El Nido is like a beach resort from Mad Max in the middle of the jungle. There’s a main road parallel to the beach just wide enough for motorbikes with sidecars (“tricycles”) careen up and down it. Which the locals do with great vigor. 

The buildings either side are a mix of shantytown shacks and recently built shops, all very touristy, dive schools, overpriced groceries, western food restaurants etc.

We came here to learn to dive, so we headed off in a boat to do our “PADI open water diver” course. It was easier than I thought, just weird breathing under water.

The corals and fish were pretty cool but I just loved flying around the endless underwater landscape.

We did this for 2 days then spent a day on an incredible beach. That night on the way to dinner we came across a woman trying to trap a giant scorpion (big as a hand) in a tupperware box. The scorpion was attacking the box. Another thing to watch out for in the Philippines.

The next day we went island hopping, snorkelling in different bays and having a picnic lunch on another island. We shared a boat with a few other people including a creepy old american guy with filipina “wife” a quarter of his age.

That night I ordered the prawns. I should have learnt my lesson by now about eating seafood in places like the Philippines, but my greed overcame my common sense again.

I woke up in the middle of the night shivering in the tropical heat. I was totally freezing and couldn’t warm up. I put all my clothes on and huddled to Annette to get me warmed up. Very strange prawns those were.