Has it only been a week since I last checked in? I’m traveling through the Philippines in a manner I’m not really accustomed to — at lightening speed. Generally I’m a slow, lazy traveler. I like it that way. But with only a three-week visa and so much I wanted to see, I thought I’d give this whole race-through-the-country thing that so many travelers do a try.
This week kicked off with a with reunion with travel buddy Heather, who I waved goodbye to in November when we parted ways on The Big Island. She booked a spontaneous island-fever induced trip to join me (she lives in The Cayman Islands), and I couldn’t be happier!
So in the mere seven days that have elapsed we’ve gone from the Cordillera mountain town of Sagada to the whale-shark spotting capital of Donsol to the laid-back island of Malapascua, where I write you from. The Philippines is such a departure from anywhere I’ve been in Southeast Asia, I find myself constantly tapping away at my iPhone or scribbling away in my notebook, trying to capture all the little idiosyncrasies that make this place tick. Lack of WiFi notwithstanding, the beach where I now sit is paradise — they’re going to have to drag us off this island.
Why bury when you can hang? Sagada’s biggest tourism draw is the coffins hung from the area’s limestone cliffs.
We were more interested in what was underground — a several hour journey more than 780 meters underground through a natural tunnel connecting two local caves.
A local boat in Donsol.
Our accommodation in Donsol.
Diving! This nudibranch was one of a parade of creatures that absolutely blew my mind.
The coral was anxious to keep up — I felt like I was in Avatar.
The little mandarin fish on the right were a new discovery for me. My favorite part about that photo was that I shot it totally blind — my new mask would NOT stop fogging, so I was working with a pretty serious handicap.
Which photo is your favorite? Can’t wait to show you photos of Malapascua next week!
A, B, F and G! How the heck do they get the coffins up there?
That’s the exact question that Heather and I were asking when we were there! Despite widespread spoken English we couldn’t get a straight answer on that one 🙂
G! Your underwater photos always make me want to try diving 🙂 Can’t wait to read more about the Philippines, we are dying to go there (maybe at the end of the year?!)
I hope you do — there’s a real lack of helpful blogmation (blog information, the new word I just invented and kind of love) on this country! I feel I could have avoided a lot of missteps had I had the guidance of some of my favorite bloggers!
My favorite picture is photo C! It just looks so incredibly peaceful and stunning. The Philippines look amazing, can’t wait to see more!
Thanks Melanie… I can’t wait to start sharing! A bit more Thailand goodness to come first of course 🙂
I agree with Melanie! There’s an implied sense of impending adventure there!!!!!
Funny, almost didn’t even put that photo up! This is why I love getting everyone’s feedback.
Photo C all the way. The sky is so gorgeous and the boat is serene. Lovely colors!
Wow, C is definitely the unexpected reader favorite! I never would have guessed.
I like C, too. the picture of peace
Gram! I’m glad you are reading. I owe you a phone call, as soon as I get back to internet strong enough for a Skype call. Hope you are recovering okay, love you!
I’m going with B on this one – super creative.
Thanks Audrey! It’s not easy to get your creativity on 780 meters underground, so I like that one too 🙂
A and C
Thanks for voting! 🙂
I can’t get over Photo D… because I was there just over a month ago. It was a gorgeous place to stay! I love photo G though. Especially as you were half blind 😉
Awesome! Did you get to see whale sharks? Donsol was a funny place, not what I expected. Need to gather my thoughts so I can post on it!
Nah, none while we were there. Definitely not what we expected though we liked the fireflies.
Your underwater shots are always my favorite!
Thanks! There will be plenty coming up with my Divemaster course starting soon!
You have seven weeks worth of photos of the week here. A – for you-gotta-see-it-to-believe-it quality; B – you are the master at reflection photography; C- for tranquility or loneliness; D – for I wish I was there envy; E, F and G – because you are the best underwater photographer that is not being paid by National Geographic
I would like to state for the record that I will begin accepting checks from National Geographic at any time 🙂
I would love to Go with B for most amazing Photograph underground…And G as it was half blind and it shows that you can even capture the stunning photographs even when half blind. Don’t worry i am gonna recommend you as one of Nominees for National Geographic best photographer award.. ! 😉
Ha, thanks for the nomination Ash 🙂
I had a dream I was flying to/in the Phillippines… (perhaps from reading this blog!?), I guess that means I have to get there! Sounds great so far.
I’ve never seen anything like A, and B was just such a cool underground photo, but I definitely gotta go with C. That dynamic skyline + waterline combo gets me almost every time. I adore that photo!
I often read my favorite blogs on my iPhone as I fall asleep… I too sometimes have blog induced dreams! So funny, ha.
I love photo D! Those cottages look amazing to stay in, and the area is so beautiful.
Unfortunately the beach here was very small and brown sand, but you really come to Donsol for what’s underwater 🙂 Can’t wait to write more about it!
Photo C…amazing! Say hey to Heather for me!!
Just did 🙂 She says hi back!
I love your underwater photos, E, F & G–so pretty!!
Thanks Jenna! Diving in the Philippines has BLOW MY MIND! Can’t wait to share more.
Mandarin fish FTW – foggy mask at great new site – nightmare, so I vote that way in a show of solidarity. You’re gonna love where I just was when you get there. omfg.
Your photos are definitely pushing me over the edge to go join Neil for a few days! Ugh I’m going to end up doing the world’s most rushed DM course 🙂