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Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Excursion to Malabuyoc to Visit Mike and Lani Johnson

Aloha Everyone,

Malabuyoc according to the 2020 census had a population of less than 20,000 inhabitants. Due to its shallow water, the area is perfect for snorkeling and boating. More recently Westerners including Americans, French, Germans and Australians have been renting beach homes. In the “main street” of Malabuyoc, the foreigners walked among the locals making the town appear quite international.

Our day excursion took a total of 10 hours. We hired a private car with a driver which supposed reduced our travel time by 2 hours. Well, that didn’t happen. Drive to Malabuyoc pronounced “Moalboal” was long. J.J. had met Mike, an American originally from Spokane, WA on their expat’s forum, but this is the first time they meet face to face.

Mike and his wife Lani are very welcoming. Lani had prepared a large feast of mostly seafood plus cooked vegetables for us. I later learned that Mike had asked J.J. if we have any dietary restrictions. 

Our initial introduction was awkward. One of their 3 dogs was extremely eager to greet visitors. He came rushing just as I informed Mike that I am allergic to animals with fur. (Or their saliva). After securing his dogs in one of their bedrooms, we sat down for lunch. J.J.’s favorite large shrimps, 2 different types of fish were beautifully arranged and very tasty.

Lots of interesting stories to share. Mike and Lani purchased the house and the lots pretty much in a move-in condition. Two years ago, a super typhoon devastated the municipality. 

Mike and Lani’s home suffered damages including roof, boat landing area and perimeter supporting walls. He told us that they were very fortunate to be able to purchase the property. Today most owners, especially oceanfront lots are only being leased for new resorts developments.

After spending a delightful 3 hours with Mike and Lani, we reluctantly left for another 3+ hours on the road.

I was surprised to learn that I have been to Cebu previously. When our boys were small, we took a holiday at a private beach resort called Argao. That is where we first met our dear friends from Italy. Since then, over the years, we have seen each other in Italy as well as in Honolulu several times.

Hopefully this is the beginning of our friendship with Mike and Lani. Our driver, Loyd was introduced by Mike. He was very familiar with the route. On our way back, he pointed to his house which is also in Malabuyoc. Loyd was calm when sudden downpours pelted the windshield of his car. He told us that there is no streetlight but he knows his way. J.J. showed our gratitudes by giving Loyd a large tip. The two of us were so tired. We had hot soup and an Italian style pasta meal at the restaurant next door and went to bed shortly thereafter.

Aloha -- Cathi