par·a·dise noun \ˈper-ə-ˌdīs, -ˌdīz, ˈpa-rə-\
: a very beautiful, pleasant, or peaceful place that seems to be perfect
: a place that is perfect for a particular activity or for a person who enjoys that activity
: a state of complete happiness
I like to add a fourth definition of paradise: the South Palms. The past weeks before diving into the beautiful Philippine waters were more than hectic. With both our own company, packed days and the fact that even the laptops were crammed in our backpacks, you can imagine how busy we are. Manila was, except for a wonderful stay, nothing less hectic. After waking up and staring at the fish in our room in Manila we take a taxi to the airport. Driving through the chaos again. We have to get out of here. We take the airplane, including delay and hundred hysterical Koreans, to the island of Bohol. There is a driver waiting (a suprise from South Palms) and we find ourselves driving to Panglao Island minutes later, an island that is connected with Bohol (also an island) with two bridges.
A sweet woman takes us to our accommodation after a welcome drink. I do love lemon grass. ‘Do I see that clear? Are we walking to those villas?’. My boyfriend can only giggle. He finds my new career as hotspotter more than amazing. For the first week in the Philippines I accepted all interesting invitations, because rest is what I need. The last two weeks are left for impulsive travel and hostels. I can think of no better contrast. By beautiful gardens and overlooking fine swimming pools, an outdoor bar, an open restaurant, a spa and a gym we walk on. She stops at a beautiful cottage with a thatched roof. It’s ours. Oh my. I walk in, and it is beautiful. The details, such as the edited wall reminiscent of undulating sand behind the bed, are simple but amazing. My ‘hotel manager eye’ is looking for something that’s not clean, good or right. But everything amazed me. A spacious bathroom with shower and bath, a soft bed and a living area with huge windows to the ground. I touch everything, I open the curtains and I start running through the sliding doors when I see what looms up behind it. ‘Our back yard is paradise!’
The water is more blue than what I ever thought was possible. A warm shiver. The sun begins to set. I let myself fall into the soft, white sand. My breath gasps a second. An oppressive but blissful feeling takes the upper hand. Like this small moments of happiness. You know. I take my moment. I stand up and start to dance. I seem to be really drunk, but travel makes me lyric. I’m somewhere again. A place that does me well. A spot on the other side of the world, and our journey begins here. I may marvel at the nature again, travel to places that I want to explore and discover new cultures, while I discover a new piece of myself each trip as well. My heart is huge. It overwhelms me. It’s intense. I want to enjoy this moment. Here, but I need to enjoy precious moments in the Netherlands again as well. Enjoy. Love. Embrace. Let go of the crowds, let go of the stress. Symbolically I throw a piece of coconut in the water, as far as I can. Let go. I stare at the clean sand, crystal clear water and the color of the air while the sun slowly sinks in the water. I realize that this is all I need, right at this moment.