We are back in Beijing after 1 week in sweltering Puerto Galera the temp never dropped below 40c the whole time we were there .We left Beijing at 1am 7th May Monday arriving at Manilla at 5.30 am then got a taxi to the hotel where we were catching the bus at 8.30 to the port of Batang, the taxi driver was (while driving), trying to tie a knot with the two seperate bits of his seat belt in rush hour traffic haha.We had a 90 minute wait at the hotel so we had breakfast then I went for a walk and got lost on my way back,all the streets were so busy and looked the same and I couldn,t remember the name of the hotel,eventually I recognised a building and got back,I think senility is setting in.
The bus journey was just over 2 hours to the port of Batang to catch the ferry, the woman working on the bus was a great character full of fun and life,we had to wait about 45 minutes for the ferry which then took about 1 hour to reach the island.We stayed at the small harbour town of Sabang at the steps & gardens resort that is built into the hillside overlooking the sea and bay,and it had the right name it was a killer climbing it,and of course ours was the one right at the top, but what a view.The resort was just small chalet type buildings each with a bedroom,bathroom and balcony but the gardens were just beautiful there were flowers,bushes,trees everywhere and a large waterfall, lovely eating area and a swimming pool with jacuzzi.The staff were so friendly and polite,you could even have your breakfast delivered to your room if you wanted,nothing was to much trouble for them they constantly asked if everything was ok and could they do anything for you.
The port itself is was very colourful and quite busy,you got hassled a little bit for trips,hiring bikes,buying trinkets etc but they are ok once you say no. I was out walking the other morning and a old guy tried to sell me some coral jewelrey but once I said no we sat down together and had a good chat,his name was Paul and he was an expert on british boxers,then I met a lady named Rita who was a right character selling braided straps, and yes I bought one, she was just so funny.A bit later I sat with three children while their mother was setting up an old dilapidated stall on the path around the cove they were just full of questions and so happy.
Jun did 6 dives but I kept telling her to be careful she was down to 30 metres she said the coral and fish were amazing she went out with a chinese diving school and one day they went out on a trip to an area nicknamed the "washing machine" so she didn,t go to that one (hardly suprising with a name like that), one of the young boys was caught in the current and the instructors had to go after him.We saw him later and he looked a bit subdued and shaky.
We hired a scooter one day and went for a good ride the roads are pretty poor full of potholes and wide cracks but they are renewing them.We visited a lovely waterfall then went searching for one of the local hilltribe villages which we found by parking the scooter at the side of the road then climbing up a really steep set of stairs and coming out at the top amongst about 6 village huts and one small school,we walked about saying hello the children were very shy but allowed me to take their photos as well as one young woman who had a lovely smile,all this whilst living in absolute poverty.We then rode around the coast stopping off at little beaches and coves one of them was so beautiful like paradise, palm trees and coconuts everywhere,and a life size statue of the virgin mary on a rock looking out to sea, we sat in little covered beach huts with just about 4/5 other filipino families sharing the whole beach,then after 30 minutes or so a family arrived carrying a huge TV a huge boxamplifier and small generator and I started laughing and they said to me "this is the filipino style" haha.
There were lots of nice places to eat with really nice food and quite a lot of bars which were full of half naked dancing girls (apparently), we were talking to a english guy who works in one of them and has lived here for 18 months he said he has the best job in the world and will never go back to England haha.
One day we were sat at the diving school and the filipino place next door was having a party for the 80 year old grandmother and they invited us in to meet everyone and have something to eat,they are really happy people and so welcoming.