Picking your Island

Trip Start Feb 20, 2014
1
5
11
Trip End Mar 14, 2014


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Flag of Philippines  , Palawan,
Friday, February 28, 2014

With 7000 islands to choose from, its hard to decide which ones to visit and explore.We  were lucky...our resort at Greenviews offered all the same boat trip tours as in town, but ours were only  a small walk in the waist high water to the boat wating off shore. Since the water is too shallow for the boats to get any closer. There was a sign up board in the restaurant upstairs, and you write your name, what tour you want to go on ( Tour A,B,C, or D ) what you want for lunch ( we choose grilled squid) and what cabin you were in. How easy is that.
Our boat captain came down to greet us during our morning coffee. " Out of Squid today" I guess hes the cook too. We made another choice. Fish for me , chicken for Christine.
On our first day we choose tour A, being one of the most popular tours. Our other tour passangers, were  three different couples from france. There are alot of french tourisrs here, more than any other foreigners it seems. Any travelers I have found that venture this far, and are enduring the same type of rough travel that we are, are very cool, laid back people.
The water was very smooth as we glided accross the open water to our first island stop. One of the five we would visit today. Our boat was bigger than the last , wet journy we took to Port Barton, this one comfortably seating 8, with our own benches. The scenery here is breathaking. There are so many islands, with jagged lime stone cliffs shooting out from the water , lined with powder white beaches. Its hard to amagine that all of the people that live here have no idea what beauty thay are bliessed with every day. This is all they know. Many not ever  visiting some of the towns we had stopped by on our short three week journey .The locals are very hard working, living in simple shacks, with many children, and animals to feed, work never ends. The main religion here is catholic, and they love children, it seems the average family has at least 3 or 4, along with several dogs, pigs, and yes, a couple of roosters.
As our boat pulled up to our first spot, we figured out pretty quickly that we were swimming in to the island. Our boat got as close as it could, but it was too big to anchor asny closer. These islands are surrounded in coral, which adds to their beauty, but makes it hard for boats to  get too close. Defentiely a good thing, they are consisous and protective of the nature and marine life here, and careful not to change or damage it.
All of us were swimmers...our "tour guide" the captain, swam ahead pointing to an opeing in the cave that led to the " secret Beach" which  required us to  climb over some rocks in through a small opening in the rock to the other side.  Luckily reading before we both packed for our trip, because of all the rocks and coral here, bringing water shoes, was a good idea.  The effort was well worth it, leading to a cove, surrounded by limestone  cliffs and a small lagoon filled with turqouise water.  This was no secret though, with eight other tour boats wating outside next to ours and many other tourists snapping away with their waterproof cameras that they brought along on the swim in with them.
One thing I never seem to understand is some of the tourists, most of them actually  visiting from neighnboring Asian countries if I can put it more politcally correct.  That decide to come to coutnites such as the Philippines, and Thailand, that offer such amazing beach and water destinations. Endless water activiies , diving, snorkling, kyacking, .....and these tourists do not know how to swim.  As on our trip , we noticed one of the other tour boats must of had equal staff to tourists, just to pull them through the water to get to the beach or shore. First they had on life vests( good choice if you dont know how to swim) then they had on googles ( to protect their eyes) and they were inside life boat rings, and the staff from the boat , puling on the rope attached , dragging them to shore while the tourist looked like they were being saved from the Titantic. Why, Why would you go on a boat tour, and vacation, where everything, I mean, everything was based on water, if you didnt know how to swim. Its really quite comical to watch, but baffels me every time.
We loved all of our stops. so much that we did the Tour C the day after, because they were all different and magical, offering their own individual beauty and secret.
Our bungalow at Greenviews was beachfront again. A simple cabin with horrible decortion, a lava lamp,. and a ceramic eagle, with china plates as wall art. The curtains and sheets werent much better,  sort of a combination of winnie the pooh and Brady Bunch. But the Bradys house was actually pretty nice, because remember, Mike Brady was an architect..  I could make a lot of money being a interior designer here in Asia, but they probably would like my Zen  taste.  The shower had absolutley no water pressure,that christine and I used the bucket provided , letting it fill up, and then pouring it over our heads to rinse off.  This is not the place for anyone who has high standards when it comes to traveling.  You have to be able to rough it, and bring out that sense of humor when you find out that only one of the 6 outlets in your room actually works and that you really dont need a shower curtain to take a shower  as long as you move the toliet paper next to the toliet so it wont get wet.
This spot on the beach, at Greenviews,  was know for its sunsets. So  every night, christine  and  I would be at our high top chairs on the top deck ,  with our cold San Miguel Beers in hand,  waiting for the show. The after sunset, was almost better. The sky lighting up with deep orange and red colors as the sun sunk deeper behind the islands ending its long relaxing day.  The beers here are cheap, right around $1, but you can find them for 75 cents at happy hour. Since we already knew they didnt have any calamari at our restaurant,  we took a $1 tricycle ride to town. The town of El Nido tried to be a a cute little place, but was sort of lacking in charm, but we were out for Grilled seafood, not charm.  We walked along the beach,, there were so many choices! The restaurants lined up with their best fish on display out front. You just pick it out and they will grill it for you, while you wait at your plastic  table  in the sand , admiring the views of your oceanfront location.
We choose a placed called Sea Slugs ( great name!)  because they had a live, local band, and Bqq seafood, lots of it.  And of course, we both ordered the grilled calamari. It came with garlic rice, our new favorite side dish, and a cucumber/tomato salad. All for the incredible price of $4. The cost of food here , is sooo cheap. Its less than Ive paid in any foreign country I have ever traveld to so far. The band was great, covering everything from the Beatles, to Jim Morrison. Already feeling those rewards they were talking about making our long journey here.
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Comments

maureen mason on

The breathtaking beauty of the beaches reminds me of Bora Bora but with the price being 1/1000th!!!! How long until the huge tour operators discover Beth's hidden gems? I always enjoy your unique sense of humor, esp. about the non-swimmers. The feet in the sand foto has now become a classic. I was with you in Koh Lipe when you took the first one.

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