Roding came by early this morning and we were able to take a good look at the inside of the beach house. It’s about what I expected, a little better even. Like I said, it’s not huge but it’s perfect for what we would use it for – a yearly vacation house on the beach and a possible retirement venue someday. I was probably about 75% certain that I wanted to buy it after seeing the outside yesterday and after seeing the inside I’m probably closer to 90% now. I told the wife to get the contact info before we leave and we’ll call the owners when we get home to see what we can work out.
As far as the inside, you walk in and there’s a cozy little living room area with a nice leather couch. Plenty of room to put a TV and a few other things too. Go down the hall and there are two bedrooms, a master bedroom with a double bed and a second bedroom with two single beds. At the end of the hallway is a little kitchen with a sink and a gas stove and next to that is a small bathroom with a flush toilet and a shower. You can tell the place has not gotten much use in a while (with the exception of the bedroom I’m guessing) as it needs to be cleaned up a bit but for the most part it’s ready to be moved into right away if someone wanted to. And really, that’s one of the main selling points for me; the fact that it doesn’t require any additional construction. For example, Nestor showed us another lot down the beach that was a lot bigger, had a lot more land and that could probably be had for about the same price as this one however there is no house on it, it’s just a big plot with a few nipa huts. So even though it’s a lot more land, I’d still have to spend at least another 20k or more to clear the land and put a house on it and from what I’ve heard and read about hiring contractors here, well, that’s just a road I don’t want to go down. The place we’re looking at is already built and furnished and since I am planning on paying cash for it, we could own it outright and use it right away without having to invest any more money in it with the exception of a few small things like an air conditioner and a TV and such. And one of the best things is that the wife’s family live so close that they can use it whenever they want which they seem to be thrilled about. We haven’t even bought the place yet and her mom is already thinking of possible businesses to set up during peak season to make some extra money. I told her that if we get it and they want to clean it up and fix it up a bit, they can rent it out and keep whatever money they make off it. I’m not interested in trying to use the place as some kind of business venture, it’s strictly a vacation place for us. With the X Man in school and Luca starting in another year or two, we’ll most likely only be here during the summer months (June, July or August) and peak season here is March-April so that would work out well. I’ve met and heard about plenty of guys that come here and think they are going to start a business and get rich and end up losing their shirt and I ain’t going to be one of those guys. I still have to wait til we get home to talk to the owners and this is the Philippines after all where nothing is easy so there’s every chance we won’t ever end up owning it but I’ve gotta admit, I spent most of the day thinking about the place and what we could do with it if/when we get it. Air conditioning is first and foremost of course but after that I will have to look into putting a karaoke machine in the nipa hut. Eventually I’d like to put a pool table in there as well. The wife’s family are very industrious, good at carpentry and stuff like that and they’ve already told us that they will do all the cleaning and fixing up that needs to be done for us. Since they’ll be using the place a lot more than us it’s probably only right that they do anyway so I’m glad they offered. I feel a lot better about buying the place knowing that they are close and will be taking care of it for us. Hopefully things will work out.
Anyway, the rest of the day was pretty uneventful. We took a tricycle to Dagupan City to hit the ATM before catching a bus back to Rosario where we did some shopping at the market. The stares continued as usual which you’d think I’d be used to by now but it still is annoying. Got back to the house in the early afternoon and then we went over to visit Steve and Jovi which was a lot of fun. I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this already but Steve arranged to have a pool table delivered to Jovi’s family’s house since he was going to be here for an extended amount of time on this trip and would need something to do. So we ended up playing pool and drinking Red Horse beer most of the afternoon and into the evening which was great. Eventually they broke out the karaoke machine – I’m telling you, the Filipinos are INSANE about karaoke – and we sang when we weren’t playing pool. Jovi’s family has like a complete freaking sound system set up in their yard too, it’s amazing. It’s like being in concert with all the speakers set up. I did a few songs (including my trademark ‘Copacabana’ of course) and then they brought some food out and invited us to stay for dinner but since we’re heading back to Manila tomorrow for a couple days before flying out on Saturday, this is our last night at the wife’s parents house so I told them that we really should do dinner there, with her family.
Our last night here turned out to be really memorable. The whole family was outside the front porch/terrace type area and we enjoyed a few drinks together, shared some stories and remembered some of the funnier moments from our stay here. At one point I asked the wife to translate for me as I spoke from my heart and made a toast to our last night here. Basically I said that I’ve enjoyed every moment that I’ve been able to spend with all of them and that I am so happy to finally meet everyone after so long. I thanked them all from the bottom of my heart for everything, especially for making me feel so welcome. With that, I raised my glass to the wife’s father and we drank together. Then it was his turn to make a little speech. He started out by saying how sorry he was that they didn’t have a lot to offer – at this point I interrupted and told him that we may have more money or luxuries than them but they have so much more than that…the closeness and the bond that he and his family have is something I’ve never experienced before and they have far more than I’ll ever have. Kind of corny I know but what can I say, Red Horse makes me emotional. He then went on to describe the immense joy he felt at my being here. He said that he was worried that he would die without getting a chance to meet his son in law and the fact that I’m here has made his life complete. It was a cool moment, fitting for my last night here. I’m really going to miss these people when I leave, they’ve made quite a mark on me.
The wife and I were talking earlier tonight and apparently I’ve made quite a name for myself here, folks all over the Barangay have been talking about me. I guess my little stroll around the Barangay impressed a lot of people, including the wife’s family. They say that of all the white guys that have come here over the years, I’m the only one that left a favorable impression; almost all the others that come here act arrogant and don’t make any effort to try and meet people or even be cordial to the locals so I guess I did something right. Even Cesar (the ladies man) told them that of all the white guys who he’s ever met here, I’m the first one that he really liked. I think a big part of it was the party we had at the beach, I like to have a good time and spent the whole day and night laughing and joking around with everybody and I think that more than anything left a favorable impression. Whatever it was, I’m just happy my first visit went so well. I’ve honestly had a blast here and can’t wait to come back in another year or so. The first day or two was a little rough as I adjusted but eventually I felt right at home here. Using the bucket to flush the toilet or the tabo to take a bath is really no big deal. Overall I feel perfectly comfortable here. The only bad part about it is the boredom and the unbearable humidity although I think the humidity feels worse than normal because of all the extra weight that I’m carrying right now which makes me sweat more than usual. I’m sorry to have to leave tomorrow morning but I’m really looking forward to seeing Manila before we leave.
So my time in the provinces is up and after 10 days, not a single snake. I’m actually a bit disappointed to be honest…