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Family Meeting at San Fernando (La Union)

We’ve missed our connecting flight from Manila to San Fernando (there’s just one daily flight from Coron to Manila, and another one-day-only connection to the northern Luzon City, with just 2 hrs time inbetween, and the statistics of on-time-arrival less 70% is already self-explaining..) But nevertheless we were lucky: Yves, my brother-in-law, had just on our arrival day a meeting in Manila and gave us a lift for the 280km (= 6 hrs) ride.

Arrived late night at the temporary residence of my sister and her family and got a really warm welcome. And an incredibly nice rest for upcoming days.

San Fernando is quite a nice little town, close to some good surfing beaches – but as we’re not surfers… cannot comment about the waves' quality. It’s furtheron obvious, that quite low (western) tourists are making their way up to this northern Luzon beach area (indeed, the travel literature mentions the usual “single travelling men aged 45 and above”, but so far we’ve just met some Expats, that claim San Fernando their new home for more than 10 years now). So for us it’s quite interesting to see daily live off the beaten tracks. And an experience to not getting cheated all the time ;–) Indeed, people are really friendly here and it’s fun to accompany my sister to the fruit market. (for the wet market with fish and meat I couldn’t convince her, guess we’ll need to hook on Yves to get a sightseeing tour there ;–)

Some further benefits and luxury, besides to meet all our beloved ones and follow their organization of daily family life in this alien country: terribly good cooking (no rice, no chicken for the last 4 days already!!), a washing machine (don’t know when our stuff was that good smelling!) and a very interesting “tour program”.

Hundred Islands

Today we’ve visited the 100 Islands Nationalpark, some 2,5hrs drive south. As name is programme, a whole bunch of tiny little islands are spread allover the sea, just some few km off the mainland. A short boat ride opened us the door to our own, private, whitesandy island; felt like the “Swiss Family Robinson”, with nice picknick and a relaxed time in the water. Even a baby octopuss came close to the shore and said “hello” – at least I think that was the meaning of his 8-handed gesture… Dark clouds on the sky gave our session at the little paradise to a quick end. Monsoon indeed is reliable – it rains definitely. And heavy. And wet ;–)

We’ll stay here for 2 further days until the Philippine transportation systems will bring us to the Visayas / diver’s heaven. All our thanks goes to Pat, Yves, Fabienne and the kids for all their hospitality and care – and the room with hot shower :–)

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…is worth an article. Rene’s just doing all the video cuts of our phantastic wreck dives :–)

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During our “days off” at Bali, Rene has spent lots of hours (as well as some money) to improve our blog status. So far, we are really sorry, that we couldn’t post more regularly our blogs.

But we’re reliant of two main criterias: the internet connection and the availability of a useful blog device. First one is unfortunately not in our hands.. Second one was all the time a hard tradeoff. One must imagine: we do have 4 (four) communication systems, made for the web, with us. 2 smart phones, a (really small) laptop and a tablet. But the only device, that allowed us so far to update the blogs, was the laptop. The same unique device that was necessary for doing our detailled tour plannings or the flight / accomodation reservations. You see, most of the time, priorities were just given..

But when I was the glad one to enjoy some readings on the beach of Lembongan, Rene was the one who deeply investigated all the App possibilities and so on. After several hours (not to say “days”) he managed to install a device, that will allow now both of us to “work” in parallel.

So if you’re worried about our irregular blog posts from now on: it might be our laziness.. But even more likely the lack of internet connection. Really ;–)

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The Devilish Umbrella

Sept 03, 05:30. Manila. Arrived. And survived the night flight, some of us with, others without sleep, both of us very groggy. Ongoing transfer flight to Coron, Busuanga Island, Palawan, scheduled for departure at 09:20, so enough time to get the eyes opened with a biiiig cup of coffee. Enough time? Well, we’re on the Philippines, and theres the tale of the Devilish Umbrella still vivid. You haven’t heard about before? Well, we neither. Till that very day.

A friendly guy from the Security Check enlightened us of the cruelsome life inside that rain protection system. And insisted to pass my beloved mini (not to say “baby”) umbrella to the exorcist for getting the daemon out of it. Not sure how often that spiritual ritus is practised, but the interims storage box (size of a watertank) was already filled with poor umbrellas. Yellow, pink, blue,big, small, mini, nice, ugly, very ugly.. There was no separation, no question of race, origin or destination – each and every umbrella had to find it’s way in that quarantine box. Most likely it’s on the full moon each month, at midnight, when the umbrellas are deported to the upmost part of the dark airport roof and set to fire, surrounded by singing, praying and dancing security witches.

We decided to protect our poor little baby umbrella from the desastrous end of his life. Rene, my hero, made his way back to the airline counter to get it as checked baggage in the plane. We’re pretty shure, this unselfish gesture the umbrella will never forget and from now on either have a sunny word with St. Peter (or at least protect us from the upcoming rains).

It was 20 minutes prior to boarding. Of course the counter was crowded… So another queuing. 10 minutes prior boarding. The checkin of a single Devilish Umbrella is not possible, it needs to be covered by a bag (else the daemons inside might let it open during the flight and forces the plane to crash I guess). My hero, in a sprint, up the elevator for the nearest shop to organize a plastic bag. Seems to happen quite often, because the shop owner was already prepared with plastic bags… 7 minutes prior boarding. Wrapped in 0.4mm plastics, the Devilish Umbrella is ready for airplane transportation now. But the queue on the security counter had grown meanwhile. Nervous minutes followed while the row moved with incredible low speed.

Just in time we arrived at the boarding gate. 5 minutes passed. 10 minutes passed. A quick announcement was made, quite hard to understand… Our plane is delayed for at least 2 hours. Sorry. There was no reason given for the delay, but we guess it was an unwrapped umbrella in the cargo, that unfolded…

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