DIVING IN APO!
Trip Start May 10, 2007
39Trip End Jun 25, 2007
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Bed is SWEATY and the electricity won't be on for a few more hours. I woke Mer. & changed into a swimsuit for my 8AM dive. We went to breakfast and there were tons of mosquitos under the table!!!!!!!
I had muesli with mango, banana, pineapple and cold milk. Mmm, Nescafe coffee, too.
8:30AM Begin dive prep with dive buddy Mario & our Dive Master Wilmer. Sydney, another dive master, remembered me from last year! The waitresses and ladies that sell the sarongs remembered me, too!!!
Dove at "Chapel" just offshore from the hotel. Lots of coral, saw SIX sea turtles and lots of fish! 22 Meters deep for 48 minutes. Beautiful! Seemed better than last year.
Coffee post-dive and chatted with Wilmer. He was born & raised on Apo. 20 Years old. Has been diving for 3 years, but not a full Dive Master yet. Two sisters, married, older and moved off Apo. He has not been outside the Philippines. He said he thought supplies for the restaurant and local store arrive approximately once per week.
I talked to the sarong ladies [they say "M'om! m'om! maybe you would like..."], then I debriefed with Mario and shared dive info in our dive log books.
Time for a breah until lunch.
Chest feels better. Bandages over poison sumac. Overall skin is salty and sore in general, must be being sloughed by the salt water!
1:30PM Second dive at West End. Unable to clear ears and only under water for 10 mins. Ended dive early and talked to Frances, boat driver, while I waited on-board for the other divers to finish their dive.
Frances: 20 years old, dive only when someone needs rescueing, boat driver, always stayed covered up because he doesn't want to get a tan. He has 5 sisters & 4 brothers, ages 7-27. He earns 120 pesos/day = ~US$2.75. Has always lived on Apo. Mother sells t-shirts, but I don't know what his father does. Has only been to Dumaguete & Manila, and never outside Philippines. Will be traveling to Manila in 2008 to work on his uncle's fishing boat, will earn 220 pesos/day & will live with uncle in Manila. Fishing company is called Herma Fishing Inc. No health insurance. Will take a 2-day ferry from Dumaguete to Manila, costing 2000 pesos & he needs to save his money. Only has an elementary school education. No desire to travel outside Philippines. He thinks there are ~500 children on school on Apo & they can earn up to the 1st year in high school worth of education.
Came back to island, no charge for the dive since I couldn't get my ears cleared.
Met some girls ages 7-12 & their mothers either sell t-shirts or work in the restaurant.
1PM: Snorkeling instead and trying to let sumac be exposed to saltwater. Snorkeled along the shore, nothing special. Lots of spiny urchins, Diadema, and small fish. Sumac looked the same after the swim. :(
Bucket rinse after snorkel I combed my near-dreads out.
5:30PM Hiked to lighthouse with Mer. & Mario to catch the sunset. HOT, no breeze, humid, SO SWEATY after my bucket rinse shower! Lots of stairs and people carrying wood along the skinny path. One older lighthouse with a ladder held on by thin wire. I was to chicken to climb it, but Mer. took the change. Great view! I explored the rest of this peak; lots of burn marks and fairly deforested. Small area atop this peak, maybe an acre or two.
Sunset behind clouds and was very pretty during dinner.
SO TIRED at dinner. Had bacon & mushroom spaghetti with cream sauce and TWO mango shakes. YUM. I was very hungry, but unable to finish because it was the never ending plate of pasta.
The group enjoyed their first day of SCUBA lessons and had many good questions for me, as a certified diver.
8PM: IN BED ALREADY! Electricity was still on, so I was able to fall asleep with the an running.
Whiteness: Frances stays covered up so as to not get a tan. Girls in Manila walk with umbrellas. Drug stores sell cremes that BLEACH the SKIN. Dark skin indicates someone that works in the fields and light-skinned Asians are seen as wealthy because they must not work outdoors. Interesting that westerners WANT to be tan and Asians still desire to be fair-skinned.