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Archive for the 'Philippines' Category

Mama and Lolo

Scanned at Tita Gangging’s before we left Manila.

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JAN 3: Leaving the Philippines

We left El Nido, flew back on a 19-seat propeller plane to Manila, stayed another night at Tita Gangging’s and headed home early next morning. Looking back, it was a pretty action-packed couple of weeks. We’d love to go back some day soon.

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JAN 2: Island hopping 2

Too bad we only had two full days here. Despite the less than tropical weather we still vote El Nido the best view we’ve seen so far.

The ride back was scary - huge waves, wind, and a lot of splashing water. That black poncho saved us from a lot of misery, and this time we were the envy of all other passengers. Thanks Angelo!

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JAN 1: Island hopping

Good thing we had rented the waterproof camera from the tour company. It was fun shooting underwater. The weather was grey and windy almost throughout, but that didn’t stop the islands being beautiful and the snorkeling amazing.

The “Secret Lagoon” populated by fellow tourists from our boat.

An unfortunate turtle sighting. We wanted to see one but not one that had a nail struck through it and tied to a log.

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JAN 1: Ominous beginning

The trusty Leica, from which came almost all the images on these pages, drowned in the waters of El Nido as we were getting on the boat to go island hopping. I guess it wasn’t wise to take it in just its regular leather case. We spent the rest of the day throwing envious glances at other people’s impressive array of waterproof gadgets.

Our names on the tour board on this fateful day.

The very last image from our first Leica. We miss it dearly.

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DEC 31: To El Nido

We’re really really behind on our posting, but better late than never!

It turns out to go anywhere on the Palawan Island requires an epic journey, and on the last day of the year we embarked on yet another adventurous (Eric) / treacherous (MJ) one. A couple of hours of Jeepney ride over the muddy mountain road, 3 more hours of bumpy van ride over mostly unpaved road (kindly offered to us by the Greenviews owner Dave who was headed the same way), 10 minute walk through a jungle trail, and another 10 minute or so walk along the beach finally brought us to our next home…

Boy, were we glad to get here!

Where the dining magic happens. The incredibly hard-working Bhing, who owns the place with husband Dan, made us happy with her excellent cooking.

Our super-cute solar-powered cottage. Las Cabanas, the guest house we stayed at was at Corong Corong, away from what little hustle and bustle they have going on at the El Nido town. Actually, it’s away from EVERYTHING. No other man-made structure in sight; only sand, rocks, water and wind.

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DEC 30: Cave in Sabang

We got up the crack of dawn to visit the subterranean cave in Sabang.

We watch the monkeys, the monkeys watch us.

The tour was 40 minutes but the subterranean river supposedly goes on for 3 hours. It’s the largest cave of its kind in the world and just absolutely wondrous.

Outside the cave, lizards lounged about. They were surprisingly docile and happy to pose.

Back on our boat for the 2-hour ride back. One of the few really tropical-island-worthy sunny moments while we were in Palawan.

Eric takes to the hammock back at the resort. Our humble cottage.

We ended the day watching the exciting local high school basketball games.

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DEC 29: Palawan adventure begins

An hour of fair flight to Puerto Princesa and 5 hours of harrowing jeep journey over muddy mountain roads later, we miraculously arrived at Port Barton, a very very small seaside village, more remote than we could have ever imagined.

Our stay at Greenviews was fantastic. Loved the garden and the hammock. Just calm and peaceful.

At dusk outside our cottage. Boats came to unload supplies for the resort.

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DEC 28: Back in Manila

The best breakfast.

The chandelier that replaced the one Eric dropped by running on the roof.

Eric about to get his nails polished.

Three sisters with new hair cut and halo halos.

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DEC 27: Baguio 2

If I remember right, Cafe by the Ruins was built on the ruins of former governor’s residence. It was pretty atmospheric and yummy to boot.

Following the trusty LP guide, we found the Easter Weaving Room. The showroom was on the first floor, and the weaving women were in action in the half-basement. The textiles were so colorful.

We stumbled upon the Manor House on our last night, and finally found our peaceful nature and fresh mountain air. If we ever make it back, this is the only place we’ll be.

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DEC 26: Baguio 1

We got up in the crack of dawn to catch a bus to Baguio, where Eric used to vacation with his dad and brothers. Miro and JB saw us off. Up to now we were in the safe cocoons of the family, so this was the first time we felt firsthand how hectic it can get in Manila.

After a 7-hour bumpy bus ride … We thought we were getting away from the city to enjoy the nature and breathe fresh mountain air. It turns out we brought the city with us. Apparently a record number of people descended upon Baguio on this very day.

Dinner was at the cozy Forest House. We started noticing how everybody here travels in big groups. EVERYONE was with the extended family or with bunch of friends. It felt lonely to be just the two of us!

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DEC 25: Christmans lunch

Another tradition is the lunch with the extended family on Christmas day. We went to visit Tita Mely and her family.

With all three aunts from the Garcia clan.

What a feast!

Eric’s godmother Tita Viva and her excellent Brasso de Mercedes.

Some more photos from the garden…

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DEC 24: Christmas dinner

A special second dinner in at midnight is a Christmas tradition in the Philippines! Ours ended up an hour late at 1 AM but we still ate! It was a lot of fun. I think most of our fun memories are of eating. All the girls chipped in and made their special dish for the meal. Men helped with eating ;-) With Tita Gangging, Kathy, Geraldine, Jenny and JB.

Our hosts Tito Jo and Tita Gangging. Thanks so much for having us there.

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DEC 24: Christmas cake

Myung Jin played assistant to Tita Gangging’s annual Christmas chocolate cake baking. Check out the Santa apron!

Cake was REALLY good! We’re gonna get the recipe if we ever get a kitchen.

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DEC 24: Christmas shopping

We shopped for barongs and pearls at the Green Hills Market. So much fun!

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