Monday, 2 June 2014

Coron to El Nido, Tao Philippines

Firstly I have to apologise for my lack of blog posts, I have been in the Philippines for about 3 weeks now but haven't had much opportunity to sit down at a proper computer until now. I will try to get my act together I promise!

Anyway back to the blogging...

Our jaunt to Asia is significantly less well organised the South America section of this adventure. Our first (and main) stop is the Philippines which incase you don't know is where half of me is from. The main place I have wanted to explore here for a few years now is Northern Palawan, so that's where we started, on the only semi organised portion I the next three months! 

Rock formations in the turquoise water of Coron

On our way to Kayangan lake

After arriving into Manila and spending the night at a hotel near the airport The photographer and I flew to Coron (Busanga) to meet our companion for the next 10 days, Jon a good friend from back home. We had organised to do a boat trip with a company called Tao Philippines travelling through the remote islands between Coron and El Nido. This was a trip I have been dreaming about for years (after reading a article about it many moons ago) and I couldn't wait to get started. But first we had a couple of days to explore Coron, a lovely town, low on tourists but with lots of things to explore just a boat ride away. We went snorkeling at siete picados (amazing reefs which are shallow and teeming with fish), visited Barracuda lake (where some locals helped us find rocks to jump off), Kayangan lake (the site of our first ANTM style underwater photoshoot - photos still to be recovered off our now broken underwater camera) and twin lagoons. Over the two days there was also a brief attempt to get me to ride a motorbike which ended up with me dropping the thing before I started, a few cocktails and some hard won games of pool. 

Lake monsters

A jeepney being loaded up in Coron

The whole Tao gang (Minus Ollie our guide)

Playing basketball at the fiesta

Big smiles in the villages (Thanks to Anja Grotee for this photo)

Children at the fiesta loved the cameras (Thanks to Anja Grotee for this Photo)

After our adventures in coron the fun could really start with Tao and boat full of 18 travelers and 9 crew. The next 5 days were a blur of empty beaches, desert islands, wreck snorkeling, colourful reefs, friendly fish, rock jumping, karaoke, a fiesta, cock fighting, adorable (but snappy) dogs, dance offs, birthday cake, rum, sleeping on the beach, gorgeous smiles, stunning sunsets, a much needed massage, amazing food and most of all wonderful company. The whole experience was everything I had hoped it would be, combining beautiful islands, beaches and water, with the culture and friendliness of the Philippines. 

Sunset Kayak (thanks to Anja Grotee for this photo)

Practicing our posing

Collecting and eating sea urchins

Cooking on the beach

Lightening in the distance lighting up the landscape

Freshly caught

In the kitchen preparing our fresh fish

From swimming in sea to sashimi in minutes 

Kinilaw (filipino cevivhe) also made from our fresh fish

My catch of the day....

Chilling on the front of the boat with Isa

Kayaking at sunset

Princess Jon enjoying a massage on the beach

On arriving to El Nido none of us wanted the party to end. Dinner was arranged, then an island hopping tour the next day and then a few drinks at a bar/restaurant (squidos hilltop) culminating in Jon being forced on stage to sing with a local girl band and a lot of crazy dancing!  Our 5 day 4 night tour turned into 6 days 6 nights! 

Our beds on the first night (yes that is Jon sleeping, I am a creep)

Great pose Jon

Baywatch eat you heart out


My dream island

Almost at El Nido,  farewell photo time

Strike a pose

Exploring Brother island

With Ollie our guide

The next day was Jon's last and we all spent the morning on the fantastic Las Cabanas beach (a short tricycle ride away from town) before saying a sad farewell (well not too sad, we still had a few more days of El nido to enjoy).

Beers on a  boat in the sun,

Beach beds on our final night

Children plying on Las Cabanas beach El Nido

Another day, another island, another beach

Sunset at our third base cmp

Our trusty vessels

The boys and a boat

What are you doing Jon?


Location: Coron, El Nido and places in between (I wish I had written them all down, see photo below for the names of our Tao base camps). 

Highlights: Pretty much everything... Especially the simplicity of being on the Tao boat and Jon being made to sing on stage. 

Lowlights: Probably only the bugs which I am not a fan of, oh Mosquitos, ants, sand flies, why must you bite me?

Top tips: Visit Palawan now!!!! 

Profile pictures: Maybe... The bikini body wasn't quite in shape yet.. But my new tan has helped.

Epiphany's: 0 

The names of our base camps


  1. I believe I was cooling down in that last photo after kayak chauffeuring you everywhere in billion degree heat!

  2. What has happened to the cameraman's face? Noooooo