Day 3- March 1st, 2013
Checking out of the Deep Forrest Garden Inn. Cost us $130 for 2 nights for three people. I can see why it got some good reviews. The staff was extra helpful and the hotel tourist office was very convenient. The price for the Honda bay tour was only 45 pesos more than a couple other prices I was quoted, and the good thing about booking with your hotel is you know it’s a legitimate tour company. Another plus for the hotel was they had a shuttle van waiting at the airport when we first arrived. They had a manifest of everyone checking in that day and gave free rides to the hotel guests. We were on the list, which was a nice bonus after traveling for 24hrs. (Travel Tip #14) Check in wasn’t till 2pm so we ended up twiddling our thumbs by the pool for 2hrs. Finally got into the room, it was good size and had 3 beds. We all rinsed off, not together, (for any dirty minded men reading this.)Then asked reception where to get some food on the water. They told us Badja. We took a trike there for 60 pesos. Badja was amazing, the restaurant its self sits out on the water, open, over looking miles of ocean and islands, and then the food was just so unbelievably fresh. I could have sworn they caught that tuna 5 minutes after I ordered it.
Day 4 (I think)- March 2nd, 2013
Time is already slipping my mind. I feel like most of the trips I go on it takes about 6 or 7 days to finally embrace everything. The dirty bathrooms, the no t.p., the public busses, and usually the aggressive locals. We have been pretty lucky. The locals aren’t aggressive here. I already feel adapted to this trip. I’ve accepted the no shower, no shave, will get to it when it happens philosophy. I’m happy, content wouldn’t be the right word because I feel like it means, “coasting”. I’m truly happy, the magnitude of gratitude I feel for these islands is overwhelming. This place is beautiful, might be the most beautiful place I have ever been. Which is a pretty bold statement. There’s just something in the air here unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I think its pure bliss. I read that Filipinos are the forth-happiest population in the world, I believe they must be the first. I think the people here are the icing on the cake. I used to think luxury and paradise were intertwined. I’ve been lucky enough to visit St. Barths and being there, submerged in the glamour and perfectly aqua sea made me think this is definition of “paradise”. That being waited on hand and foot while soaking up not only Nikki Beach mojitos but the island rays was as good as it could get. I now know that was a very wrong assessment. Raw surroundings is where paradise is found. Where nothing more than the bare essentials are required. Currently I’m laying on a beach, looking out on Sabang Bay. Its 7:30am. There’s these kids close to me all raking the sand in detail, getting rid of the branches and rubbish. I’ve never seen this before, but it makes perfect sense. You can’t just assume beaches are perfectly smooth, nature can sometimes even get in the way.
We are going to the under ground river today. One of the seven natural wonders of the world. I’m excited, mostly because there’s a limit on how many visitors can go a day and we were told in Puerto Princesa the tours were fully booked for 2 weeks. Then a tour agent told us that if we went and stayed in Sabang Bay- where the tours leave from, each hotel and hostel are given 5 slots a day. (A way to drive tourism to this small secluded town). So we called up a few hotels and found the cheapest one had 4 slots still available. And that’s the way we ended up coming here. We are staying at a place called Taraw, its $11 a person per night for our room, and that’s a little pricy for what we are getting. The shower barely drips cold water fully turned on, the toilet runs constantly, the two beds have one discolored and ripped sheet each and the screens in the windows have major holes; but the door locks and I could throw a football into the ocean from our porch. They turn the generator on at night so we can use the small fan and flickering light in our room.
Im thinking more and more of not leaving. Lauren and I are bouncing around ideas of where to go next. Hong Kong, Thailand, Australia?