Dear Pong Pagong,
I had so much fun swimming after you that you took me far away from my boat. I was so exhausted going back because I didn’t realize the distance I swam, with NO flippers to boot. I was so enamored chasing after you, jelly fish and plankton stings be damned! Now my legs are full of whips, lashes and battle scars that it will take months and several gluta IV shots to remove the marks.
Will I do it again? A definite YES as I rarely catch a glimpse of you. May the ocean be good to you, may humans take better care of you.
So long, Pong Pagong! We shall see each other soon. [photos courtesy of @nomadic_mike ]
Before Mount Mayon erupted in January, I took the family to Legazpi for a short trip in December. NO, we did not bring the eruption to the volcano (although coincidentally, Mount Agung of Bali erupted days after we arrived in October).
Now called the Beautiful Disaster, the view of Mayon remains to be a majestic sight to behold. It was my first time to see it up close and personal, too, when we did the ATV ride around the volcano.
Mount Mayon is indeed beautiful, a national price for the Filipinos.
Four months. This is by far the longest time that I spent not going back home to Manila, which I dare not repeat. Four months seemed like forever to me and at some point, I felt increasingly depressed already, not seeing my family, not being in the comforts of my home.
I normally come back home to Manila every 2 months, alternating with KL, but the early part of this year found me with a role expansion that quadrupled my team and responsibilities. Not that I’m complaining. It is a role that I have been looking forward to, which also needed more time and focus. Thus, the delays in my usual Manila trip.
Yesterday morning, as I opened the door of my home, it greeted me with the familiar smell of vanilla and honey candles, my daughter running to kiss me and hug me tightly, the noise of my dachshund barking and excitedly wagging his tail that his human is back, the nonchalant stare of my stoic Himalayan-Ash cat and most of all, the smell of my mother and yaya’s freshly prepared Pinoy breakfast, perfectly paired with warm pan de sal and a pot of aromatic brewed coffee.
Yas! I am home. The sensory assault makes the red eye flight all worth it. The hugs and kisses of my family, the warm embrace and the familiar faces of my long-time friends. It’s just great to be home.
I love my job, I love being an expat and travel has always been second nature to me and my husband. I have long come to terms with my paradox that although I am a traveler and wanderlust runs through my veins, I always find myself amidst Manila’s discord. As crazy as that may sound.
With barely 36 hours in Manila, for now, let me enjoy my Mom’s sopas, tinapang bangus and ginisang monggo. Ahh. Definitely home.
[photo courtesy of PalawanIsland.org]
In a surprising news yesterday, Nickelodeon announced that it will build an underwater resort theme park in Coron, Palawan.
Aside from the political goings-on in my country today, it is very rare that I get pissed off with news that I read. What else is new, right?
But this. This is a low blow.
Palawan is one of the last ecological frontiers in the Philippines. It is a marine sanctuary. It is one of the few pristine beaches that you can confidently swim in where the waters are crystal clear and you do not fear of chemical contamination.
Who in the world thought of this? Worse, who in his right mind approved it?
Nickelodeon has the gall to say that development will “advocate ocean protection.”
Ocean protection my ass.
This will ruin Coron.
I have very fond memories of Palawan and I choose to come back to it regularly because the beaches are clean and fresh.
I love Coron as it is.
To my fellow environmental advocates, to those who love Coron, Nickelodeon has no business to be in Palawan!
Please be part of the petition and sign up.
[Image courtesy of Save Philippine Seas]