2002 Journal Archive

January, 2002: Panglao Island, Philippines

January has been much like December. The weather has been unusually cool and wet, although it has started becoming warmer and dryer at the end of the month. We are still working on the boat - the wiring is complete in 3 of the 4 cabins, the rigging has been parceled and served, the non-skid sheeting has been glued down to the decks, the engine raising tackles are installed, etc. There is still more to do, of course, and it will be a few more months before we are through. We cannot be sure, but hope to launch by the end of May.

We have been to a few dinners with friends, and ate at a new, very elegant, restaurant that is just next door (beautiful grounds overlooking the sea). The prices seem rather high to us now ($20 for dinner for 2, including tip) and we will probably not eat there often, though the food was quite good. All in all, a fairly dull life.

This month's article is about the local Sari-Sari stores, something like a 7-11 convenience store

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February, 2002: Panglao Island, Philippines

Jim has continued working on the boat. We made a bit less progress this month, as many of the local workers were off on other islands working on speed boats for the dive shops there. He is now working in the galley, the last unfinished compartment. The other 5 compartments are essentially done, with painting, electrical, and plumbing all completed. The standing rigging (shrouds and stays) and running rigging (halyards and sheets) are ready to go, as are the anchor lines, dock lines, etc. We are getting closer every day!

Our neighbor, Kurt, sponsored a mountain bike race to promote the Safety Stop, his bar and restaurant on Alona Beach. Most of the racers were local Filipino bike club members from Bohol and Cebu, but there were also competitors from the US, Europe, and Australia. Panglao is a coral island, so we don't have any mountains here, but the roads are terrible, so the racers were happy. The course was 10 or 20 laps around a 1.8 km course that circled Alona Beach (and our cottage). The bike race was a big success, generating record sales in the bar. We both watched the start of each race, then walked around the racecourse so that Jim could take these photos:

start   |   uphill   |   Neal   |   Dominic   |   open class   |   corner   |   Jamie

Neal and Adi each have para-motors, a kind of hang glider with a small engine. Jamie was quite amazed when she saw how high they fly, supported by only a thin piece of nylon cloth. Neal takes off by running, while Adi sits on a tricycle landing gear. The tricycle seems to be much easier to use, and Adi has had more success than Neal. The day after these pictures were taken, Neal crashed. He was slightly injured and the machine was damaged, though not badly. He is ordering repair parts and should be flying again soon.

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March, 2002: Panglao Island, Philippines

March has seen a lot of progress on the boat, with all 5 workers available for the first three weeks of the month. The refrigerator has been built and installed (a very complicated job) and the cockpit is nearing completion. Almost the entire last week of the month was declared a national holiday (at the last minute) to celebrate Easter. Most likely, President Arroyo simply wanted to gain favor with the voters.

Hans is having a new drywell dug for his septic tank. The soil here is very thin, in many places just a few inches deep. Beneath the soil is limestone rock derived from ancient coral reefs. The digging is being done by three men using hammers and chisels.The drywell is to be 3 meters square and 2 meters (6 feet) deep, so it is taking weeks to dig.

We continue to trade lunch and dinner invitations with other ex-patriots living here on Panglao Island. Most are Europeans. We have recently met a new couple, Larry and Violy. Larry is retired from the US State Department; Violy is Filipina. She has a restaurant in Tagbilaran where we often eat. She prepares all local dishes — plus American style cakes and pies and excellent coffee. Jim plans to put together some information on the local food using Violy's restaurant as an example. This may take awhile, so watch for it in a future journal.

Although everyone has warned us about the danger of theft here in the Philippines, we have not had any real problems so far. We do, however, have a local drug addict named Joseph who wanders through the neighborhood during the evening taking the oddest things. He has taken pieces of clothing, shower shoes, a bottle of olive oil (which he left at a neighbor's house), etc. So far, we have only lost a pair of sandals and a partial box of baking soda, which was thrown into the pool. Joseph has been more of a nuisance than anything else. Jim stayed up a few nights several months ago to try to confront him, but Joseph ran off too quickly for Jim even to say anything. But, at least he didn't come back after that for quite a while.

Unfortunately, Joseph returned this month. He came quietly up to our cottage in the early morning darkness. Jamie was awake and making coffee in our (outdoor) kitchen. As soon as she saw him, Jamie very calmly called him by name and authoritatively told him to leave. He turned and walked away while she continued to tell him that he must leave and never come back. Although this awakened Jim, he wasn't any help as he didn't get out the door before Joseph had disappeared. So Jamie was the hero, saved the day, etc. Time will tell if Joseph will return. Actually, he probably will return, but we hope that he will once again be frightened enough to stay away for a while.

This months article is about tuba, a traditional alcoholic drink here in the Philippines. It is made from a liquid collected from coconut trees.

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April, 2002: Panglao Island, Philippines

We have had an interesting month. We have stayed here much longer than we expected, and Hans rented out our cottage (months ago) on the assumption that we would be living on our boat by now. So, we have moved in with Hans and Merla. We are living in their spare bedroom and sharing the kitchen. So far, we haven't gotten on each other's nerves ... but ... time will tell.

We went with a friend of ours to visit a small village in the mountains. Our trip to the barrio of Calabacita has been the highlight of our time here in the Philippines.

There have been a number of fiestas here this month. Each barangay has its own fiesta to honor its patron saint. The fiestas vary a bit from place to place, but all appear to be centered around food. The rule seems to be that during fiesta, if you show up, they are required to feed you. And the food is quite good, too. (So far, we haven't actually gone anywhere unless we were invited.)

Jim's last job was with a government authority known by the 8-letter acronym YCPARMIA. They provide risk management, insurance, and safety services to local governments. Jim thinks that the local barangays would be ideal customers for YCPARMIA. So he has begun some name recognition advertising for YCPARMIA here in Barangay Bilisan. He sponsored a Mo-Mo Beach basketball team which has played in a number of games leading up to the annual Fiesta tournament. The team shows a lot of hustle and are currently in the finals. (They might even win the tournament.)

The team uniforms are quite distinctive and have been seen by literally dozens of loyal fans, all of whom have asked, "YC What??" So, to all the gang at YCPARMIA, if you want to expand your operations to the Far East, the time to act is now. Just say the word, and Jim will start signing up new members immediately. (Oh, yes — the bill for the uniforms is in the mail to you now.)

We had such a wonderful time visiting Calabacita that we are planning more trips around Bohol, and will report on them in future Journals.

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May, 2002: Panglao Island, Philippines

Lot's of things have been happening for us. This is a time of many fiestas in all the barangays and barrios, and we have been receiving invitations from many friends. Once we went from one home to another, eating a meal at each one. Fiesta is a major event, and it would be impolite to refuse an invitation.

Maria invited us to her home in Tagbilaran for a fiesta meal. She prepared European foods just for us; all of the extended family ate Filipino food before we arrived. (This has been done at every meal we have ever received in a Filipino home. We are always served seperately from the family.)

Important NEWS UPDATE: The MoMo Beach team has won the Bilisan Basketball Tournament. They started the tournament without uniforms, and were playing only mediocre ball. Once they got their YCPARMIA uniforms, however, they never lost a game. They played the team that had been favored to win, and beat them by almost 30 points. The team had a beach party to celebrate, and we were invited. Some of the team members weren't able to attend, but those who did showed off their trophy. We had good food and a great time helping the new champions celebrate their victory.

Jim has been taking photos of Filipino food at the COCOwalk Café. We eat many of our meals there now, and really enjoy most everything. Violy warns us away from anything she thinks might be too different for our western tastes.

We have had a German family vacationing here in one of the cottages. Helmut, Gemma, and their 3-year old son Noël, were a welcome addition to our circle of friends. Helmut speaks very little English and we speak no German beyond what Jim remembers from WWII war movies (not much use in a conversation). So we needed a translator for any serious talks. Gemma, on the other hand, was born in the Philippines with an American father and moved to Germany at the age of 10. She speaks everything fluently and we were able to communicate just fine.

Jim went sailing with Hans and Helmut on Hans' 20 foot catamaran. They had a great morning sailing along the southern coast of Panglao Island from Alona Beach to the eastern end of the island. About noon the wind died down to nothing and they floated along on a flat, windless sea. In the end, they had to motor all the way back. Jim was well covered with clothing to protect him from the sun, but he managed to burn the backs of this hands and the tip of his nose.

Helmut and Jim did magic tricks for the kids one afternoon. Helmut did sleight-of-hand and card tricks; Jim did science tricks with kitchen chemicals. The kids seemed to have a great time, particularly when they got to do some of the tricks themselves.

Our lead carpenter, Ronie Mahinay, took some time off from work to be with his wife, Rosanna, for the birth of their second child. They live in Danao City, about 35 km north of Cebu City on the Island of Cebu. Rosana had the baby at the Maternity Lying-In Clinic, as the local hospital was too expensive. After their baby girl (Ronna Faye, 7 lbs.) was born, Rosanna suffered from postpartum bleeding and the baby had a fever. Jim decided to make the trip to Danao to be with the family.

By the time Jim arrived, the crisis had passed. The midwife had given Rosanna 2 liters of IV fluids and started the baby on a course of antibiotic injections. Rosanna's bleeding stopped and she was feeling much better. The baby's temperature was back to normal. Or, as they always say in the movies, mother and baby were doing fine. Jim, of course, took a picture of the new baby.

On his way back down the coast of Cebu, Jim passed the central market in the city of Mandaue. The tricycle taxis here are much more elaborately decorated than in Bohol. The slaughtered hogs, however, are much the same everywhere. Jim made a few purchases of boat parts in Cebu and came back to Panglao. The return ferry was seriously delayed, so his total trip lasted over 15 hours.

We attended the Miss Gay Tagbilaran City Pageant, which was very interesting. We will have a description of the pageant in a future journal article.

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June, 2002: Panglao Island, Philippines

We have been making great progress on the boat lately. All of the interior carpentry work is finished and painted. Jim is working on the wiring in the newly completed areas. Now we have only to complete the "fitting out" of the boat, installing the masts and rigging, getting the engines hooked up and working, moving in, etc. We should have pictures of everything next month.

We went sightseeing around Bohol one weekend with Andy and Maria. It was very interesting. Again, we will have pictures later.

The nipa palm roof on the old resort building we are using at Mo-Mo has deteriorated pretty badly. We decided to have it rebuilt and covered with new nipa (the fronds of a local palm tree). We needed lumber to rebuild the roof structure, so Andy hired a local man to cut down two coconut trees on the property and mill them into about a thousand linear feet of lumber. It was interesting to watch the operation, which was all done freehand with a large chainsaw. Jim worked in a lumber mill during summer breaks from college, and was impressed by the accuracy of the work. The finished lumber looks good, and is currently stacked up all over Mo-Mo Beach drying.

Our big news this month is our trip to Hong Kong. Foreigners are generally allowed to stay in the Philippines for a maximum of one year. Then you must leave the country and reenter to start a new year. As we were approaching our one year limit, we flew to Hong Kong for a few days. We had a good time, saw a lot of the City, and bought a birthday present.

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July, 2002: Panglao Island, Philippines

This has, once again, been a very busy month for us. It started on the 29th of June with the opening of a new Tourist Police Outpost at Rona's Corner, just down the road from us. The Philippine government has been looking for ways to rebuild its tourist industry after a series of kidnappings in the Manila area, and the Abu Sayyaf kidnappings in Mindanao. One thing they are doing is to add police officers in areas where there are a lot of tourists.

We decided to go to the official opening so that Jim could get pictures of the crowds, and the cabinet minister for tourism was going to be there. We arrived a few minutes before the announced time, and found that none of the dignitaries was there. Things got started a bit late. The speeches were pretty typical of political speeches anywhere, the police were there of course, and the monsignor gave a (mercifully) short prayer, but there were no crowds. We were the only tourists in sight, and we quickly lost interest and left.

Next, we hosted a July 4th party, and invited all of our friends (mostly Americans and other foreigners). Andy was the only Brit invited, but we didn't treat him too harshly. Jim did make a few comments about the outrageous acts of King George, but everyone thought he was talking about George Bush. After all the work it took to prepare our Thanksgiving dinner, we decided to hire Violy and the staff at COCOWalk Café to prepare and serve the dinner. The food was all delicious, and the party was a lot of fun. We had red, white, and blue balloons printed up for the occasion, and when the party was over we gave the balloons to Kurt to put up in the Safety Stop Bar. So the German tourists celebrated the 4th as well.

July 15th was a national holiday so that people could vote in the Barangay elections. The campaign posters went up about 2 weeks before the election. The Barangay Captain from Bilisan asked Jim for a campaign contribution, and Jim gave him 500 pesos (about US$ 10). The Captain inferred that he needed money to pay people to vote. Jim started asking our Filipino friends about this, and it turns out that this is quite common here. The going rate for the Kagawad, or Barangay council seats, varies from 10 - 20 pesos per voter. Barangay Captains pay more, perhaps as much as 100 pesos. In more affluent banagays, this could be much more. Although it is technically illegal, the practice is hardly secret. There is no way to know how a person actually voted, so it is hard for the politicians to know if their money was well spent. But it does seem to be an incentive to get people to vote, and the politicians give money to voters they think will support them.

The Sandugo Festival is held each July. This year, the parade was scheduled for the 20th, but was moved to the 17th at the last minute to accomodate a visit by the Philippines President, Gloria M. Arroyo. We attended the parade again this year, and Jim took more pictures. The parade was shorter this year, as many who were planning to participate couldn't make it on the new day.

After the parade, we took a taxi home, following the same route the President would take. All of the schools along the route had the kids out lining the road to wave to the President. Jim asked the taxi driver to stop at the Biking (bee-KING) elementary school so he could get a picture. As soon as the kids saw the camera, they had to get into the picture. They quickly filled the road. After taking the picture, we drove down the road to wild cheers from the kids. We hope the President got as good a reception as we did.

Finally, we attended the Miss Gay Bohol/Sandugo Pageant on the 19th. Jim was a judge. For the full story, see this month's article, Miss Gay.

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August, 2002: Panglao Island, Philippines

We haven't done much this month except work on the boat. We are committed to launching at the beginning of September, and it seems we will never be ready in time. It has become a race between us and the last good high tides of the year.

We raised the masts on the 20th of August (see the photos on the Tiki Gallery page). It really makes a difference in the appearance of the boat. After the mast raising, Jamie went to a small birthday party for Adrian; he is now 65. Ester and Gina did the cooking, and Jamie had a great time. Jim stayed at MoMo and worked on the boat.

We have had visitors from Hong Kong and Korea who are considering having a boat built here. We spent time with them, showed them around our boat, etc. It was very enjoyable, and a welcome excuse to take a few hours off from our work.

The chapels in our area share a statue of Saint Agustin, the local patron saint. They can't each afford their own statue, so they share one. Several times each year, the saint is moved from one chapel to another. A day or two in advance, the road is lined with flowers tied to small stakes set in the ground. A surprisingly large number of people, including some we know, come out early in the morning to accompany the saint to his next home. The move is accompanied by guitars and singing. Jim went out to get photos, of course.

Back in June, we took a trip to visit the tourist attractions of Bohol. Here is our Report.

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September, 2002: Tagbilaran, Bohol, Philippines (9°38'N, 123°50'E)

We were invited to Melanie's birthday party earlier this month. She is now 9 years old, and quite a cutie. As usual, we had good food and great company.

The big news this month is that we finally launched Razzle Dazzle on September 19th, 2002. It was a long time coming, and there is still much to do to complete the boat. But it is in the water. And we are living aboard, getting used to all the little differences in life on a boat. Like rowing the dinghy to shore anytime we want to go anywhere. Jim has been staying on the boat, completing the hundreds of little jobs that still need to be finished. Jamie has been going back to our cottage evenings to collect things and bring them to the boat the next day. She also sleeps in the cottage, eats at the nearby resort restaurant, etc. Jim is beginning to notice a pattern here.

We are now anchored in Tagbilaran harbor. It is about a 10-15 minute dinghy ride (depending on wind and currents) to the old city dock. Jim does most of the rowing, but Jamie is practicing each evening, and is starting to get the hang of it.

We are very much in the center of things here. The local fishermen set there nets near our boat, and then make loud splashing noises to frighten the fish into the nets. They never seem to catch many fish, perhaps because there are so many fishermen in a small area. There are also larger commercial fishing boats that anchor near us to sort out their nets. All of the fishermen seem to be very curious about us, and will line the sides of their boats and stare at us as they motor slowly past. Everyone seems quite friendly, though it feels a bit odd at first. We are pretty much used to it already.

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October, 2002: Tagbilaran, Bohol, Philippines (9°38'N, 123°50'E)

We are back in Tagbilaran Harbor after spending 2 weeks on the Abatan River. The fishing boats still anchor near us to offload their catch and take on supplies. And the spider boats still motor past us each morning with their long poles extended (some leaving and others returning). It is almost like being back home after a long absence. Well, almost.

We are still spending most of our time finishing the construction of the boat, sorting through our things, and finding places to store everything. We have had a few adventures already, but have survived them all.

During our first trip, motoring from Mo-Mo Beach to Tagbilaran, we had trouble with both engines. They weren't getting fuel and, not surprisingly, would not run properly. Jim eventually got one engine running reliably by connecting it to a small portable fuel tank. He later dismantled the fuel lines and found that wasps had made nests in the fuel lines while the boat was under construction. Once he cleaned out the lines, both engines worked perfectly.

After anchoring for a week in Tagbilaran Harbor, we decided to motor to the Abatan River for a 2 week stay. Retrieving our anchor turned out to be something of a problem, as the anchor line was wrapped many times around a few very large rocks on the bottom of the harbor. Jim put on mask and fins and began diving in 10 feet of water to free the rope and chain, one turn at a time. He was making slow progress when a local fisherman (diver) swam over and offered to help. He had us clear in a short time. Jim developed an ear infection a few days later.

After our return to Tagbilaran Harbor, Jim was rowing back to the boat from the City dock when he was caught by a nasty squall. The wind was blowing harder than he could row, it was raining very hard, and the waves were breaking over the bow of the dinghy. At one point, he completely disappeared from Jamie's view in the white-out conditions. The winds then eased a bit and he was able to row back to the boat, exhausted but otherwise none the worse for wear. He spent much of the rest of the day lying down. We are both getting stronger, and thinner, from the exercise we are getting and the lack of easy access to things like ice cream and cake.

At this time of the year the weather patterns in this part of the world are in transition. We are not yet sure how soon we will be ready to set off from here, and don't know what the winds will be doing when we are ready to leave. Our intention has been to spend a few months in the Philippines and then sail through Malaysia and Indonesia to Bali. As we write this we are just getting early reports about terrorist bombings in Bali, and we may change our destination to Singapore or Thailand. So we have not made definite plans yet. We will let you know when we do. Really, you will be the first to know.

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November, 2002: Port Bonbonon, Negros Oriental, Philippines (9°03'N, 123°07'E)

We have begun sailing Razzle Dazzle. Our first trip was to the small island of Balicasag. We had been here before on one of our diving trips; it is a very popular place to dive. We hooked up to a mooring in 25 feet of very clear, blue water. At the time we arrived, the sea was calm and we had light breezes. It was delightful.

Balicasag island is sandy with a limestone base. The limestone was created by an ancient coral reef that sank beneath the earth and was transformed by heat and pressure to become rock. Although much of the limestone was formed from the solid core of the reef, many areas are conglomerates of broken coral, sea shells, etc. These fossil beds are extensive and fascinating. The limestone has been tilted up by the tectonic forces that created the island. There were only a few places with sandy beaches on which we could land our dinghy.

We ate dinner at a nice dive resort on the opposite side of the island. When we got back to the dinghy after a long walk along the beach, it was quite dark and the seas had built considerably. It was something of a wild ride in the dinghy, made more intimidating by the darkness. It was a good thing that we left the anchor light on to guide us home. Once back aboard, we got very little sleep as we pitched, rolled, and yawed to wind, waves, and swell. There is a strong current here which kept the boat from adopting its normal position with the bow facing the wind and waves.

One of the highlights of the trip was seeing a waterspout, a tornado at sea. Jim saw it forming in the clouds, and we spent 15-20 minutes watching it descend rapidly to the sea surface, then sucking up great quantities of sea water and spewing it out in a large circle around the central column of wind. The waterspout traveled across our field of view fairly slowly and eventually spent itself, disappearing even faster than it had formed. Although waterspouts are generally less powerful than tornadoes, they do have the potential to cause considerable damage. We were happy that this one did not come too close.

Of course, the best part of this trip was raising the sails for the first time. As Razzle Dazzle is a schooner, she normally carries three sails: mainsail, foresail, and staysail (or jib). Although the winds were light, we were able to reach speeds of about 5 knots while close reaching into 8 knots of apparent wind. For this first trip, Jamie was at the helm while Jim handled the sails. On each day, we had marvelous weather and wonderful sailing during the morning. By about noon the wind died and it poured down rain.

Next, we plan to sail to Bonbonon. It is located on the southern tip of Negros Island, about 55 miles from Tagbilaran. If all goes well, we will be in Bonbonon by the time you read this, and may stay there for several weeks. We will not have access to telephone or internet while we are there, so don't be surprised if you don't here from us for a while. We will simply be enjoying ourselves in a quiet little backwater away from the hustle and bustle of the modern world.

Before we left Bohol Province, Jim learned about the making of the native style houses which are rapidly being replaced by homes of concrete and steel.

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December, 2002: Port Bonbonon, Negros Oriental, Philippines (9°03'N, 123°07'E)

<< Holiday Greetings >>

Wow! We have been very busy since our last update. On the 11th of November, we left Tagbilaran harbor at about 8:00 a.m. to sail to Balicasag Island. Our plan was to spend the night there and then continue on to Port Bonbonon the next morning. We didn't want to try to make it all the way to Bonbonon in one day, as we were afraid we might get in too late to enter the reef with good daylight. (If we arrived too late, we would have to stay at sea until morning, either sailing back and forth or hove to.) As it happened, the swell at Balicasag was horrible, so we decided to sail on to the island of Siquijor, and spend the night there.

There was no wind, however, and we had to motor all day. When we got to the east coast of Siquijor, the first anchorage we passed, Maria Bay, was open to the prevailing swells and we could see the waves breaking on the beach. We did not enter. We continued on around the SE corner of the island (where we picked up a 2 knot current in our favor) to Lazi Bay on the south coast. Here we anchored over a sandbar, in 4 meters (12 ft.) of water, in the NE corner of the bay. We were less than 1,000 feet (300 meters) from a shear cliff on the east side of the bay, with 120 feet of anchor rode out. Even in this protected spot, we had some swell rocking the boat. The wind shifted during the night, swinging us much closer to the cliff. In the darkness, the cliff looked quite ominous, and close. We thought we were dragging our anchor. Jim turned on the radar to check our distance from the cliff, then checked again each hour for a couple of hours. Everything was fine. By morning, the wind was back in the NE, and we had swung back to where we started. We left at first light to sail to Port Bonbonon.

We started out motoring, but the wind soon picked up and we were sailing again. We were on a beam reach, sailing west at 6-8 knots with the NE monsoon blowing 10-12 knots. Then the wind began to increase. Our boat speed quickly reached 9 knots, and we started reefing our sails (reducing sail area). Jim took a single reef in the main and fore sails, and our speed dropped to 7 knots. Then rose again until we actually reached 11 knots at one time. The waves, although not large, were quite steep sided and were hitting us on the beam (striking the sides of the hulls), throwing a lot of spray over the boat. It was occasionally a very wet ride. Jim took another reef in each sail, and reduced our speed again. We passed Apo island about this time, and the wind was no longer increasing. Our boat speed remained at about 8-9 knots. Before we knew it, we were arriving off the southern coast of Negros Island, and our destination. It had been a very exciting ride!

The entrance to Port Bonbonon was not easy to see, and once we turned north to make our way into the harbor, we were heading almost into the wind. Our speed dropped to 2 knots, and we motored in. There is a reef which blocks much of the entrance, and one must stay well to the right to avoid hitting it. Jim was steering, and could not see the reef. We weren't quite far enough to the right. Jamie was on the bow, however, and warned him in time to avoid hitting anything. Once inside the entrance, everything was calm. We motored a little less than a mile into the harbor and anchored.

Port Bonbonon is a magical place. Over the last few years, more and more cruising yachts have anchored here. It seems that many never leave. There are about 25 yachts here at the moment. We are somewhat isolated at the end of a long dirt road with no regular public transportation and no phones. (We get out to the main highway by riding a habal-habal, a motorcycle taxi. Then we take a bus or jeepney.) But, civilization is not too far away, the people are grand, the scenery is beautiful, and we, too, may stay here forever. Well, at least for a few more months.

Already, we have attended the local women's volleyball tournament. Our Ne-Ar-Ne team has been winning every game easily. And, the Ne-Ar-Ne Restaurant sponsored its annual Water Festival and Fisherman's Regatta, with local fishermen competing in sailing and paddling races. The fisherman use tiny outrigger canoes, even in exposed seas. They generally use a paddle, but will sail when the wind is favorable. For the race, they had to sail a course that took them across the wind, down wind, and into the wind — and do it 3 times. It was hard work for them going to windward, as they use their paddle both as a leeboard and to steer. Many did not finish. The winner, of course, made it look easy.

Jim went for a walk one day, and met a man on horseback selling fish. We went to the Wednesday morning market in Malatapay (early, to avoid the huge crowds), where they sell everything. We saw pigsproducefruitfish — hundreds of tricycles — and a huge carabao, brought to market in a tricycle.

We have been hiking up the hills around the harbor (to get pictures for you), snorkeling on the coral reefs, attending various social events (such as the Full Moon Party at the KooKoo's Nest Resort), etc. We will have much more news in our next update, and what we think will be a very special article. We hope that you can join us again next month.

Merry Christmas.

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