The Philippines´answer to Koh phi phi....on steroids !
Boracay's two faces....
and kite nirvana......
..and a few locals.
The only way on/off the island.
Even this most commercial of little islands has an "out-of-the-way" northern beach.
Good snorkeling here.
Also had a great freediving session at Crocodile (or Rabbit?) island.
Ok, we're heading to northern Luzon now,
to the mountain province.
1st stop, Baguio, a bigcity slum masquerading as picturesque mountain resort, an odd place.
The mountain road to Sagada.
Long, dusty, unnerving in parts,
but always beautiful.
Through pine forests
& lots of landslides.
Finally arriving in Sagada,
A cool (literally), very quiet mountain town.
with dead people hangin´ out on the cliff faces !?...how novel.
And piled up in caves.
Next is Banaue, the gateway
to the world famous rice terraces
of Bataan... a most worthwhile destination.
A different, ancient world
that time forgot.
Hiking is almost reminiscent of a day on the Inca trail,
minus the crowds.
And the terraces here are 4 times as old,
and in my opinion equally impressive.
Back on the main local road.
Another amazing rice village.
Bicol (southern Luzon)
This is where the Whale sharks gather.
I freedived with a dozen of them, but unfortunately the waters are VERY murky here.
Enough so to give me a hell of an ear infection !
Was left bedridden for a week in a fleabag hotel in Manila trying to recover.
As usual local kids gather to check out the foreigner.
hey Joe ! Hey Joe !.........Hey Joe !
"The beach" could never have happened in Thailand,
but might very well have happened here among these myriad islands !
An archipelagic wonderland !
That boggles the mind,
and rattles the soul,
of any ocean explorer.
El Nido airport
rarely see a tourist.
Ok...time to go for a boatride...
Incredible scenery !
Impossible terrain to traverse on foot.
Secret beach from the inside.
And all of a sudden,in this remote undeveloped "paradise",
we come across an absurd creation on what seemed an uninhabited island.
I had to pinch myself...but no, unfortunately I was not hallucinating.
I suddenly found myself in an enormous, luxurious, misplaced Christian shrine complex ???!!!
Out here in the beautiful boonies of Palawan...?!
Even our lord n´ saviour looks like he's lost !
Going back to the "Calamian" group in northern Palawan.
Another superfriendly place.
Tagalog.....(Filipino)....It all SOUNDS very familiar....but what the hell is is....???
It seems a bizarre, sometimes Arabic, sounding pidgin made up of a liberal
& random sprinkling of English and Spanish words & phrases on an Indo-Malay base,
with the American and Spanish "R" competing for attention.
Makes for a funny and absurd sounding linguistic experience
courtesy of successive colonialisms by Spain & the USA.
The Calamians have freshwater lakes, coral reefs, wrecks & beaches.
It can be a challenge finding an occasional awsome reef among the destroyed ones.
Very rewarding when you do. Awesome u/w life !
Sabang is a divers "mecca". Hell knows why...crap diving !
This chalet = $10/night w bath, and an awesome view !
Arriving by ship at dawn.
The seafront, boardwalkrestaurants/hangout.
Scratched the surface.....
Must return to this friendly, intriguing, and at the same time (culturally) boring country,
even if the "sir"s in the city and the "hey Joe"s in the country wear thin after awhile.
This country has greater explorer-potential than any country on earth !.....oceanwise....maybe....