Rounding off the PhilippinesFebruary 28, 2019 on the Philippines ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C
Last post I made we were in El Nido. We have had a pretty cruisy, relaxing time since then so I haven't got that much to say. We spent a day diving in El Nido and had 3 varied dives. The second was beautiful, we saw huge schools of yellow fish above a field of cabbage coral. We also saw sea turtle, although not such close encounters as previously, and some really cool pipe fish that. Pipe fish are in the sea horse family and these ones looked much like sea horses, they were cleverly camouflaged to look just like the coral they were floating next to. And we saw a huge crocodile fish, which I have never seen before. So all in all a pretty good days diving, although I didn't feel as comfortable as usual-the equipment wasn't as comfortable as I had on the live aboard.
After that we took a bus to an apartment 40km north of Puerto Princessa. Marla had it booked as a birthday treat from her parents, and it certainly was a treat. We each had our own double bed, it had air conditioning and hot high pressure water. The water in El Nido smelt disgusting and was a dribble and we have never had hot water, so this felt like heaven! The place had a swimming pool and was within the countryside in a peaceful spot that tourists don't usually stay in. We spent a day relaxing, it was bliss. Every now and again when traveling you just need to stop and recharge, because it can become exhausting have fun packed days every day!
Then the next day we took a tour to the world's longest navigatable underground river. Thankfully our accommodation was quite near to it, because the tours normally leave Puerto Princessa and take a whole day because of the journey. There was a lot of waiting around and being queued up with hundreds of other tourists,because it is the main attraction of the area. The tour of the river itself lasted about 45 minutes and was on a small boat, rowed by a local. It was meant to be a silent tour, we each had an audioguide to listen to as we passed through the caves so that they could preserve the natural environment as much as possible. However our boat guide decided to talk through a lot of it, so the peace was distorted and it was quite frustrating. The river is under a limestone mountain and meets the sea. As we traveled through we saw hundreds of bats and birds and heard about the marine life that lives there. There were also many stalagmite and stalatmites that had formed over years and the commentary pointed out how some of them resembled biblical scenes, animals, fruits and vegetables and other various things. It was quite a beautiful journey and the commentary made it more interesting.
We enjoyed our last evening relaxing at the pool in our accommodation and then the next day began the journey to Jakarta, Indonesia-Marlas final destination with me.
We have spent a whole month in the Philippines and were sad to leave, but also had some things to look forward to. The music in the Philippines is absolutely atrocious- offensively cheesy and romantic, high pitched and poorly written. Yet the locals seem to enjoy it so much that they sing along or perform karaoke throughout the day,making it even more painful to hear. I can honestly say I have never been less inspired by music ever. And we were leaving to form to Jakarta Jazz Festival, so we had good music to look forward to at last. Also the local food has been less than tempting and we have hardly eaten any philipino cuisine because it is all meat based deep fried rubbish served with a mountain of rice. Although we have seen a lot of evidence of vegetables growing we are left wondering for that purpose, because the Philippine diet ommits anything of any colour or nutritional value. So we were looking forward to arriving in Indonesia where it is easy to be vegetarian and possible to eat things that aren't deep fried. Finally the airport's within the country are an absolute joke and have the most ridiculous system that would test Mother Theresa's patience. I don't want to do into detail, because I would rather forget my time spent in airports than relive the torture.....but it was another reason to be glad to leave.
Otherwise the country has been a treat, naturally incredible beautiful and the locals care about their environment and the wider world's environmental issues. Therefore it was clean, recycling was highly encouraged, food waste discouraged,, water was always available to fill bottles to reduce plastic use and many areas were protected with restrictions to maintain their natural state. It is a really refreshing experience to travel in Asia and feel that the environment is a priority, this is the first place I have been that seems to care as much as the more developed world does. This is a country that should remain beautiful for years to come. We have seen just a few of the 7000+ islands that make up the Philippines and they were all incredibly beautiful and had unique features within their landscape. The waters here are pristine with an array of beautiful colours and the marine life is addictive. So despite the negative aspects of the country I would return time and again and recommend the country for a visit.Read more