….OR SCARY THINGS FOR OLD BIRDS
From my Journal:
“Next morning rather fresh and breezy + on ride to ferry with two other guests from hotel. I didn’t feel in the slightest apprehensive.
I expected a kinda old Greek ferry. Yeah sorta steel if a little rusty. NO! Wood and bamboo. Little and same as all the fishing boats just a little larger. They grabbed our luggage to fling on a separate boat that would come after. Nooooo please let me retrieve my iPad I screeched imagining my bag being soaked and my Netflix + comforts being lost for the entire trip as my iPad took on water and short circuited forever like my phone in Cambodia during a monsoon, dying forever. A kind girl took pity on me and put mt valuables in her specialist waterproof holdall purchased for exactly this type of situation.
And next we were bundled onto a small boat with a pulley rope and were hauled out to the ferry like passengers on a lifeboat going TO the Titanic to certain death. The waves now were huge in this mercurial weather.
When we arrived to the much higher boat you had to time it perfectly with the swell of these now VERY LARGE WAVES. I wanted to go early in the queue so as not to be the saddo last in line who just couldn’t get on without serious injury. There was a very real danger of being crushed between the boats and it was very tricky to time it right on the first time attempt. I did out of fear and horror. Boom I threw myself on the deck without their bloody “One, two, threeeee”which was confusing everyone as it was just slightly off timing wise, maybe to allow for peoples delay in responding. I personally crawled to a clearly safer position and finally got to my feet to stagger shakily to a good seat and have a prime view of all the panicked techniques of the remaining tourists of all ages being hauled aboard by the now impatient crew. Most of them were not unscathedby the ordeal I noted while gulping down a San Miguel Lite with trembling hands. Tears were spilled, accusations made and holidays ruined. The last man kept trying and failing until they just manhandled him aboard.
Thank god for solo travel and decisions being made alone when iit comes to a situation like this.
The journey was intermittently very rough and a bit rough on this trip, fellow travellers being seasick all around. It did clear up a bit and although beautiful I became bored on that two hour journey. The highlight was when the engine stalled and the boat drifted and the idea of getting OFF the bloody thing was appalling. We finally arrived and the tide was out and just a small hop off the boat sufficed into the shallow water and muddied sand. There were starfish all over which I thought was a little suspicious but grabbed my luggage and got myself a tuk tuk after some haggling to White Beach.
Panglao was claustrophobic after lovely Oslob. What can I say it was a beautiful beach blah blah blah but kinda grubby. My hotel was crap too and I had pre booked for three days which normally I never do. Holiday season was upon us and the islands were filling at an alarming rate. I took and immediate dislike to it.
I sulked and sighed at the beach bar and started adding up all the things I hated about it for there were many. Just because it was near Oslob I had just thought it was a logical step but….it clearly was too commercial for my taste and my idea of visiting the Chocolate Hills was now banished. The burning of the rubbish had now become a BIG thing tainting the sea air and there were additional piles of it stenching on the beach side. I just prayed the snorkelling was good.
Returning to my hotel I had a horrible dinner so left it and went to my TRIPLE room (they didn’t have anything else) and unpacked miserably. The caves that I had looked forward to up the coast I now read were overcrowded and the water soupy with human skin and suntan oil. The alarming number of people was a rude awakening to my plight and basically my great plans were scuppered. School holidays and the foreign tourists were overloading a lot of islands and their primitive infrastructure. It was a harsh reality of this overfull planet that a couple of days later they actually closed some islands. This included the next island Boracay that had become a “cesspool” and was officially closed by President Rodrigo Duterte. Untreated human waste was actually pouring into the sea there due to hastily erected beach bars without planning or plumbing. It can only sustain 30,000 but had been allowing 70,000 and only 40 percent of ALL buildings being connected to main sewage plants.
I researched this in my gloomily lit room nearly crying. WOW! I had had no plans for that island having such a rich choice in the Philippines but I had become close to that particular madness. The same thing happened in Thailands Maya Bay on Phi Phi Leh in the Andaman Sea…. you know? The one famous in DiCaprios “The Beach”? Same thing for the Similan Islands National Park. In 2016 they closed some there permanently due to loss of coral wild life ‘Soft’ reopening in October 2018, some might say prematurely but the people need their tourism one supposes. No more 24 hour parties and only certain hotels were opened so limited numbers of people.
Well after reading all that I felt so low I wasn’t even appeased by a movie on Netflix.
The next day after a sleepless night I went to breakfast jutting my chin out bravely, for my dear old birds, you will have rough nights and low moods, while travelling solo. I saw a guy sitting alone having breakfast and nearly left him to his own devices Luckily I pulled myself together and with the travel gods looking kindly down on me, I met a bloke who is a now a great friend and I travelled with subsequently in Guatemala last year. Cheers Andreas you c***, as I fondly call him regularly, don’t know if I ever said thank you for saving my sorry arse over in Panglao. Love you loads even if we squabble, you never had a chance mate that morning.
I questioned him non stop about where to go? I told him I HATED it here. The previous day he had rented a motorbike and travelled all round Bohol and seen the famous Chocolate Hills. When he showed me pics I rather spitefully said I was glad I had’t bothered. I was pushing my luck so when he said he was off snorkelling today I looked down sad at the lack of invitation.
Of course I got invited! Looking at the motorbike a bit later after getting my beach bag I wondered at the wisdom of going on a bike after years. We only had the one helmet which I insisted he took (surely he would go more carefully knowing my shell like cranium was unprotected?) I whined on about him going slowly etc. We swore at each other and were as if friends of years. Off we roared for snorkelling………”
My journal never lies! The snorkelling was fabulous as I’ll tell you in my next post. Laters!