Tao Philippines, Day Three

The third day of our Tao Philippines trip began like any other – waking up to a superb sunrise and fresh fruit served by Edrian (one of the crew members). There were a few weary faces that morning, due to a bit too much alcohol being consumed (the rum and pineapple juice was a little on the strong side) and a little too much kareoke being sung the previous evening. Thankfully the seas were a lot calmer today (particularly for those nursing a hangover), which made our day more pleasurable. Not that the two previous days were at all bad – we had plenty of entertainment from the crew and we spent a lot of time getting to know our fellow travellers. But it was just nice to be able to relax and not be constantly bumped around on the boat.

The highlight to this day was definitely a stop to visit Alaua village. Here we were surrounded by nearly every child in the town, who were initially wary, yet curious about us, but once they became comfortable, they were more than eager to have their photos taken and were keen to follow us as we explored the village. The people of the northern Palawan islands live very simply, without many of the comforts we take for granted. The live in small, usually thatched houses, many villages do not have electricity, yet alone televisions, computers and other electronic items. People do not have cars, wardrobes full of clothes, comfortable furniture, etc. Most people live from their own agricultural produce and from fishing. Although they don’t have much, they seem so happy and are extremely welcoming and friendly.

Today we also made a stop at Royog village to collect some ice to keep our food and supply of beer cold in the heat of the Philippine sun. It was interesting to see Ging and Edrian kayak over to the village and bring back one enormous block of ice – it was about the length and width of the kayak, which they later hacked at with meat cleavers to break it up into smaller, more manageable pieces. We also stopped to purchase fresh fish from a local fishermen in the village for our dinner that night.

The day ended with a view of the sunsetting over Alaua Twin Towers and a BBQ-ed fish dinner at Kuring Camp.

Untitled-1 IMG_0338 Untitled-2 IMG_0355 IMG_0362 IMG_0370 Untitled-3 IMG_0377 IMG_0378 IMG_0394 IMG_0389 IMG_0411 IMG_0415 IMG_0419 IMG_0436 IMG_0445 IMG_0455 IMG_0470 IMG_0473 IMG_0476 IMG_0481 IMG_0483 IMG_0503 IMG_0506 IMG_0511 IMG_0525 IMG_0526 Untitled-4 IMG_0543 IMG_0546 Untitled-5 Untitled-6 IMG_0569 IMG_0571 IMG_0593


Tao Philippines, Day Two

Day Two on the Tao Philippines trip was spectacular, as anticipated. Aside from some rough seas and a few sick travellers, the day passed well. We woke up to be served by an array from fresh fruit (which continued each morning of the trip) followed by a hearty breakfast. We had a tour of The Farm (an organic farm set up by Tao Philippines to educate and employ the local people. It was also our camp for the previous night). At about 9 or 10am we set out on the boat again and the day followed much the same as the previous day Рfilled with snorkelling, sun-baking, eating delicious food and idling the hours away.  We visited N. Calibangbangan and Cali Villiage.

We had lunch at one of the most beautiful bays I have ever seen – the water was so clear and aqua that it almost didn’t look real. During our lunch we had a little visit by two local twin boys who decided to swim out to our boat (about 100m from shore) and joined us for lunch. The antics and conversation amused us for a good half an hour or so.

Before reaching Kulalayan Camp, our destination for the night, we witnessed a beautiful Philippine sunset. Dinner was yet another delicious meal, followed by an entertaining night of Karaoke. I have to admit that the crew on the boat put in a greater effort than any of us embarrassed travellers. There were a handful left singing and partying until the early hours of the morning.
IMG_0006 IMG_0008 IMG_0009 Untitled-3 IMG_0024 IMG_0028 IMG_0086 Untitled-1 IMG_0092 Untitled-2 IMG_0096 IMG_0099 Untitled-4 IMG_0116 IMG_0117 IMG_0173 Untitled-5 IMG_0177 Untitled-6 IMG_0210 IMG_0228 Untitled-7 IMG_0245 IMG_0247 Untitled-8 IMG_0253 Untitled-9 IMG_0254 Untitled-10 Untitled-11 IMG_0290 Untitled-12

Tao Philippines, Day One

The majority of my short time in The Philippines was spent on a Tao Philippines expedition between El Nido and Coron. This company, founded by two friends, one British, the other American, is the only company that does ‘tours’ through the archipelago in northern Palawan between El Nido and Coron. While being relaxing (the majority of each day consists of soaking up the sun onboard the boat), the trips also give you an insight into the everyday life of local Filipinos, allow you to snorkel the beautiful coral reefs and WWII Japanese shipwrecks, each delicious local foods and just soak in the atmosphere of the island lifestyle. Tao Philippines also donates part of the money you pay for the trip to local communities, assisting with schools, educating locals and even helping in the typhoon relief.

The first day we set out early in the morning, about 8am, from the Tao House in El Nido. We quickly got to know of fellow travellers (15 in total) and the crew on the boat. During the first day, we left from Papaya Beach in El Nido, snorkelled at Tapiutan and swam out to Nacpan Beach. The evening was spent at The Farm (a camp and farm set up by Tao Philippines, employing local people and teaching them agriculture). Here we received a free massage (subsides by Tao) from the local women and spent out first night in little huts, only a few metres from the beach.

IMG_9902 Untitled-1 IMG_9923 IMG_9931 IMG_9937 IMG_9939 IMG_9945 IMG_9954 IMG_9956 Untitled-2 IMG_9987 IMG_9995