It has been a long time since we updated our website!!!!! So long that we've forgotten how to do it somewhat and we don't seem able to upload photos. Never mind, we will keep working on that as a separate excercise.
We purchased a 150cc Suzuki Mola motorbike early this year and spent almost 3 months and 6000 kms, touring the Philippines from April to June. Our travels took us through Mindanao to Camiguin, Bohol, Cebu, Negros, Gyimaras, Panay, Boracay, Mindoro and finally Luzon. We had a wonderful time, the highlights being:
Hinatuan River / Enchanted river near Bislig, eastern Mindanao - crystal clear water, 80 foot deep spring, 200 foot visibility.
Butuan, Mindanao - Old timber boat relics from 320 AD.
Camiguin Island - Zipline in 2 stages over a crater lake, 1.2kms in total.
Bohol Island - Tarsier reserve, cute little primates; Danao Adventure Park - we took the "Plunge" freefall then a BIG pendulum swing across a chasm 180 metres deep. Also had a couple of scuba dives off islands to the south west of Bohol - saw turtles on drift dives along a coral wall. The Chocolate Hills area of Bohol was also a highlight, unfortunately devastated a few months later in a large earthquake.
Cebu - we went swimming with whale sharks at Oslob, then vegged out for a few days with Cebu architect Ed, and Bernadette, in their wonderful beach house. Ed bought a boat from fellow yachties at Oceanview Marina, Samal. Further up the coast we visited Magellan's cross, the statue of Lapu Lapu who slayed Magellan, and met up with yachtie friends Gunter & Claudia at Puerto Carmen.
Negros - was sugar cane country through to Bacolod where we enjoyed the museum, then a small "Banka" ferry to:
Guimaras a small island loading and unloading the bike via a plank and again another Banka ferry to Iloilo on Panay
We worked our way around the southern part of Panay to San Jose and met up with friends Antoniet,her children, and Gladys who works for the tourism department. Gladys organised a trip for us to a fish spa where the fish nibble your dead skin, then onto a waterfall 10 kms up a very rough dirt track.
From her we went up the west coast of Panay ond over to Boracay for a few days. This is the ultimate tourist island, with white sand beaches, tens of thousands of tourists, dozens of dive shops, sailing canoes, parasailing, restaurants etc. - a bit overwhelming!
From Boracay, a larger ferry to Mindoro where we progressed to Porto Gallera. Some beautiful scenery, waterfall, a lovely bay, and again lots of tourists and nightlife. Some yachtie friends are considering retiring there, and Gay later flew back there with Trish to help her house hunt.
Another ferry from Mindoro to Batangas on Luzon, narrowly missing an oil tanker (by about 40 metres!!!). W worked our way through Manila to Angeles where we had a flight with yachty Terry's friend in an ultralight aircraft up and over Mount Arrayat. Onward from here we passed through the summer capital Baguio, then on to the "Rice Terraces" area of Sagada, Bontoc and Banaue. Very pleasant area with centuries old rice terraces, world heritage listed, and "hanging coffins" perched on a cliff face. Our only issue was having a fall with the bike and losing a bit of skin from our knees and arms - probably caused by the wet road, heavy luggage, cheap tires maybe?
This was our furthest north, ad we worked our way back to Subic Bay then Manila, where we caught an overnight ferry back to Cagayan De Oro on the north coast of Mindanao. A few more museums, and then we were home a few days later.
The motorbike trip was a fantastic way to see some of the country, and we are considering doing a similar trip again up through the eastern islands.
The rest of our time has been spent doing boat jobs - making a rain canopy over the front hatch, a sun awning over the cockpit, making a new base for the engine control lever from fibreglass, replacing engine mounts, instrument bezel, window spindles, bracket for tiller pilot to operate the windvane - all the usual boat maintenance and improvement items.
We have a healthy social life at the marina - Friday night pot luck / bbq's, Wednesday evening a meal is cooked for all the yachties by local couple Donald & Carole, and sometimes we head off to Swiss Chef Alphonso's at the "Bahay Kubo" restaurant.
It's so easy being here that the months drift by - we call it the "Hotel California" because we "can never leave"!!
At present we are in Miri, Sarawak, as we had to leave the Philippines before our visa expired. Once we return we get another 16 months in 2 month increments. We flew here on a special promo flight on Air Asia, for $22 from Manila (plus oncosts and the flight to get to Manila!) Hopefully we can get this to post and then work on uploading photos if we can.
So with no more ado, we wish all friends and family a very happy Xmas and Happy New Year. Be assured all our friends are often in our thoughts.