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Why You Should Skip Manila – But Definitely See The Philippines Islands

  Skip Manila in the Philippines. It is a big, noisy, busy, dumpy, dirty city. Sorry to be so blunt, but that is the truth. Unless you like big, noisy, busy, dumpy cities, that is.     Leaving El Nido   Leaving the fantastic islands of El Nido, Philippines, was difficult, and as we flew over the Philippines towards Manilla, it was with a wistful goodbye. We will always remember these gorgeous plush lagoons and islands.   When we were told that El Nido was voted the best island in the world, we were a bit doubtful. We thought the … More…

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El Nido Videos: Above and Beyond To Cruel and Unusual

    Arrival El Nido Airport   The Philippines were gorgeous. We can never forget the amazing colours of the ocean or the sweet people, but something else pops into our heads as soon as someone mentions El Nido, Philippines. The lovely welcome and the not-so-lovely departure from El Nido Airport. We’ve mentioned this in earlier posts (Getting To The Best Island In The World), but we also want to share our videos of arrival and departure with you so you can truly feel a connection to these experiences, and just so you know what to expect if you go to El … More…

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El Nido, Philippines: Pompous Roosters, Leaping Geckos and a Heartbreaking Story

  As one of the most beautiful places on earth, El Nido was a week of pure indulgence. Relaxing in a hammock, staring out across an aquamarine bay studded with gorgeous islands, tucking into a good novel, eating great food, and with barely anyone else there, what could be better than that?    Really Fresh Chicken For Dinner Of course there were a few surprises. Like the day we were sitting in the restaurant of our resort, Garden Bay Beach Resort, wide shutters open to a soft breeze on a warm day, when we heard a fluttery noise nearby. Looking … More…

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5 Jaw-Droppingly Stunning Islands of Palawan, Philippines

    Dazzling Colours   5 of the most stunning islands in the world are off El Nido, on Palawan Island in the Philippines. Majestic and breath-taking views in every direction simply made this one of the most memorable tours (and we usually dislike tours) that we have ever taken. Simply jaw-dropping.   We hope our photos demonstrate the true beauty of El Nido, Palawan Island, and the stunning islands surrounding it. Palawan Island was named the best island in the world by Travel + Leisure Magazine, 2016.   We were skeptical, but now we have to agree.   The jaw-dropping and changing … More…

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Getting To The Best Island In The World: El Nido, Palawan Island, Philippines

  Cebu to El Nido   We were on our way to El Nido, Palawan Island, Philippines, voted as holding the #1 spot for the “best island in the world” (Travel + Leisure Magazine), 2016.    Arriving at Cebu Airport for our flight to El Nido, there were colourful shops with every kind of Filipino packaged foods and snacks. One shop even had the Filipino delicacy, Lechon, proudly displayed in an airport shop window. Lechon is a special dish where the entire pig is spit-roasted over coals, with the crisp, golden-brown skin served with liver sauce.   We had to take a … More…

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S. E. Asia: “99% Of What We Worry About Never Happens”

  Malaria   As many of us have said before,   “99% of what we worry about never happens, and the other 1% we can handle.”   And so it was with our fears of Malaria, and fears of the side-effects of the drugs to prevent Malaria. It’s a well-known fact that some of them make you feel really sick, and who wants that to ruin your trip.   First of all, I was given Doxycycline, an antibiotic that apparently is also effective against Malaria, but not with the adverse effects of Malarone or Choroquine or Mefloquine. It was great. … More…

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Philippines: DapDap, Lapu Lapu

  DapDap, Lapu Lapu has such a nice ring to it that I went around repeating it over and over again like a 7-year-old. It sounds like a child’s song. “DapDap, Lapu Lapu… DapDap, Lapu Lapu…DapDap, Lapu Lapu…”   The address of our hotel in Cebu, Philippines was Dap-Dap, Lapu Lapu City, Cebu, Mactan Island, Philippines.    Losing My Shoes On The Long-Haul Flight After a gruelling 25 hours of flying across Canada and across the vast Pacific Ocean to Cebu, Philippines, we had barely slept. It was strange with the time difference – we had left Monday night yet … More…

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Maybe I’m A Little Slow, But SEO…

Maybe I’m A Little Slow, But… Maybe I’m A Little Slow OK, maybe I’m a little slow, but I have been posting faithfully each week on my blog for over three years, and I still can’t figure out all this SEO (Search Engine Optimization) stuff. I have an education and have been complimented on my tenacity and ability to figure things out, but figuring out key words (but not using too many), and using dynamic titles and eye-catching photos (but not too few), and link-building (but not too many) is driving me crazy. What the heck are SERP’s anyway?    Oh, and … More…

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ASIA Super Trip: Our Greatest Fear

S. E. Asia Super Trip - Our Greatest Fear

  Last Long-Haul Trip   We’re going on our very last long haul trip over the Pacific Ocean to S.E. Asia – our Asia Super Trip is what we’re calling it.   It’s our last long plane trip because it is just getting too hard to be on a plane for three-quarters of a day. Travel is not much fun when it becomes an endurance test, so a word of caution to all travellers – do the long distance 10-15 hour-flight travel while you are young, save the 2-6 hour flights for later.  Requesting Your Advice for Asia Super Trip   … More…

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Spread A Little Happiness

Spread A Little Happiness

  Something Happens to People at Christmas   It happens to people when they start thinking about the joy people will experience from the gifts they will give.   They suddenly feel kinder, more generous, more caring. They want to spread a little happiness!   It should happen all year round, but the thought that we should do a good deed or spread a little happiness every day might pop into our heads, but then it promptly leaves when our busy lives take over.     If Kids Can Do It…   Some of the things people in our local communities are doing to spread … More…

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A Land Where Big Women are the Most Beautiful

A Land Where Big Women Are Most Beautiful

  The Women of Tonga   The women in the Kingdom of Tonga are beautiful and large. Many are over six feet all and well over two hundred pounds.   In fact, the bigger you are in Tonga, the more respect you have.   That’s a hard concept for people in North America – a place where slim and skinny are preferred by both men and women –  to grasp. Fat people have little prestige in North America, the exact opposite of the cultural norm in Tonga.   Even in beauty contests in Tonga, slim women are not considered to possess … More…

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19 Ways To Spend Less On Gifts

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  We all wish we were multi-millionaires at Christmas and that money was no object when buying gifts. Millionaire Unfortunately, most of us do not have unlimited funds (however much we fantasize about winning a lottery), and we could all use a few tips, and a few hundred extra dollars, on how to spend less on gifts for Christmas. Saving money Here are a few suggestions. This list is by no means exhaustive so feel free to share your tips with the rest of our readers. My Idea Make a list of those lucky People who will get gifts from you.  Send an email asking for Wish Lists by the … More…

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How to Overcome Your Fear of Spiders

  I have always been afraid of spiders – I’m not sure why, but they just seem creepy.    There are no dangerous wild animals in Tonga, and not many bugs, but they do have harmless spiders.     Ouleva Island, Tonga   We were on an uninhabited island, Ouleva, in the Haap’ai Group, an absolutely breathtaking island with white powder beaches and crystal clear turquoise water. We had this gorgeous Tongan island all to ourselves.  Tonga – Ouleva Island Tonga – Ouleva Island I had read that there is only a big centipede (“molokau”), that had a painful bite, and a few … More…

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Tonga: “But I’m Not a Pilot!”

Tonga Islands Aerial View

    Tonga: Going to Ouleva Island   We were flying from the Vava’u Group in Tonga to the Haap’ai Group, where we had arrangements to take a boat to an uninhabited island, Ouleva.   At the airport, as we walked out to our small 8-seater plane, I noticed the pilot was actually leaning out over the nose cone of the plane cleaning the windshield! Tonga Pilot Tongan plane   But I’m Not a Pilot   A few minutes later, I was standing outside waiting my turn to go up the stairs into the plane, when the pilot came over, pulled me aside, and … More…

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Tonga: Invitation To A Kava Ceremony

  Tonga is probably our favourite place in the world; a gorgeous chain of South Pacific islands with crystal clear turquoise water, white sand beaches, and sweet people. It’s the kind of place that is in your travel dreams. Tonga: Vava’u Group of Islands   The second island we stayed on was in the Vava’u Group of islands, at Talihau Beach, at Lucky’s Beach Cabins. In Vava’u it was unusually hot, but we had a lovely fale (small house) at the end of a peninsula where there was the perfect cool breeze blowing off the point, and a gorgeous blue lagoon.   Talihau’s … More…

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How To Kill A Tongan

  Our taxi driver from town was hilarious.   “How do you know when a Tongan has had enough to eat?” he says, grinning.   Since the larger you are in Tonga, the more prestige you have, we were curious to hear the answer.   “When he only has enough room for…   one more plateful!!!”   He laughs heartily. We laugh with him.     Tongan Sense of Humour   All of the Tongans we met had a big broad smile and laughed easily. We thoroughly enjoyed their easy sense of humour. How much fun it is to be … More…

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OH CANADA! #1 World Destination For Travel

Bear In Purple Flowers Yuko

Yes! Lonely Planet has just named CANADA as the number one travel destination in 2017.   Don’t you just love it?! Well, especially if you are a Canadian, that is.     Canadian Pride   They say Canadians don’t have an abundance of national pride. That just might be because we are also known as a modest and polite group of people. We don’t like to brag. But hey, if you feel like this is a day that deserves a little chest-busting, I think it would be A-OK. Photo credit Mat Kelman Canadians, let the good word be known: Canada is … More…

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Where On Earth Is The Kingdom of Tonga?

  Ever since taking an anthropology class at university, and reading about the Kingdom of Tonga, I had longed to go there.  Kingdom of Tonga   Anthropology of the Kingdom of Tonga   Reading that the bigger you are in Tonga, the more prestige you have, shocked me. There was also something about cultural sexual norms hundreds of years ago that included encouraging teenagers to experiment with both sexes. Interesting.  And many many years ago – cannibalism was the norm in Tonga.   The people were family oriented, gentle and super friendly! Then there was the intrigue of pristine, crowd-less and peaceful Polynesian … More…

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The #1 Thing New Website Owners Need To Know

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  There are a million things to learn when setting up a word press website. Let me say first that while setting up my website, it was so frustrating that I almost gave up. Even for a computer-literate, detail-oriented person, it can be one of the most challenging jobs you’ve ever set out to complete.   Of course there are simpler instant website services, but WordPress offers literally thousands of plugins to adapt your site to whatever you want and need. Personally, I like having many options and choices to tailor my website to exactly what I need it to do. … More…

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Tonga: The Sexiest Men In The World

Sexy smiling Tongan man at Kava Ceremony

 <a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/14946963/?claim=p7xrnf7smrm”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>   First of all, there is something I need to explain. What you are about to discover is that in this country…. … the bigger and the broader you are, the more prestige you have!   Quite a reversal from the cultural expectations in North America! Every time I tell someone about the big men and women on this South Pacific Island nation, especially women, they say, “I want to move there!” And well anyone might want to just that.  It is jaw-dropping beautiful! This is Tonga.     People in Tonga are enormous, often … More…

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