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Sunsets in Caalan Beach and Corong-Corong Beach, El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

Life in El Nido, Palawan By October 30, 2014 Tags: , , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

I have been back in El Nido since two weeks and with my newly-acquired 11-16mm UWA lens have been enjoying myself with some sunsets both in Caalan, in front of our resort – The Last Beach Cottages (Hippocampe Beach Cottages), and even in Corong-Corong Beach which was our home last year.

It has always been my dream to have an ultra-wide angle lens, and after saving for some time, have finally been able to afford one. I am extremely happy!

But I am even happier with the sunsets I have been fortunate enough to witness these past weeks.

Sunset in Caalan Beach, El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

Sunset in Caalan Beach, El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

Sunset in Caalan Beach, El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

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Si, Grazie

Life In Italy By July 10, 2014 Tags: , , , No Comments

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.

At NAIA 1 and in the Etihad plane from Manila to Abu Dhabi – July 1

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.

At Bar da Gavino

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Making a New Home

Life in El Nido, MOMents By July 20, 2013 Tags: , , , , 2 Comments

The first time I was here was eight years ago and I have always felt that this place was “home,” but when I decided to permanently move back to El Nido this year, I was not as prepared as I thought I was. The first month was truly difficult as my daughter and I went through the tedious process of looking for a house where we both could live peacefully and happily, and feel truly “at home” in all meanings of the words, and the adjustment to the weather, to the flora and fauna, and the new environment took its toll on our health.

For me, it was not so much about location, as I was not too keen on living by the beach front, but was most concerned about cost AND the speed of the internet connection. I have said this often to anyone who cared to listen, “The two things that make me happiest are, 1. really good coffee and, 2. really fast internet connection.” So I was looking for houses near where I knew, from experience, internet connection was fast enough, if not the fastest, in all of the town; but my daughter had an entirely different perspective about this new home of ours.She, of course, did not care about the cost, being four years old, and cared only a little about the speed of the internet connection. Lia was most concerned about comfort and her own idea of happiness – the beach, and being a child, lots of space to run around.

I was not too surprised when, going around houses in the middle of El Nido town, Lia did not find anything she liked enough. She only liked one house, its old paint made pale pink through neglect, because it was really big, with its three rooms and spacious living areas and a garden and yard going around the entirety of the house, that I was told rented out at Php20,000/month. There is only me and my daughter so we did not really need a three-roomed house, and so I started looking farther out of town where I thought it was going to be cheaper. In the end, we found the house a friend of mine was living in last year empty and available, and it sat directly on the beach. Lia, exclaimed exuberantly, “We’re home!” When your 4-year old child declares you are home, you just have to believe that and trust in her instincts. After, of course, checking out how fast the internet connection is. Never mind if it is an expensive bahay kubo! You are paying more for the view – and the opportunity to walk barefoot on the sand everyday, than the house itself.

For my part, I was paying more for my daughter’s happiness. Because as long as she is happy, then I can be happy. And I am saying that realistically. My daughter and I live alone, just the two of us. I have to be able to work, and take care of her, and do all of the house chores all by myself, and all these depend on whether or not she is happily skipping about, or digging sand castles in the yard, rather than clinging to my legs or walking about with a dour face, ninety-seven percent of the time.

I have not been blogging in the past months because between trying to make a home for just two people and trying to make a living, I just had my hands full. The first month was the most difficult as we both had to deal with adjusting to the weather, the island fauna, maladies of all nature, and just getting the basic necessities inside the house. I know I have been living in this little town on and off through the years, one week to two months every year in the past seven years after the initial ten months in 2005-2006, but there is nothing like leaving one home to another that was completely empty. When, after a full month, I went to Puerto Princesa to buy a stove, a rice cooker, a coffee maker, dishes and bowls, utensils and water glasses, brooms and dust pans and trash cans, non-slip bathroom mats, laundry baskets and clothes racks, hooks and hangers, and all kinds of foot rugs, was I ever truly able to breath and exclaim, “Oh, what joy!!”

Our first month was spent getting to know the neighbors, and acquiring a dog, in the process. Elvis, the black Labrador-Doberman mix dog, is our neighbor’s. But he spends the entire day with us while his “dad” goes to work diving during the day. He is Lia’s play mate, and they are almost best friends.

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When I am Emo and I Know It

Life in El Nido, Palawan By March 26, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , 11 Comments

January 2013 was a very eventful month. And truly, it defined how the rest of the year is going to be for me. I know this year’s only been three months but it was the most difficult time of the year. So far, at least. And when things are difficult for me, I run to my refuge, back to where my heart is, to the place I call home.

Cadlao Island, El Nido, Palawan

View of Cadlao Island from Makulay Lodge

Makulay Lodge, Caalan, El Nido, Palawan

Lia’s put a hairpiece on me. Clever girl.

Makulay Lodge, Caalan, El Nido, Palawan

Makulay Lodge, Caalan, El Nido, Palawan

Good morning. Of Monsters and Men.

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The Lazy Photographer in Town

Life in El Nido, Palawan By July 8, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , 1 Comment

I arrived on a rainy Wednesday afternoon at the Lio airport, and after dropping off my things, went straight to town to buy some supplies, met up with my friend Macy, and her co-worker Kring, both Environmental Officers at El Nido Resorts, at the ‘White House’ and then off to dinner at our favorite place in town – Sea Slugs Bar and Resto.

I have always esteemed Sea Slugs Bar and Resto as my favorite restaurant for its fish steak in lemon butter sauce. Every restaurant I go to, I’d order the fish in lemon butter sauce if it’s in the menu just to see if it can best the one in Seaslugs, and so far, there has been none. Sea Slugs still has the best fish steak in lemon butter sauce there is, at least according to Macy and me.


Yesterday, I was in town again to hang out with some old friends. The first place I went to was Sea Slugs of course. At six in the evening, live music was playing and the place was already full of diners. I wanted a table by the beach so I took one in the resto next door, Og’s Bar and Resto.

I bought a wide angle lens converter a day before I flew to Palawan and decided to try it on. I wasn’t really into taking photos because my mind was into other things, so this night comes down as the night the lazy photographer was in town. I’d just sit wherever I was, find some little thing to put the camera on top of to give it more leverage and stability, yes, a makeshift tripod, and click once or twice.

Here is a shot of Sea Slugs, with my 18-135mm kit lens.

El Nido 2012

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Home – That Secret Place, Music from Phillip and Dia

Music By May 26, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , No Comments

Just like some of my friends, if not most, I followed American Idol Season 11 closely from day 1 til the very end. I did the same for The Voice too, since I became a fan of Dia Frampton and developed a girly crush on Adam Levine and Blake Shelton, both at the same time, but that’s beside the point. Maybe I just had too much free time the past months but I have to blog about how much I loved that song by Phillip Phillips.

Settle down, it’ll all be clear
Don’t pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home ♪ ♪ ♫ ♪

I always say I’m a fan of country music. So perhaps that’s one reason. Another is that, I’m always looking for “home” and in the process, I’ve made more homes than what is conventional.

That being said, I am reminded of my favorite Dia Frampton song, Homeless, from her studio album, Red.

Hands touch, eyes meet, I remember perfectly the night we fell in love.

Everywhere we go is home baby home, home is you’re with me
Everything we touch is love, baby love, love is all we need
Is all we need, is all we need.

I don’t need a roof over my head while I’ve got your hands
To shade the sun away from my face
I don’t need a space to call my own, to scatter records on my floor,
You’re my secret place.

Skip to 1:29 to get the song started, though why would you do that, when there is just amazing Dia cuteness for those first minute and a half.

If you would rather just listen to the music, here is a link to that video.

Yes, I’m also a Jessica fan, what after all those goosies-inducing (we’re all using “goosies” now as per JLo) performances, and most especially that duet with Jennifer Holliday, but really, we didn’t mind that much that she did not win. We love her no matter what and it IS American Idol after all.

As a side story, I loved the following articles on the Jessica Sanchez vs Phillip Phillips hulaballoo.

 

I especially love that last article. Wow, amazing, an entire scientific paper on why Phillip Phillips won! I can’t but help I did the paper myself! The graphs were just amazing (big wide eyes here)

All those being said, I’m not bitter about all this. I like them both, and really, now, I don’t care anymore. There is no place in music for that kind of bitterness, is just what I think.

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Welcome Back…. A Little

MOMents, Musings By July 20, 2011 Tags: , No Comments

I’m back home now, where I fell asleep on the sofa earlier this morning after having about an hour and a half of good chat over chocolate milk with H. Lia watched her favorite morning shows on the telly while she laid in my arms as I slept.

As of this writing, I am sitting on Lia’s orange little chair while the electric fan blows our way, fanning me and my little one who is fast asleep on the sofa. She was stacking cans of soft drinks on the table in front of the television set when she turned around and slipped on her milk bottle. An accident that left her sprawled on the floor, with a bleeding lower lip and screaming for her Mama. I picked her up and cradled her in my arms, wiped the blood, the sweat, whispering in her ear words of comfort, until she fell asleep. She fell asleep with a frown on her face, while I had a smile on mine. I have missed this so badly. This. This baby in my arms. The past nights were spent pining away for her, as I could not sleep in my hotel room, in a bed that in the past I have always shared with her, missing her hands entwined with mine.

The past weekend had been very difficult. In so many ways.

But yesterday as I was leaving, I hugged my father tightly while he was cooking his dinner, asking him if he was going to be okay all by himself. I went home to get a blanket, and so that I could sit on the rocking chair in the balcony and spend some time with my father. A little chit chat. We had cried ourselves away last Saturday, quietly, as discreetly as possible.

Today, I am thinking of going to the hospital or a doctor to have my back checked, maybe have an x-ray done. Maybe I might also have some time to go to the dentist. Dulaang U.P.’s Rizal X is opening tonight so maybe, finally, after so many months, I can shoot again. Then it seems that my Travel Factor friends are all in town so maybe we can get together for our usual midweek get together. Maybe, just maybe.

This blog has been through a lot. About 50% of the original content is missing. The backlinks don’t work half of the time. My list of favorite links on the right navigation panel need to be set up again. I need to bring back the categories and the top navigation drop-down menu. All of my about 4,000 tags were totally erased. Ah, a lot needs to be done.

Tomorrow it’s all back to work again. I’m not looking forward to the operational meeting as I believe we will be looking at “Not Done” tasks again, and no one will be happy about it. But for today, let me lounge around in my own home, while my baby sleeps, comforted by the fact that in her dreams and in her reality, her mama is back.

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