We arranged to meet with Matt Ray and Ambi on the weekend of the 11 in Boracay. This island is located just north(20 min Banca ferry) of Caticlan on Panay and would mark the beginning of our journey through the Visaya's of the Philippines. It's a well-known tourist destination renowned for its night life and long stretch of white sand beach.
Despite our off the beaten track traveling we thought it might be good to have a little fun in an activity hub and get involved with some tourism buzz.
The first task was getting out of Palawan, specifically Busuanga, the small island where coron town is located. It was a lesson learned and one would be prudent to do the following:
1. Make flight/boat arrangements in advance out of small islands (because of minimal departures at specific times, and limited space)
2. If possible choose the earliest departure time.
3. Expect delays, departure times are just suggestions.
Our experience had us at the airport may 10 at 8 am trying to buy a ticket on the spot - Nothing available. So we hitched a van to the town proper with other travelers and dropped off on the dock at around noon. The boat system is even worse. Boats were cancelled and ones that were leaving were completely full hours before departure. You can get on "chance passenger" lists, which is essentially standby but being foreigners we had no chance against the locals.
So, it's 130 and we're not leaving this island today. The Internet on this island is also something of a treasure hunt. The best thing we could do was get to a travel agent and get them to book us in. So that is what we did. At 3 we finally got our flight out of Busuanga to Manila where we could transfer and take a number of flights to Caticlan. We payed a premium price to get off of the island but in all scenarios we would be unless we booked for next week.
At this point, it's all good, our first leg (to Manila) was confirmed! We know we are staying the night in Coron and we can finally drop our packs somewhere. This is when we found our quaint, plywood box room over the harbor's water. Next we targeted desktop Internet and booked the flight from Manila to Caticlan. We chose a flight that was 4 or 5 hours after our arrival time in Manila. It was significantly less expensive to do this ourselves.
So this is it!! We outta here baby!!
.... To be continued May 11