Day 13 – Gimme raw!

Today I know it was a massive kick-off for my awareness on what I feed my body with, and how I treat my environment in the process.
My transformation into an organic vegan all pretty much began by going raw in 2012; I was in the Philippines, working with Nomadic Hands, and I decided to join my host on her raw food diet for a month – I called it an ‘experiment’, I did it for no other reason than for fun and convenience, and I took some notes. It was a rollercoaster ride, both mentally and physically, and for a while it seemed like I had no character for such ‘radical’, even ‘hippie’, behaviour…

Originally published January 23rd, 2012 – So me and the raw have found our rhythm. Whenever I have a moment, I read in the book that I’ve been given – Nature’s First Law: The Raw-Food Diet – which is always enlightening.

Such as Chapter 8 ‘overworked organs’:

“Natural food, especially fruits, do not remain in the digestive organs for more than a few hours and, whether wholly digested or not, leave the body by normal channels. Cooked foods, especially those derived from animals, linger in the alimentary canal for three or four days, sometimes weeks. The body labours to the point of exhaustion to eliminate those materials.”

They go on, mentioning that ‘It is well known that immediately after an animal’s death its cells begin to decompose, releasing a variety of toxins… Its no wonder that after remaining in the human abdomen for three days at a temperature of 37 degrees, animal products are completely converted into poisons.”

Hmmm disgusting!

The biologically satisfied stomach of a raw foodist

So, “By feeding on useless, harmful, and poisonous substances, cooked-food enthusiasts gratify their passions, paralyse their stomachs, create the illusion of being satisfied. In reality, however, the cells are moaning with hunger, due to a lack of essential nutrients. A raw foodist’s stomach is always at rest because it is usually empty; at the same time the raw foodist’s body is fully, biologically satisfied.”

2012 philippines market outside

good stuff

I have to say, eating a lot of salads has been good and, indeed, I hadn’t been feeling that painful feeling of hunger. I did have my moments of weakness, and do pig-out on the occasional cookie (yes, I love them!), but in general, I was proud to be, I’d say, 80% raw.

Ramke says that as soon as you are more raw than cooked, you are already doing your body worlds of good!

Then I went to Neneng’s last weekend. It was an excursion I made on my own accord, more on it in a separate post. She asked me how I was liking Philippino food and squeeled when I told her I had hardly tasted any. She gave herself a mission, and by gosh, how I dug into the mountains of rice and barbecued meats put in front of me. The sheer tastes and consistencies of them went down so well. So well!

And so went the weekend. ‘Try a rice cake, it’s a specialty from Manapla’. ‘Eat more, you like?’ Aw YES!

Funny thing, though. When I got back I was craving – proper craving – my veggies. I didn’t think it was possible, but then again, Neneng had hardly served ANY veggies, not even cooked, at all!


And also: I was thirsty. Really thirsty. I drank and drank and drank but was still thirsty. And this is what they say, raw food contains all the good nutrients and liquids that your body needs. You don’t ‘feel’ so thirsty anymore… unless you cheat 🙂

I asked Ramke if he thought one could actually ‘crave’ raw food like, say, pasta. He said, once your system is used to it, not necessarily… so, on raw, I’d be missing out on that lovely feeling of thinking I was satisfying a craving!?

Interesting development, this experience.

My hosts, travel companions and new friends

Originally published January 18, 2012 – I happen to have stumbled across the two quite colourful and spiritual characters as my hosts.

Simone Francis

simone francis, always a buzz

simone francis, always a buzz

So there is Simone, director of Nomadic Hands.
She is this energetic 27-year-old Australian who, when you listen to her speak, must have lived more lives than her age gives away. She has travelled and worked around the world, has taught numerous skills, including snorkelling and tumbling (youtube it), and is learning about all sorts of spiritual healing at this time – a project on her horizon is setting up a singing bowl meditation in Sydney.

She has been successfully running a social enterprise for over four years. Nomadic Hands travels around the world lending their hands to communities who need them, raising awareness for humanitarian and environmental issues.
And all the while she is working on her ongoing documentary, in which she documents her own journey as she ‘leaves the consumerist system’. From the material I have seen, its an amazing life-change, courageous and full of passion. And at the same time quite disturbing as she reveals facts most of us know about but chose to ignore. One of the first things she does is she goes ‘dumpster-diving’ in Sydney – she goes looking for perfectly alright food thrown away to prepare her own meals, and finds loads!
She is an amazing ‘go-doer’, she bubbles with energy and drive, she thinks up ideas and solutions and does them the same minute. Quite impressive, really, and so the opposite to me – I hope some of her entrepreneur spirit colours off on me during this trip.


2012 philippines ramke flute

Ramke. I’ve been waking up to the soft sound of his flute playing in the distance.

So, being this adventure-seeker, Simone has recently taken to music and singing. And this is where her Philippine friend and co-host, Ramke, comes in. We are staying at his sister’s house in Talisay, near Bacolod and at his parents’ cottage when we’re in the mountains.
Ramke is an earthbound artist and currently reading into all kinds of healing, from reiki to numerology  – you name it, he’ll tell you about it. He reads a lot.
On my first evening he asked me what day my birthday was and I said March 18. He said ‘so you’re a 9’. Later on he explained that nines are very diverse creatures, they like to know and experiment everything, they like the challenge of the unknown. ‘And as soon as something is no longer unknown or an ability has been acquired, the nines look for what’s next.’ That explains a few things.

As a musician he plays the guitar, the flute, the didgeridoo, the harmonica and the drums… There may be more, but the sounds of these instruments have been accompanying us so far.

Simone and Ramke are both welcoming and generous in their own ways, and I am excited at the thought that by just being with them I may be getting more out of my time here than just the internship as such.

Day 9, raw food, and how it’s going down…

Originally published January 18, 2012 – So I think my big adjustment phase is now over. I used my experience with the raw food to mirror my arriving in the Philippines. The ups, the downs. It wasn’t all about the food… though we know it is always linked to food.

my own rhythm

On my diet I have now found my own rhythm. I have a smoothie at breakfast when one is handed to me, and it often is 😉 Today I even got two different ones. And I also toast a processed breadroll which I enjoy with a mug of nescafé. All other meals are mostly raw when I eat with Simone, which is always. If we are out, I may add something else just because I feel like it. I had a coffee and a cookie the other day, succulent.

But I am also finding this more raw than not diet to feel, in effect, quite good. My body feels good. I feel like I am exercising. And I expect that as soon as I am no longer with someone who is on the diet, I won’t be able to keep it up. There is no way I will mix up a big salad if I can also have pasta. Also, the market here is full of fruit and veggies, I know I won’t find much choice back home at this time of year. But spring and summer are upcoming, I wonder if I will naturally tend towards eating more raw… à voir.

to market, to market, to buy a fat mango

2012 Philippines market booth

So this is how it goes when Simone and I go to the market it Talisay. It is big –  but not really. Many tiny stores are jagged in one next to the other, all offerering more or less the same goods.
Simone asks prices, checks quality and chooses. I let her do it, because a-I don’t know half the ingredients she buys, and b-I take forever choosing the ‘good’ tomatoes. Generally we get tomatoes, little green or red ones, cucumbers, spring onionscabbage, some root I don’t know exactly what it is, some herbs I don’t know either, pumpkin, calamansi (a tiny lime-kind of citrus we put on everything)… and fruit. Bananas, the little fat ones, papaya, fresh coconut for her (which they smash open and grind on the spot), orange watermelon (she introduced it to me today, a new favourite), mango (so ripe the fruit slips off the stone) and whatever else inspires.

Presenting: the Raw Roll

Simone also generally prepares the food, she enjoys it and is good at it, though today I helped when we made ‘sushi’.

Amazing what all can be done without cooking (we had to blanche the aubergine before wrapping it around our stuffing).


I’ll be back on this page when and if I reach another groundbreaking or worth-sharing step, and for now: keep eating 😉

A letter home

Originally published January 16 2012. This is where my blog really began, I had been writing on retreat in the mountains, and published the first blogs once back on wifi.

Patag, 15 January 2012

Dear family and friends,

I am without internet. It is a good exercise, I reckon. We may be too connected these days.

Or are we? Because what is wrong about wanting to hear from the people you love? Especially when one finds oneself way out in the orbit of one’s comfort zone. Way out.

I am pretty much exactly where I pictured myself to be, yet I will admit it is a challenge. And I miss you.

The Cottage

our cottage

I write this email in a word document that I will send to you as soon as I am back online. I am in the ‘big’ house on the mountain, I sleep in the cottage.





The big house has a fridge, so we prepare our meals here, and it has a big table so Simone and I can both be on our PCs at the same time. Most of all, it has a shower – which the cottage doesn’t. And the toilet has a door for privacy, which the cottage doesn’t either. I prefer being here 😉

Things are well on my end. I am basically living with Simone and her Philippine friend Ramke; we stay at his sister’s house in Talisay, near the city, and we stay at the family’s cottage in the North Negros Forrest mountains, a 2-hour wobbly bus ride and a brief hike through mud away from the city of Bacolod. Up here it is lovely.

It is hot, and it is tropically humid – and so lush

All is lush and green, it is hilly and peaceful.

And it is cooler than down in the valley, I actually need to wear my fleece in the evening.

The cottage lies on the top of the hill, Simone and I walked down into the ‘village’ yesterday – which is a row of huts along a larger track.

We walked past ‘rooster farms’ on our way there. The racket of them is omnipresent and at first I didn’t know what it was. And it ain’t quiet at all. Think: seagulls in the morning. Lots of seagulls – and then up the volume by ten! The racket goes on, all day long. They are in lots of big gardens, they each have a wooden triangle/hut and stand on them and crow. Quite unusual. I asked. They are ‘cultivated’ for cockfighting.



2012 philippines patag shopThe village is where the ‘shops’ are, which are tiny windows in people’s houses out of which a hand reaches to give you your purchases.




I treated myself to sachets of Nescafé from an old lady at 2 pesos a piece (43 pesos is 1 USD).Shopkeeper in Patag, North Negros Mountains

She allowed me to take her photo and I love it.


We don’t physically ‘do’ much up here, but we are very productive.

2012 philippines patag home office

home office

So on the project: Simone, with her own organisation Nomadic Hands, has been working for one and a half years on setting up a social entrepreneurship training workshop for a local community here in Negros.

She aims to approach her overall goal, being to reduce child labour and abuse, from the other end, i.e. by educating the population, making them create their own livelihood by empowering them with more knowledge and skills.

The day I arrived she finally got the go-ahead from her local partner organization, and the first workshop begins next Wednesday. We spent a great deal of yesterday finalising the programme, going through each day and topic individually. She has planned 2 full days every week for about a year. Supposedly some 50 locals have enrolled. Her programme is on creative social entrepreneurship, a creative and simplified take on business planning. Very ambitious but also very well put together. She wants me to hold a day on Marketing, which is planned for 7 February, the evening of which day I will be leaving Negros.

We talked a lot; it took me a while to get what she is trying to do, it is all so complex.

2012 philippines patag washingThe thing is that, apparently, there is a plan to build a road up to this community which currently lives in seclusion. The community is being told that it will enable them to connect better to the world, sell their handicrafts globally and attract tourism.

A threat that Nomadic Hands has identified is that a road will most likely come with ‘development’ plans, big concrete housing unnatural to the area and false hopes, with the ultimate loss of a cultural identity.

So with the workshops they want to instil the thought of eco-tourism for the community as another opportunity, and by that participate in a sustainable and active manner. The workshops aim to spark a sense of ownership, incitation and also give all necessary knowledge and coaching to help individuals set up own businesses. And they should connect this community with a neighbouring community on the other side of the mountain (where we are right now) who are currently building an earth village made from mud huts. Their vision is to create a space where healing, arts and social entrepreneurship can help their local community.

The project is called Connect, Create, Conserve.

Connecting organisations, communities and social enterprises
Creating livelihoods for families as a way of preventing child labour
Conserving cultural and social structures and their natural environment

Now you know all about it.

We will see how it goes; I have no idea what this community will be like or how they will take the business and academic input. She has developed a more creative approach to it, using symbols and tangible examples to them, and we have worked on it together. Let us see what it does, Wednesday.

I am a bit apprehensive of this workshop as we will be up there for two days and nights at a time. Simone doesn’t know where we will sleep, ‘somewhere in the community’ – I am picturing on the floor somewhere with very basic sanitary installations (judging on the regular ones, which are already pretty basic to me).

But I will give it a go, this is a very unique opportunity to go deep into other forms of life and living, and it is what I came for.

Friends, I had a ‘moment’ this morning; one has ‘moments’ when far away and alone, so I know it. I called this moment here a Princess Moment. It’s why I chose to go on a project in the first place.

I have written for my blog, there are so many things I feel like writing about. And actually, there is no time. So I hope my texts won’t be sheer reports. Or maybe, over time, I will be able to dilute all my thoughts into a few short meaningful texts. But right now, it just comes out of me because I have a need to share. I won’t take it badly if you don’t read every detail.

So one of the things I am documenting is this raw-food diet I am on. What a random thing to do, and what a scary reality. ‘Cooked food is poison‘, they say in the book I am reading. I will also google it once I get online, I am keen to read what others have to say about it.

So there, I am alright, living the life and so grateful to be able to do so.

Much love,




Evenings at the cottage are very light and easy and rhythmic… with local furry company.

2012 philippines patag simone moonstar

2012 philippines patag evenings2012 philippines patag moonstar


Day 7 – 3 days of raw, then a little warm nibble and life IS good

Today I know it was a massive kick-off for my awareness on what I feed my body with and how I treat my environment in the process.
My transformation into an organic vegan all pretty much began by going raw in 2012; I was in the Philippines, working with Nomadic Hands, and I decided to join my host on her raw food diet for a month – I called it an ‘experiment’, I did it for no other reason than for fun and convenience, and I took some notes. It was a rollercoaster ride, both mentally and physically, and for a while it seemed like I had no character for such ‘radical’, even ‘hippie’, behaviour..

Originally published January 16, 2012 – YAY, Day 7! We rolled back down the mountain very early this morning, and I ate two bananas in the sunshine on the top of the jeepney.

I was now totally owning it, and in just a few hours I’d have wifi and be connected to you all again – I felt good. Life is good.

changing perspectives - ride on the top of a bus

life is good – ride on the top of a bus

On the programme today was one of many rehearsals with Ramke’s local earth band who are playing at an environment fundraising concert in 3 weeks time, Simone is part of it.

I dropped out of the diet for lunch. We went to the frigging MALL! A MALL, people. Just back from the end of civilization and then I get taken to a food court! I pigged out. All the band had lunch at the vegetarian place, and so did I. Rice. A peanut butter aubergine stew. And, ohhh, some kind of noodles with some kind of veggies on top. Luuush. Simone had a smoothie and some fruit. She’s been on it straight for three weeks now. I’ve decided that cold turkey might not get me anywhere.

New rhythm: When Simone and I have home-prepared meals, I eat raw. We had a gaspacho tonight. When out, I may just choose cooked.

Works for me.

I read a bit more in the book… people, it ain’t looking good for our fave foods. I may quote some more for you later on.

Day 6 – the inevitable day things got dirty

Raw Food at the market

A Philippines market in 2012

I never used to be a ‘special eater’, though, I remember proudly declaring I was not one of them, actually – I loved my meat… UNTIL I actually let some of all the information that is available to us settle in, and one day it just clicked, and I changed my daily habits.
My transformation into an organic vegan all pretty much began by going raw in 2012; I was in the Philippines, working with Nomadic Hands, and I decided to join my host on her raw food diet for a month – I called it an ‘experiment’, I did it for no other reason than for fun and convenience, and I took some notes. I had no idea it would be a #lifechanger.

Originally published January 16 2012 – I woke up feeling awful. My back and bottom were sore. The mattress I slept on on the mezzanine of the cottage in the mountains appears to be less bouncy and, in effect, only a separation between me and the ground. Also, I had not been online in a while and was feeling lonely.

But more urgently, my tummy was making the threatening rumbles of indigestion, which had me flinging the kitten off me into the mosquito net (she had been sleeping on the my belly all night) and charging down the stairs in a hurry. I got to where I needed to get in time.

Now, I reckon what we are doing here in the mountains is somewhere between slumming it and glamping. On this particular matter I refer to the fact that there is a loo in the cottage, however, there is no toilet seat, you flush by pouring in water from the bucket next to it, and most importantly, it is separated from the rest of the cottage by a  door that is only half the size of the doorframe. Not unusual for Asia, as I now know, but still, no privacy in my books – luckily, at that moment as I was alone.

My condition and these many little elements all triggered a sense of utter discomfort, frustration and homesickness in me.

Here I was, 10,000 physical miles – and light years in my habits and heart – from home,

I was still adjusting to slumming it, to basically sleeping on the floor, to sharing the outside kitchen with all sorts of creepy crawlers (we had found a dead gecko in one of our empty, but not yet washed, smoothie glasses) to not having a bathroom like I was used to, and to the general state of dirt that comes with living indoor/outdoor in a tropical showery climate, i.e. muddy outdoors and boots (me) and bare feet (Simone and Ramke) brining it all inside..

WHY ON EARTH would I also subject my system to a drastic dietary change?

This was not conducive to the whole experience; I did not like my state at 8am this morning. I rummaged in my luggage for the two last squishy croissants that I had brought up from Bacolod and that I had been sure I’d be binning when we left, and stomped up to the ‘big house’ on the property that we used during the day, to get warm water for my Nescafé.

As I was warming the croissants in the toaster and after another purging visit to the loo (the one in the big house complies perfectly to my ‘standards’, and it has a door), Simone came in.

I didn’t loose a minute to declare that I needed to stop the diet. It wasn’t doing me any good, I was having too many other elements to digest (and not just the food-kinds) at this time. I just ranted away at her, like an upset child, really!

She was very good and said: ‘OK, I think it is time we talk about how you are experiencing this time, let’s do it now.’

We had a good exchange. I told her that I felt quite a bit out of my comfort zone, which is something I had been expecting and even seeking, but that settling into the simplicity of Philippine mountain life was a task I needed to concentrate on at this time, and that possibly this diet was one too many element in the ‘new’ of it all. Especially when I needed a toilet and really in those situations, like to be able to

  • a) sit on a loo; and
  • b) be in private.

She was understanding and encouraging, I think she may have forgotten what ‘luxuries’ active Westerners consider basic these days, and I felt much better having her know about my feelings – it is truly amazing how plain naming a feeling can make everything better. After our conversation I realised the extent of my drama, because, bottom line, I had absolutely nothing to complain or be grumpy about – and henceforth referred to this behaviour of mine as having ‘Princess Moments’. They come, we name them, maybe have a laugh, and move on.

Strengthened by my obligatory cup of coffee, I left the croissants on the side for the time being.

Maybe I’ll follow through with the raw diet after all.

Over the lunchtime salad of tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, sesame seeds and a fruit we got at the market but didn’t know what it was, of which I managed to eat about 5 mouthfuls, I mentioned my state to Ramke and he said,

‘This is good, you are de-toxing. You are experiencing withdrawal, in a few days you’ll feel so much better, you’ll be more creative, less tired, more enlightened over all.’

We’ll see about that, affaire à suivre.

Day 5 – ‘read this’, learning about raw

Natures First Law: Raw Food

Nature’s First Law: The Raw-Food Diet (available on Amazon)

My transformation into an organic vegan all pretty much began by going raw in 2012; I was in the Philippines, working with Nomadic Hands, and I decided to join my host on her raw food diet for a month – I called it an ‘experiment’, I did it for no other reason than fun and convenience, and I took some notes. I had no idea it would be a #lifechanger.

Originally published January 16, 2012 – In the cottage Ramke handed me a book calledNature’s First Law: The Raw-Food Diet and said ‘read this!’
Which I now am doing.
Because why bother going raw, and depriving yourself of pasta and bread and afternoon cakes and barbecued meat, if you don’t know what that’s good for?

** At this point I’d like to make it clear that I am merely reporting what I am reading in the only book I had available to me on raw food, and I insist that these are in no way my own statements. **

So, basically, and they repeat it after every chapter:

‘cooked food is poison.’


APPARENTLY, mankind was not designed to eat cooked food, and by cooking (and processing) food in any way it loses all its nutrients, and thereby becomes an indigestible poison for our bodies.

(erm… W-H-A-T?)

‘Diseases, obesity, depression, pollution, etc. are all caused by the consumption of cooked food. If you are ill, consume exclusively raw plant food and your illness will wither. If you are under/overweight, eating raw will restore your body to its natural weight. If you suffer from depression, eating raw will restore your happiness and vitality. If you are an environmentalist, start by cleaning up your own body.’

The authors compare humans with animals and point out that humans are more prone to a diversity of illnesses than animals and this due to our unnatural way of feeding ourselves.

The discovery of fire 500,000 years ago (as opposed to the 1,500,000,000 years of life before) has brought with it an abundance of palette-stimulating tastes that are perverted for the human digestive system. But mankind has adapted to cooked food, and even become addicted to its tastes and the impression of ‘fullness’ it creates. As an example used, someone who eats bananas regularly but then stops for a week will be fine. A bread-eater who is deprived of bread for a week feels a sensation of withdrawal… Note to self: make the banana-test. Can confirm already about the carbs (refer to my ‘squishy croissant binge’).

I am reading through the book and their exposé appears very plausible to me. We know that many of our problems, be they physical or mental, are linked to our diet. The nutrients we think to come from protein and carbs are, so they say, all present in raw food, so that’s covered.

But if they are right, what an utterly frustrating piece of knowledge has just been handed to me!

It is telling us that we all have been living wrongly all this time, and it claims, that what we have been enjoying is, in effect without exception, poison for our body. The authors compare cooked food to all other drugs, including cigarettes – claiming that smoking is the most absurd form of ‘cooking’, ‘cooking’ the air that we breathe.

For the time being I am continuing the diet. I am also drinking a cup of nescafé every day because it gives me pleasure.

How I feel? At this precise moment at 6pm after a smoothie for breakfast and a papaya salad for lunch, my tummy has been rumbling for three hours. I don’t feel like eating, though. Ramke says this is a natural reaction to the change in my diet, that I am de-toxing and that I will notice it my bowel movements, too. (I said I’d share).

He also told me that I had lost weight. While losing weight is not anything I have ever aspired to do, and while I also find that hard to believe after only two days, it does give me some sense of satisfaction.

I let myself visualise a through-and-through healthy and toned version of myself leaving the Philippines in one month.

Day 4 – giving the raw food diet another go

raw food

The raw food diet – and giving it another try

My transformation into an organic vegan all pretty much began by going raw in 2012; I was in the Philippines, working with Nomadic Hands, and I decided to join my host on her raw food diet for a month. I called it an ‘experiment‘, I did it for no other reason than fun and convenience, but I kept a diary of what went on. I had no idea it would be a life changer, both in terms of how I eat and how I think. But it was. This is from my diary.

Originally published January 16, 2012 – In the Philippines and on day 4, Simone, Ramke and I headed up to the ‘mountains’ for a few days.

The cottage in the mountains is a two-hour bus ride on bumpy dirt roads through nature to the back of beyond. One goes shopping before heading up, so we dropped by the market on our way out. Ramke had declared he was starting up the raw food diet, and once again, I had no inclination to go out and purchase my own meals. I had no way of knowing which equipment was going to be waiting for us at the cottage, so, as well as being the obviously convenient option, it is much more sociable to ‘cook’ and dine together.

So I am back on the raw food diet!

And after the smoothie breakfast (and 2 more squishy croissants at home before leaving), a tomato, cucumber and unidentified lettuce salad spruced up with apple cider vinegar and raw sesame seeds for lunch, and a dinner of the same but different because cabbage had been added to the mix, I actually felt quite good about myself.

The jetlag was gone, my skin was clearing up, even my hair felt less limp than the previous days. And most of all, I wasn’t feeling hungry – at all! Even before meals, I felt no appetite nor need for food.

I was getting back to being excited about how much good I was going to have done to myself after a month of this.

Day 3 – maybe I won’t do this raw food diet after all

a journey

take the journey

My transformation into an organic vegan all pretty much began by going raw in 2012; I was in the Philippines, working with Nomadic Hands, and I decided to join my host on her raw food diet for a month – I called it an ‘experiment’, I did it for no other reason than fun and convenience, and I kept a diary of what went on. I had no idea it would be a lifechanger, both in how I eat and how I think. But it was. This is from my diary.

Originally published January 16, 2012 – Day 3 of my raw food diet was good. Good all over. I got up and showered first. Washed off the heat and grease. Then I brewed myself a cup of Starbucks instant coffee; in some wise moment I bought a pack of three when I was in LA, ‘for emergencies’ I’d thought. Good thinking! Then I sat down and ate two of my squishy croissants that had been toasted up by Victor, the house help.

THIS is how I start my day. I was back to owning my routine, and complimented myself on it. I can do raw, but if I want to add carbs, I will.

Then Ramke told us that his mother had invited us for lunch. Simone said she was taking her food with her, I said if I’m invited to a local’s home cooking, I’ll taste it! Imagine coming home from a month in the Philippines and not having tasted any of their, apparently, heavenly food!? Nah, not me. And what can I say, the fishcakes, the chicken, the lemongrass and ginger soup – yummy.

The evening meal was even better! Ramke’s sister, Chyd, whose house we are staying at in Talisay, invited us all out to a meal at a local restaurant to celebrate an award she had gotten at work! She ordered dishes of chicken, deep fried shrimp and squid that came with vinegar dips and more ginger broth. Absolute bliss!

Yeah, maybe I won’t do this raw food diet thing after all.