Routine Pilipino Style

29 Jul

So I had the chance to visit my little angel again in Boracay. Four weeks down in the Pilipinas, on the paradise island. But what should I be doing all this time? After one week a comfortable routine slowly installed itself:

The view from my Boracay office for the coming weeks

The view from my Boracay office for the coming weeks

6am – wake up ceremony

Breakfast in Boracay - mmmm

Breakfast in Boracay - mmmm

We get up in the morning at the ungodly “hour of 6” (as they express time here), because teachers & kids here start school at “30 minutes past the hour of 7” in the morning. Add to this that my ‘darling-ko’ is not of the fastest in the morning… humming around, arranging things, getting ready & beautiful, in their oversized school uniform (obligatory looking like a clown).

But this early one hour allows for making yummy American pancakes – forget about the crispy crèpes, it’s the thick ones here (lots of US influence here) or French toast (the only way I can down the sweet sponge bread here). But as a plan B (in case I can’t cope with 6am), I got a pack of overpriced muesli as backup &  comfort  food, and a  litre of milk of 2 € !! because there is no natural yoghurt (only artificially flavoured and sweetened, at exorbitant prices).

So what fruits shall i have today?

So what fruits shall i have today?

So if bread and dairy products are dear to you, the Philippines would be a challenge for you (as it is for me). On the other hand, the nice thing down here is the fresh tropical fruit for hardly any money at all. So the big dilemma with pancakes and muesli in the morning is, whether to put oh finger-licking mangoes on top, incredibly sweet señorita bananas, white-hearted mangosteen, yummy lansones with bitter seeds inside (never saw those before), juicy papaya or smelly durian (the queen of all fruits).

7h15 – bye bye darling – hello beach

Second Sleep - on the deserted raked beach under the coconut trees

Second Sleep - on the deserted raked beach under the coconut trees

So my hunky-dory hops on the back of a motorcycle-taxi or in a tricycle if it’s raining (rainy season here now) to ride to school, even though it is only a 15min walk. You can’t make it as a teacher to ‘walk’ to school – that’s not prestigious enough. Maybe it is also about acquired status? If you had to walk to school for miles all your life at some stage you move on and up. Or it’s to keep the uniform clean (not sweating)? So even though a teacher’s salary is not that high, my friend still spends a meal’s worth of money on transportation per day (40 peso=0.70€). I just walk ;-)

So that’s the time that I get ready… for the beach. It is just gorgeous to go to the beach at 7h30 in the morning, when they just cleaned the rubbish, raked the sand and put the pillows on the recliners under the straw parasols. And hardly anybody there, except some crazy joggers (hm, maybe I should take them as a good example for me…) Instead, I snuggle up with a book on one of the beach-beds, order a fresh mango-shake, or a choco-banana shake, or papaya shake, or or or ‘sigh’… and fall asleep after a little while (recovering from waking up sooo early). Till the sun appears from behind the palm trees and slowly starts burning my feet, then licking my calves, then scratching my thighs and then I wake up – around 10h30.

11am – working and sweating

Working hard in my Boracay working suit

Working hard in my Boracay working suit

Then it’s time to start my working day. No better way to start it, than with a dip in the gently refreshing turquoise waves in the awaking sun. A shower later I switch on my laptop, still dripping wet and connect to the omni-present wifi. I make a vague attempt at drying myself, but minutes later I’m wet again… with sweat. I tend to believe it is because of the hard work, but it’s probably the result of 33-37° C. So those that were already in awe that sometimes I go to work in shorts, I can tell you that here I have the privilege to work in less than shorts… and a fan on max to keep me and my computer from overheating.

I think I’ve found the perfect job: copywriting. Because it only takes an internet connection and you’re set to go. I write my texts and upload them or send them via email. I can even send my clients my invoices per email, at the same time as living a relatively cheap life in paradise. So with one day’s writing I can afford a month’s stay in our appartment here. Three days of work and I’ve written my air fare together. Half an hour of pen productions for a fancy meal for two. Not bad…

Mostly I forget lunch, because I really just woke up around lunch time (noon) and also because there are not many ‘luncheable’ things EXCEPT I have found a way to get brown bread (real non-spongy) bread and cheese (even though the 3 kinds they have cost about three times as much as back home). The bread involves a challenging communication process with the staff of the restaurant downstairs. They can order it from some Italian on the island, apparently, but it is never clear when it will arrive, so we order it a few days in advance and drop by the restaurant every half day to ask if the bread arrived. But when it finally does, it tastes ten times better!

18h (6pm for the pinoy & Americans) – badminton at sun set

Badminton challenge on the beach

Badminton challenge on the beach

Anywhere between 17h and 19h, my pumpkin gets off work, depending on surprise meetings, emergency meetings, parent meetings, unnecessary meetings etc. Even though the initial idea was that I would cook on weekdays (because at home) and my friend on the weekends, I think we’re slowly giving up on this idea. Because it involves going shopping in one of the two supermarkets, where you can’t find anything except pre-processed food (cans, sachets, corned, dried, condensed, soluble,…) – and getting meat from the ‘wet market’ where temperatures (and the meat) are above 30° as anywhere else on the island. And cooking in this heat is not the ‘coolest’ option either…

Instead, if it’s not raining, we go play badminton on the beach, to relax from a heavy day’s work. I’m sure those badminton sessions are great for my badminton skills, as you don’t only have to plough through the loose white beach sand but you also have to take into account the wind direction and strength. And you need to compensate for the number of strings broken on your racket. So if we even manage to play a decent game like that, imagine what it will be like at the Brussels Games in September on a real court, with a net, with intact racquets and shuttles, and dressed… (in sport shoes & sport clothes I mean).

Breathtaking sunsets

Breathtaking sunsets on White Beach

Around 6 – 6h30 the sun is slowly disappearing into the sea, turning the sky in a fine-arts painting. Because of sheer awe, the only thing you can do is to sit down at one of the beach bars gawking into the sky, and ordering a happy hour cocktail for about 0.50-1€ per glass… Those sunsets do something to you: you automatically reach for your camera (as hundreds do simultaneously), and shoot and shoot and shoot, as you want the spectacle to last forever. So that’s why there’s sooo many sunset pictures on my blog.

Dinner & TV

One cocktail one euro - very happy hour(s)

One cocktail one euro - very happy hour(s)

As it’s rainy season, the clouds often build up during the heat of the day, and the sluices of heaven open in the evening. So there’s nothing much to do than to hide inside. Time for cooking or going for dinner. And TV… Hm, I haven’t really come to terms with TV here in Phils, because I get frustrated because of the ‘Taglish’ in which every half a sentence is in English, but they finish the sentence in Tagalog (or the other way around). So you’re relieved you understand something, but then the Tagalog sets in and you’re completely lost again. It’s like they’re doing it on purpose to tease/annoy the foreigners…

So thank Buddha there’s the international channels. Well, not that I understand much of Al Jazeera, CCTV (Chinese) or the Korean channels (lots of Koreans here). Rai only show’s babes in skimpy outfits talking nonsense, TVE internacional rattles away so quickly it isn’t understandable anymore, TV5 monde thinks is talking lots but saying nothing, BBC turns everything into a drama, so luckily there’s still Deutsche Welle – but, as most of the international channels they repeat the same things all over again. So maybe I should just stick to my books

22h – bed time… but no sleeping?

If I’m supposed to get up at 6h, I better get to bed at ten. And we do. But sleeping is a different story. Partly because of the sweltering temperature (30°). So we put on the fan. The fan however makes a lot of noise. Luckily I brought ear plugs. The steady current of air on my body, gives me muscle aches, so I cover myself with a sheet. So it is even more hot… (and lying next to your beloved one probably doesn’t cool down things either ;-)

That’s life in the tropics for you… So you better think twice before you give it a go! ;-)

I discovered the panorama function on my camera...

I discovered the panorama function on my camera...

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2 Responses to “Routine Pilipino Style”

  1. chris 29 July 2010 at 16:08 #

    I do admire your capability of writing! it’s neat, funny and well constructed. I get lost all the time when I pick up a pen or start to tap on my keyboard. That’s why I have only got 5 pages so far of my thesis!!!!

    writing requires, not only talent, but also a pair of shape eyes and a brain that stimulates sensibility about things taking place around you!!! I think you have them all.

    Enjoy your paradise and hello from Brussels!!!!

  2. Tony Geudens 29 July 2010 at 23:43 #

    Hey Chris, of course you can always consider renting me to write your thesis – hehehe ;-)
    Thanx for the nice comments, see you after this adventure.

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