Sunday, April 17, 2016

Discovering El Nido

This is a late post, but El Nido always seems to be in the news of late and I haven't been back. We actually went to Corong-Corong, El Nido, a beach just before the town itself in January of 2015. It was blustery and not still and quiet waters like you seen in the postcards. I never did get to swim as the waves made it uncomfortable on my bad back but it was truly beautiful. We did try to drive into El Nido town in our truck, but the roads are too narrow to accommodate it so we stuck to Corong, Corong where we were able to park on the lot of a friend's friend.

The town of El Nido as of this writing is very congested. The water in Bacuit bay has coliform bacteria due to raw sewage running into it. But people still throng there and once you get out of town on the tours to the various coves, all seems well.

Personally, I am more of a forest elf, but I do upon occasion, enjoy the beach. I do like going out to snorkel in the sea on our banca, which is much different that sitting idly on a beach.

January 2015 - The Beach Shack. Nice sandy waters in front of this place. The center of the cove is more rocky close to the shore.
We stayed at the Blue Pearl. Nice crew there.

Incredible sunset the first night! This is Marimegmeg beach in Corong Corong, El Nido

I went up to El Nido expecting deserted beaches....hah boy was I ever wrong. It's like the French Riviera during the day and at sunset!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

A Walk down my road

I was in Manila for  two weeks getting overhauled in a hospital for a week, and staying with good friends there afterwards. It was nice seeing friends I never get to see and strangely. I saw more friends from Palawan there that I never see in town. Odd to run into more of them in Manila than where I live.

It's always wonderful to get back home after seeing nothing but sky scrappers, except for the verdant garden at the friend's house I was staying at. But for that little oasis, I might have gone nuts.

It was nice to go for a walk down the road I live in and see not one concrete structure, but the road. Here is what I like to see, not much of anything but green and verdant valleys. It help me remember why I love Palawan. I have been so upset over the approval of a coal fired electric plant and the Ocean Park in a marine sanctuary, I almost forgot why I live here.

Mangingisda Road. This is walking back towards my house from the Mangingisda Pier.

A very common sight. Carabao carts! Too bad the 3 year old cement road is already falling apart due to no steel rods!!

It's very common so see children ridding the carabao aka water buffalo.

Palawan cherry blossom. Not really a cherry at all.

Hidden in the forest 243 species of flora and fauna found only in Palawan.

Lantana, so bright and colorful. Butterflies love them!

Mahogany tree seed pods.
Milk weed flowers.

Star like flower on a tree.

Philippine wood rose buds!

Dried Philippine wood rose flowers.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Life in Puerto Princesa update

We moved to Palawan after searching other islands for our retirement base. I liked Palawan because it was so pristine compared to other cities. I also loved the fact that earthquakes don't happen here, nor the ferocious winds of the Typhoons that strike Luzon and other islands.

In 2009,when we moved here, it was a laid back town. Not much of anywhere to shop for groceries except for NCCC and the public markets. I hated NCCC because they constantly blared Christian music so loud I couldn't even think straight, much less remember what to buy. I don't have anything against Christian music in general, except I didn't expect to have it blasted in my ears at a Supermarket!!! I think that should be left to churches. If I wanted to listen to that type of music...I definitely would have gone to church to hear it. To make matters worse, at checkout, they would stop the process to pray!!! This drove me crazy and I actually had to force them to stop praying and continue to check me out, much to the chagrin of other shoppers, who seemed to think this was normal. I would say, "Please continue to check me out...this is not a church!"

When Robinson's supermarket opened, it was quite a relief to my ears to shop there, even though I was the first to protest the cutting of hundreds of old growth trees to make room for it. I am now happy for the opportunity to shop closer to home. Especially now that traffic has grown intolerable to me. I wish they would have left some trees for shade, as their parking lot is a hell hole in the summer with no shade at all now.

We moved to a farm lot about half an hour from the junction of north and south highways. I am so glad we did. The congestion in the city is maddening. I have always chosen to live in remote areas because cities have no allure for me. I am a nature lover, so as close to nature is where I have chosen to live here, yet only half an hour drive to get supplies.

Our home in Palawan using bamboo from our own
groves for railing and flooring for deck.
Unfortunately it's very stressful to live here  these days. There are electrical black outs 4 hours a day everywhere. Sometimes they are rolling blackouts, so some have power while others not, PALECO, the local power coop, calls this "load shedding". Yesterday it was a total blackout. It isn't as bad for us, since we have installed enough solar panels and batteries to run 3 fans and all the LED lights all day if it is sunny. And we have a backup generator when we need to power the refrigerators.

To make matters worse, there is also water rationing in town. My 96 year old dad, and mom 90, have no water coupled with the blackouts. So when it's hot, there is no way to cool down. Her water rationing hours were 12 midnight to 12 noon. Most inconvenient. We have three deep wells on our property, and even those are beginning to taste like iron, the water tables have dropped so low. We do harvest rain when there is any, but so far there hasn't been enough rain to fill the tanks.

Traffic in town is slowing becoming so congested, I feel like I live in Manila when have to go there. Too many tricycles, tourists vans, more people with private cars, and motorcycles! No one has any manners on the roads, but I guess that is typical for the Philippines.

Then there is the proposed Coal Fired Plant our own Governor is veritably shoving down our throats. Clean coal he says. He won't even read about all the science behind coal. Maybe it's because he is friends with the people who own DMCI, the suppliers of the dirtiest coal in the world.

The marine sanctuary in back of our house is slated, and given permits to become a man made ocean park. The local governing board, Palawan Council for Sustainable Development or PCSD, is also headed by the current Governor who seems to care more for profits and not at all for the environment. Poor Palawan, being touted as the best island in the world, is soon to become a wasteland of man made recreational "nature" parks! They do not care that the otters in that bay will be threatened by this development.

Palawan has the most natural biodiversity of any island in the Philippines, but the only thing our so called leaders care about is harnessing tourism at all costs. The very thing people come here to see, pristine nature, will soon enough be gone. It only took 10 years to ruin will only take a little longer for Palawan.

Instead of learning from the mistakes made in Boracay, and starting to implement renewable energies, and lessons from Cebu, whose potable water has to be shipped in, the City is going ahead with all projects. Allowing hotels to be built in small alleys with no parking, cutting down heritage and old trees to make room for them. No requirements for solar or water harvesting to save our water tables.

I have a hard time keeping my chin up these days. I am grateful for the life we have on our quiet corner of the world, but civilization is catching up to us once more, and not in a good way, and this makes me sad.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

How not to do laundry

When I was 21 I met a lovely man many years my senior, named Vince Naso. I think he was about 36 at that time. We hit it off right away and we were literally inseparable. Not long after, much to the chagrin of my conservative parents, we bought a house together and proceeded to set up house and home. I had been raised in the Philippines with a household staff and ridiculously spoiled. I never had to do one stitch of household work or any of the cooking.

When I moved in with Vince, I pretty much winged it.  I always was fairly precocious, if not experienced, but here is one incident that backfired on me.
When I first moved in with Vince, he asked me if I knew how to do laundry. Thinking, hell everyone in America does laundry, they have machines, I thought I could figure it out, so I said yes.
In the Philippines we had laundry people and my mom did all my laundry in her machine when we moved to the States. I had actually never technically done laundry myself, but heck, how hard could it be.
Vincent  "Vince" James Naso
I got all his silk shirts, his Yves San Laurent suits, cashmere sweaters, jeans, underwear, white socks, and shoved them into the washing machine.
The box said one scoop, but I thought heck, this is a big load and this is America, so the more the merrier. I must have poured in half the box. Then for the temperature, I figured as hot as possible to kill any germs. It made sense to me. I then went to read a book or whatever.

Between the laundry room and the kitchen was a swinging door, and when I went to get a cup of coffee a while later, I noticed it was slowly opening and I saw foam all around the edges!! Oh my God! I opened the door and a wall of stiff foam enveloped me. Thank goodness there was a door to the outside and somehow I managed to get all the foam out of the hallway, and my, weren't the walls clean now too.
Undaunted, I set it on the rinse cycle assured everything was under control. When the ringer rang I went to get the clothes to put them in the dryer, and to my horror, everything was pink and to make matters worse the cashmere sweaters were small enough for a barbie doll and the suits didn't look all that right either.
Still not letting this get me down I figured I would call mom, Helen Limjoco since she knows EVERYTHING. When she anwered I asked her, "Hey, how do you make sweaters go back to the size they were before you washed them?"
Silence. "What do you mean go back to the regular size?", she says.

"You don't mean to say you washed them in the machine in hot water?"
Now silence on my end while I freak out in my head. OMG. "You mean to tell me they won't go back to the size they were?"

"Ummmmmm nope!"

GOD HELP ME, I'm dead.

"What about getting the pink out of the whites?"

"What do you mean get the pink out of the whites?"

Well needless to say I got a lecture on how to do laundry properly.
When I got off the phone I thought I would still give a go at getting those damnable cashmere sweaters back to their original size, but no amount of pulling, stretching or yanking would work,
I had to face Vince when he got home and he was actually quite the sport about it, although, I felt like a total moron all the more.
The good thing that came out of this is that he never let me touch his laundry EVER again and I was spared that chore for all the years we were together.

PS: Vince passed away many years ago, I am sure he can laugh about this more now while he sings with the angels.

Blog of Diana J. Limjoco of the Clan Limjoco