There is some great news this morning. There will be a boat going to San Jose at noon. And I got a ticket on the boat. The not so great news is my German dive buddy has let me down he will not go with me. Bastard now I just may get to this amazing place where you got a boat going out to the best reef in the Philippines and not have the money to go out to the reef. But my luck change quickly - I just got a new best dive buddy - from al places in the world New York - but hey this is not a time to be picky about it so I am ready to go with the Yankee.
The funny thing is I had actually just convinced him two days before that he had to go to El Nido but now he wants to go to Apo Reef instead.
He actually got a booking on the "ferry" to El Nido leaving at eight this morning. And Ricardo is asking him if he wants to go to El Nido or not - he cancel his super expensive ticket. The reason Ricardo kept asking him was he had a local Filipino on a standby ticket to the same boat - probably for just over a tenths of the price the foreigners will have to pay for it.
Cross on top of the hill
Well I got some time to go sightseeing before the ferry leaves at noon time. So I go walkabout in Coron town. After having spent time in El Nido this actually looks like a giant place with lots of traffic and shops spread out all over the place. You actually need to look a little bit before you cross the main road to make sure you will not get hit by a lonely tricycle. Most other people seem to think it is a quite place - but nono it is really busy. I want to go up to a cross on top of a nearby hill it is only a short walk up there.
So I get going - it is a bit uphill but I am not in so sorry a state that I can not walk up a hill. Going up there I glance back a few times - there is some nasty weather out to the right of me - I need to walk faster so I can get to the top and back down before the rain set in. And I make it to the top - take a few quick photos of the view - the weather is looking even worse by now. I better hurry down.
Weather looks scarry
I walk down again - fast - just a bit shy of running. And I make it down alright - still no rain. I get to the town and it starts to drizzle a bit but still no major concerns about rain. I get all the way to the turn of to the resort - and then it starts to rain. The resort is out at the end of a pier - and there is no where you can hide from the rain when you walk out there - it will get to you. And I got no umbrella or jacket or anything else. I wonder what to do - I need to get back there I have to pack the rest of my stuff, check out, pay my bill and have lunch all before leaving at noon - and time is running short.
I got no choice I need to go out there - and it is only 100meter to the end of the pier.
Harbour of Coron
It may only be 100 meters - but I get soaked never the less. The rain is so heavy that I have to wrens out my shirt when I get to my room and about 2 litres of water go down the drain.
Then it is time to wait for Ricardo to show up and take us to the "ferry". He is supposed to be here at 11.30 but at 11.30 there is no sign of Ricardo. Super. We wait and around 12 the rains dies down and 10 minutes later Ricardo show up - he has probably been hiding from the rain somewhere. He gets us to the boat along with a couple of more passengers.
When we get to the boat we get a free paper - I guess there is no reason to be overly grateful for the free paper given Ricardo have just made a commission of around 2.500 on the four of us.
Main part of Coron town
We get on board and tare ready to go on the "ferry" well it is not actually a ferry at all it is a cargo boat - and not what you generally understand with the word in Europe - it is a very small cargo boat. Actually it is a bangka about the same size as the bangkas I had been on when I went island hopping.
One of the
crew on the boat is wearing a NFL shirt with Michael Vicks name on it. We find
it a bit strange given the man is in jail for arranging illegal dog fights in
the States. But then again the Philippines
are known for its tendency to arrange animal fights - be it cockfights or horse
Hence maybe a man jailed for arranging illegal dog fight could be seen
as something like a man fighting against an unjust system trying to suppress
the right of man to let animal fight for the amusement of man.
Walking down from the hill
The first part of the trip we go out through the small islands surrounding Coron - and time goes fast. But after an hour or two it starts getting a bit boring. And I start looking into the paper.
Before I left home I had heard a lot about the international food crises and the increasing prices on basic foods all over the globe - and that especially the Philippines were hard hit. And sure I had also noticed the prices going up in my local supermarket.
But I did not know a lot about what it was all about. But the business section of the paper is full of articles abou8t the international trade in rice and the price developments. I start to read I got plenty of time - and I start to wonder what have actually been driving the crises.
Hey I can hide under that roof if the rains start
My general conclusion end up being. The crises started out like a fairly minor problem. But some governments in rice importing countries got scared about the prospect of there population would not have enough rice to eat the coming year. The Philippines is the biggest importer of rice in the world - and the government in the Philippines decided to buy lots of rice on the international market. This would seem like a prudent thing to do - but there are adverse effects to this.
Now the big problem is - only a tiny part of the rice produced in the world is actually traded on the international market and the supply of rice were already scares as it was.
The big purchases from the Philippines made the price go up - and it did not just go up a bit - it skyrocketed. This scared the governments in rice exporting countries like Vietnam and Thailand - hence they banned all export of rice to shield their own population from the rising price of rice internationally. The banning of rice export from these countries just made the supply of rice on the international market even smaller - which just made the prices go up even further. In total the rice prices went up like 4-5 times the old levels in a very short time span. And this is of course a huge problem for the people who spend a big chunk of their income on buying rice.
But my conclusion on the matter was.
Yes there was a bit of a problem with a little short supply of rice, which would make the prices go up a bit. But this problem was made much much worse by the policy of the governments in a number of Asian countries. Once again we see a minor economic problem made into a giant problem by mismanagement by governments. Ok I admit I am not an expert on the international rice trade - nor do I have a big insight in the general policy of South East Asian government. I just had a paper and too much time on my hand.
The main cargo on the boat
The good thing is rice prices appear to be falling rapidly lately and Thailand may open up to the rice trade again which all should help to curb the worst effects of the food crises.
Well I am done reading the paper and the boat is getting into the port in San Jose - time to get of.