When you live on a remote island, scarcity is a recurring theme; from food to power to accessibility. The island of Ta’u in American Samoa knows this all too well. Located 4,000 miles (6,400 km) from the west coast of the United States, the island is no stranger to power rationing and outages. To…
Emma gets all the birthday treats! In 2015 (a significant year for her…say know more), I treated her and the family to a day at the new Secdea Resort on the northeastern coast of Samal Island. We’d tried going there twice before, but had been put off by the price of a day visit. But we kept hearing good things about the place (‘world class resort’ and so on), so for her important birthday, I bit the bullet and (mixing my metaphors) coughed up.
Some nice detailing using driftwood as ornaments
A twist on the old theme of wagon-wheeled chairs
The resort has some beautiful pools for swimming despite being by the sea
When you visit the beach, you realise why. The coastal area is mangrove, which is totally natural and an ecological haven for crabs and fish. Rather than destroy this, the resort has gone to extraordinary lengths to make this a feature, with walkways and signposting.
An epiphytic fern
She who must be obeyed commands her Crab Army to attack
This year’s special treat for Emma’s birthday was an overnighter at Banana Beach Resort, near Tagum City in Davao del Norte – about 60km north of Davao City. The resort had recently been recommended to me for its natural setting and wild monkeys and pigs. There are actually very few wild monkeys left in the Philippines, which is a very sad fact, so the chance to see monkeys in the wild was something I wanted to do.
The resort isn’t cheap, costing around P1000 per person per night for an open cottage.
The open cottages have mosquito nets, mattresses and clean linen and towels. There are drop-down screens for privacy at night.
Black sand beach and a view taking in Davao Oriental (on the left) Samal Island (in the middle) and Mt Apo (where the trees meet the horizon).
The pool and restaurant
The restaurant and cottages are right on the north coast of the Gulf of Davao
Mt Apo, soon after dawn
Samal Island breaking the horzon
Davao Oriental swathed in early morning mist
Pathway to the bahay kubos (nipa huts)
And so to the Forest Tour…
The open-sided tour vehicle meets monkeys and wild pigs (known locally as baboy damor)
The beginning of the tree-top walk
The tree-top walk is about 5m off the ground
60 Ha of forest has been set-aside for conservation purposes
The guides are ever-present and great at answering questions
Back in the late 90s, our office used to issue every staff member with their own copy of a printed telephone list that was reissued every time staff left or joined. First job of the day that the list arrived was to read through it and find the new hilarious names.
And so on.
When the Asian financial crisis set in and there were more lay-offs than joiners, we started a rival to the Hang Seng index – the Wong-Chan index to see if the Wongs or the Chans suffered more when the lay offs came. Gallows humour!
There are things in life we don’t get to chose – we cannot choose the color of our skin, our nationality or as we say in Poland, you cannot choose your family. That’s not necessarily true, but it’s not going to be my today’s post’s topic. I want to talk about something that not everyone gets to choose, yet some are lucky enough to be able to.
Names. In Poland by the law you are required to give your child a name that’s consisting maximum 2 names (like Maria Magdalena), cannot be ridicule, inappropriate or the name has to determinate the gender. Fun fact: all female names in Polish language are ending with ‘-a’.
In Hong Kong, however, you are allowed to choose your own English name that will be shown on your HKID aside of your so-called Chinese name. The traditional name is usually chosen by the father’s…
This is an extended version of a Project 2 speech I delivered on April 14, 2016 at Malang Toastmasters Club. Originally titled Durians and Southeast Asians, I decided to rename this post The Metaphorical Durians so as not to confuse with my older piece in January, which by the way is what influenced me to discuss about a similar topic, this time delivered as a speech before fellow Southeast Asians.