Family Time

Inevitably, traveling means leaving things behind. Many of those things, particularly the material and routine ones, slowly fade with time and distance, like the images in a rear-view mirror as you focus on the journey ahead. Yet other things stay with you, not packed in your bag, but lodged in your feelings, memories and emotions, a part of you that is on the journey but is linked to where you’ve come from and who you are. Of course in a wired-up world, there’s a lot you don’t need to leave back home, and it’s been a joy to connect with family and friends, in a way never available to us on previous travels.

But there is no substitute for a hug.

Strangely you have to wait outside the terminal building to meet passengers at Puerta Princessa airport. Grouped across the road, under some shade, eyes straining in the bright light on the terminal door. Standing. Waiting. Reading signs, including the one that tells you ‘even a few bullets in your luggage could delay your flight’ …. then suddenly Yay!, there’s Oona. The three of us locked in a family hug for the first time since Heathrow last November. The rapid chatter in the bus back to the hotel, smiles, bright eyes, excited voices. Catch up time.

And essentially the last two weeks have just been that. We’ve stayed in some nice hotels, eaten some good food, travelled a bit around Palawan, hung around, relaxing and sharing time together. Sunsets, snorkelling, island hopping, San Miguel, poolside and pool table. It’s been fun.

Then, yesterday afternoon we said goodbye to Oona who has started the long haul back to London with a flight to Manila. We check out today and head to Cebu. Right now it just feels strange that she’s not around, but I’m thinking how hard it will be for us to readjust in the days ahead. Truth is, we are lucky indeed to have shared this time together in a beautiful place. Of course it also brings home how much we miss everyone else.

But our family and friends are with us on this journey, in our thoughts and hearts and through the wonders of modern communication (hint, get in touch!).

But there is no substitute for a hug.

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First family meal this year
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Which one is the shark?

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I’ve never seen a horseshoe crab before, it has multiple sets of eyes and this one is around sixty years old. We saw it at a grouper farm.

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Spot the odd one out. Philippine military on alert following shootout in Bohol

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Sabang and the Underground River

We headed up to Sabang for a trip into the Underground River. We were there on our last trip to Palawan when Oona was just 10. Now it’s a World Heritage site and on many Filipinos ‘bucket list’. Despite the hype, we really enjoyed the trip; it helped that we stopped overnight and avoided the crowds with an early visit.

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We saw three surfacing turtles on the early morning Bangka trip

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Bit Bob the Builder …

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Dramatic stalagtites and stalagmites with bats and birds circling around us.

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Sabang is a pretty place in its own right.

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Local families cooling off in the sea at nightfall

Our final week was spent relaxing in a small hotel. Reading, dipping in the pool and chilling out. We spent one day out on an island in Honda Bay again, snorkeling and enjoying the sea breeze, but essentially we relaxed and shared our precious moments with each other. Fun times.

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Hard not to relax here.

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That’s a half pint glass …. Anne are you getting smaller or are you very far away?

Sunrise

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Kayak Fun

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And then our last night …

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Our last picture together- what on earth am I doing???
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Are we happy Oona came to see us?
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Our sad to see her go …
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Champion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Family Time

  1. Hey you guys! I’ve just caught up with your latest blog and can see that you’ve all had a great time catching up in your family reunion. And what a place for it! Great to see you all together. Youre good uns you O’Connors and sorely missed here. Love you lots! Annexx
    Ps 11 degrees here today. We’re surely sheltered!!

    Liked by 1 person

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