Stephen and Helen go East

Trip Start Feb 01, 2008
Trip End Apr 07, 2008

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Flag of Philippines  , Luzon,
Friday, March 28, 2008

Hello Everyone we're sorry for the delay in our blogs! We last ended with returning from Bagiou as Helen and Stephen were due to arrive in the Philippines, or at least we were crossing our fingers that they were still coming to the land of  thousand islands! Sure enough we received a late night phone call from our lovely friends! Unfortunately when Dan and i went out to use the internet that evening, Nani decided it would be a good time to spray for mosquito's, before our friends arrived as she didn't want them to deal with the little critters. However, this spray was pure toxic poison which filled the entire house! WE were choking on the air as we entered and it gave each of us a nasty headache not something you would want to subject anyone too, especially Stephen and Helen. Nani truly thought she was doing us and them a generous favour, we tried to explain the repercussions of such sprays but it was of no use, and we now had a toxic filled room for our guests...yikes!..In the end it worked out as Stephen and Helen found a gorgeous hotel in Makati, only a 20 minute ride on the MRT (subway system). We rose early and tracked our dear friends down!
...Seeing little Helen in the hotel lobby, our hearts filled with Joy, it had been so long and yet it felt like yesterday! It all seemed sereal seeing Helen with her angelic glow and sparkling eyes, along with her loving hugs and adorable laugh!...It was a beautiful moment and Dan and i had Helen all to ourselves!!...hehe...Then it was Stephens turn for hugs and kisses, as he entered the hotel restaurant, there was that brilliant man beaming love from every part of his being. We received the usual bear hugs that we all know and love!... We spent the morning catching up and hearing all about their amazing journey in Hawaii only days before arriving to the Philippines, which were magical indeed!...We spent the next evening at Nani's and left the following morning at the crack of dawn with our trusted driver Orland!... Dan mapped out our route and possible sights to visit, and it quickly became a jammed packed adventure with day trips and a ton of driving, as we only had 6 days with Stephen and Helen...Our main destination was Bagiou, as it  was where we met our dear friends Mark and Isreal (son of June Labo a psychic surgeon) and we really wanted our dear friends to experience the magic and healing powers of these great mountains.
The road trip was amazing as we watched the landscape change from the hot low lands, to the cool depths of the Cordillera where the mountains are bountiful, and rich with native culture! We caught up as old friends do, as it felt as though we saw each other only the other day, which is  a true foundation for any beautiful friendship! (Ah what can We say, "We Love you both dearly, with all our heart and soul!)
...Our first stop was at the foot hills of Mount Pinotubo, which had erupted most  recently. This eruption created amazing lakes and rock formations which are a must for hikers. Unfortunately we were tight for time and Stephen didn't feel comfortable with the heights after veiwing a helicopter shot of the top. hehe... He proposed we have a nice Filipino lunch and Thai massages at the  base entrance, which offered an array of therapies from being buried in volcanic ash to clay mud baths and more!... We all went for the massage as sitting in a vehicle for any lengthy period of time can have its toll on ones "tuchas"..hehe...Our Lovely driver Orland had never had a massage before, so we were really excited for him to be pampered after the long day of driving! Afterwards, we made our way to 100 islands, known for its obvious islands and amazing coral reef! On our way we stumbled upon a town celebrating the Easter Holiday which was quickly approaching. We decided to venture through the festival, with San Miguel sold at every shop, Stephen and Dan grabbed a pint from the middle of the street, and we all soaked in the live music with two main stages!..It was pretty spectacular! I nice treat to randomly come across, as during these festivals the whole community comes together to celebrate! Since we had covered a long stretch of road it was time to rest our heads. We found a place by the name of Gloria's Inn. Turn's out that Gloria was not so Glorious! Poor Stephen, Helen and Orland shared a one room and Dan and I slept in the Car. You'll have to check out our pics to understand this strange place. We all had some strange dreams that night, weird again we were all up at the crack of Dawn anticipating the final arrival at 100 Islands. It didn't take to long, and were on a boat with our snorkeling gear and picnic goods, ready to soak in the sun and the vast sea!... We explored several tiny islands, and finally went snorkelling! It was enchanting with Giant turquise clams, coral and vibrant coloured fish! We  even saw a family of "finding Nemo" fishies playing in a hariy sea plant. The plant life was magical with puffy vegetations appearing and dispappearing in the rock formations...its diffiicult to put into words the life forces that live in the sea! was also Eileen and Orlands' first time snorkelling so it was really exciting and magical for them! We then ventured to a nearby island for some lunch and a little siesta! The day was disappearing quickly and we made our way back to shore, where Helen found some rare shells and some other good deals. It also happened to be St. Patricks day so in light of Eileen's heritage and good old St. Patty we had some drinks to celebrate this festive day of the green folk. In memory of Eileen's Dad, good old "Farmer Frank" we all had some whiskey and water, and toasted to those two Irish Lovelies Patsy and Francis, (whom Stephen and Helen had the chance to get to know this past summer when they stayed up at Summerhill last summer.) Not to mention that we thought about what life would be like next year in Ireland!...             The next day we journeyed into the mountains to Bagiou, where we went to Cafe by the Ruins, and finally experienced some tasty organic eats! Not mention their Divine organic Philippino arabica coffee, which Eileen and Helen relished in several cups, as this was no ordinary brew, it was light, delicious and tasty, without the side effects of a usual cup of coffee. It was coffee for the tea drinkers!..hmm heavenly! That afternoon we went to visited June Labo, (the world famous healer, as a psychic surgeon) he was a smiley and friendly man who allowed us to enter a lecture that only his students are permitted to attend, which was interesting. It was very gracious of him to spend some time with us, and we were hoping to spend a bit more time with him, but that will have to wait for another trip! We were all  even considering taking  a 10 day  course with him,  but timing and business were not  serving our greater interests.
We decided to leave the city and venture into the mountains where mummification is still a common practice. We climbed through treacherous mountain ridges with only our mini-van and single road passes, praying that another vehicle would not emerge from the other direction. But as divine intervention worked its magic, we experienced no problems and when we did encounter another vehicle/bus it was always just at the right moment!....
We went for a pilgrimage to see the mummy's, which were at the top of a mountain (a good 3 hour trek) to send blessings on the Equinox. However something told us not to reach the top and we had a nice small ceremony half way, over looking the rice terraces! It was a rigorous journey under the scorching sun but it was feat we all felt blessed to be together and we all had learned a great lesson that day. It was beautiful!...We finally entered Kabayan village, which was beaitufil! We made friends with two beautiful little girls,  zuphira and  Sheikirah to be our guides of the village. They took us along rice terraces to the mummy museum (which was closed for Easer long weekend) and then to their grandmothers house, whom is the keeper of the skulls! Yes, a whole cave of skulls and other bones right next to their house! it was intense entering this sacred place!  It was so refreshing spending time with these wee ones, it was a real treat!
         As we left the village the rain came! Not any ordinary rain but heavy thick rain, in fact at times we couldn't see a thing, as we were scaling the side of the mountain!...Once again Orland came through graciously and skillfully through the endless hours of bumpy road and poor visibility! When we arrived in Bagiou, we were all exhausted from the trek and the long ride home that we all crashed at another hotel full of character and the odd ghost! The journey was long yet it seemed unfinished and to quick! Here we were with two of our dearest friends and it was already time for us to return to Manila! We all tried, including sweet Helen to stay for the course with June Labo which began the day after they were scheduled to leave, but it was difficult persuading a busy businessman, next time! On the way back to Manilla we made a stop off in San Fernando's, which is known for real, re-enactments of the Crusifiction of Christ. On the way to San Fernando we witnessed many men in other towns with their faces covered whipping themselves on the side of the street, while other young men were carrying crosses! It was a very eye openeing experience to say the least! When we reached San Fran we jumped out of the van and immediately saw Isreal and Mark which was unusual and highly unlikeky,as there are literally thousands of people that come there to witness the crusifixations! Helen, Daniel and Eileen weaved through the busy crowds, with the sun beating down on them! We all found it hard to breath and we realised that it was pass 2pm, and were told that it ends at this time, so we decided it wasn't a good idea to continue, and we made our way back through the thick crowd. We all came to the same consensus that it wasn't something we particularly wished to witness, being in the crowd was enough. The Philippines is a heavily devoted Christian counrty, and this was a very interesting time for us all to be together and really witness the essence of this culture. This unfortunately does not capture our full trip and events, but the pictures will tell some stories, so please tale the time to read through them!...Much Love and Gratitude Stephen and Helen for such a magical trip, many blessings of Love and Light!

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