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Yesterday, the warm sands of Dauin were graced with the joyous celebration of Lola Gerlinda’s 69th birthday. This intimate gathering on the beach was marked by the gentle sound of waves and the laughter of loved ones, creating the perfect backdrop for a memorable day.

A Simple Feast by the Sea

The day began with a modest but delightful setup. Lola Gerlinda, a beloved figure in our family, wanted nothing more than a simple celebration with her closest family members. We gathered under the shade of a large beach umbrella, with a makeshift grill sizzling away, filling the air with the mouthwatering aroma of marinated meats and fresh seafood. The ice chest was well-stocked with ice-cold beer, ensuring that we could toast to Lola Gerlinda’s health and happiness all day long.

Fishing Adventures and Fresh Catches

As the sun dipped below the horizon, painting the sky with hues of orange and pink, our housekeeper’s husband and father decided to venture out into the sea in their small outrigger boat. Their mission was to bring back the freshest catch for an impromptu feast. The rhythmic sound of their paddles faded into the night as we continued our celebration on the shore.

After a couple of hours, they returned, their boat laden with the evening’s bounty. Among their catch were several gleaming fish perfect for kinilaw, a traditional Filipino ceviche that would serve as a refreshing starter. They also brought back a small octopus, which quickly found its way into the pot, destined to be part of a savory soup that would warm us as the night cooled.

Culinary Delights and Heartfelt Moments

The fish for kinilaw was expertly cleaned and marinated with vinegar, ginger, onions, and chili, creating a dish that was both tangy and spicy, perfectly complementing the grilled meats. The octopus was simmered slowly, becoming tender and flavorful, adding a touch of the ocean to our meal.

Around the dinner table, stories were shared, laughter echoed, and the bonds of family and friendship were strengthened. Lola Gerlinda, with her warm smile and sparkling eyes, was the heart of the celebration, basking in the love and affection of those gathered around her.

A Day to Remember

As the evening wore on, we sat back and enjoyed the cool breeze, the sound of the waves, and the comforting presence of family. The simple pleasures of grilled food, fresh catches from the sea, and ice-cold beer made Lola Gerlinda’s birthday celebration a night to remember. It was a reminder that the best moments in life are often the simplest, shared with the people we hold dear.

Happy 69th birthday, Lola Gerlinda! Here’s to many more years of health, happiness, and cherished memories by the sea.

Reading time: 2 min

It’s Sunday, a day of rest and reflection for many, but also a day of celebration and recognition – it’s Mother’s Day. As the sun rises over the horizon and its warm rays gently caress the beach, locals gather on the shore to enjoy this special day. But there is more to this idyllic place than sun and sand. There is a story of survival and growth here, a story hidden in the gnarled branches of a fallen tree.

Many years ago, a mighty tree fell on this stretch of beach, but instead of succumbing to fate, it chose a different path. With an indomitable will to live, it defied time and the elements and planted its roots firmly in the sand. Today it stands majestically, providing shade and shelter to those who seek refuge under its branches, silently telling its story of endurance and strength.

But while some relax in the shade of the tree, others are drawn into another world – a world of mystery and beauty beneath the surface of the water. Just a few metres from this living relic of nature is a private dive centre equipped with everything you need for an unforgettable underwater adventure. From equipment to facilities, from day to night diving, everything is possible here.

Our daughter Jenny and her husband Gary venture into the cool waters. It’s a special day for Gary as he has lovingly repaired his underwater photography equipment and is about to put it to the test. With camera in hand and wetsuit on, they plunge into a world of colour and life, where silence meets unique beauty.

While Jenny and Gary explore the mysteries of the underwater world, the old tree on the beach remains silent and patient, a witness to times past and adventures to come. Here, between the shadow of the tree and the depths of the ocean, history and the present merge.

Reading time: 1 min

Mother’s Day in the Philippines is a cherished occasion where families come together to honor and celebrate the love, sacrifices, and guidance of mothers and mother figures. It’s a day filled with heartfelt gestures, expressions of gratitude, and tokens of appreciation.

One such touching moment occurred when Lola Gerlinda’s daughter, Jenny, decided to surprise her for Mother’s Day. Jenny knew how much her mother adored flowers and plants, so she carefully planned a special surprise. Amidst the lush greenery of Lola Gerlinda’s garden, Jenny presented her with a huge, colorful bouquet of roses. The vibrant blooms stood out among the multitude of plants and flowers, symbolizing the beauty and love that Jenny wanted to convey to her mother on this special day.

This gesture not only brought joy to Lola Gerlinda’s heart but also highlighted the deep bond and affection between mother and daughter. It’s moments like these that make Mother’s Day in the Philippines a truly meaningful and memorable celebration of maternal love and appreciation.

Reading time: 1 min

The heat hangs heavy over the Philippines and the El Niño heat wave has the country firmly in its grip. But here, by the sea, where the steady breeze of the dying Amihan, the northeast monsoon, brings some cooling, you can find a little paradise of relaxation.

I had placed my garden chair in the middle of this tropical retreat, between the house and the outbuilding. An oasis of calm where I waited for one of the dive boats to pass by, ready to whip out my camera and take some snaps.

Retirement may seem boring to some, but for me it was a blessing in disguise. I would spend an hour and a half to two hours watching the waves on the blue water, listening to the sound of the waves.

On the veranda, now surrounded by lush plants, the ceiling fan was slowly turning in the wind. The two heads of a Japanese artist standing there had been brought to life by the light breeze. I watched with a smile as their headdresses moved in the breeze, giving their faces a whole new look.

Behind me, slowly but surely, an area between the main house and the outbuildings grew, filled with a variety of flowers and plants, lovingly tended by Gerlinda, my wife. Her green thumb had given this place a very special charm and made it a little paradise in the middle of the heat.

In the midst of this tropical idyll, I felt the beauty of the surroundings and enjoyed the serenity of retired life. It’s these little moments of peace and quiet that make life worth living, even in the middle of a heat wave.

Reading time: 1 min

In the midst of an already challenging period marked by a relentless drought and scorching heat, an additional obstacle arose: the failure of the water pump in our deep well. This unforeseen development not only posed an urgent situation due to the crucial nature of our sole water extraction point but also presented an unexpected financial burden.

The breakdown of the old pump didn’t occur suddenly; rather, it had been showing signs of weakness intermittently before finally giving out the day before yesterday. With no time to waste, we swiftly enlisted the services of a competent company from the neighboring town to address the issue and replace the pump.

Our deep well, approximately 17 meters deep, housed the water pump at a depth of around 9 meters. The process of replacing the pump involved carefully unscrewing the pipes, each 3 meters in length, and securing them to prevent any parts from disappearing into the depths of the well.

Once the old pump was successfully removed, the next step involved cleaning the well using highly compressed air. The scene was nothing short of a spectacle as the air compressor roared to life, blasting air into the well. Water sprayed upwards, reaching heights equivalent to the house, and the sound of stones hitting the iron frame of the water tower filled the air.

As the water seeped into the surrounding area and made its way back underground, it left behind a trail of debris on the lawn, including fist-sized stones and copious amounts of sand. However, amidst the chaos, there was a sense of relief knowing that progress was being made to resolve the issue.

With the overnight settling of everything and a newfound calmness in the air, the morning brought with it the installation and reconnection of the new water pump. It was a moment of triumph, as the sound of water flowing once again through the pipes signaled the successful resolution of a challenge that had initially seemed daunting.

In the face of adversity, our resilience prevailed, reminding us of the importance of adaptability and perseverance in overcoming unexpected hurdles.

Reading time: 1 min
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