Out and about in the new normal on ‘date night’

ellen and tedly on motag beach

Last Updated on May 27, 2023 by Ellen

There are more people out and about in the new normal in our corner of this Philippine island. All shops appear open; many more people walk around; additional trikes (Philippine cabs) are on the road with more passengers.

And so, I declared it was time for a date night. Love in the time of ‘Rona: a beach walk, a dinner, a starry evening back ‘home’. What could be more romantic?

For the first time in 10 weeks, Tedly and I went to a restaurant. We had ordered in great meals during from the restaurant at the Hangout Beach Resort, where we are renting a great apartment. But it had been a long, long time since we went out on a ‘date night’.

Our evening started with a sunset beach stroll.

Out and about in the new normal

Almost every day for weeks, I walk the length of the beach to the east of the small town Malay proper, and on into town. Date night was the first time Tedly strolled the beach with me. He’s usually sleeping until noon or 1:00 p.m. And we usually stay close to home for sunset because he cooks dinner every night.

On my beach walks I stop often to pick up shells, chat with locals, cool off in the sea, help pull in fishing nets. In town, I pick up a few supplies like more oatmeal or veggies, occasionally stop for coffee and conversation at the place where we had dinner on our date night, and then I stroll back down the beach. I usually make it home before the sun gets to its zenith, before Tedly wakes up.

Every day I see many of the same people. I met J.B., a dive instructor, and his wife and children. One day he was excited about an upcoming scuba adventure set for the same day quarantine restrictions eased on Panay Island. I told him Tedly is a certified diver, and J.B. invited us on his upcoming private dive. He took our date night picture above.

I’ve met many other interesting people – and children – on my walks. The children from the Balusbus fishing village always call out my name and run over to greet me. With relaxed quarantine rules, they’ve recently helped me collect shells at their neighborhood waterfront.

On date night, they were surprised to see me walking at sunset, in regular clothing instead of a bathing suit, with a strange man instead of alone. I think some of them learned a new English word: husband.

kids on the beach out and about in the new normal

Tedly and I kept walked into Malay proper, known as “Poblacion.” At one point on our walk, we held hands. It was nice.

An ocean breeze refreshed as we took in a breathtaking sunset at the waterfront walkway.

colorful sunset in malay, aklan, philippines, while out and about in the new normal on date night


We had dinner at a wonderful place recommended by Yolly – my friend and owner of the Hangout. If you’re ever in this area, you must visit Balay Tadyaw.

It’s a coffee shop, restaurant, grocery delivery service for specialty goods. I love to talk about the Universe and Love and Spirit with the owner over coffee. We’ve shared some stories and we’re both interested in soul growth.

Since Rafael’s coffee is excellent, I decided we’d try his place for our date night. It was a great choice – dinner was delicious!

Iceberg lettuce salad (can’t remember the last time I had that!) with great olive oil and herbs, a tasty, light cream of mushroom soup, perfectly charcoal-grilled huge tuna steaks with lemon, chicken curry with vegetables, rice, lemon water, beer for Tedly, and a tasty cake to polish it off. Everything was made fresh, and all herbs came from Rafael’s on-site garden.

ellen and tedly look happy at dinner at balay tadyaw, out and about in the new normal

To boot: our special dinner with personalized social-distanced service cost $20 – affordable for retired budget travelers like us – and most travelers to this area.

Adjusting to the ‘new normal’

In this new normal, we won’t go out to eat as often as we once did. I still want some type of ‘date night’ where we can work at reconnecting because romance lifts my spirit.

The veil of romance won’t ever hide reality: the world still suffers from COVID-19 deaths, resulting unemployment, racism, ego-driven maniacs, a lot of other ugly things. But a few hours of pretending things were how they used be, comforted me.

Thanks for reading, “Out and about in the new normal.”

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