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Published: October 29th 2011
So my Boracay trip was at an end, but my original premiere destination was right around the corner. Unfortunately, nothing is easy in the Philippines, so it was going to take a Tricycle ride, a ferry, a van, a 2nd tricycle ride, a flight to Manila, a shuttle bus that seemed to circumnavigate 2/3rds of manila before arriving at the correct terminal, a 4 hour wait, a 2nd flight to Puerto Princesa airport and a tricycle to the city. That was enough for 1 day, so I decided to chill in Puerto Princesa for a day or 2 to recharge the batteries. I found a place called the Dallas Inn on wikitravel and was happy enough with it. Only 500 pesos a night, close to everything, lovely owner who has this ability to look as though she geniunely cares about your plans, arrangements etc... nice to see. Met a pretty cool couple, who shall remain namless, who met about 2 weeks earlier and have proceeded to fuck like rabbits since. It would be cute if their room wasnt just about mine! We met another couple, diving instructors, who arrived on the same flight as me and heard about this reggae bar near the airport. We walked all the way up there, keeping in mind that I still do not have a new pair of thongs, so im barefooting it up through several kilometers of broken road. This place, Kataboom I think, was really funky. They had a live philippino band doing Bob Marley for a few hours, before the eagles made an appearance. Before long, beer turned to rum coke and lime and the fun began. Dont remember much more after that, except telling a scottish girl that no one can understand scottish people, providing sage advice to a young aussie guys ecotourism plans in El Nido and waking up to the ceiling above me mooving and dust falling on me!
Woke up the next morning feeling 3/4's drunk and remembered that I agreed to go with Alex and Inge (Brazilian and Dutch) on a day trip to Sabang. In true tight ass backpacker style, we refused to pay for the package trip and make our own arrangements. At the bus terminal (called Terminal D'Christ??) it transpired that the local bus to Sabang was full and that we might have to sit on the roof. After waiting the mandatory hour past scheduled departure, the bus left with us sitting rather comfortably INSIDE the bus. We somehow managed to find 3 seats, while the Isralies Alex already knew were spralled out on top of their bags in the aisle... would have been hilarious If they werent so pissed about it lol. About half way through the trip we went up on the roof and sat in the sun for the next 2 hours while the bus putted along through the twisty, turny, dusty dirt road. Beautiful scenery but I was more worried about falling head over turkey off the front of the bus. My local friends on the roof with me didnt seem so concerned however, sitting down much the same as one would on a park bench. After the 2,000th unscheduled stop we eventually arrived at Sabang.
Sabang is currently trying to be included in the 7 new natural wonders of the world, and have advertising for it everywhere. The President, the Mayor, the Vietnam Prime Minister etc. are all on bill boards saying how amazing it is. So we got on the boat and made our way into the national park. Waited in line for the increasingly stupid officials to bring the kayaks forward and started paddling into the underground river system. Much like when Aladdin walks into the giant sand lions mouth in search for the Robin Williams Genie lamp, we moved omniously through the water into a massive dark cave. I couldnt tell you why this should be included as one of the natural wonders of the world. Ive been to the Jenolan caves (Genolian?) in the Blue mountains in Sydney and the cave system there was far superior. It must be because its on a river, which leads out to sea. 45 minutes up and back, lots of stalictites and stalicmites that have come to resemble many different things, often with a religious overture. Your mind sees what you want to see though, so when the "pretty lady" was shown to us it was pretty funny. It was like looking at the Venus Di Milo from behind with a rock hard bum!
We had to get a chartered van on the way back, as the bus left an hour before. 300 pesos back to Puerto Princesa seemed about right to me, but Alex investigated further. Turns out the locals were paying only 140 pesos. Company policy is to overcharge the tourists was the response when Alex enquired further. It was the last bus, and the last 3 seats. I didnt want to get kicked off it, and he was getting pretty agitated about being ripped off. After my contribution of refering to their company policy as being a form of stealing, the uber religious philippino offical reduced out price by 50 pesos each. Strange how things work when your travelling. Thats about $1.25 and it was worth argueing for 5 minutes about!
All in all, it was a fun day out but it was a considerable effort for only a little reward. Sitting on the roof of the bus was more fun then the caves in my view. We probably saved about 600 pesos doing in ourselves. Result! 600 pesos is about $15 AUD. To think of all the times i have thrown $15 bucks away on nothing, and then all the effort I went to today... well I might just be more careful with my money when I get back home! I tried real hard to have a beer when we got back, but ended up falling asleep after a couple of sips. Woke up at about 3 in the morning with more dust falling on me from the moving roof above. At least they were having a good night!
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