Camiguin Island

I have made several trips to Camiguin Island in the last 2 months and bought a lot there.  It is 3075 square meters which is .7598 acres. The lot is roughly square with the highway on one side and the ocean on the other side.  I have about 150 feet of beach property.  Unfortunately it is not a nice beach.  It has smooth river rock type rocks of various sizes.  The rocks that are under water have sharp barnacles or broken shells and coral or something on them.  They are sharp and cut both me and Les when we tried to swim there.  A pair of water shoes would help but we were barefoot at the time.  She got cuts on her feet. I tried going on all fours and got many cuts on my hands.  These were small like paper cuts but they were still painful.

There is a nice swimming beach about a mile away and a very nice swimming pool less than a mile away in the other direction.  Either one costs P25 (50 cents at current exchange rates) to use. I really like the ocean myself because it is warm and the sea water is so much more buoyant. Most Filipinos like a pool better because they can swim in the ocean anytime.

Camiguin is a small (about 92 square miles, Van Wert county is 410 square miles) and has about 90,000 people. Van Wert has about 29,000 people. Most of the people live on the highway that goes all the way around the island. When I say highway that means a two lane road similar to what US 30 was 50 years ago in Van Wert county.  They are in the very slow process of making it 4 lane though.  I expect it to be completed sometime about 2030.

My lot (actually two adjoining lots the guy bought at different times) has a 15 year old wood house on one side leaving a big area for me to build a new house from concrete and steel so the ants do not eat it.

The wood house has noticeable ant damage and I see lots of ants on it.

I paid $66,000 for the house and wood house.  I was hoping I could build a house for me for an additional $50,000 or so but as I am talking to the carpenter it looks like it will cost me about $120,000.  That will completely drain my 401K but I still have money from my house and farm sales to live on.

I am hoping to build a two story 4 bedroom home with 3 bathrooms.  Believe it or not 2 of the bedrooms will be for me.  The one we will use for now will be the only room on the second floor with a big bathroom, walk in closet (very rare in the Philippines) and a den where I can watch TV or use my laptop when I can not sleep when Les is sleeping.

One of the first floor bedrooms will be set up just like the one upstairs for when I can no longer use the stairs. That will also be the guest room until I move into it. After that the upstairs will be the guest room.

My house will have no steps or anything to impede a wheel chair. I want to be able to wheel right into the shower area.  Big doors and wide hallways.

Our store here in CDO helps our budget because it costs me $4 each time I use the ATM to get money from my American bank.  By having the store I use my debit card to buy most of our supplies from the supermarket that we sell.  I then use that money to pay our bills. Only the major stores here accept debit or credit cards.

I am really looking forward to living on Camiguin Island. It is very quiet and peaceful.  We are on what I would call the back side of the island away from the tourist areas so there are not very many people and almost no traffic.

If I were building a house in CDO I would NEED a concrete wall around my lot for safety and security.  That would cost at least $20,000.  On Camiguin I see a few walls but I do not feel like it is really required. To be any real use I feel a wall needs to be at least 12′ high.  I think a wall needs to be concrete with rebar.

I want my new house to be 100% maintenance free so I will put ceramic floor tile on the outside walls and the best metal roof that I can find. I thought about putting floor tile on the roof but decided that was too much weight and too much money.

I was hoping not to use any wood at all but have not figured out how to build closet shelves without wood. The doors will be steel with concrete frames. I had never seen or even heard of concrete door frames but the carpenters are forming the door frames of my in-laws house from concrete and they seem to work well.

If you want to visit I hope to be living in my new house by about Feb.  2019.



Camiguin Island trip pictures

If you click or double click on the pics they will enlarge and give a brief description.  I have THOUSANDS of other pics if you want to see them just let me know.  I also have videos but word press will not let me load them here.


Another Camiguin Trip

Another Camiguin trip

The last trip we left home at 4:28 AM for the 54 mile drive to where we get on the roll on, roll off ferry. Traffic was not bad but still surprisingly heavy for that time of the morning.  It took about two hours to get to the ferry.  We were one of the last ones on because it was full so I decided to leave at 4:15 AM this morning.

I use my cell phone as my alarm clock here (who needs an alarm clock when you are retired) but either it did not go off or I slept through it so we ended up leaving at the exact time as we did last week.

Traffic was not as heavy today so we made the trip in about 15 minutes less time but it was not soon enough because the ferry we wanted has a line waiting for it so it is already full.  They sent us to a line for the ferry after that one and it looks like enough vehicles to fill the second ferry already.

Our next trip to Camiguin will begin with a 4 AM departure from home.

I am sitting in my truck as I type this.  On my left is a small church but I do not think they are very proud of their religion because there is NO sign at all saying the name or what type of church it is.  There are crosses in the window grills though.

Right next to ( I do mean RIGHT NEXT TO as in touching) the church is a cock farm and the roosters are very vocal.  On the other side of the street is at least one more cock but I cannot see it or them because there is a block wall on that side of the street.

I have no idea why but I have had to pull ahead 3 different times in the last 15 minutes or so.  Now I am next to a typical sari-sari store.  The sales window is about 3 feet tall but only about 5 feet wide and from what I can see the store is only about 4 feet deep. I am sure they only have one apartment size refrigerator to keep all of their beer and pop cold.  After the first ones of the day are sold everyone else has to settle for slightly cool beverages.

Les has been out walking around and talked to some of the people here.  She heard there are normally seven ferries here but three are being repaired now.  That explains a lot.  I have seen two signs for CRs.  That means Comfort Room or restroom.  One guy is walking back and forth trying to sell bottled water.

Those things tell me this has been going on for a while.  I think we were lucky on our trip last week.

It is only 7:30 now but it is getting hot.  There is no air moving because I am on this very narrow street.  If there was nothing on either side of it blocking traffic two cars could squeeze by each other but it would be tight.  As it is there are sacks of garbage, plants, etc on the side of the street so it is strictly a one lane street.

8 AM now and it is hot and I am hungry.  I ran the truck A/C for about 10 minutes but it is getting hot inside again now.  I sent Les for a couple boiled eggs and an apple for me.  You can buy almost anything at piers and bus terminals here.

Les bought a 4” rechargeable fan from Ace hardware last month.  I thought she was crazy and wasting my money but she packed it on this trip and I am glad she did.  It does not move much air and I do not know how long the battery will last but I am glad we have it now.

I am guessing it is only about 85 degrees so far but you have to remember the humidity here is always high because of the ocean.  There is no way I would be in the Philippines without A/C.  I am hoping we get enough ocean breeze at the house I am trying to buy that we can live without A/C most of the time though.

I have moved ahead several more times and now I am only one car from getting onto the main street and into the main line.  Yippee.  Lol

Boiled eggs go down very well when you are hungry. I have always liked them but seldom think about eating them.  I normally have two scrambled eggs for breakfast so I guess that is probably enough per day anyway.

9:30 AM and sitting in sight of one of the ferries.  Les talked to one of the guys who works here and he said it is full of vehicles but waiting for more walk on people.  He said we should be able to get on another ferry at 10:45.  He said the one I am looking at would leave at 9 AM though so I am not sure how much to believe.

I have been trying to save money on diesel and not have the engine running while we wait but I just now gave up.  It is just too hot with no breeze. I may leave the engine run until we get on the ferry.

Since I have had plenty of time to think while waiting here I decided the easiest way for anyone to visit me (hint, hint) would be to fly to Manila or Cebu then to Butuan on Mindanao and I would pick you up there. It is not hard to get around in the Philippines on buses and ferries once you get used to it but for a first time visitor it can be intimidating getting from the airport to the right bus terminal and finding the right bus, then getting off the bus at the right place and making sure you are on the right ferry.

9:37 and that ferry finally left.

9:57 and I am in the port area waiting for everyone in front of me to back onto the ferry.  Most Filipinos do not back often so they do not back well. Lol

It looks like our ferry might leave sometime after 10:30. They do not tie any of the vehicles down, only put chocks around the tires.

10:18.  Well this sucks.  One ferry sitting at the dock just left.  I guess that means I have to wait for the next one.

At least by sitting right on the dock with the ocean only about 50-60 feet from me there is a very nice breeze.  I am having trouble keeping my driver’s door open to let the air in it is blowing so strong.

There are many many things about Filipinos I do not understand.  There is a Kia Bongo truck sitting next to me with his engine running.  A bongo is not a big truck, it is about the size of a pick-up truck. I would not think a thing about his engine running except he has his window down.

I have used almost ¼ tank just driving 54 miles and idling to stay cool.  He must like to waste money.

I am sitting in the passenger seat now because the sun is starting to shine in my side.  The wind must be blowing 15 mph but the sun is out full and it is still HOT.  I will have to give up and run my engine soon.

A 20’ box truck just pulled up on my left. It has about 3’ of chips and other junk food stacked on top of the box.  At least by it being light weight it will not make the truck top heavy.

Another ferry just pulled in.  Maybe I can leave soon.  Hope hope.

Normally the ferries have people and vehicles but this one came in empty so I do not know what that means.

I am hot and tired of sitting so I will take a walk around the dock. 15 minutes later.  A fuel truck pulled onto the ferry is refueling it.  I have no idea if that ferry is for me or where it is going. So far no one else has gone on it.  Not that I would want to be on a ferry when it is being refueled.

11 AM I had to give up and start my truck, it is just too darn hot for me. I am guessing 95 in the shade but here is no shade for me except inside my truck ( with the A/C on HIGH.)

We got to Camiguin at about 1:10 PM.  Considering we got here about 9 AM last week it was a pain waiting.

The trip here last week was a real wake up call to me on why I came to the Philippines to start with.  Camiguin is quiet, almost no traffic and very laid back.  CDO is noisy, dirty, polluted, and so traffic congested you cannot get anywhere.  I do not know why the traffic got so bad in CDO in the last 2 or 3 weeks but it is absolutely terrible now.

More later.


Island paradise

Trip to Camiguin Island

Camiguin is the island I think of when anyone talks about tropical island life.  It is a fairly small island (about 42 miles all the way around it on the highway) and very laid back.  Most of the traffic is pretty slow.  I followed a motorela (motorcycle with a side car) tonight that was only going 12 miles per hour.

This is about my 6th or 7th trip to Camiguin and I cannot believe how much it has changed in just the last 2 years since our last trip here. New roads, part of the main highway around the island has been widened to 4 lanes, new resorts, lots of new restaurants, etc.

We came to Camiguin Island on Tuesday to have a vacation and also to look for land to build a house to live in.  I would much prefer to live high in the mountains on Mindanao BUT there are too many bad muslims and communists rebels when you get outside the major city on Mindanao.  The higher you go the cooler it gets.  At one point on the main highway between CDO and Davao you are about 4300 feet above sea level and it is about 13 degrees colder than sea level.

I decided if I do buy property on Camiguin I either want beach front property or I want as high in the mountains as I can get.  I looked at one place in the mountains today that was a fantastic location about 2500 feet up.  It was over 2 acres.  It is on a road so new it is not finished yet.  The road stops not far above the property not far up the mountain so there is NO traffic and it is a very quiet place.

The property does have several draw backs though.  There is a nearly new electric line run along the road but several of the metal poles are bent or broken and laying on the ground.  I am guessing it would be hard to talk the power company into repairing the line since apparently we would be the only customers for the final 3 miles or so of the line.

Les had no signal on her cell phone and I only had an intermittent signal on mine. I am guessing that any kind of internet connection would be out of the question.

It was also on the STEEPEST road you have ever seen.  I was in first or second gear for almost the entire 5 miles we drove off the main highway.  At one point I did not think my truck had enough power to get me up even in 1st gear.  I mean to tell you it is STEEP.  When I tried to turn around I was very afraid I would roll down the mountain before I could get it back into gear.  I ended up parking at an almost 90 degree angle on the roadway so the truck would be somewhat level.  I am sure my parking brake would not hold on that steep of a grade. I found out today that it is the steepest road on Camiguin and that is saying something.

Another property we looked at was a vacant lot in a residential area. It is about 1/5 of an acre but is near sea level but about 1 mile inland so you have the heat without the sea breeze.  I do not want that.

The last place we saw was an ocean front property with a wood house on it.  The house is very small (2 bedroom, 1 bath) and not in the best of repair.  The lot is about eight tenths of an acre and is very well set up to build a new house right beside the old house. The old house is entirely of wood so I do not know how long it will last.  The termites here are very hungry.

It is a pretty deep lot so the house would be set back off the road and away from traffic noise.

I really like the ocean front property and will make an offer on it.  Right now he is asking $66,000 for it.

If I end up buying it I am not sure what I will do with the old house.  I might keep it for a rental or as a guest house for visitors but right now it is not set up for A/C. I saw a thermometer on the wall inside the house and it said 96 degrees at about 2 PM.  It was not unbearable but it was hot.  Outside was cooler with a gentle breeze.

There are a few coconut trees as well as a few other big trees on the lot.

The beach is not a nice sand beach.  It is not bad but not great. It consists of what I would call river rocks.  Anything from walnut size to volleyball size rounded very smooth rocks. I saw no litter or debris of any kind anywhere on the beach or the lot.

I am being very careful about buying it because the guy is trying to push me into a quick sale even though he has not lived there for at least 5 years and it has been for sale for many months.  He claims he has several other very interested buyers.

I will have a lawyer look at all the paperwork to make sure the deal is legit.


Cebu ll

Cebu Part ll

It is Tuesday morning and I am alone in the hotel room.  Les wanted to shop in what I call the Filipino equivalent of a flea market and I am not into that.

I walked to the nearest Burger King for breakfast and took some pics of what is pretty common here.

BK is ok but not my favorite fast food.  I have eaten there 4 times here.  It is more expensive than McDonalds here but there are no BKs in CDO. In CDO the only American food is McDonalds, Pizza Hut, KFC, Sbarro, and Shakeys.  I was hoping to find a Subway or Arby’s here but no luck.  I even looked on the internet.  It said Arby’s was here at one time but no more.  Subway is thinking about opening franchises here but none here yet.

Any direction you look from our hotel you will see tower cranes working on new hi-rises.  I am guessing there are at least 20 in use right now. There are smaller construction jobs EVERYWHERE.

We leave on the ferry tonight and I will be home in the morning.  I am looking forward to sleeping in my own bed again.  This mattress is WAY too hard for my back.

That is all for now.  I will try to post again when I get home.




We are at a swimming resort outside Cebu now.  I do not swim much but they have free wi-fi.  I had to pay P50 ( $1) to use the electric and P100 to rent a big electric fan though.

Les ordered food for everyone but me so I asked to see the menu.  It was 12:35 PM when I placed my order but they said they will not start it until 1 PM because of shift change.  What person in their right mind sets up a shift change for a cook, kitchen or whatever so they cannot cook lunch during lunch time?  ONLY IN THE PHILIPPINES.

We already had a tablet for the kids to use but I decided to buy one the day before this trip for ME to use.  I got a Samsung Tab A.  It has an 8” screen. By the time I bought a SIM card (for cell phone use or data,) a case, tempered glass to protect the screen, a 64 gig SD card, and a ring to put on the back to make it easier to hold onto I spent about $367.  That is MUCH more than I intended to spend but I did not count on all the accessories I had to buy.

The main reason I wanted it was so I could use the maps and GPS functions while we travel.  I assumed I would need the cell signal provided by the SIM card to use them but pleasantly found out they work just fine with no signal. I downloaded the APP Waze and it works fine as well but will not give traffic updates.

I NEED the fan because the heat is unbearable here.  I am in what they call a cottage.  It has a table surrounded by bench seats and completely covered by roof but I just checked the weather on line.  In CDO it is 91 degrees (feels like 96.) Here on Cebu Island the same weather site says it feels like 100 degrees.  If it were not for the fan I would be very grumpy because I HATE being hot.  As it is I am sitting about 2 feet from a 2’ high velocity fan.  I am far from comfortable but at least I can stand it.

The cottage makes little sense to me.  It is too wide to be able to sit on the benches and reach the table.  The benches are too high from the ground to be able to put your feet on the ground when you sit.  I am about 5’ 9” tall but most Filipinos are about 5’6” and Filipinas are about 5’ tall.  Why build a bench so high?  It makes sitting very uncomfortable if you cannot put your feet flat on the floor.

I had to take a break for a while, my food got here at 1:35.  I had a marlin steak with French fries.  The marlin was ok but they only gave me about the same amount of fries as you get from McDonalds in a kids size order.  I also got a can of pineapple juice.  The total cost was $3.

The resort has about 5 or 6 different pools of varying depths so it is a very nice place to bring a family.  It has 2 very big slides and 3 smaller ones.  I will attach a few pics for you.

About the time my lunch got here someone started caterwauling on the karaoke and it is driving me nuts.  As anywhere in the world only about 10% of the people can actually sing. Unfortunately about 99% of Filipinos THINK they can sing and do so at full volume on every karaoke machine they can find.

If they are locked inside a soundproof room or at least 5 miles from me I do not care how badly they sing or how loud they have it but for some reason that is not normally the case.

Cebu trip


We will be going to Cebu later today so I can renew my passport.  While we are there we will do some sightseeing.  We do not have a definite day of return so if you do not hear from me for a few days do not worry.

I will take my laptop so if you HAVE to contact me please send an email.   I will only check it once a day though.

My cell phone here is country code 63 then 916-294-7128.  You may have to dial another digit just before or after the country code but I am not sure.

The weather is FULL ON SUMMER here now so it will not be a cool trip like it would have been in February but we are taking the kids with us and had to wait until they were out of school for the summer.

Talk to you in about a week or so.