. Don't know why Air Asia put Clark as Manilla because it's not. And with another airline I could have just flown to Manilla straight off.
Anyway so got my flight to Puerto Princesa in Palawan which is one of the islands to the south west of Manilla. Got there quite late when it was dark and tried to sort a hotel at the airport. Ended up getting a tricycle taxi thing as they don't have actual taxi's and the guy said there was a bit of a cheaper hotel near the airport. I was going to stay a bit further up but it's only a 5-10minute walk so just went for it. I could have bloody walked it as literally I got in the tricycle, turned left out of the airport and about 50 yards down there we stopped. I still had to pay him 50P for it. Got the room sorted and went for a walk up the main street. Luckily it's all pretty much down one street which has a ref video karaoke bars and restaurants dotted along it until you get to the more main top end which has more shops etc aswell and more traffic etc. I had a walk right up and back down after going on the internet just to get bearings. I went to quite a nice restaurant which had a big TV screen showing some sport so sat there and chilled for a bit having a few beers. Then walked back down to go to bed but there was a live band on in one of the bars and they sounded good so headed for a crafty one in there then back to the room to bed.
Next day I had booked up to go and see the underground river which I think is the biggest in the world. I got picked up at about 7.30am from the hotel and we went and picked up various other people. I was in with about 8 other Philippinos. I ended up having a pretty hefty sleep and chill to tunes on the bus to start with then decided to try and stay awake and see some of the scenery. It was all really nice tropical forests, rice paddies, little houses and shops etc. Similar scenery to what I've seen in Thailand, Indonesia, Borneo a bit too. We stopped at a place for some breakfast then we ended up stopping at a place called Ubung Rock which is quite a big cave which you can climb up through and then zip line down on this 350m line. So I paid up for the full cave and zip line thing. Wasn't expecting to go there and to have to pay extra to see something but I thought it was worth it. The cave was pretty cool with the usual formations - stalagtites, - mites, columns etc. Also had some pretty tight squeezes through some gaps so good job I've slimmed down a bit! So got to the top and waited for my turn down. Got speaking to a couple from Manilla on the way up, Ivan and his girlfriend. The zip line down was pretty cool tho. Nice adrenalin rush. We got down and we pretty much had to get on the bus right away because they had said it was a bit choppy and they needed to try and get the boat ASAP because they may cancel them. So we got to the beach and the guides went to sort out the trip
. We waited for a bit for it to be sorted and were skipping lunch just so we could go but then they came back and told us they were waiting for the big black cloud to rain and they may go afterwards but if it didn't rain they wouldn't go. So we went to get lunch and had a cool time chatting with another group of the Philippinos. Some woman ended up coming round and offering them woodworm for 100P which looked like muck and is a bit like an oyster in worm format. I think most of them had a try of it tho, some after a little more persuasion but I know what I like food wise and I know what my gag reflex is like. So after about 2 hours of waiting it still hadn't rained and it was decided to head back and try again the next day. So I got back to the room and just chilled for a bit then had another walk up the street to find a restaurant and get some food and drink and then went to get some sleep as we would have to be gone by 5am the next day.
So woke up about 4.30am and got the bus about 5am. I think we got to the beach about 7am or so and went to the same restaurant. We had to formulate a plan with one of the Philippino girls to go with the guide and make it look like we had stayed the night because then they would more likely have let us go on the trip whereas if we were a group just turning up they would put us on the afternoon one but they were all heading back to Manilla about 1pm so that wasn't feasible
. So after a briefing the girl went off but came back a bit later saying the coastguard said people could go but no boat men wanted to take anyone because the sea was too rough and might break their boat. So we headed back for the second time. Bit gutted really. A few of us decided to go to Honda Bay instead and hire a boat and do some island hopping and snorkling so we got dropped off - me, Ivan, his girlfriend and 2 older guys and their wife. We got the boat to the first island, I think it was Pandan island which was pretty small but nice with some huts for chilling and drinking and a few serving food etc. We got met by some women trying to flog us a couple of nets of crabs. It was all done in Philippino and I wasn't going near them but turns out they were to be dinner a bit later. So we went and got a table then a few of the guys ended up going snorkling for a bit. I hadn't hired a snorkle but had bought some swimming shorts by the boat rental place so I went for a quick walk then borrowed a snorkle and went into the water. There was some pretty cool fish and stuff down there. Obviously the usual corel reefs and fish and stuff. Saw some sea urchins aswell I think. I ended up having a bit of an embarassing one as went to the toilet then bent down to wash my hands in the sea but my shorts were too tight and my shorts split on the seam between my legs so as I was sitting my 'bits' were popping out through the hole so I had to just sit with my legs closed the whole time and hope anyone snorkling behind me didn't look up too often
! Then after they had all eaten we went to the next island which is Snake island so named because it has a long snakey beach. It also has some mangrovey type plants along that as it's surrounded by sea both sides. We again chilled and did some snorkling. It was a little deeper here with some slightly bigger fish etc. Then we got on the boat to go to the next 'island'. On the way though there was some storm clouds brewing and we decided to head back to port especially as it was getting on. The final 'island' was a bit crap too. Just a wooden jetty thing in the middle of the sea a bit so not really worth stopping. Maybe some good snorkling but it was starting to rain a bit. It turned into a proper storm and we managed to get onto land and hide in the shelter while it persisted it down. We ended up getting a taxi from the same travel people to come and pick us up which was sound and we got back to Puerto and went to the office to get a refund on the river trip we didn't go on. Only got about 300 back though so bit rubbish. So went back to the room and I think it just rained for ages this night so I couldn't go out until about 9.30-10pm or so. Went and had some quick food and a few beers and then went back. Nothing too hardcore.
Next day I was flying to Cebu so just got up and walked the 50m to the airport and chilled there for a few hours for my flight. Quite a nice small airport is Palawan.
So I got a late flight from Kuching to Kuala Lumpur then got plane to Clark airport by Manila. Didn't realise that Clark is actually about 80km north of Manila and I had to get to Manila International Airport for about 1pm I think so it was either about 4000P for a taxi or about 450P for a bus to Pasay in Manila then taxi from there. So got on the bus but at the time I thought Clark was in the middle of Manila somewhere. So after about 1-2 hours of driving, and realising I was in the northern/central part of Manila I panicked I had gone too far. Then having spoken to the woman on the bus realised it was fine and I'd just come from way up north but didn't realise because on the internet it books you into Clark (Manila) so maybe a little more reading might have done the trick. Anyway we got into Manilla but hit a shed load of traffic, as is quite common for Manila and I started to get a bit jittery again. I ended up having to jump off and get the MRT (overhead train) and getting off then trying to get a taxi to the airport. Managed to get one eventually and got to the airport in plenty of time in the end but a lot more stress than I needed