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Faces in Places Traveling as the Uni of Life

Island hopping kicks bottom!

PHILIPPINES | Friday, 15 February 2008 | Views [1541] | Comments [1]

Hi friends! From one of the three places in the world (next to Antarctica and some place in the Amazon) where worldwide servicing FedEx and UPS do not deliver, I'm writing you this blog entry. Yes, El Nido is a pretty remote place, although still quite some people find their way to it, since the land- and seascapes up here are best described in one word, being; in-cre-di-ble! Seriously I think the most beautiful place I have ever been. Let me first go a bit back in time though, to pick up from where I left you with my previous blog entry; Bangkok.

Eventually I managed to make my Bangkok experience a lot more pleasant as it had been the days before. I ran into Bryn from the UK, who I had met during the float in Vietnam and who I had seen since in Cambodia and in Laos (completely random :)). He turned out to travel together with Paula from Tasmania, who I also had met in Laos some weeks earlier. Being around with some familiar faces made my stay a lot more fun. Some evening I also met Eddie, a guy from Malaysia who was playing guitar on the street. We had some awesome jamming sessions in the park, while playing frisbee and drinking shakes; perfect urban days. On my last day we did some sightseeing on the river with a group of girls from Norway before I would take a flight to Manila, the Philippines, that night.

After a three hour flight I landed in the crazy city of Manila. No sleep and a lot of new impulses made my arrival a bit surreal. Together with Sharhi, a young Iranian/German dentist, who I met in the terminal just before, we found a place to crash for the night.

Strangely, Manila reminded me of Central America; with colorful buses, called Jeepnies, a lot of Coca Cola and Christianity and the language being an interesting mixture between Spanish, English and local dialects. The atmosphere here is definitely very different then other Asian countries I have been. For example signs at banks stating 'please leave your firearms before entering' are unthinkable in for example Laos. Actually the amount of guns visually on the streets made me a bit anxious and leaving Manila the next day felt like a good decision.

Next day Sharhi and I took a flight to Puerto Princesa on Palawan Island. This small city is the only hub between the whole island and the rest of the world. So after getting enough money out of the ATM for the next weeks, we took a bus to Sabang. Close to this place is an underground river of more then 7 k's long and with a boat it is possible to explore the first 1 to 2 kilometers. We went here the next day, hiking ten kilometers thru beautiful jungle with very, very much bio-diversity, seeing rare birds, insects, plants and monkey's on the way.

After two days Sharhi and I traveled further to Port Barton. The roads here are sometimes quite an experience and making a little cross every once in a while is not a bad idea. :) In Port Barton we spend some days snorkeling and yes, we found Nemo as well as many other weird and colorful fish. The amount of fish up here is amazing! Sometimes it is really like swimming in a big aquarium, completely surrounded by groups of all kinds of fish and crazy coral scapes. Me like!

Then we moved on to El Nido, all the way up north in Palawan. This 4 hour bus ride was the best I have ever had! Imagine a comfortable bamboo bench on the roof of a bus, situated just above the driver, and sitting on that while you drive trough some of the most beautiful landscapes ever seen! Aarg! Wow! Of course this bench was just somebodies cargo. Dogging the electricity cables and trees was sometimes kind of tricky, though. And yes, it truly became a crazy wild ride of life and death after the bus driver hit a dog in full speed.. poor thing. :S

El Nido is situated in a bay close to some hundreds of islands so perfect, that it looks like they are straight from the movies, like seen in Lost, the Beach or Cast Away. In daily boat tours I have been hopping from the one to the other, only stopping for snorkeling, a grilled fish, sunbathing and swimming. Especially the lagoons, only accessible by a small opening in the rocks, under or above the water, are un-be-freaking-leavable. I couldn't take pictures here, since I don't have an underwater camera. But even on pictures the beauty and surrealness of this place cannot be expressed.. so I guess if you want to know, you know where to go. :)

Ohyeah, yesterday we have been shipwrecked on one of the island, after our boat crashed onto a rock. Luckily nobody was hurt, since we just got of the boat to make lunch on a beach. It took us the whole day though, to get the boat out of the water and we had to wait until the weather became better so we could get a telephone signal to call for help. .. Just another day, haha :)

I have been waiting a couple of days here in El Nido to join a boat expedition to Coron on Butuanga island. If the wind will be stable tonight, just like today, we will leave tomorrow. It will be a 3 to 4 day trip along some of the 500+ islands in this region that are rarely visited by tourists. We will sleep in local villages, in a tent on the beach or on the boat and we'll basically just see where the wind takes us. An adventure I envisioned the Philippines to be!

Lots of love, Daan

Tags: Lost!

 

Comments

1

Hi Daan, Palawan sounds amazing! I injured my leg while biking in Chiang Mai, so I'm here in HCMC trying to recover and then go to Phu Quoc Island. I definitely want to island hop some day?? Lenne

  Lenne Lambert Feb 26, 2008 11:53 PM

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