Island Hopping with my sisiter! (March 16th- 23rd)
Trip Start Mar 21, 2006
55Trip End Oct 05, 2008
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Heidi and I have been enjoying a blissful island paradise life this last week!! After I picked her up at the airport on the 15th we spent one night in Manila. I felt bad but, one of the first things we ended up doing was going to a mall!! I know who would have thought? But in Manila that is what there is to do and it is a way to escape the insane humidity and heat. Heidi discovered she still had the snikordoodle cookie she bought in Seattle 48 hours before so we enjoyed a cup of coffee and began our constant gabbing and catching up that has only begun! That evening Heidi was kind enough to treat myself and another PCV to an amazing dinner at an upscale Italian restaurant in Makati. Makati is the rich, developed and beautiful area of Manila, quite a contrast from Malate the neighborhood I normally hang out in
The next day we had an early morning flight down to Dumaguete, the southern most city on Negros Island. When we arrived we had a one hour banka boat ride over to the beautiful little island of Apo. The population on Apo is 700 and it is a true testament to a community led, run and properly managed environmental eco-system. Apo was the first marine sanctuary established in Philippines and it remains the best to this day. A former PCV helped begin its restoration and with the help of Greenpeace and a very conscious and active community the sanctuary is preserved, healthy and the local fishermen are thriving with wonderful fish catch. I had visited Apo in January and was so anxious to take Heidi there so she could experience the beauty of the coral and marine life!! It was here first time to snorkel and she was amazed and enthralled with all there is to see under the sea! The brilliant colors of coral, fish in every size and color imaginable!! Needless to say we had an amazing two days on Apo Island!!
Our next stop was the town of Valencia, set at the foothills of Mt. Talinis just north of Dumaguete. "Aunt Peggy" as I fondly call her a fellow PCV lives there and being that she is an Oregonian and writer I knew she and Heidi had to meet. We enjoyed a wonderful relaxing day in her beautifully constructed nipa hut, eating great fresh food, and chatting constantly the way only soul sister women can
The next day we hit yet another island and arrived to Siquijor late in the evening. Heidi yet again got to experience the thrill of riding on a petty cab. Simply a motorcycle with a small cab attached to it and our very heavy bags strapped to the back. As we winded up the hills towards our resort there were many a time we both questioned if we were going to make it. We did arrive safely and quickly learned we were staying in a wonderful little Nipa just 10 feet from the water. The whole evening we heard the waves coming in and woke up to true island paradise with the beach and water right there!! We spent the day swimming, laying in the hammock and enjoying the "rough island lifestyle!"
Our final stop the last few days has been on Bohol Island where we stayed at the incredible Bohol Bee Farm. Check out the web site if you want (www.boholbeefarm.com). It is such a beautiful place, we had an amazing room, facing the water with trees in front, reminded both of us of Pebble Beach! This place would be a nice Hotel in the States..
Vicky the owner of the Bee Farm is a soul sister and an incredible woman. She told us with great pride in her voice that when she opened the farm she began with 4 employees and she now has over 80 most of which are women!! That is indeed something to be proud of
Our wonderful last day at the Bee Farm, dolphin watching and snorkeling was quickly changed when we arrived to the airport to catch our flight to Manila. The flight had been overbooked and we got bumped. The women at the airport, our nemesis Emma, was not professional or helpful and ushered us out of the airport to catch the last boat to Cebu City with the hope of getting there in time to make a 7:30 flight to Manila. Like that was going to happen! Long evening short, we took the boat to Cebu, mind you the boat did not even dock until 7:15pm, needless to say we missed our flight. The woman at the Cebu Airport was extremely professional and she re-routed us to a different airline. We took the list flight out at 10:45pm, arrived to Manila at midnight, quickly got to the bus station with the hopes of catching the 1am bus to Baguio only to discover it was full and we had to wait until 2 am
Today we are doing some sightseeing in Baguio and this evening heading up to my site and settling in for a bit. I am so excited for Heidi to meet my family and see my stomping grounds here. I know this has been very long, but as you can see if you read this entire update a lot went on this last week. I hope you are all doing well and more tales of the sisters travels to come.
PACE and love to all,