Friday 16 April 2010

Easter - Philipines - Day 2

Up late, 6:40 am local time. I arose and explored the area looking for a nice walk to get some exercise. Short of trying a bit of mountaineering I was basically trapped. So I abandoned that idea and had a leisurely coffee while waiting for my companions to arise and breakfast to be served.
Breakfast started with fresh fruit and also had a variety of hot food available. A freshly prepared omelette, that was pretty disappointing, chicken croquettes, rice and fish. All basic fare but edible and sustaining. I breakfasted alone and read for some time enjoying the peace, calm and ambience.
A snorkel in the morning before lunch gave an opportunity to view the ocean life, get some exercise and practise some old skills. The sea life here is standard tropical. Entering the water from the jetty in front of the resort soon led to deeper water. A healthy, although sparse population of tropical fish and soft and hard corals was easily found. The water was warm and I swam in a t shirt without discomfort.
Lunch started with a local beef and cabbage soup. Not memorable, a bit like an oily stock or what I termed beef consomme. It is important to skim the oil off such soups, or maybe not add it in the first place! The rest of the meal consisted of chicken satay, fish in soy sauce, rice, a cooked vegetable, pork and tofu, of which I selected out the tofu and once again fresh lettuce leaves as a salad base. Mango float completed desert. The food here is bland, overcooked but edible. It certainly isn't gourmet.
The afternoon was spent relaxing before I and my companions hired a boat (a Banca) and took a ride along the coast. We stopped to feed fish in a reserve, a bit boring I have to admit, and then snorkelled in the reserve. This was a nice area with lots of soft coral, hard corals and an abundance of marine life. Conservation and eco tourism is not difficult. Simply mark off a boundary, prevent fishing and anchoring and the sea life will prosper with little or no effort. There was an abundance of reef fish, I saw pipe fish, a Moray Eeel cream coloured with black speckles. This was working its way confidently across the bottom without obvious fear of snorkellers. Also Clown fish (males orange with a blue horizontal stripe behind the eye. The female considerably bigger and it's body had almost turned black but still edged with the orange colouration. The locals called this a Tomato clown fish, but the colouring was quite different to the Tomato clown fish that I have seen elsewhere. Also Angel fish, a small group of snapper cruising the edge of a patch of bait fish, Parrot Fish, trigger fish and a host of those that I cannot name.
After snorkelling we asked to be taken to Garden Point for a beer. This necessitated the refilling of fuel tanks so we pulled into a small village before continuing around the coast.
It was a lovely day to be on the water and we stayed close to the shoreline which gave good views of passing boats and the resorts and villages on the shore. The ride was soporific and despite the obvious signs of civilisation it was easy to fantasise about exploring the wilds of some long past and forgotten river or estuary system, maybe in Africa or the Amazon. Partly this was due to the basic layout of the Banca, a rather narrow centre section balanced by the outriggers.
We debarked and walked the short distance to the restaurant on the shoreline where we ordered beers and bar snacks. By now the sun was low down on the horizon, daylight was fading and the sun about to set. It was a lovely end to the afternoon, and while the sun set was not spectacular it was very moody and peaceful.
We motored back to our resort in the dark. A lovely trip with the muted sound of the motor not intruding, a warm breeze on our faces, and a cold beer in our hands.
Evening meal was deep fried breaded chicken, bland but good. Think KFC without the secret herbs and spices, and less fat. Also available, Tuna with Mango Salsa, cooked tomatoes and mango in coconut for desert.
We played cards again in the evening
The Bludger is not a card shark

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