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.