Thursday, August 27, 2009

We're "Rock"in' again!

So we’re back “home,” and it wasn’t a dream after all. Having just returned from eight weeks in the United States, the idea of living on a small, remote island did begin to feel unreal. We retired from our jobs, sold almost everything we had, and moved to the Philippines. Now that we are back, realizing the conveniences that we are sacrificing to live here, living once again temporarily without electricity, not having all the foods we are used to, it’s not hard to wonder, did we make the right decision? We still believe so, but only time will tell.

We are in the throes of readjusting to life on Corregidor. Despite the fact that it is rainy season, the first few days have been rain-free. There have been medium to heavy showers with lots of thunder and lightning most nights. Although the temperatures are only hitting the mid-to-high 80’s, the humidity must be a constant 100%. Since the weather was mostly cool during our stay in the States, we are having to re-acclimate. Marcia was so tired from the long days of travel that on the first day back here she skipped dinner, went to bed at 4:00 PM, and slept until 5:30 the next morning.

We were disappointed to find that, despite nine weeks to fix the solar system, it is still not functioning. Apparently the problem was deeper than originally thought, so the engineer responsible for maintenance came without all of the parts that he needed, and has not since returned, apparently waiting for a critical part. So we are back to using flashlights at night, and despite the very high temperatures overnight, we are not able to run our bedroom fan. We do have the diesel genset, but it is far too noisy and expensive to run all the time. This means we are also without a refrigerator. We are running the genset only to wash clothes, and while it is running, we are also charging all of the rechargeable batteries that we can think of, and it is a good time use the computer as well. On other days we do our computer work and charge our phones at the Corregidor Foundation, Inc. (CFI) office.

The island is very green and lush now, as you might expect after the weeks of heavy rain. We have Roy busy trimming the garden pathways which were totally clear when we left, and the hibiscus hedge needs work as well. The areas in the yard which were bare soil have filled in with grass and other ground cover, and the plants that have been started are looking well established in an amazingly short time.

You may remember our story about asking Carmelo to transplant an oregano plant for us late last year. When we returned to the house after a walk we saw that he had planted an entire row of oregano at the edge of the yard. For several months of dry season the plants grew very slowly, and the bed had to be frequently weeded. When we returned from our recent U.S. trip, we were astonished to see that the oregano had grown into a hedge! It is now four feet wide and two to three feet high. At this rate we may be facing “The Attack of the Killer Herbs” in another year. Oregano here is used medicinally, but we have not encountered it used for cooking. When we sent out the original pictures several people thought that it was actually basil, but we are sure from taste, smell, and the fact that the locals call it oregano that it is in fact some form of oregano.

No one likes to be asked for money and we certainly don’t like to ask. However, since many new readers have been added recently, we are going to once again give our readers the opportunity, if they so choose, to help both the Island of Corregidor and four young, hard-working men. With the generous contributions from some of our long-time readers, “Benny and the Bolos” were able to work at special projects the past eight weeks. You can read about them at:

Benny and the Bolos were able to clear the scrub brush around Battery Crockett so that you can now see that it is in fact on a point of land and had a strategic location. Also, they were able to begin clearing around the houses used by General MacArthur and President Quezon on Tailside. Funds are almost used up, and there is still work to do. The cost of employing all four workers for a day is only about $25, so you can see how even a small donation can go a long way. If you would like to contribute, here is the information you need. Designate your check as being for “Corregidor Special Projects.”

Donations to the Filipino-American Memorial Endowment (FAME) are tax deductible in the United States. Checks should be made out to FAME, Inc. and mailed to:

FAME, Inc.
c/o Alex H. Keller
535 Rolling Rock Lane
Cincinnati, OH 45255-3919

In the Philippines mail your check to:

FAME, Inc.
c/o the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Inc.
2/F, Corinthian Plaza Building
Paseo de Roxas, Makati City
Philippines 1229

We thank you for anything you can do.

Steve and Marcia on the Rock – comment at

P.S. We have mentioned our niece, Angie Keseley, and the fact that she was a member of the Wisconsin Women’s Hockey Team the past four years, and that Angie contributed to their winning three national championships, with a second place her junior year. We also mentioned that we got to see her try out last week for the United Stated Olympic Team. We have just received word that she, along with seven other ladies with U of Wisconsin ties, will be representing the United States in Vancouver next February. Big “Way to Go” to Angie. Angie’s mother Paula, who is Steve’s sister, visited Corregidor with him in May, 2002. You can read our original comments about Angie at:

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