As soon as I got through customs in Manila airport I jumped on a bus full of Filipinos, not totally sure where I was going.
The traffic was constant push and shove, horns and shouting. Street vendors and dilapidated shopfronts that wouldn’t look out of place in Latin America. Even more so as I spied crucifixes and bible quotes dotting the buildings and some of the cars and other vehicles. We crawled, cramped.
By the time the bus got to its terminus I needed to start heading back to the airport to meet Annette to fly to somewhere more rural. I felt glad to get out of the chaos.
We got a flight to Puerto Princessa on the island of Palawan and stayed a night in a hotel made to look like a multi-storey jungle hut.
We arrived in darkness so we had no idea we’d get such a magnificent view of a tropical bay from the roof restaurant of our hotel for breakfast. Nor did we need to set our alarm clock as the hundreds of cockerels in the vicinity provided that service for us. Dawn chorus.
Cock-fighting is pretty much the national sport here. Every time I see a TV, that’s what it’s showing.
The next morning we went on a boat tour into a river that goes through a giant cave. There was no lighting in the cave so we were given a torch wired up to a car battery and commanded by the tour guide to point it in different directions as we went along.
It was suitably eery but the tour guide dampened the effect by constantly talking over the silence.
On our way back we saw a bright pencil-thin green thing drop out of the tree and dart into the trees. Highly venomous I’m sure.
Got back to the hotel and into a minibus for 6 hours up north to El Nido along a variety in quality of road surfaces, ranging from “quite bumpy” to “oh my god I’m going to die”. Stopped off half way for a quick pork and pigs blood curry.