The Great Escape

dreaming of a simple life in Palawan

Weekly Photo Challenge: HUMANITY

2014-08-08

“Maria! Maria!”

‘The Captain’s’ wife turns towards me smiling and points to the row of pineapple plants. Her excitement is obvious. I trudge gingerly between the spiked leaves and try to keep up with her. She really wants to show me the bounty of this farm.

‘The Chef’ and I are in Coron, Palawan on a mission to find a property to start the next phase in our lives. The farm happens to be for sale. It’s not her farm but I can guess she is imagining it being hers. I can feel her happiness.

Is this what it means to be human? To find happiness in the simple joys of life?

To see how others interpret the word ‘humanity’ visit the Weekly Photo Challenge.

 

p.s. This photo was originally published in my post ‘Beautiful Busuanga

 

The First Step: Leaving Coron Behind

Good-Bye Pink House

Kuya Arthur said be ready to go at 5 am. It was still dark but the drumming had started already. It was the fiesta of San Augustin and the celebrations were starting. Outside in the dim, kids were out and about and gathering in the streets. When was the last time you saw a kid get up at 5 am at their own will? Amazing. That’s exactly what this trip has been.

As we drove out of Coron on the National Highway for the very last time, having been on this road many times on tricycles, motorbikes and vans, my heart grew heavy. There was mist hanging over the fields and the sky was streaked with red from the rising sun. If it wasn’t for my friends sitting next to me I think I would have cried.

It’s been exactly one week since we’ve been back. It feels strange to be home. In fact it doesn’t feel like home at all. I’ve been on many adventures and many trips and when I return home I’m always happy to be back. This is the first time I’m not. I notice ‘the Chef’ looking subdued and melancholy. I ask him what’s wrong and he simply says, “I miss Coron.” It’s just hitting him now. That’s how we feel.

It’s September and that means The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is in full swing. We should be downtown, watching movies, stargazing and partying with friends. I see the smiles on my friends faces on Facebook. It no longer feels relevant to us. It feels kind of empty. I’d rather listen to people tell their stories in Coron. Now, that’s real and better than any movie.

Happiness Found

Happiness Found

Four weeks flew by in a blink of the eye. They’re so much more I want to write. The last week we spent on an island camping expedition with friends before returning to the big city of Manila. We then made the long journey back to Canada. I’ll be writing more about our adventures and experience in Coron in the upcoming weeks.

Step one is complete. We found our happiness.

Weekly Photo Challenge: ADVENTURE

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Road rash, jellyfish stings, sunburn.

For those who want the ultimate adventure of sun, surf and sand there’s no better place than Palawan, Philippines. Still considered the ‘last frontier’ of the Philippines but developing rapidly, it’s a place you can lose yourself and explore.

Get out of the tourist towns and motorbike across the lush and sparsely populated  islands. Hire a private bangka and find your own deserted beach and watch technicolor sunsets in 360 degree. Do it while you still can.

To see how others interpret the word ‘adventure’ visit the Weekly Photo Challenge.

Chindonan Island

It’s the image in my dreams. Coconut trees, a luscious green hillside with views overlooking the sea. A refreshing breeze blows from the water. It’s my slice of paradise, a perfect spot for quiet contemplation.

Chindonan Island Resort

Chindonan Island Resort

We are anxious to leave the hot and noisy town of Coron behind and be on the water. We hire a boat from Toto. I am 5′-1″ and he’s barely taller than me. Read more…

Living in a Pink House

You would think it was easy to find the “Pink House” in a town that you can walk across in ten minutes. Like everything else in Coron there is no such thing as organization. Some roads are paved, some are dirt others just paths. You orient yourself to landmarks to make your way around.

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The “Pink House”

In this “Pink House” we’ll be able to cook, do laundry and stock up on nice cold drinks. Away from the all the tourist areas we’ll be able to set our own rhythm and actually be able to live. Read more…

Amazing Grace

We were greeted with an enthusiastic hello. Grace came out and I first noticed her long flowing hair. She was nothing like what I had imagined. Actually I didn’t really know what to expect. I knew this English guy and his Filipina girl were running Kaba Kaba Cottages. From what I gathered from their website they seemed like the stereotypical older caucasian guy with young Filipina girl.

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Getting Water

She ushered us into the office/lounge and proceeded to tell us there was a problem with our booking. Read more…

Beautiful Busuanga

Most people go to Coron and do the typical island hopping tourist things. What people don’t usually get to experience is the beauty in the simplicity of life people have here. And that’s too bad. Drive 20 kilometres out of the town of Coron and you’ll be in a place of rolling hills and jungle, nipa huts and farmers fields, of scraggly dogs and chickens crossing the road. You’ll hear roosters and barking dogs and the occasional buzzing of a motorbike or tricycle.

A typical outside 'dirty' kitchen

A Typical Outside ‘Dirty’ Kitchen

This is life as it used to be. I won’t gloss over it. It’s not an easy life but I sense people are happy. Read more…

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