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Year End Roundup: Expat Look Back

It’s funny how life seems to move so slowly until you pause for a year end review. Looking back over 2017, I can see a lot happened!

Travel

Boracay In January

In January, we went back to Boracay for the third time. We stayed at the end of Station 1, at the Royal Park Hotel with another couple. 

It’s a great place to stay because a lot of the water activities are based right off of its back beach patio.

There’s a semi-shallow swimming area nearby as well that’s roped off with floats for safety.

Of course, there are tons of food places and little beach bars all over that end of Station 1 as well.

Bohol In April

At the end of April, we went to Bohol for the first time. Our friends were going to celebrate the fiesta in the husband’s birth town and we went along, too.

We stayed for two days on Alona Beach, Panglao Island at the Lost Horizon Beach Dive Resort. It was a nice stay and the food was good at Lost Horizon. 

We moved over to Tagbilaran for one day before leaving and stayed at the Metrocentre Hotel & Convention Center. That’s a really nice hotel!

Hong Kong Phooey

In September we spent five nights in Hong Kong. We stayed at the BP International Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui. It’s another great hotel.

The food in Hong Kong was outstanding. We ate our fill of dim sum and sushi but the Italian food we had on my birthday was pretty boring. I guess we learned not to go to a Chinese-dominant country for Italian food!

Hong Kong is super modern. I love the Airport Express train! It runs by itself and is really convenient. Included with it is a free bus shuttle from your station to certain hotels, so it’s perfect.

The only thing I didn’t like about Hong Kong was its complete commercialization. Neon is everywhere. Every mall is huge but seems to have the same upscale stores. Bargains are not what they used to be in Hong Kong.

Still, we bought two Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 tablets for a really good price at one of the computer centers. My old tablet had died and my wife’s was on its last legs so we were happy to get a good deal.

In the end, five days was too long to spend in Hong Kong for us. All there really is to do is shop.

New Phone

By far, the best purchase I made all year was my Samsung J7 Prime cellphone. It’s with me every minute of the day! It has a fast chip and lots of memory. Two cameras, a 13MP in the rear and an 8MP in the front keep me snapping pics. The 3300 mAh battery lasts a long, long time and it has Android 6.0.1 (Marshmallow). At under ₱12,000.00, it’s a LOT of phone for the money.

If you want Samsung quality, power and affordability, I recommend the Galaxy J7 Prime.

Animals

Goodbye, Animals!

Seven of our old piglets.We came to a hard decision and stopped raising pigs and chickens. We learned a lot by keeping them but it became too costly to raise them to the standards we wanted.

We have one sow that we rent out to a local man. He “pays” us rent on her by giving us a couple of piglets when she has them.

 

Hello, Animals!

Star and Lipstick, sitting in a window.We took on some animals in 2017 as well! Star and Lipstick, my niece’s kittens, came to stay with us after her mom decided that they were too much for them to take care of. 

It’s worked out really well! Our mouse problem has disappeared and we have two new little buddies around the house!

The funniest thing is that Star, the smallest kitten in the photo here, is now bigger than Lipstick and neither one is a baby anymore!

People

Grace, our ex-helper.Some people departed our lives in 2017, as well.

One of them was Grace, our long-time helper. I’m still not sure what happened to make her leave us but it still hurts that she’s gone. She was with us from the very beginning while we were living in a rental in a nearby housing development.

She was funny and shy and a lot of fun to tease in a “little sister” way. I still miss her.

Some people you lose without ever really knowing them. There was a lady who helped people get taxis at our local Savemore who is gone now. She was so nice and worked very hard, helping people load their groceries in all kinds of weather. We gave her a bottle of sparkling wine for New Year’s last year and now I’m really glad we did.

Wrap Up

That about does it for my year-end look back. It seems like a lot to me but maybe it’s all just boring to you. I hope not! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone!

4 Responses to Year End Roundup: Expat Look Back

  1. Queenie December 18, 2017 at 6:24 PM #

    Wow JD–a full year of travel and many happenings! A Merry Christmas to you too, and and may you have another happy, eventful 2018 to come!
    Queenie

    • JD December 19, 2017 at 1:59 PM #

      Thank you, Queenie! Right back atchoo! Oh, and I found jarred cranberry sauce! 🙂

  2. Kathy December 19, 2017 at 2:59 AM #

    I think it is fascinating. I also hope you are safe from storms!
    Also I wish you happy holidays if you celebrate them, and tolerance to those who do if you don’t!
    Shalom!

    • JD December 19, 2017 at 2:00 PM #

      We’re usually safe down here on Mindanao. The storm track is generally far north of us. Happy Everything to you, Kath!