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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 4th decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

The Great Dumaguete Fire

Dumaguete, Island of Negros, The Philippines

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli


Traveling brings out the unexpected. That’s is the reason we go, right? If we knew what tomorrow would bring, life would be a bore. Here's one instance of an uncommon event.

We were asleep -- sound asleep as most people are at 3:00AM -- when I thought I heard what sounded like a civil defense siren wailing in the middle of the night. I tried to roll over and ignore it, since in developing nations such as the Philippines, strange sounds at odd hours are common. It's a good reason to travel with ear plugs.

Although the siren wasn’t loud, it continued long enough to make me wonder why, at three o’clock in the morning, this alert just didn't stop. Finally, I decided to get up and look outside our window.


A big one, and right on the next block from us. These are small blocks, and this raging fire was clearly visible from our room. From our window, I assessed the situation to see if we were in immediate danger. Unless the winds changed direction and blew towards us, I decided that we weren't immediately in harm's way.

There was all kinds of activity down on the road but as of yet no fire department was in sight. The siren must have been a call out to the volunteer fire fighters to wake up and go to work. I saw that Akaisha was still sleeping with her ear plugs firmly in place, the commotion not rousing her one bit.

I dithered about going back to bed, after all, it was the middle of the night and we had plans for the morning. I laid in bed but I could hear the activity outside growing along with the sounds of trucks and people shouting orders. I got back up and now contemplated going outside with my camera. What an opportunity!

Actually my going out to take pictures was a no brainer, the indecision was over whether or not I should wake Akaisha and let her know what I was doing. If she woke up and I was not here - believe me - I would hear about it, note or no note. And how was I going to write a note without turning on lights to find a pen and paper? With it being a little after 3:00 AM, I was still half asleep and my mind was working over time.

Akaisha rolled over and lifted off her eye cover blearily asking what I was doing out of bed. (Whew! I was saved.) Oh, nothing dear, there's just this huge fire down the street and I want to go take pictures. This got her attention, and not wanting to miss the drama, she’s up in a flash.





I grabbed my gear and headed out to the action. She watched - more or less safely - from above.

The heat from the fire was powerful. I'm in shorts and flip-flops and I could almost feel my legs and feet being singed. This was a scene I had only seen on the evening news, and here I was taking photos myself!

Here you can see that the fire department had finally arrived - some water trucks and a couple of hoses.

The blaze was so great, however, that the man power and water supply were no match for it.

The fire did jump across the street to the next block but the winds were still blowing parallel to our hotel so there was actually no danger. If it had been an issue, believe me, I would have been back to our room and we would have been out of there. But my adrenaline was pumping. I didn't want to miss a thing!

The fire was just raging! How could I leave this now?

Getting direction from the Fire Chief.

The devastation was complete. Nothing much was left of these buildings when the fire was finally put out.

The commotion got the whole town roused up from their slumber.

I must have been gone twenty or thirty minutes by now and figured I'd had enough so I headed back to our hotel. There I found Akaisha outside with both of our backpacks and all the belongings she could carry! The hotel had set off the fire alarm and evacuated everyone.
It was now well past four in the morning and all of the hotel guests were excitedly talking and buzzing around. There really was no need to go back to bed now.

The commotion continued on well into daylight. Basically from what I could tell the fireman did their best to just contain the fire but no way had the resources to put it out. This is the view from our hotel room. That's how close we were!

Here is the view from our hotel window the day before the Great Dumaguete Fire. The building on the upper left with the turquoise stripe is the building which burned. Who would have known?





This is a view of our hotel standing from the place of the fire the next morning. We had a corner window view.

Even in the morning, truck by truck they still filled up with water from this water tower. We could see this action from the top floor of our hotel where the open-air restaurant was located.

Once things cooled down the scavengers took over. People found value in the charred remains of the buildings.

Later on in the morning, people were still milling around and gawking.

Finally, the carpenters came in to board off the area.

Just another day and another photo opportunity while traveling!

For more stories and photos of the Philippines, click here

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About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their award winning website, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website bookstore or on

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