Tao Expedition – Day 5

Tuesday 10th January 2017
I woke up early morning and walked alongside the beach. The island dog went with me to the left side. Judith was already awake, Daniel too. This place was so pretty in the early morning.

I went for a snorkel, the tide was low and it was now really shallow, I had feet everywhere but at the same time it was great as I could observe the fishes for long from really close. I had a really cool encounter with a batfish.Then a bit later I had the best encounter I had had so far with a titan triggerfish.

I came back from the snorkel and there were monkeys on the rocks. So cool! I wonder how they made it to that island, if they came by themselves or were introduced by some humans.
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I joined the brekky table where we chilled and chatted while waiting. Jhun-Jhun and JC were emptying the coconut water out of the coconut which at first quite shocked me and a few others as one litre of coconut water costs a lot in Western countries. It costs AUD 5-6 in Australia !! So they saved some but we didn’t even drink much of it in reality. The brekky was so nice, we each grabbed one of these coconuts and took some porridge, added honey, mango and pineapple in it. Original and delicious!

After breakfast, we go ready to do a group photo. I liked not only the photos but the entire process of getting ready for it. We had such an amazing group during this trip!

Where I slept last night, top right corner, with the sound all night of the waves crashing on the beach.
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We left this piece of paradise by snorkelling back to the boat and off we cruised again.
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A sailing boat passed us which name was Margarita – Vladivostok. Who were the people sailing on it, we wondered! Such an awesome thing that they would go explore like this. We didn’t see that many explorers during our expedition.

Then we arrived near some rocks and there was a blue rope hanging from them. Jhun-Jhun explained to us that there was a secret passage between the rocks leading to Secret Beach where we would go to, located on the side of Matinloc Island. This is the beach which is said to have inspired Alex Garland when he wrote the book ‘The Beach’ which made it into a movie later on.

So we all went in the water, Jhun-Jhun lead the way and we went through the opening. We didn’t have to dive under to go there, it was possible to go through easily, we arrived at the beach and sat and walked on it contemplating it and suddenly Jeff and Than arrived in their kayaks bringing ice-tea, home made potatoe fries and beers. They kept surprising us during the entire expedition with this kind if little treats which were really great. We had the place again for ourselves as the previous 4 days and enjoyed this a lot.

Here are the two small propellers which got us cruising around for 5 days. So small!
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We got back on the boat and cruised again. Tristan was fishing, some were reading, some sleeping. Rolly and JC were peeling the Jackfruit, taking the seeds away and keeping only the flesh to then cook it. We arrived closer to El Nido in an area where there were lots of tourist boats. We stopped there and had our last delicious lunch on the boat. The Jackfruit tasted really nice actually!

Then we all went into kayaks, either alone or with one of the crew paddling while we would just enjoy the view and we went into the Big Lagoon. It was a quite wide strip of water surrounded by beautiful cliffs.

Big Lagoon was located in Miniloc Island.
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From Big Lagoon we cruised towards El Nido. We had a bit of rain on the way to El Nido and realised how lucky we had been during the 5 days to have so few rain! JC came to serve us the last snack of the journey…Some pancakes with some strawberry jam. So yummy!

We arrived at El Nido.
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The boat got closer to the pier.
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And soon, before we knew it, the 5 days were over and we were saying good-bye! Already! Theresa, David, Salome, Urs and Ben were heading straight to Port Barton with a mini-van. A few of us where staying in El Nido for a few nights so we talked about meeting in the evening.

I got into a trike and here we were in the quite packed cute little streets of El Nido, with kids getting out of school.
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And incredible cliffs set as a background to the city.
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I got to the hotel which looked a bit in renovation but where I had a spacious and quiet room. I did a clothes washing, had a shower, sorted my stuff. And then went to check out the Dive Centres to organise a 3-dives boat trip the next day. On my way I saw this very cool jeepney.
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I found one dive club and signed up to go diving the next day. We had got in touch through What’s app with everyone and decided to meet at a pizzeria restaurant Judith recommended as she had been here before and met in the evening there at the Altrove.
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The pizzas were being made in a nice oven and were really good.
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It was nice to meet again in the evening as the transition from paradise to El Nido was a bit hard so seeing again everyone for a pizza was great!
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After dinner, everyone went to get organised for the rest of their journey, some booking flights, some booking vans, some thinking of the next country on their journey. With David, we walked in the same direction and had a yummy ice-cream right after.
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Here we were, in El Nido, after 5 days of an incredible journey from Coron Town Proper to El Nido, enjoying an incredible landscape of islands and feeling in paradise and learning a bit about the amazing association that Tao has created and the community it supports.

Tomorrow, diving near El Nido if the weather permits…

Update on 9th Dec 2017: Priscilla who was on the Tao expedition with me recently published an awesome article on her blog about Tao. If you want to read more, here it is: http://mangez-moi.fr/tao-farm-in-palawan-the-perfect-example-of-sustainable-cooking/

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