In the morning we were picked up by a guide and a driver to go look at some rice terraces and hike to a hot spring. 

The rice terraces were pretty amazing to behold. The farmers live almost totally off the land selling very little of their produce. They grow loads of other stuff, such garlic, onions, sweet potato, avocado and fruit in and around the rice terraces. They also have tilapia swimming in the actual terraces and all keep chickens which seem to run around everywhere.
The hot spring was awesome despite the hot weather. You could control the temperature by moving a rock in a channel of cold water that cools down the geothermally heated water.
On the way back we saw 3 menacing looking youths, one sporting a shotgun? Had a slight flash of panic as there’s not much to shoot at except people and chickens and shooting a chicken with a shotgun might defeat the point if you planned on eating it. They just passed us by, with mean looks.
The 15 minute journey back to the hotel was petrifying. The roads are notorious there for being perilous when wet and it was bucketing down. Going along narrow roads between a waterfall and a mud slide. It was more like rivers than roads.  We had to get out and push once because the bike got stuck.
During all of this, our driver hadn’t batted an eyelid. That might have been because he was off his head on betel nuts, the local psychotropic stimulant that comes in the form of a nut that you chew. It makes your mouth red which looks stupid when you smile, which is all the time for the driver because he was high as a kite.




After a restless night of food poisoning, we jumped into a tricycle to El Nido airport, saving another 6 hour bus journey to Puerto Princessa. 

Our driver had to negotiate some serious off road to get us there and when we did get there it was a couple of straw huts and a air traffic control tower that looked as if it was made from meccano.

No X-ray machine, they checked our bags manually. As they put us on the bus to the plane, a chorus of employees serenaded us with a lamentful farewell song.

Landed in Manila and got culture shocked. Or poverty shock. Everything was run down and broken. There were children begging, I saw an old granny hunched over looking through piles of rubbish, people selling any old shit on the side of the road.

The bustle was insane. The streets were bursting with honking and revving, filling the air with smog. Pedestrians constantly weaved through the traffic with admirable confidence.

Most of the buildings were caked in soot, peeling cracked and dilapidated. The only fix would be to demolish and rebuild most of Manila.

The place definitely had charm, but I was struggling to see the good part with my head still swimming and stomach whirring from the prawn incident.

We crossed most of manila by public transport and foot to the bus station which you could barely breathe in from the smog and hopped on a night bus to the mountains up north.

We got to the town of “Banue” early the next morning having barely slept, took a tricycle to our new lodgings – a traditional stilted thatched hut on a mountain top, overlooking some ancient rice terraces. It was a bit like sleeping outside.

Still spaced out from the food poisoning we just lounged for the whole day napping, taking in the magnificent views.

The place we were staying was owned by an English guy so you could get a proper cup of tea which did wonders for my gastrointestinal disaster.