A Travellerspoint blog

Busuanga

Wreck Diving and Island Hopping

On the 25th, we headed to the island of Busuanga, an island just north of Palawan. The main reason we headed to this island was to go wreck diving.

In 1944, the Japanese Imperial Navy was hiding a fleet of ships off the coast of Busuanga. After the US navy recon picked up the location, they flew in Hellcats and sunk all of the ships. The complete history is on this website:

http://www.coronwrecks.com/narrative.htm

We did a total of two dives (two ships). Our guide even took us into the depths of the ships (the cargo area and the living quarters), even though we were not properly trained. Around the wrecks were beautiful corals and a wide variety of fish.

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The next day, we went island hopping. Busuanga island is just one of hundreds of small islands that make up the Calamian group, making island hopping a great activity. The islands are made up of limestone, similar to those in Ha Long Bay and Guilin. We stopped at one of the bigger islands and hiked up a small mountain in order to snorkel in a crystal clear lake on the other side. It was amazing.

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We stayed in a town called Coron, the main “city” on the island. We stayed at a small, 5-room guesthouse owned by a nice Swedish man named Patrik. He was extremelly kind and helpful, even offering to lend us money out of his pocket when we inquired about ATM locations on the island.

Coron town was quite a different atmosphere to the resort-laden Alona beach that we had just come from. The people are really poor, the buildings poorly constructed and run-down, there is a lack of paved roads, etc.

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Posted by e1quarnst 07:01 Comments (2)

Sperlunking

and more diving.....

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Today I did my last dive on Panglao. It was just about 60 meters from our resort on Alona beach. I saw several deadly fish (two types of stone fishes and several dragon fish), which I wisely kept my distance from. My guide, however, got real close and waved a stick at them. Also accompanying us on the dive was an old retired man from Maui, with a really nice underwater camera. He showed me his pictures after the dive, and then emailed them to me:

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In the afternoon, we headed to Hinagdanan Cave on the islands northern coast. We swam in the cave’s lagoon – a mixture of fresh and salt water.

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Tomorrow we will travel to Bohol’s “Chocolate Hills,” and trek through Rajah Sikatuna National Park, and hopefully see some wild monkeys, civet cats, and monitor lizards.

Regretfully, our travel mate Steve will not be joining us for the rest of our trip to Coron and Manilla because he met a very beautiful Philipino girl that he wants to spend the rest of the trip with.

Posted by e1quarnst 01:39 Comments (3)

Panglao and Balicasag

Diving

Today we woke up bright and early for diving. The Valery and Marie (my travel buddies) had to sit through some diver safety classes before taking their confined first dives in the afternoon.

I spent the day diving off of Balicasag Island, which I had heard was one of the pride and joys of the Philippines. I got to see a wide variety of marine life, including turtles, eels, giant jellyfish, and schools of different reef fish. Probably the most beautiful of all was the coral, the life-force of the reef.

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Yesterday we met three gentleman from Hong Kong that were also diving with the company that we are diving through. We talked for a long time over drinks at the local beach bar about China, diving, and much more. We all left early, due to diving the next morning.

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Tomorrow is more diving, and the day after, as well........

Posted by e1quarnst 02:28 Comments (2)

The Philippines

Bohol and Panglao Island

It was been a very long day. Last night we left shanghai at 12:30. We arrived in Manilla at 4am and then caught our connecting flight to the island of Bohol.

After leaving the airport, we hired a driver to take us to see the Tarsier Monkey’s native to Bohol. The monkeys are endangered, but recently a sanctuary has been built for them in order to save the species. They are very small and have HUGE eyes (they were the inspiration for Spielberg’s “Gremlins” movie). On the way to the sanctuary, we passed some really interesting scenery – cows and feral dogs on the side of the road, people hanging from the backs of buses, poverty-stricken buildings, many catholic churches, and dense rainforest.

Next, we headed to our guesthouse on Alona beach, a resort area well known for its world class diving. I spoke with the owner of a dive shop, who told me I could dive for very reasonable prices, because I got my diving certificate last year in Thailand.

Tomorrow I will be diving on the island of Balicasag, which I have been looking forward to since I started taking an interest in diving.

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Posted by e1quarnst 04:04 Comments (3)

April

Recently, my room mate Matt and I moved to a new apartment in the Zhongshan park/ Yan'an Xi Lu area. It's much more lively and bustling, and much more easier for me to get to work and school. It was difficult getting our deposit back from our old apartment, but we were able to get most of it back with the help from our Ayi. Our Ayi is an old Shanghainese woman who cleans our apartment for us twice a week. Although we pay her, she's not a maid - she treats us like we are her grandchildren (such as yelling at us if the apartment is too messy or if she finds too many beer bottles in one visit). Matt and I really owe this woman and her friends for helping us through the long a difficult process of moving. The Ayi is already making plans to cook dinner for Mom when she arrives in May.

On the 20th of this month, I will be traveling down to the Philippines with my girlfriend Valery, and my friends Steve and Marie. It should be nice to get away from the city for a while and do some diving, and relax on the beach.

More on that on the next entry........

Posted by e1quarnst 02:59 Comments (3)

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