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The Philippines…PART 3

Next morning we got up leisurely, had a cup of tea in bed whilst reading a book and then had a nice long shower….said no parent ever!!

We got woken up by the smell of children’s poo (ours) at 5am, rinsed the all-you-can-eat breakfast one more time, Kitt sat in his throne and chucked pancakes on the floor one last time, and we played in the paradise pool one last time. Then we hit the road.

We arrived at Bohol ferry port to get out boat across to Siquijor (pronounced ciggi- WHORE…true story). This tiny island was known for witchcraft and magic. I was intrigued, mainly to see if I could put a love spell on Rich so he thought I was hot-stuff again. The ferry port was a hustle and bustle of sweaty backpackers (carnage, but I liked it) and for the first time on the trip, I really felt like a backpacker again. That familiar carefree, nomad, adventurous, content feeling washed over me…albeit with 2 agitated whipper snappers in tow. Yes, most of our fellow backpackers were young, 20-something, tanned, beautiful specimens (could actually be on Love Island), but it didn’t seem to matter. I’m sure they were giving us looks of admiration?! Or it was a contraceptive seeing us, not sure. However, my eyes were drawn to other backpacking families. There weren’t many, maybe 2? But to me THEY looked like the cool ones in the crowd. Their tanned kids with wild hair, the parents super chilled with travely clothes that they probably picked up from a street stall in Vietnam……..They oozed freedom from every inch of their bodies and seem so far away from the “bedtime routine” and “school phonics” it was unreal.  I decided in that moment that THIS is my life goal. I WANT TO BE A COOL BACKPACKING FAMILY. The nicest thing was that you end up making eye contact with the other back-packing families very easily, and giving each other a knowing nod. Sort of like the nod that Subaru drivers give each other. It’s like a mutual respect and understanding that back packing with kids is fucking hard, but amazing, and totally do-able.

Anyway, we boarded the ferry, totally prepared with sick bags and spare clothes for pukey Arlo. We were pleasantly surprised with no pukes and the boys semi staying in seats (well seated area). We even enjoyed a chocolate Oreo.

We arrived into the port in Siquijor. I instantly knew we had picked the right place. There was a buzz of excitement and colour, and beautiful beautiful backdrops. For the first time this trip, our transfer was actually waiting for us. We had our very own Jeepney to Arlos delight. And, even though the ride was bumpier that a camel’s back, both boys fell asleep and Rich and I got our first glimpse of this quirky yet beautiful little island. And again, for maybe the 5th time this trip, I cried! THIS is what life is about. Showing your kids the world….well if they hadn’t been asleep!!

It had all been a little sketchy setting up our accommodation here, but it was perfect. A wooden shack right on the beach and 10 metres away from the pool. It was like stepping into a postcard, topped off with and over hanging palm tree (which was to feature in 263740 of my photos), coconuts and hammocks on the beach.

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We used the beach shack as our base for a few days and did lots of little adventurous from here. We hired a kayak (after persuading the guy that Arlo wouldn’t jump out to be eaten by sharks) and did laps of the bay. Not really my thing but good for the Instagram. Arlo LOVED it, Kitt tried to eat a jelly fish

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During our time here we played with coconuts on the beach, made weird flower wand things, went for 7am dips in deserted waters, found cool little restaurants, visited different beaches, watched dreamy sunsets, played in sandy playgrounds, went to little markets, napped in old school cots (Kitt) and went out on trikes just for the lols. I was really keen to go and see a wizard in the middle of the island to have my future told….Rich wasn’t keen. But I did manage to persuade Rich to take my “breastfeeding on a beach” photo that I really wanted.

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My favourite part of our time on the island was the day we went to the waterfalls……

You hire your own trike for the whole day and you pretty much drive around the entire isnad, stopping off wherever you want. So first we were asked if we wanted to stop off at a “spa”…HELL YEH! Not quite what I had in mind. It was a pool of ferocious fish with red eyes and fangs, foaming at the mouth (just normal fish but I have a fish phobia-long story). But when in Rome…..so I dived straight in. Well, dipped my feet. I think my feet look better now?! Youthful??! Kitt was 100% braver than me.

The next stop was the famous waterfalls. And everyone knows what happened last time I stood under “magic” waterfalls (bun-in-oven). It was a pretty gnarly climb down, I was trying to film for my Insta stories and realised that this was in fact not a good idea. Actually, didn’t see any other kids as young as ours trekking down to the waterfall. I felt pretty hardcore. The trees cleared and it was the most beautiful sight of glistening waterfalls, big lagoons and people swimming and bathing everywhere. There were rafts and best of all….rope swings. We choose the quietest waterfall to start and played on the raft and Arlo dunked his head under the water fall (he asked!). Rich had a go on the SMALL rope swing…..I was saving myself for the big dog! Obviously, Rich needed to warm up on the SMALL one first.

We moved into the big lagoon, and the big rope swing. I tested it out for Rich and went first. Under strict instructions “not to do anything silly as I was here with my kids”???!!! Guess he does know me. So I saved my quadruple backflip for another time and just swang and jumped into the water. LOVED IT. Thought I had lost my bikini for a second but it was just “displaced”. Rich had a go….now he knew it was safe.

We spent a couple of hours there and then hit the road again.

I can report, the “magic” waterfall didn’t have the same outcome as last time, phew

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We went to another beach with huge slides and cliff jumping into the water, but boycotted that one as the boys were “on the edge” literally. Saw a lady breastfeeding her toddler on the side of the road with the rice paddies behind her. I gave her a little smile and nod, she probably thought I was totally weird but I just thought she looked so beautiful and I was swept away with a hippy-jippy travelling moment. She was actually the only person I saw BF the whole time we were in The Philippines.

Anyway, I had an actual drink that night (I don’t drink!), 1 mojito. then had to take myself back to the hut as I felt familiar old feelings that I wanted to go clubbing and dance on tables. Oh dear Katie.

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Then it was time to move on again. I really freaked out though as we were due to fly to Manila in a couple of days and we had just heard that there had been an earthquake there, 6.5 on the richter scale. The word tsunami springs to mind. I definitely worry more about things now I have kids. I thought I would pack an emergency evacuation bag…just in case. But didn’t really know what goes in one of these. So I packed snacks, mascara, the iPad, passports, nappies, wetwipes, toothbrushes and toy diggers. All bases covered

We didn’t need the emergency evacuation bag. And when we got to manila it was like nothing had even happened. Guess they have to deal with this kind of stuff all the time.

We said a tearful goodbye to all of Arlo and Kitts girl fan club at the place we were staying (they gave Arlo free orange juices the whole time we were there) and headed back to the ferry back to Bohol.

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The ferry back was not so successful as on the way there. 5 mins in we saw some dolphins, it was beautiful. Then Arlo puked everywhere. I took him to the back of the boat and held him over a black bin. Kitt wanted boob so fed him at the same time as holding puking Arlo. Then I was sick in my mouth a little. The sea was so rough.

I didn’t even get a photo of this. Didn’t feel so clever and backpackery now

Hair update….not even bothering to brush it

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Final instalment coming soon……..last leg of trip, did the love potion work on Rich, weirdest accom ever, Manila, flight home and WHY travelling with 2 kids is easier than being at home……

 

 

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The Philippines… PART 2

Next stop…..Bohol

(not to be pronounced “bow-hole”- people will look at you funny)

The wedded couple, my mum and dad, Rich and I and the 2 boys all set off for a little island off the coast of Cebu. It was only an hour or so flight away which was literally a breeze compared to 14 hours. The children were almost enjoyable on this flight. The only hard thing was that yet again we had run out of nappies but also (holy shit), wet wipes!! Weirdly these things are not easy to get hold of in the Philippines. Managed to locate both of the above at the airport finally. They were kept hidden “behind the counter” in a random shop. Had to ask for them and the ladies exchanged a “look”. Felt like I was buying Crack.

Landed in beautiful Bohol. Already it felt more “travelly” than Davao. We had all booked to stay in different places on the island. This was due to different budgets/criteria’s, but mainly to give the newlyweds some romantic time together (you know, the sort of married bliss that doesn’t involve children shitting on a sun bed and pulling your swimmers down in public). My parents didn’t require accom with pool to keep ginger children cool. A must for us.

When booking our accommodation back in the UK, I had got swept away with the prospect of being a hippy traveller and “we don’t need anything fancy, we just need each other”….and ….”memories are made from experiences, not from nice hotels”…..so had booked some budget accommodation. Cheap skate. We arrived and actually it was really lush. The pool area and restaurant was lovely and there were lots of cats (with rabies?). We paid up BEFORE being shown to the room. Massive school boy error. I forgot when we used to travel that we always checked out the room first. HELLO COCKROACHES.

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We used to stay in some pretty grotty places before kids…..like the one with frogs living in the toilet that you had to try and time your “toilet time” so they didn’t jump up your bum. Or the room with “half a roof for half the rent”. But we just sucked it up as it was cheap. I definitely began to realise that we just couldn’t do this with the kids now. Kitt wanted the cockroaches to be his friends and pretty sure Arlo wanted to eat them. They were crawling everywhere. Just freaked me out that they would land on the boys in their sleep. Plus HELLO BEDBUGS. Itching and squirming all night long. Kitt was still really poorly and there was no aircon (it was 37’). We stomached 2 nights then we bailed.

They did have great Pizza though. This had become the boys staple diet. Also could walk to a nice beach:)

During the skank-fest, Kitt was getting worse again. So I decided to take him to hospital. ROAD TRIP!! Actually, a great way to see more of the island and local way of life (zero westerners at hospital), but obviously for a shit reason. Just felt so bad for him and he was so unhappy which is not like him. Turns out best decision as the first lot of medicine he was on was making him worse. So got new drugs and Kitt got some new friends. A little girl was sharing her snacks with him in the waiting room, I was trying to figure out how poorly she was and whether Kitt should be sharing her snacks .But before I could think, they had already shared some slobbery snacks and a little cuddle. Only time would tell. What do you do in this situation???

Kitt had a whale of a time in hospital and didn’t seem poorly at all!!! Sods law

Whilst me and Kitt were in hospital, Arlo was living his BEST live and had his first (of 4643920) rides in a Trike.

The cocky Cockroach pit a distant memory, hero Rich had moved all of our stuff to a new place. OMG it was bloody lush. So out of our league and so beautiful. Words can’t even describe how nice it was….the pool, the beach, the food, the room, the staff, the view. So well set up for kids. It’s amazing what a difference a bed bug free bed  and decent accom can make, even though I did feel like I was cheating somehow.

The next few days we focused on getting Kitt better. Chilled days, lots of naps, lots of water, new medicine and lots of milk (boobs), thank god I still had this to go to.  The staff even gave Kitt a ‘throne” for breakfast everyday which I think help his mental state. Took it in turns to take Arlo out on Kitts nap time ie: felt guilty the focus had been on Kitt so fed Arlo ice-cream. We went on some little trips out on the trikes but mainly *chilled by the pool and beach and in the hammocks/ next to toy diggers and beach bar . I may have even had a sip of a Mojito one evening, shhhhhhh.

* I mean run around after the boys trying to stop them eating sand and jumping in pool- but we were in the vicinity of the pool and beach……again, how do parents tan on holiday???

I feel my hair deserves a mention at this point. I had made an executive decision not to bring hair straighteners with me and go au-naturel. By this point I had also given up brushing it to go for the “I think I’m a cool surfer chick” look

It was getting bigger and bigger and bigger…….

We had all this stuff planned in Bohol but sacked it all off to get Kitt back on track. Really is so different with kids, def their health and happiness first. I had to remember that I wasn’t a 20 something back-packer anymore with henna tattoos and an infected dodgy nose piercing. We shall just have to go back to do the “Chocolate Hills” and “Root Climbing” next time. In hindsight, I think trying to explain to Arlo that the Chocolate Hills WEREN’T actually made out of chocolate would have been very difficult. Dodged a bullet there.

Kitt finally better, and Arlo finally getting a semi sun tan, (well freckles) time had come to say goodbye to my parents (off to Nepal!) and my brother and his new wife. So sad as you just don’t know when the next time you will see them again. Who knows, maybe next time they will have children (hint hint) as long as we hadn’t put them off

I ate lots of chocolate that’s night:(

Couple more days in paradise then it was time to hit the road again. Arlo said an emotional goodbye to his girlfriend from Honk Kong (well emotional on her side, he had a girl in every town) and we tucked in for our last night in Bohol.

We got moved to a different room- equally as lush. The bed was fricking HUGE. That night we all slept in the same bed, zero sleep was had obviously but I remember feeling so happy and content that everything I needed was right next to me

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Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

 

PART 3 coming soon…….actually might be 4 parts all together as so much more to tell!