We set off back to Puerto Princesa bright and early. I don't mind long journeys as long as I have enough entertainment which we had obviously ensured before we left. Unfortunately for us, we were asked to go right to the back of the minivan with all the luggage. There were two seats (technically) but because the luggage was leaning on to them, matt and I had to basically share a seat for the 6 hour journey! We tried our best to just get on with it but after 4 hours of bashing into each other around every corner, the air con not reaching us so sweating constantly as we were practically sat on top of each other, and not complaining, I'd had enough. As soon as one passenger from the middle got off, I was in their space. The driver tried to add a random into our minivan (for a bit of extra cash no doubt) but I was having none of it! Thankfully, the last two hours were bearable!
We were staying at a hostel called Ezy Hostel which was a bit of a trek away from the town centre but 2 minutes from the airport. We were sharing a private room for two nights which was a nice change from the crazy dorms at Bamboo Billabong in El Nido. We weren't near any restaurants and were both starving so it was crisps all round!
I went for a little stroll and came across a massive basket ball court. Where ever we had been so far in the Philippines there had always been a basket ball court, usually with lots of guys throwing a ball around. It has become apparent just how big basket ball is here, they love it!
That night, we caught a tricycle to one of the recommended restaurants down the road- Ka inato, which made amazing food and drinks for a really good price so we were both happy.
The first nights sleep was much better than the past few nights, however, there was no aircon, only fans which I swear just pushed hot air around the room. It was bearable when the fans were pointing directly onto us but as soon as you moved away from that, the room was like a sauna... and hotter than outside!
The next morning, as the sun was shining and with it being our last full day in the Philippines, we wanted to make the most of it! We had heard good things about the underground river here but as we had experienced such bad weather in El Nido, to then spend a glorious day underground seemed a bit silly so we headed to Honda Bay. We caught a tricycle for £4 between us for the 25-30 minutes drive... bargain!
There were lots of tours available for island hoping, however, we weren't too keen for this and I'd read great things about one island in particular... Cowrie Island! It cost us £6 each for the day there including a buffet lunch.
The island itself was stunning, very much made me think of somewhere in the Caribbean although I've never actually been! We swam out a bamboo pontoon that was a little way out at sea. I have to say I wasn't keen swimming there or back as the visibility under water was awful, maybe 1 meter so we couldn't see what was beneath us the whole time which I'm not a fan of, especially not in the Pacific Ocean. Thankfully, we made it there and back in one piece though! The buffet lunch was awful but we kind of expected that with being on a tiny island in the Philippines but hey ho! We spent the rest of the day chilling and napping on the beautiful white sand before heading back to Honda Bay at 4.30pm.
The same tricycle driver had returned to take us back which was nice! He dropped us off at Baga Baga, an area full of restaurants where we had a lush burger each. We finished the amazing day off in a gorgeous little cafe called 'Mugs and Kisses' which sold scrumptious cakes and waffles. We shared chocolate waffles and a slice of rainbow cake which was incredible! On the way home, we walked past many karaoke bars full of just awful singers! We found it funny (as you would of course) but we had been warned previously that the Filipinos take their karaoke very seriously and tourists that have sniggered in the past have been stabbed! A tad disconcerting!
The next morning, we re-packed our bags, getting rid of yet more clothes. I really don't know how I do it but even though I chuck clothes away at most places, my bag just seems to be getting heavier. It's nearly 20kg now! We had three flights to catch before reaching our next destination- Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam! The flights themselves weren't very long but they had long transfer waits with 5 hours in Manila and 6 hours in Singapore. I knew we were going to be knackered once we finally arrived but isn't this what travelling is all about?!