 6:00am pickup by Ron to take us to Balanacan Port in the morning so packed up tonight.
Monday 2nd January 2012:
Up at 5:00am, final pack and down to the road where Ron picked us up at 6:00am. At 7:00am we arrived at Balanacan Port to be greeted by a 200m line of people trying to get into the port (they had shut the gates) and onto the Ro-Ro. The Ro-Ro was also fully packed at this stage so it looked like we could be there all day waiting to get on a boat.
So Guy went off looking and found a “fixer” who was selling JAC Liner Bus tickets (the bus we needed in Lucena) and also said he could get us on the boat if we bought all the tickets off him. So we handed him the cash and off he went. I had thoughts of never seeing him again.
But 10 minutes later, back he came with the bus and Ro-Ro tickets and ushered us to the Port gates (Guy gave him a little “tip” for all his service). We showed our tickets and made it to the Ro-Ro with 10 minutes to spare before it left on time. The Ro-Ro was standing room only and we both had flashes of the news headlines “Over crowded Ro-Ro sinks in the Philippines”. But all was good and we made it to Lucena.
With all these people disembarking off the Ro-Ro it was like a stampede of Wildebeasts as everybody rushed to get a seat on their respective buses. Guy and I joined the stampede and got a seat on our JAC Liner bus to Manila.
At 3:30pm (some 9.5-hours after leaving home) we arrived at Beth’s (Guy’s sister) house, which is next to her mom’s. A nice cup of tea was enjoyed followed by a little siesta by Guy. I caught on Wi-Fi stuff as they have good Wi-Fi here.
Guy and I had a good Skype chat to my sister Lyn back in WA in AUS. She has just had a hip replacement and is up and about with no more pain so she is loving it.
Guy’s mum cooked us a very yummy dinner.
Tuesday 3rd January 2012:
Off to the Mall after a bit of a sleep in. I had a few things I needed so we went shopping. I finished up buying some Merrell Waterpro Manistee shoes and a North Face Enduro 30 day pack.
The shoes are well ventilated (let the water and sweat out) with a good grippy but soft ish sole. My old Brooks trail runners (a running shoe with an off road sole) are dying so time to replace them with a more ventilated shoe for here in the tropics.
The pack is nice and light and can accommodate a bladder. It is slightly bigger than the Mountain Designs “Outrace” that I currently use. The Outrace has lasted 2 years with everyday use and been sown up once already but the main zipper is about to die. Can’t get Mountain Designs stuff over here but very impressed with the Enduro 30.
Also picked up some Speedo (Yep it is an aussie Speedo store) shorts which works well here in the heat and humidity. I have a pair from AUS that I love but have worn out.
Guy found a small block of Coon Extra Tasty cheese so cheese and crackers tonight.
We both had a Chai Latte (first in several months) and Guy finished the day with her favorite, a Zagu.
I used my credit card for the first time in 6 months and it did feel a little weird. I almost forgot my pin. Ooohhh well back into hibernation for another 6 months.
Back home at 5:30pm rather tired.
Wednesday 4th January:
After a bit of a sleep in we headed to get Guy’s TAG watch serviced. We discovered that the TAG service centre is only a 15 minute taxi ride away from Guy’s sister place. We found the place and after an inspection they will replace all the seals, clean the band, replace the battery and pressure test all for P1,250 ($27 AUS). The last time Guy had this done back in AUS it was $125 so very happy with that.
We caught a cab back to Guy’s sister’s house and asked the driver to wait for us as we grabbed our bags and made our way to Greenhills where we have rented an apartment from a friend of Guy’s. We stayed here last January when the kids were here.
It is across the road from Greenhills Mall and pretty central to the city and surrounds. This will be our base till we leave for Boracay next week. After our 9-day stay in Boracay we will be back here for the remainder of the kids’ visit when they leave on the 24th January.
Once settled in, we had lunch at the Bananaleaf restaurant across the road. It is our all time favorite Thai food place in Manila. Then off shopping for some goodies at a real supermarket. We found some aussie cheese with some real bread so I had a toast cheese sandwich for afternoon tea and man it was good.
Ooohhhhh and the apartment has hot water. Our first hot shower in 10-months and man that was good. Not that you need hot water here…..
At 6:00pm we caught a cab to the International Airport Terminal and meet the kids (Jordan & Jo) on their arrival at 9:15pm. Guy organized her Police Chief friend Ed to meet them as they disembarked and escorted them through immigration and customs.
Great to see the kids again and it was a late ish night as we caught up on the news from home.
Life is good.
Trevor & Guy