From the Midwest redneck author of "The Rooster Crows at 4am!," "Lizard Poop!," and "The Philippines Expat Advisor"
More Nogas Island, Pale Pilsen and Pretty Pinays
Arrived on Nogas Island, a 24-heactare government marine reserve approximately 3 kilometers off the coast of Anini-y, Antique on the southern tip of Panay Island in Western Visayas. Thanks to a generous road trip offer from Fergus and Rose, my asawa and I were enjoying some great company and fantastic views. It was quite a welcome change from our usual Monday routine which usually involved just hanging around our home located outside of Iloilo City. And it beats window shopping for purses and shoes at SM City any day! With a cooler full of San Miguel Pale Pilsen and Tanduay Ice, we were ready to enjoy the day.
I can't swim. I can't even float. But RJ (Rose's cousin), Fergus and my asawa were getting ready for a dip in the inviting water. It was a sunny, breezy day, perfect weather. I reached for a chilled bottle of Pale Pilsen though it was only 9:30 in the morning.
Hadn't eaten any breakfast because an earlier scheduled siopao stop at a 24/7 eatery resulted in no tasty steamed buns for our morning nourishment. The place wasn't open, and Fergus, one of the most organized people you will ever meet, had checked with the locals beforehand to make sure we would have some breakfast from there. But some liquid refreshment would do just fine.
A small group that was on Nogas Island when we arrived had already been picked up by their boat, but we soon spied an approaching vessel. It was a large contigent, and I decided to follow Fergus and RJ to the lighthouse before the two headed out for their swim.
We made our way through the path surrounded by a thicket of flowering trees called kalachuchi, an ornamental plant grown in the Philippines whose flowers are said to be the source of a perfume called “Frangipani.”
Just a short walk to the lighthouse. It's not operational anymore, and since there was no guard posted we probably could have climbed the stairs to get a even more stunning views of the area, but I'm approaching 60 years old. Maybe next time when I've had a regular breakfast. But Fergus and I took a few photos and here's one I snapped.
Made it back to the beach area and snagged my second Pilsen. Rose and my asawa had not left for the swim yet and were talking to the family that arrived earlier. Seems the friendly folks have a home across from the beach in Antique and make their living fishing and offered some food to Rose and The Sainted Patient Wife.
I hung back near the beer and T-Ice cooler as I worked on my second bottle of San Miguel. The rest of the crew finally took off for their swim, and I decided to walk over and see what kind of food the fishing family had.
After I asked to take a photo of some dried fish the one lady held (see next photo), I then asked if I could take a picture of the whole group (see first photo.) After that shot, the family began buzzing among themselves and taking pictures of me with their camera phones. I heard "Facebook" a few times, and I asked if anyone was on the popular social media site.
The young ladies in the group, shown in the next photo, were indeed on Facebook. The cute Filipina on the right, whose name I believe was Mancilyn, is the daughter of the lady that posed with the dried fish and is 18 years old. I said my asawa is on Facebook if she would like for her to add her as a friend. She agreed (Mom gave her OK), and when my asawa returned we placed the young lady's first and last name in her cell phone, but unfortunately the information was not saved when we checked my spouse's mobile later.
I was disappointed because my wife has a friend-of-a-friend back in Illinois who wanted to meet some Filipinas. The young man is fluent in Filipino and unless we make a return trip to Nogas Island in the future, my asawa won't be able to add "Mancilyn" as a Facebook friend and introduce her to the guy.
Took a few more pictures of the island and grabbed my third bottle of Pale Pilsen. I could see Rose, RJ, Fergus and my spouse swimming and having a great time. I was doing OK, too. Plenty of cold beer and some new Filipino friends.
RJ had come back on shore and fished a bottle of Pale Pilsen out of the cooler. We talked for a few minutes before the rest of our group came back to the beach. Some of our new amigos were headed out to check on some oysters, and Fergus suggested we talk a walk to check it out.
But we soon spied our banca boat arriving an hour earlier than scheduled, but since we were all hungry decided to change and board the vessel. The return trip to the Sira-an Hot Springs would bring us back to where Fergus' and Rose's vehicle was parked.
The boat ride back was much easier on me as I had already consumed my third bottle of San Miguel by now. We climbed into the vehicle and headed back on the road in search of a good eatery. Beautiful views along the way such as the next photo which Fergus took.
We stopped at the Bantayan Beach Resort in Guimbal, Iloilo (see next photo) which had some delicious Filipino food that Rose ordered for us and graciously paid for. Bihon, bangus, pork BBQ, a sizzling seafood plate plus rice is part of the feast we had. And of course, more San Miguel Pale Pilsen. Headed back home where Fergus delivered us at our doorstep. Great road trip. Super company. Fantastic time. Retirement in the Philippines? It just doesn't get much better than this!