So after staying a few days in Angeles City and seeing some of the proper Philippines which wouldn't have normally made it's way into the tourist guides, we had our flights booked to Puerto Princesa, the capital of Palawan, which you will find features as a Philippine Paradise in all the tourist guides. It is a place I have wanted to visit ever since I knew the Philippines existed and we were uber excited to get there......
So one of the benefits of staying with a local as we did, is that they have knowledge of the area they live in and it's probably a safe assumption that they can plan efficiently to get you to the airport for your next flight.....
To assume makes an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me'...
So after bring dropped off an hour late, at the wrong airport, we had missed our flight. The first flight we had managed to miss in over 3 months.
The best bit about being dropped late at the airport.... the wrong airport, is that you then have to pay out for more flight tickets. (tickets which cost double the price of the last ones you bought!)
Still, we got on the plane and away we went. An hour later, and 4 hours later than planned, we arrived in Peurto princesca, which honestly could have been a South American City. Proper Latino like init.
We stayed there over night and the next morning headed up to Sabang, where we were able to visit the newest "natural wonder of the world." The underground river. It was breathtaking. Truly beautiful, like a scene out of Indiana Jones. The amount of bats that greeted us and shat on us was also a bonus. A smelly, slightly toxic bonus. Well worth the visit and highly recommended to all.
We had met some Germans on the way to the underground river who we tolerated enough to split costs and share a car for 5 hours to take us north to where we will spend the rest of our time in Palawan.
Hopefully, away from the Germans...
It was at this point I realised to my total guttedness, (yes, that is a word) that i had left my book on Diego Maradona in our Puerto Princesca hotel. I didn't even get to read about the hand of god... Or his use of crack cocaine. Or his use of prostitutes. Or his Mafia involvement. Or his illegitimate child.... illegitimate children... A bloody nice guy.
The car journey with the Germans felt long. I tried to sleep. When I wasn't asleep, I pretended I was asleep....But finally we had arrived!
The stunning El Nido. The 'ATM less' El Nido.... The no ATM factor caused quite a few issues as all our budget was spent buying new flight tickets, we had no cash, and didn't find out there was no ATM until we would have needed to drive 3hours south to visit one."HSBC - the worlds local bank" Try telling the Philippines.
Still, quite possibly, the most beautiful place I have ever seen in my life.
Maybe even prettier than Croydon... MAYBE...
We spent the next few days sun bathing on pure white sand and swimming in perfectly clear waters.
We found one cafe/shop/tourist trip organisation place which accepted MasterCard. Priceless.
We had a few peso for Fanta, for everything else, there was MasterCard.
Needless to say, the "Art Cafe," took a great deal of business from us over the few days we were in El Nido.
The weather was mostly dry and hot in the day time and the rain fell at night. Falling asleep in our room on the beach, hearing the rain fall on the ground and waves crashing against the shoreline beats falling asleep to police sirens...
El Nido 1 Croydon 0
We managed to drag ourselves onto a sailing boat for a day trip of snorkelling (we found Nimo) and adventure around the Bacuit archipelago.
Sugar fine White sands, private islands, BBQ fish, sailing and sunbathing.
As you could imagine,It was a bloody nightmare...
The highlight was swimming under water though a tiny whole in the stunning limestone hills that stuck out like ice burgs from the ocean, and coming up the other side to be surrounded by a hidden and totally secret lagoon. Totally mental. It still looked almost prehistoric and undiscovered.
It would make even the most seasoned traveller cream their pants...
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It was Katie's birthday while we were in El Nido. Being on November 23rd, it would have been the first time she would have spent her day eating a lovely fresh fruit breakfast outside on her balcony, sunbathing by the sea and watching the beautiful sunset whilst sipping on mango cocktails.
El Nido 3 Croydon 0
I can't believe she is 15 already...
We were both really saddened to leave, and when we got into the car to take us back south to Puerto Princesca, our sadness turned to more than slight discomfort, as 16 people were loaded onto the 6 available seats.
Still, at least we didn't have a 5hour off road journey up, down and around mountains....
We headed back to the same hotel as we stayed in during our previous visit to the capital. We were going to Boracay via Manila in the morning and just needed to get a few hours sleep before the next leg.
We checked into the same room, slept in what were most likely the same bed sheets, and was greeted by a book waiting for me....
Diego was waiting for me.
Don't cry for mr Argentina. Or Palawan.
A Chuffing awesome time had by all, totally lived up to my expectations and id love to come back one day. A really special place.
The next stop is the more known and much more commercial beach paradise of Boracay. It makes leaving Palawan a little easier knowing were we are about to go.
Bring it on!
Peace and MasterCard
Nic and Katie xx