Spare body parts

Worn out parts
As most of you know I have been walking the Stations of the Cross on Camiguin Island for several months now. For those of you who are new here it is a path up the side of a volcano. It is .83 miles long and 572 feet UP according to my GPS. It is not really all that hard of a walk but it is very good exercise for me.

I try to do it every day but seldom manage more than 3 or 4 days in a row. It is a 12 mile drive and some days I just do not think it is worth the drive. Some days it is raining. Even though I like walking it during a rain because it helps keep me cool (this is a tropical country) it just takes more encouragement to get going in the rain. Some days I am already tired from doing other things.
I always try to take 3 Advil an hour before I start walking to prevent pain in my knees. About 2 weeks ago 4 Advil shook out of the bottle so I took all 4. I felt great during my walk. Too good in fact. I ran down some of the stairs. I was ok for an hour or so but then my knees started REALLY hurting. I laid off for about 4 days then walked it one more time. My knees hurt again but not as badly. I took a few more days off and was ok.
Today I took my standard 3 Advil and felt no pain going up and was fine until about 1/3 of the way coming down. I was on track to beat my best overall time from bottom back to the bottom so I jogged about 10 of the steps coming down.
By the time I got half way down I knew I screwed up again. I finished about 5:30 PM and it is now 1:40 AM and I cannot use my left knee. I have taken 4 more Advil, no help. I drank 2 wine coolers, (normally 1 wine cooler relieves my back pain) no help. I rubbed a lot of some menthol pain med on my knee. No help.
I have two hot water bottles here and I would try them but the cook stove to heat the water is on the ground floor and I am on the second floor. I do not think I can get down then back up the stairs. My gf had to go to CDO (Cagayan de Oro City) to pay for the roof for my house so I am here alone.

It is probably better that I am home alone because I tend to get very cranky when I am in pain and this is the worst pain I have had in a long time.
I think I have to finally admit I have worn out my knees. My right one is not as bad as the left and does not hurt now but some days it is painful as well.
I have to go to CDO to pack the rest of our belongings in our rented house there the last week of April so I will see the orthopedic doctor that took care of me when I broke my leg all three times in 2009. I will see what he suggests I do about my left knee to start with. I am guessing he will say I need a new knee joint.

Not much new on the house lately. The men are still welding the C purlins on that the roofing panels will screw to. We should have a roof on the house before the end of April though.



Planting day

Planting day
I had 2 raised garden beds made a few months ago. They are 16 feet long, about 3 feet tall ( I hate bending over to weed because of a bad back and bad knees) and almost 4 feet wide ( I can reach the center if I reach in from both sides.) They are made of poured concrete with rebar in them. The walls are 3 inches thick.
The workers here said they look like coffins.
I started out filling them with organic stuff we picked up from our lot. Since there are a lot of trees and most of them are coconut trees, most of the stuff in the “coffins” is coco related. Either leaves, tree trunks that I had cut down or the coconuts themselves. I know I should use a mixture of different materials but a person uses what he has. There are some grass/weed clippings as well but only a small percent. Some of the coco logs are about 6 feet long and over 14 inches in diameter. I was going to let it all decompose before I added dirt but I got tired of waiting. I will just add more dirt every time I plant a new crop.
The dirt I put in this time was top soil I had dug off of my lot. It seems very nice. It has never been driven over very much so there is no compaction of it. I did drive my car/truck over it a few times to turn around but it only weighs about 5000 pounds and I did not drive on it when it was too wet. There are a few clods in the dirt but they all break apart very easily in my hands. I hope the soil is as fertile as it is nice to work.
We added the dirt about a month ago and just let it sit. Two days ago we started pulling weeds out of it. We finished the weeds yesterday and today I planted seeds into the “coffin” on the north side. I planted carrots, red onions, okra, eggplant, bell peppers, and zucchini. In the next day or two I will plant seeds in the south “coffin.” I am looking forward to harvest.
I am guessing I will want about 2 or 3 more raised garden beds but I need to decide where to put them so they can get full sun. Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE trees. There are a lot of trees on my lot and not only do I not want to cut them, I can NOT cut any tree other than coconuts without a permit. Too much timber poaching was going on in the government forests so the past president put a ban on any tree cutting nationwide.
I also like trees for the shade they provide especially here because of the heat.
I am concerned about how many of my veggies will grow legs and walk away. If my losses are too great I will build a fence around my garden. Even a fence is not a 100% guarantee but it will help I think. I may put a security light over my veggies.

I took these pics about 8AM this morning.  As you can see there is partial shade. By late afternoon (4 PM) there is almost total shade from the trees on the west side.




Stations of the Cross part 2 and candles.

Stations of the Cross part 2 and candles.

I forgot to mention a few of my impressions of walking the SOTC here during Holy Week.
Other than the overall number of people going from the normal 5-20 people we normally see per time we walk the path to way over 1000 people on Thursday and even more on Friday was the number of candles burning at each Station. Normally we do not see any candles lit or maybe 1 or 2 at most. Thursday and Friday there were HUNDREDS burning at each Station. The air pollution was terrible and I could even feel the heat from 6 feet away.
The candles are all skinny tapers about 3/8” diameter by 7” long. I was going to buy one and time how long it burned but forgot to get it. Les thinks each candle only burns 5 minutes or so. If you figure each candle only burns 10 minutes and there were hundreds burning around the clock at each of the 15 stations that means there were a LOT of candles burnt here.
Filipinos burn MILLIONS of these cheap candles everyday but Holy Week is especially bad. The SOTC that we walk here is a permanent fixture but there are at least 10 other SOTCs set up around the island on the main road. They are all very short and easy to walk for the old people and there are not many candles burnt there but I am still guessing there were hundreds burnt at each station this week.
Les, like most Filipinos goes to her dad’s and now her mom’s grave each year for 3 occasions. Birthdays, death anniversary and November 1st or 2nd (All Souls Day) to light candles. The cemetery they are buried in is pretty old and has a lot of graves. Les thinks there are a million but I am guessing only 100,000 – 200,000 but it is anybody’s guess because it is hilly and very very congested. You can only see a small part of it from any one location. There is NO space between graves and as an example there are now 4 sets of bones in her mom’s/dad’s grave. When her mom died in November they just broke into the concrete that covers the grave and put the new wooden coffin on top of the old bones already there.
From what I have seen most graves only have one body but many also have multiple sets of bones.
At any time of the day or night you are likely to see candles burning at most Catholic churches here. I asked Les what they are for and she said if someone has a petition to God they light a candle, they light candles for wedding anniversaries, birthdays, etc. Between that, Holy Week, and the cemeteries I am guessing that Filipinos burn BILLIONS of candles every year. Maybe even TENS of BILLIONS.
I used to think that if it were not for Hollywood that there would be no candle business. Now I know how wrong I was.
Oh I forgot to mention that most Filipinos use candles for lighting when the power goes out and it goes out a LOT. We sold maybe 50 candles per month in our store in CDO and 95% of those were DURING blackouts. (Filipinos do not believe in being prepared for anything.) Most of the ones we sold were maybe ½” in diameter and 4” long. I am guessing they would burn 15 minutes or so. When you figure there are thousands of sari-sari stores in CDO and most sold candles you can guess how many candles are sold here.
Candles are sold in every cemetery, most sari-sari stores year round but there were venders selling them by the thousands at the SOTC this week.
We walked the SOTC again today and it is nearly back to normal. There were about 10-12 candles burning at each station and we only met about 100 people on the path.
There was a mass exodus from Camiguin starting today but it will continue tomorrow and maybe even Monday if the ferries cannot keep up with the number of people. I will be glad when the island is back to normal.


Holy Week

Holy Week on Camiguin
In CDO most of the midsized stores and businesses close after business hours on Tuesday of Holy Week and do not reopen until Saturday morning. Here on Camiguin stores are pretty much open normal hours so far. It is Friday morning and I have not been out yet to see what is open today.
No matter what time of day or night you drive in the Philippines you will see at least a few people walking on the street or sitting beside the road. I have no idea what they are doing or where they are going at 2-4 AM on Camiguin Island because the ONLY things open are about three 24 hour bread stores. That is on the entire island. During holy week here things are much different.

The normal population of the island is about 90,000 people. I have been told there are only about 800 hotel rooms on the island. I know there are a lot of vacation homes here though. For example the family we rent our two rooms from here have a house that sits empty about 85% of the time. Right now there are about 20 people living in it for the holiday. My guess is the population of the island is about double the norm.
We were told there would be making a “pilgrimage” by walking around the island in one day during this week. I was doubtful but thought maybe they meant A FEW people might be doing it. Yesterday morning at 7:30 AM we drove 10 miles to the pier to pick up Les’ sister. I counted 185 people who were obviously walking around the island. They had back packs, walking sticks, flip-fops with SOCKS or walking shoes on etc. It is about 40 miles around the island on the road.
Last night we walked the Stations of the Cross just before dusk. There were so many cars and vans parked there we had to walk half a mile just to get to the start of the path. There were well over 1000 people on the Stations of the Cross path that is only .83 miles long. Now I understand why the path is between 8 and 12 feet wide.
On the drive back to our rooms we passed THOUSANDS of people walking on the road. It was too dark to see what they were wearing so I do not know if they were walking all the way around or not.
My electrician said he usually makes the trek every year and starts about 5 PM and finishes about 10 AM. I checked my thermometer yesterday and it was 84-88 degrees most of the time. The sun was very bright so I understand why most people do that walk at night.
I am guessing there are about 500 sari-sari stores on the island most of the year. A sari-sari is a convenience store. Most are only about 4’ X 8’ or 8’ X 12’ at most. I am guessing there are at least 5000 stores on the island this week. Some are as small as a single card table with no protection from the rain. A lot of them are set up under a tree for protection from the sun. A lot of the small towns around the island also give out free water for the walkers and a few even have chairs for them to sit on.
If anyone wants to visit me here I suggest you NOT come during holy week.
There are about 3 planes landing here most days but I am sure they are fully booked weeks in advance. When we came back to Camiguin we got lucky. We left CDO at 2 AM Tuesday morning. It was a 2 hour drive and we still had to wait at the pier for nearly 2 hours to get on the ferry because of so many people wanting to come here.

Oh well this is my life on paradise. Lol


Roof trusses

Progress has been slow on our house. They are working on the roof trusses now. I am using 6” X 2” X 2mm thick ( about 12 gauge) steel “C” purlins. I originally planned on welding them up on the second floor then lifting them into place but the men started welding them into place one piece at a time. I was going to stop the men and tell them to do it on the floor so they are all identical but then realized that each truss will probably weigh over 500 pounds each. That would be very very hard to lift into the air.
The trusses are almost 43 feet long and 11 feet tall. The side of the house facing the road will have a one meter (39”) overhang and the ocean (south) side of the house will have a 2 meter (6 ½’) overhang.
They started on the trusses on Feb. 26th and it looks like they will not finish until about April 1st. They used pipes and clamps I bought to build scaffolding and used 4” C purlins to use as walkways to get to all points where the trusses will be so they can weld all the pieces into place.
The bottom cord of the truss is made from 6” purlins welded back to back for strength so the attic floor can be used for storage.
There were 8 guys working on the roof for a few days putting the scaffolding up and getting everything ready but now there are only 5 guys working on the trusses. I have 3 guys making cement blocks that I hope to use to build a garage.


Getting OLD

I thought exercise was supposed to get easier the more you did it. I have been trying to walk the Stations of the Cross here most days. Before Les’ mom died I walked it about 20 times in one month. After her mom died we spent one month in CDO so of course I was not able to walk it at all. Plus the air is so polluted in CDO that I think exercise that makes you breathe hard might actually be worse for your health than good for you. As a result I pretty much sat for a month.
We came back to Camiguin on January 21st and since then we have walked the Stations of the Cross about 4 times. We just finished walking it about an hour ago. It is a 12 mile drive from the room we are staying in to the walk and takes about 20 minutes to drive (lots and lots of curves in the road.) I stopped and got fuel for my truck after we got home so it has now been over 30 minutes since we finished walking and I am STILL breathing very heavily.
We saw about 10 foreigners on the walk while we were walking. That is by far the most we have ever seen. One of them was from Calgary. He was RUNNING down when we met him. He said he ran UP as well. He said he would see us again in a few minutes because he was going to do it AGAIN. We did see him almost at the top about 30 minutes later and he was extremely sweaty but he was still running.
I have managed to walk the path twice in one day two different times but I rested about 6 hours between walks and it STILL almost killed me.
I really need a Fitbit or some other heart monitor to see if I am getting in better shape or not. It does not FEEL like I am improving but who knows.
Les just brought me my dinner (cheesy baked potatoes that were baked, sliced then fried with onions mushrooms, bacon and lots of cheese.) I asked how she feels. She said she is all rested up so I guess it is just this old fat out of shape man who is suffering.
January has been a great month here weather wise. Pretty cool (low to mid 80’s most days) by Filipino standards without too many days of rain. I dread the start of summer here. It will be upper 90s almost everyday.
I only had 5 guys working on my house this week so it has been slow but I should have 10 guys this coming week. I will take some pics soon and post them here.


Latest news

Trivia reading and the latest here.
Lately I have gotten away from reading so much on the internet but I was bored today and took a stroll. This is some of what I read.
I started reading this story :
The story mentioned the population and population density. I wanted to compare that to Van Wert county so I went to Wikipedia to read about VW for the 20th time in my life.
It gives links to the adjoining counties so I clicked on Allen county where I worked construction before I went to GM. That led me to click on Lima.,_Ohio
I learned Lima’s oil field was, for about a decade, the largest in the US. Between 1887 and 1905, the Lima Oil Field was a world-class producer, yielding 300 million barrels.

Lima also had 20% of the market for railroad locomotives.
I also found out that Superior Coach Company was once the nation’s largest producer of buses. I was actually in the Superior Coach factory shortly after it closed when I was a 1st year apprentice.
The website about Superior Coach said something about the
I read that article and was amazed. I do not remember hearing about it even though it had to be major news at the time.
Not much is happening here in CDO. The carpenters are on holiday break now. They said they will come back on Jan. 3.
One carpenter and 2 laborers worked for one day on Les’ mom’s grave getting ready to put a roof over it. They set 4 posts of 4” plastic pipe and filled them with concrete. They were going to continue working on it the next day but I had a gall stone attack and could not leave the house. Between extreme chills when I thought I would freeze to death and diarrhea I was prisoner in my house.
The men worked on the house we bought and completely remodeled for Les’ mom while I recuperated. When we restart on the 3rd I will have 2 guys finish the grave while the other guys finish what needs done on the house we bought.
I am guessing sometime about the last of January or the first of February we will finish here and I will return to Camiguin to resume work on my new house.
I want Les to go with me but since her mom was the main care giver of the kids while we were gone I guess Les will stay in CDO until school is out sometime the end of March or early April.
I am losing about 2 months on my house so now I hope to move in about the first of May.
The concrete floors are poured on both floors. They need to put the horizontal studs in that the insulated steel siding will screw to. They need to build the roof trusses that will be made from steel. After those two jobs are finished it will be a quick job to screw the steel siding and roofing to the steel studs and trusses.
Next will come doors and windows followed by soffit and fascia around the roof and eaves and I will be weather tight.
I have 3 Milwaukee impact drivers that I bought here for $500 EACH. Can you spell O U C H ? At least that will make the screwing go faster.
That is about all for this year. I hope you all had a great Christmas and a Happy New Year.