We’re settling in.


I’ve now got another form of Philippine transportation to show you.  This one, while unorthodox, is quite serviceable.

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Dump truck. 

See our stuff in the back?  Two rain barrels and a kitchen drawer set are visible, down in the bed are two boxes of household supplies and several bags of miscellaneous from around town.  Things like plumbing and electrical parts and groceries.

You see, Adam Ranit owns a mine, he’s mining and selling chromium ore.  (I’m very surprised, must be some metamorphic rock south of Guiuan).  I’m sure the digging is all by Philippine backhoe (hand labor), but you can’t haul ore on a person’s back.  It will never pay.  And it probably takes a few days for a load.  The truck sits around Asgad in between hauls.

We were told the day before that the jeepney for Asgad comes by at 4am.  So, we were up early to catch a jeep.  4am, no jeep.  5am, no jeep.  6am, still no jeep.  Bummer.  Finally at 6:30am one showed.  Absolutely covered with people.  Kids dressed in boy and girl scout uniforms.  I wasn’t taking my camera (because of the large amount of supplies we were purchasing) so I didn’t get a picture.  My non-Philippine readers would be rolling on the floor laughing at the sight.  Totally comical.  Of course it went on by.  The scouts were inside as the bus was chartered.  Anyone else that wanted to ride had to go on top.  There were even people hanging on the sides and door. 

Then came another big group on , what the hell?, a dump truck.  It was stuffed, but the cab had two seats by the driver.  And the driver?  Adam.  He offered us the seats to the main road and yet another jeepney passed us we boarded, the second jeep looking like the first.   We took those seats.  And off to Guiuan we went.

We dropped the scouts at a school outside of Salcedo.  Fifth and sixth graders attend these scout “camps” every year.  It is compulsory.  They spend a night “camping” at the school, but there are fun projects both days.   Kids pack bedrolls and food, some parents attend.  Only thing supplied by the camp is water. 

Once they were gone, Adam offered his services for the morning.  Hired!  One problem, how to haul our stuff back to Asgad, was solved.  That truck would haul more than enough.  Easy to unload.  I was hoping to charter a van to take our supplies back.  We were still getting our house together as it was bare of basic items.  (I later teased a shotgun toting guard at the Hypermart that we would just “dump” our stuff when we got home.  Quick to unload.  He was still chuckling as we pulled away!  I’ll bet these people think that Americanos are totally looney.)

We started out at the market, picking up fresh vegetables and fruit; later, some fresh fish.  I asked Praxy to get a fish that was bigger.  I’m tired of tiny ones.  I want to pick bones out of the meat rather than meat out of the bones.  Also got a cup of coffee and a little breakfast.  We split our list.  I sent Praxy to the Hypermart to start in, and I decide to walk from the market to Hypermart and hit the oddball stores.

Oddball… 1. Ant chalk-You draw around windows and doors, the poison keeps the little varmints out, or at least slows them down.   Checked two stores and two pharmacies, finally found it at the second pharmacy.  The stuff really works.  2. Hardware  Pluming fittings, electrical socket, tools.  3.  Furniture, checked out two stores on the way, but they were too expensive.  4.  Restaurants and hospitals, FMI, or for my information

After I was done, last was the ant chalk, I caught a 5 peso pedicab to the Hypermart.  Joke was on me, it was just around the corner.  About a two minute ride.  Hah, the driver got an easy 5 pesos.   We worked our way through the list, getting just about everything.  Adam got the ice and found our rain barrels.   Done.  Since it was 10am, time to return.  On the way back, Adam offered to rent his truck to us for trips to town.  What a novel way to go shopping!  I’m thinking the rate will be about 500 pesos for the day plus fuel.  Since it seems to be the ONLY thing available, we’ll probably do it once in a while.  It’s a five speed, not much larger than my personal 1994 Dodge 4X4 Ram diesel.  But much heavier.  Probably about the same weight as my Dodge with a 10,000lbs 5th wheel trailer on the back, 16,500lbs. 

I’ve been driving things like this since I was 16.  No problem.

I see things like this…Only in the Philippines.

To be fair, Adam confirmed my earlier surmise.  Guiuan is indeed rebuilding from Haiyan/Yolanda and at a rapid rate.  But the locals are still recovering financially and simply cannot afford things like cars.  Yet.  Motorcycles are common, many people own one.  This also accounts for the profusion of pedicabs in the downtown area.  Adam’s family are pretty well off, and their house wasn’t severely damaged in the typhoon.  But the contents were.  They got 6 feet of storm surge water in their house and had to flee to the second floor, where the roof was already long, long gone.  They don’t yet have a car, at least that I saw…

After we unloaded, a typical Asgad-Matarinao jeepney cruised by.

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Lots of room on this one, they must have dropped people off at Jagnaya.

And our walkway builders were making headway.

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Praxy was busy, so things weren’t going quite as I wanted.  Too much of a communication gap between them and me.  However, this afternoon, things have changed for the better.  A little micro-managing by my wife has produced this nearly finished product. 

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We have to spread the sand, but this is done.  Total cost?  About $25.  I’ll put in another picture after the sand is spread.  For being church rubble and beach sand, I think this is going to look pretty sharp!

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Meanwhile, Praxy is indulging in a well earned manicure/pedicure.  50 pesos, done by a lady from down the street.   She commented on the dish and I laughed.  Been a busy day and chores have languished.

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The rain barrels now have a home.  They had a funky smell in them, like booze or vinegar.  I think there might have been either bulk vinegar or bulk alcohol in them before we bought them.  I left them out overnight, hoping for a rain.  We got it.  Both were filled the next morning.  Doing a little math…

And I’m totally confused.  I need to know how many cubic inches in a gallon.  Or in a liter.  I don’t have internet access to get that information.  I came up with 1/4 inch of rain to fill the smaller eave, then forgot how I did it.  Oh well.

Last thing for this session.  I had the manicurist look over my wasted toenails.  I was soon in the chair wincing, squirming, and jumping.  My feet are ticklish, and I don’t ever let ANYONE touch my feet but me.  All my toenails are a mess and somewhat painful to trim.  My right big toe is an ingrown disaster (split down the middle while riding a bicycle in flip-flops as a stupid 9 year old kid) , the left big toe not much better (growing twisted after being messed up by a podiatrist).  And, she trimmed that nasty, scary double ingrown toenail away.  Painlessly.  Leaving two deep divots on each side of my toe.

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Cool!!  She told me (in Waray with Praxy translating), “You just don’t know how to properly trim it.  I need to do this weekly while you are here.”  OK, OK.  Totally chastised.  “Yes ma’am I’ll do it.  Every Sunday.”   And I’m adding something to my list of things to communicate back home.  A friend and co-worker has TERRIBLE ingrown toenails.  Bleeders.  Going to recommend he go to an Asian pedicurist in nearby Clarkston.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Well, that was the second to the last.  Back to the church paver walkway.  Praxy just up and told me the locals are indeed copying my idea.  They love it.  They came, saw and went.  To the flattened church. 

Church pavers are now heading all over Viejo Asgad to muddy areas and low spots.   Philippine people are amazing at using and reusing “useless” items, getting the most out of anything and everything, but I outthought them on this one.   I’m giving myself a pat on the back.  Hope I don’t sprain my shoulder.  I’ve been stealing their ideas since we got here, but now they are stealing one of mine.  I must be “Settling in”, and becoming one of the locals in the process.  Gonna end here and go have a look.  Then take a dip in the Pacific.

1:45pm 12/13/15  Asgad, Salcedo, Eastern Samar, Philippines

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About Ken

I am a federal employee that loves to travel. I don't get any time off during the busy salmon tagging season, March through November. So, I save my leave and explore the warmer parts of the world during the winter.
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