Sunday, 10 February 2013

Into the Villages of El Nido!

Sunday 10th Feb

So I went to the French bar/restaurant where my pickup would be from (everything in El Nido is owned by the French I swear! So many French people!) and met the two guys I would be spending the day with, Marco from Spain and Marcel I think(?) from France, both really nice people who spoke pretty good English considering they said they weren't very good. We met our local guide and rode out into the bumpy dirt tracks of remote El Nido. First stop was a trek to a waterfall - took us around 45mins and it was through fields and then jungle, and trudging through rivers and streams. Pretty tough going with my still-bad foot but our guide stayed behind with me to help - so lovely!

After we trekked back to the roadside and had some Bocu juice (fresh coconut milk out of a coconut) and chatted with some of the villagers and watched several overloaded jeepney's pass us by (I kid you not when I say there were more people on the roof than inside!)
Then we drove slightly further inland and stopped at our guides village where we visited the bamboo house-making man, his family, stopped for a rest in an old grandmothers house where she showed us all her family pictures and also went out into the rice fields and the farm lands. We then had lunch at our guides house, cooked by his wife; fresh fish, fried pork, rice, seaweed salad and fresh cucumber from the farm we visited earlier. We were entertained by his pet monkey MoMo, who I fed sugar and rice, and some water, he was so cute - still a baby!

We then went for a walk through his village to the fishermen's village nearby, walked across some of their traditional stilt bamboo pathways - I was so scared of falling, they are so high and literally just a plank of wood balanced on bamboo sticks! How they walk them everyday to their houses and at night I do not know!! We then crossed the bridge into the other village and went to visit the boat maker and his family and I stopped to play with the little girls for a bit with their Kitten.

We then got a ride to another village nearby but it was a village with only two houses in that housed one entire family - it was super remote! We stopped here to visit the metal workers and talk to the family, the kids roasted us some fresh cashew nuts from their tree. Then I saw a little girl walk out of the house with a Disney Princess activity book and I thought, hang on, I've seen that book I called her over and asked to look at her book, flipped it over and guess what? I knew the book because it was published by my company - Parragon!! In 2009. I was so chuffed I needed a picture of this - that one of our books was read by a little girl in a really remote village in the Philippines! She was more than happy to have her photo taken and her friends and brother got in on the action too. We then said our goodbyes and it was time to spend the rest of the afternoon at one of the remote village beaches - Nacpan Beach - which was absolutely stunning but a ball-ache to get to down a ridiculously bumpy road.

After we headed back, and I waited an hour for the shower in my hostel. Once I'd freshened up I skyped the parents and then went for something to eat along one of the beach bars. Then our hostel was having a little party so I went back and hung out there for a bit, which is where I met Alicia and Thomas, both from France, who had just met themselves actually too. They were both lovely people and we got along instantly. So they asked if I wanted to join them up the beach to meet with some other peeps so we all went for a few drinks at the next bar up, got to know each other and Alicia, Thomas and I all agreed to go on an Island hopping tour tomorrow. Then after a few drinks we went to bed as we were all pretty knackered.

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