Je bekijkt de reis...
Reisverslag The Philippines: Bro-time!
20 september 2015
The Philippines: Bro-time!
Finally after 5 months of hard work we deserved a nice holiday. We went to the Philippines.
The first good part about the Philippines was that Roderick (flips brother) was already waiting for us in Manilla. We were really happy we made it alive to him because our taxi driver was the craziest driver we’ve ever met! And we’ve been to some places like India but that was nothing compared to this guy.
The minute we arrived at the hostel we noticed that Ro already had an awesome time there and it didn’t take long before he showed us the streets, bars and restaurants of Manilla. The next day, a little hungover, we started our journey to North-Luzon. Walking to the ferry seemed like a good idea… but it was a million degrees outside and a bit further then we thought. So we arrived at the ferry as three sweaty little piggies while we found out there wasn’t any ferry going that day.
The bus it is. A long trip ahead of us, but it was nice because we had aircon and television. Around 8 PM we arrived in Pundakit, from the bus terminal to Pundakit we had to take our first tricycle ride and it was better than we thought with three humongous people in one little tricycle. We’ve never seen a tricycle before and when we arrived in Manilla we saw them all over the place. They use them everywhere in the Philippines and it looks like a bike with a small seat attached on the side. Around 5 Philippinos fit in there or 2 Dutch people. The reason they have these funny looking things is because of the American army. They drove around on these types of bikes. Same goes for the jeepneys which we’ll explain later.
When we arrived in Pundakit after our surprisingly comfortable ride, there was nothing there. It was dark, everything was closed and we had trouble finding shelter. Hungry and tired we strolled through the little town and desperate as we were, we bought a nice Red Horse to calm our nerves. After this preparation we continued our search for shelter. This brought us to a poorly lit side road. We walked all the way to the end of the road and encountered another closed gate. Demotivated we walked back again, but our luck was about to change… A vendor crossed our path and walked back to the gate with us and just simply screamed until someone came and opened the gate. We found a place to sleep with a pool!!!
The next morning we saw how beautiful the place actually is. Behind our room was a big mountain, to the left you’d see a beautiful beach and in the distance we saw two amazing looking islands. With empty bellies because we couldn’t find dinner last night, Ro got us some super sweet breakfast. The way Philippinos eat. We went to the beach and after a nice walk it was time to get some lunch. It wasn’t easy but at the end of the road there was a cute little wooden hut where they served some rice, meat and fried eggplant.
In the afternoon we went on our first island hopping trip. A little boat that made too much noise brought us to the islands that we could see when we were on the beach. The first had a huge white beach, a little forest and really big rocks which we climbed. Just what you’d imagine when you think of a dreamy paradise island. The second island were two tiny island attached to each other by a long small white beach. There we did some precise rock throwing and of course Tess won in that game… twice.
Those little islands weren’t enough for us. We needed more so we went a little overboard and multiplied the amount of island by 50: “100 Islands”. To be more exact the “100 Islands” is a place where they have 113 islands. You go there by boat and do a tour around the most interesting
islands. We did a tour of two days. Which meant we stayed at one of the islands overnight. This was really amazing because we slept in a cave with a beach. We made our own fire and had the paradise for ourselves… until really loud Korean people decided to take over the island like pirates, with their laughter and tents. They arrived when we were sleeping and left before sunset so it kind of felt like we were there alone. The night was even tougher for our army survival expert. First he woke up because of a natural shower, then the pirates came and when he thought he could finally sleep a mouse sneaked up on him and made him scream like a little girl. Poor Roderick.
The next day we did some zip lining between two islands, went into a lagoon, walked through a cave that ended in a beautiful view, jumped down 18 meter in a bat-cave lagoon and snorkelled with giant clams. Cool!!
Between all this island hopping we also went to a volcanic lake with a bit of an Atlantis vibe. Before it was a lake it was a little village. After a volcano eruption and a typhoon a new lake was born. The only sign of the earlier village is the tower of the village church peeking out of the lake. It was a really impressive sight because of the mountains surrounding the lake, ominous clouds above us and the tower of the church was a flight of stairs leading up to a cross.
The lake wasn’t easy to reach but the fun part was that we had to take a jeepney. This other way of transportation is one of the cheapest ways to travel. The vehicle looks like an actual jeep with an extended back and is way more colourful than normal jeeps. It fits about 20 to 50 people and a shitload of luggage and food supplies.
We thought of doing a little bit of relaxing, so we went to Bolinao. Asking to much money for little huts we found a place for the three of us for a reasonable price. 700 rupees a night, which is 14 euro’s. This place was run by a lovely family that could speak English because of missionaries from Texas. The first night they invited us to join them for dinner, but we were stupid and didn’t accept the offer. We felt more like exploring the area and concluded it is just hard to find food after 6 o’ clock. So dinner that night was a bag of chips each and some beers for the guys.
Next day was ultimate chilling; reading books, eating, napping and lots of rain. After all this relaxing we found dinner at a nice hotel. Bellies full we heard the sound of horrible music from the palm trees so we found our next destination, Philippines favourite pass time: VIDEOKE!!! It’s exactly the same as karaoke only named differently. Everywhere you go you’ll find Phillipinos playing this game. So we had to give it a go and made some new friends.
It was time to cool down and move to the mountains. Our next destination was wicked Sagada. One of the highlights of our trip, Sagada had it all; huge rice terraces, lush green mountains, hanging coffins, crazy views, good western food and the coolest cave we’ve ever been in. We explored the region by ourselves and accidently found the hanging coffins. These were actual coffins attached to mountains or hung up in a cave. With some of the coffins you could even see bones sticking out.
We also did a cave tour with a guide. The goal of the tour was to get from one cave to another cave. These two caves were connected underground. After a little walk from the village we arrived at a big opening. It was a huge cave entrance with some hanging coffins on the side. So at first sight it looked like an easy tour but within minutes we were facing our first challenge: Climbing through pocket sized holes with our bigger than average bodies, while trying not to fall of the cliffs with a drop of 10 to 50 meters. So it was quite an exciting journey through the caves and a good
challenge for Rodericks knee. We didn’t only climb through small holes, we also had to climb up steep rocks with the help of some rope, wade through icy cold water and avoid bat shit.
After one hour we arrived at a big underground lake and the guide said we could swim in it. It was sort of scary and weird to jump in a completely dark lake, knowing it was going to be very cold. But that didn’t stop Flip and Roderick. So brave as the brothers were they had a lovely swim in the cold as water, which actually was quite refreshing. The next hour we saw huge underground rooms in the caves, decorated with stalactites and stalagmites. After the two hour caving expedition we saw light at the end of the tunnel and reached the entrance of the other cave.
The rest of the day we just relaxed a bit, got a nice massage, some lovely mountain tea and lemon pie (not as great as described in the Lonely Planet) and ended up having a really cool night in an empty reggae bar and plenty of Red Horses. The end of our awesome time with Roderick was coming to its end, but we had one more night in Manilla. It was a short 16 hour bus ride to get there so we were pumped and full of energy to party.
We got showered dressed and ready to go see some midget fights! This took place in a bar with a big boxing ring in the middle and we were ready to see some action. They promised us midget vs midget, girls vs girls, midget vs girls etcetera. While paying for our overpriced beers and being harassed by all the half-naked girls running around, we finally got to see some action. Two midgets, one winner, one survivor is what we were hoping for… But it didn’t happen it was a weak fight without any real effort, so we quickly got out of this place.
The minute we got on the street all the lady boys came at us trying to convince us to get massages. But I was warned by a poster in the toilet that you would get an STD from this massage so we quickly shook them of. Around the corner of the main party/whorehouse street we found a nice little local place with videoke! A perfect place to have some unharrasable fun. We quickly came in contact with the main group who was playing videoke and learned that you have to buy six beers if you want to play. I guess you have to be intoxicated to sing videoke, which makes perfect sense. We had a great night with this group of people and the sun was already showing his pretty face when we got home.
Waking up in a different T-shirt than I started out with the night before it was time to say our goodbyes to our super brother! Afraid that we wouldn’t see him for a long time we were sad to see him leave, but good news!!!! He is probably coming to Australia to visit us :D
Our next destination was the least undeveloped bigger islands in the Philippines, well known for its great diving and snorkelling and paradise islands. The plan was to rent motorbikes with gears for two weeks so we could drive all across the island, while practising Flips motorbike skills. Ah and it was great! Tessa had downloaded the map of the Philippines and it navigated us on the least travelled roads of Palawan. Flip still had to get just to shift gears in the beginning, but quickly got the hang of it and we were gone with the wind.
Our first destination was on the west coast: Simpocan. The road to get there was a real adventure. After leaving the surrounding area of Puerta Princesa the road conditions quickly deteriorated and we were glad we rented off-road bikes. From sandy roads to roads that were made out of gravel through the jungle to little forest roads to get to the beach, Palawan had it all. After driving for a couple of hours we were in the middle of fucking nowhere and it started raining. We found a cool little abandoned hut were we took shelter. Here we learned our first lesson if you
drive to the middle of fucking nowhere, always bring plenty of food. This would have been the perfect place to sleep,but we were starving and it was only 11 o’clock in the morning.
As soon as the sun fought away the rain we decided to test our bikes out on this deserted beach. It worked perfectly and was a fun ride without any falls or breakdowns. After our little stop and fun on the beach it was time to move on and find some civilisation and food. We drove around for a couple more hours but didn’t find any restaurants or places to sleep. The drive was all off-roading so plenty of fun! We even had to cross a couple of little streams. We had our hearts set for Simpocan because it seemed like a bigger village. It was a bigger village, with an elementary school, church and basketball field. The only two things missing were food and a place to sleep.
After this disappointment we were directed to a resort a bit further along the road. We saw something that looked a bit like a resort and drove on the property towards a group of people. Apparently there was one family who rented the whole place and there was no place left. But they said that we good sleep in the beach huts if the caretaker was ok with that. He was!!!! Superstoked we went to our beach house on an empty bed. It was a cool circular hut with a roof and protection against mosquitos. After a refreshing swim which was extra exciting because of all the thunder strikes in the sea we walked back to our beach hut. Soon we saw the caretakers children walk towards us with a big inflatable matrass soon followed by a second matrass and a flashlight. We were the luckiest and happiest people in that instant. Such nice and lovely people!
A lot of the time in Palawan we were driving around on our motorbikes, so I won’tb ore you with too much details about that. But some of the highlights were the underground river. It’s one of the longest underground rivers in the world. With had a nice boat tour were Flip was allowed to hold the light. The amount of tourist there was a bit too much for our taste and the guide made a lot of the same jokes, but it was still a marvellous piece of Mother Nature that you have to see if you visit Palawan.
The most popular destination on Palawan has to be El Nido. It’s famous because of the Archipelago which consists of the most beautiful tropical islands of the world. Ah and not only that it had a lot of restaurants and places to sleep! We were up for that! We could eat Sushi and bagels and Pizza and everything our easy satisfaction needed. Finally a place to squander our money. The only problem was…. No ATM!!!!! We read about ATMs being a rare thing on Palawan so we did withdraw a little extra money, but surely El Nido would have plenty. But no… Luckily we could book an island hopping tour with our creditcard and we were forced to eat at fancier places were you can pay with card. So we were still able to squander plenty of money.
The island hopping in Palawan was a real treat. We were on the boat with two nice Belgium girls and a cool guide. We saw Lagoons, beautiful rock formations did some nice snorkelling and had the best tour-included BBQ of my life. After an intense day of island-hopping our last island had a nice beach with hammocks and coconuts filled with rum. Mmmm paradise.
While driving around El Nido we encountered some secluded beaches, horrible road conditions and a fellow adventurer on a scooter who was even braver than us for driving on these roads. El nido definitely worth going to! After El Nido we had a couple of days to get back to Puerta Princesa. The day we left Tessa was still a bit under the weather but we really had to get going. After a couple of hours we reached a nice beach with perfect beach houses, this was the first time we found this on Palawan. With Tessa feeling worse than when we started driving on
wobbly roads we decided to spent the night here.
We had a simple hut right on the beach. From the beach we saw a really small island with one tree on it and we attempted to go there. We didn’t make it, everything in the water seems to be close by…. But it was a relaxing swim Tessa was feeling a bit better. The relaxation died off a bit when Flip stamped into something pointy and it started hurting more and more. Two minutes later he repeated this process and there were blue dots on his foot, like a prison tattoo. Apparently I stepped in to those black balls with long spikes on them with an incredibly though name(zee egel in dutch). The staff of the resort took good care of me and gave me a nice lemon and vinegar sponge bath.
Now we had two more days to make it back to Puerta Princesa and we weren’t getting really close yet. To make matters worse a Typhoon decided to visit the Philippines. So driving through crazy rain and storms on none existing roads we were making our way back, slow and unsteady. Soaked and cold we arrived in Taytay and quickly found a place to sleep. We went for a luxurious accommodation with a nice hot shower, great food and an incredible view of the Taytay fort.
The next day Tessa was still feeling only 60% of her usual self, we had to make our way back to Puerta Princesa, which was still plenty of kilometres away. After 5 minutes on the motorbike it started raining again and the rain went on and off throughout the day. After being halfway to Puerta doom struck our vacation. We were driving, minding our own business, and suddenly a dog crossed the road. Tessa was in front and she honked her horn and the dog moved away. But when I(flip) came at this point the dog suddenly decided to turn around and blocked my way. Knowing I would rather sacrifice my body than killing a dog I hit the front brake. Apparently that is a very bad idea, because the motor will slide away if you do that. So before I knew it I was laying on the side off the road with some pieces missing of my biggest organ: the skin.
The lessons I learned that day were, a wear protection on a motorbike, don’t just break with your front brake and just hit animals on the road if you like your body the stay complete. After I was on the floor I quickly got up, because I remembered Tessa saying that a lot of people get burned by the hot motor parts. Immediately I saw that there was a big gaping hole in my knee and the only option would be to go to the hospital. Within minutes the whole community had surrounded me to check out what happened to me.
After a short while Tessa came back, because she quickly noticed that I was missing and feared for the worse. When she saw that I was still alive and kicking she took over the difficult task off getting someone to call an ambulance. She was a great help because not only did she arrange that, she quickly gave me a couple of Advil against the pain. Thank god the hospital wasn’t too far away and within half an hour (still seemed like a very long time to me at the moment) the ambulance arrived. They had plenty of staff, because five people from the hospital came to help me. On the way back to the hospital Tessa was riding behind the ambulance in a crazy storm that nearly took of her skin and one of the Philippinos followed her on my bike.
The hospital wasn’t quite state of the art. It was a small country hospital with questionable health regulations and a very dusty x-ray room. But the doctor and nurses were really helpful and friendly. They gave me some painkillers and stitched me up. The doctor had a tough time getting the nine stitches in and I kind of felt like I was being butchered, but I survived to life another day.
They put me on two antibiotics and painkillers and gave me a tetanus shot, so infections were being dealt with. After their great treatment I said goodbye to doctor Sheila and nurse nice( yes her name was nice) we had to keep moving to Puerta Princesa after this 5 hour delay.
The guys from the bike-rental company came to pick up the bikes and we took a bus back to Puerta Princesa. After a 5 hour bus ride we finally made it back and booked a room in a hotel next to the airport. Tessa still had to take care of some payments with the bike rental and hospital and before that was all finished it was already really late and we were both tired after this stressful day, that Tessa had to survive while still being sick!
The next day Tessa got a wheelchair from the airport and we were going back home to Darwin. We had three flights to catch that day so it was going to be a long and dreadful day. But soon we were noticing the advantages of travelling with somebody in a wheelchair. You get to cut into line, you have a personal assistant that pushes you around and we got extra seats on all our flights. After a 24 hour travelling day we made it back home, safe and stitched up to finally see Suus again!
10 november 2015 23:41 | Door: mama
doen we het niet meer in het nederlands voor het thuisfront