Wow! It has been nearly a month since we have returned to the Philippines. My, how time seems to fly by these days. Speaking of time, it is time to review things here in the homestead and provide an update of things that have happened.
There have been some changes around the house, as well as some improvements and some things that just simply refuse to change but steadily maintain their status. All is right with the world, as far as I am concerned. It would take a major disaster to change my upbeat feelings about being back in the Philippines. Even then, I wouldn’t imagine that change to last very long.
SMART BRO UPDATE
My SMART Bro canopy system is still providing me with steady, reliable Internet connectivity. It has been well over a year since the last unexplained Internet outage. Things just keep plugging along – keeping me connected – so long as there are no brown outs either here at the house or somewhere along the Internet pathway.
As you can see by the image on the left, the download/upload speeds are no where near the 15+Mbps speeds I had enjoyed while on vacation. Still, the speeds depicted here are reliable and steady – they are the average download and upload speeds that I have available to me. Even though the “Grade” is a “C,” the report shows the speed as being faster than 51% of the Philippines. I guess that is supposed to make me feel good all over!
Believe it or not, we had to make a special run to the hardware / do it yourself store when we first got here. The reason? Light bulbs! Those long-life CFL bulbs. It seems as though we have reached the end-life of the first batch of CFLs. Most of those being replaced (10 having been replaced so far) have been in use since the house was constructed. Seeing how we moved into the house back in 2008, those bulbs have been churning out the lumens for a few years. Now, in 2012, they’ve completed their tasks and are “retiring” themselves.
There are plenty more CFLs around the house. I don’t think the original purchase of 10 will hold out (they’ve all been used up as of this morning) and another run on the hardware / do it yourself store may shortly be in order.
FRUITS, VEGETABLES & THINGS AGRICULTURAL
In the world of agricultural experimentation, things have certainly changed. Of major note is the papaya situation. We started six trees from seeds and were lucky to obtain one bi-sexual tree that produces fruit. The other five trees just didn’t work out – they didn’t produce any fruit even though they were male and female plants intermixed among each other – so they were removed. Now, we’ve one tree with plenty of fruits.
Our cows are doing well and growing. Those extended family members with whom we entrusted our bovine friends are certainly doing a good job of husbandry. We have to check all of the cows to make sure our cows have our brands, and if any of the youngsters have reached branding age, make sure they receive their mark.
Just as we arrived, there was a calamansi harvest. Our two calamansi plants yielded a real treasure trove of fruits – all the ideal size, weight and tartness. After the harvest, the plants were cut back a little to stimulate future growth and good fruit.
All else – from orchids to other flowering plants – are doing well. Of note, our “dragon fruit” plants have really grown and have even produced a blossom or two. Too bad that those flowers appeared at the wrong time of year. Rainy season is just not the right time for flowers to pollinate and become fruit. Still, there were only two, which tells me that we will be in for quite a few more when blossoming time comes around (April-May).
Gee it’s great to be back among neighbors, relatives and friends. Of course, there are a number of these showing up at our doorstep, wishing us a welcome back and eager to hear news of others in the United States. It is wonderful to see them all, again (it’s quite difficult for me when it comes time to leave as I hate “good-byes”).
Not much has changed in the way of scenery. The National Road in front of our house was re-paved and re-striped in our absence (something that I’m thankful for in a couple of ways). Trees along the roadway have been trimmed again, keeping stray branches away from power and telephone lines. The fields behind the house are a checkerboard of green and golden brown – rice being the reason. Early rice plantings are getting ready for harvest, while later plantings are beautiful shades of green.
Life goes on in the barangay – just the way I like it. It’s great to be back home!
Paul is a CPA and a retired tax accountant, having served companies and corporations of all sizes, as well as individuals, in public accounting practices. Prior to what he refers to as his "real job," he served a 24-year career in the U.S. Navy, retiring as a Master Chief Petty Officer. It was during this career that he met and married his OFW spouse of 35+ years, Emy, while stationed in London, UK. (Though he pleaded for the assignment, Paul never received orders to the Philippines.) A "Phil-phile" from an early age, Paul remembers his first introduction to the Philippines in the primary grades of a parochial elementary school where, one week each year, children donated their pennies to purchase school supplies, food and other necessities for Filipino children in need. That love for Filipinos continues to this day. Calling Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte--in the far northwestern part of Luzon--home (just about as far away from Davao as one can be while still being on one of the major islands) Paul prefers a more relaxed provincial life style, and willingly shares a different view of the Philippines from "up north"!