My body’s telling me it’s not yet 6 in the morning. I could subconsciously hear someone belt out “My Heart Will Go On”. Is this part of my dream? Am I even still dreaming?

I groan. Now I’m somehow fully aware that I am no longer dreaming and that the Celine-Dion-wannabe is one of my neighbors.

I open my eyes to a room flooded by daylight. I love this room. It has nice tall jalousie windows that usher in a nice cool morning breeze.


I’ve actually already been back home for two months now; the first quarter of which was spent without internet. I could write extensively about how life felt like without it (as suggested by my blogging buddy, rangewriter) but there’s really nothing to it. Some people might say that’s unbearable – my siblings’ daily whining represent the sentiments of said individuals.

It is possible to enjoy the absence of consistent connection to the global network. I had time to look through my books – thus realizing that several of them have been unread. I was also able to watch some movies (all 5 of the X-Men movies), Wimbledon (I was rooting for Roger Federer), and clean out my room.

The rest of the past couple of months has mainly been spent trying to get a sense of normalcy to everything that is Cebu (and watching the cycling, swimming, volleyball and athletics events on the 2012 Summer Olympics). Things are just slightly different here.

 One major difference: donuts here are tastier.

One major difference: donuts here are tastier.

For starters, I needed to renew my driver’s license and to reacquaint myself with driving on the roads here*.

Also, I’ve had to readjust my workout (I no longer have a training track in my backyard). And I’m glad to report that our city’s only sports center has just revamped its track. Training there will, inadvertently, enable me to get back into boxing training since there’s a boxing gym within the facility.

Speaking of facilities, being home means access to a well-equipped kitchen and excellent produce markets. Fruits and vegetables here are mostly locally-grown so I generally don’t fuss about the source as much as I did back in Taipei, where a majority of the goods is imported from China (one can only imagine what they put on those to keep them looking fresh). Meat and seafood are locally-bred/-captured so it’s safe to assume that they’re fresh. With all these elements in place, I’m currently attempting to better my cooking** and baking skills.

When I’m not putting out a mini fire kindled by burnt brownies (true story), I’d be playing with our dogs, Lars and Rob.

Our full-grown puppies, Lars and Rob.

Our full-grown puppies, Lars and Rob.

Lars and Rob, however, aren’t the only animals I’ve had the pleasure to hang out with recently. About three weeks ago, friends of mine invited me to travel with them to southern Cebu for a weekend. One of our stops was a town called Oslob.

Remember Lemuel and his encounter with the whale sharks***? Well, I got my chance to meet these magnificent and gentle creatures. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the appropriate underwater photography gear (as it was one of those spur-of-the-moment-not-much-planning-involved outings) so all my shots were from the bird’s-eye view.

On the upside, I’ll be going back with my family soon and I’ll be more prepared then.

 PJ meet Whale Shark. Whale Shark, this is PJ. #itsmorefuninthephilippines

PJ meet Whale Shark. Whale Shark, this is PJ. #itsmorefuninthephilippines

This extended stay is both vacation and preparation. I’m back home with an intent to explore my country extensively and to prepare for the next phase of my life.

In the meantime, travel and hiking plans are in the works and will follow through once the weather gets better. I’ll be writing mainly from Cebu, from one of the islands in the Philippines, or from somewhere in southeast Asia.

How about you, friends? I’ve missed hearing from you. Where are you writing from at this point in time?


©Nel 2012

August 17, 2012 | South Cebu

Side Notes:
* Watch this video to get an idea of what I have to deal with on the roads here.
** I’ve tried this recipe and it came out well.
***Whale sharks are locally known as butanding.

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