“Paraiso tunay ang Palawan”

Weeks have been stacking but daydreaming has yet to come to an ease.
Consisting steadily by the same haunting ingredients:

19 people + TAO crew in a traditional Philippino bangka, with 1700 mostly uninhabited islands lying in front of the boat stern.
Floating in liquids while someone shifts their hue in Photoshop from emerald to turquoise and back.
Sunsets that downgrade surrealists’ imagination to prosaic.
Cold rainwater to shower away the sea-salt.
Woozy heads as a result of the “sun's down, rum’s up!” approach.
The bearing of the hut’s major horizontal axis pinpointing the sundown.
Torches on the ground, white & red snappers on fire.
Fireflies in the air, photolumiscent plankton in the sea, Milky Way on steroids in the sky.
Bad-tempered lizards that insist to spend the night together, then try to bite a toe when their accommodation plan is upgraded to a neighbouring tree.
Wave-breaking concertos throughout the night.
Blackbirds inviting everyone to rise.
Immersing at sea first thing in the morning without chilling effects.
Machetes transforming coconuts into breakfast bowls.
Wheat, mango, jungle honey and pancakes from banana hearts, consisting a killer breakfast.
Loooooong hammock swings while waiting for monsoonal thunderstorms to pass.
Knitting hats from coconut and banana leaves.
Rowing kayaks with the boat dog towards carte-postale shores.
Watching starfish stretching.
Tuna sashimi served in less than 120’’ from the actual tuna catch.
The bat-and-cricket choir of Cadlao Isla, crescendoing in favour of the newcomers.
Docking El Nido badged with a scar, a wound or a bruise more compared to what we left Coron with.
Stuck in mud in the middle of the road, one hour before the return flight.
Boarding passes made from wood.
Escaping the country a day before Koppu turns from a level-4 to a super typhoon.

The farewell song from the local ladies in El Nido airstrip had a refrain line that went something like: “Paraiso tunay ang Palawan…” .
At the time being, I reckoned this phrase to be a metaphor.
Now I know better.-

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