I started this post when we came back from our 1st trip to the Philippines, but following an iPhone incident (it deleted half of what I had already written!), I got annoyed and the next WE post also had to be written so I gave up! But I couldn't keep on ignoring it for ever, so just imagine you are jumping back in time, it is now November 2010!
It is Hari Raya in Singapore, Wednesday is a bank holiday, the occasion for a 5 days WE is just too good. This time we are adding a new country to the map: the Philippines. It is not as bad as Indonesia for the number of islands but there are quite a few, this time we are visiting 3: Negros for the airport of Dumaguete and then Apo and Siquijor islands.
After a night trip between Singapore and Dumaguete via Cebu, we are on Negros early morning. As we are lucky enough to have arrived here on a Wednesday morning, our first visit is the local Market, the highlight being the animal Market. After observing several people trying to get several uncooperative pigs in several pick ups, we realise that there is an entire area full of goats, small and enormous pigs, cows with a big bump on the back etc. After having paid a few pesos to get in we wonder around the animals, the sellers, the buyers and their vehicles. Funny enough, no one seems to bothered about the 2 white people going around with their backpacks and taking pictures of pretty pink suckling pigs playing/sleeping in the mud.
Once we have enough pictures, we indulge in a breakfast of fried fish and rice (the local treat!). It's barely 8am when we start discussing boats to Apo island, you can see it, it's very close but it still takes 45 minutes to reach on a "medium" boat. Medium is an interesting choice of word, it's barely stable, we are handed life jacket before we get on board, there are no side barriers or anything, we are just sitting on a flat piece of wood, getting very wet and trying to grip anything to hold on in the waves!
Soon we reach Apo, after paying the park fees, someone points us in the direction of rocks, apparently our hotel is behind!
Indeed, the hotel is on the most secluded beach I have seen so far, from now on, we'll wake up watching the sea and will have every single meal with our toes in the sand!
After a nap to catch up from the sleepless night in planes, we go for a first dive
then we hike to the highest point of the island where there is a good view of the area.
When the sun goes down, we discover the pleasure of life on a remote island, electricity is on from 6pm to midnight, but it's dark at 5pm so with 1 candle we make an attempt at having a "shower" using a cup to pick fresh water up from the black bin without confusing it with the sea water of the blue bin (which is obviously here to flush the toilet!) it goes without saying that AC and hot water do not exist...
Thursday is dedicated to diving and snorkelling in the protected maritime park.
After 2 days on Apo island, it's time to continue our transport marathon: back to main land (by that I mean bigger island) by "medium" boat, taxi back to Dumaguete and another boat to Siquijor island, the island of witches! It's well known for its healers. Our hotel is way more luxurious than the previous one, AC and hot water! But tons of mosquitoes, finally I would have happily switched the AC for a mosquito net! The afternoon is spent snorkling in front of our hotel trying to avoid stepping on sea urchin and on the scary looking seastars!
A few hours later, we are treated to the best sunset I have ever seen:
On saturday, we rent a motorbike and go around the island. There are lots of monasteries and churches not looking their best left from Spanish colonialism, some stunning beaches very very hard to find (which might explain why they are unspoiled) and some nasty spiders which like having a go at my legs (very painful and big bruise!)
Some of the landscapes are also amasing:
Our last day is more or less dedicated to transport: tricycle to the harbour where we can admire how difficult is a cow's life on Siquijor!
Then a boat and another tricycle, 2 planes and a taxi and we are home, ready for another week of hardwork!
Apologies for the delay on publishing this post...