Alarms were set for 5 to get the half 6 boat across to the airport. I found it difficult to open my eyes and they felt very sore, and my chin was all itchy, I looked in the mirror and my face was horribly swollen and my arms were covered in rashes. Gabbi told me it wasn't that bad, so I thought maybe I was just over reacting. That was until every person I came across at that early hour stared at me with confusion. After the boat to the airport and our first flight which landed in Cebu, I decided to take a photo and see how it really was. We haven't really had ample opportunity to look in the mirror whilst being here, so when I took the photo I was rather shocked hahahaha, looked like a bloody chipmunk with a chicken gobble thing under the chin. No idea what caused that. We then had our second flight to Puerto princessa and Gabbi and I were hungry so we went to get food, we went to this potato place in the airport and had potato lasagne and croquettes for breakfast.
On the plane I fell asleep before we took off and woke up after we had landed. Apparently I was tired.
All the domestic airports in the Philippines are tiny and you get off the plane on to the runway, in to pick up your bag and straight out to where the taxis are.
As soon as we walked out of the airport we needed to get cash, they're no cashpoints in El nido, so any money you will need, you need to have with you beforehand. We then went to find a bus to take us to El nido, we were told you could either get the aircon minibus for 500 peso, or the local bus for 350 pesos. As the journey was 6 hours, we decided aircon would be worth the extra. Oh how mistaken we were. We got told the bus was leaving 'in 10 minutes', here that seems to mean in an hour. So we waited for a very long time. Once on the bus, the aircon did not work. We were put at the back so had no legroom and it just wasn't very pleasant. To cope, we all did our usual and slept as much as we could. Kieren fell so asleep that with all the bumps his head was bouncing around with his sunglasses hanging off his face like one of those nodding dogs. It was f***ing hilarious.
At some point during this journey my hands started swelling up, to the point that I could hardly get my ring off. I managed to force it off, quite painfully, but I didn't want it to get stuck if my hand was going to continue to swell.
Once we arrived, we had nowhere to stay as there had not been any hostels on hostelworld or hostelbookers. The unfortunate thing for us was that the town had a power cut, so we couldn't really organise where to go, work out the cheap places, but still acceptable, with tricycle drivers buzzing around. Then we hear this little voice 'maybe I can help', and offered us a room for 500 pesos, with aircon and shower, a good deal. We decided to go there as we had no other options and it was getting a bit too much standing there. All three of us were extreme grumpy, me because it my hands that were now huge, I couldn't grip anything and were throbbing, and the other two because of the bus journey.
At the guesthouse I sat downstairs and the others went up. Remember there was no light, and the whole place was quite scary and off putting. We very begrudgingly said we would stay one night.
The guy introduced himself as Dan. When I showed him my hands he immediately got my ice. He set up loads of candles so we could see and opened all our windows to make it as cool as possible. When the electricity came back on Dan let out a whoop and clapped and blew out all the candles saying 'happy birthday Philippines!' Adorable. He then showed us where to buy our tours to see around all the islands and explained each one, and said he would organise it for us. He then asked what we would like for breakfast and what time we would like to have it. When I asked if there was a pharmacy or Dr around so I could ask them about my hands etc he said his dad was a Dr, and he would ring him the next day to see what he said. Next he let us use his laptop to book our flights. He was officially the loveliest guy we had met so far in the Philippines. Kieren even apologised on all of our behalf for being grumpy when we arrived.
Somehow it worked out that all three of us, we're in the same bed as the floor bed Dan gave us did not have a mozzie net and no one wanted to get bitten. Even though I'm the only one who wears mosquito spray and gets eaten alive...
Despite there being no room, by default I slept in the middle, and both Gabbi and Kieren were stretching out that night, the bed was extremely comfortable. I am not sure what Dan thinks is going on though, I was told by a Filipino that it would be very unusual for a male and female to travel together here if they were not together, and they would certainly not be living in the same house at uni, let alone sleeping in the same bedrooms! Oh golly...