Five days of island-hopping
04.11.2012 - 08.11.2012 32 °C
We've spent the last 5 days cruising around the islands of northern Palawan on a boat trip organised by Tao Philippines. If anyone is planning on a holiday here we can't recommend them highly enough. Tao Philippines was set up when a Scottish architect student, called Jack, met a Philippino called Eddie, when they were both working in a bar in Edinburgh. They decided to build a boat together and visit some of the beautiful but less visited parts of the Philippines. Seven years later they have six boats and 12 beach camps dotted around the Philippine equivalent of the Maldives - but unlike the Maldives totally deserted! As well as running boat expeditions, like ours, they support the local fishing communities with schools projects, an organic farm (which provides lots of fresh veggies for the boat trippers) and marine conservation. Check out the website.
We were 23 adventurers, Irish, Russian, German, American, Philippino, Australian, Kiwi and us Brits. We had a crew of 8 locals who looked after us and provided plenty of entertainment and amusement with their various boat-leaping exploits. Through the whole trip we didn't see any other tourists or tourist boats and only a handful of locals who looked after the various camps.
Each day we cruised, snorkelled, swam and explored islands. Each night we landed at a different isolated beach camp where we drank beer, ate delicious fresh barbecued seafood and slept in simple wooden huts on the beach. The surroundings were gorgeous, a turquoise sea bejewelled with lush emerald islands and slivers of golden sand. The snorkelling was awesome, the sea was crystal clear and the coral gardens were vibrant, varied and teeming with multicoloured fish, squid and the odd sea snake.
We had a totally amazing few days but it was nice to arrive in El Nido (a little backpacker town in a small coconut-tree-lined bay surrounded by towering limestone cliffs and islands) last night to wash the salt off! Tomorrow we've an early start (5am!) as we head south to Sabang to visit an underground river.