Catching Up on Things

Every morning I feel extremely privileged to wake up in The Philippines.  Now in my tenth month of living here, it really is ‘more fun in The Philippines’, as the saying goes.  Despite its status as a third world country, there is so much more to this archipelago than that label. Here people deal with life in such a positive way, day-to-day living here can be hard, the early morning commutes to an ever busier Manila for example, the fight to get on the transport, the endless queueing, and everyone (except me and – thankfully – the driver) grabbing a nap whilst they can.  Yet despite all that people are happier here, perhaps the sunlight is a factor but whatever the reason, despite the challenges people endure, they love life and will make any excuse for a gathering, with more food than its physically possible to eat.

Standing at the door armed with a cup of coffee, usually around 6am (when the temperature has yet to hit thirty degrees but is almost there), I love to look at the palm trees and hear people catching up, sweeping their house fronts, and doing regular people-in-the-morning things.  As I settle down to my own work, the sun usually shines relentlessly, the ebb and flow of passersby changes with the waxing and waning of that fiery ball in the sky, and I get lost in words, and ideas for the future.  Today I realised that, apart from neglecting the blog  -due to other important things that needed doing – I haven’t really mentioned a lot about where we have gone in recent months, so in no particular order and without further ado:

Whilst Summer was still with us we took a trip to Laguna for a day at the hot springs – situated halfway up a mountain – and the most important thing to do was to find a good vantage point and take a photo of the great view spread out below us. That done we rushed down the hill to have a go on the slides!  The so-called express way we took to get there has frequent toll gates which was a new and surprising detail, this of course meant more queueing (an unsurprising detail) but it was worth it for this view alone.

In an effort to fly off the end of the orange slide as far as possible, I threw myself down with reckless abandon and as a burnt my back but to balance that out, I did get a cheer from the people at the bottom of the green slide when I exploded off that one, my nose felt like it had been smashed with a concrete slab, it was brilliant!  There was even some really good reception to Skype with my parents later on, as we munched on our squid dinner.

I was lucky enough to be invited once again to Join the Kiwanis crew for more work in the community. If you missed my first adventures with this wonderful charity, you can read about it here, I’ve lost a lot of weight since then.  This time it was a colouring competition and the kids were really talented, I’ll bring you more about the charity soon.

One of my favourite places to go is Tagaytay, The view from up on high at Sky Ranch, with a glimpse of Taal Lake and the many trees, is always a welcome thing to see.  The breeze was lovely and gazing out with the other impressed visitors really brings home the beauty of this country and also the worrying spread of building which threatens places like this.

Further around the lake at Charito’s, there is another beautiful scenic view, with fishing boats, small villages and on the right of the island is Taal Volcano, one of the world’s smallest volcanoes and was active as recently as 2011.  Food and drink is always abundant and full of seasoning, as well as the obligatory rice, but it tastes even better with this sort of scenic vista for company.  When we were in Bali, I really missed the food of the Philippines, and I am eager for you all to hunt out a Filipino restaurant and go sample some of the delights.

Closer to home and Rambo had a birthday!

He has also recently taken to posing like he’s in a Renaissance painting.  Other hobbies include making sad eyes for food, unknowingly pulling comical faces, and eating coal.

A really welcoming gesture was made by Crissy’s work bosses at Philippine Airlines – back when I was bewildered by the transportation – which was to allow me to come to work with her Friday’s, because that is Date Night.  It’s become a semi regular thing now and I have become known as the Friday employee.  A few weeks ago, the team decided to work out of the office and I joined them, spending all day at Coffee Project, with good, strong coffee and reading some wonderful literature.  It was a Friday very well spent.

In the coming months I hope to be able to give something back to the wonderful people here, I already feel like I do my bit with propping up the restaurant industry but I want to do something more personal.  Plans are afoot and will be mentioned as they come about but until then, have a great day and appreciate wherever you happen to be because next year you may be enjoying yourself somewhere new and wondering if you truly valued the place you left…

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38 Replies to “Catching Up on Things”

    1. Cheers mate, I wouldn’t mind a couple of cold days, cold over here means 25 degrees, which is still crazy warm. It’ll be time for you to don your thermals soon!

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  1. Happy birthday to the gorgeous Rambo. It’s always great to hear more about life in your new home. It is blowing a hoolie here as I type but I love living with interesting weather!

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    1. Weather! I miss weather, apart from the odd high winds (the typhoon season has largely missed us) it is either heavy rain or sunshine so I do like to talk about Spring and Autumn a lot. I love sharing about places here and am trying to find ways to get to some real obscure travel places, I would love to go somewhere nobody blogs about, like The Pitcairn Islands or some such.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It seems to have flown by, the first few months felt endless because of adapting to the heat and learning the local area but now it seems to be flying by so quickly. I am attempting to fill my free time with as many experiences and memories as possible, so will keep you updated with more adventures as I stumble into them.

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    1. We have plans to go to a few more places so will keep you updated as an when we wander around. As far as planning goes in The Philippines, they change constantly so every weekend is unexpected, it’s all a bit dramatic.

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  2. Well, this is a wonderful vademecum and travelogue. Hello to you and Chrissy, and the Kiwanis, and Rambo, and of course the cats. My cat and I are up late crocheting, but at a certain point, she gives me a disapproving look, and I know she thinks it’s time for at least me to go to bed. I wanted, though, to tell you how lovely this post is. Keep them coming!

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    1. Thank you, my friend. I have another pot coming up when I Bluetooth the photos from Crissy’s phone. Cat’s are good like that, well good at routine. Our dogs know precisely when they should be fed…according to them. I get Rexie pawing me with a big grin and Rambo biting my arm, I love a bit of subtlety.

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  3. First off, Rambo is a beauty! What a loveable puppy… dog… whatever! He is very special.
    OMG! You’ve lost weight? Methinks you are withering away.
    Anyway, you have found a very beautiful new home. My love to you, Chrissy and all of the animals. ❦❦❦

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    1. He has settled down since I first met him and he loved biting everyone. We bonded and now, thanks to feeding him many times we are on the best of terms. I lost a lot of weight, probably down to the sun burning it off, from my point of view, it is good, from a Filipina point of view, I must be fed to fatness so a clash of cultures with me as battleground, haha. It is a beautiful country but sometimes the beauty spots have a lot of rubbish, which is a shame but I always do my bit and pick up anything I can.

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        1. I am trying to keep a healthy steady momentum, between hogging ice cream. It’s really the best of both worlds. Slimmer, yet able to pile away the good stuff.

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  4. Your morning view looks sublime. The “third-world/first-world” standards seem rather arbitrary to me, since lots of people in “first-world” countries lack essential resources and support systems to have the amenities considered “first-world.”

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    1. Good point actually, there is too much pigeon holing of such things, of which I am guilty with lazy opinions. Mornings are great, once the sun is out and the coffee is brewed, it is great to drink it to the soundtrack of the palm trees in the light breeze.

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    1. It has been a very fast year, I have so many things to write about but they seem to have happened a while ago, and not last week as I think. Adapting has been easier than I expected but there is still work to do in that area and that is fine by me, as I love to improve myself.

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    1. There are a lot of challenges here, as with any country, but life is being good to me. I don’t want to rest on my laurels (crushing them sounds painful) and want to see more and be more interactive. There is so much for me to attempt to do that I tend to be less focused, such as learning the language has occupied me a lot less than it should because people speak English. It isn’t an excuse but it makes me (probably wrongly) prioritise other things above that. I need to try harder!

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  5. Of everything that I wonder about life these days, not seeing you around much tops the list. How’ve you been, dear friend? I am sorry I haven’t been able to be around much myself. I hope you will excuse me.

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    1. Life gets in the way sometimes my friend. I have been off social media for a while focusing on the new job a lot but my schedule will settle down and I will be able to make time to visit. Having my own schedule is both a joy and a curse but that is life and I am getting there, as I hope you are too?

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  6. So beautiful and I’m glad you had fun on that slide. It looks like a place that’s filled with inspiration. And that’s funny that Rambo eats coal of all things. Does he end up with a black beard?

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    1. He doesn’t have the beard sadly but does plenty of comical faces throughout the day to make up for it. It really is a place that inspires words. I also need to actually write up my notes amongst everything else.

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  7. So pleased to hear you are enjoying your tropical lifestyle. I do agree that wherever we are we should try to find places and things to embrace. I am thinking that your mention of losing weight might have something to do with all the hiking you are doing. 🙂

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    1. Our last hike ended in a bit of a disaster and Crissy was taken ill and I lost a toenail, I think it is more down to the heat which just burnt away my body. Having aid that I am putting a little bot of weight back on now. I am the only one who is not happy about it, it seems.

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      1. I hope Crissy is well now. I have unfortunately lost a few toenails over the course of many years of hiking. Must be all that good food you have discovered that is putting the weight on because it sure as heck isn’t the hiking!

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        1. Yes, much better thank you! The hiking is great after the horribly polluted air of Manila and the food is always tasty. I am always made to eat so much of it, which is no bad thing at the time but lack of places to walk makes it a long term guilty pleasure.

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