Author: KennyG

Scent of the Orient

The start of a small pile
The start of a small pile

The Scent of the Orient, after a three year separation from the areas I most love on earth, I have been lucky enough to return too.  A little over three years ago I was convinced between family and friends to remain in Canada and give it an honest go, and see if I can find the happiness that I do when I live in Southeast Asia.  Well after an honest try, I find myself back in Southeast Asia, specifically the Philippines, and I am loving it.

It has taken me a while to realize that though all decisions are ones you learn from, I learned this time, I should have not stayed, and returned to my work in Cambodia, and just enjoy the time I have with close friends and colleagues.  What marks a return to a place that you love.  That is such a tough question to answer.  I remember back in 2010, I was on a Korean Airlines jet headed to Cambodia, and I remember the feeling of being at home surrounded by everyone on the plane.  The kindness, of strangers, something that is not all the often any longer in Canada, and if you call Vancouver home, it would not be something you would ever ever think of being.

It was not until recently I realised that one of the things that I love is what I call the Scent of the Orient.  Walking down the road, I could smell the odour of burning leaves, and trash on the side of the road.  Here, never sure where to deposit that candy wrapper or, chip bag, and then I realized the piles of debris on the side of the road is the trash collection effort, and then it is lit on fire.  There is not huge landfill per say nor is there often of scheduled pick up, it is taken care of each day, in the same spot and in the same manner.  I know there will be some Westerner that would condemn this as wrong or bad for the environment, but what about our huge landfills, that keep growing and growing, so much so, now we need to or are trying to discover a way to ship our garbage to neighboring towns and cities.

It does not matter to me really, but I do know one of the things I love about this part of the world, is the Scent of the Orient, which is as unique as the Sounds of the Orient…which will be something I else I may write about in the future.

Easy Diving and Beach Resort

Easy Divings Dive Center
Easy Divings Dive Center

We spent a fabulous time  at Easy Diving and Beach Resort from the 18th – 21 Dec, and what a fantastic time we had. This was a last minute booking for us as I thought we only had one day available since our week was pretty busy with Christmas agenda issues and we were expected back to work the next day, but we were able to swing a couple of days. Sadly I forget the name of the Filipina that we spoke to for the booking but she was very very helpful, and she was able to set things up for us and she was even more helpful when we decided to extend for a day, ensuring we were able to keep the same room.

We took a bus from Bacolod, and it easily took us about 5 – 6 hours to arrive in Sipalay. We were to be met at a drop off point by a Trike driver named Denmark but there was some confusion and we ended up taking one of the other Trikes that are there awaiting customers, and the price was the same as what it would have been if it was arranged by Easy Diving.

Local Boat at Sunset
Local Boat at Sunset

After an additional 30 minute trike ride we finally arrived at the gates of Easy Diving and Beach Resort and as with everything else things happened like clock work. One of the security guards assisted us with the bags, and delivered them directly to our room, and we actually made it in time for a late bite to eat. We got a quick tour of how to make it to our room, and we retired for a restful evening as it had been a long day.

We chose a Deluxe Room, so we could have a queen sized bed, the rates where PhP 2700 per night, and that came with Aircon and a mini bar, and I have to say it is half the price of the other Resort we looked at and after doing a little beach walk the rooms and the resort look a lot nicer. So I think we scored a big victory there.

Easy Diving's Boats
Easy Diving’s Boats

The first morning I spoke with one of the dive instructors named I do believe Carl, about taking my friend on a Discover Scuba Diving, as I am a PADI Course Director. I was very impressed, as I know what a hassle it can be for outside instructors to want to run things, he simply said he would ask the owner and let me know. Excellent, and he actually did exactly that. Christian, the owner of Easy Diving and Beach Resort, approached me later in the day and introduced himself and welcomed us to the resort which I felt was a nice warm touch. I can not say enough about the staff, especially the Filipina’s and Filipino’s which were very very helpful!!

If you are on Negros Occidental, and want a nice place to stay, don’t miss out on a chance for a little part of paradise!! I will be going back for another visit for sure!!

The Negros Museum

Part of the US exhbit
Part of the US exhibit

Yesterday turned out to be a great day here in Bacolod.  I had the opportunity to visit The Negros Museum which is located right next to the Hall of Justice on Gatuslao Street in downtown Bacolod.  Michelle and I had a few hours to kill before seeing the Judge, and discovered the museum was right next door so off we went.

I have had an opportunity to visit many museums around the world, and like most this was very interesting and certainly an enjoyable couple of hours spent exploring.  The Negros Museum is a small rather simple museum, but there was certainly some very powerful images and exhibits to be seen.  One I enjoyed very much was Toy Land, a very large sized room, filled with beautiful displays of toys from around the world.  As I suspect nothing there from Canada but there was an exhibit of toys from New Mexico in the United States, and sure enough there was an item there that I had bought, though not as a toy but it brought back fond memories.

If you have a couple of hours to kill, and want to take a walk through the museum, it is time well spent.  If I remember the tickets where P100 for adults and P70 for kids.  Don’t miss out, stop by and visit The Negros Museum.

Photo Gallery Update

Faces of Cambodia
Faces of Cambodia

RunAwayProp has had the opportunity to do a Photo Gallery Update with images from our time in Cambodia.  Cambodia was an amazing place to live.  Something like the wild west in some areas, and then in others, just a chilled relaxed place to spend my time.  I worked at EcoSea Dive center from 2010 – 2011, and it was an interesting time.  Some days very rewarding, and others very challenging.

Cambodia has a lot to offer the traveller with some of the most interesting historical sites, from a time in their history where the host heinous crimes against humanity occurred,  the temples are beautiful and people are so very friendly.  Pay attention of course to your belongs as they can go missing pretty quickly.

Diving here is very interesting, with low visibility but some amazing

Koh Run Samloem
Koh Run Samloem

macro life, muck diving heaven if you are into it.  If you are planning on big visibility and huge pelagics you will be disappointed, but muck diving is the rage, in my opinion of course.   Be sure to carefully select your dive operator.  While working there, I was witness to some unethical behavior,  one liveaboard would pump their oily bilge water to the ocean, while on the reefs as long as the guests were underwater where it could not be witnessed, and the owner professes to be concerned about the environment.

If you have any questions be sure to let me know, and I hope you enjoy the Photo Gallery Update.

Jose Rizal

José Rizal
José Rizal

I had the privilege to spend a week in Manila the end of November, with a person from Cavite, and they were nice enough to accompany me on some sight seeing journeys.  The time was well spent, I was able to visit Fort Santiago, and Rizal Park.  This afforded me the chance to learn some of the history of the Philippines which I have found very enjoyable.  Specifically I learned some things about Jose Rizal.  I always kind of prided myself as a Canadian, we learned many things in High School History class about the various other countries and not just our own, but I have not had any schooling on the history of the Philippines.  Since I plan on trying to stay here for an extended stay, I think it would be valuable to learn more about the country where I will be staying.

Jose Rizal by all accounts died a martyr for his country, condemned to die at the hands of a
Spanish Firing Squad, for events he had nothing to do with.  I had the opportunity to walk through the Park named after Jose Rizal and to spend time at the memorial for him, but it

Fort .... Museum
Fort Santiago Museum

did not really all come home to me until I visited Fort Santiago and the museum that is there explaining his life story.  I found this a very moving visit, and I was able to read about his life and the way it ended.  If you are in Manila, and have an opportunity to visit the Park and Fort Santiago, be sure to do so.  I would give yourself and good 4 hours or more so you are not rushed, and you are able to take a read of the various placards that are devoted to Jose Rizal.

For more information you can visit this website, Jose Rizal Biography.

Cambodia

Cambodia Flag
Cambodia Flag

RunAway Prop is going to expand and discuss and show pictures from our time living and working in Cambodia.  My information will be a couple of years out of date.  Some of the players will have changed, but the game will be the same I can guarantee you.  I lived in Sihanoukville and worked with Scuba Nation Dive as well as Eco Sea Dive and sadly I was part of the conflicted that existed between the two places.  I will do my best to concentrate on stories of the beauty found in Cambodia, and not the silly little games that the Westerners would play.  Stop back sometime this week and I will do my best to have some posts completed.