On and On in Palawan

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Palawan is a series of islands on the far West of the Philippines on the South China Sea.  They’re known for extensive coral reefs, atolls, WW2 wrecks and views that, I’m sure,  have been translated to wallpaper on more than a few tablets and phones around the world.

It’s a big island with a few destinations for travellers, each one offering something specific: the capital Puerto Princesa a UNESCO world heritage site, El Nido – a dive spot, Coron – a place to snorkel, go island hopping and for scuba, wreck diving.

We chose Coron as our spot, and every second day, embarked on one of these trusty bankas with a crew who took us around the various spots to snorkel and swim.

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We went to some incredible spots for coral with tons of colourful fish (including Finding Nemo – the clownfish), sea snakes, nudibranch, starfish, clams, big brain coral plus a couple of Japanese WW2 wrecks.

And yet, I have no shots of any of it to show you, because I haven’t got an underwater camera. However, in lieu of that, we do have a shot of the whale shark which we saw in Donsol previous to Palawan, as the family we were traveling with on the banka had an underwater camera and had my email address.

So, while not in Palawan, here is an underwater shot of the whale shark we spotted, alone, with 99 other people:

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Ok, back to Palawan. While we didn’t spot whale sharks there, we stopped in a ton of spots, that were also nice to look at, like:

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And, from a higher vantage point:

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On one of the island hopping jaunts we also snorkelled into a thermal lake, which alternated from hot to cold temperatures, and created this strange effect underwater, where your line of sight went from clear (cold water) one second to hazy and blurry (hot water) the next.

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So, I’d spot something cool I wanted to point out to Rose, who was a few feet behind me, but by the time I’d shown her, the water had gone hot, creating the haze, and distorting the view. Really bizarre effect, but awesome to see.

The town of Coron also had a market (straight ahead on the right)

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It was filled with plenty of fish, which Rose’s mum got really excited about and would do all the bargaining in Tagalog, to avoid any chance of getting inflated prices, if I, an obvious foreigner, were to insert myself into the negotiating.

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Fine with me – instead I followed a bunch of the roving cats around the fish market who were waiting for a fish to slip through the hands of a vendor, or in the case of this guy, hang around long enough for someone to offer you a charitable poisson:

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We also roamed around the town, hopping between shade and shadows, to avoid the sun’s laser beam heat, and jumped into a Filipino dessert specialty, Halo-Halo (shaved ice, coconut, condensed milk, and other colorful candy stuff) which pairs well with 35degreesCelsius:

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After a week, shlubbing around Coron, we headed back to Manila briefly before moving on to see more of Rose’s family forest (it’s more than a tree) in Vigan – a UNESCO heritage town, north of Manila.

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