Trip Start Dec 28, 2010
84Trip End Jun 08, 2012
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Where I stayed
What I did
But everybody has heard and spouted this shit before about something else. Be it Glastonbury, night clubs or even cities once visited. Generally the information is 2nd hand opinion passed off as solid gold fact. Even original feelings should be screened for a lack of creativity and imagination.
Sometimes it may just be that an individuals bond with a time and place has dwindled naturally over the course of time
In the far west of the country lies this long thin island, called the umbrella of the Philippines because of its distinctive shape. With a length of 650km it's a long island that almost reaches the tip on Borneo. Me, Mel and 9 of Mels family took the flight to Puerta Princesa the islands capital. We stayed with a friend of Melissa's mum, at her recently completed holiday resort just a 5 minute walk from the coast.
The entire place was stunning to look at, made entirely from bamboo. Seeing as we were on holiday (he he) Len (Mels bro) and I decided to have a few beers, red horse was on offer, it's a kick you in the crotch strong beer from San Miguel that'll put hairs on your chest.
After spending an hour drinking up the courage we decided to go next door to the party that was happening. It was Douglas's sons 4th birthday and so all the friends and family were gathered outdoors celebrating in typical Filipino style, drinking and karaoke. Luckily we had spent the last 2 weeks practicing this very combination at the big house and were ready to join in. Pinoys don't like to beat about the bush, they call it how the see it, and subsequently their karaoke machines give you a score out of 100 to accompany the inevitable cries of "that's not very good" and "I don't like that". I was first up! The crowd were baying and knew I had to hit the ground running so I went for an old favourite, a song that used to be a prerequisite for all my road trips, the Eagles Hotel California
Luckily sea air is the perfect cure to a hangover, second only to 6 more hours sleep, 2 bacon sandwiches, 3 cups of tea and any Bruce Willis film. And so we had a day of island hopping. Visiting beautiful White sand beaches, snorkelling and generally having a great time. We even found some star fish that we decided were perfectly fine to pick and wouldn't attack your face alien style. (See photo.)
Next day after a few less beers and songs, we arose, breakfasted, jumped in the air-conditioned minivan and headed off for a new day of adventure. First up the ancient limestone edifice that towers above the surrounding jungle like the loser in musical chairs...
The elder statesmen of team see and do everything decided to collectively hold the coats, quite why everyone would have a coat in 30C I'm not sure. And so the six intrepid explorers nervously adorned our caving attire. Which consisted of a fisherprice builders hard hat, and what looked like snooker referees gloves, I was like Scott of the antarctic meets Dora the explorer. And so we entered the belly of the beast, stooping and crouching to avoid colliding with the solid rock that took no prisoners. Well everyone else was avoiding the stupid rock that took no prisoners I was hitting my head every opportunity I had as crouching for a Filipino is like lying on the floor to me! Using ropes and ladders where necessary (incidently known as spelunking) we ascended over large boulders, through narrow crannies and treacherous footholds. Until at last the pin prick of sunlight grew and grew and we stepped out of the darkness and onto the summit. The views at the top were of grassland and jungle and well worth the climb. Now for the decent, a 500m zip line, did I mention that Mel was scared of heights? Luckily her new attitude to things she was scared of would see her through .This new approach consists of, doing everything that she is scared of. So with a screwed up face, she strapped up, hooked on and zipped down weeeeeeeeeeeeee! To aid my weight complex all people over a certain weight had to reduce their potential velocity by wearing a rudimentary parachute, as not to arrive at the ground station with too much speed
Did you know that the seven wonders of the world are being rejigged? There's even a competition to see which of the worlds most celebrated, beautiful and impressive features will make it onto the list, so please get your votes in for "my pants" as soon as possible, and the next place we went to visit was also in the running. An 8 km subterranean river, which used to be the longest one in the world before it was superseded by a 154km one in Mexico. We navigated a 1.5 km section of it in a tour boat, wow this was truly an alien world, that brought one very important question to the front of my mind "does anyone actually know the difference between stalactite and stalagmite?" We sailed peacefully through this cathedral of black nature, wondering what lurked in the catacombs of the brackish river below. Unfortunately the different limestone formations were given little names by the boatman, such as the Sharon stone, the onions and the zucchini, in my opinion this was definitely something to be appreciated in silence.
One of my favourite memories of Palawan was taking a little stroll Down to a stoney beach with my fiancÚ. We paddled for a bit before Mel realised that she was losing her shoes in the silt and there were too many starfish all around for her to avoid treading on them. Of course the first I realised of her panic was when she jumped on to me, climbed up and demanded that I carry her back to the shore. What a cute little nutbag.
We spent a couple more nights in Palawan before returning to the main north island of Luzon