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Dunstan checks in

13 Jan

Happiest 26 birthday to my pal, my gal and my number one blog stalker, Kate!

We went to high school together, but didn’t really get to know each other until we were around 20, in a fairly usual way, through a boy. She started dating a mate of mine from Uni and suddenly we were going to trivia nights, holiday ranches and generally hanging out together.

Her and this dude didn’t work out (in part because he’s a bit of a dick and loves the ladies, especially friends of mine) but I got to keep Kate in the split. And thank goodness.

Sometimes I don’t hear from friends back home for days or weeks, but I speak to Kate over trusty old viber nearly everyday. She can be stubborn as a mule, but this also means she holds firmly to what she loves and believes in and being fairly strongly that way inclined myself, it’s something I deeply respect in others.

Sometimes I’ll say something to her in passing and a day or a week or a long time later she will tell me she thought a lot about and looked into whatever it was that I said we’ll have a great talk about it.

Kate is very beautiful but sometimes girls don’t notice it until the guys do because she doesn’t wear her physical beauty like a medal like so many beautiful girls do. You notice her smile, but you also notice how quick she is to laugh, how she’ll argue if she doesn’t agree with you, she’ll firmly support you if she agrees, she doesn’t offer stupid advice when you don’t need it and haven’t asked for it, when she’s sad about something, she won’t make a big deal of it unless you poke and poke and she’s open to new ideas, experiences and love.

Happy birthday Kate! You’re not old at all – when we’re 36, we’ll look back and wish we were still 26, you know it! Thanks for Thailand, Thai rose, Sydney, Meredith, big mouth, la Roche, Hollywood karaoke and everything in between!

Xoxo 20130113-165441.jpg






30, 33 and 37 going on 13

13 Oct

Just got back from an epic 8 hours of 3 way joint birthday party fun at a private cold springs on the mt bulusan, the volcano near my town.

My friend Aileen at work invited me along for her birthday and since it was 3 way joint they hired a jeepney, cooked up a picnic to feed a small army (new Zealand maybe) and bought literally a keg of cheese flavored coconut milk ice cream.

We spent the day eating, swimming, eating, playing charades, eating, face painting, eating, hanging out and eating on the way home. A game called rape-rapan was suggested, where players simulate, in a somehow playful way, rape. So glad it didn’t get picked up.

Had such a fun day eating the vego food they had so carefully prepared for me and enjoying hanging out with Aileen’s friends who are so Gubat, so Filipino and so joyful. Top-loaded on the jeep home so if I wasn’t already full before, I definitely am now after consuming god knows how many bugs every time I opened my mouth to say something.








Oppa gangnam style!!!

1 Oct

Best thing I have ever ever seen!!!

click here to see video!


A wandering minstrel, I (we)

11 Sep

I recently switched back to a morning yoga practice to make time in the evenings to study for my online course which is apparently a 15 hour per week workload which i thought i’d be anle to squeeze in to work hours but it seems the next 3 months will be nothing like the blogging, 9gag-ing, facebooking and just randomly trolling the internet i did in the first 3 months. Also, i did it in preparation for what will soon be a 3 hour time difference between Australia and Philippines. So yes, can still he week night Skype dates for anybody interested… Anyone? Anyone?

My newly free evenings mean I get to wander the streets aimlessly at a speed of 2 kms per hour with my barkada crew after work. Oh what an especially lovely town Gubat is between 5-7pm when everybody is in the centro. We listened to the ramblings on a troubled love life from the 19 year old girl whose name we don’t know so we call Magayon who runs the lugaw (chicken soup) stall by the JVL line terminal. We went to a supermarket and argued over which pickles I should by for no reason except we had time to talk about pickles. We tasted delicious rambutan and another fruit whose name Aileen told me but I immediately forgot right in the market. And as is the way in a small town, as we walked along, we said hello to everybody we knew and got invited to a few videoke parties to boot.

I heart my little town



A fiesta season love affair

5 Jul

Pinoys love a fiesta. Every barangay has a fiesta plus there’s the town fiesta, so I have eaten plenty of buko (coconut) salad plus sticky rice over the past 2 months. Yes, 2 months of fiesta season in Philippines! I did however get to eat some lettuce tomato and onion at the Bagacay fiesta as that’s what it was understood that vegetarians eat. Oh Philippines and your love affair with fiestas and meat… I’ll have you understanding vegetarian food by the time I’m done here!

Fully decked out tricy

Philippines National Army

Hello Kitty getting amongst it

Pa ra pa pum pum!!!

Little girls as beauty queens

So many cool dudes in Philippines, even in marching bands

On poverty and wealth

23 May

The other volunteers and I caught up on the weekend in Donsol in an attempt to have a majestic experience with the whale sharks and while they didn’t make an appearance, we still had a whale of a time! (oh man I have been spending too much time with a certain girl from Calabanga xo). Catching up with the other volunteers is the best ever and it was our one month anniversary of our Pinoy life so we had lots to catch up on (although admittedly, I did have my nose buried in the hunger games for too many minutes across the weekend)

We have been getting varied support from our host organisations to help us settle in. Tania lived on her supervisors floor for the first week, Alex has an entourage of work colleagues come with her every time she needs to visit an apartment or buy something and I have had access to our brand new municipal vehicle, the toyota hilux, to cart around all my heavies. When I haven’t been able to use it, the boys from the yard get tricys to do the job for me (was quite the amazing sight traveling down town with a bed strapped to the top of one tricy and the mattress strapped to the top of another… all for less than a dollar!)

We’ve noticed during all these shopping expeditions and indeed throughout all our encounters with local Filipino people, that the poverty is part of life here. Kerry’s counterpart told her she was rich when she bought a bottle of olive oil from the supermarket rather than a single use sachet of vegetable oil from the palengke and this is not uncommon. When we visited Bulusan volcano the other weekend, where they have an abundance of hot and cold springs which are of international water standards, we were told that water bills in this area are only P10 per month, but people have a hard time paying still. Everything (shampoo, toothpaste, cheese, vegetable stock etc) is available in single use foil sachets because people can’t afford, or can’t save afford, buying bottles. My work colleagues told me that vegetarianism is for rich people because people don’t have the knowledge of how to get protein or iron in their diets from food sources other than meat and even if they did have the knowledge, things like tofu and lentils and green veggies are way more expensive than just eating animal. And I have realised too that merienda isn’t just about the social act of eating, but is also just as much about supporting local vendors who have no other livelihood than selling snacks for P5.

I occasionally have a weak moment feeling sorry for myself living on my meagre volunteer allowance. But since I have been here, I have been showered with welcome to Gubat and Philippines love, have seen the games children play on the street, heard the excitement of my work colleagues talking about American Idol and their star Jessica Sanchez and of course, as I never stop raving about, am surrounded by so much natural environment beauty that I am almost jealous that while poor in money terms, Filipinos are so wealthy in all these other life ways. I saw an article in the Age yesterday (which I sometimes read to see the terrible state of Australian politics and feel gratitude that I am here and not there) about how Australians couldn’t survive a depression because we are too materialistic and superficial. That’s a debate for another day, but if you applied that thought experiment to Filipinos, you would conclude that these people definitely could, because life here is definitely not about money. That was one of the main reasons I came here to do this and being surrounded by so much happiness and wealth in so many other parts of human life other than dollars helps me keep my eyes on the prize and reminds me that I live here too now and so I am insanely wealthy.

Why did the chicken cross the road?

15 May

To get to these gorgeous guys on the other side of Barangay Dita, about 2kms from the Gubat town centre.

Why play indoors when you can be outside riding a broken tricy with your friends?