Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Philippines Adventure Day 5

We woke up early so that we'd have time to eat a quick breakfast before departing to Batangas at 7:15 in order to take a ferry (small boat) to the Puerto Galera on the small island of Mindoro (the day before we learned fem our driver of some beaches there). After a quick google search, we made reservations. We were picked up by two guys that the hotel had arranged for us. The driver's name was Louie, he was very helpful. We inquired the need for the second guy--his job was to open doors. We drove alongside many street vendors, fruit stands, and junk shops for about an hour before reaching the port city of Batangas. Louie dropped us off at a really sketch location that we could only guess was close to the coast. Some guys came and took our bags.Louie communicated with them, and we believed that we had an understanding that we were to take a boat directly to Mindoro rather than the slower, public ferry. As these men began walking away with our bags, our driver beaconed us to follow them but to keep a close eye on our belongings. We proceeded to a locked door in a concrete wall where we and about 8 Filipino men waited for the guy with the key to come. Once he got there we were rushed onto a banca (small boat) with the driver and his uncle and were soon on our way into the ocean and hopefully to Mindoro and Puerto Galera. This was all very exciting and had the potential to be scary, especially after they locked the door behind us, leaving us with about a dozen sketchy guys; but for some reason I wasn't frightened. 

The boat ride was pretty exciting. We were still a bit sketched. Half way across the channel the waves grew and the sea spray got us pretty wet, fortunately they had some plastic bags to put over our bags so we could keep our computers safe. My thoughts were filled with excitement thinking about what it would have been like to be here during WWII. I also formulated a plan in the event that our driver and uncle tried to throw us overboard and take our belongings. In that case, I don't think I'd think twice about throwing them overboard and driving away. If we tried to save them, once we got to shore they'd talk to their friends and tell them we attacked them! After leaving them, we'd have to aim for a portion of coast that was deserted, then we could leave the boat and make our way back to the city. As much of an adventure as that would have been, I'm thankful that it didn't come to that. We did see some dolphins and flying fish.

After nearly an hour and a half, we reached the Coco Beach Resort. All the structures are made from natural materials and have a very tribal look. We soon learned that this also meant that there was no air conditioning. Our luggage was snatched by the local bell boys and we soon found ourselves hiking up a steep trail to our hut. The view was fantastic. Soon after that, our "service family" came and greeted us, they said that they were there to assist us with anything we need for the duration of our stay. They showed us the string that we could pull to activate a bell inside their house to usher them up. Very cool. 

We made reservations to go scuba diving, ate lunch, then made our way to the scuba hut. Here we met Neil who would be our instructor after a very brief safety briefing. We threw on wetsuits and found ourselves in the pool practicing our new scuba skills. After about 30 min we were on a boat headed out to Sabang to see "sea grass." Soon we rolled backwards off the boat and were in the water where we were met by not one, but two giant sea turtles! --way better than just sea grass!

After that, we went a little dealer (only about 30ft) and soon were greeted by a host of small fish dwelling within the now visible coral. Pretty dang awesome. There were many fish that I recognized from finding Nemo, as well as a great number that I hadn't seen before. The coral reef was different colors and hosted sponges and purple starfish. Dad say's he saw an eel. I took a lot of pictures before my camera battery was depleted, but honestly there was just to much to see and not enough time. Also, my mask kept filling with water so I spent a lot of time concentrating on that rather than on other things, but honestly it was a fantastic experience. I don't remember seeing much sea grass though, but that was ok with me. 

After returning to Coco Beach, we spend the day lounging around the not so silent "silent" pool. After dark, we ate dinner and bet in our first frog race. (first frog out of the circle wins!) We were very tired at that point and wasted no time going back to our hut to go to sleep. We crawled under out mosquito netting into our beds and slept in the humid, blanketing heat. Thankfully, we all were exhausted enough to be able to sleep without a problem.

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I love life and aspire to be all I can be in everything that I do.