Clear Blue Waters

Did you know that the Dugong and the Manatee are relatives? And being separated by thousands of miles of ocean and living in very different environments, they have diverged in evolution too with the most obvious being the tail.

But today we are not diving into an anatomical treatise. Rather, we want to share with you our journey experiences of being on the tip of Palawan. No. Not the beach on Sentosa here in the little red dot in case you are wondering. Because clear blue waters aren’t what you’d find there.

We are referring to the island of Palawan just off the main archipelago that is the Philippines. Like an extended arm swaying to the side of a person, the island projects well into the west Philippines sea. And it is gorgeous, the waters that is. We spent quite a few days out in an idyllic location that was truly ‘off the grid’. We only hope it has continued to be so.

Swimming in the ocean, “hunting” for Dugongs was one of the expeditions we joined in. The idea was to “shoot” these magnificent creatures and capture them for posterity in our digital library. Alright it is also true we weren’t ON Palawan. Rather, we were on an island off the tip of it. But if this already what one can get here think about what more one can see further down the remote part of Palawan! Ok, let’s get to the essay (here) and start gawking at the photos!

Don’t need to go too far away, there is an alternative right in our little red dot’s ‘backyard’. Does this inspire you to make plans to Palawan?

Touching a volcano

Have you stayed on a volcano that is not dormant? We don’t mean visiting, but staying there. As you know, the Philippines lies on the pacific ring of fire. The Taal volcano is said to be the most active one after Mayon. Its most recent stirrings was in 2011, and fortunately did not lead to a severe seismic event.

That was where we spent a weekend.

Guess one can say we ticked a bucket list item: “staying on a volcano”… beat that! Heheh. Alright, so living it dangerously wasn’t really what we did. However it was indeed a beautiful place to be. It’s no wonder that the views are rated as some of the most picturesque in the country. You need to be here to witness it for yourself. Or, you could read more about our volcanic adventure here.

If you read the page, did you see how people have enterprisingly made use of the lake? We did not visit the island within an island. One of the few in the world… sigh. That would mean we need to make a return trip. Intrigued? You should be. For if it weren’t the crowds on a weekend we chose to be there, we would have seen and done more.

Wouldn’t this inspire you to come here too?

Surprising Manila

Heard about the Manila galleon trade? How about the fact that Manila having one of the best preserved colonial structures in Asia? Our stays in Manila was very memorable (here). In fact, the city actually surprised us.

Being in the city for business meant that it was the airport, taxi, office, hotel, restaurant… and then in reverse.

From the window of one’s taxi, one might view the seeming unending traffic of the city to be challenging for tourists to explore the metropolis. And it is. But that did not stop us from visiting friends to stay for a couple of days each time. For how can one turn away an offer of free lodging? We didn’t.

But free lodging shouldn’t be the decision criteria for one. Because the city’s absolute contrasts is one of its draws. We explored the city walls and fort that the colonial Spaniards left behind. Think about its history, as a site where the independence struggle of a nation took place.

And more importantly, use it as a base from which you can explore any one of the country’s other 7,107 islands… Guess the travel authorities in the country need to pay us if we keep mentioning this… heheh.

Have you been to Manila?