About a month ago, my mom and I set out across the Pacific Ocean to visit my brother serving in the Peace Corps in the Philippines. Most of our time was spent on the island of Palawan—known to be sort of a last frontier for eco-tourists. Amazing snorkeling, beautiful mountains (hills?), and undisturbed cultures. We spent most of our time island hopping on little bangkas (boats) and exploring the islets that surround the island.
It is going to take some time to process the thousands of photos I took while there and get my feelings about the trip on paper the screen. If you are super anxious to see lots of good and bad photos from Palawan–check out my Flickr account. There are lots there.
Otherwise, be patient and I will continue to post some photos here as I go through them all.
All of the above photos were from the Roxas market. As you can see, fish are a very important part of the Filipino diet. My brother basically subsists on fish, rice, and bananas.
We stayed at the Casa De Rosa which offered us basic but clean accommodations—and a great restaurant/hang out space to just read, talk, eat and look out over the bay. It was a beautiful view and we sat there for hours watching storms roll in.
Getting used to the toilet situation in rural Philippines was kind of tough. At the Casa De Rosa, the bathroom situation was actually kind of cool. In our room, we were given a bucket and a drain to be used as a shower (or late night bathroom emergencies). A bathroom, with a flushing toilet (and paper!) and a sink was available for guests to share. The bathroom was a four walled structure–although half of it had no roof. It was really kind of neat–there was a little garden courtyard next to the toilet.
While in Tay Tay, we took a boat to Elephant Island and did a little caving. There are tons of caves on each of the islands and locals use them to hunt and gather birds nest to sell for the “Birds Nest Soup”. While wandering in the caves, swallows would regularly fly in (just above our heads) causing us all to freak out a little bit.
There is an amazing Spanish fort in Tay Tay that you are allowed to enter (donations gladly accepted). The fort, which is over 300 years old, has an amazing garden at the top and a beautiful church. Definitely a place that is worth spending some time.