We arrived back home on Christmas Eve, just this last 2017. It clearly wasn’t enough time to prepare for our annual family Christmas get-together. We did manage to have some close family over and cooked up a spaghetti dinner… what else? Here in the Philippines, spaghetti is a meal usually served on the more festive occasions. Only we don’t cook it up with that sweet Filipino style spaghetti sauce and hot dogs like Filipinos do. We cook up “real” Italian styled sauce with either ground-beef or meatballs, onions, bell peppers and mushrooms. Everyone sure likes our spaghetti but just can’t figure out how to cook it our way (it’s all in the spices, not to mention cost prohibitive).
Anyway, Christmas came and went and we handed out the traditional candy on Christmas Day to all the children who came knocking on the door. Because Santa generally doesn’t visit the Philippines (GPS issues), it is customary for children to receive gifts of candy from the neighbors on Christmas morning. Don’t forget to read my last post (link below) about our Christmas Day experience.
The next couple weeks were spent taking care of the house and the pets (dog and 3 cats). Maintenance here in the tropics is always an issue, and anything that is built with unskilled labor and cheap Chinese products is even more nightmarish. With us, our maintenance consisted of mostly cleaning as dust and mildew really sets in when you cut back on the air conditioning. We had our caretaker run the air for a couple of hours per day, which was clearly not enough. This time we will double that just to keep the moisture down. We typically never open our windows because we have no screens (and the house is kept aircon’d) and also to keep many of the bugs, mosquitoes and TERMITES out! Because our furniture is imported, termites have their eyes keenly set on getting at it… some how. I did manage to reset one of the toilets as the wax ring seemed to have broken down and mosquitoes were entering the house from the septic tank. Got that taken care of quickly! Over the course of our time here, the wife has washed our entire wardrobes, all linens, and now is frantically trying to finish up washing all the throw pillow covers and couch-cushion covers before we leave. Me, I just sit idly by and type about it all! I did manage to get some much-needed yard work accomplished though.
During our stay, we kept rather busy with many trips to town for rations and supplies. While I got a couple of trips to the “Singing Dentist” in, we also attended 3 barangay fiestas (plus 5 days of our own barangay fiesta), one wedding, several lunches with friends, a meet-and-greet with a couple of new expats, and an exploration trip or three to the new Gaisano Grand Mall in Calbayog City. One of my wife’s BFF’s from Florida dropped in for a few days, on her way to visit family in Tacloban. I was also able to drop a line and sinker in the water at the Coral Reef Resort but as usual, I did do a good job keeping the fish well fed and I caught nothing but a rain shower. I never accomplished my planned dive trip, nor did I do any snorkeling, but I did take a couple of long “low-tide” walks with the dog on our beach. I will be posting a video about that soon. We still have another expat luncheon to attend plus another expat wedding and reception the day before we are scheduled to leave. Rest will come when I board that long 3.5 hour flight from Manila to Guam… with a long nap afterwards.
Our 9 week visit was short and wet, as it rained a good part of the first 4 weeks we were here. An unusual tropical storm that passed to our south this week (just clipped Northern Mindanao) also brought with it 3 days of steady rains. For the most part, the weather has been somewhat cooler than normal… maybe because all the rain. So in a few short days it will be back to Guam, “Where America’s Day Begins” and the land of Milk and Honey. (Okay… steaks, pizza and real milk.) We will pick up on our bowling league, attend more fiestas, do some snorkeling and have some beach BBQs. And I might even drink a few San Miguels. (There is a wonderful beer selection on Guam, including SMB!) I will also welcome internet speeds faster than a speeding turtle!
We are about half-packed but not quite ready to leave. We still have a few days left. The pets can already sense that something is happening and they seem to be “shadowing” us around the house, more so than usual. They will be missed and they will miss us, I’m sure. The house is clean and things have been stowed and like General MacArthur so famously proclaimed, “Return, shall I.” No wait, maybe that was Yoda!
Recommended reading! – Oh So Many Visitors on Christmas Day!