So we’re moving…yes…again. We’re going to our 3rd place already in less than 3 months in the Philippines. Sure, we knew the first place would be temporary (about 2 weeks), but we thought the second place would be our home for the reminder of our stay in the country. It was in Initao, it was by the beach, it sounded idyllic. Little did we know…
It was a small house by beach, within the compound of a white sand beach resort…sound like paradise right? Well, the house came with very wide and eclectic collection of bugs (we’ve been ambush a few times by ants..they’re surprisingly skilled at getting inside sealed container, we had our share of cockroaches, flying ones of course and… more ants).
We were promised an internet connection that never really materialized (our house was just a tad too far from the wifi so we couldn’t get a connection inside the house…we had to be outside, just in front to get a signal and that’s when there was a signal as most of the time it was down). Now, I know how this sounds, we’re spoiled “westerners” who cannot live for 5 minutes without accessing the web. Well, not quite, but understand that we’re relying on internet to stay in touch with friends and family, and also we’re working quite a bit from home and really need internet access for that.
We also found out that we would have found ourselves in the middle of a building site from early 2011 (turned out that the sister of the resort’s owner owns part of the land and she’s coming to claim it! To build cabins and a restaurant…and our place would be right in the middle of it all…).
And to top it all, our commute was just unmanageable (over 4 hours/day for Ann and about 5 hours for me).
So we decided to move. Back to Cagayan de Oro.
Luck or fate would have it that one of my colleague was away on holiday for about 3 weeks and he let us stay at his house (in Cagayan de Oro) for as long as we wanted while he was away. Beside allowing us to be in a very very comfortable house, it also meant that we didn’t have a 4-5 hours trip every time we had a potential new house to visit.
We found a house eventually and had to pick up our stuff from Initao. How to do that? Our stuff wasn’t just the 3 bags we came here with anymore, it now included a fridge, a stove, 2 fans, and dishes and cleaning buckets and what not (the beach house was unfurnished when we moved in…). The place where I volunteer has a multicab and the idea of borrowing it for the move came up…
Neither Ann nor me had driven in the Philippines and we didn’t exactly had an urge to do so but there was little choice. So I drove. We were advised not to drive as I don’t have a Philippine license (international license doesn’t work here apparently) and if we were caught by the local pulis (no spelling mistake) we’d be in trouble. We’d probably get a fine and maybe had to spend time at the police station. But we went ahead anyway. Again, little choice. We’d be leaving before the rush hour, coming back in the early hours of the morning, we’d be fine, so far the cosmos granted good fortune during our time here. “It will be fine” I proclaimed trying to be convince myself…
And overall it went well. Really. We didn’t get pulled over, no accident, no break down, no cops in sight even. We had to come back the same night though. The beach house was full of mold after two weeks being closed (but that’s another story) and we couldn’t sleep there. But in the end, it was better cause we came under cover of the night and were more incognito.
Of course, it goes without saying that it rained during the trip back, the tropical kind, the one that’s not “pretend” rain but the one where you don’t see 10 meters in front of you. But no worries, we carried on…we couldn’t exactly stop on the side of the road to wait for it to stop.
The donkey on the road was a bit puzzling though.
We were about 10 minutes from destination, on a back road with few signs and no street lights. We took that road only once before. We were in a taxi and it was daytime…so we weren’t 100% sure of where we were going, we had a general idea. And then it appear on the road. Not quite in front of us. It was in the opposite lane, but being a country road, it wasn’t very wide.
It was pouring rain, it was dark, and there was a donkey on the road! A donkey! Bit of a surreal sight for us, I slowed down and we both stare at the creature while passing it, asking each other “is that really a donkey?”. Yes it was. And he wasn’t bothered by anything. The guy owned the road, the rain and the night! And no one would disturb him. We went our separate ways.
Made it to the house, safe and sound, though our things were drenched. It was like the main event of the night wasn’t that we had successfully moved all our things (and that I had now driven on 3 continents (yes i totally planned to boast about this)) but that we had seen that donkey…That’s what put a smile on our face. The small things in life hey!