Monday 9 April 2018

The Philippines!

Hello again! 

Just to warn you, this time it's Alex doing the blog...I'm sorry! And about it being a month late, I blame the wifi, nothing to do with how rubbish I am...enjoy!

First things first, bobby couldn't come on this next adventure, seeing as our lives had to fit into tiny bags. So jack bought me a mini Paddington bear to attach to my backpack, bless him!

Eating hairbo at Heathrow provided by Jess, waiting for our 10pm flight to Manila. This was back in February!

Our life in four bags.

I hate flying, but the endless films, unlimited food and drink and hot lemon flannels made it a bit easier :D

A 14 hour flight later and we arrived into Manila at 7pm, where it was bloody hot. After being stitched up by a taxi man and driving on roads that were 3 lanes but had somehow been made into 6 by crazy locals driving wherever they like, we made it to our first hotel where there was air con AND Harry Potter on TV. Our next flight left at 9am so we chilled and went to bed.

On flight to Puerto Princessa in Palawan with noodles for breakfast. Getting a domestic flight from Manila is almost like catching a bus. The plane was 30 minutes late and 5 minutes after it arrived it was full of passengers and we were already in the air. There were at least 5 other planes doing the same!

An hour later we were greeted by Peter of Palawan Peter Motorcycle Rentals who took us to pick up our lovely blue bike! Apparently a Yamaha XTZ 125. We strapped everything down and cracked on up the island. The sides of the road were mainly jungles with a few shops selling things. By shops I mean they were hand built bamboo shacks with a hatch. Really cool but you couldn't buy ingredients to make a meal it was mainly snacks, fizzy drinks and detergent! 

Our first 2 nights accommodation...Love and Peace Deep Jungle River Resort. The name of this place was bang on.

Our beast of a bike next to a contraption that most locals had. A bike with a homemade side cart.

We were greeted with a complimentary alcoholic cocktail, which was beautiful. This place was sooo chilled. It was ran by a local and his family who lived there. They would all swim in the lake and play pool and make guests AMAZING was just lurrrrvely.

Our first of many meals here. Vietnamese rice IN THE SHAPE OF A STAR and a fried egg which was recommended to us. This was probably the best rice I've ever had! We had a couple beers, I smashed jack at cards and that was that.

Next day we decided to go around on the motorbike without all the extra bags. We stumbled across a very small town/settlement with a rickety bridge through the mangroves that lead us to the sea with loads of fishing boats! Really beautiful.

Basically we just drove around the island all day. Every single kid we drove past gave us the biggest smiles and waves you could imagine...and there were looooooads of kids and loads of schools which we didn’t expect on such a small quiet island.

Oh I forgot to mention...our snazzy blue bike mile counter didn’t work, the speed dial was stuck on 0 and there was no fuel light to tell us when we were empty. So at around this point we got worried and stopped at one of the wooden shacks at the side of the road to buy 2 litres of petrol in a coke bottle. Petrol they didn't understand...gasoline they did!

A cock.

For no reason whatsoever, we didn't have lunch at all while we were in Palawan, we just snacked. This day was biltong and fruit pastels.

Lizard in our room! Asked the owner if we should be worried and he said no no no they eat the mosquitoes!

Jacks Thai green curry.

Next day we had an early breakfast ready for our bike trip to our next destination.

Really tasty traditional Philippine breakfast. Rice, egg, sweet pork kebab type things and not pictured here - a small bowl of vinegar with a tiny tiny red chilli in it. Jack almost died trying it!

My job - strapping the bag onto the motorbike.

And we're off!

Next place was a massive wooden house built on a beach for a Canadian guy married to a Filipino lady near a place called Roxas. The building in the picture is a '"treehouse" that you can stay in. It was already taken by a German couple damnit!

The owners had a lovely dopey dog that followed us everywhere and guarded our bedroom door...

The beach. The sand had thousands and thousands of little holes all over it and as soon as you walked onto it the sand began to move like when you get that layer of dry sand blowing across the top. It wasn't dry sand, it was thousands of tiny see-through crabs which we couldn't catch on camera!

As well as the dog, they had another dog, a cockerel, chickens and a monkey which loved playing with itself.

Yes I got burnt.

We managed to get a picture of a hermit crab though!!

We chilled here all day. Read books and swam. In the evening  guests could pay a little extra (around £3 each) to have dinner cooked by the host! Perfect because there was nowhere else to go and we didn't have a kitchen. They made beef stew with rice and fried fish salad. Yum. We also saw the worlds biggest moths that looked like birds.

The moon over the water in the evening.

Guard dog.

After a bacon, egg and bread breakfast with 2 cups of coffee (as jack doesn't drink coffee) we were on the road again heading to a place called Port Barton. We were told this was the cheaper and less touristy version of El Nido which is the most famous part in the North of Palawan - too far for us to go on bike! And Port Barton was perfect.

This trip probably took us around 3 hours in 30 degree heat. Half of the road was normal but the other half turned to mud and gravel, it was insane, especially when you haven't spent much time on a motorbike before.

Our next hut for the night, Angels Hautz Resort. A full on bamboo hut. We expected Port Barton to be big and built up and busy as it had lots of "resorts" and restaurants and streets...but they were mud streets and bamboo buildings and was brilliant! This was one of the bigger resorty type places in Palawan but it was nothing like what we would usually think of as a resorty place. They just don't exist in Palawan. It was awesome.

The beach...

We got there too late to join a boat trip that island hops and takes you snorkelling, but a lovely man on the beach told us it was no problem. Half an hour later we jumped on our own private boat (which we didn't realise until after we'd paid) with 2 chilled out local drivers! We later found out that we got ripped off but in reality we only paid about £10 per person and for what we got to do and see it was an absolute bargain!

Looking back, Jack describes his beard as if someone pooed on his face, lovely..

The first stop. We jumped in and swam with gigantic sea turtles!

He looks like Pharrel.

We couldn't do any underwater shots but to sum it up, we saw some of the most amazing things we have ever seen. We had maybe another 5 stops on our trip, 4 being different coral reefs and lagoons. The boat men would stop in the middle of the water, attach the boat to a pole sticking out of the sea and say 'enjoy, see you later'. They would just have a nap on the boat while we went out and snorkelled. I can't explain just how amazing it was. Thousands of tropical fish and colourful corals. It was like being in finding nemo.

The last stop was called 'The Sand Bar' which I honestly thought was a bar up until we arrived. It was a desert island...with lots of starfish!


Back from the boat trip.

Jack made me pout.

Food was on the brain (my brain) so we headed back to our hut to get showered. This is the bathroom, looks lovely but hard to stand on the pebbled floor for a shower.

We had a drink at the bar in the place we were staying then along comes a lizaaaaaard!

Reggae reggae beach bar with a gorgeous sunset.

Red horse.

With live music.


After looking at nearly every food option in the town, we decided on fresh seafood paella...ooohhhhh yeeeeeeeaaaaa. And beer.

Then back to a different beach bar with flaming torches, just to make it even hotter.

With a friend that kept popping up...can you see him?

Last bar, I promise (tonight that is). More beer and playing cards before getting into our mozzy net covered bed.

A quick egg, bacon and toast breakfast before getting back on the bike which didn't want to start. The owners of our accomodation told us to try to kick start it, which worked! We were worried there was something wrong with the bike before we noticed EVERYONE kick starts their bikes!

Coca Cola pit stop after 2 hours or so on the bike. Whenever we stopped, locals would come up to the bike and admire it. They loved it!

Another pit stop as our asses were hurting and this place looked like it needed us to stop at it. LOOK AT IT!

Our next booked room. We had high hopes when we pulled up. Beautiful buildings, right on the seafront with its own beach, a big restaurant. The only problem was, it was a ghost town...oh and the room was rank...and the food was disgusting which really popped my clogs. It was so deserted that it made us quite nervous. We decided to look at a few more reviews and really didn't like what we read, also we found out that the owners had been trying to sell for years and had just given up on even trying to make it a decent place to stay. So we told a porky and left as we knew that the Love and Peach River Resort was 20 mins down the road!

It's a shame because it was such a beautiful spot.

Our room doesn't look too bad here but it wasn't clean, there were dead ants and bugs everywhere and it was just creepy. There was an attic room which made it even spookier!

Cock on a stick.

Back at love and peace with an upgraded room because we returned! We went swimming in the river with rubber rings and made a sand spider on their mini beach...don't know why...jacks idea.

Some sweet bread ball we were given by the owners...yummy. A French backpacking couple were staying that night too and they bought a portable gaming 'switch' thing so we were playing mariokart. In the evening after more amazing Vietnamese rice we played billiards (some kind of pool game linked with cards) with the French couple and the owner and his kid...who was insane at pool! 

We had to share a breakfast the following morning as we ran out of cash and the nearest cash point was about 2 hours away and there are no card machines anywhere.

Back in Puerto Princessa (biggest town in Palawan) and they have a MASSIVE shopping centre! Completely different to what we experienced in the last 5 days!

Cake for lunch.

Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center. CROCODILES!

Bloody gigantic. This thing had eaten something like 10 humans, so the center looks after him, otherwise he'd be killed.

Lots of other wildlife...mainly crazy birds.

And hogs.

Peter Palawan motorcycle shop. Goodbye blue bike.

Hello chicken for dinner.

This portion was no where near big enough for me, so seen as meals cost about £2 I ordered a second meal...noodles.

Cool art at the restaurant.

A bar.

This was our final room in Palawan. A bamboo hut which was pretty cool.

We flagged down one of these crazy things to take us to the airport for our flight back to Manila.

An hour later we land, get an hour taxi (15km drive-the traffic was nothing like I've ever seen) costing about £3 and we arrive at Z Hostel, our last room in the Philippines.

Of course jack tried and of course it was alcohol.

The view from our room.

Jack looking haggered with a burrito.

We though we would do some sight seeing before we realised sight seeing in 34+ degree heat isn't fun. We still tried though, stopping at cafes every 15 minutes.

A kind of walled town within Manila called Intramuros.

A really cool shop. Silahis Arts & Artifacts.

With some really cool art and sculptures.

San Agustin Church. We don't know them..

Christmas all the time in the Philippines. We heard this quite a lot but still don't really understand!

Cathedral of Manila.

Fort Santiago, we didn't go in.

Roof top fancy pants bar that we were definitely not dressed for.

Dinner. Bloody good burger. We really wanted classic Filipino food, but it's surprisingly hard to find that in the capital city!

Oh, when we checked into our hostel room, we were told that our room was right underneath the roof top bar and that they usually keep partying until 4am. His advice was to join the party. So we had a few, but didn't last till 4...but I did put jacks beard in a beardytail.

Our flight left for New Zealand at around 11pm so we thought we would go to Ayala Museum...Filipino archeological artifacts, history and culture...we were here for 4 hours, it was really good!

Then we indulged in a crap load of chinese food. After having a lot of amazing homemade Chinese food back in the UK, we went for the more traditional foods. Dumplings, buns and loads of pak was stonking.

Heading to the airport for an 11 hour flight to Auckland. The traffic in this picture is very tame compared to what we experienced! See you in New Zealand :)

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