Six Months Retired Report

Actually I’ve been retired 5+ months, but 6 sounds better and when you’re retired who the hell keeps track of time. Nonetheless  it seemed like a good time to report about the boredom of retirement.

Let me think about what Janet and I have done since the 1st of May. We prepped our house in Portland for sale and listed it. We personally handled about half the open houses, giving us both confidence that we too could be realtors – if we were out of our minds. We cleaned obsessively (well, that was mostly Janet). We schemed how we could sell a house that we were assured would fly off the market (it didn’t). We worried – a lot. Who says retirement means no stress.

Finally we sold the old homestead and after a pleasant stay with some friends, a week later we were on a 20 hour plane ride to Cebu, followed by a 5 hour bus ride to our new home in Dumaguete.

We arrived at the Hermogina Apartments; our apartment was as advertised and reasonably pleasant. We immediately discovered the joys of Robinson’s Mall, since we had virtually nothing for the apartment. There’s been barely a day the last two months we haven’t been back to Robinson’s at least once.

While we intended to rest and take some time before starting a search for a house rental, we didn’t. 64 years of no rest mode meant we were anxious to find a rental house and a car. We scored both within a few weeks of arriving in Dumaguete. But an unfurnished rental house meant we had pretty much nothing other than an empty house. Appliance and furniture shopping followed and we scored some nice things at decent prices.

Just as importantly we shopped for an Internet provider. The Philippines is notorious for poor and slow Internet and most expats complain (sometimes bordering on whining) about it. I expected the same. The Internet at the Hermogina Apartments was slow but adequate. Since neither Janet nor I are gamers or downloaders of porn (lol) our speed needs are modest. We found a new service in our neighborhood and so far my connection is much faster than what I had in Portland. I try to be very careful about speaking about this too much here, since I do not wish to get kicked out of the expat community. So when anyone talks about their lousy Internet I just nod in agreement (while giggling to myself). This said, I know things do change quickly in the Philippines.

After 6 weeks or so our 9 balikbayan boxes arrived from the US. For a few pesos we were able to convince LBC to deliver them to the new house rather than the apartment; try doing that with UPS or Fed-EX! So now we had a houseful of crap and spent the next few weeks in frustration, trying to figure out how to organize it all. Oh, did I mention that unfurnished in the Philippines often means no cabinets and closets. Plastic boxes are plentiful and in every imaginable size and shape here.

So now that we have been in the house about a month it’s actually taking shape. The 3rd bedroom which will be my shop and tiny office, seems to be the trickiest but I’m getting there. Another six months and I might actually be able to start building guitars here.

In the midst of all this we are still planning to build or purchase a house and are doing research on what, where and how much. And Janet has some business issues in her hometown of Alcoy which has taken her back there a few times.

I have also spent the last two months re-learning how to drive. Driving in the Philippines is not the same as in Portland. The closest example I can think of is when I spent a year in NYC, but it’s even crazier than that.  I have no words to describe it really; it has to be experienced. But so far I haven’t killed anyone and it may be the masochist in me – but I am kind of enjoying it.

In case anyone reading this thinks I am just listing complaints – I am not. I am having a blast! So I will add the times I have been at the beach and went into the warm ocean, the nice pools we have discovered, the varied restaurants and sights we have taken in. There hasn’t been much time for socializing, but we’ve met a few people and look forward to more of that. In fact, we have company coming over this afternoon for the first time since we moved into the house.

In short, I haven’t been bored for a second. Boredom isn’t in my nature in general but for those who worry that retirement in the Philippines might be boring – it’s been anything but.

We’ve also got a second bedroom set up as a guest room. Our first guests will be here in a couple weeks and I expect once the word gets out we might have a small stream of guests come by.

Oh, and one more thing. I’ve spent part of the morning chasing a Huntsman spider here in my shop/office. Apparently this thing does not want to die and despite their size they hide very well. So as the cliche goes it’s more fun in the Philippines!

14 thoughts on “Six Months Retired Report”

  1. That sounds like a wonderful retirement, Dave! I hope you and Janet are having and will continue to have the time of your lives in the Philippines.

    I wonder, what the percentage of expats in Dumaguete is, and what would be their average age, as you once said you’re “one of the young ones”. Are there a lot of ‘Mestizo’ kids and would you say, the place is family-friendly to live?

    Maybe in another update you could share some pictures of the beach or your new dwellings. I am sure it looks spectacular. Enjoy!

    1. Thanks Mariano.
      As to age: my comment that I was a young one was of course sarcastic. As my wife reminds me, I am just as old as most of the others. I was commenting that there are some old looking guys here but I might be upset if I asked their age and found out they are as old as me lol.

      Honestly, there are plenty of aged expats but I also see guys in their 40s and some young ones too.

      The Philippines in general is family friendly, meaning that family is very very important here. Depending on who you talk to and what kind of family they have that can be considered good or bad. For me it’s been good. Janet has a great family.

      I have a YouTube Channel (very lightly viewed with some videos of the house). I will link them here as well.


      1. You’re welcome, Dave. On another note I don’t want to sound pushy especially since we’ve just ”met”, but I hope you will read the most recent post in my blog site. The topic is something that every American expat should know.

        1. Read it, Rick – thanks. My own financial institution told me not to tell them I reside abroad. I can travel and make transactions all I want but as you said if I told them I moved here bad things might happen. So I maintain a US address.

  2. I believe you will find driving there actually “less” stressful than in the U.S. I’ve been here on Guam for a few months now and tell the wife daily “I miss driving in the PI!” Anyway, you are a lucky guy having better internet than in the U.S. (I suspect the San Miguel is distorting your perspective). For what it is worth, things will eventually slow down and you will find your “new” pace. Maybe a ferry boat ride will be in store for us in the future. Good luck with that Huntsman!

    1. Hi Randy:

      The pace is slower but there has been plenty to do to keep us occupied. Eventually we will find a routine now that we’re mostly settled. As I said in the piece, I didn’t want to sound like I am complaining – I am loving it – just that I am not bored and have plenty to do.

      Will be going to Moalboal in a couple weeks, so that ferry ride is definitely in our future!

  3. Hello Mr. Dave. Your blog is amazing. I will go to visit my girl in December after my classes are done. I will arrive to Bacolod City. The tips for dealing with trike drivers was amazing and so funny. Well I guess that it’s true that everything is funnier in the Phils. Please, write more tips. I am getting prepared to be in there. My girl told me that I can pass as a ‘mestizo’, so it will be less chances for someone to take advantage of me, hahahaha. BTW, is there a limit of cash that I can bring with me when I go into the Philippines and I need to declare?


    1. Thanks – Glad you’re liking the blog. Haven’t been to Bacolod yet but it’s on our list of places to go now that we are in Negros.

      Happy to provide more tips, though as with everything else they are just my perspective and you should take them with a grain of salt!

      Enjoy your trip in December and let me know how it’s going.

    2. Re: Cash. I believe the rule is up to 10,000 dollars. I have never traveled with that amount. Anything less you do not need to declare.

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