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Friday, October 31, 2008

Paradise Found!!!

I'm sitting at the dinner table with my friend Mira; we are waiting for our dinner to be served. Ten feet from where we sit there is a small sea wall made from volcanic rock.  Below the wall is a small white sand beach, and a few feet from there the waves of the Tanon Strait rhythmically lap there way up the sandy beach.  Looking out from our table it's a bit cloudy, and I would say no more than 2 miles across the strait is the Island of Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental.  From where I sit the island looks to be all mountains.  As the sun sets, lights become visible like stars all along the dark distant shoreline. I learn that for miles along that far coast there are towns and a highway that follow the shore for most of the island.  
Our waiter Roland is from that island that I am presently mesmerized by, but he i
s from the far side of the island which is called Negros Occidental.  At one time the island was called just Negros but it seems there was an argument over some sugarcane or a virgin's virtue, and it was thus split into two.Roland told us he is one of ten children.  One girl and nine boys, he being the ninth boy born and number ten was his sister.  He told us his mother just wanted a girl and when that day came she would stop having babies.  Can you imagine another boy, nine times?  Ten children and barely a year skipped between ages. Roland's mother made it through all ten, but his father expired just after the tenth child was born.  Roland is now twenty-four and his mother is still doing fine.
Roland just informed us that they rang the bell in the kitchen to tell him our meal was ready. Ummmm.  He had advised us to get the sizzling prawns.  Said it was a favorate of the guests. We order our meals ahead of time so 
there's no waiting, and the chef has plenty of time to prepare everything.  Whatever works, and all this was really working for us.
Roland put down the sizzling platter, piled with prawns.  They were the biggest shrimp I had ever seen.  As the sizzle of the platter died down and the aroma of the dish filled our heads, we smiled and couldn't wait to rip those huge babies apart.  They were served head and all, and boy were they amazing.
As we were enjoying our sumptuous meal, Roland came over and pointed to the approaching clouds.  We hadn't noticed that off in the distance the lighting was starting to dance across the sky, and thunder was making itself heard.  A storm was coming. I had been waiting for a Philippine storm since my arrival, I had heard they can be quite intense.  As we waited for the lighting to light the sky again, the wind suddenly picked up and in one cool gust, blew all the flowers that Roland had decorated our table with.  Roland had went all out to make that table look so nice. Roland ran to close the doors facing the sea, and just at the same time the sky erupted in a very heavy rain.  It was coming down "in buckets!"
Outside the bar/restaurant where we were having dinner was a beautiful pool, next to the pool the sea wall extended out past the bar, next to the wall were these little raised decks/platforms that were covered with the local Philippine style of grass roofs.  On the deck was a mattress and pillows, the structure was decorated with soft curtains and shell chimes.
I thought what a great place to watch the storm. Two steps out of the bar and we were under the overhang for the first platform.  There was wind but barely a drop hit us as we watched the most incredible storm over the Tanon Strait.  I have always loved rain storms, but lying here next to the sea, listening to the waves, hearing the rain hitting the roof of the platform, even the shell chimes that decorated the platform had a very magical sound.  I was in a very special place, at a very special time.
The last couple of mornings I have made it a point to wake up early and watch the sun come up, and I have been close, within and hour, that's kind of close!  When I do get down to the beach there are many locals "combing" the beach for anything they can find.
Shells to sell, fish, crabs, clams, even coins or jewelry anything that may provide even a tiny bit of sustenance for the day.
The man in the picture with the sea creature, that is a squid.
The man asked me if I would like to buy it.  "No Thanks! But can I take a picture?"  I asked.  Everyone that I have approached to take a  picture has been more than happy to pose for the camera, the little kids sometimes run or hide or giggle, but when I show them there image they all want to see more.  No
one has turned away or refused my camera. Today is the last day at Club Serena in Moabal, Cebu.  An incredible place, next time I will stay longer!!!

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