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Sunday 12th January 2020:
What’s the world coming tooooo? The Taal volcano on the mainland is erupting. Forced evacuations of surrounding areas. Won’t directly affect us at this time.
Monday 13th January 2020:
All flights to and from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Manila) are on hold after Taal Volcano spewed ash to 55,000 feet.
Just went out to the car, there is some very fine ash on it. It has reached us.
Tuesday 14th January 2020:
The Taal volcano has quietened down after Monday’s eruption. It is till venting huge clouds of ash though.
The airport has partially opened. Flights depend on the ash density and direction.
The huge ash clean-up has started adjacent Taal. Ash up to 1 meter deep in places. Has also rained and this has led to huge patches of mud.
Today, creaks have started to appear in the ground adjacent Taal. Could herald another eruption. Time will tell.
Saturday 18th January 2020:
Left Marinduque by plane for Manila. Having an overnight stop over and catching the plane flight to El Nido in Palawan tomorrow.
Sunday 19th January 2020:
A later departure (only 30 minutes) for our 1.5-hour flight to El Nido.
We are in a 4-bedroom three-bathroom house as we are sharing with Guy’s three sisters (from Philippines, Australia and NZ) and 3 nieces and nephews who are visiting.
All settled in and a very nice dinner at the Art Café by the beach.
Monday 20th January 2010:
Off island hopping for the day. Today is one of the top 5 worst excursions we have encountered.
We had our crew man at the house at 8:45am having us hurry along (a 10-minute walk) for a 9:00am start. We arrived at 9:00am and finally left the beach at 10:30am.
Our Bangka was the oldest, slowest and grottiest one in the whole fleet. It also belched diesel fumes into the cabin from time to time.
Guy noticed that the Bangka was rated for 15 people. There were 17 people on the boat. When queried about the over limit passenger they said it was now rated for 17 people.
After stop 1 of 5 islands, the wind picked up and it got very rough and lasted all day. Of course, that set my seasickness off. I was crook for the rest of the day.
At one stage the Bangka was meters from crashing into the cliff (at stop 2) as the wind was stronger than the old Bangka’s propulsion. The Bangka next to us threw a line across and pulled us away from the cliff.
So, all in all not a good day all round.
Tuesday 21st January 2020:
Went beach hopping today in a van. Visited three beaches and a great day was had by all.
Wednesday 22nd January 2020:
A rest day for Guy and I exploring El Nido as the rest of the gang are back island hopping for the day. On a new boat today after the clunker from Monday.
Thursday 23rd January 2020:
All piled into a van for the 260km trip down to Puerto Princesa.
Followed the coast most of the way but it was a very up and down windy road. Took us 5-hours to get here.
Rested up ready for the underground river tour tomorrow.
Friday 24th January 2020:
Off to the underground river from Puerto Princesa. A 1h 45m van ride, 20-minute bangka ride and then a 45-minute tour of the river. Plus, lots of waiting round to get onto the bangka and river tour boat.
A very spectacular cruise up the river. We each had an audio system that gave us the history of the river and location of where we were on the river.
Saturday 25th January 2020:
Our van man picked us up at 11:00am and took us to the local mall for lunch. Then some sightseeing round Puerto Princesa. He dropped us off at the airport at 3:00pm for our 7:00pm flight back to Manila.
Guy went and checked with the airline and they could fit all 8 of us on the 4:00pm flight. So, a dash to the gate and we all made the earlier 4:00pm flight.
We walked from terminal 3 to our accommodation on the sky walkway. A 20-minute walk and we were at our accommodation for the night.
Sunday 26th January 2020:
Rest day today.
The 6 others all went to the Mall of Asia for the day while Guy and I went to the St Luke’s hospital to check out an Executive Health check-up.
They do a full check of you over 1 day and then provide you with the results online. Looking at getting it done in February.
Life is good.
Trevor & Guy