19 October 2011

From the Philippines

It is hot and humid here in the Philippines.  I've been up since 5:30, for a few days now, as that's when the roosters begin.  That, and I'm sleeping on a cot 6 inches too short and about the width of my shoulders, with a mosquito net that covers me waist up and provides little relief.  That aside, things are good.  Work is a daily sauna and goes slowly but it's only just started.

A briefing on the travel:
I left New York's Kennedy airport at 1  :45am arriving in Hong Kong a little over 14 hours later.  The man sitting next to me on the flight was from Pennsylvania and on his way to find a wife in the Philippines.  As far as I can tell the Philippines' top two exports are semi-conductor metals and wives.  Anyhow,  I watched the sun rise over hazy Hong Kong and then left for Manila, Philippines.  From there it was out into the city to catch a bus to the domestic terminal and a flight to the Island of Busuanga.  From there it was another bus to Coron and two nights spent in a PADI Dive hotel on the water, complete with good food and brew.

On first impressions, I've never seen such dramatic coastlines.  I took a boat out and went snorkeling, explored the beaches and checked out the fish market.  Limestone cliffs giving way to perfect beaches. Lagoons and estuaries with crystal water.  And warm water, salty and calm.  Often I can't see the horizon for all the islands.  Over 7,100 in the country and 1,700 in the western archipelago where I'm located.

After a short recovery in Coron it was another bus to Salvacion, where the field station is located.  The bus was scheduled to leave at 10:00 am, it didn't show until an hour later and left around 2:30.  I was sitting off the back between someone's legs with all my gear on the roof and my rods in hand.  Just over half way the engine erupted and steam and the already compromised radiator had fallen to pieces.  It had previously been jerry rigged with a water delivery system from the roof of the bus and constantly drained water out the bottom.   Three hours later another bus arrived to take us to Salvacion, with the first bus in tow.  The rest of the trip was slow and we stopped every five minutes or so for this or that.  Eventually we arrived at 12:30 am.

I've tried to find some information on fishing, we've eaten fish every day but none of them have been bigger than my palm.  The market in Coron had some jack tuna and other larger species and some people said marlin can be found off shore.  It's going to take something special to wet my lines and a miracle to catch any sort of game fish, but there's time for that.


  1. COOOOOOOOOL!!!!!!!! dude whoa! I miss you, but it looks like you can't be missing much back here. Looks so beautiful! Hope you're well man. Take care.

  2. Benno - very cool stories and photos! Spectacular. We miss you; leaves are turning and a chill in the air as we walk Paxi. Keep us all updated and safe travels.
    Big hugs,