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Our flight to Samar was uneventful but with clear skies we had a chance to view Mt. Mayon (Mayon Volcano) which is just as majestic from the air as it is from the ground, I’m sure.

Mayon Volcano

Someday I vow to get up close, and maybe even make the climb. It seems to be a popular hiking trek for many the adventurous. Upon landing at the airport in provincial Calbayog City, it was clearly a throwback to years past, for me anyway. Samar is littered, or should I say saturated with coconut trees, and the area around the airport was no different.

The airport is somewhat rurally located in relation to the city proper which would enable an easy expansion of airport and facilities as tourism expands into Samar. Once off the plane it was obvious that the entire entourage of family was present and they were beaming with smiles.

Big ones, little ones, young and old, and a few my asawa had only seen when they were in still in diapers (or pant-less).  Some were recognizable, some not so much. I had only met two of Teri’s sisters years ago so my mind was quickly being over tasked with putting faces and names together.

Many faces looked familiar from family photos and excursions into the Facebook realm, but it is real monumental task to now add all the nicknames to the names you thought you had connected to the many faces of a large rather large family. By now it was about 0900 and I was ready for a grande cold bottle of SM (it was way past 5pm in my time zone.)

We finished all the greetings, collected our bags, piled whatever and whoever we could fit into the family Motorela and away we went. With 11 people and our luggage loaded into this overworked little machine, it was senseless to even expect the shock absorbers on this thing to even slightly function as designed.

Needless to say, it was a bumpy ride to the homestead. It was only about a 10km ride so my butt fared okay. Those family members who were not fortunate (?) enough to ride along all cramped up with their U.S. visitors had to find an alternative means home. There is never a shortage of “In Service” vehicles at the ready when flights arrive in this quiet little corner of the world. We all made it to the homestead safely and the celebrating (eating) commenced.

In the Motorela

Our first day was filled with Teri and her kinfolk reminiscing about old times they shared with many discussions about this and that, mostly that, while I enjoyed funning with all the nieces and nephews, pulling little random surprises out of my hat, some consisting of  chocolate favorites like M&M’s or little Snickers or Milky Ways, etc. Nonetheless, the kids quickly learned to never take their eye off of Tito Randy.

Later in the day I was a big hit with the nephews, big and small, when I exposed the two deflated brand new Spaulding basketballs from my suitcase. Because the family basically lives in two separate locales’ just some 10km’s apart, I gave a ball to each locale where they will all happily share its use. That way there is always a ball available regardless of who is visiting who.

The end of the day came early for us and we retired our first night into town at the Elmira Hotel in Calbayog City, mainly to get some quality rest in air conditioned comfort. No way were we going without rest for this adventure. We adjusted with some food, a couple of SMB’s for me, and 11 hours of restful sleep. Now we were ready for anything!

The next few days we simply spent eating, relaxing, eating some more, and watching the girls be girls and the boys be boys. I especially got a kick out of little nephew Jay, 7, and his trained entourage of spiders, literally hanging from their little silk threads from several of Jay’s fingers. It was like watching a puppet master in a spider circus and was pretty comical, as long as he kept his distance. I told my asawa that as much as I enjoyed little Jay, he was to go nowhere near our sleeping quarters. She agreed.

Life really is simple here and before I really knew what hit me, all the little aches and pains that seemed to have plagued me for the last few years, just seemed to vanish. Much of the worry and stress that I have carried with me these past years just seemed to melt away as the days passed. I became delirious with visions of going AWOL from America. A simple mention of it to my asawa and she delivered “the look”, and I immediately terminated that thought process.

It’s not like going AWOL from the Navy or something where as a young kid they would dock your pay for a month or two and restrict you to the barracks for two weeks. That, you could recover from. Leaving a house, two cars, a business and all your worldly possessions would be a heavy price by any standard.  I agreed with her and then suggested that she return to the U.S., begin the liquidation process and sell everything else. I would stay behind to safeguard our new house and wait for her return.

She then suggested…well…I really can’t repeat what she said. I just raised my empty San Miguel bottle and it was quickly replenished. Looks like we would be returning together to empty out the reality tanks back home, then make the next trip a one-way event.  Ahhh, sounds so good to me!

(Return to Paradise, Part Three, the conclusion.)

15 thoughts on “Return to Paradise, Part Two

  1. Randy,
    Sounds like you had a great time there. So when is the big move? Mine will be in 2014 if all goes as planned. Thanks so much for telling your story, hope theres more stories in the future. Take care

    1. Thanks Papa Duck. Well, we are in the process of getting our house ready to put on the market. Once I put the sign out I would like to get a quick sale so I am in the fixing and sprucing up mode. When the house sells, we will have to rent for a month or two until we get liquidated as we have cars and things to sell. The end of the year would not be too soon for me and I would especially like to get there before the apocalypse! 🙂

  2. Sounds familiar, playing with the little nieces and nephews. Wish we could post a picture here, as I have a nice one of the nieces with me, Tito Ice Man, from my recent visit.

    Is your asawa not in a hurry to make the move? Mine dreams of the day, but is a realist, and knows we have to pay down debt and finish paying for the daughter’s college first. I am the dreamer, asking why we can’t just chuck everything and go now!

    Have you, or anyone else on the blog, considered shipping your furniture from the USA? It’s hard to find nice furniture over there, at least where we live.

    1. Ice Man, Sometimes I think she is dragging her feet and I feel she thinks as long as she is working and making money, we can get that much more done on the house before we get there. She is probably more the realist than I. As long as she can devote her earnings to the house now, it’s better than banking the money until later. That way when we sell the house, we won’t need to use so much of our equity to finish the house and get settled in. Me…I just want to make like a whale and beach myself. I’m done with the rat race! 8)

    2. Oh yeah, we have decided to ship everything we can. We will sell most appliances and anything electrical that makes no sense to bring. Most furniture and just about everything else is coming. Again, the asawa figures that even though we may not have room for some things there, the family could sure put whatever we don’t use to good use. It’s better than selling it for pennies on the dollar at a garage sale and she would never donate it to the needy here as long as she thinks her family is just as deserving. I agree with her on that point. Filipinos can be really appreciative of things like that. I did have a moving company come over already and they are in the process of preparing an estimate. What I do know is that a 40′ container is not significantly more than a 20 footer, so we might as well fill it up! We will sell our two vehicles though.

      1. Hi Randy, my cousin who lived in Calif plan to move their furniture when they move to PI. Could you please share which shipping company you are going to use and what is the estimated cost for a 20 container? Me and my asawa are moving next month, but we just decided to send balikbayan boxes. Thanks, wilma

        1. Hi Wilma, we are waiting for the moving company to deliver our estimate. I’ve been waiting for weeks, so I don’t know what is holding things up. Looks like I will have to call them to remind them. They are just a local affiliate of a major carrier, United Van Lines. They have their own transfer carrier that will take it overseas to Manila. When I get more details, I will be happy to share with you.

  3. Ice Man, unfortuanatly I have not be able to convince my Asawa to sell everything and start over. The kitchen sink is safe, but we will bring most everything else, beds, couches etc. We will be getting a 1/2 or full container, I have done a bit of research. Don’t know what Dave’s policy about posting email addys on his blog, but ask him for mine and we can chat about what I plan on doing…Our move…..December 2012 (eat your heart out :)~ lolololol

  4. Randy, which part of Samar did you visit? I am moving in August back to the Philippines with my Asawa, who is also from Northern Samar (Lavezares). Initially I am going over to the area of San Antonio, Zambales with her sisters. Then to travel down to Samar and visit her brother and decide for myself which part I prefer. I am watching a busy little woman as I type this pack up a home of many years into Balikbayan Boxes. P.I., I’m coming home!

    1. Hi Terry, we visited our future home of Tomaligues which is just about 10km northwest of Calbayog City on the west coast. Calbayog is probably the fastest growing area of Samar and offers just about everything we would need. Nice airport, new wet market, new bus terminal, Starbucks, Jollibees, etc. Only thing we don’t have is a large mall which really breaks my heart! However, Robinsons is getting ready to break ground on their project. Calbayog City is probably more laid back than most of Zambales Province just by the nature of it’s location. The location you mentioned (Lavezares) is a sleepy little Barangay on the far northwest coast and if your looking for quiet seclusion, that would be the perfect place and with family there, that can make all the difference in making the adjustment. Northern Samar has some really good scenery and some nice secluded beaches. Not sure if there is even an airstrip there yet though. Keep us all posted on your adventure and where you decide to settle. Have fun. 🙂

      1. Dave….SHhhhh! I don’t think it has sunk in with my asawa yet. Her thoughts are consumed by being back home and close to the family. After a short while and once she realizes there are no malls or Walmart, she probably will be suggesting we travel a bit more. 😉 It’ll just be a matter of time.

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