Island life: paradise part 2

So last time we ended in El Nido, from where we would take a 5 day boat trip to Coron. But before we start with our blog about this fantastic trip, we want to show you some pictures of the colourfull (public) transport in the Phillipines.

You could travel from El Nido in 4 hours with a speedboat, but Tao Philippines organizes trips where you spend 4 nights on different islands on the way and visit a lot of beautiful spots during the day. They have base camps on 16 different islands, so every trip they make is also different.

We had a wonderful time. During the day we visited a lot of beautiful snorkelling spots. Again, we don’t have an underwater camera, so you just have to believe us when we say the snorkelling here is truly impressive. Lots of colourful coral, very clear waters, loads of fish. We even visited two different shipwrecks (among which a Japanese Gunboat from WWII). I’m afraid we’re now very spoiled when it comes to snorkelling.

Other stops were amongst others: cliffjumping (which Rob didn’t dare to, but which fearless Lidewij did, of course), we visited a lagoon where we could do some kayaking, and we visited a little village on an island to get a taste of island life.

We also saw many beautiful uninhabited islands, with white sand beaches and the most bluest water. All little paradises in itself!

Every night we stayed on one of the base camps, usually in very pretty bamboo huts, that were completely open and usually accompanied by great views. It was really something special. Arriving at  a beautiful island, anchoring there, and then swimming to the beach while the crew would transport food, drinks, matrasses etc. to the camp in small kayaks.

Every camp was otherwise very different though. One night we spend on the main camp where Tao also runs a farm and where the boat loaded up with supplies. Here they had a nice open kitchen where we ate a meal worthy of a star restaurant.

 

The evenings were spent on the different base camps where we slept. We were drinking ‘ jungle juice’, which is a cocktail of some fruit juice with rum. We arrived at the camps before sunset, and ejoyed the sunset with jungle juice.

One night we had a big campfire and songs along the campfire.

The last night we spend next to a small ‘village’ (basically just 1 family), which doubled as some sort of truckstop for fishermen, with a shop, a basketball court (these Filipinos are very skilful in basketball, and of course a karaoke bar. Because Filipinos love karaoke. We had a lot of fun that night singing songs from the backstreet boys (in every country on our trip we keep encountering the backstreet boys, in busses, shops, restaurants, I don’t know why), and the spice girls, and other 90s hits.

Every day our crew prepared delicious fresh food. While so far we have been pretty underwhelmed by the Filipino cuisine, these guys proved that it can actually be really good. The food was usually explained and introduced by the chef, followed by the screaming of ‘ ATTACK!’, and then we coould enjoy our meals.

All in all it was a great trip. Since this trip is done with a group of 24 people, you have to have a bit of luck with the group, but lucky enough the group was wonderful and we met some really nice people.

The crew was really great as well, always joking around, like Philipinos tend to do, but still taking their job very seriously. I can fully recommend these guys.

After this trip we had one more day in Coron before our flight back to Manilla. So we decided to do one of these tours that visit some of the highlights close to Coron. While it was a fun day, it was a bit of a downer that at some places you were only allowed to swim wearing a lifejacket. An overreaction on some tourists dying while doing something stupid. It was funny to watch all those Philipinos who cannot swim being pulled along on a rope by their guide. We did see some nice snorkeling spots, a pretty lake and some nice lagoons, although not much can beat the places we visited before with Tao.

Then it was time to leave Coron and go back to Manilla. Here we spent a day exploring some modern art museums, where they had some pretty experimental art. Manilla actually does have a pretty big art scene it seems.

There just one thing that really hurts the enjoyment of Manilla, and that is the traffic. It’s not uncommon to need one hour to cover 3 kilometers by taxi. Yup, that’s slower than walking but when walking to have to cross 6 lane road without the help of traffic lights, and walk in a lot of smog. The continuous traffic jam here is even worse than in Jakarta. But still, when you’re in Manilla, there’s some cool stuff there for those who can muster the patience.

Street photography in Manilla

Also we visited Tagaytay. A town overlooking the Taal volcano. While Tagatay itself is way too busy, we enjoyed the trip to this volcano, which you can climb to see the crater lake, and we had some fun in the family amusement park where we rode a ferris wheel with great views of Taal.

But all things end, and it was time to move on to Japan. But we know for sure, we will be back to Philipines. The beautiful nature and fun loving people are just wonderful. It really is Paradise.

See you in Japan!

 

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