Saturday, September 04, 2010
August 12: We're on a flight to Palawan at 10am from Cebu. It's a short one and we're in Puerto Princesa by 11am. The crap bit about this is that El Nido is a 6 hour bus ride away and the buses have all left for the day. So we have to burn a day in Puerto. It's a funny little town but we make use of an Internet cafe, play cards and drink some beers for the afternoon. Early morning bus tomorrow.
August 13: 7am bus to El Nido. Pretty uneventful other than the driver claims to not have enough people in the van so he's not making money so he won't turn the A/C on to save gas. No point in explaining to him that in business you can't turn a profit every day. We get in to El Nido and call in to a bunch of beach bungalow places to find a place to stay. We're alarmed by the number of full places but learn later that most of the only have 6-8 rooms. We get a couple of rooms at a place called Ricos and we're set. Beachfront, hammocks out the front, next door to a dive shop...perfect. We explore a bit and grab some lunch where we first experience the El Nido brownouts. There is no power in this town from 6am -2pm. So we find out that the beer isn't truly cold most of the time. But all the restaurants cook with gas so we can always be fed. Pete is still recovering from his Dengue so we'll be relaxing for the next couple of days. We spend the aternoon in the sun in hammock at the beach. Later we explore the town some more in search of dinner and find the Artcafe. We'll later find out through trial and error that it has the best food and mist consistent service in El Nido.
August 14: Beach day. Super lazy. The most ambitious thing we do is find a dive shop to book some dives for the next day.
August 15-16: Pete is feeling better and we go diving. The way they do it here is great. It's 2 dives out on the same boat and lunch is included. They take you to the dive spot then pull up at a secluded beach. El Nido absolutely stunning with dozens of islands of craggy limestone jutting out of the sea and white sandy beach dotted along all of them. Non-divers book island hopping trips for around 1000 pesos a day. We're paying 2500 but we get the island hopping, lunch on a beach and 2 dives. Amazing value and a really nice day out. The diving is great with really pretty coral gardens and cool rock formations. One of our dives is through a tunnel which was amazing! Felt like a night dive in the middle if the day. Very cool.
We luck out with the weather too - for the rainy season it's nice and sunny. During our stay in El Nido it did rain most days but usually only for an hour or so in the late afternoon.
August 17: I'm feeling a bit meh with low energy. We go diving and go through a craggy limestone crevasses that had the most beautiful pale pink fan corals. Disturbing thing about this dive is that we heard dynamite fishing while underwater. Also I have real trouble equalizing and decide to not do the second dive. I relax in the sun on the boat instead.
For dinner that night we try a place called the Alternative. Decent food (useless service but we're getting used to that here) but the cool thing about the restaurant is that the have two 'nests' that overhang the beach. Perfect for chilling out with some drinks. If only they weren't playing the best of Bryan Adams CD!
August 18: Day off diving and it turns out I have a cold. This is my second cold of the holiday. How does this happen? I'm stuffy and sniffy. And to top it all off, the rainy season has really kicked in and it pours rain all day. But its not cold at least. We spend the day relaxing and hanging out reading.
August 19: Another day off diving but it's nice and sunny beach day. Perfect to relax on a deckchair in my decongestant and cough syrup buzz.
We changed bungalows to a completely different place this morning as a couple with a screaming baby moved in next to us after we did at Rico's. I hadn't really noticed them since we were out diving then out for dinners most days but the baby drove me insane yesterday while we spent the day there. So we moved to Rosanna's where we have a nicer room and no babies!
August 20: The boys go diving but I take the day off. I'm too stuffy to be able to equalize underwater. And I don't mind a day to myself. The weather is nice. I sleep in and watch a movie on my iphone. I also finish another book on the sun on a deck chair. That's two books in three days. I love reading beachy crap. Not a bad way to be stuck with a cold.
August 21: Another lazy day in El Nido for me while the guys dive. The weather isn't as good today and I only get about a half hour in the sun when the rain kicks in. Love the summery rain though. From our bungalow we can open up all the windows and doors, sit and read or have a drink and watch the rain come down. Can't complain really. It's our last night here so we go to the Artcafe to make sure we have a decent meal.
August 22: Bus trip to Puerto Princesa. Boring and uneventful. We waste the rest of the day having beers in PP and at our hotel. There's a brownout in the evening. I won't miss those!
August 23: Flight to Manila. The two major airports here are over two hours apart by bus or car. It's a complete pain in the butt cause we want to fly back to Singapore but can't make the connection between the main Manila airport and Clark airport on the same day. We later find out there are some other airlines/routes we could have taken that would have taken less time. Oh well. We also find out there was a bus hijacking in central Manila today. Good thing we only got in later in the day.
August 24: Flight to Singapore. Civilization. Yay!