We are healthy. We are safe. We are paid up.
This morning I met with Yolly, our landlady, to settle up for our first week of quarantine at her HangOut Beach Resort here in Caticlan, Philippines.
Of course, we paid by credit card for the first night (last Monday) through booking.com, which we used in a frantic search for a place to stay after we were prevented from crossing by ferry to Boracay, where we had arranged our next long-term rental.
Philippine Quarantine Day 7
A week ago we also paid 8,000 Philippine pesos ($160) as a down payment for our first months rent which we agreed would be 25,000 pesos ($500).
And during the week we paid 2,200 pesos ($43) to have a grocery list of items delivered — mostly breakfast and snack foods. And we gave about $20 in tips to staff here.
Today we had to reconcile the tab for prepared menu food and drink and other miscellaneous supplies that Yolly and her staff have provided since we arrived. In total, those charges were 6,615 pesos ($130). Not bad for a week of services ranging from dinner preparation and delivery to laundry supplies, to a case of beer, to a cell phone data reload. (Cost is for three adults; me, Ellen, & mom Diane).
Today we also paid another 5,000 pesos ($100) toward our continuing monthly rent.
One concern: we have now handed over most all of our Philippine cash. Between us and mom, we have only about 2,000 ($40) in small bills for tips and any emergency needs that might come up. But we don’t expect any such expenses. We will be in quarantine for another week.
Yolly has kindly agreed to run another tab and we will settle up again, and pay the remaining rent balance, once our quarantine is finished and we can get to an ATM.
Thankfully, there are several ATMs and banks in Caticlan (a busy tourist port town), and according to Yolly, they are functioning. We sure hope that continues.
Of course, there are other options for accessing or transferring funds; PayPal, remittance services, credit card advances, wire transfers, etc., but we’d rather not get to that point. We do also carry about $200 in U.S. currency and 50 Euros.
Naturally, we are fully cognizant of how lucky we are to simply have concerns about accessing our money. It is clear that millions of people around the globe currently face much more dire financial circumstances.
Bigger picture, our early retired budget travel financial plan has always meant keeping three to four years of living expenses in cash. Even now we don’t feel the necessity to make any drastic lifestyle changes. But it is unsettling to think that a ‘worst case’ scenario might be unfolding even though we’re prepared.
Hopefully, things stabilize here in the Philippines and elsewhere and the virus spread can be slowed, contained, managed – the economic fallout minimized as much as possible. Can any of us truly be prepared for the real ‘worst case’?
Our one other serious concern: that the tenant renting my Cleveland, Ohio, home continues to pay the monthly rent. It’s not money that we rely on – but a nice cushion nonetheless.
Philippine Quarantine Day 7 developments
Our temperature readings were all normal – or below – during today’s daily checks by local health officials.
We had several reassuring video chats with both sides of our families today. From California to New York, Ohio to North Carolina – everyone remains healthy and hopeful – but cautious. The kids are using the internet for school instruction and assignments. Everyone who can is working from home.
We received news that the Europeans who left our Philippine quarantine resort on Saturday morning have made it safely back to Belgium and reunited with their cat.
Ellie joined 45 minutes of Zumba exercise this morning. Mom does some rapid walking at the property every day. I continue to pump my arms up and down while holding beer bottles.
Sardines drying in the sun can be seen all around our neighborhood, including on our rooftop. Apparently the free haul at the beach yesterday was courtesy of a local political figure who owns a commercial fishing operation.
According to Yolly, for the past five days he has given away the catch at different beachfront neighborhoods to help local folks during this uncertain time. We were also given a small jar of fresh ‘Spanish sardines’; small whole fish in olive oil with garlic, peppers, carrots, olives.
Finally, tonight on the menu: sausig. It’s a Philippine traditional favorite consisting of diced pig’s head fried up with onions and hot peppers — served on a sizzling hot cast iron skillet with an egg on top. Mom and I have had it before. A little fatty, a little crunchy, but fairly tasty. Ellen tried not to look, and instead had a veggie omelette with french fries.
Life is now!
Note: Philippine Quarantine is a series written by Tedly and Ellen on alternating days. To read how we got here, go back to the first post.