This is not a travel report, because nobody can come and stay here in any hotel or resort in and around the village of Calingnan (not even in the next small town Catubig). There are no beaches around either, only rivers and mountains. If you are looking for a place to go then better look-up some of the real travel reports.

The next major town is Catarman, the provincial capital of Northern Samar. It has an airport, two Visa ATMs, more banks though, a couple of small hotels and some Internet cafés, one supermarket, few austere restaurants and ... Jollybee (fast food chain). It takes one and a half hour by bus or jeepney to get there after 70km (on a sealed road, though).

West of Catarman are some beaches and also some, but very simple, resorts from where many interesting islands can be reached by boat. There will be another report about this area we toured around during our stay at some friends in 2005.

So what am I supposed to do in Calingnan? It's Joy's home village and it has also almost become my second home. When we are here, we live in her house, which has been built by her parents, who live in the adjacent house together with their son's family and the three children.

Click the small picture to get it enlarged

House of Joy Joy and me
The house is right at the road in the middle of the village which also stretches a little bit along a river. The surrounding is a beautiful countryside consisting of rice paddies and coconut palm plantations. Joy's parents are mainly coconut farmers owning some plantations in the mountains. The harvesting product is copra, which is used as a source of coconut oil or used for candies and baked goods, as everybody knows.
Surrounded by rice paddies and coconut plantations
Some shelter huts in between Children tending the Carabaos
The house contains all the appliances needed for a more or less comfortable living style: fridge, blender, toaster, microwave, rice cooker, gas burner, and fans. Aircon is not needed because the nights are comparatively cool, the days produce a nice breeze, and the rains refresh the air.

Only running water is missing in the house. Fresh water has to be carried in canisters (father and son's task) from a nearby faucet which is at the end of the pipe carrying fresh spring water from the mountains. Also, rain water is collected in rain barrels for toilet flushing and laundry washing. For our hot spring water shower twice a day we boil the water on the gas burner (and mix it with cold spring water, of course). Still purified water (from specialized outlets) is used for cooking and drinking (beside mineral water).

And for watching the news and movies, etc. there is also a Satellite-TV (with 38 channels including Deutsche Welle) and a DVD player, with a karaoke facility, of course. And last not least I can "work" (on my travel reports, etc.) and "study" (with Encarta and Britannica, etc.) at my laptop computer (also connected to the internet via a cellphone modem with 380 kbps) in "my study" upstairs which is also used as the dining room. The bedroom and the dressing room with closets are next door also on the upper floor.
The dining and study room is upstairs The living room on the first floor
Mosquitos? Actually none during the day. When they get active during the evening we put on socks and long pants, and use some repellent. During the night we sleep under a mosquito net. But neither the Anopheles (Malaria) nor the Aegypti (Dengue) mosquitos are around here. Our house gecko couple (each is around 25cm long) is also trying to reduce the mosquito and bug population.
This is our father (or mother?) gecko Joy's planting more and more pots
While I am reading (newspapers or currently the "Hunchback of Notre Dame") or "working" with my computer in the study, Joy is working in her garden with all the plants and flowers around.
Even using parents' patches for her plants Orchids already growing over her head
Her latest hobby is collecting (and planting and tending) orchids (aren't they beautiful?) now since shell seeking can not be pursued anymore, here in the mountains.
Joy's flying birds and her dancing dolls
It seemed to be some kind of a competition: Who has the most beautiful plants and flowers around the house? It's nice to look at all of them.
Neighbor's house opposite with a nice garden Another one along the road with a Sari Sari store
A Sari Sari store is a mom-and-pop store for various small merchandize like chips, sweets, detergent, soft drinks and rum and gin (if you ran out), etc.

Will there be another nice garden to join the competition with flowers planted in front of this house as soon as it is finished?
A new house is being built mostly from natural material
The poor family who lives in the next house will not win the flower competition. They rather are planting some vegetables to feed their many children.
House covered with Nipa and with one of the eight children
Children are many family's wealth. That may be true in a certain sense: as some kind of a social security. But with too many of them they will all get actually poorer and poorer.
Children, children, children Children in front of our house
But the Catholic Church does not seem to care. They have thwarted a birth control program initiated by the government. They actually should do more for the now living kids to have a decent future since the little Jesus child (Sto. Niño) is more worshipped than the adult Jesus as you can see from the banner of the drummer parade during a religious festival. And they may get a nicer church if more people with less children are able to donate more money for a better one.
Sto. Niño festival drummer parade Little Catholic Church in Calingnan
Ok, that ran a little bit off-course. But I cannot just overlook some of the miseries and injustices around. I actually only wanted to tell a little about our countryside living.

And there are some more things which can be done around here (though not that much): playing badminton or just walking around, or going up the river by boat to a waterfall or trekking in the mountains. The creeks up there still contain clean and clear water. Fresh water shrimps can be found there and some times we are able to buy a whole bunch for dinner from the boys coming down from there.

Talking about eating: most of the food we buy here is really fresh, even if we do not get everything all the time. Somebody slaughters a carabao (water buffalo) or a pig and we buy a piece here and there. Chicken are abound and a life chicken will be slaughtered just in time for dinner.

Fresh fish is not always available either, even if the sea is not so far. But I have also found a liking in dried fish (it stinks but tastes good, if you know how to prepare it).

Then, of course, a lot of and different kinds of vegetables, including potatoes, serve for many different dishes spiced with a lot of garlic, ginger, chilly, pepper, etc. And rice is the main staple, of course.

And last not least, we always have our American breakfast every day with eggs, bacon, butter, toast or "pan de sal" (rolls), cheese, jam and peanut butter etc., juice and also corn flakes and milk ... and not to forget: a lot of fresh fruits.

Ok, that's all for the time being. I hope it gives some impression of how we, Joy and I, live in this small countryside village, not so much of how I live together with all the local people around here, though.

Someday, I will write about "Living in the Philippines" in more detail.

© 2002 by WEW Tours