Our main reason for visiting Matnog – the town on the southernmost edge of the Bicol mainland in the province of Sorsogon – was to see the pinkish white sand beaches of Subic (in Calintaan Island) and Tikling Island. To get to these beaches we rented a boat at the pier in Matnog and soon learned that a private marine sanctuary in Juag Lagoon was included in the itinerary. But because the beaches were our primary destinations we considered the sanctuary a mere afterthought. We were soon to discover how wrong we were.
It was before breakfast time last Friday when we got the news that we’ve been dreading for some time. June, a friend and former teammate residing in San Diego, California with her husband and two kids, had just passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer. Our old team has a unique and close bond with each other throughout the years. Losing someone in our team meant losing a family member.
There are only two seasons in the Philippines: wet and dry. The dry season typically runs from November to May, with the wet season – usually the time for rains and typhoons – picking up the rest. Filipinos often refer to the dry and hot months from April to May as summer, an attempt to identify it with the closest season in temperate countries. Continue reading Magalawa Island: Can’t Wait for Summer
The morning was bright and sunny as we drove past rolling farmlands and quiet towns on the excellent national highway. We were in India on the way to a meeting at Katmandu in Nepal and had made a stopover at New Delhi. Our connecting flight was a few days away so our Indian director and friend suggested we do a quick visit to the Taj Mahal in the city of Agra, Uttar Pradesh. Continue reading The World’s Most Famous Mausoleum
We stepped out of Pochentong Airport and walked the hot and dusty distance to our waiting host and his car. Soon we were driving through a city that would be our home for the next two months. As we sat, silently gazing out of the car windows, we realized we were in a different world. Phnom Penh’s surroundings stood in stark contrast to a modern and progressive Bangkok where we had stopped briefly on our way here. Continue reading Two Months in Phnom Penh
Everything had gone smoothly during our visit to Guimaras. Until this time. We had just boarded a boat at Alubihod Beach for our island-hopping trip. Despite having rained the previous days – it was the southwest monsoon or habagat season – the sun was up and the waters of the Panay Gulf unusually calm. Our first destination was easily visible on the horizon and, from what we knew, just 15 minutes away. Our motorized outrigger started its engine and we waited for the boat to speed up. So far, so good. We waited… and waited… and waited. Continue reading Island-Hopping at Guimaras
Sometimes you just have to go with the most popular place in town. We usually favor off-the-beaten-path destinations, especially when it comes to beaches, because they’re usually pristine and devoid of the tourist crowd. But with limited time on our hands – we were on a side-trip after a series of meetings at Iloilo – we chose to stay at Alubihod Beach on Guimaras Island. Continue reading Alubihod Beach, Guimaras