Being invited off on a family weekend holiday is always a pleasure but also slightly intimidating when it is only your second day and everything is still new. I had no idea where we were going but welcomed the opportunity for some rural exploration.
After an exciting introduction to Filipino road use and then getting stuck in a tunnel (thanks to world championship skateboarding, on Easter Saturday on a busy road, no less) that was reminiscent of some sort of zombie film, it was with great relief that we hit the coast.
With a fleet of three boats, packed with people ( as well as more awaiting our arrival) and supplies it was a steady voyage along, around a point and then it was patient gazing time, trying to pick out all the features such as banana boats (great fun by the way) and places to buy a cool drink.
Despite a massive building overlooking everything, Costa de Oro still looked lovely. We were located a short bridge away from the pool and sea with plenty of greenery and rooms. Sleeping in a tent was my destiny which was fine by me as I was anticipating my first night looking up at the Southern night sky.
Everybody was so welcoming and hospitable, it really was so wonderful to meet each one of them and learn about life, the culture and customs. I quickly became kuya (brother) Steve and although pretty shy, managed to pull off a favourable impression and win a game of pool at one point too. In my experience the people of The Philippines as a whole are the warmest and most kind hearted of any country I have been too.
The food, likewise was wonderful, everything was so delicious, I probably repeated that far too many times but there was nothing I disliked. That goes for the whole month but this, my introduction was a real eye opener to the quality of the food and the cooking, not to mention the portions, I am not ashamed to admit, I ate until I was over full with every meal because it would be a crime to let anything go to waste.
Filipinos love singing, they invented Karaoke as a result . Although I did manage to avoid offending everybody in hearing range by not attempting it during my stay. Still there is something wonderful about coming back from a swim in the warm ocean and eating breakfast whilst being serenaded with Unchained Melody.
I love my tree shots, as regular readers now and there were monkeys up there somewhere this time. The best time to look up though was at night, jet lag had well and truly kicked in now and I stayed up all night watching mosquitoes try in vain to penetrate the netting of the tent. The sound of the sea, the rustle of palm leaves in the breeze, and the cries of unfamiliar birds, and fruit falling from tress wasn’t enough to lull me to sleep but did keep the smile plastered to my face.
Thanks to Crissy and Ritz Retsap for the additional photos.