The day after the wedding, we left the resort we were staying at around 0600H heading to Manjuyod. Truth be told, most of us friends of the groom did not know what will happen as it was entirely the new couple’s itinerary and we are just willing participants. After a quick drive thru and somehow getting ahead of the other vans, our experienced driver Mang Roly, drove northwards from Dumaguete for approximately two hours. I was seated by the window and the thing that catches my eye is the varied landscape we drove by: the plains (more precisely grassy plains), mountainous terrain almost immediately beside the shore, mangrove swamps and there are also small patches of sugar cane plantations here and there.
A few minutes upon crossing the boundary marker of Manjuyod, we drove on a rough road heading into a local beach resort. There is nothing really to see for non-Negrense tourists in that resort other than they offer a boat tour to the sandbar (I was told later on that said resort is one of the lesser known tour providers). The caretaker starts asking us in the local vernacular and when she realizes we’re from Luzon, immediately switching to Filipino asked us if we are associated with (she said the Bride’s now maiden name) Dolphin Tour. We said yes, but we were looking at each other asking “Dolphin Tour?”. It was already past 0930H and about an hour after we arrived that we started loading the two boats and then finally started sailing. The weather is surprisingly sunny given the time of year with the right confluence of sun, cloudiness and humidity that it doesn’t feel like you are being fried. Despite perfectly seeing Cebu on the horizon, the trip actually took us more than an hour and with the gentle breeze, I actually fell asleep sitting for some time (of course it doesn’t help that our boat is the slower one). You can practically spit in Cebu (and I guess were are now technically in the province) when the dolphins started to appear. It was a sight to behold: you can see them in their schools, rising to the ocean every few minutes. Almost all of us at this point are taking the best videos and photos of the dolphins. There are other boats (from the other tour providers in the area) swirling around and with the limited number of schools some of the boats are literally chasing for the ‘showier’ schools (ones who rises from the ocean more prominently). At first, I was concerned that we accidentally bump them but when they see the boats heading towards them they will go deeper into the ocean you could clearly see that they are fast swimmers underneath. It is one thing to see them be showy in marine shows (think Ocean Adventure), it was another to see them in their natural habitat up close with much lesser actual interaction with humans.
We did not notice the elapsed time until the boatmen started grilling fishes and squids and lunch was served. There is something to be said about freshly catch fish as they tasted fantastic. After that boodle lunch, we have to sail almost all the way back near the Negros shoreline to go the sandbar and with almost an hour sail and our stomachs full, all adults onboard have fallen asleep at some point. We arrive at the sandbar around 1300H. The sea level is at normal starting to dwindle down and you could immediately tell at this point that the whitish sandbar is enormous (A google search yields that it is 7 KM long with an estimated area of 600 ha.) with boats docked around its most famous area: An area with five stilted house-like structures akin to what Maldives is known for (the area is famously nicknamed “The Maldives of the Philippines”). The structures are basically outer shells of houses (or resembling resort cottages) standing on stilts about 20 ft. from the sand-floor. There are some people in some of the cottages which I think were being rented mostly because they have some coolers up there and they never seem to traverse far if they decide to submerge themselves in the salty waters. We anchored near the outermost structure and going down the boat, the water is upper chest deep; within a few meters of walking, you can be completely submerged. We took advantage of this and we swam and fool around the boat for hours. The bride and groom (and others) rode the least fun banana boat ride that was so slow that not even the children can fall off from it. By around 1500H, most of us were aboard again tired as the weather is shifting to form whitish cloudy to dark clouds rolling. After eating ‘talaba’ for merienda, we notice that the sand is now starting to emerge. We waited a few more minutes and we decided to go down to the now ankle level waters.
You could clearly see why this place is popular amongst tourists. I’m sure it looks amazing and inviting to take a dip during summer but as we were walking here on a July afternoon, the area looks dramatic. On one side, the dark clouds roll into the structures and on the other side you could still see the clearer skies and juxtaposing it with the contrasting sight of mother nature and the structures, the whole area is really picturesque. As the water dwindle more and the dark clouds kept on rolling by, we started taking pictures of the area and the now exposed creatures like starfishes, small crabs and even some capiz oysters. A few more photos later, we decided it was time to go as it looks like it will rain. During the return trip, the vastness of the sandbar is now much more evident as we have to circumnavigate quite a distance while returning to the resort.
As I was seated once again on the van driving back to Dumaguete, reflecting on the days’ activities, I was wondering why the area hasn’t become more commercialized. I mean, there are these house-like structures there and I’m almost sure there was some plans at some point to fully develop it into a resort or something. But I realize that as it is now, I actually prefer it: Those structures add something extra to that sandbar and it is a selling point to their advantage. Sure income will still be generated if a resort stood there but in doing that, the area will be inaccessible to most people which is a shame. It also protects the dolphins’ habitat which I believe gives them immense wealth biodiversity-wise in Tañon Strait which is much more worth protecting and keeping around than tourists.
I have a cousin who married an American Citizen and lived there together with their child for more than a decade. When they decided to return to the Philippines for a two-week vacation, their schedule (as expected) was fully packed: few day trips to Boracay, Baguio and every inch of our province visiting our relatives. One of those trip is a day trip which includes ALL of the first degree cousins, the titas and titos. (Is there any official term you call somebody for being your 1st cousins offspring?). Long story short, the trip was lovely: nice view, nice lunch, nice weather, nice amenities, we did something new and we bought nice pasalubongs. But there is this little thing that stayed with me for all these months that passed by that I think should be pointed out and discussed upon.
I have been to the first place we visited at least twice now and it has been a long time since the last one. Like most longstanding popular sloping tourist attractions, there are zip lines now that tourist can enjoy. My balikbayan cousin’s child wanted to try it on so we went near the platform area and queued in line. The zip line is actually quite popular with a mixed of local and foreign tourist. There are two, Slavic(?) speaking Caucasians queued who can be described as ‘pudgy’(okay, of course they are a little taller than a typical Filipino, the man can be more accurately described as buff and the lady who is larger than him is the obese one #truth). When the lady foreigner hops in the zip line, you could see the guides snickering and talking in vernacular questioning about if the zipline can even ‘carry the load’. My tita, upon seeing that lady ‘decided to watch’ the whole thing with gusto as if expecting a disaster. When the zip did actually start, the other crowd and my tita decided to cheer (which aside from the kapamilyas of the other riders were noticeably absent before) and there are faint laughing sounds you could hear in the (mid altitude) air. When she returned, the guides then said once in vernacular “Kinaya” with a sense of triumph from his voice.
I actually felt sorry for the lady. Even if she can’t understand (in face value) what we are speaking; the snickers, the cheers and the faints of laughter are already enough clues for anybody to deduce that they are making fun of them. Body language is almost universally understood by anyone. Put yourself in her shoes for a minute you will know they are talking about you and you will not like it.
One of the things that our tourism campaign banks upon is the fact that our country is a friendly society as highlighted by a commercial which I frequently see in CNN. Yes, we are friendly but I also notice (as I’ve notice before) that we are also shady: throwing subtle digs whenever we see something we don’t like (just look at any social media). Another angle at play is that we have stereotypes of foreigners and yes, we will comment (verbally or otherwise) on it whenever we see it as well. The thing that for me makes it weird for me is that we are also ‘pikon’. Even the slightest unflattering thing or stereotyping that is pointed out will garner a universal dislike from us to the point of again stereotyping or saying unflattering things to the other race concerned.
How to end this? This might be one of those traits that is already so ingrained in our psyche, the only thing that will end this is for all of us to collectively decide to end it or to be imposed to us. We can however start small. I for example am not immune to thinking about certain stereotypes but I keep my mouth shut. I also try to not think of anything about certain group of people in any way. It is hard and I fail sometimes but it is a first step. If we want any progress then we should start within ourselves.
Truth be told, I don’t have any expectations on what to expect upon the proposal to do an impromptu trip to Siquijor. I see the posts, the pictures and read the blogs but for some reason the island province is not on my list of places to go to. But seeing as my trips so far have been very planned and structured, this really is a spur of the moment plan and I was excited.
It actually started when we were invited to a wedding in Dumaguete and we have the third day allotted for sight seeing. There have been talks to cross the ocean to the island but most of us wanted to tour the city and its vicinity (I personally wanted to visit Balisasayao Lake). As we were winding down on our second day, one of us asked our locally based driver Roly to take us to the port to ask for ferry schedules, we look for the earliest boat ride (0800H) and our driver gave us a contact person for a van driver that will tour us once we arrive. I guess we just went along and decided that we will go Siquijor. On the day itself, we missed the fast craft by just a few minutes so we got the 1000H ferry which costs PhP 100 (these are the slower boats with no air-conditioning) and we arrived an hour and a half later.
The first thing you’ll notice upon arriving at Siquijor Port, which is different from other ports is how clear the water is. It was inviting to just jump into the water under the humid, semi cloudy, almost noon July day. We met our contacted driver Leo who told us that we will visit the main ones other than the cave that was previously agreed because of time constraints. Our first business was to book the last ferry which was scheduled to leave at 1800H. We have half a day to tour the island. The port is literally beside the ‘downtown’ of the provincial capital also called Siquijor and beside the Rotonda/Town Church is an eatery called Joel’s Lechon Manok. As it was near lunch time, the area is jam-packed and is full of customers looking at the displayed foods inside the ‘calderos’. Despite the eatery’s name we decided to eat like a local and ordered ‘mamsa’ in their vernacular or ‘talakitok ‘in Tagalog. After we ate, as we requested, Leo drove us to the ‘I heart Siquijor’ sign and took some pictures of us there. I actually like Leo because as a tour driver he is courteous, knowledgeable, adaptive to our requests and at the same time is honest when we asks ‘the tough questions’.
We next drove to an area called Paliton Beach and while it is popular with tourists, the beach was virtually untouched (very little commercialization) which Leo iterated that while the area is technically a private property, the local government intends to keep it the way it is now. Driving to the center of San Juan Municipality, we notice something interesting: there is a pool in the middle of the town! We found out that it was a spring emanating from the hilly terrain on the backside and atop on it is the local church.
The municipality of Lazi, Siquijor offers a lot of attractions; the first of which is the Centuries-old Balete Tree in which a spring emanates from its exposed roots (it was said that the deepest part of that spring is 24 feet!). The area is also home to (according to Leo) the biggest souvenir shop in the island. They actually sold voodoo doll key-chains alongside the usual refrigerator magnets! (I personally bought a Capiz magnet with a picture of the tree) Speaking of voodoo; Leo said that the biggest activities they hosts in the island for tourists are: longboarding competition during summer and the Healing Festival which happens around Holy Week – in my head I thought that good for them to embrace what they are previously notorious for and making it into a marketing strategy for the island. I actually asked him about this perception and according to him, maybe because there was no hospital nor affordable doctors in the island until recently so the residents will either travel to Dumaguete or to rely on traditional practices. The balete tree spring also contains doctor fishes (I forgot the local name) and curiously enough, tilapias and for Php 10 you can sit there and enjoy a fish spa underneath the shade of the Balete Tree.
By this time, it was already 1400H and we rushed to go Liza Church. The main road; the Circumferential Road is actually really nice (nicely paved and all) although because of the islands’ terrain you can get dizzy akin to sea sickness mainly due to lots of hilly ascent and descent that will be encountered (I guess this is good for skateboarding and mountain biking). There seems to be a lot of investment in road construction on the province which is good for everyone and with the relatively few vehicles, we arrive in Lazi Church and the convent across the street relatively quick. Lazi is a quaint town with the church, convent and the government buildings seems to make up the Poblacion. A Wikipedia search will reveal that it is on the shortlist for UNESCO World Heritage Sites under the expanded lists of Baroque Churches in the Philippines and with its wooden floors, very Spanish Colonial days charm you can see why it is a popular tourist attraction. The convent, on the other hand is under renovation/conservation and we just took pictures from the outside.
Going a little bit to the interior, we traveled to the Cambugahay Falls. From the road side there is essentially no structures there aside from the signage of the falls, the makeshift tourist information center and (maybe because of the sign of the times) a makeshift nipa hut with soldiers in it. Leo dropped us and said we have an hour in which I monitored religiously. At the makeshift tourist center we have to pay (on our group trips, we gave a specific amount beforehand that will cover for these expenses for convenience so I can’t tell all of our costs – sorry!) for us to have a guide/s which will guide us through the approximately 150 steep steps, the slippery rocks and will take pictures at your request (TBH, their picture taking quality needs improvement). It is actually a series of falls with its turquoise blue waters which is worth all of those descent as it will cool you down with its lukewarm temperature. Sadly though (as the presence of the soldiers made me suspect), an influx of tourists are here both local and foreign (maybe there are about 75 of us tourists there) which is not ideal for your privacy especially if you consider that it is July and that there should be lesser tourists (a report said that Siquijor experiences rapid growth as a tourist destination so I shouldn’t be surprised). On one side of the falls, there is this rope swing contraption in which you will pay an additional Php20 (around $0.40 USD) for its unlimited use you can take advantage of. You will fall from the swing at the ‘uppermost falls’ to a lagoon with a depth of around 8 feet.
We ascent before our hour was up, gave the guides additional money, and Leo drives us to our next location. I asked him about the presence of soldiers and he said that the recent events in Bohol and Mindanao did make security an issue as there is lot of cancellation in the wake of those events. He personally had lost some potential income and he is thankful that there are some (like us) who will come to the island relatively unannounced. It was and is sad because with the recent tourist boom, almost everybody in the island seems to be in the tourism industry nowadays and having cancellations because of events far away is income lost.
Our second to last planned destination is the Salagdoong Beach on the Municipality of Maria (Salagdoong can be translated as bird’s nest: ‘salog’ equates to nest & ‘doong’ is said to mean bird). The beach is actually enclosed by the Salagdoong Forest; a man-made forest with molave trees that are said to be 40 years old (again, according to Leo). Upon entrance, there is an entrance fee of Php 25 per person plus Php 35 for the van.
The white sand beach is fine although it can easily become rocky as you go far from the shore. There are amenities which I suspect is mostly initially for local usage which became for outsiders. There are cliff jumping activities in the area (we arrived during low tide – so alas). There are still soldiers just watching everybody from afar but at that specific time of our trip it was nice to take a dip at the sea and to also to have facilities to rinse off after our consecutive river and sea swim adventures as there are showers available for use in the complex.
As we were traversing the fifth municipality, Enrique Villanueva, we made two detours: one is the Cang-isok House said to be the oldest house structure still standing on the island and ‘Lilibeth’s Pan Bisaya’ bakery beside the Circumferential Road made famous by being featured on ‘Biyahe ni Drew’ (recommended watching – her segment starts at 19:30. BTW, the breads are really really good and freshly baked).
By this time, it was already past 1700H and after buying breads, Leo rushed us to our last destination: Larena Triad Coffee Shop. The coffee shop is situated atop a hill overlooking Larena Municipality and the ocean. To say the least, the view is fabulous. While the weather is cloudy, you could just imagine how it is during a perfect sunset. Due to time constraints (it is coming down the wire at this point) we just take the obligatory nature shots, bought stuff from their bakery and speed down to make it to the port in time.
The trip from Larena to the port can be described as intense. Leo’s driving is now near uncomfortably fast for us to make it back to the port and we are now making impromptu plans if we didn’t make it. (Looking on Google Maps as I am typing this, it was a 9.7 KM drive and approximately 18 minutes) Thank God, we made it in time as we were the last booked ones being waited to board the last ferry back to Dumaguete. We said our thanks to Leo for his work for that day and we said we will come back.
As I am looking out from the ferry into the cloudy July horizon feeling the winds and sometimes the currents, I couldn’t help myself but think that I am going to return to Siquijor. For an island-province that is the third smallest in both population and land area, there is a lot to see and explore that it is unjustifiable to spend just a few minutes in each area. Looking at top searches for ‘Siquijor Tourist Attractions’ there are still a lot of things to explore aside from where we went and Leo’s initial first destination cave (called Cantabon Cave). While initially a side trip, it became the highlight (of course aside from the wedding) and I recommend to do it if you are going to Negros Oriental, but we (you and me) should start considering it a main tourist destination because with its beauty and mostly Spanish Colonial/small town charm it is justified to be such.
I wanted to write something music related for quite some time now but with the first publishing of our official local charts, I found the right time to discuss music, which as an avid listener all these years, I have collected many things to say.
June 12 of this year marks another milestone…not just for the continued celebration of our Independence but for the first time, we have an official music chart! How official? how about Billboard Official! Since Billboard announced it will put out a ‘local shop’ in the country, I have been thinking about what it will do to our local OPM scene and personally as a chart statistics aficionado having a local version is a delight.
Some may question whether we need an official local charts and the answer is absolutely. Sure there are some barometers for finding a song’s success (Itunes charts, Spotify rankings, radio countdowns, music video polls) but they are so fragmented and they are susceptible to certain bias (There is always this one artist (no names!) who I always question why he/she/they always managed to be in the top half of a certain chart).
Now for the charts: there methodology is already explained well by Billboard Philippines and for the charts themselves, they currently published three(BillboardPH Hot 100 – basically the top 100 across all genres and nationalities; Philippine Top 20 – all genres by Filipino artist (or maybe signed to a Filipino Label?) and BillboardPH Catalog Charts – top 10 songs for OPM songs older than three years old).
You can click on the link but I have some random thoughts about this first outings of the three charts:
The less we talked about their huge blunder, the better.
Admittedly, I haven’t heard all songs in the OPM Top 20 and when I searched for those songs, I like it so yay for diversity!
At first I thought that the twenty position OPM charts seems few but then I see KZ’s song from 2014 and there seems to be lacking newer songs (even the number 1 song if I remember was released January).
Speaking of KZ, her songs seems to be at the edge of the three-year catalog rule.
So Jona is the queen of the OPM charts with her three songs?
Going to the Hot 100, so we really like The Chainsmokers, Ed Sheeran and Little Mix?
We have some K-Pop in the house but not the ones I am fully aware of (I counted eight and thank God we have ten OPM on the Hot 100).
Speaking of old-timers: Stay the Night, See You Again and All About the Bass?
There are some foreign non-Korean acts on the charts I haven’t heard yet (e.g. Khalid, Lany and I’m interested to hear them).
We seemed to embrace Hip-Hop songs more than ever now.
The Catalog Charts can be described as anything goes (Up Dharma Down! Aegis! Nina! Jericho Rosales!).
Going through these charts, I am amazed about our music tastes and hats off to Billboard Philippines that they have created these charts that reflects most aspects of how we consume music and it includes a wide variety of acts and genres. There are still some things I want to see happen in the near future and not just for the charts:
For that blunder to never ever happen again. I felt sorry for that lady who sang an ‘Encantadia’ theme(her song is fine and she may come back).
I hope one day that radio airplay will be incorporated to the charts as I feel that this will dramatically alter the chart (I hypothesize that what is playing on the radio is vastly different to what we stream and buy) and to better reflect on how we consume music (for what I know there are still discussions on how to incorporate radio plays).
Hoping that newer OPM songs will be included on the charts as well. The older songs here are good (really good) but if you look at the international ones it is full of relatively newer foreign songs (although that maybe down to the consumer and not the chart’s fault).
For the charts to be promoted more (I know everybody involved is invested but visibility is everything)
Lastly I hope that every Filipino who consume music will continue to do so because now every listen to YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music and download of a song will matter more to your favorite songs and artists. So keep on loving music!!
Everybody is broadly defined to which generation you are born. But what if you find out you belong to a specific subset of your generation? This post tackles about the w’s and h being at a clique in a broad group.
One Sunday evening, I was scrolling down my timeline when an article from CNN caught my eye. It was actually thoughtful, insightful and it makes me realize something: I am a senior millennial! You should read for yourself said article as I’m not going to articulate its contents but in a nutshell it states there that there are two generations of millennials and I based on that, I belong to the older millennial. (the article contents depicts American POV so it might be a little different for us here).
For months now, there is always this paradox that somehow bothers my mind: By almost all definitions I am a millennial and I do mid-twenties millennial stuff but when I look at the younger ones (aka. my brother and his cohorts who is five years my junior) they are different than me and my buddies. It’s like having two different templates that is united by … love of social media. Ok, so different social medias. By personal preference and my friend’s preference too, most of us are in select social media. Almost all of us have Facebook, about half have Instagram, fewer have Twitter and that is mostly it (Sure, I have this blog, I don’t have Twitter). Observing my brother, his friends and some of my younger co-workers, they love Tumblr (It makes me an older person but I don’t get Tumblr), SnapChat and its ilk and my brother even have this VR app thing and they seem to love it the way they talk about it online. Even our thought processes are contrasting. At first, I thought it is an age thing but I realize that two millennial groups life goals are different. Most of us in the late twenties now (again, from the persons that I personally knew and talk it about and it is not a reflection of all of us) we seem to have a clear if not rigid plan for our lives. We want to accomplish this by this point; I want to have that by the end of a period etc. But it seems to me, that most younger millennials wanted to live in the moment. They wanted to explore more, THEY LOVE TO TRAVEL. They are more conscious on themselves. When I was their age, yes I wanted to explore, I would want to travel, but the operative word there is ‘would’. I think I have discussed it before but there is pretty much a traditional life path to follow. The young ones want to create their own path.
The question now is why social media is the bridge for the two millennial generations? Social media started to gain traction when I was a teenager. During those times, I have a YM and Friendster account as most of my peers were. But then, the technology is limited and the internet speed is mind bindingly slow (PS – posting my profile pic on Friendster took almost all of my hourly internet time in the computer shop). Facebook came a few years later as the new shiny thing that combines almost all of the previous social medias that came before it. We would chat about assignments, play games, post our pictures there etc. The way Social Media is now, I guess we set out the template for what the younger folks are doing more and elevating it for them.
The second factor for me, is the life condition during that time. Yes, it was roughly ten years ago but the quality of life (in regards to wealth) is different. I have no data to show here but a lot of people did improve their financials. During those times, Internet is expensive! Travelling is expensive! Airfares are very expensive! Cellphones are expensive (even the second hand Nokia 3310 still costs thousands and it was already a few years past its prime – the first Nokia phone with camera costs around the same as an IPad today)! It is absolutely hard to get a credit card! Cars are very costly! To be totally fair, some of the things I mentioned are still expensive but now there are options and the demand is greater. I recognize just by writing this segment of the post that our generation’s choices are really slim and we need to do the traditional path of work first, then enjoy life a little later unlike now with our economic climate in which the young ones, if they want to can work and enjoy life hand in hand.
Is there something that needs to be done about this millennial crack? No. I feel that this two group should cohabit one another and let them grow into whatever path they want to take them. And in case there might be someone there who are conscious about this two splitting further apart, it’s not like there is this great divide amongst the two groups and as I alluded earlier, there will always be exceptions (I personally knew a few who are more akin to the younger millennials). As long as everybody is living their lives the way they wanted to and not breaking any laws in the process let them be. Let us be.
During my College days, our block was notorious for being tardy: Not all of us but a majority of us would be late especially during the first period. Being a stickler for time, I never really judge them for it but as the years pass by I learned to adapt. One December during our Junior Year, we were supposed to meet in front of the library at 9:00 am (I know we don’t have class that day and now I can’t remember the exact reason for the meeting: maybe a mixture of activities). Knowing that the people that I will meet (and my closest friends during college) were the most notorious for being the ‘late ones’, I knowingly decided to arrive there at 9:45 am. My thinking is that I wouldn’t be the first nor the last to come there. Much to my chagrin, when I did arrive a little bit over 9:45 am I was the first one and the second person did not arrive until 10:30 am! The last one arrive past eleven and by that time my mind just checked out for that day (hence I can’t remember that day aside from them being late).
A few years ago, my friends are planning to go to LaBoracay for Labor Day Weekend (hence, LaBoracay: Labor + Boracay). I remember saying along the lines of “LaBoracay what?” Fast forward to now and it seems like everyone is flocking over to the eponymous island during Labor Day or when that event happens to land on the calendar. Before, during and sometimes weeks after the event, my timeline will be flooded with pictures of their exploits during those days. Admittedly some of them seems to be really nice and having a good time. This year, they plan again on going there but it sadly went the ‘drawing’ route (drawing is a modern Filipino slang when a plan did not push though) and I wasn’t going to join nor necessary sad about it not happening.
Why? I don’t get the idea behind the glitz of LaBoracay. I don’t get the fuzz of going there nor what it should be doing to my satisfaction senses. I understand the partying scene and I don’t mind crowded clubs (trust me on this one) but that small island during the event seems to be bursting and I kinda don’t prefer the idea that you could see the horizon and yet it is so crowded. Some think of it as a friends outing and/or vacation at the same time and it feels like hitting two stones but not fully hitting the target right on point with one outweighing the other.
I think my main issue with LaBoracay is not about the partying or the booze or the idea of a vacation. For my own accord, the idea of going to the beach is to be partially away from the populace and just enjoy: Not to worry too much about life and just enjoy the view and the time spending doing anything other than your usual grind. In my opinion, going to Boracay for that occasion will be counterproductive for what my idea of a vacation is. Or maybe I am just getting older. I don’t know, maybe one day I might reconsider and go there but for now, I will continue to decline any invitations.