We woke up early today to take the long trip to the other side of the island. Everyone here is SO accommodating. They cook food around our schedule, they drive when we want to drive, anything we ask for they stop what they are doing and complete the task right away. It is a bit intimidating at times. The drive was beautiful. We were able to see more of the countryside. The road turned into dirt and holes of mud from the storm were plentiful. I was amazed at the colorful buses passing with hundreds of faces packed into the windows and people riding on top, the side and the back to get passage back to the city. Small motor bikes were common vehicles, I began to count to see how many people they fit, the most was 6 on a small dirt bike! They also take bikes and put a shell on it so from the front it looks similar to a Volkswagen beetle with only three wheels. They will pack stuff on top of the roof and stuff up to 8 people inside as they travel.
Basketball must be a sport of choice here because there are courts everywhere. Some are nice with actual cement courts, others are packed dirt out in a field. I was fascinated with all the courts that we passed. We made it to Sabang, a touristy beach town on the west side of Palawan. Some really classy resorts are interspersed with the typical huts and sari-sari stores we have been seeing. We walked around for a few hours in the shops and had fun watching people come and go.
We walked out to the waterfalls—a 2 mile walk along the beach. It was beautiful. We were the only people there. I think due to the fact you had to walk through a village to get there. If all the staring makes you nervous, it is not a comfortable walk. It was intriguing to see the boat makers shaping a ship with a machete or painting with a homemade brush. Or to see women around a large tub washing cloths and children playing in the stream or throwing rock in contest. They too wanted me to take all of their photos—maybe it is the large ‘professional’ looking camera. The only person I have to fight to take a photo sometimes is Hiva. But she actually volunteered for a photo with a carabao that we passed. I told her to get closer, but she was afraid it would bite! I had to laugh and tell it would not bite so she inched closer, then I added it won’t bit but it might kick!’ She decided she was close enough!
The waterfall was gorgeous. We cooled off in the water, Hiva wanted a photo of me in the fall, I obliged because I did not want to be hypocritical, but told her to hurry because the last time she and I were swimming in a waterfall—in Hawaii—I ended up with giardia! I could almost feel it swimming into me as she fumbled with the camera to get a shot! HURRY!
We boarded a boat that took us out across the limestone cliff edged bay into the deep blue water towards the underground river. The trip there alone was beautiful. God truly does amaze me with all of his creations.It is hard to describe the lush greens falling over the tops off grey limestone that cut into the water below. Neither photos nor words do it justice.
The underground river is a cave that is full of water. 9 and our guide of us got onto a boat that is supposed to be for 8. The waterline was really close and I had some second thoughts about going and the similarity to the day before we Hiva and I sunk a boat already. The difference being here the water was DEEPER and full of minerals from the cave and of course plenty of bat droppings!
We were able to see monkeys and huge moniter lizards on the trail to the river, and eventually saw a snake hanging from the trees. Wildlife so close and not in zoo cages, it was wonderful.
People here are really resourceful and put a new meaning to recycling. We saw old tires used in so many ways: as signs, as stands, as patio furniture, as pots for plants. We rode in one of the tricycles and it was fun to see how they converted a motorcycle into something for passengers. Although it was full with just Hiva and I, I cannot imagine what it is like with the 8 people I saw before!