Ceres Liner vs. Luggage

Remember I got this fancy, nice looking back pack for my adventures in the Philippines?
You know, this one. Army green, shapely, roomy and cool looking…

luggage-before-travel

Then a Ceres Liner bus happened to it and now it looks like this:

luggage-after-travel

All dirty. And it’s not even proper dust or whatever that you can just brush off, either. This is real dirt that requires soap and hot water to remove. And look at poor simon on top. All black and scruffy looking 🙁

This bus sure was dirty, bleh!

Internet in the Philippines

So far my internet experience in the Philippines has been less than great. From research I did in advance suggested that it would be ok. People I asked that live here said it works mostly fine. Mobile services were mostly present and coverage was good. Even better if you have some form of DSL. So that looked and sounded promising.

floatingcoconut-wifi

When I arrived at the hotel in Puerto Galera there was indeed Wifi. But it was rather slow. After a few hours the signal got even slower. Asking about it got me a bit more insight as to why that was –

Because everyone in town is online now and there is not enough bandwidth to spare.

Allright, so I’ll go online in the evenings and early mornings.

Stop the bleeding!

In order to prepare a little bit for scratches, cuts and blisters I set out to get a few things for that. Last week I went and found a bunch of med kits. Unfortunately most med kits I found are not for travelling and included dumb stuff like baby powder and such. Others included toxic insect repellent. You know, crap that includes Deet. Since I want to live past 40 I opted not to get any of that either.

After some searching I found a basic bandaid kit which included a few bandaids for various things; Heels fingers, waterproof, blisters and whatnot. So I got that.
I’ve added a small bottle of disinfectant, medical tape, Wrist brace and anti-diarrhoea tablets.

medkit

It all fits in a small bag similar to a small toiletry bag. Which goes in my main backpack.

I opted to get a small med kit so I just have it from the get go. Leaving cuts and other bleeding holes untreated in a humid, hot environment that isn’t always the cleanest is just asking for trouble. Even small wounds get easily infected from insects, rubble and just about anything. I don’t want to loose a foot or finger because I didn’t have a bandaid or disinfectant. And neither should you!

Tooled up for the Philippines

Everyone who brings a bunch of electronics and adjustable stuff with screws or moving parts should bring some tools. Over the last couple of months I’ve collected a bunch of stuff and bought a handy roll bag (or whatever it’s called). I’ve put some tools in mine as well as cables and camera accessoires.

Tools and cables

I’ll be bringing an assortment of items to do quick repairs, maintenance or whatever with. Also I need to hook up my gadgets to my computer or chargers.
tools
From the top-left to right:

  • Leatherman bit-set
  • Leatherman Skeletool CX
  • Pointy pliers
  • Wire cutter
  • Small break-knife
  • Tweezers
  • 2x small cross screwdriver

The bit-set and Skeletool are multi-purpose, it has larger pliers, a knife and some other stuff. The small screwdrivers are useful to adjust glasses and they fit the screws on the camera gear and external harddisk.

The lower half from left to right;

  • Aux audio cable
  • Mini-USB to USB cable
  • 3x Micro-USB to USB cable
  • 8 GB thumb-drive
  • 2x MicroSD to SD card converters
  • 32GB MicroSD card

The audio cable is for my speaker. It of-course connects my laptop or iPhone to the speaker without the need for bluetooth. The USB cables are for charging and using my Sony camera, Bluetooth speaker. External Harddisk (Which also has a USB3 cable) and one spare. The Mini-USB cable I don’t really need, but i’ll take it anyway. Just in case.
The thumbdrive is to move documents to the print-shop or whatever. And my Camera uses MicroSD cards to recordings. I have a 64GB card in the camera, the 32GB is a spare.

Camera accessoires

Having a Sony Action Camera (AS100V) it has a whole bunch of ways to mount on pretty much anything.

camera-gear

From top-left to bottom-right;

  • Charger with cable
  • Waterproof case
  • Angled mount
  • Converter thingy for if I don’t use the waterproofed case
  • Helmet strap
  • Wrist strap
  • Regular strap
  • Water absorbing tabs

Most of these I’m not sure if I’ll ever use them, but who knows. The waterproof case is of-course super useful. I’ll probably take it snorkelling some time or film the rain from close up. Maybe the wrist strap is fun to play with some time. I’ve used it a few times so far but had it strapped around my laptop bag shoulder band instead. The water absorbing stuff is to soak up condensation inside the waterproof case.

And the whole thing rolls up nice and tight and weighs about 2 pounds (1 kilo).
rollbag-2

With these things I like to think I can deal with a bunch of stuff that may happen along the way. Cutting cables/thread or whatever. Squeezing things shut and whatnot. Maybe even fixing a loose leg on a table 🙂

Final piece of kit: Skeletool CX

While putting together a few tools a little while ago, I suddenly realised that this would take too much weight and space. 4 or 5 screw drivers, a bunch of pliers… Too bulky and clunky.

I knew of multi-tools but from what I’d seen it’s just a bunch of fold-up knives and corkscrew-like crap. Who needs 5 different knife blades and 3 saws in one tool? Nonsense!

But after some someone assumed I’d take a multitool with me and being surprised that I didn’t I had another look and actually found some that were much more useful.

skeletool-cx-folded

I finally settled on the Leatherman Skeletool. Then I found the Skeletool SX which has a black finish. And finally got the Leatherman Skeletool CX, which is partly made of some kind of Carbon Fiber so it’s more lightweight.

skeletool-cx

One end has a carabiner which doubles as a bottle opener. The other leg has a bit holder so it’s a screwdriver, too. For this I got an additional bit set. This covers most common types of screws and stuff.

skeletool-cx-screwbits skeletool-cx-bits

And the Skeletool has a single folding blade.
skeletool-cx-knife

New piece of kit – A bluetooth Speaker

Earlier this month I finally recognised the existence of wireless speakers as a valid product. Up until then I had always thought of these things as silly noisemakers. Mainly used by annoying teens. Blaring their trash music into the streets as if anyone cares for it.

But, I found a legitimate use for bluetooth speakers. Going to the Philippines I may want to listen to some music without using my iPhone or laptop. But also to get a bit better sound than the tinny sounding speakers in those devices. And… With it’s 14 hour battery, it may just survive any brownouts where my Laptop may fall short.

I got a bit sidetracked with a JBL speaker, which sounded quite good. But was constantly loosing connection to whatever device it was hooked up to. Even with the audio cable attached (not using Bluetooth). So I got another one, this time I did a bit more research into the matter – Turns out there are literally hundreds of models.

Finally I decided to get the Mifa F5. Which has stereo sound, bass boost and a SD card reader.
Also it’s apparently water and dust proof.
mifa-f5

Doesn’t that look cool? It sounds great too 🙂
I put my 32GB card with a bunch of my favourite tracks in there for when I don’t want to have my phone or laptop active and well, so far. It just works. Just like it should!

I bought a grip for my camera

So today I finally got myself a grip or handle (or whatever it’s called) for my camera. I sort of need a thing like this because the camera is so damn small and my hand so large. It’s just more comfortable that way. Also now I won’t put my little finger in front of the lens by accident – because my hand sort of cups the entire camera when I hold it.

camera-grip camera-grip2

Power to the Philippines

philippine-plug-1When traveling to other countries you often want to bring a laptop, phone or whatever kind of electric gear with you. Some people think they can get away with their regular power plugs. And for a bunch of countries that will work fine.

Throughout the European Union, for example, the same plugs are used. The whole of the USA uses the same type of plugs too. And as such each continent or general region uses a fairly universal plug.

Not so much in South East Asia – Including the Philippines.
They use Japanese power plugs. Probably an influence of the Japanese occupation during the second World War. But also the very similar US power plug. A renmant from the United States occupation after World War 2.
And in some more modern buildings they even use a plug that appears compatible with European style plugs.

That sounds confusing… And it is. A universal plug or a bunch of converters are therefor essential. Be prepared 🙂

I asked a friend of mine who lives near Lapu-Lapu City to take a few pictures.

philippine-plug-2 philippine-plug-3

That’s what she uses in her house. 2 types of plugs that are not compatible with each other. Nuts 🙂 A lot of the power plugs they use have converters making them bulky and unwieldy. But overall things work fine.

In the Philippines they use the same type of current we have here in Europe – 220v/60Hz. Lucky for everyone is that most appliances these days are compatible with all currents ranging from 110v to 240v so no power converters are required. All you have to do is match up the power plug itself.