Well, we have been in the new apartment for 6 weeks. I guess it is time to talk about it some. The house out in Oton was nice for a while, but there were some drawbacks that started to build up. Once they reached my last nerve – it was time to go. Being a bamboo house that means the roof and the walls were not actually attached, there were no windows, just window openings. So it was really like living outside when it came to temperature, bugs, rain, and everything was growing mold. There was a cat that decided to sleep in the nipa roof (thatch). And it kept clawing at the nipa and tore giant holes in the roof. We had numerous buckets out to catch the rain leaks. We had all the nipa replaced before we moved in and it lasted less than 1 year. All of this I could have lived with, easily. But the noise! I have never lived anywhere so loud. Here, they use big walls of speakers, not a simple stereo. So the bass boom, boom, boom, will carry for miles. We had 2 close neighbors and 2 distant neighbors that would play their bad techno 20 hours a day. Sometimes 2 or 3 would play at once. You can’t change these people so it was time to move. Even my landlady said she hated the noise and could not sleep… “but what can you do” is the Filipino answer for everything.
So we looked around and talked to other expats to find a quiet place. I would ask “is it Filipino quiet or foreigner quiet?” Only other foreigners knew what I meant ha ha. So an apartment was recommended by an expat. He had lived in the apartment for 18 months and just recently moved into a house in the same subdivision. He said it is foreigner quiet . It is in Mandurriao, which is in the city. From the old house it would take 1 hour on the jeepney to get to the mall in the city, now it takes 10 minutes. I like it.
Summer is just getting started and we noticed right away it is much hotter than the bamboo house. I was so busy looking for quiet I forgot to look for shade and drainage… yeah, it rained a little and already the dirt road flooded. It is going to be bad when the rainy season comes. But right now, as I said, it is summer. And HOT! First, there is no shade. Second, it is a hollow block (cinder block) building. The crappy blocks they make are more sand than cement so when they build walls they fill them with cement, for added strength. So you lose any insulation the air space may have had. And it is just a solid brick house – like living in an oven. Reminds of Auschwitz (What, too soon?). We have a window unit aircon for the bedroom, and a fan for every room.
The rent at the old house was p3,000 ($68 USD) a month, and the electric was p2,000 ($45). Well the apartment is p6,500 ($147) a month and our first electric bill was p3,500 ($79). The total is still very low from a US point of view – but it is double what we were paying. So it will play havoc with our already tight budget. I try to run the aircon as little as possible. I turn it on about an hour before bed and turn it off as I get out of bed in the morning. But it still runs 10-12 hours a day.
We had a water heater installed for the shower. But it is so hot right now even I don’t use it. Later it will be nice though. It is a small electric heater that mounts on the wall right next to the shower. Any of you that have been in the Philippines have probably seen them. A lot of smaller hotels use them. It gets surprisingly hot. So during the rainy season when the well water is cold, it will be nice to have. And me being American, my hair just doesn’t feel clean unless I wash it in warm water. It works so fast I cannot imagine it will use very much electricity. The heater cost about p6,000 ($136 USD). I also bought and hung a medicine chest. Unlike the flush mounted ones we have in America these are wall mounted, plastic, shelves. But it holds my shaving kit.
When we moved in cousin Rogena stayed a few nights to help unpack and setup the house. Very much appreciated. Then niece Bebe, and nephew Beboy came from Antique for a visit. Then nephew Gleo and a friend came. Now there are 6 of us in the house. The friend and Bebe left and sister Joy came. Then Gleo and Beboy left. And finally Joy left. So last night was the first night in 6 weeks Melane and I had the house to ourselves. I like the family and it is nice when they visit… but I was going crazy after 6 weeks of visitors ha ha. Melane seems sad they are gone.
In the kitchen there is a space, in between the cabinets, for the gas tank, and you just put the burners on the countertop. But that leaves a big empty wasted space. We got a piece of plywood so the burners are now above the gas tank. I have some white paint and will paint it later. I’ve been busy – you know being retired. The pans hang on the wall behind the burners. Not a bad setup. And there is tons of cabinet space! The old house had no useable cabinets.
We are pretty much unpacked. Which means the few things that have not been dealt with, probably never will! I had my DVD’s alphabetized before the dishes were all unpacked. And I got a table next to my computer desk as a practice area for magic. The 3 piece mirror lets me watch the front and both sides of my hands during practice. The internet finally got hooked up and is surprisingly fast. And using a VPN I can watch Netflix on my computer so I have too much to do now to finish unpacking. So the closet that got stuff thrown into it just to make room… will never get sorted out. You know how it is. Oh yeah, by the way, I claimed the 2nd bedroom as my office before she could make a guest room! I ain’t no dummy.
We are an easy walk to the wet market. But for as large as Mandurriao is their wet market leaves a lot to be desired. Oton had a great market area. I guess we are so close to the city there are enough other options so they don’t need as big a market. But I would love to have the Oton market here in Mandurriao. I wonder if they would trade? Nah…
We have trash pickup twice a week so no more burning trash. Also that means we can throw away bottles and cans that would not burn. So that is handy. But once I saw what the dump looks like outside Mandurriao… I am in favour of burning! What a nightmare. We are on well water, with a pressure tank. So no more filling up a rooftop water tank. I like having running water all the time. But that means during power outages there is no water, because we no longer have the rooftop tank that stored 50 gallons. We keep a few buckets of water filled up just in case. So during brownouts we will at least have toilet flushing water.
The apartment is not as quaint as a bamboo house, but it is more solid. Less bugs, but less airflow. Less noise, but less shade. Overall I am much happier with this place than the old house. We will have to see how Melane likes it – now that we finally have the house to ourselves. She will miss her family I am sure. I miss my family too but I did not live with them anymore. Both my kids moved away for college. Melane has always had her family right in the same house, or for the last year they were down the road. Now we will see how she takes it. I would still love to move to Subic or Cebu for the beaches and scuba diving… but she does not want to leave her island. We have her this far from her family, so one step at a time, right?
Here is a couple videos. Nothing major… just looking around