Moving….. again

After 20 years in Los Baños it is finally time to move on.

Why move?

Los Baños has been great for us. It is only 10 minutes away from IRRI where Martin worked for a total of 29 years. It used to be a quiet and rural setting until some years ago, and our residences were always on Mt. Makiling, a dormant volcano covered with protected primary rain forest. The kids had the reputation at their international school of being “the kids of the jungle”, but that was a good thing, some of their peers even came to Los Banos on the weekends to get away from congested and polluted Manila. However, after Martin stopped working in a full time employment scenario, and COVID and several rounds of institutional restructuring had decimated the expat community of Los Baños, combined with a now terrible traffic situation that had come with the development of super markets, industries and residential units in the area, it was time to look for another place. We had to spent 3 and 4 hours twice in the car gridlocked in traffic jams since Christmas 2023 on the 60 km from Manila to Los Baños. We also hardly used Magayon II, which was mored in Puerto Galera Yacht Club for many years, because it took too much time to travel there. After moving the boat to Iba, Zambales, it was not much different, but basically because the infrastructure for boats was non existent there.

The New Place

We got the chance to join another family in renting a big house, big enough for several parties living there, in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone. (House description in separate PW page) it has a rather big garden and sits on a ridge overlooking the bay. It is in a very quiet area, maybe 3-4 cars pass by every day. Some exciting neighbors are a family of monkeys that show up on the opposite side of the road every afternoon and sometimes venture in our garden and on the roof of the house. They already invited themselves to some bananas when the kitchen door was left open.

View over Subic Bay from our new house

The big plus sides compared to LB are:

  • Far less traffic. Except for short stops at traffic lights we never have to stop because of traffic congestion.
  • Lots of restaurants of different cuisines including some with excellent food.
  • The bay with several marinas to leave and repair our boat(s).
  • Regattas.
  • Short distance travel on an empty highway to the international Clark Airport in Angeles.
  • Large international community, including lots of people with a boating background.
  • Tremendous view from our place, overlooking the bay while sitting at the breakfast table.
  • Nice motorcycle roads and destination in the surroundings of the freeport zone.
  • Monkeys.

The administration seems also very efficient, within half a day we had registered as residents, gotten our SBFZ IDs, and got the sticker for the car and motorbike.

The Move

The move actually stretched over 2 months, Martin was traveling a bit for a consulting assignment in Thailand and Mavic for work in the Philippines. Also, we had to downsize a bit because the new place is smaller than our old house in SEARCA, and it is unbelievable how much stuff one accumulates in 20 years which hobbies like sailing, kayaking, boatbuilding, diving and motorcycling and others. We did move in several steps and had a garage sale in Los Banos and several TGIF events with our Los Banos friends.

  • March 22-24: First trip with Mavic driving the XTtrail fully loaded with initial stuff for camping in the new house and things that we were sure to keep and were easily movable and Martin riding the BMW.
  • April 13-15: For the second trip Mavic hired a 6-wheeler truck with driver and two guys for help. We thought we would get all our furniture and belongings in the truck plus our two cars. But far from it. The ref, washing machine and some furniture did not fit. Some of the items that did not make it this time could go on the boat trailer, but we definitely needed a second truck.
  • May 31 – June 2. This time Miriam helped, she brought the pickup truck from Sundowners which has a tow hook so we could move the trailer. Mavic had arranged for a smaller 4-wheeler truck. May 27-30 were heavy packing and sorting days and Miriam stayed on in Subic until June 3 to help setting up book shelves and sorting the books and other things. The truck left fully packed after lunch on May 31, Miriam left in the Honda around the same time. Martin did not want to drive the trailer during the day with heavy traffic so he decided to leave after midnight. Luckily Mavic decided to do the same and accompany him, because things went very wrong with the trailer (Link) and it would have been a catastrophe without the second car around.

Settling in

As mentioned above settling in is easy, at least administratively.