Some countries have provinces. We have pockets of paradise.
It’s been a long time since I’ve last explored the island gems of the Philippines, that when I first laid eyes on Coron, I was simply stunned. Stunned speechless, even. Coron was gorgeous beyond words! I’ve felt like I’ve searched far and wide around the globe to come upon something grandiose, and yet one of the most breathtaking places I’ve ever seen was right at home. Continue reading The Perfect Summer in Coron→
I feel blessed to have the most adventurous and fun friends around to make dreams like these happen. From them, I’ve learned to take chances, to be unapologetic for being whimsical, to chase after adventure and celebrate life whenever I can. Til our next celebration!
The anticipation is messing with your head. You could have sworn your heart was right next to your ear, as you hear the thumps bang against your eardrums. You glance at your designated spotter squinting at a distance, before swapping Bicolano with the other boatmen. You nervously fidget with your snorkel mask. Wait, did he just say… ‘Jump!’?
And you jump, right into the chilly beryl deep. After a few chaotic seconds of flailing limbs underwater, you compose yourself and catch sight of what you came all this way for: the magnificent leviathan of a fish, nonchalantly passing by in all its 8-metre spotted glory. Everything else fades into the background. You feel that it’s just you, and the giant. It takes all self-control not to reach out and hold on to its fin, ala-Free Willy.
We were blessed with a sunny day in Donsol; all in all, we spotted 4 whale sharks. It’s said that in season, it’s actually rare NOT to see at least one. Some of them glided slowly, letting you bask in its graceful splendor; some of them will really make you work your fins. During the interactions, the guides will remind you to stay at least 5 feet away from the whale sharks, as to not spook them or more importantly, not to get swatted by its tail. At one time, I was gliding along on top of the whale shark, when I noticed the spots getting larger by the second. I soon realized it was trying to surface. In my head, I was going like ‘5 feet! 5 feet!’ at the titan. My friends who dove in with me saw this as well. They swore that given a few more seconds, I could have gotten a free ride on the back of the whale shark. He plunged into the deep again after a while, and once the nervousness wore off, the thought of that rare close encounter still gives me smiles up to this day.
Donsol is one hour away by land from Legazpi City, Philippines. There are a lot of sites offering information on how you can organize your own Donsol whale shark experience; here’s one from the regional tourism site.
Getaways during long weekends have almost become mandatory, but hey, after what we put ourselves through at work, we deserve it.
Obviously everyone had the same idea for the ‘Araw ng Kagitingan’ weekend. At 7 am, the airport was jampacked; we even bumped into our boss! Several hours later, we landed at the island of Palawan and the getaway commenced.
There’s certainly a lot of things that made this trip memorable:
The awesome snorkeling at Honda Bay! A few steps from the shore was all it took to be surrounded by schools of fish. I wish i read on corals and marine life first; I feel there’s so much more to appreciate only if I did that first. It was also my first time to plunge without a life vest. Yep, I’m officially over the fear of the depths. Whee!
Manong’s bat-jokes at the underground river:
Bakit laging tulog ang bat sa umaga? kasi BATugan siya
anong tawag sa paniking mababa ang lipad? lo-BAT
(while Alex was holding the flashlight to see the rock formations) “Itapat mo diyan sa taas. Kaliwa pa, di, kaliwa pa. Yan, yan. Kita niyo yan? Bato yan.”
Mang Pepito’s lunch spread at Pandan Island — stuffed pusit, shrimp with garlic, grilled lapu-lapu… yum! (Add to that the spread at Bilao’t Palayok, Badjao’s seaside resto… remind me why i came back home again? =p)
The giant jellyfish at Sabang Beach… holy crap, it was the biggest live jellyfish i’ve ever seen. and poked. and took a picture with. =p
Taboo and charades til you dropped. And of course, Alex’s rendition of Bambi… let’s do the Bambi dance!!
Definitely, Palawan has not seen the last of us yet. Our guide, Mang Pepito told us of other spots to see aside from Puerto Princesa, and this kaladkarin can’t wait for the next Palawan invasion. If you want an awesome Palawan adventure for your own, you can reach Mang Pepito at +63919-6423107 and he’ll hook you up.