Friday, June 18, 2010

The Coron Adventure - Part 1

A few weeks ago, May 28, was the start of my department's team building. And yep! It was held in Coron, Palawan, one of the beautiful islands here in the Philippines that has yet to be bombarded with commercialization. Or something. Meaning, there weren't any fast food chains around, no convenience stores nearby, only about 3 banks in the whole island, no cabs (just tricycles)...

The week before that, last May 20, we had to let our helper go back to her province since her father suddenly got sick and only has a 50/50 chance of surviving. They were just counting days and despite the suddenness of it, plus our pending trip outside the Metro, we let her go. No immediate game plan was made. My mom went to our house to look after Jack-Jack that same day, then the next day, I took him to the office to let my mom rest.

It was stressful, add to the fact that we still haven't packed, there were still things that I have yet to buy for the trip, plus I still haven't got my period (which was a whole other stress). But anyway, come Monday night, after leaving Jack-Jack at my parents' house, we all decided that it'd be better if we stayed there during the weekdays, so that someone can watch over my son plus he wouldn't be shuffled back and forth houses, which would stress him. Plus, there'd be someone to wash our clothes, too. So there was that.

May 27 night, J and I went to our house to pack the clothes that we'd need for our Coron trip. Yes. Even if it's my office's team building activity, J and Jack-Jack were coming with me. Because for one, I'm not sure I'm ready to leave my baby for two nights. Two, I doubt I'd have fun pumping while island hopping. It'd be more trouble than good. Plus, I've already psyched myself that it might not be as enjoyable/easier as it would be if I didn't bring my baby and that there might be some places we'd have a difficult time going to because of him. So, we were ready to face the challenges. Although, I'm not quite ready to face those challenges with a period!!! It was this day that I got my period which brought my stress-levels to another high, instead of down.

So May 28, we woke up early so that we'd be at the airport two hours before our flight as per SOP. My dad took us to NAIA terminal 3 since me and Jack-Jack are booked at Cebu Pacific. Then J just took a cab to take him to the domestic airport since he's booked with Zest Air. I texted two of my officemates with whom Jack-Jack and I were flying with. I only had to wait a couple of minutes before I met up with Ed, then Ms. Jenny, then with Tricia, and then we all went and checked-in. We hung around the waiting area until around 30-40 minutes before boarding time. And then, viola! Our plane was called. We were actually confused because it was still around 30 minutes before boarding time but apparently, what we heard was true and it was time to board.

[Going to the waiting area in NAIA 3.]

[Riding the bus going to the plane.]

[Boarding the plane.]

And so we boarded and waited for the take off and landing. During the flight, Jack-Jack was his usual self. He was very inquisitive, trying to stand up on my lap, looking around, babbling. He nursed around twice during the whole flight. Once, before take off, and another just before landing. It seems that he didn't mind his ears popping due to the air pressure on the plane. I kinda did, but then again, I can see him sucking and throwing saliva bubbles all over so his ears might not have popped at all. I wouldn't know. All in all, he was well-behaved, peering at the stewardess, leaning towards the side of my chair... At least he wasn't wailing or bawling or crying (which he did on our way back to Manila, but that's for later).

[Before take-off.]

We arrived at the Francisco Reyes Airport in Busuanga Island, Coron, Palawan around 20-30 minutes before our ETA but someone from our hotel was already there waiting for us. They took our bags to be placed in the hotel's van, then we took the mandatory pictures inside the airport while we wait for J to arrive. He arrived just a few minutes after, around 10-15 minutes after we arrived.

[While waiting for J at the Francisco Reyes Airport.]

We then proceeded to our hotel, which took about 30 minutes drive on semi-rough roads as not all the roads we passed were cemented. We even accidentally killed a wild boar who was crossing the road (yikes!). But then, it was either we get into an accident or the boar... Guess we get to lived.

Jack-Jack fell asleep on our way to the hotel. The bumpy, yet continuous ride seemed to lull him to sleep. He woke up when we were puttering about on what room to claim and then we got ready to go so that we can already start our tour and have lunch.

[In front of the hotel, with Jack-Jack still asleep.]

We took a tricycle to the port, where our boat was waiting. And off we went. The waters were calm, the wind was soothing, and Jack-Jack enjoyed standing on the seat and looking out into the water. We stopped at Banul Beach, one of the small beaches scattered around the island and had our lunch. We had crabs, eggplant salad (enseladang talong), and pork stew (adobo). We took pictures (of course!) and then swam some. Jack-Jack had his first taste of seawater and he enjoyed it! He liked splashing the water, pausing, then licking his lips. I think he likes the taste of the sea. We stayed under the shade of our boat as he splashed thru the water. Afterwhich, we changed his wet sun suit to his shirt and covered him with a towel to keep him from getting sick.

[Aboard the tricycle.]

[Our lunch.]

[Jack-Jack and I are in this picture. Promise.]

We then went to a snorkeling area at the CYC Beach and J and I took turns while Jack-Jack stayed in the boat with one of us. We stayed quite a while there while almost half of my officemates tried (and most succeeded) to overcome their fears in swimming in the open sea and of drowning. We stayed longer in this area as we decided not to go to the next snorkeling area in favor of meeting with the other half of our department who were waiting at the hotel.

So we went back to the hotel to fetch them and I had to go and change my tampon as I was already kinda dripping (yes. ew. I know. But that's the truth and I really, really, really don't know why God deemed it so that I would have my second period after giving birth ONE day before we fly to Palawan. sigh.). And then off we went to Maquinit Hot Springs. It was like one big sauna, with lots of people and since it rained, the water wasn't too. We had to dip our bodies little by little so that we wouldn't get burned and so that our body would get accustomed to the heat. It was nice and it was relaxing. J opted out of dipping here and instead cared for Jack-Jack while I let my tired muscles rest with the relaxing hot water.

We got back to our hotel a few minutes before 7PM. We all showered and rested for a while before we convened again for dinner. We had grilled squid, Kare-Kare, and Pata-tim. And then to cap the night off, we all gathered in one room to have a round (or more) of videoke.

Pictures courtesy of my camera, Tricia's, Ms. Jenny's, Ms. Glo's, and Neil's.

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