I have to thank friends for pointing me to this direction. First, I asked where to go for Sunday Mass. There was one Roman Catholic Church literally outside the window where I was staying in but I would not be able to understand most of the Sunday Service.
Hence, I went to a nice chapel frequented by Pinoys living in the city in the 8th Arr. And it felt good to me. Basta. The Service went very well. : )
Using the borrowed wifi that I brought with me, I walked towards this place which I only knew by name and nothing else. It was not a modern hotel but I am glad it was not. But it had a lot of good visual treats which I thought was always perfect for a walk around town.
Candidly, I asked the two young ladies at the desk if the restaurant was open and I could take a long around. They said that it would be opened soon but I could not dine without a reservation. Playing it cool, I simply said “Ok, thank you.” Until the maitre d’ walked in and asked what. They said I wanted to walk in and look around but did not have reservations as the evening was fully booked. The maitre d’ who was about my age asked me “Alone ?” I said, Yes. He asked “Would you want to dine ?” I said “Yes but no table according to the young ladies”. Then, he said … “I can give you a table if 1.5 hours was enough for me.” So, I said, “1.5 hours is plenty”. And it was a nice, nice evening. And he dropped by my table every now and then for a chat. And once I told him, “My 1.5 hours is almost over but I am just a little over half way with my dinner”. Then, he winked. So, we both had a good brief chuckle! Message sent, message received. Hahaha. Hay naku, Ginoo!
Learned that the interiors were done not too long ago by Philippe Starck.
The extra treat of the evening was meeting Chef Matsuhisa, a nice, young man who spoke good English, of course. He asked me if I had dined in the Nobu in Manila. I was a bit embarrassed not to have had the pleasure. He proudly claimed in a very pleasant way that he had spent 2 weeks during the opening of the Nobu-Manila which one day, I hope to have the pleasure of dining in.
But not during these times of quarantine, unfortunately. In due time.
I did not experience what some refer to as “Cabin Fever”. I don’t know why. Perhaps, because I am ok to live quietly. And I am ok with my setup at home. I just have to make sure that I have water, food and ConvergeICT, my fiber internet supplier that did not fail me. And I am very thankful that I did not get stressed with staying home.
Rarely did I got out except to pickup food. Instead, I busied myself. I will leave out the details as they were plenty.
I am still very apprehensive to go out and be near people. Talking to them over the phone or the APP of the covid19 season, Zoom works for me.
Let me share some photos of the early hours of the “1st day of freedom” as I saw it.
On board a banca, enroute to a marine sanctuary called Danjugan Island Sanctuary, one will not miss this twin island called the Turtle Island.
At first, I thought it was funny and quite pretentious that we would actually have islands in the Philippines with such a name. Or perhaps, it was just made up. But one learns not to judge, right ? Just go with it and explore.
While we did not dock in the Turtle Islands, I thought that the memory of once in a lifetime seeing these islands even from afar would be worth my journal. After all, this was my adventure, my memory, my story.
I hope to return to this placid lake once again. With a few friends, we boarded a small boat and crossed this expansive lake. Despite being born in this country, I did not realise how many more beautiful places I am actually seeing for the first time. And very thankful to the family that brought me here for a short visit.
I was starting with my photography hobby when I took this photo so this photo must have been taken in 2008 to 2009. The photo isn’t great but the memory of being able to visit this place to this day remains in my mind.
This natural lake is surrounded by tropical forests and felt like it was being embraced by mountains that were full of wild life. So, best be carry.
We drove from Dumaguete, where we were staying for a few days to explore nearby towns like Bais, Amlan, Tanjay, Manuyod and many other beautiful, beautiful places. It was a pleasant drive to Siaton. And although the template of the Philippines seem largely similar, I still am thrilled by each visit anywhere and everywhere.
Sadly, this COVID19 Pandemic is now allowing many to travel worldwide for awhile but perhaps, it is the Lord’s way of telling us “My children, you need to relax, sit still and fix your affairs that seems to be a mess!” I find this to me one of the powerful messages that repeatedly came into me throughout the 78-day Quarantine.
I was far from bored. Thank you to ConvergeICT, the fiber internet that I have installed at home, my Globe Telecom and Smart Telecom mobile phones that did not fail me. And many, many the other support services that made sure I was ok. Very thankful is not saying enough.