Pork Baton

Trip Start Oct 01, 2011
Trip End May 05, 2012

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Where I stayed
Bamboo Cottages

Flag of Philippines  , Palawan,
Sunday, April 8, 2012

Today the weather is shit for the first time in 4 days. I don't mind so much because we are in theory travelling the entire day.

We paid the excessive bill and then the hotel got us a trike. The assumption was that the trike would be free given the way it was 'arranged', however given or past experiences I felt it best to ask how much. He quoted 150php, a ridiculous amount, a local will pay no more than about 30php to get anywhere in the city. We told him to pull over until he dropped to 60php. A similar thing had happened yesterday as well on the way to the restaurant. Basically they know that people staying at a 50 a night hotel both have money to burn and are unlikely to complain about a 2.40 trike ride. Wrong. It also hosts morons who get too drunk to travel.

At the bus station we had the option between El Nido and Port Barton afterall. After a brief consultation we decided to do Port Barton for a day or two, it was on the way anyway. Rather irritatingly it would seem we almost certainly could have got a bus on Friday and not wasted the past two days. We have come to accept that the locals do not know things that other more tourist parts of this side of the world would. They can't be trusted unfortunately.

The bus was the usual wooden windows type with bags of food and shit covering every area of it. Thankfully as it's Easter Sunday it's not at all busy. The majority of the journey is paved but the final 15 miles or so is on awful rainforest road that's flooded. As I seem to have lost my good headphones I literally have to sit and look out the window for over an hour. In fairness it is pretty spectacular as usual but still it's boring.

It's absolutely shitting it down when we arrive in the tiny town of Port Barton. A guy is harassing us about taking a room, we are unsure but it seems all the hotels are next to each other anyway we take it, plus it's cheap. He then starts going on about doing an island hopping tour with him tomorrow. We don't commit for various reasons but the main one being the weather.

We have a wander along the beach which is ok but certainly isn't geared towards sunbathing. The town is virtually none existent, a very healthy mix of locals and local type accommodation. There's only electricty from 6pm - 12pm everyday. We eventually eat a crap sandwich at some random hotel (it was crap because mayo here is sweet mayo) and then debate what to do with the remaining few hours of the day. The weather has cleared but it's probably only temporary. In the end I just read my book whilst Charlotte goes for a walk.

I'd seen a sign advertising fishing as well as island hopping. Fishing is something we haven't done on this trip, I'm at a point where I'm willing to try anything different to keep things interesting. We speak to the guy about and after much confusion and deliberation we decide to take him up on his offer of fishing, snorkelling, island hopping tomorrow morning. It means we have to commit to staying here another day but given we have discovered Port Barton isn't exactly on the way to El Nido it seems silly not to stay at least one more day.

We had basic tea at some hotel overlooking the beach. I got garlic bread and it was the most literal example of garlic bread I've ever seen, literally two pieces of bread with garlic on it. I can put up with this sort of lack of food diversity when we are on some island because it's understandable they would only have a limited knowledge and delivery schedule but for a relatively busy resort it's pretty annoying. Like I said, 4 months ago I wouldn't have cared, but now, pfft.

The room we are in is strange. It's actually a standalone cottage at the back of some garden, it has a big porch a weird area that I assume used to be a kitchen, a room and a cold shower. It sounds and looks way better than some we have stayed in but for some reason it's one of the worst. Insects are everywhere, we are bitten in our sleep, it looks like the type of house they used on the X-Files when they would find a 6 month old corpse and every one would retch on finding it infested with maggots.

The entire time we have been in or planning on being in the Philippines we have been aware that we would be here for Easter Week. Everything we read implied we would see the areas we visit being packed, hotel prices skyrocketing etcetc. Not only have we not seen any sort of procession or any real evidence of how religious the country is we also have had no problem getting hotels at all. In fact everywhere we have been seems to be quieter than before. I'm not complaining really it's just another of these things were the impression we got was far greater than reality.
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