28.12.2008 - 05.01.2009 25 °C
the three young Filipino girls had been waiting in vain for the boys to show them some attention. They had been idly hanging around outside on the beach in front of our guesthouse looking with admiration up at the boys who were busy doing their best to ignore them as they played another game of pool. The girls could not have been any older than 14 and I was quite surprised when one looked up at Lute and I when we passed and asked with a coy smile "with twins make baby"? With some humour I replied, "I think you will have to go up and play a game of pool with them first!" and we continued on our way. Retrospectively my flippancy was somewhat naive as it appears that many Filipino girls and boys on Palawan have their first child in their early teenage years.
We left Palawan today and are temporarily holed up in Cebu whilst we wait for a transfer flight to IloIlo. Our destination is the Baras Resort http://baras.willig-web.com/index_en.htm which we hope will be the holiday paradise that we didn't find on Palawan. I'm not saying Palawan wasn't good, but it does appear that you really have to shell out the big bucks and step off onto one of the expensive island resorts to escape compromise. Alternatively, bring everything with you and get castawayed by a boat taxi. We did try this with three French girls and spent New New Years Eve tucked up under a mozzie net on a beautiful island just outside of Elnido. Unfortunately I didnt gauge the high tide mark very well and at about 60minutes into 2009 Lute and I were woken up by a big splash of cold salt water falling over our legs.
The rude awakening had alot to do with the larger than normal waves that developed while we were on Palawan, a response to a would be typhoon that bloomed and died north of the Philippines. The strong NE winds from this storm made the inter-island ferry trips we took quite rough, especially the trip from Port Barton to ElNido. I was not surprised to hear after we had finished this trip that a ferry on the previous day had experienced difficulties and had taken 12hrs to complete the same trip which took us 5hrs. Apparently their engine broke down and they were taking on water, which must have caused some consternation to the tourists on board. These "ferries" or "Bangkas"(as they are called here) are really just big open canoes with outriggers to stabilise them and are not really suited to rough conditions. We were all soaked from seaspray when we arrived in Corong Corong Bay (just outside ElNido) and I do suspect the lure of the tourist dollar sometimes inspires the local boatman to embark in conditions they would normally wait out. I would recommend anyone contemplating this trip to watch the weather and if possible choose one of the larger 12 person bangkas. We took the one operated by the Greenview Resort which appeared well maintained.