It was a little strange for a while having all these strangers talking to you out of the blue, but then you come to realise that that is just the culture. They are friendly, smiley and happy with everyone...a kid comes in to a store and is greeted with a Morning Ma'am. An elderly person enters and is also greeted with a Moring Ma'am. Regardless of whether you are a foreigner a Pinoy or anyone, they'll treat you the same.
Geckos are abundant in the Philippines. I had gotten used to them in Taiwan, but they don't make a daily visit, just every so often you'll see one. Here, it was like a small convention of geckos had congregated. I think our highest count was 7 geckos on one wall...but we like them because they eat all the other bugs.
Though, the mosquitos in the Philippines are hilarious. They are so slow and dopey, just wave your hand in their general direction and you have a good chance of swatting it!
I sincerely love that the Philippines is a little more Western than other Asian countries! It still has it's own culture and is very proud of it, but it has a great mix of influences that seems to make it more accepting of other cultures. As we walked down the high street just in the little out of the way place we were staying there were traditional places in between a McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts. Needless to say coffee runs were made often! (When you can buy a donut and a coffee for well under £1 it would be rude not to!) There are parts of me that feel bad for paying so little for things in the Philippines as many Pinoys are working all day long and getting paid very little. So I had to try and think of it in terms of our being there and buying things was business for them.
Walking through the streets of Palawan at first glance looks and sounds like utter madness. Cockrels, cars, trikes, Jeepneys, motorcycles and people everywhere! But the more you look at it the more it, in a round about way, does make sense. It made me chuckle how in Palawan, when you beep your horn of your vehicle, you have no intention of slowing down or stopping. It is just to let everyone else know you are coming! That being said, lots of cars would stop to let you out, or let you cross the road. (Something that never happens in Taiwan!! Ever!!) It is evident that the people are chilled out and friendly, just from those little things!
At first we thought we would only be able to fit 2 people in each trike so had planned to always be using 2 trikes and go in convoy. The trikes are such an experience! It is a motorcycle with a side cart thing attached. As we explored the surroundings, we saw that the locals were getting way more than just two people in a trike. So for our next trike ride we managed to get all four of us in. One rides side saddle behind the motorcycle driver, 2 on one side of the cart and 1 on the other side. Yes it is cramped, but it gets you from A to B and costs mere pennies. It's a very strange feeling being in one. But a great way to explore.
We went down to the local beach. There are a lot of famous beaches in Palawan, but as with anything famous that means a ton of tourists spoiling it! So we decided do just ask locals about places to go and go to fairly unblemished places. As we got down to the beach I was just so moved by the beauty of the place. There were little wooden shacks and huts, kids playing, dogs running around, locals swimming. Because of the way the tide was we had to wade through water, up to shin height, to get to the sandy area. So there we were, wading through the lush, warm water...ahead of us were mangroves and trees and if you look to the side you could see for miles ahead the sea meeting the mountains past the horizon. The mountains looked like a haze and the colours of the sea, the sky and the mountains all blended together. It was truly incredible! I just felt so blessed to be able to see the beautiful creation. I had seen photos of beautiful beaches before, but being there in that moment was just so emotive and moving! Photos don't do it justice, but seeing the photos I took from the trip conjures up all the emotions I felt.
Every so often it would dawn on me that I was on vacation with people 4 months ago I didn't even know existed. It is totally awesome that within a short amount of time, fantastic friendships can be gained. Being with people that have the same kind of goals and experiences, it is easy to form a friendship quickly. We decided to have a British evening whilst watching The King's Speech together...complete with card games, whisky and the girls putting on British accents. To which I also wanted to put on an accent so went Northern for the evening!
|one of my favourite photos...i still can't believe i was actually here!!!|
|the work of crabs!|