Day 772 of retirement

March 25, 2012

To view the photo descriptions please click on the “Permalink” at the bottom right hand corner of the pic in the slide show. Once in the descriptions slide show you can view the full size pic by clicking on it.

Day 1 of the walk photos are in this blog. Day 2 photos will be posted next week.

Hi All

Saturday 17th March:

Sleep in this morning after a busy week. At 11:00am I was off to see Berthold and picked up the USB with the Two and a Half Men season on it.

Then hit the market for a few last minute food supplies for the across the island walk starting on Monday. I arrive home just on midday and Guy had already left for the office (Mahjong).

After lunch I went to the new Internet Café across the road from the Gasan market. We finally got my MacBook connected to their Wi-Fi network after a few anxious moments and it was pretty good, Not the fastest Wi-Fi but right up there and very stable considering that every PC in the café was being utilized by the local kids.

I got the blog posted and emails done and then we had a brownout so that finished that. Brownout was from 2:30pm to 4:00pm (1.5-hours).

I also need to remember that the best time to go there is during school hours when hardly anybody is there. It was packed today so I sat outside which was okay.

Sunday 18th March:

Awoke to a brownout but it came back on at 9:00am.

The Thunder Monster got a wipe over today, as she hasn’t been out in any rainy weather this week.

At 11:00am I headed into my new Wi-Fi shop opposite the Gasan market. The boss wasn’t there today (in church all day) and the guy who was minding the shop didn’t know the password. So no Wi-Fi today. Oohhh well.

I made my way to Barbarossa for the expat gathering. We had quite a crowd today with 12 expats turning up.

John the aussie from Darwin is back and has moved into his new two story house (for a few weeks). He’s the guy that was here when we were having the 8-hours on 8-hours off with the electricity and couldn’t handle it so went back to AUS.

He and his wife are going to now divide their time between here and Darwin as he is still working at the moment.

He seems a bit afraid of retiring (he’s 66) as he doesn’t know what he will do and will get bored. Had a chat to him how getting bored is the last thing on my mind with the retirement thing.

Guy was off to Mahjong at midday.

Monday 19th March:

Today is the day we start our across the island walk. Ron (The Yank) picked me up at 6:00am with Gerald and Ferdinand (our local fixer) soon after. We then made our way over the mountains to Tigwi on the east coast and the starting point. We dipped our feet into the water at the beach and off we headed for Tambunan at 7:00am.

The first 8km was along the main island road so pretty uneventful. The last 7km into Tambunan was along the “fire trail” which has had some maintenance work done on it since our last time up there. A pleasant walk back into the mountains as Tambunan is the highest point of the walk. All downhill from here, figurative speaking of course.

At 11:30am we arrived in Tambunan where R2D2 (our guides’ nickname whose real name sounded like R2D2) meet us (along with the school kids) and showed us to the Barangay Hall where we would be camping for the night. Tambunan is a small community of some 130 families who are all spread out along a valley and the ridge top.

We signed the visitor’s book and it was noted that we are the first westerners to sign their book. They also brought us some soup for lunch, which had all “sorts” of stuff in. It was actually very nice.

Gerald had also carried up some Pasalubong (a gift) of dried fish for R2D2 and his wife as a thank you for all their help. Fish is a rare commodity back in the remote mountain communities.

After lunch we walked to the top of the hill so we could get mobile reception and sent the first of our messages to the Police in Boac letting them know where we were.

The arrangement we had with the Police was that we would text them our GPS coordinates whenever we could so they know where we were just in case anything happened.

At 4:00pm we made our way to R2D2’s house to see him but he was out working in the hills. At this stage it was raining steadily so we made our way back to the Barangay Hall for dinner.

We cooked up out noodles and rice with hot drinks on my “converted” stove and it worked a treat. The locals rigged up a light for us as the Barangay Hall had no power so we were set. We also topped up our water supplies with local water that I then purified 1L at a time with a “SteriPen Adventure” electronic purifier.

At dinner I noticed that Ferdinand (our local fixer) had a “Drizabone” hat from Australia. He said that when he got it, it was all “oily” and it took him lots of washes and scrubbing to get all the oil out of the hat. The “oil” on the hat is actually what makes it water proof as is part of the hat. Little did he know he was destroying the hat.

By 7:30pm I was in bed which consisted of a silk sleeping bag liner spread out on a piece of cardboard on the concrete floor. There were no mosquitoes and it wasn’t cold, so apart from the hard floor, it wasn’t too bad.

Tuesday 20th March:

Up at 4:30am after spending the night sleeping on the concrete floor with my cardboard mattress. I did actually manage to get some sleep so didn’t feel too bad. The rain had stopped overnight and the skies were still cloudy so a great day for hiking.

We made a brew on the stove for breakfast and we were all packed up and ready to go at 6:00am. At 6:20am our guide (R2D2) still wasn’t around, so one of his offsiders volunteered to guide us. and we headed off.

On the way out of town one of the local older ladies gave us a bag of boiled peanuts. She had heard we were in town and waited on the trail for us to come along so she could give us the peanuts. It was humbling as this old lady shared some of her meager food supply with us.

About 20 minutes later, R2D2 turned up and caught up to us with his wife and the other guy left us to it.

Here we were with our high tec hiking gear (boots, packs and walking poles) and these two were in Crocs and with a shoulder bag and they ran rings around us.

The first 9km (3-hours hiking) was through the wilderness. We were taken half way up the side of a mountain, along the side and then we dropped back down to the Boac River.

This involved sliding up, down and across slippery mountainsides, walking up, down and across creeks through water, mud and slippery stones. In the muddy slippery bits, Ferdinand would go bare foot and he was slipping round a lot less than we were.

We got to see some “old” jungle and some magnificent big old trees all covered in Orchids. Very spectacular.

Once we hit the Boac River we came to the settlement of Bio. This is where we left R2D2 and his wife (and paid them their guiding fee of P500 ($12.00 AUS), as we now only had to follow the large Boac River all the way to Boac (some 22km away).

Along the river we followed an old “wagon” trail, which traversed the river many times so the wet feet continued. It was a very pleasant walk along the river as the cloudy skies continued, so not too hot.

Once we got mobile reception we text our coordinates to the Police to let them know where we were. They were impressed with our fast progress.

We were going to spend the night about 13km from the finish and complete the walk tomorrow. But as were making such good time we decided to go for it and complete the walk today.

So with no more water crossings (in the last 13km) and a good road we hightailed it to the coast arriving at 4:20pm some 10-hours and 50km after leaving Tambunan. And man was it good to finally arrive at the other side of the island. We dipped our feet into the ocean and the walk across the island was completed.

From here we caught a Trike back into Boac (3km away) and crawled into a Jeepney for our trip home. We were a bit smelly but at this point in time we really didn’t care. We were on the way home.

I arrived back home at 5:30pm and the first stop was a shower and boy it was good. The second stop was a hot cup of tea so now my life was complete. I was pretty stiff and sore as I crawled into our very comfortable bed that night and Guy provided me with some tender loving care.

Wednesday 22nd March:

Feeling much better this morning and apart form some tiredness and a little stiffness, I’m ready to go.

We did a market run in the morning for some supplies and Guy cooked up some very nice Pork spare ribs with rice and Mongo (a legume) to satisfy my hunger pains after burning up some 7,000 calories over the last two days.

An afternoon siesta was then the order of the day. After the siesta I got a little energetic and did the rubbish burn up and unpacked, sorted and cleaned my gear from the walk.

It was a very quiet day today and we loved it.

Thursday 22nd March:

The rain started in the early hours of the morning and it rained steadily till 1:00pm ish. Cooled things down and watered the garden very nicely.

Ailyn turned up at 9:15am for my two-hour massage. And boy was it good. The best part was having my tired feet massaged.

At midday Guy and I headed into town on the Jeepney as it was still raining. After a couple of stops we parted as she made her way to Mahjong and I to Wi-Fi in the new internet café opposite the market in Gasan.

Spent a couple of hours catching up on stuff as the Wi-Fi was quick and stable. I left at 2:30pm and as I was on my way to catch up with Guy at the Mahjong house, Ron pulled up and offered me a ride home. Quick stop to retrieve the groceries from Guy and he dropped me at the cottage. I’m still feeling a little tired so Ron’s lift was greatly appreciated.

Friday 23rd March:

Bit of a sleep in before I headed to Gerald’s at 8:00am for a review of the walk across the island. I had plotted the GPS coordinates of the wilderness section so it was interesting to see where we went.

Midmorning off to the market for all the ingredients for a big pot of Sinigang that Guy cooked up.

After lunch it was off to the Wi-Fi café in Gasan. Guy used one of their PCs and I connected via Wi-Fi so we got lots done (no fighting over the laptop….). I had a minor update for the MacBook and had to update Skype to the latest version.

We then Skyped Jo (Guy’s daughter) and Dave (partner) and had a good chat to them about the impending grandchild and our visit to Australia at the end of the year.

I finished reading my 11th book of the year “Under The Banner of Heaven” by John Krakauer (Kindle Book). A very interesting read about the Mormons.

Saturday 24th March:

A leisurely morning was had by all. At midday we headed over to Gerald and Juliet’s place for lunch. Wayne (Aussie) and Grace were also invited but they had to cancel as Wayne has the flu.

Gerald has been telling me how he makes a great curry so he was out to prove it to us. When in Manila recently he procured all the herbs and spices for his secret curry recipe. Well the curry was pretty dam good, no, outstanding I must say.

After the leisurely lunch we made our way back home (with a doggie bag) for a little siesta and savor the yummy lunch.

And we had a little brownout from 8:30pm till 9:30pm.

I finished reading my 12th book of the year “Factoring Humanity” by Robert Sawyer (Kindle Book). This is a great read about family tragedy, quantum mechanics and alien messages.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy

Other Stuff:

Across The Island Walk Summary:

It was a tough walk even though the weather was very good to us. It was cloudy and not too humid on both days. The rain in the afternoon of day one cooled things down a bit as well. Luckily we had arrived in Tambunan before the rain started.

Up in the mountains it is also cooler than down on the coast so that helped as well.

We traveled with 12kg ish in 40L packs. Half of that being water (I carried 4L) and food as we were allowing for 3-days worth of supplies.

I took lots of GPS waypoint readings in the wilderness hoping that we might be able to do the walk again without a guide. But it isn’t going to happen. The GPS was all over the place in the valleys and thick jungle canopy.

We would be walking along a small creek and the guide would suddenly veer onto a little track that we couldn’t see.

And up on the mountainside there are animal and local paths that go every which way. So a guide is definitely required for the 9km wilderness section. The rest of the walk was fine, navigation wise.

On day one, I burnt up 1,943 calories (stats courtesy of my Polar S625X Heart Rate monitor) over 15km and 3.5-hours hiking.

On day two, I burnt 5,142 calories over 35km and 10-hours hiking.

I wore my Waterpro Manistee (Boulder) shoes the whole way. They worked perfectly with all the water crossings, wet feet and muddy tracks as they are well drained with mesh sides. I highly recommend them for water / wet feet hiking.

Gerald and I also had one trekking pole each and they worked a treat in the slippery creeks, fording the river and in muddy sections. Made life much easier.

I must say that all the mountain people we meet along the way were very very friendly and helpful. We had heard that they were “suspicious of visitors” but we never encountered that at all. We have been invited back by the people of Tambunan. As it looks like that there are some great remote hiking back up there, so we shall return.

Apparently there is a way from Tambunan back over the mountains to Bagtinjon, a village just down the road from us towards Buenavista. This walk definitely requires further investigation.

As for Li-Lo-ing down the Boac River, definite possibilities exist there.

Day 764 of retirement

March 17, 2012

To view the photo descriptions please click on the “Permalink” at the bottom right hand corner of the pic in the slide show. Once in the descriptions slide show you can view the full size pic by clicking on it.

Hi All

Saturday 10th March:

Guy had a 9:30am Mahjong start this morning so she was off early. Before she left we processed four Buko’s (coconuts supplied by Cherry our washing lady) and made some juice and Buko salad. Buko salad is made up of coconut flesh, some fruit salad and long life cream. You then freeze it and eat it like ice cream. Very very very nice……

At 11:00am I headed for the Boac Hotel (22km away) and some Wi-Fi.

A pleasant surprise as the Wi-Fi was pretty good today. I got the blog posted, a MacBook update loaded, some more Kindle books from James “Dropbox” downloaded, setup my Amazon Kindle account and downloaded some free books from the book shop.

I arrived back home late afternoon and rested up after my busy day. Guy walked home (5km) from a Mahjong win arriving right at dusk and very pleased with her self.

Sunday 11th March:

The Thunder Monster got a wipe over today, as she is still clean from last week’s shine, as it has been a dry week.

Guy off to Mahjong at 9:30am for an early start. I walked into the Barbarossa at 11:00am for the expat gathering and home again (10km round trip) in the late afternoon.

Nice quiet day all round.

I finished my 8th book of the year “Crime Beat” by Michael Connelly (My first Kindle Book). An interesting read about specific crimes by a newspaper reporter in the USA.

Monday 12th March:

No walk this morning as Gerald has injured his right calf muscle after a mishap in the garden yesterday.

John (Pom) dropped by for a chat and a coffee. At 10:00am I paid Gerald a visit to see how the injury was going. He is icing it and will start using heat later this afternoon. We will reassess the across the island walk (scheduled to start next Monday) at the end of the week once we see how Gerald’s injury is going.

Late morning it was off to Boac with a quick stop over to see Berthold (German). He has downloaded a TV series for us and I had a 4GB USB stick to load it up. Sadly we needed about 12GB so looks like I will have to get a 16GB stick to load the series.

Had lunch and grabbed some Wi-Fi at the Boac Hotel. Wi-Fi was once again quite good today so we got all our web stuff done.

Tuesday 13th March:

Market day in Gasan, so we make our way in at 7:00am for some supplies for the next few days.

After dropping Guy and the groceries off at home, I headed to the Boac Provincial police station where I meet Gerald and Juliet (his wife). We then caught up with the Head of Intelligence and his female assistant. We discussed the across the island walk we want to do starting on Monday 19th and lasting 3 days.

He informed us that there had been possible sightings of insurgents (National Peoples Army (NPA)) up in the northeast corner of the island. This isn’t where we are going by the way. But nonetheless he has insisted that we take a Police escort with us, which he will supply (a young officer).

He just wants us to have a safe trip and was really helpful and accommodating. Whenever we can get a mobile phone signal we will text the Police our GPS coordinates so they know where we are.

Turns out that the officer was one of Juliet’s former pupils and he speaks English so should be an interesting trip. We are just waiting for the final approval of our Police escort, which should come in the next few days.

There were a couple of other locals who were interested in joining us on the walk but they have all pulled out. So it will be Gerald, our Police escort and myself.

At 4:00pm I did a quick trip to Gerald’s house to sign a letter that he will drop off at the Torrijos Police station (other side of the island) tomorrow letting them know of our movements as we will be starting the walk in their area of responsibility.

I am actually really looking forward to this walk, especially the centre wilderness section (will be 15-20km ish). Should be fun.

Guy’s Mahjong winning streak has come to an end. Ooohhh well you win some, you lose some.

I finished my 9th book of the year “The Cobra” by Fredrick Forsyth (Kindle Book).

Wednesday 14th March:

Leisurely morning this morning. Guy off to Mahjong at midday. I had a siesta after lunch as John (Pom) and one of his old friends visiting from Angeles (North of Manila) are coming down to the Nipa Hut for a party.

They all arrived at 3:00pm and were finally driven home (after quite a few ales & some food) in a Trike at 7:00pm ish.

Heard from Gerald and the visit to the Torrijos Police re our walk across the island was all good. He also had confirmation that we will now not have a Police escort. So back to our original plan of taking one of the local fixers (Ferdinand) with us.

A very nice relaxing day.

Thursday 15th March:

Ailyn the massage lady was here at 9:00am for Guy’s 2-hour massage. I did a bit of a cleanup from the party last night in the mean time.

At 10:00am John and Howard (his pommy visitor) arrived to pickup John’s motorbike as he left it here last night due to one too many wines. They had a cup of tea and a chat before departing.

Guy was off to Mahjong at midday and I made my way to Boac Hotel for some Wi-Fi, which was pretty good today. At 2:00pm I meet up with John, Ivan, Howard (visitor) and Dave (visitor) for lunch in Boac.

A nice late afternoon lunch was enjoyed by all. I headed back home to be greeted by a brownout at 5:15pm. The power came back on at 8:00pm so all good.

Friday 16th March:

No walk with Gerald this morning as he is still resting his injured calf so he will be fit for Monday and our across the island walk.

At 6:00am I walked up to see him for our final planning session and gear check. I walked back home along the beach (9km walk all up) and a very pleasant walk it was.

Cherry was here for our washing and cleaning day. Guy did a trip to the market for some supplies for the next few days via Jeepney.

I spent the morning laying out all my gear for Monday and charging up all the batteries for torches, GPS and camera.

After lunch it was off to see Berthold (German) and drop off a 16GB USB drive so he could load up season 8 of “Two and a Half Men”. We left the stick with him and back to the market for my haircut with Rose. After the haircut we called past Berthold’s to get the stick but he was sleeping so we left a message with the maid that we would call back tomorrow.

Home and grabbed our empty Gas 11kg bottle and a 20L drinking water container and caught a Jeepney into Gasan to replace them. Loaded the replenished containers into a Trike and back home.

I then grabbed one of the maps for the across the island walk and made my back to the market. I discovered, while getting the Gas, that there is a new internet café just opened up next door to the Gas shop. They have all new gear along with a new photocopier.

They did my map copying and I had a chat to the owner who is a young guy who is actually an English Filipino (spent most of his life in England). He has 3MB Wi-Fi in the shop and is happy to let me plug in for P20 ($0.48 AUS) per hour. I will give it a go tomorrow and if the speed is good it will mean I have Wi-Fi in Gasan which is only 6km away from home and not 22km as Boac is.

A busy day all round.

Finished reading my 10th book of the year “Eye of the storm” by Jack Higgins – Kindle Book.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy

Day 757 of retirement

March 10, 2012

To view the photo descriptions please click on the “Permalink” at the bottom right hand corner of the pic in the slide show. Once in the descriptions slide show you can view the full size pic by clicking on it.

Hi All

Saturday 3rd March:

Leisurely morning as we wait for the electrician, as the switch to the ceiling fan in the lounge room has died. I managed to turn the fan off and we are using a pedestal stand-alone fan, so all good.

He dismantled the switch and has given it to Yolanda (Our landlord) so she can get a new one to replace it.

Cherry our washing / cleaning lady dropped some Buko (coconuts) last night so we processed them by collecting the juice, adding the shredded soft flesh along with some condensed milk just to sweeten it a little bit. This is Guy’s all time favorite drink. I don’t mind a drop either.

Guy off to Mahjong at midday and I headed for Boac Hotel to post the blog. Wi-Fi today was crap. I couldn’t connect via the Hotel Wi-Fi so finished up using my USB Broadband stick. This was okay but kept freezing and slowing down. But eventually got everything posted and emails done. Ooohhh and we had a 30-minute brownout in amongst this time as well, just for good measure.

I cruised back to the Barbarossa in Gasan for a light lunch. Meet Ron (Yank) there and had a chat to him.

The power was off again at 4:45pm and back on at 6:00pm.

Sunday 4th March:

The Thunder Monster got her usual wash and wax this morning. Guy off to Mahjong at midday and I made my way to the expat gathering at the Barbarossa. Usual gathering of great minds, with many worldly issues being resolved.

Monday 5th March:

No walk this morning as Gerald and I made our way to the Boac Police Station leaving at 8:00am. Gerald had a letter with our itinerary for the 3-day across the island walk that we need to get approved. We meet with the Deputy Provisional Director and he was okay with it. We just need to get the final okay from the Head of Intelligence who will also confirm that there are no insurgents on the island at present. He is away today but back tomorrow. The Police will text Gerald when he is available and we will go back and see him.

Guy did a market run via the Jeepney while I was away for some supplies.

Tuesday 6th March:

Market day so off for some supplies and see what fresh fruit / veggies were on the go today. Lots more Star Apples made their way into our shopping bags.

Guy off to Mahjong at midday as I waited to see what was happening with Gerald and the Police in Boac re our clearance.

Heard from Gerald early afternoon and nothing yet. So I decided to walk into Gasan (5km) as I’m looking for a shower curtain to use as a water proof ground sheet on our across the island walk camping. I looked in about half a dozen stores and nothing. As it was hot and humid I had a few iced teas at the Barbarossa and had a chat to Ron (Yank) as he was also there.

I told Ron of my inability to find a shower curtain and he told me to wait a minute and disappeared. 10 minute later he was back with my shower curtain. So now I have my ground sheet.

Walked back home in the heat and humidity of the mid afternoon so hit the cool refreshing shower once home,

Wednesday 7th March:

John (The Pom) dropped in for his weekly morning gossip eeerrr I mean chat and a cup of tea. After lunch we headed up to see Berthold (German) and Josephine (Local) who live at the other side of Gasan by the airport (about 14-minute ride away).

We spent the afternoon chatting to them and using his “fast” Wi-Fi. It is actually the fastest I have used on the island so far. So managed to download the Kindle app for my MacBook Pro, install it and get my Amazon account setup so I can use the app.

Also downloaded some books from a dropbox that I created thanks to James R back in AUS.

Got home late afternoon and played with the Kindle app and finally got all the books James sent me loaded up and working. The next step is to get a Kindle for each of us, as we are reading more and more now.

Thursday 8th March:

Ailyn the massage lady arrived at 9:00am for my 2-hour massage today. Very nice indeed.

After and early lunch Guy was off to Mahjong and I had to finish my 7th book of the year “The Jester” by James Patterson as it was getting exciting.

I then grabbed the laptop and walked into Barbarossa (5km) and tried some slow USB Broadband. Managed to get emails done and downloaded a few more Kindle books from James over a couple of cold iced teas.

I walked back home later in the afternoon, arriving home to a very refreshing cool shower. Guy arrived not long after for an evening of “American Idol”. Yea sad I know.

Friday 9th March:

Up early and off to Gerald’s for our morning walk. Short 8km walk today as we are now tapering for the across the island walk Monday week. We still have to get the final Police okay and also need to drop by and see the Torrijos police (over by the start of the walk) and let them know our plans. We shall do that next week.

Back home and Cherry our washing / cleaning lady was here for her chores. Guy arrived back from a market run with fresh supplies for a nice big pot of Sinigang.

After lunch a siesta was in order. Then it was time to clean the two fans we use. The ceiling fan in the lounge and our free standing fan were in need of a clean as they were looking a little the worst for wear all covered in dust. Wash, dried and reassembled them and they are all new again.

A rubbish burn up was the next job along with a beach clean up of littler. Not much litter at all today on the beach so had it cleaned up in no time. I worked up a nice sweat so my second shower for the day was in order.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy

Other Stuff:

Accessing the simple things in life:

Living back in Australia we really did have everything at our fingertips.

When I purchased the Thunder Monster I tried to get a tire pressure gauge here on the island and nothing. I finally found them in Manila in an auto shop in the mall so bought two.

Same deal with a plastic microwave cover that you place over your plate when heating food. Nothing on the island and we even had trouble getting one in Manila but we eventually found one.

The current task is to find a meat tenderizer (the hammer type). There is nothing available here on the island that we have found after looking throughout Gasan and Boac (the capital of the island). So looks like another Manila purchase when we next visit.

You can’t really get frustrated with the lack of goods because it does you no good. You just work around whatever is missing and it is surprising how you can actually do without it and it isn’t the end of the world.

Day 750 of retirement

March 3, 2012

To view the photo descriptions please click on the “Permalink” at the bottom right hand corner of the pic in the slide show. Once in the descriptions slide show you can view the full size pic by clicking on it.

Hi All

Saturday 25th February:

Guy off to Mahjong at 11:00am and I headed for The Boac Hotel to post the blog. About half way there I got hit by a thunderstorm and got wet through. I thought I could outrun it on the Thunder Monster, but when it pours, it pours. I was half dry by the time I got to Boac.

Wi-Fi was okay and got the blog posted and emails sorted. I made my way back home mid afternoon with a stop at the market for a few supplies and some fresh Pandecoco buns.

I finished reading my 5th book of the year “1st To Die” by James Patterson. A great murder mystery with some good twists and turns.

Sunday 26th February:

The Thunder Monster got an extra special wash and wax today. It was a glorious morning, so I parked her in the shade and spent 1.5-hours giving her the treatment. After a wash and dry I waxed all the plastic, seat and chrome to a nice shiny sheen. Man she looks good.

Guy off to Mahjong at 11:00am and I headed to the expat gathering at midday. Usual crowd as we solved the problems of the world.

Guy had a win at Mahjong, so a great way to finish up the day.

Monday 27th February:

Up early, I picked up Gerald on the Thunder Monster and we headed up into the mountains to Malibago at the foot of Mount Malindig. We got caught in a rainstorm on the way up, so sheltered in a waiting/shelter shed for 30-minutes while it passed.

Once at Malibago, we parked the bike and started walking towards Tambunan. This is the track I tried to ride last week but got turned back 2km in due to the rough, steep and slippery track. Some 7km later we made it to Tambunan and I certainly made the right decision to turn back on the bike when I did. It is a bit of a goat track in places.

In Tambunan we managed to have a chat to one of the local Kagawads (local official) about our walk across the island and going through this way. He informed us that there is indeed a track from Tambunan that makes it all the way to Boac along the river and it takes about 7-hours plus to walk. Tambunan is right on the headwater of the Boac River.

So looks like this is the way we will go. We got the Kagawad’s number and will look at spending one night in Tambunan, and see if he will guide us through the 12km wilderness section from Tambunan along the Boac river till we reach civilization over Boac way.

He and his mate also informed us of a cave up in the hills behind the village. We decided to have a look so they took us up for a look see. The cave drops down about 10 feet at the opening and then winds its way back into the hills. We didn’t have any good torches so will come back another day, for the guided tour of the cave when we are better prepared. Looks interesting.

Leisurely walk back to Malibago and cruised back home in time for a 12:30pm lunch. A little siesta was the order for the afternoon.

Guy had a leisurely day with a trip to the market in the morning. She also had a 3-hour brownout to endure as well.

Tuesday 28th February:

Market day today so we cruised in for some supplies. At midday Guy was off to Mahjong and I enjoyed a little siesta as the weather is quite warm and humid at the moment.

At 2:00pm I had a slow walk into Gasan (5km) for a nice cold iced tea (or two) and some slowwww USB Broadband.  I guess I should be thankful for small mercies as at least I could connect today.

I walked back home in the late afternoon and as it was still pretty humid I got a nice sweat up. Got home at 5:40pm looking forward to a nice cool shower and wouldn’t you know it we had a brownout at 5:45pm. It came back on at 6:45pm so all good.

Guy had a big win at Mahjong today so she is very pleased with herself, and so am I.

Wednesday 29th February:

Gerald dropped by at 7:00am to have a chat about the across the island walk. He has drafted up a letter that Guy and I will present to the Barangay Captain up in Malibago on Friday asking for his permission to sleep in the Barangay Hall in Tambunan and to use one of his Kagawads as a guide for the centre wilderness section.

We are looking at doing the walk on the 19th, 20th & 21st of March (3 weeks away). So on Monday we will go to Boac and have a chat to the Police Chief and let him know of our route across the island and get his blessing.

It’s all coming together now. Looking forward to it.

Late morning we headed to the Boac Hotel for some Wi-Fi and lunch. While Guy sorted her emails I went for a walk and got some more Star Apples at the market.

Cruised home late afternoon with a stop at the Gasan market. While Guy grabbed some spuds for dinner tonight, I found this little store that had two deep freezers with ice-cream in one of them. Our usual on again / off again ice-cream shop had disposed of their freezers some time ago. So a tub of “Double Dutch” just happened to fall into the shopping bag as we made a dash for home so it wouldn’t melt. Man it was good………

Thursday 1st March:

Ailyn (the massage lady) arrived just after 9:00am for Guy’s 2-hour massage. John (Pom) also dropped by for a short chat. After John left I did a rubbish burn up in the incinerator.

11:30am we headed into Gasan for Guy’s Mahjong and to wire some money to Susan (Guy’s friend) on the mainland. She is off to Manila tomorrow to buy some fairy wings for our friend Bec back in Adelaide (AUS).

I returned back home after dropping Guy off for a cup of tea. At 1:00pm, I hopped on the Thunder Monster only to discover that I had a flat rear tire. Quick check showed a lovely nail sticking out.

The tire is almost worn out and I had a new one here, so decided to put the new one on now. I took the rear wheel off myself and walked about half a km to our local Vulcanizing shop. The young guy put on the new tire and tube and fixed my old tube as a spare. He only charged me P50 ($1.20 AUS) so I gave him P100 ($2.40 AUS) for a job well done.

Back home and I re-fitted the rear tire and went for a test ride. A final chain adjustment was made and after a quick check up, it was all good.

Late afternoon, I was off into Gasan to pay the electricity bill and get some cash from the ATM, which was working today. A busy day…..

Guy arrived back home with another good Mahjong win so very pleased with herself.

Started, and finished reading my 6th book of the year “Judge & Jury” by James Patterson. A record for me, (in fact the first time ever) one book in one day. Great read.

Friday 2nd March:

Off to Gerald’s for our early morning walk. Today we loaded up our packs (Gerald had 11kg and I had 8kg) for our walk up to Calong and back twice, as we are in training for the across the island walk (ATI) in two weeks time. It was quite hot and humid by the time we finished, so a nice cold iced tea was in order.

I also met Jay the Physiotherapist on the island. He arrived at Gerald’s just after we returned from our walk for a home consultation with Juliet (Gerald’s wife). Jay has been invited along on the ATI walk as well as his mate who is a doctor on the island. We had a good chat to him on the logistics of the walk and he will let us know if he and the doc will join us next week.

Back home and Cherry was here for her washing and cleaning day. Once she finished at 11:30am, Guy and I headed for Malibago some 24km away to catch up with the Barangay Captain to get a letter signed by him to give us permission to sleep in the Barangay Hall at Tambunan and use one of his Kagawads as a guide on the centre bit of our across the island walk.

He wasn’t there when we arrived so we made our way back to Buenavista for lunch. After lunch, Guy texted the Captain and he was back, so we rode back to see him and he signed the letter. The cost was a bottle of Brandy (P110 ($2.60 AUS)).

So now, the only thing left is the okay from the Police that there are no insurgents on the island at the moment. We are going to see them on Monday morning in Boac.

On the way home we called into the market and got some fresh sweet Star Apples. We love these things.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy