Monthly Archives: March 2016

Palawan

My external hard drive has been playing up which means I’ve had no access to photos! But I have them back and now I can enthrall you with the freakin’ amazingness that was Palawan.

I can’t even begin to properly describe how fantastic this place is. The airport is this tiny little thing tucked away in the corner, and you walk in to fresh food and all the coffee you can drink, and friendly people and then they put you on a tiny plane and fly you for like an hour or two out of Manila, until you arrive here…DSC_2493

And I mean that literally. The airport we arrived in is behind this. Directly behind this. There were people waiting there who sung to us as we arrived and gave us more beautiful food until we were driven 5 minutes to here, where we climbed into boats and were taken across the sea to our resort.

So, the resort is on an island and…that’s ALL that’s on the island. We stayed at El Nido which caters for about 50 guests, and was the one recommended to us as the resort with the more energetic itinerary.  We had left Manila after being stuck there due to the APEC conferences in a tiny little hotel near the airport with absolutely no redeeming features, and that smelled like pee. The window was just a curtain covered wall, and outside there were riot police all lined up down the street – which was completely blocked due to traffic.

Manila was an interesting city. I would have liked to have been able to see more of it to be honest, and am super disappointed Ollie wouldn’t hire one of the guys on bikes to take us around. Because we walked, and it was miserable. Too hot, too big, too dirty….too full of riot police.

I should write a post about Manila too actually. I’ll do that. Back to El Nido!! So after about two hours on a boat, we rounded the corner of an island to find this waiting for us…

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I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything that quite resembled my idea of heaven…and then I saw this.  It might not look like much, but…

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It was freakin’ paradise at every hour of the day.

Their were people waiting here for us too, singing us a welcome song, with the most amazing coconut juice I’ve ever had in my life. From the moment we arrived, to the moment we left, we felt like it was home. The staff knew us by name, and were always available. They provided a turn down service every night, which included a handwritten note in silver pen written on a leaf, and a Palawan folk story. I wished we’d stayed forever, just for the stories to be honest!

They were right about the activities too. We did all of them – well, I missed the last snorkeling trip in favour for lying in a deck chair and looking at the view and reading.

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I honestly could have stayed forever. This water!!!! That view!!! Ollie and I went off one morning by ourselves to the “big lagoon” where we pushed the kayak up on a small beach and just lay in the water for hours. We went caving, and rock climbing, and island hopping and snorkeling. It was so, so, SO gorgeous.

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Look at those fishiiieeeessssss!!!!

It was just the ultimate. I wish we’d gone to this resort last, because it sort of ruined the last part of our trip, because it was so amazing that nothing could compare!

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We took boats out to watch the sunset over this island. Just out in the middle of the sea, with nothing around you except ocean. And I broke my ‘never’ again sunrise watching, so that I could watch the sunrise one more time.

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It hid itself behind this perfectly placed cloud, but that just made it all the more beautiful for me. Slightly melancholy and throwing beautiful shade, the colours of the sky are so much softer in the morning than they are at night time. I did not regret the wake up call, nor the beautiful coffee served to me while we waited, or the amazing breakfast that was ready for us on our return.

Palawan is an incredibly beautiful place, and if you get the chance to go there – you most definitely should. If I could have stayed there forever I would have.

They also sing to you as you leave the island. They stand at the end of the jetty waving and singing until the boat is out of sight. It was so lovely.

After El Nido, we went further down the coast to Puerto Princesa, which was a much larger place but equally as beautiful. The coastline was more rugged here, and we stayed at the Sheridan which had the most amazing swimming pool in the world! I spent more time in that pool than anywhere else I think!

We went to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park which was so amazing! They take you one kilometre into the cave and then back out again. We also took a boat ride to see the mangroves. And wildlife.

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I really enjoyed this trip. Our guide was lovely and told us all about the flora and fauna of the area, pointing out birds and snakes in the trees, and explaining how the ecology works. It was very beautiful.

You can also zip line from the top of a hill down out over the sea to the beach – which of course we also did. The Philippines is just such an amazing country. There’s so much diversity and difference amongst all the islands. So much to see and do.  I’d go back a million times over if I could.

beautiful

I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to figure out what exactly beautiful means. I’ve decided that there’s not really any definition at all, but that has never stopped me from trying to figure out what beautiful means to me. And then I had daughters.

Two of the most incredibly beautiful creatures, and so completely different to one another.

They taught me that beauty is something that doesn’t depend on any one thing. It’s an all encompassing whole person thing. My daughters are so beautiful, it’s ridiculous. It shouldn’t be allowed, to be honest. But I’m so glad it is, because without them, my life wouldn’t be as awesome as it is. I don’t know if they even realise that. I’m bad at talking, so this return to blogging has also been for them.

When you become a parent, I’m not sure that you ever expect the sudden onslaught of parental guilt that pretty much hits you from day one. This new beautiful life in your hands, so perfect, and sweet smelling and new. How can you keep it happy, and healthy and nurture it into a good person? How can you instill all the values you need to? How will you know if you’ve been a good parent? Are they going to hate you when they’re teenagers? Where are you going to go wrong.

You’re not going to go wrong.

Even when you do, so long as you have love for that child, and are honest with them? You’re not going to go wrong.

Take it from a woman with borderline personality disorder and bipolar II. Those girls of mine have had to deal with a lot of emotional weirdness while I’ve tried to find a medication that works, and a way to deal with things when the medication still doesn’t. Sometimes we’d go for drives – when I learned, and we’d talk in the car about the big important things.

I was always amazed at how insightful and thoughtful my girls were about the way that people are. Every time I bought up a big topic, they always had good questions. Deep questions…they still do. Except about sex. Because…I have no filter I suppose. Not that talking about sex with your parents is fun at all – for anyone but me. Call it sadism, but the pleasure I get from watching them and their father squirm is totally worth it! Haha!! (I promise I’ve only ever talked about the good stuff – safety, pleasure, respect, love and permission). I studied sexuality in both religion and literature, human sexuality really interests me.

My girls are teens now. Well, actually…Siobhan will turn 20 this year, and Aleeya will be 18. Adults. I am now the parent of adult children…and while that scares the pants off me, I’m so proud of them. They’re both such beautifully, intelligent and thoughtful girls. And I know how scary becoming an adult is. I may get frustrated a lot – mostly that’s my illness talking though – I remember what this time in your life feels like.

It’s scary, and hard, and learning to make your own decisions will change your life path forever. In ways you won’t understand, or even consider, and they will be wonderful. I do not look back on my life and regret any of it. Every choice I made, lead me right here. I never would have predicted I would live a life like this. And I owe so much of it to those girls. Such beautiful, compassionate, loving creatures. I am always awed that you’re mine. <3