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I was so blessed to have friends willing to help me out in many ways. I flew to Palawan last week courtesy of some very good souls.  Bong shouldered my plane ticket; while Annabelle did the booking with her husband Rudy’s credit card. Aerol and Eryl assisted me with the preparations the eve of my Palawan flight. Do you agree with me?  These guys rock.

Quezon, Palawan is a very special place for me. My sister Brenda’s family who used to live with me for some time has been living there for the last four or five years. My last visit there was two years ago, so this is a much anticipated (3rd) visit. Her firstborn, Ruthie has a very special place in my heart, because I became her nanny for a length of time when she was very young. Just the same, the kid has a soft spot for me; she simply adores me. Marc and Tricia, her younger siblings were very young when they settled there, but they are also fond of their Tito Yute, that’s me 🙂

I flew in with Gelong, who was also given a free ride courtesy of Aerol and Eryl. And we arrived safely at the Puerto Princesa Airport. The route from Puerto to Quezon seemed to have lengthened, maybe due to my excitement to hug the small kids I’m seeing soon. And so we arrived after more than a couple of hours. And after an initial awkward moment (on the kids’ parts) upon our arrival, we had a week long blast of fun and laughter. I also had the privilege of fetching Ruthie to and from school with her Papa’s motorcycle. Marc on the other hand, goes by himself to the church school inside the compound where they live, and Tricia was on a vacation after contracting mumps.

They were so happy to see us arrive, especially since we brought along gifts from a family friend Annabelle back home. I also managed to buy them some pasalubongs much to their delight. The choco drinks is the “winner,” hands down. I love seeing the sparkle in their eyes as they examine every item we brought for them. Whew, what happy days!

We were joined three days later by other friends who were on a missions trip to give free flip flops to villagers in Marirong, a faraway island there in Palawan. I joined them and had an awesome time experiencing large waves on the open sea and paddling on a little boat as we approached the Marirong Island via their ‘bakawan’ rich shore. We shared chicken porridge to smiling villagers and later, my companions handed everyone a new pair of slippers. We only managed a few minutes with them as the sun had started to wane on the horizon, and we needed to head back home and the sea is somewhat unpredictable, and we had a good two hours of boat ride ahead of us. But Pastor Art  reassured us that we’ll be riding with the waves, unlike our earlier sea travel against them. The villagers’ smiles and waves were a heartwarming keepsake as we traveled back to Quezon.

The next day, Monday, is our fun day. We went to Tabon Caves where we ate our abundant and sumptuous yellow fin tuna lunch. Then we proceeded to the Sandbar where we stayed extensively and frolicked on the endless shallow sea with the three kids. We discovered one kind of marine life in particular, the Sand Dollar, as per Jek, our genius architect. We were amazed as we examined the face of the shell-like creature. It has the shape of the pentagram and as if somebody did emboss a star-like/five-petal flower pattern upon its face. Well, Somebody really did, eh?

Needless to say, we had so much fun all day. Jek and Ellaine lingered much longer than anybody else, what more can we ask for. They looked like a couple walking on the horizon on a greeting card.

Sadly though, all good things come to an end. That night, I talked with the three kids and told them they won’t be seeing us go in the early morning for the airport. Ruthie has some emo moments before going to sleep. She wished I would not go, without saying it. The next morning, before we left, I kissed the three kids goodbye while they slept and whispered, “be good kids, till next time.” I was not so emotional about all that and said goodbye to Brenda and Pastor Jezer. An hour later, Rorie called back to their home and got the sad Ruthie on the phone for me. I talked with her but she just mumbled a few words; she thought she’s not going to school but her Papa corrected her and she conceded. Good kid.

Gelong and Bune checked in three hours earlier than the rest of us to catch their early flight. The rest of us stayed in the van and went to several places before we hurriedly brought our fast food lunch to the airport. After a few moments, we were safely seated on our plane. It was a bit of a bumpy ride as it was a cloudy day, a brewing storm in the skies. Both my ears hurt a lot a few hundred miles before Manila. Well, all’s well that ends well. We had a soft landing and were courteously herded to the tube. The taxi travel was almost swift and smooth. And I found out later that the key to my motorcycle was in the church and my X1R baby  was patiently waiting for me at the church entrance; thanks to Eryl for taking care of her the night we left for our R&R. And as he joined the group when Saturday came,  he parked her in the church. Also in our trip were Bune, Elem, Bong, and Kris.

Mixed feelings: I’m glad to see Inay again; and sad to be a thousand miles away from the Palawan kids.  Hello Inay! I’m back. Hello Pepe (Labrador)! Hello Cha (Shih Tzu)! Thank God for friends, for the wonderful creation, for the blessings.