Blogging live from Davao, Philippines

I’ve been in Davao for 4 days now.  The weather is comfortable, with moments of unbearable heat.  It has been amazing to reconnect with my friend Lindsey.  I am staying with her, living above her office.  I have met many of her co-workers, and this weekend will be meeting more people out in the community.  She is way more activist than I could ever claim to be, and her office is involved in community outreach involving education, health care and opposition to the occupation.  They are involved in environmental issues, working in and around mining communities; peace issues, taking in refugees from the local war; and so much more.  She is currently working on one big research project which, thankfully, is mobile as her laptop, so we’ve been able to go out a good bit.  Yesterday and today we spent at Samal Island, staying at a peaceful beach resort.  This will be the most relaxing part of my trip to the Philippines, more like vacation than anything else.

We took a ferry over to Samal island and quickly immersed ourselves in the clear blue waters.  It felt so wonderful to just be floating around, enjoying the cool water encompassing my body, while the sun beat warm rays on my shoulders.  And even though Hong Kong is an island, I never swim there, the water is way too polluted.  Here, I could look down and see the coral and shells on the ocean floor. Being submerged, watching my fingers turn pruny, feeling the pressure and the freedom of the water all around me, its like I became a different person, or maybe the person I am supposed to be.  Calm.  Relaxed.  Reflective. I find it hard to find adequate words to express what water does for my soul. 

The afternoon brought decedent naps on the over-sized lounge chairs by the pool, branding ourselves with the wicker-patterns, scooting back under the umbrella every 5 minutes so as to keep our toes from being burned by the searing sun.  Waking up for a late lunch, we enjoyed our light meals by the pool, watching a young girl of maybe 6 splashing around the pool.  She would step right up to the edge of the pool with such caution, then literally throw herself in the chlorinated waters, re-emerging with a satisfied grin and she swam furiously over to the edge to do it all over again.  The rest of the afternoon, Kerr and I read and listened to the sounds of the beach.  I eventually gave up on my reading and took to watching a storm roll from one island to the next, the heat lightening filling the darkening sky intermittently.  I listened at the frogs and crickets sang their evening song, the water lapping against the dock.  Occasionally a sliver of a boat would glide soundlessly by, only noticeable on the dark waters because of its crude white planks.  Even its movement would have gone otherwise undetected in the dark. 

Heading back to the room, I could feel the air change.  Even though the storm was still an hour out, I could feel it coming as the air grew cooler and heavier on my skin, the smell of fresh rain pending.  We had dinner on our porch, a treat of spare ribs covered in diced jalapenos and garlic, accompanied with real mashed potatoes.  As we finished our last bites, sipping on our 25 Peso rum (that’s .50cent American), the rain finally moved in, forcing us into our room. 

I slept so well, relaxed after a day in the water, knowing that the next day carried nothing but schedules of swimming, tanning and snorkeling.  A rare treat to relax, and good company to boot, are definitely making me feel very spoiled right now.

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