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Reblogged: Weekend in the Village (Part 1 – A day in the Life)

Reblogged is a series of blog posts on my life in India coming from the weblogs I set-up. It’s an attempt to put the stories all in one place! The post Weekend in the Village (Part 1 – A Day in the Life…) was originally posted on May 9, 2013 via the Project365: Volunteers for Change weblog I set-up with my VSO volunteer batch. I spent a weekend with the family of my colleague and friend Charu at her mother’s hometown in Taloshi, Mahad, Maharashtra. This is a two-part story for the events and scenes from May 4-8.

Early morning trek into the mountains

Many volunteers here in India are based in rural areas, if not in State capitals that would seem laid back if compared to the fast-paced life in mega cities. I am among the few who are based in mega cities like Delhi and, in my case, Mumbai. Well, technically, I am based in Navi Mumbai, more or less 30 minutes outside Mumbai. In any case, what I am driving at is I live in the city where everything is available–running hot and cold water, air conditioner, cold filtered water, English-style T&B (a necessity for most volunteers), internet, cable TV, restaurants, supermarkets, cinemas, etc. In short, one may say that I have no right to complain about my placement in terms of location. Continue reading

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#100Days Photo 23: Bohol Sea, Tagbilaran, Visayas, Philippines

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I like sunsets a lot and while I find sunrises equally magnificent, there were just a few times when I was able to summon willpower to wake up that early, and the chance to see the dolphins of Bohol Sea was one. Twas back in early 2011 when, with a group of friends, we woke up before dawn and set sail to cruise the Bohol Sea and search for one of nature’s darling creatures in their natural habitat. From Alona Beach in Panglao island, it took a while before we reached the dolphins but it was a rather smooth sailing journey (perhaps coz weather in that time of year was [used to be] quite cooperative. The breaking dawn (sans vampires) and watching the dolphins (though they weren’t all jumping/flying up and down) of Bohol Sea followed by a Balicasag Island snorkeling was indeed worth the early morning wake up call!

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#100Days Photo 22: Dona Paula Bay, Goa, India

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A Portuguese aristocrat girl falling madly in love with a local  Goa fisherman (a love story), then choosing to take her own life by jumping from a cliff when their relationship was forbidden (a tragedy), and centuries after mesmerizing, or haunting, tourists or locals as she emerges from the sea amidst the moonlit waves, wearing nothing but a pearl necklace (a myth) — this is the story of Dona Paula. Well, at least the version that adds a romantic flair to its namesake scenic tourist destination in the suburban district of the capital city Panaji (or Panjim) in Goa, West India. I never really saw the statue of Dona Paula when I arrived at Ashwin and Aki’s place along the Dona Paula Bay with my VSO co-vol/CS buddy Rajie and our Goan CS host Warren, nor did I hear the tale about the statues watching over the Mandori and Zuari Rivers as they unite with the Arabian Sea. However, even when there is already a proven historical account of the life and existence of Dona Paula Amaral Antonio de Souto Maior, I don’t fault the townsfolk or the tour guides if they choose to tell the romantic story instead. While the Dona Paula Bay and its natural beauty can’t be denied, a love story and a little mystery add to its charm, right? :)

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#100Days Photo 21: Lake Island Resort, Rizal, Philippines

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It was back in August 2011 during my VSO Bahaginan preparatory training when I first set foot on Lake Island. About 1.5-2 hours from Cubao (due to daytime traffic), this secluded and serene place is perfect for the purpose that it was built — a seminar and conference / retreat center. The Lake Island compound, in Binangonan, Rizal, is surrounded by lush trees, manicured grounds, flowering plants and of course, the calm man-made lake. All of the sleeping quarters are made of native materials — wooden walls and floors, bamboo beds, furniture and pillars, and nipa leaves for the roofing. The food served is always a delight, in its simplicity and freshness. Some of my favorites, I’ve been here three times (this photo taken in February 2014, 3rd visit), are the fried tilapia (pinaputok style), ensaladang camote tops, and the minatamis na saging! So, if you’re a group of friends or family wanting a relaxed and quiet weekend or a company looking for your next team building venue, consider heading out to Lake Island. :)

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#100Days Photo 20: Macau Tower and Sai Wan Bridge by the Zhujiang River, Macau

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If you’ve ever been to Macau, it’s almost impossible to miss the Macau Tower, standing tall against the historically quaint but rapidly urbanizing special administrative region. Located in the south side of Macau Peninsula, Macau Tower is among the most popular tourist spots and, of course, the most photographed as well. Coming from the Taipa district where our CouchSurfing host Darren lives, the Macau Tower and the Sai Wan Bridge is always a sight to behold, same way on the way back, day or night. As Leah and I cross the Zhujiang River estuary through the Governador Noble de Carvalho Bridge, I tried to hold my breath and made a wish. I don’t remember what it was anymore but I guess it must have come true, coz so far, it’s been really good. :) Maybe it was to go bungee jumping at the Macau Tower next time!

Life is short so take a leap of faith. Let’s wander, explore and discover. Come and journey with me.

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