The cloudy night was dotted with stars but the half moon brightened up the beachfront well anyway.
The electric power in the entire Puerto Princesa is now off in support of Earth Hour. The hotel we are in did not even turn on the generator and the guests are out in the beach enjoying a dinner buffet of grilled dishes.
So calm and peaceful and breezy. Will just rest on the hammock. Wake me up when it's time to sleep....
R is arriving 5:30A.M. on the earliest Cebu Pacific flight tomorrow.
The kids and I have planned it. Because we missed him SO SO SO much, we're heading straight to White Fence Country Cafe for some REAL crispy-on-the-outside, fluffy waffles, hash browns, pancakes, sausages....
By the way, they also have really GOOD pizza!
Really good thin crust pizza happily served with Parmesan cheese and hot chili flakes!! (Their menu is online.)
But I digress.
They've never been separated from him this long before. It's been a record-breaking two months. This week the kids had a countdown.
And a "Welcome home, Daddy!" sign in the dining room!
They'd probably sleep early tonight because we had a busy day in town - dentist appointment, piano lessons, math tutorials and grocery shopping. We had an early dinner and were ready to sleep before 8:00p.m. We said our prayers and they were knocked out by 8:30pm! (Ah, if only every night would be like this! ). I enjoyed the quiet time doing some paperwork till about 11:30p.m..... then... N walked out of his room wiide awake. He watched me work, and a few minutes later, E came out too....
So, at 1:15a.m., they're snacking on some cookies and milk while I pretend to sleep so they'll follow soon.
At 1:45a.m., they are still hungry and are moving on to the cold taho that we bought this afternoon.
I can still hear them discussing that in an hour, R will be leaving for NAIA 3. In another hour or so, he will be boarding the plane on the way to us!
They doublecheck their alarms and are still talking about biking with Daddy, and going to te beach with Daddy, watching. X-Men and Maleficient with Daddy, and joking with Daddy, and laughing with Daddy....
We had one major project before we left- we brought Trumpets Musical Theater to Palawan. 45 students signed up for a two-week workshop filled with learning theater techniques through play. We even had 3 students who were sponsored by generous hearts from Manila! A few days after the recital, we left for Manila.
It was a work assignment that brought R back to the city, and of course, we went with him. Despite our resistance, it was the best thing that could have happened when it did because we needed to be there for our family during the one time that we were needed the most, ever.
We lived out of a few suitcases, knowing that we'd go back to get more of our things if we ended up relocating again. Kids became restless. Our dream life haunted us. We were growing older way too fast and time was running out to make it happen.
Patiently, we waited. We kept nurturing our dream, one step at a time. We percolated our ideas and expanded our network. Then - we took a deep breath - took several deep breaths, clasped our hands and hearts together as one family, and got ready to free fall into the beautiful and bright abyss that would embrace us and launch us back into the bright sky, past the clouds towards the sun!!!!
In other words, we decided to go back to Puerto Princesa.
Amidst the house and car maintenance, settling back into our homeschooling routine, reconnecting with good friends, the universe is converging... Our prayers are being answered so generously, beyond our expectations and hope!
We've been sadly missing this annual February 14 event every year for various reasons. Finally, this year, we deliberately made plans to join the citizens of Puerto Princesa City in planting mangroves along the coastline to express our love for nature --- in fact, our love for Puerto Princesa, which has been our home for the past three years.
Conveniently as well, Mangrove Ecosystems was Elise's lesson in her Science home school program for February. So we had a stronger reason for participating! We set off, along with another family, at 4:30A.M. to Pook Silangan in Barangay Tagburos, a small coastal fishing village.
When we got there, three priests just finished celebrating Holy Mass by the beach for a huge crowd.
We hurriedly registered and got our mangrove seedlings. They were packed in small black bags. We proudly carried them over to the areas which were assigned for planting.
As we walked towards the mangrove planting area, we saw many other people walking too. We were all silent, overwhelmed by the dramatic sky, the cool breeze, the shadows and the rising sun. This was indeed an expression of love for nature -- walking on the shore with family and friends at the break of dawn to do our part to save the coastline from eroding and eventually protecting them from storms and building a sturdy mangrove ecosystem. So, we marched on.
We found some marked spots and got some help with planting our seedlings.
The city government offices like the City Tourism Office and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources sent their staff and managers to plant and help out. Even the PNP and the Philippine Navy were there.
Private organizations were there too!
Locals like us were lingering even after planting several seedlings.
Back at the beach, we caught a glimpse of Mayor Edward Hagedorn officiating a free mass wedding for about a hundred couples.
Around the bend, some dancers were getting ready for the festivities.....
We spent around an hour and a half there, feeling connected to the community. We left Tagburos knowing that we helped saved the coastline by planting at least six or seven mangrove trees there.
Driving down one of the roads in Barangay San Pedro brought us to this small nipa shack that sells refreshing sugar cane or tubo juice. We just had to stop and try it.
The fresh tubo were piled up and ready for juicing. The light green sticks reminded me of the sugar cane carts that used to pass by our house in Quezon City. My mom would get us a stick each and we would chew on them to extract the juice.
The lady with plastic food safe gloves (one point!) pushed the stick into the machine and turned it on. The stainless steel machine pressed the sticks and efficiently juiced them out.
While waiting, they had some information posted for the customers to read. Lots of health benefits from sugarcane juice!
Two sugar cane sticks yielded this 12oz cup of juice. Poured over ice and some calamansi extract, it was the perfect break during a hot day! I suddenly remembered that in the fruit area of Virra Mall and Shoppesville at the old Greenhills Shopping Center, there was a sugarcane juice stand too. But their juice did not have the zesty calamansi flavor added to it.
Since then, I've never passed that shack without stopping for some. Fresh, every time!