Since I had gone to bed first of everyone, I thought I’d be the first one to wake up. But just after 6 when I woke up and took my earplugs out, I could here several people were already awake. The was a typhoon heading towards where we were, north of Palawan from Cebu and so we had to get up and leave for El Nido earlier than planned. We packed our stuff and swam out to the boat where we were served breakfast. Pancakes. Yes, even for me – the vegan. Our lovely chef had gone above and beyond to make me good food.
We arrived to the area just outside of El Nido quite quickly, and by then the captain had gotten information that the typhoon would arrive later than expected. So to make up for the change of our planned route for that day, our boat went around to different islands and beaches that were included in some of the A, B, C or D tours. For example, we stopped to snorkel by the Helicopter island – where Swedish tv-show Expedition Robinson(Survivor) had been filmed. I hit the marine life jackpot when I saw two Common Cuttlefish mate while changing to different colours as if they were one and also a super venomous and beautiful Banded Sea Snake. SO proud of me for not panicking when seeing the snake. It helped that the two people I was snorkelling close to were super excited and not scared and swan to fetch others to come see it.
El Nido, Palawan
We arrived in El Nido and the island hopping tour came to an end. Since the wi-fi at my hostel in Coron wasn’t working, and I had been on a boat for the past 3 days, I had not had a chance to book accommodation for El Nido. I knew it was going to be hard as it was a particularly busy high season. When arriving in the city center I realised basically everything was fully booked. After a no at a hostel I walked to a Bed & Breakfast across the road. I asked if they had a bed for me that night. They said no. “Not even a couch or a mattress on the floor!?” I said desperately. After a few seconds of silence she said they did have a room in the attic. 850pesos a night for my own room with shared bathroom.
Knowing it could be hard to find any place at all I eagerly said yes please. Also that sounded like an outstanding price for my own room so I would become poor from one night there. They needed a while to prepare the room for me and I took the time to check up on emails and Facebook efter 3,5 days of not being connected at all. When presented with the room I wondered to myself why they said no to not having rooms when this one was just fine and even had a working AC. My room was in another building that the B&B and I guess the standard in the old building I was staying just didn’t cut the standard they offer usually. This also meant I had the floor to myself – the toilet and shower room were all mine. The next morning I asked if I could stay 2 more days – until flying out of El Nido. I got a yes, and I suspected so since I’m quite sure they don’t rent that room out at all – unless desperate people like me show they have no requirement for a high standard, haha.
As soon as I got into my room I went to the closest little shop to buy some snacks. it was a tiny shop, maybe 2*2 meters, but I hit the jackpot. 3 different flavours of soy milk(!) and dried green peas. Hello protein!
I will make a separate post about what it’s like being vegan while traveling in the Philippines as it is without a doubt the hardest place I’ve traveled in when it comes to food.
I did find a place called the ART Café that served some really good food, for both breakfast, lunch and dinner. Went there with 4 friends and we all had different types of food – pizza, lasagne, paella and bruschettas. Everyone moaned in pleasure when eating so I highly do recommend that place. It’s also a big place with lots of space and has a nice interior feel to it. It’s not cheap but I do highly recommend it. Especially for veggie people.
From the tiny airport in El Nido I flew to Cebu. From there I took a bus to the city center, a taxi to the south bus station and from there a bus all the way down to my hostel in Boljoon. The hostel and the city Boljoon is basically just houses along the main road, in the middle of nowhere – but just by the ocean.
This was the first place in the Philippines that I had encountered decent wifi. Finally some time to catch up on work without swearing about pages who can’t load. The hostel is called Noordzee and is located literally on the beach. It has a roof terrace where you can get all your meals during the day, which most people do as there are not many choices around. It was a bit pricey but they offered just enough dishes to give you options but little enough to make sure it was all made right there. Not only do you get this private area with plenty of other backpackers to befriend, but this place also rewards you with spectacular sunrises.
Osmeña Peak, Dalaguete
It turned out that the girl in the bunkbed underneath me was badass travel blogger Cassy from Away We Stray. We decided to head to the mountain top Osmeña Peak together. After 45 minutes by bus to Dalaguete and then a 30 min ride on the back of a motorbike, we arrived near the top where we after about 15 minuter hit the peak. We had googled pictures before we went there so we knew we were to expect impressive and weird looking shapes of the mountain tops but then we got there and, well. There was no view at all. We were standing in the middle of white walls of mist.
After the slightly disappointing journey to the top, we went back down to Dalaguete for some much longed for lunch before jumping on a bus down south to our hostel in Boljoon. It was out last night in Cebu before Cassy went to Taiwan and I headed for Singapore. No sad faces as we parted, because I knew I’d meet this fierce girl again.
I came to Singapore not knowing exactly how many days I would spend there but I did have 2 nights accommodation sponsored by 5footway Project Boat Quay. It was a rather luxurious hostel but the best part no doubt was the roof terrace together with it’s location that gives it’s guests probably one of the best views in Singapore. I was even told some people stay there just for the view. The sponsored post about the hostel along with a 10% discount code will be up on the blog shortly.
Street art in Singapore
Singapore was not at all what I had expected. I’m not a fan of huge cities, especially not those with plenty of skyscrapers. I often find then too crowded, stressful, dirty and grey.
To my surprise, Singapore was none of that! Clean, far from crowded, even on the metros, calm atmosphere and so much colour!