Day 1009 of retirement working

February 27, 2016

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Hi All

Thursday 25th February:

Back to work today for us both. Aaaahhhhh what we wouldn’t give to be back on our island.

We had a brownout tonight that lasted for an hour ish (9:30pn to 10:30pm). Felt like being back on the island.

Saturday 27th February:

A real scare at work today. A father and daughter came in to have the daughter’s car battery checked.

After testing the battery I asked the daughter to start the car to test the alternator. As she attempted to start the car it was in gear and she lurched forward crushing her dad’s legs against the shop wall.

She managed to start the car quickly and back off. The old first aid training kicked in and I lay the father down and stabilized him while we rang for an ambulance.

An ambulance was quickly on the scene. After a check over it was determined that nothing was broken but the farther was going to have two very sore legs tomorrow. Thanks goodness for plastic bumper bars, is all I can say.

Sunday 28th February:

Okay here is the second set of photos from our Philippines’ holiday.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy


Day 1005 of retirement working

February 24, 2016

Click on a photo below for the slide show. The slide show has the descriptions of each pic below the photos. You can also leave comments in this area.

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Hi All

Sunday 14th February:

Huge happy Valentine’s Day to my beautiful wife Guy Kloeden. And happy 6th wedding anniversary for today. Been an awesome adventure with many many more to come. xxooxx

We wandered down to a local restaurant and had a yummy lunch. After lunch it was rest time before heading out of town to see John (The Pom).

John was holding a party for all the locals that live round him. He supplies food and entertainment with prizes for activities.

With Guy’s help he organized a 3-legged race, a sack race and an egg throwing competition. It was hilarious watching the locals who have never heard of these activities trying to participate. But they loved it.

It was like herding cats. But everybody had a ball and got into the spirit of things.

Monday 15th February:

Went caving today at the Bagumbungan caves with Gerald (Pom). It’s actually an underground river system 1.2km in length.

We had a guide Virginia (Owns the land/cave) and explored large cathedrals, climbed up waterfalls, squeezed through slots and crawled through a 700mm tunnel half full of water (so just your head was out of the water) at the end.

The diversity of the structures in the cave was amazing along with the animals that live in total darkness. We saw fish, crabs, shrimp, worms and other furry creatures on the walls. Ooohhh and of course lots of Bats.

The most amazing thing I saw was a coconut deep in the cave system growing in total darkness with albino leaves. It was about 2 feet high.

We made it out very wet, dirty and tired. Virginia had lunch ready for us (A local chicken and Papaya dish) once we hiked back from the end of the cave system (30 minute hike). Very yummy. I shall sleep well tonight.

Guy was at the office (Mahjong).

Tuesday 16th February:

I did a quick trip to Boac and the Boac Hotel to get some fast WiFi to post the blog. WiFi in Gasan is okay for Facebook & Email but not much else.

After lunch Guy was off to the office (Mahjong again….) and I went to see John (Pom) and Patnalin (Thai). Patnalin is a Thai massage specialist so I availed my self of one of her massages.

I was a little stiff and sore from caving yesterday so it was quite a work out but ooohhh so good after.

Wednesday 17th February:

Lazy morning. Ron dropped in for a chat and a coffee. Then we all piled into his pickup and he took us to his nephew’s farm where he farms pigs, chickens, goats and other animals that stray in.

At midday Guy and I made our way to Buenavista to a very nice little restaurant – Curba Grill, just out of town where we caught up with John (Pom) and Patnalin (Thai).

We used to go there when were here last and always got a great meal. It didn’t disappoint this time.

Thursday 18th February:

Massage morning this morning with Ailyn. Guy was first from 9:00am to 11:00am and I followed from 11:00am to 1:00pm.

While Guy was having her massage I washed John’s Thunder Monster ready to hand back tomorrow.

After Lunch Guy was off to the office (Mahjong) and I went cruising along the coast for one last time to snap some pics of our little piece of paradise. The island was kind enough to present a beautiful sunset for the last evening here.

Friday 19th February:

After coffee/tea with Ron, Guy and I had our last manicure/pedicure. I must say I like the pampering and it is amazing what she can do with my old fingers and toes. They feel like new again.

John (Pom) dropped by to pick up his Thunder Monster and to say his goodbyes. Guy was off to the “office” for one last Mahjong session before we leave.

At 6:00pm our Door to door van turned up. These guys run a Toyota type passenger van and will pick you up at your doorstep and deliver you to your destination on the mainland. It’s more convenient than the bus.

As we were meeting at Gigi’s (Guys batch mate) resort, (under construction) which is south of Manila, these guys will drop us off at the front gate.

The RoRo was nice and smooth (3.25 hour trip) so all good. As there weren’t many people on the RoRo we had a whole 4-person bench seat each so were able to lie down and snooze.

Mina and Didit (A fellow Mahjong player) also joined us in the van as they were going to Manila.

Saturday 20th February:

We arrived at Gigi’s place (South of Manila) at 2:30am (The boys let us in after a call from Guy) and then crashed till 8:00am.

We had a leisurely morning by the pool with Guy and Gigi catching up. At lunch time the rest of the gang turned up and started cooking.

We had a Boodle (Pronounced Boo-dal) feast. It comes from the military where you lay out a long table with banana leaves and place food on it (Crabs, Prawns, Fish, Pork, Vegetables and Rice). This is done at night. You then turn out the lights and feel for your food and eat it with your fingers only.

We dispensed with the darkness but all stood by the table and using our fingers only, gorged ourselves on yummy fresh food.

I managed to have an afternoon siesta as the travel last night caught up with me with Guy catching up with old friends.

Sunday 21st February:

Guy finally made it to bed round 4:30am after a looonnggg session with the girls.

Were up at 7:00am and off to Tagaytay Highlands Country Club for the day, which is south west of Manila and is well known locally for the Taal volcano in the middle of a large lake.

Aura was able to get all 12 of us in this high-end country club for lunch and afternoon tea.

The country club has a golf course on top of a mountain (Where we had lunch with impressive views of the volcano & lake) and also a golf course at the foot of the mountain. You can drive between the courses or take the funicular train. Very impressive.

On the other side of the mountain is a huge resort/swimming pool complete with a cable car to get you from the top to the bottom. We drove down this time for afternoon tea.

It was then back to Gigi’s resort to collect our bags and off to Manila with Gigi. We are staying in an apartment in Makati which is owned by Gigi’s business partner as we fly out tomorrow for Sydney.

Monday 22nd February:

Bit of a sleepin then a quick trip to the mall. Back by midday and thanks to Gigi’s driver we made it to the airport in plenty of time for the trip home.

The plane was 30 minutes late loading and then we sat on the tarmac for another 45 minutes due to rush hour at Manila Airport.

Tuesday 23rd February:

Nice smooth flight and Qantas made up some of the lost time so we arrived only half an hour late.

As we brought back some nuts and Pulvoron (Dairy product) we declared them at customs. They put our bags through the scanner and all good so we could go.

Home and a shower, nana nap and a “real” cup of tea. A lazy day was spent as we unpacked and started the clothes washing. Going to be a few loads as Jordan has a heap as well. He “survived” for the 3 weeks while we were away.

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy.

Day 997 of retirement working

February 16, 2016

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Hi All

Saturday 30th January:

Had a lady come into the shop today in a real panic. She had locked her 2 year old boy in his baby seat in a BMW SUV along with the keys.

While one of our staff rang the police Craig (Boss) and I ran across the road to see what could be done in the mean time. After several minutes (It was very hot) it was evident that the boy was stressing and getting very hot.

She asked us to smash a small rear window opposite the baby so we could get to the door handles. I used the “Car Emergency Safety Hammer” to break the window quickly and efficiently (NO spraying the cabin with glass) which I carry with me and have done for a long time. We then discovered that even accessing the door handles wasn’t any good as the car was in deadlock and only using the button on the key releases the doors. We were all ready to then break the passenger side window to get the keys and the NRMA man turned up with the Police. He was able to retrieve the keys with his “special” tools and all ended well. The boy was hot and sweaty but fine. I can’t recommend highly enough the Safety Hammer tool. Very cheap and works as advertised.

Friday 5th February:

All packed and off to the airport for our 12:30pm flight to Manila. Arrived in plenty of time which was just as well as the terminal was packed.

Nice smooth 8-hour direct flight. I watched three movies (Spectra (James Bond), Everest & The Martian. All good movies.

Arrived on time and then spent 2.5 hours in a cab on a Friday night in Manila traffic. Any other time the trip would have been less than 30 minutes.

Dumped our luggage at our hotel in Makati and caught up with Guy’s family for dinner.

It just so happens that her sisters from Queensland (Australia) and New Zealand are also here so worked out well.

Saturday 6th February:

We caught up with some of Guy’s old college girl friends for lunch at the Simply Thai restaurant. After lunch we moved next door to a coffee shop for tea.

While the girls caught up I wandered round the three malls browsing. I came back 4 hours later and they were still chatting.

7:30pm ish they all departed for home. Guy and I found a great little gourmet bugger restaurant for an awesome burger with fries. One of the best “real” burgers we have had in a long time.

Sunday 7th February:

Was picked up by Beth (Guy’s sister) and her brother Boying and off on a road trip down south of Manila.

It was Guy’s best friend Aura’s mum’s 86th birthday party. The food was awesome with all my favorite Filipino dishes which were on hand so a large amount of food was eaten.

Needless to say there was no need for dinner that night.

After we got back we went for a stroll in the mall and returned to our room only to find that our key cards didn’t work on the door. A trip back to reception to confirm our key cards were okay and it was likely to be a flat battery in our door.

Maintenance was called and sure enough we had a flat battery in our door. Rather funny me working for Battery World and coming half round the world to have a flat battery.

Monday 8th February:

Rest day today. After a bit of a sleep-in we wandered over to the mall for breakfast. I must say that it is impossible to get a good cup of tea here.

We hit Shakey’s for lunch for some MoJo’s (Fried flat potatoes with dips). They are the best.

A bit more wandering and Guy did some shopping. I visited every watch store I found but didn’t find anything that I liked (Even the high end stores).

Early night as it is an early start tomorrow morning (5:00am).

Tuesday 9th February:

After a half hour in a cab, 5.5 hour bus, 3 hours on the RoRo (Ferry) and 1 hour in a Jeepney we arrive in Gasan and our little piece of paradise.

We are staying at Mina’s (She is retired) house. She is a friend of Guy who spends her time between Vegas (USA) and Gasan. She built a beautiful new house last year so we do feel a little special staying here. Oooohhh and the housekeeper is included.

The house also comes with a very friendly dog called “Botsoy”. I miss having a dog…..

Wednesday 10th February:

Busy morning.

John (The Pom) and Patnalin (Thai partner) dropped in for a catch up. John was married to Yolanda (Local) who died tragically in a motorcycle accident a few years ago. Yolanda was our landlord while we were here last.

John also lent me a motorcycle (An old Thunder Monster) so went and picked that up.

Ron (The Yank) also dropped in for a catch up. He currently has a busted shoulder so can’t drive. He is famous for his “Trips round the island” for visitors.

He also had a pacemaker fitted since we’re last here. Hasn’t slowed him down at all. Those of you who have been here will know what I’m talking about.

I spent the afternoon cruising the coast. I dropped in to see our old cottage where we stayed for three years. Sadly it has fallen into a state of disrepair.

Also called in to see our block of land. All good although very overgrown. The Nipa hut we built on the block (5 years ago) is still standing fine. It has weathered all the Typhoons and fallen trees.

Thursday 11th February:

Spent a very interesting morning with Gil the artist (Sandy & Brian the graphite pen man). Gil spent many years living in the USA and found himself on the wrong side of the law, which led to him “doing time”.

He has turned his life round and is utilizing his “forgery” skill to now carving Ostrich eggs which all tell a story of a part of his prison life. These masterpieces are sent to the USA and sold through a gallery. The going price is $14,000 USD per egg. Each egg can take over 100 hours to carve.

They are awesome masterpieces with such intricate artwork and to have Gil tell me the story of the two eggs he has currently completed made my visit even more special.

Guy and I then made our way to John the Pom’s place for a late lunch. Ivan (Fellow Aussie) was also there so good to catch up with him as well.

Finished the day at the Cathedral on the hill over looking Gasan and the sunset over the sea.

Friday 12th February:

Had my first ever pedicure and manicure this morning. It did take a while for the lady to clean up my crusty old toe and fingernails. But she did an awesome job. They feel and look like new and all for $3.00.

Then it was on the Thunder Monster and off to Buenavista (30mins away) to check that our “council rates” were in order for our block. It transpires that we still have two more years to go before they are due as we paid five years in advance when we left in 2013. We thought it was only three.

Mind you at $1.00 (yes $1.00) a year for 3,000 square meters of land on the beach, it is acceptable.

On the way home we called into our block, as Guy wanted to have a look. As luck happens the new owners of the Japanese house were there. They are from Canada (She is Filipino and he is French Canadian).

Had a good chat to them and looking forward to having them as neighbors in a few years.

Oooohhhhh and we had our first brownout today. Only lasted 20 minutes ish so not too bad.

Saturday 13th February:

Leisurely morning as we rode to Boac (Capital and 30 minute ride) where Guy had a foot spa and I wandered round the township.

It was interesting to see the market area. Three years ago it was made of a random selection of huts but it worked. They have now built a new market out of concrete and steel that is two storeys high.

The new market was all closed and the old market has just moved out the back of the new one. So not much has changed market wise.

Finished the day with a 2 hour massage from our massage lady (Cost $8.00).

Life is good.

Trevor & Guy