Facing Failure in El Nido

Breathing. We take it for granted.  Every 15 to 25 minutes air is drawn in and out – through our nose and mouth.  Lungs expand to take in that precious air.  As it travels, our lungs process air into oxygen, which is sent to our bloodstream, jump starting our cells – giving us energy. Carbon dioxide, the wasteful byproduct – is pushed from our lungs once we exhale. Nature’s dance to keep our cells and bodies in harmony.  So simple. Yet, I couldn’t do it. John, my scuba instructor subtly gestured to me – indicating we meet at the bow side for a conference. “I’m sorry, we don’t’ have enough time to finish the certification.  I can’t certify you today in good conscience.  Your airway control is erratic.. and well, you seem scared down there.” My throat constricted.  Fight or flight.  Instinct prodded me to deny it.  Me?  Why… I’m cold, blue steel.  A courageous woman who leaps first, asks questions later. I gazed beyond the bow.  Flints of sunlight skimmed the choppy waters rocking the hull viscously. The water was unmanageable that day, so was his searing honesty. Slicing to the bone.

Hotel Porn in the Philippines

It isn’t often that I discuss porn and hotels in the same breath. This time I couldn’t resist. It’s no surprise I’ve partnered with HostelBookers, but was honestly not expecting such luxuries when I got to Puerto Princessa. I was barred from visiting the Underground River, because Typhoon Washi hit the Philippines with 90 kmh winds, killing 436 in Mindanao.  The usually packed caves were flooded and I was adrift. After the sad news of that many deaths and stalled plans, solace had to be my best friend. In the frenzy of moving around, I sipped from the cup of hotel porn, because dammit, I deserve a soft mattress and a steamy, hot shower once in a while. Hostels can cause a woman to feel downright celibate.  House of Rose threw open the floodgates, so to speak. After that intense affair, I didn’t think it could get any better.  Once I arrived to El Nido, Lally and Abet’s Beach Cottages nibbled on my neck and seduced me.  It was an attractive mix of everything I love about the ocean – salty, wet, zen and daydreams.