The rest of our stay along Long Beach consisted of simple relaxation, swimming, tanning, reading, reflection. If I only had a week to get away, it might be what I would do down in Mexico or Jamaica, which I’ve done before. For me, to live like this towards the end of a longer, more active trip seemed all the more earned. Throughout the last several weeks in the Philippines we’d hiked through Luzon’s northern pine forests, trekked through rice terraces and around mountains, felt our way through pitch-black caves, navigated entire tropical islands in the Visayas whose contents are an absolute treasure, and just witnessed feats of nature that left our jaws agape. I didn’t feel the least bit guilty about how long I stayed on Long Beach, stretched out on a lounge chair reading Iain M. Banks’ sci-fi yarn Matter, or wading through the clear blue-green waters of the South China Sea.
Even just chilling, though, Teresa and I can’t stay too still for too long. Every other day we would take a motorbike into Poblacion for one reason or another. We’d heard about Peace and Love Resort, a German-owned spot with a welcoming vibe and an awesome menu. Located at the peak of a fair-sized hill, the semi-outdoor restaurant faces the town below, the boat-riddled bay, the sea, and the hilly green surrounding curve of Palawan. We’d actually seen a restaurant in town right where the minivan initially dropped us off for the first time, but when we showed up on a day it was closed, we wound up finding Peace and Love instead.
The first thing we would tend to drink was the crisp, refreshing calamansi juice. The fruit, known as calamondin, is a genetic hybrid between a kumquat (which is what we thought we’d been enjoying the entire time) and a tangerine. With a bit of sugar and, as the case was at Peace and Love, an ounce or two of booze, this beverage is exquisite on a hot day in Southeast Asia, or anywhere else for that matter. Teresa and I would relax on their comfy wicker sofas and just gaze out at the water as we sipped away, enjoying the chill beats coming through the surrounding speakers.
The crowd there was very chill too, and the owner would often come up to us just to chat, get to know us, and exchange travel stories. He lived in Bali for over thirty years and has another branch of Peace and Love, called, wait for it, Love and Peace, just up the shore, owned together with his lady. He liked to compare the culture of Bali to that of the Philippines, talking about the differences in doing business in each Southeast Asian region.
Teresa and I would come back to Peace and Love a few times. For some reason, if I ever crave Western food when travelling elsewhere, it’s always a good stone oven pizza. Peace and Love actually did it right so long as you know what to order (pepperoni often isn’t what you’d be used to when ordering it in the Philippines; make sure you’re not getting sweet meat). I asked for them to leave it in just a couple of minutes longer than they normally do. I really like the edges burnt and crispy.
The only unfortunate thing about Peace and Love was that the sun sets off to the right of where you get the view. Also, the days we were there around 5:30-6:00 PM turned out to be cloudy. On our second last night, we decided to take a cruise back to Club Agutaya where Cito happily welcomed the two of us for another dinner. I had my eye on a pesto linguine the last time we were there, which is what I wound up with this time.
To this day, Long Beach has provided me with some of the best sunsets I’ve ever witnessed. I hope you’re not all getting sick of these pictures; it’s just that each night is different from the next. You can’t compare them in beauty. It’s a contest with no losers, only winners.