Rex was true to his word, a few days later he was once again at my door with the offer of going to cathedral cave. I imagined a place with high walls and organ like formations. It sounded good.
One of the things I noticed about Rex, is although his offers of taking me out to islands were very generous. He never wanted to socialize. I offered to buy him dinner or lunch somewhere when we got back from a place. But no, he politely declined each time. Even on board his little boat, he kept himself to himself and said little.
His English was good, and we could hold a conversation, but it was never sustaining. It was something I was beginning to pick up in
the Philippines that I also noticed in other parts of the world. Social integration was, and is one of the biggest obstacles in finding a home in another land.
It was something I’d have to make some serious thoughts about as it was constantly rearing it’s ugly head. And, I didn’t like the answer I was seeing. More so when you do not have a bulging wallet to distract you.
I settled on Rex’s motives of simply having good will. This was his good deed in helping someone out. An admirable quality.
After dropping the English couple off we bashed along the waves towards a single rock jutting out of the sea. I tried to remember just how many islands the Philippines laid claim to again, and thought about if this counted as one.
Slowing the boat down we eased into a narrow opening alongside the island rock. Using a pole Rex guided the boat along and as we entered the whole cave echoed our every sound.
High above, the cave ceiling did indeed stretch up high. And yes indeed there were organ pipe like formations along the sides. But perhaps the most enlightening of sights was the roof of the cave. Here light shafts jutted in and brought a great glow to the inner sanctum.
I jumped off the little boat and walked around the inner cave. It was off course the formation of an old volcano, and the thoughts of lava once bursting up through it had long since eroded away. Now the place was cool and peaceful.
Our way out was marred by a story finally coming out of Rex. One of how a Japanese man died in the cave. He had tried to snorkel around the surrounding area. But his life vest got caught in the entrance way, and he drowned.
Coincidentally it seemed another Japanese man had also died whilst snorkeling around the nearby lagoons. I tried to ask why it was mainly Japanese that seemed to drown in El Nido? But the answers only came with a few more stories about similar deaths. No conversation. Just facts. I was having a hard time breaking through …
Social Integration when living overseas: is it possible?
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