Arriving over the mountain to El Nido
Tuesday morning 5.45am start, into tricycle to bus terminal. They crammed about 100 people into a 20 seater bus/jeep type vehicle. So so so squashed, but at least I was by the window so half my body could stick out and get fresh air and space! I seriously thought I was going to die from claustrophobia. Some people had to travel on the roof with a lot of luggage and remember this is a 7 hr journey..there were even people standing! Shame man! Was a pretty cloudy day so good for travelling..I was off to El Nido. At about 1pm we noticed a hold up of loads of buses and jeeps.....yup everyone out - we had to walk for 2km because the road was too bad. So it decided to rain while we had to walk the muddy, undrivable road..nice. Some people had loads of boxes and luggage to carry, this bike went past us and skidded so all three fell off! On the bus I met a Polish guy called Peter and a Dutch couple, Lieke and Daniel.
At 'Alternative' before breakfast, looking over El Nido beach
We got to our destination after a very long and tiring journey and looked for a place to stay. We walked down to where the beach was to find some huts. El Nido is minute. 2 little main roads about 2m in width. All four of us checked into Tandikan, which had some huts right on the beach with porches - fantastic! And only 500 pesos! Wow wow wow what an amazing view. I couldnt think of a more scenic place than that. We took a stroll down the beach to where there were alot of lights....restaurant and bar on the sand......so cool. WE rested there and had dinner under the stars listening to the waves on the shore and a Filipino singer. So who come running over to say hello? Simon from Winchester! So of course he joined us for a few drinks. Great to see him again.
Little lady and her fish
Wednesday 10th - up at 6am and straight into the sea for a morning swim...I could do that for the rest of my life! The town was quiet and the sky still lightening up. Made some coffee on the porch and headed for breakfast and to wait for the others to meet at El Nido Art Cafe. At 9am we set off on our boat with our two crewmen, Mascardo and Bong. Coming around the bay was spectacular...islands standing everywhere, white beaches in the distance, blue water and perfect weather. So blessed! First stop Miniloc Island. Small lagoon for snorkelling and big laggoon for scenic drive through. So so breathtaking. Saw loads of fish, the water was so warm. Another island for snorkelling and a fish bbq on the beach....tasty! Next island was beautiful and so quiet.
Off island hopping
Had swim, some coconut juice and headed back as the clouds were getting darker. What an awesome trip! Simon was on the beach waiting so we went for a walk to go check out the boat thats getting built for him. Walked through the locals area and found a basketball court right by the sea...they love their basketball. Kids wanting to check us out and say hello. They are really so cute! Was dark so headed back to hut and we all went out for dinner at the place another place on the beach. Simon, Bong and Mascardo joined us for a few drinks. They wanted to do some kareoke, so when everyone else went home I went with them to the kareoke bar - closed, so they walked me home.....such gentlemen!
Thursday 11th - woke at 5.45 and headed for a swim when I found Simon had just arrived at mine.
One of the islands on our tour
So we went for a swim and he made some filter coffee on his burner while we woke to the day. Heaven. After we went to Alernative restarant and hotel for breaky. We sat on the pertruding porch and enjoyed the views. Wafted around for the morning, snorkeling, drinking more coffee, walking on the beach and left in tricyle, which a loud sound system, to the airport. Had to wait for the plane to land before we could carry on through to the terminal....well shack. The waiting room consists of a few hammocks under the trees...nice. 8 of us jumped into the plane and took off for Coron, flying over hundreds of gorgeous islands. At Coron, three of us got off and a jeepney was waiting to take us into town. Met a Spanish couple who was staying at a resort on one of the islands, sounded remote and quiet so I decided to join them.
Fresh fish bbq for lunch
Into a boat and to Discovery Island Resort. I stayed in a little hut up on the hill with a balcony and a lot of bush surrounding it. Room was large but I did feel like was roughing it a bit! Missioned back onto the boat and into town to go to the hotspings...but that was such a palava I decided to luss it and went wandering the tiny little town instead. Booked at Sea Dive hotel for a snorkelling tour for the nexy day with 3 others. Waiting at the pier for the boat to come pick me up...the stars were so bright. Drove back in the dark, which was great. Hit the hay as soon as I got back, had a few cockroaches and lizards waiting for me in my room ;-(
Friday 12th - Checked out and was taking to Sea Dive in town. I checked into a room there, which was fabulous.
View from my hut in the early morning
Large room with balcony pretty high up....and no cockroaches. Down for breaky on the deck watching some boats going out, some fishermen getting ready for their day, and the locals working hard. So the 4 of us set off on our island hopping tour. Three girls from Australia, Heidi, Margo and Kate...lovely girls...and only English speaking...even better! Went to two fresh water lakes on Coron Island. We were the only ones in the largest lake.....so peaceful, but we were all a little scared of what was underneath us and it was hell of a deep. Next lake, also freshwater and us being the only ones. Next stop, lunch and a lagoon to snorkle in. You had to duck under the water to get into it, which was fun, I went on my own but saw in the distance the girls, they couldnt hear me anymore so came to check if I was still alive! Was fab having my underwater camera with me, so looking forward to my bad pictures! Last stop, a small island with an even smaller beach.
One of the lakes we went swimming in on Coron Island
Met some locals who gave us some seaweed to eat. It pops in your mouth like caviar, but so tasty. Suntanned, swam and snorkled. Had a local hasseling me while I was out snorkeling....what a pain...asking me the same questions every other Filipino asks. Home. WE all sat on the desk having some drinks in the sun and stayed there till sunset. OH MY what a sunset it was....my first proper one since being in the Philippines. Two Filipinos joined us then later two Welshmen joined us. We had a fun time so we stayed there for dinner. Blue Marlin again with a lot of garlic! Met two Frenchmen as well! The kareoke on the pier next door was in full force and so bad, so we decided to go show the locals how to sing....badly too. Sat at the tinniest little bar with the videoke playing and the locals pouring their hearts out.
Sunset on top of Sea Dive Hotel
We all sang a few songs...I did my usual, New York New York and Superman, and runaway. It was a blast! Left there at 1am, I think they normally end earlier but us foreigners just kept on singing! Had a good nights sleep, but could feel my ear was starting to hurt, and my tummy felt a little sensitive...at least that happened at the end of my trip ;-)
Saturday 13th. Woke up to a painfully sore right ear and a sore stomach. Had to catch the jeepney to the airport at 10am. Met Jeffrey there who was with us the night before, he was going back home to Boracay and said I should go with.....hmmmm I was very tempted! Quick flight back to Manila, have checked myself into Malate Pensionne for two nights and meeting up with becky later at 8pm. So my 6 weeks comes to a very sad end........I really do wish someone had kidnapped me!