The Great Escape

Rediscovering life in Palawan Philippines

Archive for the tag “weekly photo challange”

(Extra)ordinary People of Coron

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When we first arrived in Coron ‘Captain Lolong,’ his wife and his son came to visit us at our cottage. I can remember them sheepishly waiting on the path at the edge of the property, the ‘Captain’s’ wife clutching a journal to her chest. ‘The Captain’ took the journal opened its pages and pointed. “Andy! Andy!” his wife squealed excitedly. There in black and white were the comments ‘the Chef’ had written after our Tao Expedition ended in 2011. The words brought a flood of warm and happy memories.

During the course of our stay they would take us to look at different properties for sale. We couldn’t believe the kindness and generosity they showed us. We couldn’t believe how lucky we were.

The trip came to an end it was time to say good-bye. Instead of us going to see him ‘the Captain’ insisted he would come to our place in town even though he had no money for a tricycle. At this point ‘the Captain’ was no longer working. “No problem,” he said. He arrived on the back of his neighbour’s motorcycle, walked through the steel front gates and marvelled at the ‘pink house‘ we had rented.

We sat outside on the porch, sipped cokes and talked for a while about our plans, his plans and about life in general. He was 63 and told us he didn’t think he wanted to work for Tao anymore. I felt his weariness. Then in the middle of talking he took from his back pocket a thin and worn wallet. Slowly, he unfolded it and carefully opened one of the compartments taking out a very flat and curved cigarette. He gently rolled it until it became somewhat cylindrical again, put it in his mouth, lit it up and continued to talk without missing a beat.

Not once did he ever complain about his situation. Not once did he ever ask us for anything. I thought that was extraordinary.

To see how others interpret the word ‘(Extra)ordinary’ visit the Weekly Photo Challenge

Opening the Door to a New Life

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One of the things I like about Coron is that there aren’t many doors to actually open. Many establishments like restaurants and stores are wide open to the outside.

What do they say? “When one door closes another opens.”

We’re at a point at in our life in Canada when all doors aren’t quite closed but feel a little stuck. We know we can still enter but what’s on the other side is not enticing enough for us to even want to turn the knob.

In Palawan all doors are open to us. There is opportunity, freedom to change and a chance to grow. We just need the courage to walk through.

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

Always Be Thankful for the Amazing Moments in Your Life

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There are alway people who cross your path for a brief moment in your lifetime who make an imprint in your mind. This is Hover. He was the cook on our boat expedition the first time we were in Palawan. For five days as we cruised over the South China Sea, he slaved on a tiny stove in an incredibly small space to make sure we were well fed.

Not surprisingly he and ‘the Chef’ got along wonderfully. ‘The Chef’ even surprised him one night by taking over the stove to do the cooking. It was during this trip that we got the original idea to move to Palawan and open a resort. Half jokingly we asked Hover if he would work for us. With a big smile he didn’t hesitate to say yes.

Two years later we found out he was one of the casualties of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda). Never take for granted the moments that pass by.

This post is part of the Weekly Photo Challenge: Ephemeral

Shopping for Dinner at the Coron Market

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When you’re in a place where there are brown-outs almost every day and refrigeration is pretty unreliable you start to think differently about food. In the late afternoons we would join the many Coron locals and make our way to the market in search for some dinner. This became our daily routine.

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We could never bring ourselves to buy meat. We are so conditioned to see our meat neatly wrapped in plastic and styrofoam we become disconnected to the animal it came from. Here, heads, snouts and guts hang beside the more common cuts of meat. It was a shock to see a pile of meat laying on a bare counter with pesky flies landing every once in a while. Ironically, it’s probably the freshest you will find.

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Turning our attention to the very wet fish aisle, ‘The Chef’ would cruise up and down until something got his attention. He would take his time as the variety of fish was amazing and confusing. After paying for his pick we would make our way to the vegetable section then pick up some bread at the bakery on the way back.

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At home, our friend ‘King’ always had the dubious honour of being sous chef, meaning he got to do all the dirty work like cleaning and filleting the fish. I probably had the best role – happy eater and dishwasher!

This post is part of the Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh.

WPC: Orange

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A happy mind. A happy heart. A happy stomach. The joy of orange.

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

WPC: Symmetry

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Something magical happens when the air becomes still and the sun shines brightly above. Sky becomes water and water becomes sky. The forest becomes two and we are left to gasp in wonder.

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

WPC: Express Yourself

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This was the first time I ever walked into this type of competitive arena. Instead of the roar of a boisterous crowd, voices were muffled and hushed. There was excitement in the air but also tension.

Seven highly skilled chocolatiers and pastry chefs battled for nine hours for the title of World Chocolate Master of Canada.

In the end Chef Oliver Tribute would win with his showpiece, an impressive chocolate sculpture expressing the theme “Architecture of Taste.”

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

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