One of the things I knew I’d be dealing with after moving to the Philippines was limited internet access. In the US and in Singapore I’d come to think of the Internet as a utility, just like water. It’s just always there as long as you pay the bill, and it’s usually cheap. That’s not the case here in the Philippines. At least not for me right now.
You see, while there is DSL and I think cable Internet available in the Metro Manila area, I’m currently residing in a rural area outside of Antipolo, in Rizal Province, which is in turn north of Metro Manila by about 45 minutes. It’s in the mountains and in the US this is what you would refer to as “the boonies”. It’s out there. It’s so out there that running water is also in short supply at the moment. I think I mentioned that before, but the water only runs for about two hours in the morning so we collect water to be used throughout the day. I’d expected things to be a little difficult, but the last time I was here the water was still running. All of the inconveniences start to pile up to the point that I’m already looking forward to finding an apartment in Manila, sooner than originally planned.
Something that surprises my wife regularly is how I’m able to take this all in stride. She had the impression that I would balk at the idea of living in a place that has no air conditioning, no running water, and limited Internet access. I suppose the reason these things don’t bother me as much as they might the next person is that I spent a lot of time in the military, where doing without these things was a common occurrence while on training exercises or during deployments.
Anyhow, the main point here is that I’m having to find new ways to occupy my time. The Internet access I’m using now is a prepaid USB stick through Globe. The price isn’t too bad. It’s 5 PHP per 15 minutes with discounted options for a whole day or for a 5 day chunk of unlimited access. Still, that adds up. I was doing the math and if both of us were to keep re-applying for the 5 day unlimited access we’d wind up paying about double per month what we do for cable Internet in Singapore. That’s rough, especially considering that the quality is a fraction of what we became accustomed to.
So, I’m relearning the joy of reading. I picked up a book on Filipino history that I’m digging through. I think that’ll help me to understand the people here and help me relate, especially when I start working and/or going to school later this year. I’m also finding ways to optimize my Internet experience. One way for me to do that is to type up my blog posts in Windows Live Writer prior to connecting and then to simply publish them. Then I can use my time to surf the net, rather than sit in a browser window typing, unnecessarily burning up my prepaid time.
Of course, I don’t have a lot of free time right now. We did just get some painting materials yesterday. I want to get started on that sometime soon. I’m not sure when. We’re starting to burn out and we need some relaxation time. It’s amazing how even when we say we’re not going to do anything for a day, just picking up around the house to get ready to relax winds up taking the whole day. By the time we sit down to just surf the net or watch a movie, it’s after 10 PM.
We have another day of doing nothing planned for tomorrow. I’m hoping it’ll be successful.