“eff you mother nature” and other tales from the road

4 Nov

I’m at the airport waiting for my first of 2 flights to get home from a long weekend in Dumaguete with Alex to visit Claire. The second flight today will be the appalling 18th flight in 7 months of overseas living and even more appallingly will be followed by 12 more (booked so far) flights for the next 5 months. Stimulating local economies and enabling 2 way cultural awareness don’t even begin to curb the guilt I feel at participating in such a carbon intensive industry and throwing pesos at cebupacificair.com… But when you live on the second largest archipelago in the world (7100 islands) and you have wanderlust, you gotta do what you gotta do and make up for it in other ways.


This weekend in Dumaguete was characterized by adventure … We joined a local barkada group through Claire’s connections on a birthday camping weekend on Apo island, a 30 minute banka ride from a port off Dumaguete. Before island party times, stopped abruptly by power going out at 9pm, we spent the whole day swimming with giant sea turtles, the wisest looking of all animals, interrupted only by lunch on a cliff perched restaurant. We were shown to our accommodation for the night… It was one of those pop up wind shelters, which could maybe fit 2 adults sitting up, but 3 girls we were so 3 we must be sleeping like sardines with nought but our body heat to keep us warm and the sharp assuage of coral pieces under our backs since the birthday guy had passed out on our sleeping mat.


I ended up on the outer edge and my internal monologue throughout the night sounded like “eff ants biting me, eff mother nature, eff you Alex taking up all my room and pushing me out of the tent *roll over and see beautiful clear sky with stars above my head* oh man this so beautiful! I’m having so much fun”. This ebb and flow was punctuated by alternate fists curled in frustration and hands behind the head relaxation. The most exciting moment was when a dog peed on the side of the tent and I was seriously contemplating sleeping either on top of 2 guys squished into a 1 man tent next to us or getting in with a 16 year old kid 2 tents over… Deliberating over this conundrum eventually sent me off to sleep and I awoke around 4am ready to get on a boat at 6.30am. Overly attached boat passenger am I.

I appreciated this experience more after some Bircher muesli and a hot shower at Claire’s and remembered fondly too many other amazing moments we are so lucky to have the chance to experience on our adventure here in the Philippines…. Here are some of the highlights.

Racing down a mountain in antipolo on our first tricy ride during an amazing race challenge in our training week when we first arrived in the Philippines. We originally thought it was a race but when we realized it wasn’t, we took our lives back into our own hands and went “Dahan Dahan Lang po” (slowly slowly) the rest of the day.


Kayaking on lake bulusan at 8am and crashing into an exhausted, food coma sleep at 11am at a private cold springs with Alex and Tania on a tour of the province arranged by the LGU just for their visit.

Failing to see whale sharks but having a whale of a time in Donsol with most of the intake 33 crew and riding 7 in a tricy back to our resort.


Feeding fish at Matnog fish sanctuary before a lazy afternoon island chilling on subic beach enjoying a tropical romance with my hot guy.


Walking slowly for 5km in runners way too small in a fun run in tobacco city and grabbing a Taho to give me strength for the last km with Kristen, before bestowing awards to real runners along with Marly and Mark.


Getting marooned in antipolo for the second volunteer intake training for the year and sleeping in a bed wet from a water leak over head with only a little bit of blue body paint left on my face from earlier antics.


Visiting endless kilometers of malls in Makati with Mum and Jen and doing an all nighter at a gay bar before getting a 6.30am flight to legazpi to get home.

Alternating between formal titles (mr jäger, mr Bacchus) and friendly intimacy (*points out sleeping tarsier* check out this guy) on holiday around Cebu with maganda Skanda from down under and getting my drunk ass thrown off some guys lap after I tried to pass out on him in a club while Skanda flirted with locals and enjoyed dance floor drink service.


Visiting Bacolod for the masskara festival, where floats in parades apparently need 20 minute gaps for observers to take in all the glory of electric masskara. I soberly participating in many “conversations” with my drunk friends until 3am before getting up at 4.45 for a 6.30am flight back to leggaz.


Swimming in a hot spring while a tropical depression froze the air around me at 10pm at night in Irosin to celebrate Gubat’s success in the Kasanggayahan festival in Sorsogon.

Right now I am listening to my favorite Filipino song performed by the singer/guitarist in the waiting lounge of Dumaguete airport at 8.30am and I feel less guilty (for now) about all that carbon and more grateful for all I have seen, experienced, smelt, tasted, heard, enjoyed and hated in my travels thorough the experience.


“all good trips are, like love, being carried out of yourself and deposited into the midst of terror and wonder” (“why we travel“, Pico Iyer). Indeed, with every terrorizing long haul ride in a minivan going way too fast down the national highway and every wondrous waterfall stream pounding my back while I float in a stream, I feel myself more open to every new
experience I might encounter and more fond of all those that are now memories.

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