Tuesday, August 4, 2015

final weekend in the philippines

We spent our last weekend in the Philippines with JD's cousin, Holly, and her fiancé, Eric.  Holly's lived in the Philippines for a year and a half.  She came here after the typhoon in Tacloban.  She and Eric work for Catholic Relief Services.  

When she heard we were adopting Christine she had just requested a transfer from Bangladesh to Tacloban.  We were excited even then to see each other 'one day' when we came to get Christine.  It was so cool that our plans from a year a half prior were actually happening.

Here's the cool room we got at the B&B we stayed at.  Summer camp, anyone?!  

Yes, there are five doubles and two twins!  We all had our own bed!

Chilling at the pool on Saturday.

We walked down a dirt/muddy road about a mile to the nearest beach.  Locals live on the water and had fishing nets out everywhere.  Eric said he had to show us some of the more beautiful beaches in Palawan.  

The happy couple!  

That night, we headed out to dinner at the coolest restaurant!

We rode in 'tricycles' or 'trikes'.  JD was all about it!  He loved riding on a trike!  It's basically a motorcycle with a cart attached.  Part car-part bike.

This is what Avery thought about riding the trike.  :)

This footbridge led to the front door of the restaurant.  It crossed over a swamp of mangroves.  

A beautiful open air restaurant.

The views from our table...

The girls checking out the view...

Little honeys.

As the sun set over this mountain, it looked like a volcano erupting.  So cool!

Avery wasn't a huge fan of the traditional Filipino fare, but she loved all the fresh mango smoothies.  I think the endless choices of mango options is what sustained her throughout the trip.

The closest plate is breaded okra.  It was sooo good!  This meal was the best we had in our two weeks in the Philippines.  Actually, this was our best restaurant meal.  The women in the children's home could cook!  Man, they blessed me with their cooking.

The next day, we decided to do the Honda Bay Island Hopping Tour.  It was so helpful to have Eric with us.  He was one step ahead of us throughout the weekend talking with locals and finding the best deals to sightsee.  There are thousands (!) of islands in the Philippines -- I think it's around 7,000! -- so exploring them could be a full time job!  Eric and Holly have traveled a lot around the country, but some of what they were doing with us in Palawan was their first time.  Eric secured a boat and we headed out to visit the little islands.  Renting this boat for the day (with two captains/guides) cost us just 30 bucks!  I know!  Crazy.

A shot of our boat, Erma 2, once we arrived at Starfish Island.

I honestly thought it was fake!

This is Princess.  If only she were friendly.  I would've loved to get my hands on her!

The weather was sublime!

We spent a good bit of time snorkeling, but I didn't get any photos.  iPhones and water don't mix.  I think Payton got some shots.  Perhaps I'll post them one day, for the record.

Sweet memories.

Even big girls get tuckered out and need to lean on their aunts for a quick rest.  :)

The water was clear and such a beautiful green.

Our last island and we were headed back to port so Holly & Eric could catch their flight home.

And of course a selfie was required to end our visit!

Spending the weekend with them made us that much more excited to travel to Huntsville in October for Holly + Eric's wedding!  Yay!

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