Lia’s last Christmas in the Philippines was in 2015 and she spent it with her biological father and his family, as she did the past Christmases. We had spent some time together before Christmas though, seeing and being with my friends. We own a flat in the Taguig area and we hang out in the many establishments found in Bonifacio Global City (BGC). We stumbled upon this lights show in the roof deck of the SM Aura mall and Lia and I had some fun.

One thing I love about the Samsung Note 5 is that it automatically makes a slideshow of photos, complete with music. I save the ones that I really like, and this was one of them.

Fabio arrived in the Philippines a few days before Christmas and we didn’t know where to go. In the end, we decided to just go to El Nido even if we didn’t have a house there anymore and spend the holidays with friends and people we know. We stayed at a hotel a friend of ours owned, Palao-yu Dive Resort. The rates are affordable and the rooms are air-conditioned, spacious, with balconies in each room, and breakfast is included. It is close to the beach and where we used to live too, as we still had some things that were missing and were trying to get back, and it is right by the road where we can easily hail tricycles to go where we needed to go.

At the ITI Lounge in Manila waiting for the flight to El Nido

Our first stop was Last Frontier Beach Resort, located in Corong-Corong beach and owned by a friend of ours, and had just been recently completed. It took quite a while and a lot of efforts and stress for our friends to finish the resort and the least we can do is be supportive. We stayed for the sunset – always a not to be missed event.

Corong-Corong Beach Sunset

We came to visit our other friends around El Nido while we were there. We had some drinks at the Happiness Beach Bar while playing with Elvis, the dog of one of the owners of Last Frontier Beach Resort. They were my neighbours before when we all lived in small huts on a patch of beach where now Mahogany Beach Resort stands.

Elvis and Angku in Corong-Corong Beach

Elvis and Angku in Corong-Corong Beach

We stayed as always for the sunset. Incredible as it always is. Truly, the best sunsets are on this side of El Nido town.

Sunset in Corong-Corong Beach, El Nido, Palawan

Sunset in Corong-Corong Beach, El Nido, Palawan

We had Christmas dinner at Republica Sunset Bar in Lugadia. The day after Christmas, we dropped by El Nido Art Cafe, and Mezzanine Restaurant – making a round of businesses in Serena St. that our friends owned. We were leaving El Nido the day after. AirSwift was making an introductory price for their first flights from El Nido to Cebu at very affordable prices. We were headed to Dumaguete and we needed to fly anyway, either from Manila or Cebu, so we decided to do an alternative route. It was also a good opportunity to see one of our dearest friends in Cebu, who came to pick us up at the Cebu International airport and help us get settled in our accommodation for the night.

Late lunch with Radj

We had dinner at a nice, cozy restaurant inside the Cebu Yacht Club, which was walking distance from our hotel. On the way home, I had a small breakdown in the middle of street, as I was exhausted from all the traveling and was definitely not looking forward to flying out of Cebu so early in the morning to go to Manila just to make a personal appearance at my bank and to get my daughter, and then fly the next day to Dumaguete where we plan to do some diving.

We have been traveling nonstop the entire year of 2015 and it looked like there was not going to be an end to it. Still, I kept my head high, my hopes up, and gathered all the physical and mental strength I could. And most of all, I prayed to the heavens and along with it, all the trust in my heart.