Phillippines Thus Far
It's hard to keep up with the blogging and wifi is never a guarantee around here so I'm starting to keep a daily log of everything I'm doing and will post a few days at a time whenever I can. Taking this blog diary style. Here are the last 5 days!
Nov 12-13: Landed in Manila and got to the hostel late. Woke up and explored the city with Bryony, Paige, and Rei. We gorged ourselves on pancakes for breakfast and got lost amongst the beautiful gates of foreign embassies. Flew out to Puerto Princesa tonight and are heading to the underground river tomorrow and then on to El Nido! We had dinner tonight at the local hotspot. It reminded me of a carnival at home. Right on the water, dozens of little stands set up selling food and souvenirs. Filipino children chasing eachother around, teenagers sharing towers of beer, and adults dancing to the beat of the music. We were the only white people so you know it was authentic. I get nervous in those situations because I never know if were going to get robbed or raped. But as usual, everything was fine. I think Southeast Asians are known for their friendliness so maybe I should let my guard down a little. "Hello ma'am, thank you ma'am, you are very pretty ma'am!" Filipinos are so polite! Plus water here is FREE.
Nov 14: Woke up at 7am and hopped on a bus to check out one of the 7 natural wonders of the world! The underground river is an 8km long river underneath caves of rock and calcium deposits. We had to take a motor boat to the opening of the cave and then hop on a paddleboat to actually go through the river. It was dark with bats flying around and water dripping from the ceiling but it's unlike anything I've ever seen. A total of 45 mins though and I was happy to see daylight again. We got back in the van and were on our way to be dropped at the bus station for El Nido when the van made an unexpected stop. Called Ugong Rock, we thought we were taking a bathroom break and ended up rock climbing through this cave and then ziplining to the bottom. So much fun! Hopped back in the van and held on for dear life as this driver drove roughly 100mph down a road that sharply turned left and right every 100ft. We finally made it to the bus station alive and climbed onto the bus to find it filled with Filipinos. Luckily I got the front seat and avoided car sickness for the next 6 hours. This country is breathtaking. Or atleast this island of Palawan is, and I'm sure the rest of it is just as gorgeous. We showed up having no idea where we were sleeping tonight, so happy to have made it to a hostel with a hot shower and working wifi. Plus our beds have curtains around them which I always love because its like my own little room. I don't know when I'll unpack my backpack again but I'm slowly adjusting to this lifestyle. I'm hoping I can survive without doing laundry until I get back to Bangkok in a month. I've resorted to not wearing underwear and most days the most I get dressed is a bathing suit and a sarong so I should be able to make it happen. Could really use a nail salon though, if my fingernails get any longer they're going to start growing veins.
Nov 15: A much needed day of relaxation today. Slept in a little bit, had free breakfast at the hostel (score!) and then headed to the most beautiful beach. Its a mystery to me why the Philippines are not a huge backpacking destination. Had this been in Thailand or Bali the beach would have been packed. Instead there were only a handful of tourists and a few local families. We swam in the ocean and napped in the sand all day. Had lunch in an adorable gazebo right on the beach. Sipped fresh fruit smoothies, ate veggie salad, and played scrabble before walking down the beach and passing out again. Woke up to the sun going down and a (slightly) cool breeze coming off the water. Ahh, paradise. Jumped on a tricycle taxi and explored the little town a bit. Stumbled upon a local basketball game and sat in the stands to watch the game as all the other spectators watched us instead (white people?!). Dinner cost about 85 cents and for $22 tomorrow were doing a full day island hopping tour. Can't wait!!
Nov 16: Had a full 8 hour day of island hopping. Snorkeling, swimming in secret lagoons amongst mountains of rock, and eating fresh seafood cooked right on the beach, today was complete bliss. You can't beat swimming with electric blue fish and watching the sun go down while swinging in a hammock on a desolate island. It took the better part of an hour to comb the dreads out of my hair and my legs are all scraped up from coral but it was totally worth it. (Even after the cuts and scrapes on my legs and feet, I still think water shoes are for dorks). Follow all of that up with dinner on the beach to the tunes of Bob Marley and I'm going to sleep a very happy girl. Oh ya and I dropped my laundry off! Sunday funday has been a success.