In half a day we’d left the tranquil jungle and river of Loboc, hopped on a ferry and landed in bustling Cebu City which was a massive contrast with people everywhere and horrible traffic jams, not to mention the smell of sewage, especially in our hotel bathroom. Luckily we just had to hang around a day till our flight to Puerto Princesa on Palawan Island. From where we got a van to the fishing village of Port Barton.
The last 20km to the town were pretty nasty dirt tracks with dust filling the air. The area looked like a sepia tone old movie with the banana trees all a pale brown colour from the dust. Everyone we’ve met has raved about this small town but it didn’t wow us. It was nice, but nothing special. There was a very calm bay but it was clustered with boats.
We haven’t don’t much walking let alone hiking in the Philippines, it’s just too hot, but we managed a late afternoon walk for about 4km each way to Pamuayan Falls. It was along such a dusty road and every step created a flume of dust around our ankles like we were setting off mini land mines. A 2 meter long snake slithered past us into the shrubbery and we soon left the dirt road and joined him in the jungle. The area was alive with insects and it was ear piercingly loud like a firealarm going off. The route through the jungle was a little hard to follow thanks to a fallen tree so we ended up hopping along the rocks in the river till we reached the falls. They weren’t spectacular by any stretch of the imagination but there was a pleasant water hole beneath which made for a refreshing cool off and Craig enjoyed jumping from the rock face. We even found a vine which we could swing on and fall into the waters which was fun.
The next day we did an Island hopping trip which began with a couple of snorkel sites. There was lots of reef around but almost all of it was bleached. Such a shame as it was like an underground forest with lots of spikey hard corals, a few had green patches but the rest was dead. As for fish life we mostly saw jellyfish! Lots and lots of jellyfish, this meant we had to do lots of panicked reverse paddling to move away from them. We saw some perfect looking clown fish though with prominent white stripes across their bright orange bodies. They looked like grumpy prisoners unable to leave their swaying reef.
We then headed to a beautiful area of turquoise sea to Paradise Island which had a wide but small beach where we pulled up. The water was beautifully clear and inviting and after a nice swim we had a buffet lunch cooked for us. The rest of the trip was rather uneventful. The skies clouded over when we reached German Island and it was pretty busy with boats so I wasn’t too fond of the place.