Monday, April 27, 2020

Our Catamaran Sailing Adventure

Monday, April 27, 2020

At first I hesitated. Going on a catamaran whale-watching adventure doesn't seem to be a good idea at that time when everyone is advised to stay home. Yet there were only 30 cases of COVID-19 in Costa Rica then, and I—a sucker for anything idyllicwas swayed by the innkeeper's words. "Being a sunset tour, it's supposed to be very romantic," he said. So I agreed, imagining an intimate boat ride on the Pacific Ocean surrounded by lush landscapes, marine wildlife, and the soothing sound of the ocean as the sky turns to orange and red. It was only when we reached the marina when I realized how wrong I was. My partner and I, along with some 80 American springbreakers were lead to a catamaran that fits 250 people and includes an open bar and two floors of jacuzzi slides and trampoline. The romantic sailing adventure I imagined turned out to be a devil-may-care party on a booze cruise. 


Tour boats at Marina Pez Vela, Quepos, Costa Rica
On that very day, 16 March 2020, while my partner and I tried to distance ourselves from the rest of the people in the boat, the government of Costa Rica declared State of Emergency, closing its borders to foreigners and consequently restricting all non-essential activities in the country. That catamaran cruise was our last hurrah before the virus utterly took over our lives. Right after the tour I was furious at myself for taking part in such reckless activity; yet now I'm glad for having had the chance to experience it. 

Thursday, April 9, 2020

The world wasn't ending

Thursday, April 9, 2020


"...Best to let the broken glass be broken glass, let it splinter into smaller pieces and dust and scatter. Let the cracks between things widen until they are no longer cracks but the new places for things. That was where they were now. The world wasn't ending: it had ended and now they were in the new place. They could not recognize it because they had never seen it before."

~ Colston Whitehead, Zone One, 2011

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

What I Miss About Home

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

I've been living in Costa Rica for 31 days now, and there are things from home that I particularly miss, such as:
  • Spicy Jin Ramyeon
  • Munggo with rice
  • My family and spending weekends with them 
  • Laughing with others
  • Conversing face-to-face in Tagalog
  • Beating deadlines
  • My project management sheets
  • Running
  • My house
  • My neighborhood 
  • My daily, monotonous routine
  • Going out freely and not worrying about getting sick

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Trying to Be Hopeful

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

I'm trying to be cheerful and hopeful but it's getting hard to do so what with countries extending lockdowns as the number of cases around the world continue to rise. I am afraid that my flight will again be canceled and I'd be stuck here indefinitely. When will I be able to go home? When will this be over?

Monday, April 6, 2020

What Would Have Happened to Us If We Traveled To Brazil?

Monday, April 6, 2020

I wonder what would have happened to us if we decided to push through with our trip to Brazil, as originally planned. There are  now 11,281 cases of COVID-19 in the country and most are concentrated in the states of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, where we intended to stay. On the very day of our supposed departure from San Jose to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil closed down its beaches, restricted access to all tourist attractions, shut down land borders with neighboring countries, and banned travelers from Europe and Asia Pacific in order to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Unlike its Latin American neighbors who have enforced strict lockdown measures, the president of Brazil dismissed the severity of the virus and urged an end to the quarantine and social distancing  measures enforced by state governors.

With all that going on, I am glad to have stayed here in Costa Rica where the number of cases is four times lower than that of Brazil and where the government lead by the Health Minister keeps its citizens informed on how they are fighting against the spread of the coronavirus in the country.  I do hope that the Costa Rican government's proactive measures eventually flatten the COVID-19 curve. 

Sunday, April 5, 2020

To be quietly joyful

Sunday, April 5, 2020

"There were days - she could remember this - when Henry would hold her hand as they walked home, middle-aged people, in their prime. Had they known at these moments to be quietly joyful? Most likely not. People mostly did not know enough when they were living life that they were living it. But she had that memory now, of something healthy and pure."

~ Elizabeth Strout, Olive Kitteridge, 2008

Saturday, April 4, 2020

My Quarantine Routine

Saturday, April 4, 2020


My return flight was canceled, and all airlines that fly to the Philippines have suspended operations. I am now stranded in Costa Rica for at least a month. And since D had to catch the last plane back to the US, I am now stuck here alone and in isolation. 

I have been practicing social distancing since I was a child so this life in solitude is nothing new to me. My daily routine usually goes like this:

5:00 am: wake up; watch sunrise, birds, and monkeys; coffee
5:45 am: prepare breakfast
6:00 am: have breakfast; read the news online; chat with D and family
7:30 am: make up the bed, tidy the house
8:00 am: take a bath; read (now rereading Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge
9:00 am: watch NY Gov Cuomo presser on TV
10:00 am: watch Netflix (now watching La Casa de Papel 4); have a snack
11:30 am: prepare lunch

12:00 pm: have lunch, chat with D
1:00 pm: watch local (Costa Rican) news on TV
2:00 pm: write blog post
3:00 pm: watch Netflix
4:00 pm: read
5:00 pm: go for a walk
6:00 pm: watch Anderson 360; chat with D; prepare dinner
7:00 pm: watch Cuomo Prime Time
8:00 pm: read
9:00 pm: go to sleep

Friday, April 3, 2020

Pura Vida

Friday, April 3, 2020

Each morning announces itself with a melody of monkey calls and bird songs. It jolts us into wakefulness and grants us that exquisite, permeating sense of being alive. Eager for the beauty of another day, we get up and watch the sun rise and glow through the trees that surround us. What makes these mornings a constant delight is the anticipation: We know that we had the entire day ahead of us and we could spend it in isolation, in the twilight of boredom, and and still feel content when night time comes. 

Thursday, April 2, 2020

We Decided to Stay in Costa Rica

Thursday, April 2, 2020

On our 8th day in Costa Rica, the government declared the country under state of emergency, closing its borders to foreigners and non-residents, shutting down all public places including beaches, suspending all mass gatherings, and ordering everyone to stay home as much as possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

We were supposed to travel to Rio de Janeiro after a two-week stay in Costa Rica but we decided to hunker down in Manuel Antonio, at Costa Rica's Central Pacific Coast, instead.

So why did we choose to stay here? First, we felt that it was not only dangerous but also selfish and irresponsible to travel further to Brazil. Second, countries in Central and South America have started imposing travel restrictions then and the risk of being stuck in an airport during transit was very high. Third, we felt safe and comfortable here in Manuel Antonio, a small beach town that still doesn't have a case of the virus. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Favorite Experiences in Costa Rica

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Today's our 24th day in Costa Rica, where we spent most days in isolation, living the pura vida lifestyle. Every single moment was special, but here are my favorites so far:





Walking through dairy farms in Vara Blanca



Staying at our piece of paradise in Manuel Antonio

 
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