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Port barton palawan philippines
Port Barton 4 years ago

RO: La 3 dimineata, un miros de gaz amestecat cu plastic ars ne trezeste din somn. Luam lanterna, stabilim sa nu ne atingem de nimic si investigam totul la interior (nu de alta, dar avem doua butelii Petrol Gasul in apropiere). In fine, liber! Iesim in curte, nici urma de fum! Ochii ne ustura fantastic de tare, gatul ni s-a uscat si gura ni s-a facut punga. Ne culcam cum ne-am trezit! … “Pfoa, ce ciudat? Ce naiba o fi fost?!” …

Cateva saptamani mai tarziu, ne intalnim cu mirosul in plina zi. Un expat mai vechi prin zona isi pune mana la nas, se uita stanga-dreapta si se intreaba oare ce naiba o fi speriat sconcsul … Continua apoi o lunga poveste despre ei … curajul lor … . Noi derulam repede inapoi si o trecem pe lista de experiente. Dam fila mai departe… A trecut un de cand locuim in Port Barton, un fost sat pescaresc, la aproape 200 de kilometri de Puerto Princesa, in Palawan. Un copil ce viseaza sa fie El Nido dar nu recunoaste, abuzat de fratele mai mare, ce-si asuma ca atunci cand va fi adult va deveni Boracay. (Da, San Vicente, despre tine vorbim 🙂 )

EN: We were woken up by a smell of gas combined with burned plastic at 3 am. We take the flashlight, agree to not touch anything and investigate everything from inside (not to panic, but we have 2 Petrol Gasul gas tanks nearby). Anywho, the coast is clear! We step outside and there’s no sign of smoke. Our eyes are burning like crazy, our throats are dry and our mouths feel like we just ate a lemon. We go back to sleep and when we wake up we can only think… “Woah, that was so strange! What the hell was that?!”…

A few weeks later we encounter the smell in broad daylight. An expat that was a resident of the area for longer puts his hand to his nose, looks left and right and wonders what in the world scared the stink badger… He carries on with a long story about them… their courage… We rewind and add it to our list of experiences. We turn the page… It’s been a year since we lived in Port Barton, an ex fisherman’s village, nearly 200 km away from Puerto Princesa, in Palawan. A child dreaming to be El Nido, but will never admit it, abused by his older brother which admits the fact that as an adult, he will become Boracay. (Yes, San Vicente, it’s you we’re talking about 🙂 ).

port barton streets
The streets of Port Barton

RO: Inca ne mai miram cum am venit pregatiti pentru doar 12 ore de electricitate si cum, in energia momentului am crezut ca pot duce in spate serii intregi de episoade pe Youtube … Ce gluma! Un an de electricitate non-stop, Youtube-ul e tot un vis, Netflix-ul e un lux, in timp ce social media e un efort. Mii de oameni conectati la o singura antena GSM!!! … trageti voi concluziile. 

EN: We’re still starstruck by the fact that we came prepared for only 12 hours of electricity and how, in the energy of the moment, we thought we could carry a whole YouTube series…
What a joke! On year later of around the clock electricity, YouTube is still a dream, Netflix is a luxury, while Social Media is an effort. Thousands of people connected to a single GSM!!! antenna… you draw your own conclusions.

White Beach port barton philippines palawan
White beach, Port Barton

RO: Cand vine vorba despre Port Barton, experientele se impart in doua tabere: cele petrecute de turisti (am putea si aici sa ne ramificam pentru cei care vin o zi, doua sau o luna insa n-am vrea sa complicam prea tare lucrurile) si cele petrecute de expati (care-si duc existenta de un an, doi, 10, 30, care au sau nu afaceri in zona, care sunt casatoriti, au copii, etc). Ceea ce am trait ca turisti permanenti ai zonei, timp de 4 ani, nu se compara cu anul locuit aici, fie el si cu intreruperi. Amalgamul de sentimente e greu de trecut in cuvinte insa vom face un efort comun sa-l asternem cu cat mai multe detalii, cu bune si cu rele.

EN: When it comes to Port Barton, the experiences split into 2 categories: the ones with tourists (and here we could split it into those that come for a day, or two or a month, but we don’t want to over complicate things) and those with expats (who live here for a year, 2, 10, 30, who have or don’t have business in the area, married, with children, etc.).
What we lived as tourists for 4 years cannot compare with the year we lived here as residents. The plethora of feelings is hard to put into words but we will make a common effort to write it in as much detail as we can, good or bad.

bangka boat philippines palawan
Bangka Boat

RO: A trai momentul e un concept extraordinar atunci cand privesti oameni care fac asta. Aproape ca-ti doresti si tu. Nu, defapt, ce sa mai…chiar iti doresti! Problema e ca nu poti si n-o sa poti niciodata. Asa cum nici ei n-o sa poata sa transforme bukas-ul (ziua de maine) in certititudine. Daca esti obisnuit sa: platesti rate, chirii, sa faci controale medicale, sa ai responsabilitati de orice fel, sa stii ca daca nu ai tu, nu iti da nimeni, sa produci, sa cheltui, sa traiesti pentru bani, sa ai un program de orice fel, sa ai preocupari, sa-ti dezapezesti masina, sa platesti amenzi, taxe la stat, sa-ti doresti, sa sa sa sa, n-o sa-ti treaca niciodata prin cap c-ai putea de acum sa-ti traiesti viata in hamac, intre doi palmieri.  Noi doi nici atat, mai ales ca nu am vrut sa ne desprindem de nimic din ce lumea moderna ne ofera. Sau mai bine zis, n-am putut asa cum n-o sa putem niciodata sa fim mai neingrijiti doar pentru ca aici putem, mai nepasatori doar pentru ca avem cum, mai rai pentru ca am avea cu cine

EN: Living in the moment is an extraordinary concept when you look at people doing it. You almost wish you’d do it yourself. No, actually, let’s be honest… you do wish it! The problem is you can’t and never will. Same as they will never be able to transform the bukas (tomorrow) into a certainty. If you’re used to: paying mortgage, rent, going to regular checkups at your doctor’s office, have responsibilities of any kind, knowing that if you ain’t got it, no one will give it to you, earning, spending, living for money, having a schedule of any kind, get preoccupied, getting your car out of the snow, paying parking tickets, state taxes, wishing to, you’ll never get into your head that you could, from now on, live your life in a hammock between 2 palm trees.
We definitely couldn’t, especially since we didn’t want to let go of anything the modern world was offering us. Or better said, we couldn’t same as we will never be unkempt just because here we can, careless just because here we can or mean, just because there’d be people to be mean to here.

sunset picture
at Sunset

RO: Ideea de comunitate cu care am plecat in cap din Romania s-a naruit rapid. Am intalnit aici o societate cu toate stereotipurile sale, in forma cea mai concentrata. Impartim doua strazi cu avari, norocosi, baieti de bani gata, fugari, indragostiti, descurcareti, vizionari, ratati, investitori, muncitori, fosti corporatisti de succes, visatori, pierduti, viciosi, mincinosi, umbre,… toti curiosi, nesiguri si doritori sa moara putin, doar putin (de tot, dar sa nu stie nimeni) capra vecinului.

EN: The idea of community we left with from Romania was rapidly shattered. We encountered here a society full of its stereotypes, in concentrated form. We share 2 streets with cheesepares, lucky people, rich kids, castaways, lovers, hustlers, visionaries, losers, investors, workers, ex successful corporate people, dreamers, lost ones, addicts, liars, shadows… all curious, unsure of themselves and all of them very eager to see the other one fail just a little.

beautiful beach drone picture
White Beach, Port Barton

RO: Avem cel mai dulce somn din toate timpurile pe o saltea ordinara si pe niste perne de 3 pesos ce nici n-au auzit de spuma sau ioni de argint. N-am crezut insa niciodata ca va fi deranjat periodic de pisici. Defapt, n-am crezut niciodata ca pisicile pot fi atat de enervante! De ce va certaaaaatiiiii? Ce aveti de impartiiiiit?

EN: We sleep better than ever on a cheap mattress and 3 pesos worth of pillows that never heard of memory foam or silver ions. I never thought I’d be bothered by cats. Actually, I never thought cats could be so annoying! Why are you fightiiiing? What’s your beef?

Port Barton beach

RO: Port Bartonul are probleme de canalize la fel de mari precum are cu toti cainii. Alta asemanare ar fi ca nimeni nu recunoaste asta. Ai mai veni aici daca ti-as spune ca totul se varsa in golf si ca majoritatea cainilor au boli de piele? Ca toti cainii au stapan dar aici se tine in lant doar porcul si carabaoul? Daca ti-as spune, totusi, ca locul e inca un Paradis, ai zice ca sunt bipolara?:)) 

EN: Port Barton has sewage problems as big as the dog problem. Another similarity, not that anyone would admit it. Would you still come here if I told you that all of the sewage goes into the gulf and that most dogs have skin diseases? That even though all dogs have an owner, only the pigs and the carabao are enclosed? If I told you that still, this place is a paradise, would you think I was bipolar? :))

coconut beach port barton palawan philippines
White beach, Port Barton

RO: V-am spus, nu mai putem privi locul prin ochii de turist. Lejeritatea si viata la relanti pentru care toti vin aici sunt frumos de trait doar atunci cand stii ca ai un bilet de avion de iesire. E ciudat, insa, cu toate neajunsurile inchipuite pe care le-am tarat dupa noi pana aici, cat de usor ne putem adapta. Nu ne mai dam cu capul de pereti ca n-avem avocado mereu, mango mereu, rosii mereu, papaya mereu. Traim sezonier si cateodata cu dorul magazinului din colt care are de toate, si a carui problema e doar cine coboara sa-si satisfaca poftele. Lipsa reclamelor luminoase, reclamelor de orice fel, neatractivitatea in care sunt ambalate produsele, neatractivitatea produselor in sine, ne face sa nu mai avem pofte … comerciale. Ciocolata, covrigul, pateul, merdeneaua, cofetaria, mall-ul… toate au disparut ca prin minune. 

EN: Told ya, can’t look at this place with a tourist’s eye anymore. The easiness and slowness everyone comes here for is beautiful to live only when you know you have a plane ticket out of here. Funny though how easy we could adapt even in spite of all this. We don’t go banging our heads against a wall every time we’re lacking an avocado, mangos, tomatoes or papaya. We live seasonally and sometimes we long after the little shop on the corner that has it all and the only problem we had – who is going downstairs to satisfy the cravings. The lack of big ad panels, any kind of ads, the ugliness of the packaging and the products themselves makes us not have cravings anymore… commercial cravings.
The chocolate, the bagel, the pastries, the cake shop, the mall….all magically disappeared.

waterfall port barton
Bigaho Falls, Port Barton

RO: Activitati ce-n Romania luau cateva zeci de minute, aici pot dura ore, zile sau chiar luni. Resursele sunt limitate pentru toata lumea iar Puerto Princesa a devenit prea mic sa poata acomoda atatea guri cascate dupa vieti mai indestulate. Restaurantele din Port Barton aproape ca parjolesc de resurse fiecare supermarket, filipinezii sunt depasiti de situatie, in timp ce local, toti sunt prieteni, toti vor sa te ajute, nimeni insa nu are curajul sa-si asume ca nu da un gram de orez pe cel din dreapta lui. E prea mic locul pentru dusmanii declarate 🙂


EN: Things that would take minutes in Romania take hours, days or even months here. Resources are limited for everyone and Puerto Princesa has become too small to accommodate so many lookie-loos for better lives. The restaurants in Port Barton almost deplete all supermarkets of resources, the Philipinos are in over their heads, while locally, all of them are friends, everyone wants to help yet no one dares to admit they wouldn’t give the other a grain of rice. The place is too small for public feuds. 🙂

Sunset in Port Barton

RO: Alcoolul, carnea, orezul, religia sau oricare lucru consumat in exces isi pune amprenta pe fiecare in parte. Asa s-a ajuns ca din cand in cand cate unul sa ia un bolo (maceta) in mana si sa-si faca dreptate singur, sa se moara pe capete de cancer, obezitatea sa bata la din ce in ce mai multe usi, in timp ce religia are raspunsul corect pentru tot ceea ce se intampla in rest. Pare ca filipinezii nu-si pun prea multe intrebari si mai pare ca nici nu au prea multe nevoi. De ce ar exista ziua de maine pentru niste oameni care au trait in abundenta? Cum sa nu mai aiba de maine, oceanul pesti? Cum sa nu mai fie de maine, fructe in copaci? N-au nevoie de provizii, nu e nevoie sa-si faca probleme pentru ce va fi la iarna. Sunt incercati de cutremure si tsunami-uri insa nicio calamitate nu cred ca le-a distrus iremediabil viata … pana acum, cand ne-au intalnit pe noi 🙂

EN: Alcohol, meat, rice, religion or any other thing consumed in excess gets its fingerprint on each and every person. This is how it has come to someone picking up a bolo(maceta) and be a vigilante every once in a while, how cancer and obesity rates have grown out of proportion, while religion has the correct answer for everything else happening.
It seems like Filipinos don’t ask too many questions and it also seems like they don’t have a lot of needs. Why would there be any tomorrow for people that have lived abundantly? How could the sea run out of fish? How could there be no more fruit in the trees starting tomorrow? They don’t need supplies, they don’t need to worry about what winter will bring. They are being tried by earthquakes and tsunamis but no calamity has irreversibly ruined their lives… until now, when they met us 🙂

RO: Am fost de-a dreptul terifiati de sezonul ploios. Ni-l imaginam plin de inundatii, tsunami-uri, zboruri anulate, vanturi puternice, valuri cat casa. In realitate, sezonul ploios a fost mai placut decat cel de varf. Am avut tot internetul pentru noi, toate strazile ale noastre si ploi razlete dar regulate. N-am avut mango si nici prea multe restaurante deschise. Si n-am mai avut nici certitudinea ca a doua zi n-o sa se rupa norii-n doua daca vom pleca la drum lung.

EN: We were absolutely terrified by the rainy season. We imagined it being full of floods, tsunamis, canceled fights, strong winds, huge waves. In reality, the rainy season has been more pleasant than peak season. We had the internet to ourselves, the streets as well, and the rain was seldom but on schedule. We didn’t have mangos and few restaurants were open. And we didn’t have the certainty that the skies wouldn’t break if we leave for a long trip.

port barton
Port Barton

RO: Traim in cea mai frumoasa casa din Port Barton pe care nici n-am vrut s-o inchiriem din prima in aroganta ca vom gasi altceva mai bun. La doi pasi de noi, in aceeasi curte, traiesc si cei care ne-au inchiriat-o. O mama singura cu 4 copii, al doilea filipinez in care pot sa-mi pun baza, pe care l-am intalnit in acest an. 

EN: We live in the prettiest house in Port Barton — house we didn’t even want to rent at first arrogantly thinking we’ll find something better. Only 2 feet away, in the same yard live the people that rented us the house. A single mother of 4, the second Filipino met this year that I can rely on.

port barton island hopping
Island Hopping, Port Barton

RO: Se dau urmatoarele date: limita de retragere de la bancomat este 50.000 de pesos pe zi iar tu ai de retras 100.000. Ai un card filipinez luat de la primul filipinez in care pot sa-mi pun baza. Banii se afla intr-un cont din Romania. Bancomatul se afla in Puerto Princesa (la 180 km distanta) iar tu nu vrei sa platesti comisioane. ATM- ul nu functioneaza mereu, conexiunea la internet e instabila. Vrei sa faci totul in doua zile, cu resurse minime consumate. Ce faci?

EN: We are given the following data: the withdrawal ATM limit is 50.000 pesos per day and you need to withdraw 100.000. You have a local card from the first Filipino you can rely on. The money is sitting in an account in Romania. The ATM is in Puerto Princesa (180 km away) and you don’t want to pay commission. The ATM doesn’t always work and the internet connection is unstable. You want to do everything in 2 days with minimum resources. What do you do?

port barton palawan philippines
Barton Barton beach

RO: Ai nostri se tem ca suntem izolati si nefericiti. Ca ne pierdem vremea printre straini. Ca era mai bine in Romania, ca puteam face ce vrem si la noi in tara. Ca pierdem ani din viata, ca avem Craciunuri si Pasti de sarbatorit impreuna, ca pierdem prietenii si oportunitati mai moderniste. Ca o sa ajungem batrani si singuri, ca ne punem prea multe intrebari si ca filosofam prea mult despre viata. Ca ar trebui sa ne intoarcem si sa ne angajam intr-o cinstita corporatie, c-ar trebui ca singura preocupare de aici incolo sa fie … pensia. Se tem ca limba pe care am inceput s-o vorbim despre noi insine sa fie rapid neinteleasa de ei. Suntem prizionierii propriilor intrebari si explorari. Prizionieri cunoasterii si traitului fara prea multe regrete. “Ce-ar fi fost daca” e o intrebare la care ne-am raspuns. N-am fi putut ramane in Bucuresti intrebandu-ne cum ni s-ar fi schimbat viata daca am fi avut curajul sa traim in Asia. In varful acestui semn de intrebare sta ca un nor negru si dezamagirea ca viata pe alt continent poate sa nu fie asa cum noi, intre patru pereti de beton, doar senina ne-o puteam imaginam. 

EN: Our families are afraid we’re isolated and unhappy. That we’re wasting our time among strangers. That we were better off in Romania, that we could’ve done what we wanted in our home country as well. That we’re losing years of our life, that we’re missing Christmases and Easters to celebrate together, that we’re losing more modern friendships and opportunities. That we’ll end up old and alone, that we ask to many questions and that we contemplate too much about life. That we should go back and take an honest corporate job, that we should only worry about one thing moving forward… our retirement plan. They’re afraid that the language we started learning here about ourselves will soon become incomprehensible to them. We are the prisoners of our own questions and explorations. Prisoners to knowledge and not a lot of regrets. “What if” is a question we answered. We couldn’t have stayed in Bucharest wondering what our life would’ve been like if we had the courage to live in Asia. At the pinnacle of that question mark, there’s a black cloud and the disappointment that life on another continent can’t be as sunny as we envisioned it between 4 concrete walls.

port barton beach
Port Barton beach

RO: In mod cert ceea ce ne-am imaginat noi nu exista! Si e posibil sa nu existe nicaieri asa cum e posibil sa mai speri cautand sau sa te opresti acolo unde-ti place ce ai gasit. Ne-am mai dat seama ca nu suntem sociabil ci doar mimam cu succes asta, ca putem trai fara probleme inconjurati de putini spre deloc oameni, ca ne lipsesc serile de conversatii adanci alaturi de oameni ce ne impartasesc sau nu visele. Desi traim in lipsuri, nu ne lipseste nimic. Nu ducem dorul abundentei orasenesti desi o preferam de dragul usurintei.

EN: What we imagined does certainly not exist! And it very well may be that it doesn’t exist anywhere the same as you could search in hope of finding it or stop where you like what you’ve found. We also realized we’re not sociable, we just successfully mimic it, that we can go on with our lives surrounded by almost no people at all, that we miss the evenings spent having deep conversations with people that might’ve shared our dreams or not. Although we are lacking, we don’t need anything. We don’t miss the city abundance although we prefer it for its comfort.

pamoayan waterfall
Pamoayan Fall, Port Barton

RO: Generalizarea daunazeaza grav sanatatii insa cred ca printre Port Bartonieni (si nu numai) vom fi priviti mereu ca saci de bani la oricate fieste te-ai duce pe saptamana. Vei fi mereu “foreigner” de oricat de multi ani ai fi insurat cu o filipineza. Ai sa ai mereu de unde aduce si produce, oricat de lipsit de lichiditati ai fi. Vei fi tot timpul suspect de cele mai rele intentii si vei fi inghiti cu un graunte de sare, orice ai spune. 

EN: Generalizing is harmful to your health though I believe that among the people of Port Barton (and not only) we will always be seen as bags of money no matter how many fiestas you attend every week. You will always be a foreigner no matter how many years ago you married a Filipina. You will always have the means to provide no matter how low on liquidities you may be. You will always be suspected of the worst intentions and you will take with a grain of salt anything you’ve been told.

gopro water picture
White Beach

RO: Lucrurile sunt destul de volatile in sat, si te intrebi daca #ItsMoreFunInThePhilippines cand vezi politite inarmata pana in dinti pe plaja. Se schimba legi, se aplica sanctiuni, se fac discriminari, se tergiverseaza lucruri, se anuleaza, se pun bete-n roate. E si normal, cand se perturba ape ce n-ar trebui deranjate 🙂

EN: Things are pretty volatile in the village and you’ll always wonder if #ItsMoreFunInThePhilippines when you see police armed to their socks on the beach. Laws are changing, sanctions are being applied, discrimination is being made, things are being stalled, canceled, stonewalled. As would be normal when things that are to remain still are being shaken 🙂

beso hilltop retreat
Beso Hilltop

RO: Concluzia acestui an este ca n-avem nicio concluzie. Lasam lucrurile sa treaca asupra noastra fara sa ne impotrivim. Am invatat multe, am descoperit o tona de lucruri despre noi. Frumusetea (deseori dureroasa) este ca aici nu poti sa scapi de tine. Te-nfrunti sau esti invins. Mai bagam o fisa? :)) Stay tuned!

EN: The conclusion of this year is that we’ve reached no conclusion. We let things go over our heads without fighting them. We’ve learned a lot, we discovered a ton of new stuff about ourselves. The (sometimes hurtful) beauty of it is that you can’t escape yourself here. You stand up to yourself or give in to yourself. Shall we give it another go? :)) Stay tuned!

sunset philippines port barton palawan
Port Barton beach at sunset
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Delia
January 27, 2020 at 08:44 Reply

Foarte frumos scris, Andra!

Andra
January 27, 2020 at 08:54

Iti multumesc din inima. A fost foarte greu … 🙂

Cristina
January 27, 2020 at 09:30 Reply

Am așteptat articolul mai ceva ca pâinea caldă!!! Mă bucur nespus că ați făcut asta, că ați plecat în lumea largă și că ați decis să împărtășiți cu noi atât bunele cât și relele! Un articol mai mult decât folositor, un articol cum nu am mai citit până acum! Mulțumesc foarte mult pentru acest punct de vedere asupra unei alte lumi pe care probabil nu voi apuca să o trăiesc așa cum ați trăit-o voi, dar pe care pot spune că am trăit-o virtual prin voi! Mulțumesc, mulțumesc, mulțumesc!

Andra
January 27, 2020 at 11:36

Iti multumesc din inima, Cristina. A fost al naibii de complicat 🙂 Te pup si multumesc ca esti aici

Miha
January 27, 2020 at 11:25 Reply

Ma trec o mie de ganduri. Tot o sursa de inspiratie sunteti pentru mine… Desi uneori imi spun… vezi… stai in banca ta ca e comod, de cele mai multe ori stiu ca doar experimentand afli. Si nu ma refer neaparat la plecare, ci in general la cum fac lucrurile in viata. Dar oricum si la plecare :)))

Andra
January 27, 2020 at 11:36

Mai, e al naibii de greu. De un lucru sunt sigura acum: nimic nu te pregateste de nimic….

Anita@haihuistory.com
January 27, 2020 at 22:53 Reply

Maai, ce frumos ai scris! Si noi ne-am mutat in Olanda de cateva luni si, intocmai cum spuneai, numai dupa ce traiesti ca localnic vei stii cum e in locul ala cu adevarat. I feel you! 🙂 Pe de alta parte, schimbarile majore se petrec pe drum si nu la destinatie…deci nici o alegere nu merita categorisita in buna sau rea 🙂 keep exploring,be brave, keep doing what you love. Take care! 😘Anita

Andra
January 28, 2020 at 03:02

Hello, iti multumes din sufleeeeeet. A fost tare tare TARE dificil sa pot sa pun in cuvinte 10% din ceea ce petrecem aici. Am facut cea mai buna alegere, in mod cert, macar datorita faptului ca am invatat atatea despre noi. Te pup, take care, Andra

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