Partido Derecho, Urong sulong

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

(5:25:04 PM) Jet: walang magagawa ang gobyerno sa ganunng klasng porblema
(5:25:23 PM) Leonard : meron pre, putangina magtatatag ako ng party list
(5:25:34 PM) Leonard : you'll be calling me rep. Leonard in a few months
(5:25:37 PM) Leonard : just you wait
(5:31:05 PM) Jet: make sure it starts with a numeral.
(5:34:31 PM) Leonard : gagu dapat dating aktivist, so red watawat namin
(5:34:46 PM) Leonard : tapos dapat tunog masa
(5:34:52 PM) Jet: 1RED
(5:34:53 PM) Leonard : dirdir tite
(5:35:00 PM) Leonard : 1red?
(5:35:11 PM) Jet: para ikaw una dun sa partylist
(5:35:14 PM) Leonard :
(5:35:18 PM) Leonard : oo nga ano
(5:35:34 PM) Leonard : 01AABANTE
(5:35:39 PM) Leonard : yan sigurado unang una yan
(5:35:50 PM) Leonard : double A sa umpisa 01 pa
(5:35:57 PM) Jet: sa future yung pangalan ng mga partylist ####1111FIRST
(5:36:00 PM) Leonard : tapos B yung pangatlo
(5:36:07 PM) Leonard : HAHAHAHA
(5:36:51 PM) Jet: pwedeng ang partyname mo DERECHO PARTIDO OCHO
(5:37:04 PM) Jet: tapos yung acronym ganito 8==D
(5:37:10 PM) Jet: 8=== D
(5:37:24 PM) Jet: una ka na sa partylist, panalo ka pa sa kababaihang botante
(5:38:49 PM) Leonard : at bading

Culion Island/Burog Shoal - Coron Island Tour Review Part 4

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Day 4 is supposed to be our free day. We had three options: Stay at the lodge, go back to the Coron Island Tour, or get a boat and go somewhere else. Firstly, I had no intention of climbing the steep cliff to Kayangan lakeagain. And since the town of Coron's not exactly the type of place that you can hang about sober without getting bored after five minutes, we decided to go for a custom day tour to an island called Culion. The island got mentioned the day before by our tour guide. She said that there were WW2 articles to be found there, which I am a total sucker for, and leper colony memorabilia, which I am not. Anyway she did mention that it was no longer an active colony and that there were even old WW2 era aircraft in the island. I. just. had. to. go.

Sadly, there weren't any trips going to that island that day and our only option was to hire a special trip just for me and Anna, and anybody who might want to join us. The fee was a bit steep at 5k for the entire day - but since I figure that I might have only once chance to do this so I agreed anyway. The travel agency found a boat who'd take us there, but there'd be no tourguide. The travel agency did say that the boat captain grew up in Culion so he'd be happy to take us around.

As it turns out, the boat that would take us to Culion was the same boat that we rode before, together with Captain Edi (made memorable by his the-boat-wont-sink-too-much) and his mate whose name escapes me at the moment. Edi looked excited to go back to his hometome, and confessed he didn't get to do that very often.

Before we left, I was happily looking forward to eating lugaw, which was a staple in the breakfast buffet of Coron Eco Lodge but as it turns out, they didn't have it that day, and instead offered a single premium -silog meal from their menu in lieu of the rice porridge, eggs, and bread we've been used to. The tapa was awesome, which I imagined came from the ranches we passed by on the way from the airport a few days back. It was only a slight disappointment to not eat lugaw. The disappointment, however, didn't stop there.

The weather
 was only slight better than the day before. Rain pelted us during the hour-long trip, but not as much as the day before. Having the boat to ourselves also meant we could stay at the far back instead of getting jizzed at nature up front. Since it's a long trip, I asked about our itinerary. As it turns out, there were no WW2 weapons, or airplanes, or anything in Culion. I don't know even today if that was just me hearing shit, or if the tourguide just wanted to screw with my head - either way, I'd only be looking at the leprosarium part of Culion, which to be honest, I didn't really look forward to all that much.

When we finally neared the island, my opinion of the place completely changed. Culion is that one town, close to a tourist spot but not really famous enough to be one, that it actually preserves the feel that it's a fully sustained, pollution-minimal island community. Like, I've seen a lot of docks in my life and it's pretty safe to say that there's no dock as clean and as ALIVE as that of Culion. There were corals, large fish, and even starfishes practically living underneath the boats. The water was crystal even to a depth of 8 feet. It was crazy. Were it not for the fact that I didn't want to be walking around in a hospital sopping wet, I'd have dove in.

After a brief coffee break, we rode a trike up the side of Culion's mountain towards the town center where the hospital and museum is located. On our way, Edi either greeted or was greeted by pretty much every other person we came across and he looked really happy for it. That proved his tall claim that everybody knew everybody in Culion.

Just above the town, a large caduceus (staff and snakes) symbol is carved into the mountain's face reflecting the strong medical history of the island, as well as the current state-of-the-art facilities that are actually better than both Coron's and Busuanga's. Edi told us that whenever there are emergencies in either Busuanga or Coron, they'd either move the patient by boat, by chopper or by plane to Culion for treatment. That's pretty much Culion for you. A real provincial town with a creepy past and a kickass hospital system. Add an internet connection to the package and I'd say it's a really nice town to retire in.

The museum was closed when we got there. Apparently the guy in charge went home to cook lunch, owing to the fact that the museum wasn't exactly a tourist magnet, so we had to wait a while. I walked around and realized that the architecture of the hospital little changed from the early American style construction that I saw in the older buildings of our school, and in Philippine General Hospital. The museum itself had a large pillared Southern-style frontage.

Inside, we were treated to a ten minute video in a dark viewing room on the first floor. It gave us a short summary of Culion's history, mostly as a leper colony. I was just glad the film didn't last long. The room was a bit damp and tad too creepy for my taste.

The exhibits on the first floor were mostly photographs and relics of Leprosy research. One of the rooms contained microscope slides they used for checking diseased tissue. Which I touched. And didn't realize what an idiot I was until a bit later. Upstairs were more antiquated equipment, which were oddly 'round the same model type as the science lab stuff we had back in our school. At this point, I'd like to confirm that my school had half of its equipment stuck in the American Occupation era. There was a money exhibit, including money that was exclusive in Culion, because really, when half of your citizens have an infectious disease that cause your flesh to slowly die and rot off while you're still alive, you'd want money that goes around to stay around.

There were also preserved animals and the like, which Anna took really fondness of. Me, I still prefer my preserved animals in the form of dried squid and bagoong.

After the museum visit, we walked around town. Most of the American-era buildings were still around, although their functions were very much different now. We didn't fully cover the town, and I declined as nicely as I could in taking Edi's offer to walk us around the only part of Culion were there were still actual lepers. I suddenly thought about the sores in my feet from the frequent rubbing of the straps on my sandals which I never took off even when I swam.

We visited the church next, which was made of cement blocks strengthened with coral. The final result was beautiful, but I thought had it been any other type of animal skeleton, the result would've been ten times more horrifying (or cool, depending on how you like your places of worship)
we weren't able to get inside because the place was closed for the day, but we went to the side where the ruins of the oldest fort was. There was barely any trace of the fort left, save for the last rampart and a bronze cannon barrel that was still pointing out at sea.

It was amazing to think that once upon a time, they had to build this fort, at the expense and labor of hundreds of workers, to ensure that nobody (most especially the moro pirates) would invade the island, whence nowadays, it's hard enough to convince people to even go within the vicinity of the place. 

It was about 12 noon when we headed back for the boats. We headed for a lone dock sitting in the middle of the waters a couple of kilometers from Culion. When we got near we realized that it didnt even have boarding ladders yet so we were forced to anchor somewhere nearby. Edi called the place "Burog" and we had to eat our lunch on the boat.

As for lunch, to put things into context, we paid about 800 pesos for the food that we at at Kawayanan the night before, which consisted of a piece of small fish, a solitary crab, a couple of shellfish and some rice. This time, we paid 600 pesos for the same food that was served to our group in Banana Island the day before, minus the five other people on the boat to share it with. There was one large fish, five crabs, mango salad, rice and too many bottles of soft drinks. I wanted to go back to Kawayanan and show them the pictures and tell them how much they screwed us over the food.

We convinced Edi and Estong to eat some of the food as we could not magically consume food intended for a house warming party while not dying midway. We rested for about fifteen minutes, which was about as long as our urge to dive into the water could be restrained without any handcuffs involved.

I went in first by sitting at the boat's deployed ladder and then slidding off. I'm forever thankful that I did not jump, because as it turns out, I was just above what probably was a sea urchin rave party, with the three inch long spikes barely three feet below the surface waiting to fuck somebody's week up. I swam a bit more, and I think it was a minute into the swim that I realized that Culion's greatest asset is the one that they actually never really mention in the ads. Burog is a majestic coral reef sitting a few feet below the surface of the water containing fish and other marine life you normally have to dive for in other places. It made Banana and Malcapuya islands look desolate by comparison. And you could nary see a dead coral because there was simply nobody there to spoil it. It was then that I understood why Edi was so careful in tossing the anchor overboard when we first came.

In a way, I felt a bit sad, because there'd be so many other beaches, snorkeling sites that I'll be going to in my life, but few will ever be able to match what we just saw in Burog.

After swimming for an hour or so, Edi told us that we should start heading back to beat the strong waves. It was a bit sad to leave the coral reefs already but given the rains that we experienced in the morning, the last thing we'd want is accompanying sea waves to make it more festive.

On our way back, we passed by a lot of floating balls arranged in gridlike formation. Edi told us that they were pearl farms whose produce were sent to Japan for processing. He used to work for those farms before he joined the tour group, and told us his daily salary and how much it grew when he transferred, which was still smaller than my taxi fare to work. Edi did mention that it was manageable, not considering the long list of utang he had in their neighbor's sarisari store, though I felt that I was somewhat shortchanging him for what he was doing for us that day.

We encountered one of the floating balls while one our way, and Estong grabbed it for Edi. He looked too happy to get a floating ball so I asked what they were going to use it for. Turns out the same people who lost the float bought it back when they went astray.

For our last trip, Edi made us chose on whether we want to go to a beach or a shipwreck. I wanted to go to the shipwreck, while I felt Anna wanted to go for the beach. We went for the shipwreck. I guess she understood how badly I wanted to have something WW2-related for this trip given the fact that I had already my expectations dashed by the museum earlier.

The shipwreck was just as deep as the one in Coron Island. There were SCUBA divers about, but this time around the water was not as stinging as before. Also, it kind of felt comforting knowing there were other people around while diving towards something that killed people many years ago. Braving my usual limits, I hit 15 feet for the first time and got to grab on to the front crane in the hull of the boat where the sun was still able to pierce the water. It felt glorious.

We didnt stay around for long, as my lungs quickly tired out from the forced, unassisted dives. Edi bade the divers off and headed back for Coron. The weather was not as bad as the morning, though it was still raining. Since we were a lot lighter and this time a bit earlier, we got off from the same Pier that we left. The bad part is that the pier had a fixed height so this time, we had to walk towards the sea wall and then mantle over it. I barely cleared the wall. Anna understandably had a much harder time and had to clear it by being pulled by two other people.

Before we parted, I gave Edi 600, and his boatman 200. I explained that they're not tips, they're fees that I'd have paid had there been a tourguide included in the package. Edi was teary eyed and told me it was a very big deal for both of them. I told him they were for the long lists of "utang" they had in the store.

After resting for a while, Anna and I went to this weirdly-named resto called Mannikin Pis, which we later learned was Dansk for The Pissing Statue, a famous Danish Landmark. After our experience in Kawayanan, we decided to do research this time for highly recommended restos in town. For some reason Mannikin Pis was the only place that didn't have detractors and only hand songs of praises online.

And for good reason, apparently.

I ordered tomato-sauced spaghetti while Anna ordered a burger patty/fries combo. Both were so awesome that we instantly regretted not having eaten there earlier. The price was both below 200 pesos each, which considering the serving size (and taste!), would've still justified an above 200 peso price. The place was cozy and the service was extremely nice. If ever I'd be going back to Coron I'd probably dine there exclusively. For a restaurant that had piss in its name, I loved it.

Anna insisted on dessert afterwards. We had chocolate pudding and it was just as nice as I imagined. Anna told me how much she enjoyed everything that's happened so far and I felt the same way. It was at that moment I felt that our trip to Coron was finally complete.

What was supposed to be a sidetrip on the way to El Nido (which was a stupid plan from the get go) ended up as an experience that was much better, unpredictable, exciting, and overwhelming that despite its shortcomings, I could easily rank up with the best trips that I've ever had in my life.

So if one day, while looking at a CebuPac Seat Sale you're wondering, is it possible to get to El Nido by booking a flight to Busuanga - the answer is NO, it is not possible. But book it anyway.

It will be one decision you will never regret. 

Malcapuya/Banana Island Hop - Coron Island Tour Review Part 3

Monday, September 10, 2012

Day 3

Since the day before we almost missed the frigging boat, I triple confirmed my name on the tour manifest. We rode a boat manned by a guy named EDI (eeh-dee). There's a Mass Effect joke there somewhere. The group we joined was a lot smaller this time consisting of a chummy older caucasian guy, his filipina wife, a Bisaya-speaking Croatian woman (totall caught me offguard. good thing I didn't speak too loudly when I said she was cute) and her timid pinoy husband. Also joining us was a solo backpacker named Kai, who for all intents and purposes, looked and spoke like a poor man's Ruffa Guttierrez.

Our first stop was Malcapuya Beach. I was surprised at the distance we had to cover to get there, since the Coron Island tour destinations the day before were mere minutes apart. This time, the first trip took an hour. Thankfully, the American guy was being typically American and was entertaining everybody by asking the living daylights out of the tourguide.

Malcapuya isn't exactly big. It's probably less than a kilometer wide in a crescent arc. The beach is made of fine white sand, and since we didn't really get a lot of chance to beach bum the day before, this was a welcome sight. Our tourguide, Isay, told us that some dude bought the island back in the 70s for a measly 3,000 pesos, who then built a house in the middle of the island and then lived off the entrance fees of the island and incessant gloating for the last 40 years. I didn't really get to catch the owners name, but I assume it's Lucky Asshole McBastard III. About 200 meters away from the beach, there was a buoy that marked the coral reefs. Isay told us that we should swim there to get a good view. Everybody except the Bisaya guy and the Ruffa clone went. I wandered around the crags of the island a bit more at the opposite end. The rocks made the fish look like they're in an aquarium and I personally just wanted to stay there, seeing as I'm now even further away from the buoy. But since I'll probably never hear the end of it if I didn't go, I told myself the 300 meter swim is probably worth it. It damn well should. It took me a while to get there, since I was dragging a vest tethered to me by a rope. The corals were not as colorful as I imagined, but there were lots of Giant Clams with shells that'll probably be used by the Little Mermaid if she happened to start having obesity problems. After I got there, the Croat approached me and asked me in Tagalog if she could borrow my goggles. I lent it to her, because as it turns out she lost her diving mask AND snorkel fastener. I honestly don't know how you can do that in the middle of the sea. By the time she found it, I only had a few minutes left to enjoy the reef before we had to swim back, which was kind of a bitch. But what the heck? it was worth it.

Our next stop was Banana Island which was right across Malcapuya. Isay told us that Banana Island was purchased at a more expensive 50k pesos (compared to Malcapuya anyway). On disembarking, she gave us bread to feed the fish. I was hungrier, so I ate one of mine instead. Banana Island sat very closely to a coral ridge, filled with, yes you guessed it - corals. Feeding the fish with bread was fun, at least until we saw dart-like fishes and longer swordfishes lingering about. I had no intention of being skewered by the very fish I'm trying to feed so we disposed of the bread as soon and as far from my genitals as possible. Our guide later pointed out a viewing deck which required you to climb a pretty steep semi-cliff. Naturally, I declined and opted to just pick shells and various mineral rocks with Anna instead. No laborious climbing. Yay.

Lunch was a treat. There were fewer people on the boat this time, but the amount of food was still aplenty. And since half of the people on the boat were women, us men had to step up to the role of turning the feast into a barren wasteland of leftovers and chewed up bones. Much later that day, I was really glad that I ate a lot.

On a minor sidenote, Banana Island did not have Bananas. The owner probably realized that everybody who goes to the island starts looking for Bananas so he planted some, probably weeks earlier, by the entrance of his lodge. But that's just making excuses if you ask me.

The weather during our stay in Banana Island started to turn a bit sour but it was still mostly manageable. It was already partially raining when we left so it wasn't too big a surprise.

Our next stop was a sandbar close to one of the classier resorts. We were told that the place had lots of jellyfish about so swimming isn't exactly the best idea. I kind of felt bad since apart from the forced swim that I did in Malcapuya earlier, I haven't really gotten my fill yet of seawater fun. We did photoops, and Anna happily collected sand dollars, which I said belonged to mermaids, and they'd come looking for it if she didn't return it. The sandbar disappeared shortly before we left, which was a bit disappointing.

I didn't even get to order drinks.

On the way home, that was when the weather started getting really foul. And by foul, I don't mean ten foot waves. Coron's too gentle for that. The wind did pick up, and the rain dropped the visibility to about five meters around the boat. Captain Edi told us to put our stuff inside the boat's locker. We put our stuff in but kept our towel, figuring it might be useful in keeping warm. Kai, who at the time was just wearing her bikini top and bottom, was in for the washing down of her life. Now there really wasn't any danger of getting destroyed by waves, but the wind was so strong, the canopy above us offered no protection from the rain that went in sideways. I changed places with Kai since she was up front and since I have no appetite for having somebody die of hypothermia in my vacation. My towel instantly became a makeshift windbreaker so Anna and Kai at the back didn't have to absorb too much rain. On the other side of the boat, the Croatian's wife didnt have a towel and resorted to using the lid of the trashbin. Anna shared her towel with Kai, who was visibly shaking and whose lips was turning not-so-sexy purple. I told Anna it's probably got something to do with the Sand Dollars not being returned to the mermaids. It was funny for a while, until I started thinking if my own bullshit had some nugget of truth in it. Rain slapping your face repeatedly makes you think of such things.

The trip lasted for about an hour. It felt like being in an open-top convertible on a five kilometer drive-in carwash. The old man from Minessota looked like he was enjoying it. I suppose given the frigid, forbidding temperatures of their lakes back home, this rain might as well be a warm shower at the gym. Edi told us that in the event that the boat sinks, it wont completely sink, and we can still climb on top of the canvas roof. Needless to say, Edi would have made a bad psychiatrist.

After getting lost once (and intentionally, as Edi quipped), we finally reached Coron's bay. It was actually interesting because despite the fact that it was raining hardcore outside the mountainous enclosure of the bay, inside, the weather was somewhat sunny. The blast of warm air as we entered the bay felt like the best kind of non-sexual bukakke anybody would ever ask for.

Disembarking this time was not as hard, although we had to cross two boats chainlinked together just to be able to reach the dock. I nearly fell again, but I figured even if I did, at least the water this time was somewhat cleaner. We rode the van straight home where we proceeded to squeeze about six liters of water from our towels and swimwear.

Later in the evening we tried the seafood resto named Kawayanan. We ordered the seafood platter. I won't go to lengths. The food was disappointing. Portions were small. Even the platter was undersized. I had a feeling the mosquitos in that place got more from us than us from our food. 

Coron Island Tour Review Part 2 - Coron Island Tour

Friday, September 07, 2012

Just so there's no confusion, the Coron Island Tour is a tour package that involves attractions around Coron Bay. It's different from the Island Hop Tour, which involves islands that are further away. We will cover the Island Hop tour in the next part. Both tours are covered by the Calamian Group Tours or Tour Group. I can't remember. That said, on with the article!

The tour group pickup van arrived on time, picked us up, and sent us off to the docks where a boat with other tourists was waiting for us. The sucky part is that we weren't supposed to be the ones picked up on the hotel that day because some guy in the tours agency forgot to put our names in the manifest. Two other people, people who were sitting beside us in the lobby were the ones supposed to be picked up. So the van had to go back. Let's just say many an awkward stare was thrown that morning. In any case, we were already on the boat and there was no way in hell they are going to pull us out without me threatening to sink the boat with our gigantic hotel room key keychain. Nobody asked us to leave so I let the boatmen use it as an anchor instead.

The sun was definitely much better than the previous day. We traveled together with a large family with three kids and two other couples, including, you know, the ones we left behind. I told myself that those two were drug smugglers and they're just getting a bit of karma. It made dealing with them a lot easier for the rest of the day.

Our first stop was the Kayangan Lake. The boat entered a cove and docked near a set of really steep steps along a mountain path. Whatever stress we avoided with Mt. Tapyas the day before came back to haunt us here instead. We signed a log book before climbing up, probably so that they'd know whose body it is that gets recovered in case one of us gets eaten by mountain bears (hint: I cannot confirm or deny the existence of mountain bears in the island). The path up was steep and slippery, and I got to wonder a bit how in the world the people in Coron manage to hide the accidents that probably happen there on a weekly basis. (disclosure: I'm a pussy and I may exaggerate facts like this) Mosquitos were around, and for some reason the sunblock that I applied was like marijuana for these bloodsuckers, giving them a bad case of munchies they gladly satisfied by sucking on my cholesterol-laden blood. I hope they get a heart attack. After a hundred steps up, you get to take pictures on an iconic cliff overlooking the cove from where we entered. It was breathtaking, and judging from the height, if I fell from the vantage, that'd be the last breath I'd be taking as well. We went down another hundred steps and finally got to the lake. The steps were slippery, but one of the guys in our group told us that a few years back, the steps didn't even exist yet. Well what exactly did they do back then? Slide down in an avalanche of death and broken hope?

The lake looked like it was generated using 90s era PlayStation engine - but in a beautiful way. The water was ridiculously clear and the sharp triangular rocks underwater made it look like a death trap in tomb raider 2. I got excited, jumped in and realized too late that the water was actually at least 25 feet deep. Luckily, water dampens the sound when you scream like a bitch so nobody knew how scared I was when I realized that after two seconds I was still sinking with the surface slowly drifting away from me. I recovered, rose for air and pretended it was all good. Anna got to test her underwater camera with mostly shots of me diving, or to be more specific, of what my butt and legs look like while diving. The water was brackish, but it was mostly freshwater so it kind of tasted like soup. I didn't want to incur any illness that will cause involuntary shitting so I happily spit the rest out.

Anna's waterproof camera's batteries conked out at this point, much to our disappointment, and probably to yours too if you're expecting pictures of the next few paragraphs.

The next stop of our tour was the Twin Lagoons. To enter the twin lagoon, we went into a similar cove as with Kayangan Lake. We were told that the entrance of that lagoon got really shallow during low tide so it would be best if we kept our visit short. Worst case scenario, we'd have to get off the boat and push it over a wall of corals. That'd be the boat equivalent of having to push start a car with a dead battery. Realizing that getting marooned in a lagoon is bad and getting marooned in that lagoon with a pair of drug smugglers was worse, I was more than glad to agree.  We docked in a wooden port that was four kawayans wide, proped on the side of a cliff wall by four more rickety bamboos. Then we dove into the water through a slippery ladder at the end of it. Anna had a hard time crossing this area due to her knee. When I found out later on that our boat had its own ladder that we couldve used to hop off and then just swim to the entrance of the other lagoon, I secretly wanted to punch somebody in the nuts. I didn't know who. I just wanted to.

The crossing between the two lagoons was nice. It reminded me of that time we'd play on the beach as a kid, dig two parallel trenches and try to dig a connecting tunnel between them. The water was brackish as well, but this time it was saltier. I told myself I should really stop trying to taste the water everywhere I went because dysentery is not funny. Other than that there wasn't really anything else to the twin lagoons.

After Twin Lagoons, we headed for Beach 19. They named the beach that, I assume, because they just ran out of names in the Shitty Names Department that day. Honestly though, it's because Coron has so many white sand beaches that after a while they just stopped bothering putting in tourist-catchy names on them, slapped a number on each of them, and went for the "Come to Coron, we got more beaches than all the bars of Ermita combined!" Lunch was served consisting of Grilled squid, fish, chopped pork loins, rice and assorted fruits. After eating a carpenter's fill, I proceeded to give that appendicitis myth a punch in the guts by swimming right after. It's been half a day already and I had yet found a decent place to go watch fish. Of course I was pissed. Thankfully you did not have to go far to see fish. They were five steps away from the shore. The best part about this beach? We didn't have to climb a mountain, or mount a rickety old kawayan bridge. It's just the beach, the water, the fish, and the occasional sea urchin that seems to taunt you saying "I have spikes. Your move, fucker."

After everybody's had their fill, we headed for a nearby shoal five minutes away from the beach. We were told that there was a sunken ship underneath. The ship being Japanese, of WW2 era, and deep enough for snorkeling, I got excited. I threw my vest in the water and jumped after it. I landed right above the wreck, and it was a very eerie, somber sight. The sunlight piercing the water formed beams that highlighted the ghostly bow of the ship rising from the darkened deep water. Sometime seventy years ago, some American pulled a trigger on his plane that dropped a bomb that sunk this ship, killing some of its crew, and dooming the ship to its permanent shallow grave. Knowing the weight of the scenario before me, we did the only thing that we could at the time.

We started feeding fish with pieces of bread.

Well, what exactly do you do? The place teemed of sealife and large fish. It was kind of a circle of life thing. After feeding on fish for lunch, we proceeded feeding fish. That'd be like a TRex eating a human being and then giving his companion burgers in return.

The water was itchy because SCUBA divers in the area were causing some of the plankton from the bottom to rise up and irritate my skin, and the sunken boat was at least 18 feet deep so I could only do so much to try and reach it without drowning and accidentally joining its lost crew in the afterlife. Still, it was a pretty awesome experience.

The last stop of the boat was the twin peaks, which rose in the middle of Coron bay. The current in the water was a bit strong and for some reason the boat we were riding on just had to stop far from the shallow parts. The waters were a bit murky since it was raining the night before. Other than that, I have no complaints. The only real reason I couldn't enjoy most of the experience was that I needed to pee because of the copious  amounts of soft drinks that I drank during lunchtime - and for some reason I couldn't bring myself to pee on the water. Call it years of breeding and not getting piss drunk. After a while I convinced myself it's okay. I traced the currents and did it where I was sure no people would accidentally swallow it. Moving oooooooooooon.

Our boat was huge and low tide has set in, so when we returned to Coron town, we couldn't really dock at the same place where we got on the boat during the morning. Instead, we were taken to the industrial dock. Unfortunately, the docks were also full, so the boatmen lashed our boat into another boat, which was attached to the dock (and barely) with a wooden plank that wobbled with the waves. IT. WAS. CRAZY. Thankfully the boatmen supported us along the way so nobody had to make an accidental dive in the shallow but semi-polluted water.

It was still a bit early when we got back at the lodge so after rinsing ourselves of saltwater and partial piss, we took a stroll in town to buy batteries for Anna's camera and find food. After a few rounds, we decided to eat at the tourist trap place again. I ordered sisig while Anna got Sultana De Coron, which is basically assorted seafoods with Squid Ink sauce on a sizzling plate. It was actually very delicious and I wanted to go back and eat it again if I could.

We returned to the promenade and took some more pictures. The weather was definitely clearer so we got better shots. The zipline attraction was kind enough to actually show to us what we missed yesterday by having another pair of zipliners stuck in the middle of the two zipline towers.

Coron can be so accommodating sometimes. 

Another Facebook One-Liner Roundup

Thursday, September 06, 2012

"There's a sense of irony in seeing a witty quip about Sotto's stolen speech being reposted anonymously all over Facebook. Let's not kid ourselves. Sotto isn't the root of the problem. He's just the most blatant, most expensive manifestation of it."

"When you get kids, enroll them in college first, then highschool, then gradeschool, then kindergarten. Inflation-wise, its' cheaper that way."

"The Avengers: A movie about a special group of intellectual property rights out to defend the world from special effects with the amazing use of one-liner witticisms."

"I am starting to think the is some hidden market where you can sell likes, shares, and comments given the number of people who beg, coerce, and guilt trip just to get more of these. At the very least, do you get to convert them to Glico's tickets?"

"People keep dreaming up that martial rule is coming again. It's not. No sane Filipino would allow it to happen again. But because a lot of people's defining moments came during that era, they conjure up its ghost so that they can continue reliving that part of their life, even without the hard tack of reality. Get of the streets. Get a job. Go back to your classroom. We need a different kind of hero nowadays."

"The thing that makes it hard to quit while you're winning is that you're winning."

"I think there'd be far less wastage of tissue paper if people know what went on in making them. Every restaurant should have a tree in the middle and whenever somebody asks for tissue, you hand them an axe and a mortar and pestle."

"Dapat ata yung mga initiation ng frat, gawin na lang pagkain ng marshmallow. That way, if anybody dies from frat initiations, it'll be a festive headline. "Frat member, patay dahil kumain ng maraming maraming marshmallow.""

"Typical IBM mentality. Produce a 16mb installer for a DB2 "lite" driver. Localize into about 30 different countries/languages by making 30 variations of that same installer. Bundle all that up in one convenient package totaling 500MB in size, even though you, the developer, will NEVER EVER EVER EVER have to use a SLOVAK or a SWAHILI version. :|"

"Power isn't about having a lot of something. It's about knowing where to use it. It's in the same way a dam produces electricity not by storing a lot of water but by having generators that make use of the water it expels. #sickdaymunimunis"

"Once upon a time we all thought knowing what complete strangers were thinking would be such an awesome superpower.Thanks to Twitter trends,we now know better. I can only feel bad for Professor X."

"Time travel can change only your circumstance, never your character."

"When I was young, I told myself I'd study hard to so I can earn enough money to buy all the things that I wanted one day. Now that I can afford to buy those things, I'm already to old to enjoy them... just kidding. F*** you I'll buy all the computer games that want and send time-travelling gloats to my younger self. :P"

"Who can say better that the world is round than somebody standing on the moon? Sometimes it takes an outsider to point out the big picture for those who can't see better from within."

"There is probably no better example of democracy bastardized than a contest decided by the number of facebook likes.

"The funny thing about memory is that the easier you can recall something without thinking, the less likely your brain will store it in your brain. So the more pictures you take of your life, the more you convince your brain to not take down any details, and pretty soon, without those thousands of pictures you've archived over the years, you'd have nothing to reminisce about at all."

"Practically speaking, the only time you'll ever get whiter skin coming back from the beach is when you drown. Put that way, the darker skin thing ain't as bad as you think."

"Diligo victum totus praeter retineo ordo. Love conquers all, except restraining orders."

"If tuna makes you sexy, how come whales are... well... whales?"

"Say what you will, but until you can differentiate and perform at least four types of honking, you're not a real Filipino driver."
"Watching Paquiao fight is like watching a butcher kill with a hammer. Donaire's that same butcher killing with a clown suit and a spritzer."

"Stocks has got to be the ultimate spectator sport. The more you play, the more you suck. The more you just sit back and watch, the more you get good."

"Max's Chicken All You Can Season must be equivalent to a manok's Halloween."

"‎"So what do you do for a living?"
"I'm a criminal lawyer."
"Oh, I figured half as much"
"Really now, what gave you the idea that I'm a lawyer?"
"Not that half."
- Random skits that occur in my brain while commuting."

"You don't have to understand to appreciate, but you have to appreciate to understand."

"Kaya ba merong custom plate kasi may mga driver na hindi kayang tandaan ang tatlong letra at tatlong numero ng sasakyan nila?"

"If ever, the whole UST vs UP debacle has only proven that every school has its share of jerks who only exist to serve as a reason to not talk about educational backgrounds unnecessarily."

"Aminin mo na. Makikiinom ka na lang sa coleman ng kaklase mo, namimili ka pa ng tubig na hindi lasang galing sa poso."

"When a person talks about the government as though the only person running the show is Aquino, I automatically mark that person as a numbskull, and proceed to talk about less mentally demanding topics."

Filipinos in general have no concept of systemic problems. It's either one single person's fault or nobody's at all. See you at the 37th EDSA revolution


Coron Island Tour Review 1 - Coron Town

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

If anybody's been wondering why I have not updated here for so long, it's because I had been writing this piece - a 6000 word monstrosity about our 4 day trip to Coron last July. That and procrastination, mostly. I'll be splitting this into four parts and I'll post the articles before adding pictures because the pictures are at home and unprocessed. So if you're not seeing any pictures when you're expecting one, come back after a few days. That said, on with the show!

Coron is a cozy little town. Far from what you'd imagine as a tourist destination. After settling down in our inn, the Coron Eco Lodge, and watching an HBO movie about Richard Gere firing a lot of people, we went outside and tried to find food. Apparently traveling from Manila doesn't make you very hungry, but seeing Richard Gere flirt like a 17 year old does.

Naturally, we ended up eating at the biggest, most tourist trap-looking  restaurant that sold 250 peso fish and rice meals. The blue marlin steak tasted fresh from the sea, though that wasn't so much of a surprise. The coke that I drunk tasted the same way, and THAT was the surprise.

Not content with just wandering around for a few minutes, we went around town some more. (Coron being a small town, wandering around is a lot easier than it sounds.) Surprisingly, in my fifteen minutes of strolling I found three barber shops and four salons, which led me to think that apart from beef seafoods and pearls, Coron's next biggest exports are stylish 90s-era haircuts.

At around four in the afternoon, we proceeded with the town tour. The tour van was reserved just for me and Anna because the guys we arrived with on the plane earlier opted to gun for the island tour on the same day as their flight. It didn't sound like a great idea, since we later learned the Island Tour normally takes an entire day.

To be honest, most of the town was unimpressive in that it's a normal town which might as well have been your childhood neighborhood. We visited a souvenir shop and a casuy factory for pasalubongs. It's kinda hard to get motivated in buying souvenirs when the only thing you've seen so far is the town plaza, so I didn't buy anything (also I have an inborn genetic precondition known as "kuripot"). We also visited a new promenade facing the Coron Bay, and I thought it was only so-so. There was also a new zipline attraction that operated for the first time, attached to two metal strut towers rising from the bay's waters. It's a cool idea as long as nothing goes wrong. I later heard that somebody did get stuck in the middle.

Owing to Anna's busted knee and because I suffered a sudden attack of "katamaran", we opted out of climbing Mt. Tapyas to view the sunset, which was being blocked by ominous rainclouds just waiting to pounce.  And since it was only the two of us, we just instructed the tour guides to head for the hotsprings instead. The driver insisted on maybe just passing through the entrance of Mt Tapyas so we can at least know what it looks like, and then offered to take our picture at the entrance so we could pretend that we climbed it. I just said in the most polite and friendly way possible that we really didn't give a shit. The driver took it as cue and went on to the hot springs part.

This was actually my first time to enter a hot spring. I've gone to pansol multiple times but I always end up entering a resort with a do-it-yourself heated pool where the water is primarily warmed up by the sariling sikap method of drinking lots of alcohol-based refreshments. The spring's water was a bit salty, and a bit sulfuric. Apart from the issues of moss, the water was very clean - not to mention hot (durr). And since most people who take the town tour climb Mt. Tapyas before heading for the springs, we got there before the place got crowded. It was very relaxing. I now know what makes the Japanese go apeshit about dipping their bodies in hot water. I thought that maybe Lobsters didn't really suffer when they get cooked. Maybe their last minutes are spent contemplating how awesome it would be if there'd be PiƱa Colada offered to go with
the hot bath.

But that's just me. 

Search This Blog

Most Reading