The flight across from Australia to the Philippines was pretty good considering it was during the day so I wasn’t totally exhausted by the time we landed. I’m in 2 minds about whether I prefer day or night flying. I’m sure I’ll come to a conclusion by the end of our trip.
When we arrived in Manila I can’t say that I really took notice of much. We got to our hotel, checked in, ate some not so nice food at the restaurant downstairs and then went back up to sleep. The next day we were up and back at the airport for our flight to Palawan.
Ahhh Philippine Airlines. Thanks for the ₱3400 (approx. AUD$100) extra baggage cost – you made my day. Normally we never need to check our baggage. We always make sure we have checked baggage with our ticket and if we don’t we are well aware of it before we fly. This time we weren’t and the surprise was not a welcome start to our trip. The flight from Manila to Palawan was pretty normal and when we arrive in Puerto Princesa it started to feel like we were on more of a holiday so we were in pretty good spirits despite the baggage expense.
We walked around for a while after our late lunch/early dinner and came across a talent contest for the local schools. Each school performed a routine with drums, dancers, what I think is a xylophone and a leader with a whistle. Sounds weird I know but we were slightly mesmerised and watched 2 schools compete before it all started to sound the same and we went back to our hotel to get a decent sleep before our 5 hour van ride to El Nido.
5 hours in a car or van would normally be ok for me but I discovered on that van ride that I may suffer from motion sickness. Thankfully I wasn’t sick in the van but I was so glad to arrive in El Nido and get to our hotel.
We didn’t do much during our few days in El Nido. We got a kayak one afternoon and paddled across to another island which took us over half an hour one way! It was pretty amazing to sit on a deserted beach by ourselves. There was nothing there apart from an old boat and some wild dogs. We made our mark in the sand but who knows if anyone would have seen it before it was washed away by the high tide.
On our last day we went Island hopping. We met a lovely mother of 2, Indre, who was doing the tour on her own while her husband looked after their daughters and we spent most of the day talking and getting to know her which was nice. On our second stop there was the option of getting a kayak and kayaking to the lagoon or walking/swimming. The 3 of us took the second option and early on we should have just turned back and got a kayak. Mark was leading us through, pointing out any jellyfish we should avoid on the way and as Indre and I were making our way to shallow water where he had stopped she thought she had been stung by a jellyfish and then a minute later I thought the same, but we both agreed it didn’t feel like a sting it felt more like a bite. Further along the way as we were trying to avoid the jellyfish and now what we thought were biting fish, Mark swore really loudly and told us he had stepped on something spiky. Now, when he said spikey I just thought he meant a spikey rock but as I got closer to him and saw he was in pain we back tracked a bit to more shallow and clear water so we could sit down and examine his foot. It was then he told me it wasn’t a rock but a thing with spikes that had been stuck in his foot that he pulled out. I immediately thought poison being the ‘worst case scenario person’ I am and told him to sit and sure enough there were still thorns in his foot. Indre went back to get a kayak so we could actually go look at the beautiful site we were there to visit. Back on the boat we all investigated our injuries. Mine looked more like a scratch so I was fine, Indre definitely had bite marks on her leg and Mark had thorns in his foot which the boat operator told us was ‘just a sea urchin. You need hot water and pee’. So Mark got both. Hot water from the boat and later pee from himself. Ha! All I could think of was that episode of Friends when Monica gets stung by a jellyfish and Chandler and Joey are there talking about peeing on it!
Our next stop was another lagoon which we didn’t hesitate in getting a kayak for. This one, even though it was smaller was much more beautiful and mystical even than the first. It also didn’t have any jellyfish so after our kayak we were able to swim around. We stayed close to the boat though to avoid all sea urchins! Despite the seemingly disastrous start to our Island hopping tour we had an amazing time and we so glad we decided to go ahead and do the tour. We had been trying to decide for days before finally booking it.
The tour was a great way to end our time in El Nido and I wish it just stopped there and we were teleported to the airport in Puerto Princesa except we weren’t. Mark got sick that night from the sea urchin sting and the 5 hour van ride the next day was so bumpy I actually think I fainted at one stage while trying to stop myself from being sick and Mark was pale faced the whole drive hoping he wasn’t sick again.
We leave tomorrow morning to get 2 flights and a ferry to make our way to Boracay which I think will be just as beautiful as El Nido was. I’m looking forward to more relaxing by the beach, although the weather here is so hot and humid at the moment we are trying to stay cool where ever we go.
Much love, B xx