Plans – What are they good for?

IMG_0477The days objective was to come up with a rough plan for the remaining trip. We wanted to see the whale sharks in Donsol (which required a flight to Legaspi) and also wanted some more diving and a couple of days in Manilla. This ought to be no match for two persons familiar with scheduling optimization.

We gathered of intel from the guidebook and Internet and came up with a rough plan; we would head straight to Manilla, take a round-trip to Legaspi and then take a bus towards Puerto Gallera (possibly passing by lake Taal and it’s volcano). This required us to get an early flight out from the expensive ITI airline and we thus went to purchase this ticket since they had no online booking.

This was of course doomed. That the prices had risen too 140 € didn’t deter travelers and the first available tickets were two days later in the afternoon. No suitable ferries left in time and it was not that compelling to take a whole day of bus to Puerto Princessa and from there try to find a flight. Bah. We started to revise our plan at Art Café (according to our guidebook housed in a shack – in reality a spacious two-storied villa) where we met Christian.

Christian was a swedish tourist who combined his trip with a little work for Metro as a journalist about the Survivor shootings. We chatted about travel and the futility of plans, he had himself had a backpack of his stolen two days before his departure while he was moving. In this backpack he had his passport, tickets, keys to to an apartment, work computer etc. He still had his phone though and had stayed at a friend (over Christmas) and was now traveling on a temporary passport (without all needed visas) and looked forward to obtaining a new temporary passport with required visas in Manilla for future traveling. We agreed that rescheduling needs were rather small in comparison.

The night was dedicated for a slightly more robust plan, we would take a larger banca to Coron for some diving and then a superferry (love that name) to Manilla where we would shop and chill. If we got a hotel with a swimming pool we could perhaps find a replacement for whale sharks (e.g. obese tourists) there.

No photos were unfortunately taken during the day but I’ll present a picture of the island that Mirsada and myself have named “Yoshi Island”. After the underground river we have gotten into the habit of making out familiar patterns from natural formations. Since apparently anything can look like the holy virgin Mary, it’s not more than fair that a few things which really do look familiar should be named as well.

Meeting Borat

IMG_0473As we were waiting for our guide to pick us up at the hotel for the island hopping we saw a familiar face. A guy who had approached us the first day we got here asking us something meaningless and in general gave a slightly strange impression. We were now to go for island hopping together and like many people lacking or having severely impaired social skills he was eager to talk, regardless of whether audience appreciated or not.

On the island hopping were also two russian girls we’d seen in our Hotel earlier and two american guys. The weather was somewhat cloudy and the sea was slightly rough but it wasn’t raining by any means as the forecast had predicted. We started off with snorkeling and saw a sawfish among other fishes, I really should find some underwater casing for my camera. As we got back on the boat one guy was missing (guess who?) but after loud whistling by one of the american guys the missing guy realized that everybody was waiting for him.

I seldom go on ranting about particular people and it wasn’t really that bad, but when Mirsada pointed out the similarities I just simply realized that this truly was Borat, but for real. Similar accent and appearance, same limited knowledge of cultural and social norms, not afraid to voice racist ideas and all the same time showing symptoms of a heap of letter-combination diagnoses. He just kept on astounding the rest of the group with comments, questions and actions. Do I need to say the guy wasted the better part of a full tube of physical sunscreen while rubbing it over his body for 30 minutes? Or that he took pictures of himself showing thumbs up in every possible and impossible pose and situation? Amazing.

The island hopping was nice, although the day before was better – it really is a weather depending activity. We saw a cave, a nice lookout but due to rough sea we were unable to go to some locations and ended the tour with a nice slacking at Papaya Island beach. Reading (Best American Essays 2007), listening to good music and relaxing in the sun isn’t bad at all.
IMG_0475Tomorrow we would skip island hopping but rather stroll around in the area and get some ideas on how to move on from here. Currently we are thinking of swimming with whale sharks in Donsol or do some diving/slacking in Puerto Gallera before the mandatory shopping in Manilla. And we really need to pass an ATM on the way to either of the destinations.