Thursday, October 9, 2008


Looking back at my posts I realized that I never did post any photos of our visit back home! So I've picked a few shots for now to show where we went on our spring vacation this year!

This is Boracay island in the morning. Very early morning - like 6 am. You need to click on the image to view the complete collage of photos all blended into one. It just rained ever so lightly and the sun's trying to come out from behind the clouds. But if I had waited another hour, you wouldn't be able to see the beach because it would be filled with people! Hundreds of them!

We stayed in a nice little one-bedroom cottage and it had its own little patio where you could hang out and also hang your recently washed clothes to dry. Next door was a cool little hideaway coffee shop that when you're finally tired of all the instant coffee mixes that's available year round in the country, you can get the real thing fix at Real Coffee and Tea. Wow, let me tell you...just when my caffeine headache was raging and I really really really was in need of the real thing, the sight of their shop and the sign was like...well, an oasis in the middle of the desert.

I visited Boracay 19 years ago and it wasn't this crowded at all. There were only a few big resorts on the beach and everything ran on generators so your cottage had little torches and gas lamps and a mosquito net hung from above your bed. The boat dropped you off right in front of your resort and you could walk the entire length of the beach (very smooth white sand - like powdered milk!) and only come across, maybe, 10 people along the way. These days, you can't get five steps ahead without someone hawking "Island hopping" or diving trips, or handmade shell or bead jewelry.

It's not a BAD's just like night and day. Now the beach front is teeming with big and small resorts and now realtors are selling hill properties because there aren't any beachside properties left at all. Hmmmmm...I wonder where the toilet water goes...

This is a coconut vendor we came across during our "island hopping" trip that same morning. I love his smile and although we weren't in the mood to have any fresh coconut (Leo was suffering from a bout of indigestion from not-so-fresh-coconut-juice-with-ice), he was very nice.

The night before we had stayed at my friend's house on top of hill overlooking the river on one side and the little barrio on the other side. This was the view from our balcony that morning and although I could have gone to the other side to take pictures of the Aklan river (which overflowed about three months later during Typhoon Fengshen and killed lots of people), there was a dog patrolling the premises that morning and it wasn't feeling too friendly to visitors at the moment. It was a big one, too.

And the long shots that I took from the front view? Well, it was in another camera that didn't end up with us after the trip. So...c'est la vie, wee camera.

The house was designed by my friend's husband, a Frenchman who wanted to have something of a French country home with Philippine touches here and there. He even imported pine trees to surround the home...but really I'm just showing the view for now. They're pretty protective of their home.

Now, imagine Hershey's kisses all lined up in rows and you have Bohol's Chocolate Hills. They call it Chocolate Hills because when it rains, the hills look brown and thus, resembled those chocolate kisses.

These hills were naturally created through the centuries by erosion of coral.

On the same island, we found the smallest marsupial called the Philippine Tarsier. They are literally tiny! With huge eyes that are basically screwed into their skulls and so they need to turn their heads to see side to side. Very cute critters, too! Unfortunately, it is said that their numbers are dwindling because the island is getting crowded and already there are talks of building an international airport on the island, which I don't get because about an hour away by boat, there already IS an international airport.

Okay, can you imagine having this garden at home? With all these huge flowers just hanging all over? Well, it is just beautiful and we just couldn't stop taking pictures of the garden it was sooooo pretty! Sure the day was hot and clammy, but with a view like this, who cares?

Honey...where's my pina colada???

In the southern island of Mindanao lies Davao city, and there's a nearby island called Samal. There are some beautiful white sandy beaches there - this isn't one of them. This is where my father's beach resort is located and for many years, he lived in this house with my stepmom. These days, the beach house is empty because he now lives in the city so they can be close to the hospital since my stepmom has lupus and emphysema.

But isn't this just gorgeous? Who wouldn't want to live where the ocean waves lap just outside your door?

Before I say good-bye, here's something else that's just amazing about the islands. The seafood!!!!! Now this is a prawn...not a big shrimp. A prawn. And they're just delicious!

Leo couldn't agree more...

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