Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Tour C, Jellyfish and a Beauty Pageant

12th Feb - El Nido

Last day in El Nido! I awoke early as I needed to try again to try and get cash out, went to the Petron station but again – NO CASH – AHHHHHHHHHH!! Went back to the hostel to join Alicia and Thomas for breakfast before our tour and was panicking about how I was going to pay back Alicia and the hotel. One of the French guys who owned the hotel told me about a resort about 10mins away that may be able to do a cash exchange so I took a tricycle there – turns out it’s way further than I was told and you had to walk 15mins down a dirt track only to be told they no longer do cash exchanges – AHHHHHHHHHHH!!! Waste of time!

Got back and Alicia calmed me down and told me not to worry about it and to just enjoy the day of island hopping we had planned, and worry about it later, which I decided was a very good idea! Turned out we were the only ones booked on for Tour C so we got the boat to ourselves for the whole day, it was awesome!

First they took us to Helicopter Island for some snorkelling, then we took an hour’s ride on choppy seas to the next island (Miniloc I think) where we visited the secret beach. It was amazing! You had to swim under a small arch into this magnificently tiny beach surrounded by corals, it was really small and would have been amazing if we’d been the only ones there, but we had to share it with a few other boats, plus on the way in you have to swim through swarms of Jellyfish to get from the boats to the cove, and I got stung by one. But the stings aren't as bad as you’d think! On the way out my snorkel broke so Alicia had to guide me through the water as she could see underwater as to where the jellyfish were so that we didn’t swim through them. We then went to an amazing little cove/beach where we just sunbathed, relaxed and swam until lunch was cooked. Lunch was amazing again, this time we had 3 whole freshly grilled fish, rice, 2 pieces of grilled chicken each, fresh salad and fresh sliced bananas and mangos, I over-ate again!

Then we headed to Matinloc Island for the catholic shrine and viewpoint out over the lagoon, which was beautiful, and then took the hr ride back to a lagoon nearer to el nido for the rest of the afternoon, where we snorkelled, swam, chilled on the beach, looked at sea snakes and chilled on the boat (the last half hour we had the lagoon all to ourselves it was so nice!). Then we headed back to shore.

Alicia decided to head with me to try getting cash out again as she was now running low after lending me money and it must have been her luck or something because when we got there – THEY FINALLY HAD CASH!! YAY! So I almost kissed the woman behind the counter as I was so relieved. We then headed back to Hostel La Banane where I paid my bill, booked myself on the 7am minivan to Puerto Princessa the next morning for my flight back to Manila, and paid back Alicia.

Then ensued the now-routine hour wait for the bathroom to become available for a shower, so I used the time to pack and get sorted as my bag had exploded all over the dorm as per usual. Then met up with Alicia, Thomas and Albert (a friend of Alicia’s, from Spain, who she’d met in Australia), where we drank, shared more travel stories and then went to a really local restaurant for food – I tried out a Beef Kare-Kare (beef in a peanut sauce a bit like satay). I also had a cockroach climb up my leg which was NOT pleasant!

On the way to the restaurant though we stopped off at the El Nido High School Mr and Ms 2013 Beauty Pageant, which was where most of the town had gone by the looks of it! We watched the girls and boys swimming costume contest and then went to eat. After we’d eaten we stopped there on the way back and watched more – the singing contest and the high fashion (design your own costume) contest which featured some highly creative ideas.

We then stopped off on the way to bed for some crepes, however our new favourite crepe place from yesterday was shut which was depressing, so we went to our hostel cafe instead for some Nutella, whipped cream and cinnamon sugar crepes – quite fitting considering it was pancake day! Then we just chilled out on the bean bags in the outside lounge area by the beach and I said my goodbyes! Was going to be sad leaving them all, we’d spent an awesome couple of days together, though hopefully I can meet up with them all along my travels eventually.

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