The Great Escape

Rediscovering life in Palawan Philippines

Archive for the tag “vacation”

I’m Canadian, Eh? 019

Random photos and thoughts about Canada.

Our environment, our experiences, and the people we choose to surround us shapes us into who we are. In this series I search the web for thought-provoking images about Canada, the country I grew up in.

Northern Lights, Yukon, Canada

Northern Lights

The skies across the country will light up with the breathtaking colours of the aurora borealis during the solar maximum this year. Here are some of the best spots to catch the view. ~ The best places in Canada to view the northern lights, Canadian Geographic

"Love you forever and always"

Locked in love

Many places in Canada have been hit by this strange lovesickness. On Vancouver Island, the Wild Pacific Trail in Ucluelet is full of love locks, as is the Humber Bridge in Toronto. The debate has just begun. Should we be thinking of environmentally friendly, aesthetically pleasing alternatives? Are the hanging locks more like artwork or graffiti? And if the authorities decided to get rid of them, would they keep on returning… just like an old love? ~ A love too heavy to bear?, Gazette, July 9, 2014

Ice Hotel Québec City

Cool Hotel

We went up to Quebec City especially to visit the Ice Hotel. We stayed on a Sunday night and managed to pick a quiet weekend – only 25 guests so there was plenty of solitude which added to the charm. Sophie gave us the talk on how to survive the night and she was fantastic. We slept through the night there – a little cold at first and then got used to the feeling of the sleeping bags and we both settled. ~ “Wow – this was an amazing experience,” John P., TripAdvisor Review


The Land Where I Was Born 018

Random photos and thoughts about the Philippines

Our environment, our experiences, and the people we choose to surround us shapes us into who we are. In this series I search the web for thought-provoking images about the Philippines, the country I was born in and which I am now rediscovering.


Twin Beaches

That’s a tough one. Do I really have to pick? Just one? Does it really have to be just one? And who could blame them? With 7,107 islands, the Philippines has more than its share of spectacular beaches! And choosing just one is not an easy task at all. There are a lot of things to consider: the sand, the landscape, their personal experiences. Still, after a long time of bugging, pushing, and — sometimes — blackmailing begging, they were able to give an answer. Here’s a list of 30 best beaches in the Philippines as chosen by some of your favorite Pinoy travel bloggers. ~


…..a few still think Filipinos all live in slums or in the jungle. WRONG.

To be honest, I asked many, many people (locals and foreigners) what they like about Manila, and over and over, I was met with head-scratching and silence. They all told me they would think about it and get back to me. I’m still waiting. You see, Manila is a city that people love to hate. ~ Surviving Manila – A Foreigner’s Guide to the City People Love To Hate


Cool Banaue

In its provincial boondocks, the Philippines has the ultimate paradox: the cool tropical town. Lower temps, however, aren’t the only things that make these towns cool. ~ 11 coolest towns in the Philippines, CNN, May 22, 2014


Weekly Photo Challenge: CONTRASTS


As is the case every year “the Chef” and I exit the grey slush of the city to re-energize in the quiet solitude of Northern Ontario.
Read more…

Weekly Photo Challenge: HANDS

Meet Captain Lolong, a 60-year-old, quiet, ‘old school’ boat captain who just happens to love sea urchin. We’re a couple of days into our Palawan expedition and the Captain has taken a shine to “the Chef.” Maybe it was all the talk about WWII last night or maybe it was just the rum. A little alcohol doesn’t hurt to loosen things up a bit.

We’re anchored just off Cobra Island and the Captain himself has decided to go in and find us sea urchin. The young crew seems a little surprised. I guess he doesn’t do this for just anyone. After about a half hour he returns with a blue plastic crate full of black balls. Before he brought them back he stood in the shallows and repeatedly shook the crate back and forth before submerging it the water again and again. All the black spikes broke off. How ingenious!

Now back on the boat, he has no problem picking the urchins up with his HANDS. Like a pro he breaks one open and cleans it in the water. He puts the delicacy to his smiling mouth, slurps it up and happily exclaims, “Viagra of the Sea.”

Weekly Photo Challenge: BLUE

It’s been a long time. I’m sure my parents took us on this ride when we were young but I have no recollection of it. Now many years later I’m back and this time I’m with “the Chef.” Read more…

Photos from the Shoebox: Boracay Philippines 1998

If you had a 35mm camera you probably have a shoebox full of pictures that you never got around to sorting and putting in an album. In this series “Photos from the Shoebox” I take them out of the closest and shine light on them once more.

Storming in beach in Boracay, Philippines.

By the time 1998 rolled around, Boracay was no longer the sleepy fishing village European backpackers had sought out for authentic ‘native culture’ and a pristine environment.  Read more…

Reverse Culture Shock

The first days back from a vacation can be a little surreal especially when you’ve been away for a good length of time and you’ve returned from somewhere so culturally different from your home. You may find it strange being in your own environment. Call it ‘reverse culture shock.’

Rum & Coke on the beach. Not a worry in the world.

Before flying back to Canada we decided to stay in Manila to acclimatize back into city living. It was a bit distressing to see so many people and cars, breathe in choking exhaust fumes and feel the stress of the city. After all, “the Chef” and I had lost ourselves in the care-free simplicity of the islands of Palawan.

The winter blahs. When everything is grey.

After landing back in Toronto I felt as though we had entered a life warp. Things didn’t seem quite real. Toronto was too formal, too organized. Everyone drove within the lines. Everything was too grey. The sun became a fleeting figment in our imagination.

San Miguel on ice. So nice.

Still on a high from our trip we continued our life as if we were still on the islands. We couldn’t get Palawan out of our minds. Soon we were stocking the pantry with Filipino ingredients. I was baking calamansi squares instead of lemon squares. We had get-togethers with our friends and served Filipino food and beer. How many times have you come back from a vacation and tried to incorporate something from that culture into your real life?

Thinking happy thoughts.

These happy feelings have sustained us for almost 2 months now but reality is slowly creeping back. Our tans are fading, there’s the mortgage to pay and snow tires to change. We’re not ready to let go yet. We’re going to hang on to those feelings as long as we can.

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