After almost 3 years long of friendship online we finally met in person when he visited Cebu, Philippines and then it makes our friendship more stronger. I like him far more than talking online. I love spending time with him, and most of all talking with him because he is the most interesting person. He got the total package of characteristics and a quality which attracts like a magnet ( despite of whatever gender) to me. I fall in love to him ( without knowing that he felt the same ), and wishing that his feeling was the same thing or else I only end up dreaming. Everyday all I want is to see him and to be with him despite of all such important task to do in my own life. And it doesn’t take so long, He confess his feelings to me and wants me to be his wife!- I was speechless for a few minutes , – I feel so, so much joy in my heart, thinking that the man itself who is perfectly in my criteria and meets my standards wanting me! I found the world so kind to me, Everything I see are smiling, Every objects are colorful and happy and Every tiny things and creatures has its own wonderful meaning and value. It changes my life- It brings me smile with deepest joy in my heart before the morning starts and after the end of my day.

Few weeks after Engagement Party which took place at The Waterfront Hotel with all the people I ,love- my family and friends, he went back to Australia to give up everything he has just to be with me and I believe that this was one of the hardest steps for him to do. I don’t want him to go away from me anymore but, we both know that he has to- to sort things out there, I missed him already even his not leaving yet! I want to hold time so it won’t move! But fact is still the fact- the time has come that he needs to leave to go back to Australia. What I can I do? My only option is to let him and giving the sincere hug and kiss that means- until I see you again, with full of knowledge that he LOVES me and that He will keep me in his heart as how I keep him in mine, with all the HOPE that he will come back for me, with TRUST that God will bless all his ways and keeping him safe whatever he does and wherever he goes.

For that two months apart I know it was not long but my heart is contrary to that fact.- It was horrible feelings being apart when all you can do is to Hope and Pray!

After that such long length of period we’re apart, we got back together again and since then we promised to each other that it will never happen again because it was the worst feeling that we both had.

After 1 year and few months of being engaged and living together we finally got officially married at The White Sand Beach Resort, Mactan Island and It was the most special and magical day that ever happen in my whole life! And one thing I am certain that it was Magic and Special because I am marrying the person whom I Love, whom I can be my very own self, whom I can be natural, whom I can be the craziest creature in the world, whom I find so easy being with, find so comfortable sharing every thing with( all the most stupid things and secret that I did and all the thoughts that I hadn’t had yet) including all the things that I am ashamed of. And most above all that He loves me back.

Living with a person from the west who has their very own cultures, practices and beliefs is another Big Big PLUS!- it’s another greatest gift!

I remembered in our early stage of relationship that my husband told me that we might argue for 3 reasons:

First, is “ I am a man and You are a woman”- Paul bought me a bunch of flowers for 500 pesos with his knowledge that in this way he would please me, but I would think that 500 pesos is too much for 1 bunch of flowers, I would rather have a 50 peso bunch of flowers each week for the next (10) ten weeks.

Second, Is- “ I speak English as my first language while, You speak English as your second language”- Many words in English have two or more meanings and Paul may intend to say something nice to me but because I’m not a native English Speaker I hear it as something different. Example: Paul said to me one day, “ You look wicked!” which is slang for “ You look beautiful” and of course I heard it as “ You are evil”.

Third, is- “ Culture Differences”- I love cutting his nails especially his toe nails which nobody in the west has ever done for him before. But I did not realize that he was embarrassed when I first did it for him.

And to solve all these major potential conflicts? – COMMUNICATION!- because we both believe that communication is the most essential in a relationship.

For me, life with him is more interesting and fascinating because of these 3 major differences I mention above, Because this is where I grow more by learning the fun of differences between us- as a people who came from different planets! The moment we share the beauty of our differences it creates spectacular beauty which produces more beauty.

I adore my husband as he is not just loving and supportive to whatever are my decisions.- He is an amazing teacher who has a gift of making even what seems to be the most complicated or difficult matter in the world seem simple and easy to understand for me. Everyday I discover so many more different beauties in him which I failed to discover during our early stage where I thought that he is as that brilliant man but, nope! Because there’s so much more beauty in him. I know that there is no such perfect in this world but I am humbly to claim that he is the closest one and that whoever is the next is too far away beyond.

Having Paul as my husband is beyond my dream as I dreamed to have a good ( even not perfect) partner who will love me and adore me as me for the rest of his life and this I am happy Yet, it turns more than just that- truly unbelievable!!!!!!!!! I treasure him because I know that He is my ONLY TREASURE in life.

I hate myself when I can’t do anything to take his pain away when he is sick- like having flu occasionally and during his gout attack every once or twice a year. I hate seeing him in pain and it breaks my heart even more upon seeing him upset and unhappy caused by other people. Because I see him as my very own little boy who is very fragile that needs my care emotionally and physically all the time- this is one of the reason of not liking being away from him as I myself feel incomplete and not being myself as a whole when he is not with me. I know that my words of vocabulary are not enough to for me to put up together in order to express of how much I love my husband. I also believe that nobody can understand of how much I love my husband not even my own husband but only myself and God. Lots of people- acquaintances and good friends have commented that we are obviously in love with each other but, actually they only see the radiation of our Love and Happiness to each other because in reality it was just the tiny spark from our Love- They didn’t see our love as a whole which can be found behind doors. To me, to give all my pure love and to be loved is the only things I want in life! Because it gives me fulfillment and satisfaction, And I got this- I am the Luckiest woman in the universe.

We’ve known each other now nearly 6 years and continuing to enjoy and treasure or Love while striving our goal in life as a best friend and as a married couple wherever the journey lead us.

Happily married woman,

Elsa

Trip to Pandanon Island

During the course of a month we meet many newcomers to Cebu as clients for our services, and many have become our friends. Often people come here and are not sure where to go to meet friends who share the same interests as them: many end up staying at home lonely and bored. One of the things we try to do is to introduce like-minded people to each other. This is not part of our fee-paying service but rather something we do because we enjoy meeting people socially as well as during business hours. After we make the introductions, it is up to them whether they take it any further. Here I should explain, this is not a dating service – we don’t introduce men to women, or men to men for sexual relationships, but rather couples to other couples or single men to other “good blokes”.

We recently went on a boat trip with a group of friends, many of whom were initially our clients to Pandanon Island which is about half way between Cebu and Bohol. It is a tiny island with a few local fisherman as inhabitants. It has beautiful, almost white sand and nothing to do except swim and relax.

We left Cebu around 10am and, after a 45 minute trip across an absolutely flat calm sea, arrived on the island. Feeling like English gentry from a past era, we disembarked the boat via a narrow, wobbly gang plank and made our way to our prebooked Nipa hut, while the boatmen carried all our heavy baggage – food and drinks – for us. After a few beers and some food – traditional lechon manok and lechon baboy plus rice of course – we started a game of volleyball at the net set up already on the beach. Initially for fun, it became more competitive and raucous as time wore on. Not used to such strenuous exercise, neither Elsa or I could move any of our limbs the next day!

More beer followed by a dip in the warm clear waters, some snorkeling and then more beers!

As they day wore on new friendships blossomed, cell numbers were exchanged and future social events were planned.

Around 4pm the captain of the boat suggested we head back as the wind was picking up and a large storm was gathering on the horizon. A slightly rougher trip back, warm good-byes and promises to meet again this week.

A GREAT DAY with GREAT PEOPLE.

About 20 of us went and the total cost, including food and drinks was around 650p a head.

Balamban Trip

It was a normal, bright , sunny morning as we left our house around 7am heading to Balamban on the west coast of the island of Cebu to “test drive” our good friend Lars’ new venture – “Native Getaways”. Lars had moved to a small fishing village called Matab-Ang about 2 months previously and had decided he would create a new experience for visitors to the Philippines by giving them the chance to live among and in the style of the locals.

So we didn’t know what to expect as we headed out of Cebu on the Trans Central Highway, leaving behind the hustle and bustle of city life and climbing the long steep hill up to the “Tops” lookout. We were on one of our 125cc motorbikes and the view became more spectacular and the temperature much colder, the further up we went.. The road is well maintained and a joy to travel by bike – long sweeping curves and some tight hairpin bends!

After 33kms we stopped at The Adventure Cafe, which Lars had recommended for breakfast and a coffee. There were already some bikers there and our little Kawasaki looked slightly out of place amongst the big Harley Davidsons and BMWs parked outside. The meal was good and excellent value for money at around 150p a main course. We then joined the others bikers taking the Zip Line that the cafe operates. It cost 150p each, 100p during the week, for two rides there and back, and I am still slightly deaf from the screams of Elsa as she went down the line for the first time. Her trip back was slightly less noisy, but there were many complaints from the local roosters who said they were woken up by her screams.

So far the weather had been perfect, but about 2 kms after leaving the cafe the heavens opened up and we were caught up in one of the typically heavy tropical downpours that hit Cebu at this time of year. We stopped to put on our wet weather gear and carried on with our journey. However the rain made the already difficult road back down the mountain very treacherous. A few months before a bus had gone over the edge of this part of the road killing many people and the wreckage is still there beside the road, serving as a reminder to drivers to slow down and use a low gear. We reached Balamban about 9.30, turned left and drove a further 10kms to Lars place just as the rain stopped and the sun came out again.

We parked the bike in the middle of a group of “houses” right on the beach, about 10m from the sea and unpacked our gear into our wooden house. Inside is was quite large, about 5m x 5m, with a dining area, raised lounge and separate bedroom..Lars served me an ice cold beer and Elsa a soft drink an we settled down in the “payag” outside his house for a chat and a few more beers. Lars explained we could eat the local fare from the carendaria or he could make us a ham, cheese and salad sandwich in a baguette – we chose the baguette and it was delicious washed down with a bottle of white wine. After a swim and some snorkeling at the beach in front of our house we decided to take a nap to recover from the trip; or maybe it was the wine I was recovering from!!!

The house, as I said, is right on the beach, in the middle of a fishing village. It has a basic toilet, a bedroom with a double bed and a table and chairs for eating. It has no windows, so the cooling sea breeze takes the place of air conditioning and keeps it relatively cool.

If you want a shower you have 3 options:-
– A swim in the sea
– Get a bucket and scoop from Lars and wash right
outside the house
– Join the locals at the well pulling up water in
buckets on rope and washing there with them all.

As the sun was going down, Lars woke us to go out on his father in law’s pump boat to look for dolphins. It was a beautiful trip across the flat calm sea watching the sun go down over the mountains of Negros, an island about an hours boat ride from Cebu island. That night we didn’t see any dolphins but Lars reckons you have an 80%+ chance of seeing them and this is confirmed by several friends who have been there since. We did however stop to buy a couple of large tuna from a fisherman out in the middle of the channel – talk about fresh fish.

Some of the fish Lars prepared as sashimi, which Elsa didn’t like, and the rest was BBQ’d by one of the locals. A few more beers and it was off to the local karaoke place where we sang well in to the night.

After a breakfast cooked for us the next morning and a quick swim, we headed to the nearby town of Toledo to do some sightseeing and shopping.

All too soon it was time to head back to Cebu City before it got dark, but not before some more karaoke on the beach with the local fishermen.

We left about 3pm and were home before 5pm.

A fantastic trip.

This adventure isn’t for everyone! But for me it was a real eye-opener. I have lived in Cebu fro 3 years now and have always lived “in the local community” rather than in a walled sub-division with a guard at the gatehouse. I have also spent a lot of time in some of the poorer areas visiting friends and sharing their food and hospitality, but I had never before lived a lifestyle this close to that of the ordinary Filipino.

Although living with the locals, the visitor to Lars’ place can choose to eat the local fresh caught produce or have him prepare something of a more western style. He also runs the local Sari-sari store and sells beer and supplies at the same price as to the locals. From memory, a San Mig Pilsen costs about 25p – maybe less.

For the more adventurous of you, I thoroughly recommend a trip across the mountain on a bike and a couple of nights getting to know the real Philippines. Lars was an excellent host who knew when you wanted company and also when you wanted privacy. If you would like to share our experience, you can contact Lars at lars@ycebu.com

Thanks