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Week 12 : Not just a vacation anymore

November 24, 2008 - Filed under Scuba Diving, Stuff to do, Weekly Report

It’s starting to feel like we actually live here now, and not just like an extended vacation. We’re starting to get into a bit of a routine and things are feeling really comfortable. It’s also been almost a month since we’ve done anything really ‘touristy’.  So when Cita, the woman who owns our house, asked if we wanted to join her and some friends on a day trip to Bias, to go dolphin watching we jumped at the chance.

Dolphin watching in Bias has been on our list since we got to Dumaguete, but we hadn’t managed to make it up there yet.  We hadn’t figured out the best way to get to Bias and arrange the boat trip, and we also weren’t sure when was the best time to actually see dolphins. The ‘tourist trail’ in the Philippines is significantly under-developed compared to a lot of countries we’ve travelled to. It can be hard to find specific information on arranging travel and sorting out details, so when Cita invited us along, we were quite happy to let her do the organizing. Read More…

Posted by: Shim

Searching for a dive computer in the Philippines

November 18, 2008 - Filed under Scuba Diving

Since I learned to scuba dive it’s become apparent that I need a dive computer. They’re just too useful. Keeping track of your dive time, adjusting your O2 levels for Nitrox dives, watching your no-decompression time. All these things can be estimated the old fashioned way by using the US Navy dive tables, but it’s just too much effort when you can use a dive computer instead.

Kelly bought herself a Suunto Mosquito dive computer before we left, anticipating the amount of diving she’d be doing. They’ve recently been discontinued, so she got a great deal on it (around $350CDN, usually $500). It’s a nice watch sized dive computer that she can wear anywhere, with all of the common dive planning and analysis features.

Since learning to scuba dive, I’ve been using a Suunto Gecko which is a large display, entry level dive computer that I’m renting from the dive shop. It’s basic, but has both air and Nitrox modes and logs all the depth and time information about my dives for my log book. Read More…

Posted by: Shim

Week 11: Getting settled in Dauin

November 18, 2008 - Filed under Eats, General, Scuba Diving, Weekly Report

We love the new beach house we’re renting. This week has been all about getting set up in our new place. We went into town on Tuesday to stock up on food and get a few other essentials. We had a rice cooker in our last rental at the resort and I don’t know how we survived without one before. They’re invaluable! They take the guess work out of making rice and go into warming mode when the water has been absorbed or evaporated. Not to mention how light and fluffy the rice is. I recommend everyone get one.

I finally found a French press to make coffee at HyperMart, which is the local Costco equivalent of a warehouse with everything from appliances and furniture to groceries. Now if I could just find a decent supply of ground coffee. I’ve found I can buy a small bag or two now and again at the market, but it’s sometimes hit or miss. Whole beans are available in many markets, but I haven’t found a coffee grinder yet. Freeze dried instant coffee is the norm here. I want no part of that. Programmers need high test rocket fuel to function. Read More…

Posted by: Shim

Random Factoid: Metal rings around palm trees

November 18, 2008 - Filed under Random Factoid

The metal band around a palm tree is to stop rodents from climbing the tree to eat the palm fruit. We initially thought it might be to assist climbing for harvesting or to keep the tree skinnier as it grows… Apparently not. :)

Posted by: Shim

We moved. To a beach front house in Dauin.

November 14, 2008 - Filed under General, Travel

Ah, paradise. This is what we were searching for. After 2 months in the Philippines, looking high and low for the ideal apartment, hut, beach house, or resort to call home… we’ve finally found it.

Puerto Citas is just minutes down the beach from the El Dorado Beach Resort where we were previously staying. When we first arrived in Dumaguete, we scoured the Dauin area looking for places to stay because of the active diving scene in the area. Our first impression of Puerto Citas from the beach was, “That looks expensive.” Shame on us for not looking into it further! As Kelly mentioned in her last post, we ran into the previous occupants after they had decided to move out and they corrected our assumption. It’s actually a reasonable price considering the size of the place… and that’s what we’ve come to value in the last 2 months. For $400 a month we had rented a 1 room studio, which is a steal compared to rent in Vancouver… but after a month or two, that room became small and uncomfortable. With us living and working in the same space, it quickly became a challenge since there was just no area to relax or when necessary, be productive. So, we opted to double our rent and move out of the resort and into a larger space. Read More…

Posted by: Shim

Week 10: Finding a new place to live in Dauin

November 11, 2008 - Filed under Scuba Diving, Weekly Report

Another week gone by. Week 10! I can hardly believe how fast time is flying. This week was mostly spent working and looking for a new place to live.  Both of us had a few work projects on the go, and finding a new home has been top of the list for a couple weeks now. I’ve actually been a bit surprised at how hard it’s been to find something decent. I realize we have a lot of things on our list of wants/needs, but for some reason I thought it would be a little easier.

Much like we did when we first arrived in Dumaguete, we checked out a couple of cafes where they have a few listings posted. One place in particular, the “Why Not Bar”, seemed promising at first, but we quickly realized most of their listings were for show, and not much was actually available. We did a few more searches online, and even resorted to the old fashioned walk/drive around looking for ‘for rent’ signs.   Just as we were beginning to give up and start looking at other options, (such as heading to Thailand earlier than we thought) we found something. It turns out, as with most things in life, it’s all about who you know. Read More…

Posted by: Kelly

Tanduay Taste Test – Rhum ron, rum.

November 10, 2008 - Filed under Drinks

Well, what else is there to do on a Sunday? Here’s our review of the locally produced Filipino rums. Well, everything that was available… Except for the white rum, which doesn’t count because its invisible. ;)

** Note, this taste test is amateur at best. There was no rinsing of glasses. No spitting. No extended pinky fingers… and no monocles.
Read More…

Posted by: Shim

How we moved to a tropical paradise

November 5, 2008 - Filed under Planning, Travel

Some of our readers have asked us, “Why did you move to the Philippines?” To which we often laughingly reply, “Why not?” Kelly and I both had a serious case of the travel bug shortly after our trip to Brazil a year ago and we had decided that we would (and could!) turn nomadic freelancing into a full time reality.

The real answer is; it came down to almost a year of planning and research. Weighing the best locations to live long term and cheaply in a tropical destination with reliable internet access. Many of our original preconcieved expectations were adjusted over that period. I remember initially thinking, “I can live like a king for next to nothing!” and “Wouldn’t a hut with sand floors, right on the beach be perfect?”… and while both of those are still ideals we’re searching for, we’ve settled for a more realistic situation combining the right measure of cost and comfort together with the necessities needed to carry on business in a country with substantially less IT infrastructure than we have at home. Besides, who can type in a hammock?
Read More…

Posted by: Shim

Week 9: Back in Dauin

November 3, 2008 - Filed under Scuba Diving, Weekly Report

When we last updated you guys we had just arrived back in Dauin after spending a week in Boracay. With only a few days left before Halloween, and no plans yet we decided to head into town and wrangle up some costumes. Those of you that know me, know I love halloween, so I have to admit that this year was a little strange celebrating in a country that barely even notices it. Read More…

Posted by: Kelly