My most profuse apologies for not updating the site in a while! It actually wasn’t incipient laziness this time – I was actually a bit busy moving to a more rustic location away from the roosters and rampaging tricyles of the city! That’s right, dear reader, a few days ago your favorite blogger made the transition from living in Dumaguete City to the quaint little seaside village of Dauin which lies some 20 kilometers south. A local Filipino who works actively with the expats here – John Paul – called me about three weeks ago out of the blue and said that he had found the perfect place for me. Intrigued, I traveled down to visit the location with him and as soon as I saw the house I realized that I wanted it . Now don’t get me wrong: I actually like living in Dumaguete but the heat, the dust, and the swelling population of the city was getting to be just a little too much. Dumaguete had basically gone from a city of 90,000 people four years ago to a city of approximately 130,000 today; and with no increasing capacity in infrastructure the streets, highway and thoroughfares have simply become waaaaay too congested. Add to that the noise of the barking dogs, crowing roosters, and 6000 watt karoake machines, and I realized it was simply time for me to move on. I lived three months in Dumaguete, and it was time for the next chapter in my great Philippine adventure.
My New Digs in Dauin!
Morning sunrise – time to get up.
Front of house – facing ocean.
Some cool growing things in yard.
Dauin lies approximately 22 km south of Dumaguete City. It is a small municipality which boasts a massive amounts of resorts that serve the nearby diving areas of Apo Island and the marine sanctuary, considered by many to be one of the top ten scuba diving destinations in the world. These resorts vary and level of luxury with some bare bottom one’s costing US $30 a day and others costing up to US $350 per day. A large number of expats also live in Dauin nestled away in little (or large) compounds, homes and apartments along the seaside. One of first thing I noticed is the near constant breeze coming off of the ocean. My first night here the temperature went down to 76°F – by comparison the lowest the temperature got in my apartment in Dumagete was approximately 85°F. It was such a difference that the next day my overly sensitive self had to go and purchase a light blanket.
Coconut palms in yard.
More things growing.
A disadvantage of living in Dauin is simply being so far from the city – but I have a car and a motorcycle and it only takes 25 to 35 minutes to drive up to the city to go shopping at the malls or at the local Hypermart (big supermarket). Another disadvantage – that I’m slooowly getting used to – is that the native material house in which I live does not have any screens so every night has basically been like an episode of National Geographic with sundry avian wildlife, geckos, tukos (giant, mutant geckos), flying beetles and other assorted creatures flitting hither and dither about the house. I have seen mosquitoes but there have been very few – I do burn a mosquito coil at night and I also sleep under a mosquito net. Dengue is prevalent in the Philippines as is malaria, so I’m just trying to protect myself as much as possible. ( I have also heard that both malaria and dengue are great weight loss programs!)
Low speed internet tower – 1 MB.
But enough about that, let’s get on to my new digs.
The house in which I live sits on 1.5 hectares and is filled with dozens of towering coconut palm trees. It is surrounded by a wooden and steel wire fence and flanked on both sides by wrought iron metal gates. Security to the compound is provided by two dogs, a Doberman named Foxy and a pit bull named Spike. The dogs are actually very friendly if they know you, but they will bark and attack any strangers that try to get over the gate or the fence. I actually enjoy having the dogs – since it since I am living alone they provide me some company and like to walk with me around the compound and along the beach. The house itself is approximately 40 meters from the ocean which makes for a pleasing lullaby of wind through the palms and gently crashing surf. The beach right in front of the house is a mix of rock and sand – it used to be all sand, but the entire seashore in this part of Negros was rearranged two years ago by tropical storm Sendong. Still, it is good for laying out, and the water makes for quite a refreshing dip on a hot sunny afternoon. And although it’s not formally on the Marine Sanctuary, there is some decent snorkeling right off the beach. Apo Island – the diving destination I mentioned before – sits approximately 8 kilometers off the beach. From the beach on a clear day I can see the islands of Cebu , Bohol, Apo, Siquior and Mindanao.
Home security system – just add food.
The house itself has two levels: The first floor contains a living room attached kitchen area/dining area, a guest room (which presently serves as my closet), a Western bathroom with hot and cold water, an expansive front porch (also called a sala) that has a number of chairs and sofas, a rocking chair and a massive four speaker karaoke system. Off of the porch there is a another bedroom which is most likely used as a helper’s quarters. Next to that is a concrete and steel garage which – when sealed up – also serves as a fairly sturdy storm shelter. The second floor is composed entirely of a master bedroom. Accessible from the bedroom is another – albeit smaller – porch which has a nice view looking out over the ocean. The owner of the house – a Canadian name Steve who recently returned to Canada – left me an assortment of cool things to play around with, among them a kayak with a glass bottom, the huge karoake system, two 47 inch plasma TVs, and a nice assortment of appliances and furnishings.
Where the magic happens – must be broken. 🙁
Dining/Living room area.
Guest room/ my closet.
Plasma and PS3, baby!
Karoake on front porch.
Electric water system in shower. Hope it’s grounded.
I have no electric bill as I am harnessing the power of the sun. Power to the house is provided by a twelve panel solar array and since the sun shines nearly every day down here, there is more than enough juice to run the place. There is provision to utilize the local electricity grid in case of extended cloud cover, but I have not had to do that yet. The solar array and batteries are also going to be of use in the face of any eventual brownouts (local term for blackouts). I also have no water bill as the water to the compound is provided from a well. I have a 1 MB internet connection which is adequate and costs me $22 a month and my cable television costs approximately 7 dollars per month. Monthly rent for the property is 15,000 pesos which is equivalent to approximately US $340. What’s nice about living this close to the ocean is that you don’t need to utilize air conditioning as the native material house does not retain heat and its open air design makes good use of the near constant cool breezes coming off of the water.
The power of the sun!!
Washing machine, pump, storage tank.
When you want a rocking chair and punching bag at same time.
The craftsmanship of the native material used in the house is rather remarkable. I will provide some photos in an upcoming blog entry so that you can get a better understanding of just how intricate the detailing is on the woven palm panels. Native construction is also inexpensive and it is more suited to a tropical environment then heavy concrete and steel construction which tends to retain heat and can also be more dangerous and an earthquake.
Got to have a grill, man.
Even though I have only been here four days, I am very happy so far. I am still getting used to the lack of screens in the windows but that – and the half-hour commute to town – are my only possible complaints. It is very peaceful here in the southern coast of Negros Oriental makes for a VERY relaxing environment.
Front covered area in front of actual garage.
More greenish things growing in yard.
Foxy and Spike on the job.
You can see a video tour of the house that I posted up on you to. Again, the quality isn’t that great as I am still learning how to make decent video so cut me some slack. 🙂 You can see it at here on Youtube.
Ingat! (Take care!)
Wishing well – wish I had screens…… 🙂
My neighbor – cool nipa house.