Thursday 5th January 2017
I walked about 10 minutes from the hotel to Tagbilaran airport and here I was.
I waited in the upstairs area.
From there, there was a good view of the plane when it landed and disembarked luggages and passengers.
Queuing to embark.
Getting on the plane to Manila.
The plane journey was quite short, from 7.55am to 9.20am. Here is a map of this journey.
Arriving in Manila.
We disembarked and boarded a shuttle bus, then I went in the airport’s terminal to change some more money for the next 10 days and then went to the transfer area, waited, boarded a shuttle to another terminal, waited and finally got onto a shuttle to the plane going from Manila to Busuanga island.
Here is a map of that plane ride from 11.30am to 12.40pm with Cebu Pacific.
And the flight was on time, yes!
This plane was smaller than the first one with 2 seats versus 3 seats on each side, with about 84 seats in total.
View from the plane
Cebu Pacific had a game distributing vouchers to the 3 people who were the fastest showing a selfie from their phone, grabbing the newspaper magazine and showing 5 fingers of 2 hands in the air or something like this. Everyone cheered up at that moment.
We got closer to Busuanga island and the islands we could see from the plane window were gorgeous, the scenery really beautiful.
And here we were, at the cute little Busuanga airport.
Here was the belt on which our luggage were dropped for us to pick them up. I looooove this kind of small airport!
A map of the Coron archipelago made of several islands, Busuanga being the biggest.
There was no trike waiting outside, only mini-vans.
I didn’t know how Busuanga would look before to go there and I was pleasantly surprised! It was soooo nice to land in a place where the landscape was so beautiful and looked almost untouched with very few houses scattered here and there all the way from Busuanga to Coron Town Proper as they call it (a bit confusing as Coron Town Proper is located on Busuanga Island while nearby is an island called Coron Island).
The map of the minivan ride from Busuanga airport to Coron Town Proper.
Arriving in Coron Town Proper.
Kids just out of school walking home.
I got dropped at the hotel.
First thing I did was to go get some lunch in the first place I found, which happened to be that Chinese restaurant which was a bit random but at least very quickly I wasn’t hungry anymore!
After that I went back to the hostel and unpacked and repacked my bag for the next 5 days I would spend on the boat with Tao Philippines going from Coron Town Proper to El Nido. Then I went to chill on their terrace upstairs which had a really beautiful view of the bay.
I walked later to the Tao Experiences office.
All people who would be going with Tao on the boat started arriving and once we were all there, two locals called Jun Jun and Jeff who would be our main guides for the 5 days took us upstairs and distributed to us some yellow paper to read and so in silence, 17 of us started reading.
Here was the first page about the packing list, food and drinks.
The next 2 pages were 10 tips about enjoying your trip.
First 5 tips were: forgetting about the western notion of time, respecting the locals, getting a digital detox, learning to flush the toilets properly with putting the toilet paper in a separate basket (as it is done all over Asia and South America) and putting sunscreen on to not look like a lobster.
The next 5 tips were: leaving no trace, guiding your guide by understanding that when we ask a question, the guide might not understand which answer we are looking for because of the cultural difference, being sociable, contributing to the trip as the trip experience depends on how people interacted with the group and got engaged with it, and learning a few words of tagalog.
What I really liked with what they wrote was that it was spot on, and very blunt. It also lowered the expectations by saying as a kind of disclaimer that the trip would be what we would make out of it and wasn’t a prepaid package served on a golden platter but rather an experience to participate to.
After reading this, Jun-Jun and Jeff served all of us some rhum+pineapple which they called Jungle Juice and Jun-Jun showed us on the map the itinerary we would follow to go from Coron Town Proper to El Nido, and the places where we would stop.
Both Jeff and Jun-Jun insisted on reserving us the Jungle Juice and also that there would be 24 beers for each person for the entire trip on the boat but that if we wanted to have extra beers or rhum, we should order them now. It was funny because we were all looking at each other thinking the same thing (as I was to discover a few days later when we had all warmed up and properly met) : ‘Is that boat going to be a drinking trip? Not sure this is what I am looking for. Mmmm. But those guys don’t look like they would be dead drunk all the time though. Surely, there is much to that trip than drinking!’
We left around 6pm and I was chatting to a German couple Andi and Judith who were going for food so the three of them went. Jun Jun had recommended us a restaurant so we took a quick trike ride and went there but it was looking pretty expensive so we walked around instead and found a cool place where we sat and chatted and ate.
After that, we said see you tomorrow and went back to our respective hostels to pack our bags for the 5-day trip.
Next day, first day on the Tao Philippines boat!!! Exciting!!!!