It’s More Fun in The Philippines

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As my travels in the Philippines continued, it seemed that they were becoming more adventurous. My next location was on the island of Palawan, specifically El Nido. El Nido is this small rustic town, more like a village, used as a base for island hopping to do some spectacular snorkelling. This is a town without electricity between 6am to 2pm, no ATMs, no hot water and shops and restaurants that don’t necessarily cater to tourists.  Other than the island hopping there were other activities that could occupy your time.

Wonderful beaches

Wonderful beaches

One of these was cliff climbing. There should be no need for explanations as to what cliff climbing is, however, I sometimes don’t process things properly. At this point in my travels, I’d hijacked a German. He didn’t have proper shoes but true to Filipino standards of health and safety, he was told flip-flops were fine. For solidarity, I wore mine too. Being in a beach town, I also wore my bikini under a sun dress. So cliff climbing is climbing on cliffs, not along, around, beside but on cliffs. It’s like rock climbing without the rope and harness. The plan was to climb up to get a view of the town and to do it in the late afternoon to avoid the midday sun. The cliffs were like jagged limestone. There were times when the hand holds and foot holds were large and sturdy and the climbing was easy. Then there were times when the cliffs were narrow and pointed, the hand holds scarce and the drop off steep. We made it up and the view was definitely worth it. Now for the journey down. There was no secret dirt path that would lead us down easily. We had to go back the way we’d come up. I always find descending harder because chances of slipping are higher. But now remember we went up late afternoon. So as we started our descent, the sun started to descend taking with it our visibility. It was so scary going back down. It was like the cave connection in Sagada, but you couldn’t slide on your butt because the cliffs were too jagged. Our guide was there more to show us the path than to help. I had to call out for him sometimes to tell me where to put my foot exactly. My anxiety levels were so high that I was sweating so much that my face moisturizer was dissolving in the beads of sweat running down my forehead and blinding me. So on top of lack of visibility, my eyes were being blinded by perspiration. Then the clothing choice came in handy as my dress kept hooking on the cliff’s edge above me. Then finally, my foot slipped and my flip-flop broke. Thankfully it was fixable and we were literally 2 meters from the end.  I was so worried we would lose visibility on the cliff. At one point, the guide asked me if I wanted to rest, I responded with an emphatic no!

A view of the cliffs

A view of the cliffs

Look how sharp the edges are!

Look how sharp the edges are!

Look how sweaty I look!

Look how sweaty I look!

A view from the cliffs

A view from the cliffs

Then I said goodbye to my German friend and was reunited with my Russian friend for the next adventure. There is a hot spring in the surrounding area. This is an actually boiling pond of water that you can’t enter. It was a quick walk in from the road, at first through seemingly benign rice fields. Then the terrain changed. It became muddy with little streams of water that were from the hot springs. We had to cross these areas of runoff water, plus pits of mud that would eat our flip-flops and not return them. In order to cross over the water, the health and safety board of the Philippines felt that pieces of wood and decaying palm leaves would provide a sufficient barrier between us and the boiling water. Well in flip-flops, I can attest that the water was extremely hot. The tricycle driver who doubled as our guide, had to help us get over the rickety bridges as they were not stable or placed in logical positions. We finally made it to the hot spring, felt its heat and still have the skin on our feet, thankfully.

Waterfall

Waterfall

Smouldering pot of sulphur

Smouldering pot of sulphur

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Marcia
    Feb 08, 2014 @ 11:26:21

    Reblogged this on Marcia's Travels and commented:

    Some photos to go along with the adventures. Such good memories! El Nido is a must see!

    Reply

  2. Trackback: Madagascar: The Climbing Baobab | Marcia's Travels

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