Our very first boat trip came two days after we arrived in Sardegna, on the dive boat of Blu Infinto Diving Center. It turned out to be a very windy day and me with my motion sickness, which I have had since I was a kid but is exacerbated when I travel too much, which I actually do too, boo (hu hu), was not very happy. Lia was, though, as she always is, with practically anything and everything.
These photos were taken on different days in the past weeks. It is not always sunny and hot. Most times, because I am so skinny and gets cold easily, I walk around with a sweater even if the sun is out. The wind can be strong sometimes and nights are generally chilly. In the first few days, sunsets were as late as nine in the evening.
It was cold and raining when we arrived in Milano a week ago. Taking the EasyJet plane from Milano to Olbia, filled with kids of all ages, wide-eyed smiling mothers and understanding fathers, and seated next to two blonde girls in their late teens or early twenties dressed in tank tops and low-hanging jeans who were all smiles to my daughter and helping her out with her seat belt and sandals, it was such a drastic change from the Filipino-filled Etihad plane from Manila to Abu Dhabi, and the mixture of Italians dressed in casual and business attires from Abu Dhabi to Milano. I watched my daughter stay up the first three hours enjoying the television and movies on the Etihad plane to just sleeping through all the connecting flights.
From El Nido to Manila to Abu Dhabi to Milan and to Olbia, we took a total of four planes, and in the van from the Olbia airport to our home in Villagio Porto Coda Cavallo, rolling through the sunny, bush-filled hills and plains of Sardegna, I was thinking to my little girl self, “In this big, big world, how did I manage to get found? I have come sooo…. far.”
The first week was spent getting to know the immediate areas and the people in them – the bar in the piazzetta where Lia and I take my daily dose of macchiato and her gelatto, the beaches of Salina Bamba, just in front of our home, and Giardanchini, a mere fifteen minutes walk from our village through grazing fields and hills; the dive shop, market, pharmacy, and boutique. I spend the mornings saying “Boungiorno” to the garden keepers who water the lawn and trim the flowering plants, while watching the various birds hop about from bush to bush and tree to tree, and gazing at the sea. We have been to San Teodoro and Olbia more times than I cared to count because I craved for sweets and we needed supplies – groceries, medicines, supplies for Lia’s home schooling, slippers, beach and sand toys, and a new smartphone because apparently, my roaming bill is now approximately Php25,000.
Image downloaded (and text below lifted) from the Facebook page of WWF-Philippines.
“Today is World Oceans Day!
The planet’s oceans and coasts are home to an incredible array of life – and are vital to human health, livelihoods, and cultures. But damaging and unsustainable human activities are taking their toll on marine habitats and marine species around the world.
WWF works toward a future in which well-managed oceans and coasts are resilient, full of life, and capable of supporting sustainable development.
Visit http://wwf.org.ph/ to find ways to help!”
Image by El Nido Resorts.
First off, some credits where/to whom credit is due.
Happy World Turtle Day from all five species of sea turtles that can be found in Palawan! El Nido Resorts takes part in sea turtle conservation by protecting their nesting sites, educating guests and staff, and engaging in monitoring activities.
It was a nearly cloudless day in Sibaltan. We left the Tourism Office in El Nido town at half past eight in the morning, Lia and I, on the motorbike that Almer was driving and took nearly 2 hours to get there. Nearly two hours of a few kilometers of paved road, and then dusty, rough road the rest of the way all the way to Sibaltan.
We arrived to find ten lovely girls all dressed and made up for the shoot for Daragang Cuyunon (Miss Cuyunon) 2014.
Here are the photos:
On the first day that we went out on Tour C with a group of four, another group composed of nine English and Spanish guests, went out at a later time on a different boat, also on Tour C. On the second day, we combined the two groups in one big boat, the Kryzel Jane, that is good for 2o pax, and went out on Tour A.
Our first stop was the Small Lagoon in Miniloc Island where the girls did some kayaking outside. I took this panorama shot using my phone.
The last time I was on a tour boat was years ago so on one particular sunny day, when my resident tour guide was on day off, I decided to go with my tour guide in training instead. We only had 4 guests from Brazil and Austria and it was a rather relaxed and fun day! We did a stop at Cadlao Lagoon, which is actually part of Tour D, in place of Hidden Beach because the tide was too low to go there, before heading for the area covered by Tour C.
Our second stop was Culasa Beach in Tapiutan Island for lunch. While the tour guides prepared grilled pork, chicken, fish, squid, and eggplants because we had a vegetarian on the tour, our guests went snorkeling and swimming, and took some nice photos on and around the beach. Culasa Beach is also one of the stops of Tao Philippines.
So today is Mother’s Day and as in the past 5 years, I didn’t feel or do anything special. I remember last year’s Mother’s Day was extremely difficult. I was alone in my family’s condo in Taguig and afterwards I was walking around the mall in tears. I went to a waxing salon and they thought my tears were all because of the wax. I had to assure the lady that it wasn’t.
I sent Mother’s Day greetings to all my surrogate mothers, the “mothers” I have known, the “mothers” I still have, and the women in my life that were the closest to the mother I could ever have. I have never been very close to my own mother but she passed away in 2011 and the fact that I had no real mother to speak of, to celebrate Mother’s Day for, caused me a lot of pain.
And also because nobody celebrates Mother’s Day for me. Until Lia is old enough to know it, nobody will do special things for me on Mother’s Day.
But really, Mother’s Day is not only one day a year. Or twice a year depending on your nationality and where you are currently living (like my niece in Sydney).
Last year, I was feeling absolutely horrible, sad, lonely, and basically all those depressing adjectives, because not only was Mother’s Day passing by with nary a trace, the reason I can be and am called “Mother” was absent.
This year’s Mother’s Day is better simply because my daughter is with me. We don’t have to do anything special. I don’t have to receive anything. Every single day that I spend with Lia is Mother’s Day.
Everyday is Mother’s Day as long as I have her with me and that’s all that matters.
I was in Manila last week for my friend’s wedding. She and I have been friends since university and have been through all kinds of stuff! Like really, all kinds! 😛
This was taken at my bridal shower in 2006.
And she was the on-the-day coordinator for my wedding.
I move around a lot so we don’t get to see each other much. We make it a point to see each other when we can – in the few times I am in Manila each year.
This was taken outside of 70’s Bistro in Quezon City in 2012. This was the night she told me she was getting married.
I model for friends once in a while. My make-up artist, E.J. Belen-Litiatco, was doing her new portfolio and the shoot fell on a date when I myself happened to be in Manila. I am seldom in Manila but on the scheduled day of the shoot, I was.
I love E.J. We first met in 2006. She did the make-up for my wedding and the make-up for a number of my friends’ weddings thereafter.
We did a portfolio shoot in 2008. This shoot was done in November 2013. It took a while for me to post about this and I even hesitated. In the end, I decided to blog about it so I can promote her talent as a make-up artist as well as the photographer’s, Mario Wong.
This is the photo I like best.
Here are the other edits sent by the photographer, Mario Wong.
This is Serena St. and these are our neighbors – Seadog Diving, The Alternative Inn and Restaurant, El Taraw Booking and Ticketing Office. If you are coming from the main streets of Rizal Avenue and/or Hama Street, you will pass by these establishments before arriving at the Outventure shop and booking office.
And this is us:
Our next-door neighbor on one side is a sari-sari store and next to it, Shipwreck Pension. And on the other side is El Taraw Booking and Ticketing Office.
I inherited my brother’s stamp collection when I was 12. He had graduated from college (the university) and as a direct result, also from some hobbies of his, and he had passed on to me his precious and extensive stamp collection. I was ecstatic. I was excited about knowing all these countries and their histories, their culture, and I flipped through giant world atlases and thick geography books. I spent hours organizing and re-organizing the collection in various albums. Sometimes I organized them according to countries, and sometimes according to themes. I loved philately.
I thought about ways on how to add stamps to my collection. I joined a philately club in the city and combed book stores and specialty stores for more stamps. One of my aunts lived in Italy and we always had letters coming from Italy and I added those to my collection. And then it came to me – what better way to add stamps but to receive letters! I only didn’t get stamps, I also got friends!
I signed up for the International Youth Service (IYS) – a service I found through some clubs in my high school in Naga City.
“IYS (International Youth Service), founded in 1952 and based in Turku (Finland), was an internacional penfriend organization which arranged foreign penfriends for children and teenagers between 10 and 20 years of age. In exchange of a fee per address, IYS provided addresses of one or more penfriends (matched in age, country, interests, language abilities… through a computer system). Sadly, IYS closed down in 2008 as this Finnish firm couldn’t compete with the communication through the Internet.” *Source
I remember being 13 and holding this form. I filled it up, checked the boxes with the names of the countries I wanted to have pen friends from, and mailed it to Finland. Basically, I checked the countries where I had wanted to get stamps from, and have some unique friends from – like Brazil because to my 13-year old self Brazil sounded far, far away and totally exotic! (Heck, to my 31-year old self, Brazil still sounds far, far away and totally exotic! :P) I also checked the box for Thailand because the Miss Universe Pageant was held in the Philippines in 1994, I had loved Miss Thailand and thought Thais were beautiful. 😉
Outventure was DTI-registered in July 2013. Though I have been doing bookings as early as March 2013 for friends, it was under a different company. Outventure had its soft opening on November 10 but was only open for a week. Lia and I had to go to Manila for some important errands, and we went back to El Nido on the first week of December. Outventure officially opened the office and shop in December 11. These photos were taken then.
Because we get our items from different parts of the country: Baguio, Sagada, Bacolod, La Union, Manila, Albay, to name a few; and we have to deal with shipping from these places to Manila then loading them on a cargo boat to El Nido, we change our items often. When items are sold out, it takes a while to replenish, if we do at all. Shipping is a tedious, time-consuming, and expensive process that involves at least 7 people every time.
When we opened, I had some left over stocks from Kikayism like knitted bikinis and clothes by Chizza. Most of the clothes have been sold out in January and most probably, there would be no new stocks until next season. I also had the tapis dresses from Agos Pilipinas and they were sold out some time during Chinese New Year. My goal really is just to keep the shop always filled with items on display even if that is not really our main line of business.
Outventure is an office. It is where we process our pre-booked guests and voucher holders. In the Outventure office, we provide tourist maps and information kits. It is a one-stop shop where one can book anything: rooms, flights, land transfers, tours in Puerto Princesa and El Nido, as well as other activities like camping, fishing, and diving. We also offer services like laundry, massage, and rentals of motorbikes and kayaks. Just come in and let us know what you need and want to do, and we can arrange anything for you. The Outventure website is unfinished though and work on it is ongoing with a web developer friend of mine based in Cebu.
Outventure also processes credit card payments. The goal of Outventure is to be of assistance to travelers, even with just information. Yes, we provide free information as well, if the tourism office is closed. 😉
What one will see, hear, and feel in the Outventure office and shop, is a mix of our interests and passion. If anything, it is a space filled with vibrant colors and positive energy. Outventure, with its white walls, and solid bold bright colors, is truly one of its kind in El Nido. It stands out (or at least hopes to) in everything it does – from online bookings, payments, Filipino-made items, and above all, service. I am very proud of what Outventure is. Some people come in and say it is such a hippie/hipster place. Maybe it is, maybe we are; but nonetheless, we are proud of it.
We are on the left side of Serena St., if coming from the main road that is Rizal, after La Bodega and Sealand Venture on the left side and The Alternative Inn and Restaurant and Seadog Diving, both on the right.
I fell in love with What If Handmade‘s products the moment I saw them. I sent them a message on Facebook and placed my orders. I arranged to pick up the items at the Global Pinoy Bazaar 2014 in Rockwell Tent, Makati. We carry their items because we love and believe in what they do. People come into the shop and they go crazy over the travel blankets, towels, and wind chis. The book ends/door stoppers are heavy, so even if a lot of people love them and would like to buy them, they are limited by their luggage allowance with the airlines as well as luggage inspections. Me, I love having them around! The owl and the kitty cat are absolutely charming.
Since everything is handmade, I usually have to wait at least a month for them to complete my orders, depending on season as well, and then we deal with shipping, which takes some time from 1 to 2 weeks.