Subic Bay Christmas

Hi Everyone,

Since Randal and I are leaving Subic Bay tomorrow for Puerto Galera, I walked around today taking photos of the Christmas decorations.  At night they are all lit up and look great.  During the day it seems odd to see Santa at the beach.  My favorite is the Fire Department Santa with the fire hat on his head.  The most thought provoking is the one of carolers standing behind the old Spanish cannon probably singing, “Peace on Earth,” or something else antithetical to cannons and war. 

  We spent yesterday and today readying the boat and ourselves for our trip.  We’re both looking forward to it since most of the time it will be just the 2 of us so we need the practice.  I am glad we had the trial run with Nick and Zaida last month.   It did occur to me that we can walk around in our PJs all day!  Next email from PG. 


clip_image001 clip_image002  San Roque Chapel 

I don’t know about Lola and Lolo

clip_image003 clip_image004  Fire Department

clip_image005  Beach Santaclip_image006  Waterfront restaurant

clip_image007 clip_image008 clip_image009 Around Subic

                                                                                           These nylon flowers are lit up at night and look nice.

clip_image010  “Peace on Earth.”

Even though I am Jewish, I like to walk around and see the decorations.  It brightens up the “winter.”

Hope you all have time over the holidays to spend time with friends and family

Ruth and Randal

First Solo Passage

Hi Everyone,

  Thursday Randal and I will do our first passage ALONE!!!  We will be retracing the route to Puerto Galera that we took with Nick and Zaida in the beginning of December.  We will cruise south to Puerto Galera with one overnight anchor in Hamilo Cove, south of Manila.    It will be about 8 hours of cruising each day.   Olongapo, Manila and Puerto Galera are on the map. Subic is just above the word Olongapo.  We cross by Manila Bay but don’t go into it. It get a bit choppy at that point since we are further from land.

  Olongapo is in the lower southwest part of the top island and Puerto Galera is on Mindoro.  I am sure I helped numerous students do reports on the Philippines and other countries in Southeast Asia; but only now am I actually learning something myself. 


The images on the post card are: 1. Paoay Church, Bocos:  2. Beaches of Pagudpud:  3. Vigan, a Spanish heritage city:  4.Hundred Islands National Park, Pangasinan:  5. Century old Banaue Rice Terrace:

6. Center of Mt. Pinatubo, Pampanga:  7. Taoist Ma-Cho Chinese Temple in San Fernando, La Union:  8. Mayon Volcano, Albay   Randal and I have not seen many of these sights but hopefully we will. 

The copyright of this post card and the images belong to  so it might not make in onto my web journal.  But you can find maps of Luzon on the web or at your local library. 

Hopefully the weather there won’t cause anyone problems.  We are having bright sunny skies and less humid weather.  It will remain like this until March.  We do have what are called “Christmas Winds.”  They may make our cruise a little slower and bouncier, but not give us any real problems.  My next email will be from an Internet Cafe in Puerto Galera. 

Red Sox in Roanoke

“Red Sox owners buying Va. minor league team”

“Fenway Sports Group earlier this year bought a 50 percent stake in Roush Racing, one of the top NASCAR racing teams, renaming it Roush Fenway” Boston Herald 12/10/2007

What could be better than that?  Maybe after the Red Sox take over Southwest Virginia they could start an invasion of Southeast Asia.  Now that would be great since I’ll be here and not Roanoke.  But the Sox won’t be in Salem until 2009, so maybe they can work on Southeast Asia until then.  You listening Red Sox?  How would Fenway South sound for a new stadium name?  And it will be “you guys” instead of y’all, at least at the old ball park.  One could go on.  But one will be smart enough to stop.

Lots of Christmas decorations going up here.  Santa has parked a sleigh down on Waterfront Road.clip_image001

USNS San Jose is the ship in the background.  It is a Naval Supply ship with 140 civilian workers and 40 Naval personnel. (Randal looked in up on the Internet.)

clip_image002  Big Ship!!  Last time the US Navy had a ship here it was full of sailors who took over every restaurant and bar on the water front.  But it was nice to see all of those faces from home.

clip_image003  It was one of those bright sunny days with lots of lovely cloud patterns. 

clip_image004  I asked why this formerly all white dog was painted pink.  Answer, “She’s a lady!” 

Well, that explains it.  She is a “lady” dog so she gets painted pink!  She was just outside of a hair salon which goes a lot further to explain why her fur was painted at all. 

And so it goes as Linda Ellerbee would say.

Many word: No photos

Randal and I spent another few days in Manila this past week. Nick and Zaida were driving there for some banking and shopping and had asked if we wanted to join them. We left Subic Monday evening. To ease traffic congestion, vehicles are restricted from entering on certain days and Nick’s plates don’t allow him to drive in Manila on Mondays until after 7 pm. The roads from Subic to Manila were filled with crazy traffic: cars with no lights, cars in no lanes, trucks and buses taking 2 lanes. We arrived with Nick’s nerves a bit worn but the car unscathed about 10:30 pm. Nick and Zaida dropped us at the Aloha Hotel and then went to Nick’s apartment just basically around the corner.

This trip was planned as a shopping trip rather than for sightseeing. We needed a rain fly to cover the front deck so the hatches can remain open in the rain when we are without shore power and so can’t always run the air con.  We needed a thermos and insulated coffee mugs for those days during passages when boat motion makes things spill and trips to the galley too difficult. They will be useful on calm days when everyone wants to be up on the flybridge and traipsing down the ladder, into the pilot house and back to the galley seems like a big deal. I can just take the thermos and insulated mugs up first thing and we can have it during an entire morning or afternoon. Plus every person who has cruised with us has asked, “Don’t you have a thermos and insulated mugs for those rough days?” (Now we do.) We needed to buy a replacement life ring since one of ours disappeared last trip to Puerto Galera. We needed an array of stuff, bolts, things. We needed a small fishing rod.

I needed a new bike helmet, books, more books, and more books! I needed underwear, still being on my quest for something that fit. And we needed some pesto! Randal really likes it, and though it took 3 malls, we finally found some at the Hypermarket at the Mall of Asia where Randal also found some new shorts at the Dickies Store.

I’m not sure everything that we bought, but we don’t need to visit a mall again for a long while. At the Mall of Asia, there are guards at every entrance to check your backpack and pat you down. There is a food court and eating there made me feel as if I were back in Tanglewood Mall. Can you get sautéed spinach with garlic at Tanglewood Mall?

We really went to 3 malls in 3 days. Tuesday we went to the MegaMall. Randal and Nick went one direction and Zaida and I another. I spent about an hour browsing in my first bookstore while Zaida looked for a camera. I had gone with her at first, but then went off to make sure I would have time enough to really browse before we regrouped. We all met for lunch and then switched partners, Randal and I went off together and Nick with Zaida. After lunch Randal and I hit an internet café and then wandered for a bit. About 5:30 pm it was time to get back into another hour of traffic and return to the hotel. Zaida was not feeling so great so we skipped dinner plans. After our long day Randal and I opted to have dinner in the Chinese restaurant in the hotel. I liked it a lot, Randal thought it too spicy hot. We went to bed about 8 pm!

Wednesday Randal met Nick at 7:45 am for a shopping trip to Binondo, the Chinese section of Manila that resembles Mongkok in Hong Kong. Lots of little shops selling stainless steel bits, bolts, and whatever. About 9:30 I walked over to meet Zaida and we walked to one of Manila’s older and smaller malls, the Harrison Mall.  First stop there was to one of the cell phone repair stands where I was able to get a replacement LCD for my cell phone. Then Zaida went to look for clothes and I went to browse in another great “remainder” book store. The books don’t look used but are priced very low. They had older magazines too and the clerk helped me look for the Sports Illustrated World Series issue. She would hold up any SI she found, asking, “Is this it?” Baseball is not big here in the Philippines. I had no luck with the magazines but lots with the books. Here’s what I bought. While I Was Gone by Sue Miller, The Pursuit of Alice Thrift by Elinor Lipman because it was set in Boston and I think Harriet G told me she likes Lipman, I Know Just What You Mean: The Power of Friendship in Women’s Lives by Ellen Goodman (who I really like) and Patricia O’Brien, Lost Geography, a novel by Charlotte Bacon because it talks about how geography impacts life. I also bought The Flyers by Noah Adams about the Wright Brothers. When I was still working, I read Adam’s book Piano Lesson about his attempt to really study piano. I had called Public Radio to asked about having Mr. Adams speak at the library during Piano Week. The woman who answered the phone, said, here he is, talk to him directly. I was a bit flabbergasted, but Noah Adams was very nice. I said I was wondering what he would charge as a fee. He said he’d just speak for free, he liked libraries; but he was just about to go off to promote The Flyers during the 100th anniversary of the flight. (I can’t believe that was over 4 years ago, but the book was written in 2003!) But I should check with him again. Maybe someone else at the library will do that. I thought Randal would also like the book. At that same little Harrison Mall I went to the National Bookstore, similar to the one here. I found a “sale’ copy of The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty. Oddly I find I have patience for authors that I hadn’t before like Welty and Austen and Joyce Carol Oates. I’m getting a whole new education. In the very last bookstore I bought a magazine called y’all because it had a cover story about southern writers like Welty and Tennessee Williams, etc. Along with those books, I had bought The Gathering by Anne Enright one of the NYT’s best books and also Dylan On Dylan for Randal who is a Dylan fan. I also bought Drawing Problems and Solutions by Trudy Friend. She shows the problem and then the solution. I will be glad when I can draw as well as the problem examples. Unfortunately all of those books were full price at the first MegaMall.

We also did some grocery shopping. Peanut butter was quite a bit cheaper and we did find pesto and cooking spray. But I couldn’t find whole wheat flour. I think my last batch came from Sai Kung when we were living in Hong Kong.

Nick and Zaida left Manila after midnight on Wednesday to avoid traffic. Kindly they took our purchases with them. Randal and I wanted a bit more time to look for the life ring and a dinghy engine cover. We also wanted to visit the National Museum within walking distance of our hotel. It was not far from the Manila Hotel, famous for many reasons including being the residence of General MacArthur while he was in the Philippines after the war.  I had been wanting to see it, but missed it on previous visits.  We walked to the hotel first to have a real breakfast. We’d had a granola bar much earlier so a late breakfast would hold us for a while. The Manila Hotel is not spectacular from the outside. It is huge and the inside is old fashioned elegance, line the Hotel Roanoke or any of those old hotels like the one on Mount Washington in New Hampshire or Mohonk House in New Paltz, N. Y. Reflecting the times and place, the lobby has a luggage scanner like the airports and you go through a metal detector also. I think Randal and I made it beep, but the guards ignored that. We walked to the gift shop first for a post card, but there were none. I had not brought my camera thinking we would do no touring, darn! We walked to the coffee shop which was light and airy and expensive. At least the buffet was: $20 per person. I couldn’t eat half that amount. We each ordered an omelet and coffee. Randal also ordered orange juice, expensive but freshly squeezed. The service was gracious and quick, but the bread was cold and blah and the omelet was just so so. Oh well, we can at least check the Manila Hotel off our list of must see. I did ask at the desk if we could visit MacArthur’s room. They checked, but the person who could have taken us was not available at that time. Oh well. Had we been guests, maybe they would have made more of an effort. The room rates at the manila Hotel were 3 or 4 times the rates of the Aloha Hotel so I am sure we will never be guests. But it was nice to visit and see. There was a PALT conference underway. I had to ask because I saw Oxford University Press and a Children’s book publisher’s display. I wondered if it were a library conference. PALT is the Philippine Association for Language Teaching. There were about 20 vendors in the conference hall. Go to a Virginia Library Conference or an American Library Conference and there are hundreds of vendors. I wish the language teachers here had more resources. It was another reminder of how lucky we are back home to have so many resources available.

We then went to the main building of the National Museum. Randal had suggested going though we weren’t sure what it was a museum of. Lucky me, it was art. Many of the building’s rooms are either empty or used for other purposes, so a guide went with us to show us to each room. All of the art, mostly paintings, were worth seeing though rooms had both traditional and modern and social and abstract works all mixed together. Randal was ready to leave and continue our hunt for a life ring, so after about an hour we left the museum. We walked into Intramuros to a marine supply store, but had no luck. By then we were getting tired so took a taxi back to our hotel. Randal called another marine supply store and they did have life rings in stock. But by the time we added the 800 P taxi fare to the cost of the life ring, it wasn’t so much more than the one in Olongapo. Plus, getting it back on the bus would have been a bit much. So we decided to go to the Mall of Asia instead. That’s where we found the pesto and shorts and southern culture magazine.

During our visit we were able to have dinner Wednesday night at our favorite Manila Vice food stand on Roxas Blvd. That’s the place with 50 cent shots of Chevas and 50 cent glasses of wine. We also had paper thin crust pizza and veggie sticks. They say the pizza comes from the Pizza Hut stand down the way. You sit at the tables along the Blvd. and several wait staff come to ask what you want. All are carrying menus from their respective stands. We chose the one from Manila Vice and she went off to find a food menu. In the past the music has been so loud we had to leave, but last Wednesday they lowered it for us. They did that in the Dickies store too. We walked in and the clerks saw our faces and immediately ran to lower the music. I don’t mind the music they play, I just mind when it rattles my teeth.

We were up early Friday morning and caught the 8am bus back to Olongapo. We have made this trip twice before and each time the bus lady recognizes us. She is there to make sure people are on board when the bus is ready to leave. She made the bus wait so I could go to the CR before we left the terminal. We thought the ticket seller said the bus would leave at 8:30; but it really was 8 am. I ran and was really quick!

When we got to the Olongapo terminal, we decided to walk back to the boat though half way back, my pack was feeling like lead. Just outside the gate in Olongapo the McDonald’s now has salads so we stopped there for lunch.

I wish I had taken my camera and won’t leave it home ever again. There were no postcards of the Manila Hotel and the hotel web site has no photos. Sorry. But as I said, it was mostly a visit to the mall, and when you have seen one mall, you really have seen most of them.

dunnage boxes and red cover

I had been telling myself I should clean out the dunnage boxes on Doramac, but forgetting every chance I had.  Well, half the time I would forget and the other half I just didn’t do it.  Today I finally tackled the job and it is dirty work, but the results are very satisfying.  I did  two of them and will work on the others another day. The spare propeller and the drogue and its line were in the first box I tackled.   Unfortunately when I unpacked the drogue, I just dumped it anyway I could.  But it was, and must be stowed in a certain way so that when you need it, it’s ready. Now I know that.   ” A drogue is a device to slow a boat down in a storm so that it does not speed excessively down the slope of a wave and crash into the next one”   Wikepedia  Kind of like a parachute you hang out the stern (back) of the boat.  You have it and hope you never need it because , if you did, you would be in a pretty big storm.  Hopefully we never need the spare propeller either.  It was really heavy so Randal had to get it out of the dunnage box.  He was not overjoyed to see the drogue out in a mess.  But the dunnage box is now clean, very white instead of green!!! 

The parachute part is the blue under all of that line.  The propeller is pretty obvious.  I wish I knew things without learning after the fact.  I would have skipped that box and picked a different.  Oh well.


clip_image002  The clean dunnage box behind the cockpit. 

clip_image003 The whole inside of the box looked like the gray/green area on this sign, only worse. 

A definitely satisfying job when it all looks clean at the end.  And you thought we were off just having fun all of the time!

clip_image004  The front dunnage box was trickier because it won’t stay up by itself.  I had to get a BoBo-Zoey stool to help me.  There are 2 more front boxes to clean.  I kept the others from getting any of the soap/bleach wash by plugging the drain hole in the left hand corner with a wine cork!  Cleaning this dunnage box took more brain than brawn just to figure out how to do it.

clip_image005  Big Red!!  Our huge, too heavy deck cover.  We hope to get something that is lighter in weight.  It does shade the front half of the boat really well and also keeps rain out of the front hatches.

clip_image006  My avocado plant.  When we went to Puerto Galera, Heidi who lives 2 boats over with JR plant sat.  It grew lots of leaves so I had to give it a trim just before its photo.  I have given it some shells and coral for company. 

Tomorrow evening we are driving into Manila with Nick and Zaida for a few days.  To help with the traffic congestion, license plates indicate days you can’t be in Manila so we can’t get there until after 7 pm. 

Randal is now trying to put the drogue back in the box.  I think I’ll go help!

Olongapo City Cemetery

December, 2,2007

  I first started to type November.  It is hard to believe it is already December; it’s still shorts and swimming weather here.  The weather gods are smiling these days.  We were spared the terrible typhoon weather that terrorized parts of the Philippines and Vietnam: but are now enjoying the clear, dry weather that tends to follow in the aftermath.  No AC needed.  The breezes and low humidity want open hatches, doors, and portholes.  We have a huge, HUGE, RED covering over the front deck and that shades the boat.  It is wonderful weather for doing anything and chores are being done up and down the pier.  Yesterday I did laundry and maybe today will wash out some of the storage boxes on the decks that tend to grow moldy from the humidity.   Mostly I took the day off  and went for a 3 hour  walk to, and through the Olongapo City Cemetery.  That left me mentally awakened but physically pretty pooped, but after an indulgently too long shower I revived enough to enjoy dinner at Aresci.  Bob and Audrey Silvers had called about 5:30 asking us to join them for dinner.  Aresci’s is the favorite Italian/Mediterranean restaurant just down the waterfront from the Scuba Shack.  We’d never eaten there, but will again.  Anyway, during dinner Bob or Audrey mentioned the coup in Manila.  “What coup?”   I guess that answers the question, “Can the country they are visiting undergo a coup attempt and Ruth and Randal don’t know?”  Sadly, it’s not such an odd occurrence here.    Shoot’m ups and overthrow politics are not so unusual as one would hope.  I much prefer hanging chads.  I don’t even know if it made the news in Roanoke.  Obviously Randal and I missed it living a mere 3 hour bus ride away. 

Philippines to charge plotters of quashed coup attempt
Xinhua, China – Nov 30, 2007
Philippine military on Thursday quashed a short-lived coup attempt when 30-strong renegade soldiers, led by Trillanes, surrendered inside the Manila
Philippines Lifts Curfew After Coup Attempt; Police on Alert Bloomberg
Coup attempt flops
Army foils coup attempt in Philippines Independent
XinhuaChristian Science Monitor
all 1,315 news articles »

Olongapo City Cemetery

I took over 100 photos during my walk.  I almost wish I could send them all.  Not that they are all so great, but it might be the only info on the web about the cemetery.  It is owned by the City of Olongapo and Father Mike, a long-time local priest told me I might find some info at City Hall.  We met him last week while we were eating in the Scuba Shack.  Father Mike, who had become a friend of  Dave and Dorothy, has a small sailboat that he keeps here at SBYC.  He also offers a mass here once each week.  I was going to go one time to ask about the cemetery, but since he was at the Scuba Shack eating with our Canadian friend Bob we were introduced and I asked him then.  The weather being perfect, I finally took my walk back there and found some of the best views around the area.


On my way to the cemetery I met Gilbert, our former boat helper, going home after his half day. He now works full time for Ray Wolfe.  Gilbert is expecting his first baby any day now.  I asked Gilbert about the cemetery.  His grandfather is buried in the cemetery.  Gilbert said the cemetery started on top of the hill and has worked its way down to the road’s edge.  There are steps that lead up the hillside.

clip_image002  Street level.

clip_image003  I don’t know what the official infant mortality stats are, but there were too many markers like these where you can see for yourself that they are too high. 


clip_image005  Lots of graves too close together for me to walk since I didn’t know if walking on them was acceptable .  I only walked where I found paths.

clip_image006  There were several influences here, Catholic and Chinese.

I have more photos showing the view at the top, but don’t want to overload this email so will send a part 2.