From Dumaguete, we decided to take a ferry to the neighboring tiny island of Siquijor, where we stayed at one of the more expensive dive resorts – Salamangka Beach and Dive Resort. We almost never choose expensive accommodations but we only started looking for accommodations, ran out of options, and eventually decided we deserve this, even just this once. We took our breakfasts at the restaurant or by the pool while sunbathing and swimming. The pool-side bar afforded us swim while getting semi-drunk on cocktails and enjoying live jazz music. We were lucky in our timing because the owners had some of his friends over from New York who are professional musicians and they made beautiful music from sundown til late. When my then-boyfriend and now-husband’s mother asked us what we were doing and we told her, she infamously asked, “What about real life?” Still, our time spent in Siquijor was one of our most memorable, work-free, and stress-free family trips.
My daughter is getting more and more independent. Yesterday she spent all day taking care of me while I lay in bed all day writhing in pain from migraine. She made breakfast for herself, went to her grandparents’ house for lunch, and prepared the dining table for the dinner that was prepared for us. She prepared her travel bags. Today, I watched her take the elevator, her backpack behind her, on her way to spend the weekend with her grandparents in Bardonecchia for three days and two nights without me. On Monday, I will bring her to the train station where she will board a train to Genoa with her schoolmates, spending two days there, and one night “sleeping with the sharks” at the Genoa Aquarium.
“I am sorry I will not be here to take care of you, make you feel better, and make you laugh… but at least you will not have to think about me and take care of me. There will be less stress for you and you can relax,” my daughter said to me as she squeezed a tube of toothpaste in the bathroom the night before.
It may not look it but this picture shows many firsts and it had to be documented.
A first time for my wetsuit, a Christmas present from my husband.
A first time for my brand new surfboard, an advanced birthday present from my husband. Along with a new leash and booties.
A first time for me and my husband to be surfing together at the same time in the water. We had to take turns before in terms of boards and instructors.
A first time for me to go surfing this year.
And lastly, a first time for me to be surfing in the waters of Sardegna.
And what better place to do it but in a secret spot close to our home. A mere 20-30 minutes away drive, in the very same town we live in.
On our last day in Dumaguete, Lia was well enough to go on a motorbike ride to the mountains. Even if the waterfalls was closer to our farmhouse, there was no way we were going to the waterfalls with Lia. There was some walking and hiking involved in a what they said a muddy sloped area. We opted for Lake Balinsasayao.
We arrived at the entrance where we parked our motorbike, registered on the logbooks, and paid the parking and entrance fees. We walked up the hill to the receiving area where a snack bar and view deck is. From there you can see the view of the placid lake, and if you are lucky, see unusual birds perched on the branches of the trees.
We walked down stone steps to where the lake is and some huts where we had a little picnic and thereafter rented a small boat, that came with a rower, to a small waterfalls on the other end of the lake. We took turns with the paddles. It was good fun.
There are other things one can do, like take a trek to the other lake. The men did it but Lia and I didn’t do it anymore. Instead we stayed on one of the huts by the view deck and took naps. Lia also took some time to explore the fern nursery and garden. She had fun with the flowers and butterflies.
We are a simple family. When we travel, we avoid staying at expensive hotels or resorts. We prefer to stay with family, friends, or at AirBnb places. Our two-week stay in Dumaguete in January 2016 was no different. There are many choices for staying in Dumaguete. One can stay in the city itself, in one of its many hotels, BnBs, and hostels. Most of the AirBnb places are not in the city center though and we think that’s well and good. After hours of looking on AirBnb and actually driving around on our rented motorbike, we found a small farmhouse in a town outside of the city, and it was the perfect place to stay for the New Year and the days after. We played many games of Dobble, Fabio’s Christmas present for Lia, and watched movies. On New Year’s Eve, all three of us laid on the hammock, covered with a warm blanket, and watched and counted shooting stars in the night sky – the distant sounds of firecrackers, and fireworks a faint glint in the far horizon.
It’s never too early to start planning your summer holiday with the family. Why not go to Sardegna where activities like island hopping, snorkeling, diving, and simply lounging on the white sandy beaches await. There is also good food, excellent wine, and the Mediterranean breeze and sun!
Let us help you plan your summer activities with your significant other, your friends, or the entire family. We have packages that include accommodations, early booking discounts, off-season discounts, and discounts for multiple dives. Who knows? We may even have some freebies for you and your friends!
For more information, visit our website at www.bluinfinito.it and our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/bluinfinitodivingcenter/
This will be where the entire family will be this summer. Lia will be eight years old by then and she will start scuba diving by then. PADI has Youth Scuba Diving Programs for kids ages 8 years old and above. Maybe you will even dive with her!
Lia’s last Christmas in the Philippines was in 2015 and she spent it with her biological father and his family, as she did the past Christmases. We had spent some time together before Christmas though, seeing and being with my friends. We own a flat in the Taguig area and we hang out in the many establishments found in Bonifacio Global City (BGC). We stumbled upon this lights show in the roof deck of the SM Aura mall and Lia and I had some fun.
Our first stop was Last Frontier Beach Resort, located in Corong-Corong beach and owned by a friend of ours, and had just been recently completed. It took quite a while and a lot of efforts and stress for our friends to finish the resort and the least we can do is be supportive. We stayed for the sunset – always a not to be missed event.
We had Christmas dinner at Republica Sunset Bar in Lugadia. The day after Christmas, we dropped by El Nido Art Cafe, and Mezzanine Restaurant – making a round of businesses in Serena St. that our friends owned.
I met Loja for the second time only the day after. He didn’t have so much time. He got up every now and then to talk to my daughter in her bedroom. He stood outside her bedroom, leaning against the door, asking what she is doing, and making a comment on how organized her room is. Loja, a father himself to two boys, was great with kids. My daughter said she liked him because he was funny. And he spoke English. That was always a plus to her.
He was leaving Torino to bring his kids back to Barcelona after spending the Christmas with their grandparents. He would not be able to make it to our wedding. We all came down the stairs together, and he helped us load our things into the car. And for the last time, he hugged me, and kissed me, and said, “It was so nice to finally meet you. And congratulations.” I said thank you In Italian and got into the car. I watched him walk away, and down the street. In a black coat and a black bonnet, his silhouette barely visible in the dusk.
Today I start the new year as a new wife. Having been married before, never did I imagine myself getting married again. In fact, I didn’t want to. I balked and bailed. I took two steps forward and one step back. I started and stopped a million times. I have commitment phobia. Maybe I even have abandonment syndrome. Maybe I have a gazillion of other undiagnosed mental disorders. Maybe I just didn’t want to be married, committed, and my sense of freedom and independence bound. Or maybe I did not want to make the same mistakes or fail again. But Lia, the light in our lives, the center of our big universe, the cord that ties all of us together, is the reason why we are here.