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Old 02-27-2008   #16 (permalink)
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My counter is not really right since I have only one more day to work and on friday I am on my way... *wwoohhhooo*

Got the confirmation yesterday that on sunday I will go to the Pagsanjan Falls Geeee, good I was looking for the link to post here and READ it... didn't really know what I was up to and I guess I will need some protection for my camera. Now I will probably have to call my travel agency again tomorrow to ask what the heck I booked...
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Old 03-01-2008   #17 (permalink)
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Well, here we go...

Yeah, I am here! After about 21 hours of travelling I arrived at the Bayview Park Hotel in Manila. Trip was LOOOONNNGGGG… I had to go the first part by train and hated it. Looks like a surprise that there area actually travellers who have suitcases when taking the train… you really have no way of putting it somewhere and I had to get my 18 lbs dive-bag UP to the overhead compartment. Thanks, that was fun...

Flight from Frankfurt to Bangkok was uneventful and I got some sleep (but not much). In Bangkok I had to wait 3 hours and since I had to cross the new airport anyway for the nxt gate I could look around. It is VERY Thai and memories of my Thailand-trip two years ago came up. Slept a lot during the remaining 3 hours to Manila. Funny thing at arrival was that at immigration they have a sign saying ‘we are immigration with a smile’ but all the ladies looked rather grim .

Found the sign with my name immediately, changed money and then we went in search for the car. That was again something new to me: they have waiting areas for pick up which are sorted by inital letter of last name of passenger…. Haven’t ever seen anything like this before. Don’t think anyody cares though….

Then one of the first thing I saw was one of the ‘busses’ (didn’t realize immediately that this is puclib transportation). They look like long jeeps and are coloured all over. Further to that all taxis have the question with ‘what do you think about my drive-style’ on their back with phone number to call…. AND I should have taken a pic of the first ‘male urinary’ I saw…

Arrived at the hotel, had a look outside (I do have a view to the South Chinese ocean) and then I crahsed. Felt like someone was sitting on my eyelids and not allowing me to open them again. So I slept for a couple of hours more but since I wanna get directly into the new rhythm I came down for dinner and detected the ‘internet cafe’-angle of the hotel. Can’t upload any pics here though. So this will have to wait. Further to the few I took in Bangkok I don’t have any so far anyway.

Tomorrow it’s waterfall time and I’ve been told today that I need to pack a second set of clothes…. I don’t think this is a problem I just need to decide which camera to bring. might be a good idea to test the underwater case….
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Old 03-01-2008   #18 (permalink)
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whoo hoo - go girl, I love your reports !!!
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Old 03-01-2008   #19 (permalink)
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Glad to see that you have arrived safely!

Now bring it on!
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Old 03-01-2008   #20 (permalink)
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Glad to see that you have arrived safely!

Now bring it on!
Ditto!
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Old 03-01-2008   #21 (permalink)
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Yay you made it safe and sound! Can't wait to see some pictures!
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Old 03-01-2008   #22 (permalink)
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Have a fantastic time. I'm looking forward this.
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Old 03-01-2008   #23 (permalink)
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This is going to be a great report I can't wait to see your pictures once you get home

Have a fantastic trip!
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Old 03-02-2008   #24 (permalink)
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Well, learned a thing or two last night: first of all: don't be surprised if you are in Manila, nobody knows you here but your phone keeps ringing during the night. Might even be the reception desk night to ask whether you were the one who just ordered a taxi to the airport for today (looks like she called all rooms since other ones got woken up as well). Next thing is that when you get told that your pick-up is at 8:30 (that was the call which woke me at 10 PM just to confirm I knew the time) you better be ready one hour earlier...

Luckily I was just about to go down for breakfast when my phone rang and my tour guide told me she was already here. What the heck, it's a quarter to 8?????? Of course I only THOUGHT that and was too polite to say it. My stuff was not ready so I had to made everyone else wait for me. Sorry guys....

Our tour were 3 austrians, another german and an italian. We drove two hours to Pagsanjan and it was fun seeing the driving. Reminded me a lot of India although it is not THAT bad. The Jeepnez (the Jeep-like public busses) are fun to look at as it looks like each driver designs it on it's own. Some have names on it and most of them are full of colours. I like colours.

The area around Manila is very green. There are rice fields and a couple of mountains. A few of them are sleeping vulcanos. One is called the 'pregnant lady' since the top looks like a pregnant lady lying on her back. She is connected to another vulcano which is supposed to be her boyfriend. The connection is the reason for a lot of thermal spa's in the area. Funny thing that on the streets they sell the swim-rings (help) everywhere and our tour guide explained that this is necessary since barely anyone can swim on the Philippines (hey guys you ever realized you are surrounded by water??? ).

Then we arrived at the river and went into the boats. Since I speak italian the tour guide decided I would go in a boat with Dino while the others where split into pairs as well. The canoes were VERY small and luckily I brought a plastic back (for the laundry ) from the hotel. Going up the river was not so easy for the boatmen since we had to overcome a couple of rapids. But it was great. Great, beautiful landscape and it reminded me a little bit of my river tubing experience in Texas (which I loved!). Unfortunately we could only go to the first fall and didn't see the two bigger ones. But it was a nice one as well. They had the option to go under it but since I had already taken a shower this morning I refrained from doing that.

On the way back our boat got full of water again and I found it funny that the boatman took away my flip flop and started throwing the water out again. I did enjoy the tour on the river very much, the lush green vegetation was just how I had pictured the Philippines before coming here. After we got back (the way back on the river went by way too fast... ) we changed to dry clothes and then we had a philippine lunch. I wasn't hungry though although I hadn't had breakfast. It was too warm for me. I am not yet used to the warmer climate.

On the way back we saw two funeral processions. What was unusual for me was that the cars carrying the coffin were covered with white balloons. Most of the Philippines are catholic so this surprised me since white balloons are not really common for funerals.

Now I am back at the hotel and I can promise you that I will be ready for my transport to the airport tomorrow morning well in advance...

First pics might follow tomorrow when I am in a ressort with WiFi and can use my own laptop. I will prepare a couple tonight.

Last edited by Andiline; 03-02-2008 at 04:36 AM..
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Old 03-02-2008   #25 (permalink)
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Wow I'm impressed....

I was in Manila on business once and it was not a pleasant experience. I was young and not at all brave then though, perhaps today would be different. But sounds like you're going to be in more beautiful areas. Enjoy!! Looking forward to the pictures.
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Old 03-02-2008   #26 (permalink)
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Great start.
Waiting for pic's.
Craig.
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Old 03-03-2008   #27 (permalink)
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Well, got to Dumaguete today. My driver was there on time this morning and at the airport I met Dino again. We had already found out that we would fly at the same time (not to the same destination though).

Flight was uneventful but I had a closer look at the Philippine Islands from above. Unfortunately it was cloudy so I caught only glimpses. Now I am at a dive ressort and while I type I am sitting on my baclony with hammock, view to the sea and it is all very peaceful (well, if that english lady down there stops laughing... ). If I don't relax here I will not relax anywhere... the way down here from the main road is not asphalted and it is not very inviting to walk it. So I will be mostly under water while being here and spend a lot of the remaining time in my hammock... But I will go back to Dumaguete for one afternoon and probably go on one tour to see some more of that island...

This morning till it was time to go to the airport I worked on a few pics. Believe me it was hard to choose. There are so many nice ones and I had to pick a couple...

At the airport in Bangkok


Tricicles (they are some sort of taxis)


Rice fields


Here we are already on the river. From the boat we could see people during their all-day life.. lots of kids playing in the river:


Here you can see our boatman getting the boat up the rapids. He jumped in and out all the time when we were in the rapids...


More rapids to come...


The first small waterfall...


Isn't that a great view??? Unfortunately it had been raining too much in the past days otherwise we would have gone up there...


This is the first of the three big waterfalls and the only one we were allowed to go to that day.


And then going back down...


The lush green vegetation


Here people are washing... clothes and themselves..


I think this is a water buffalo (or is it simply a cow???)...


This was a village along the river--


And this is already on the way back. The first funeral car we saw...


And last a pic of some Jeepneys. My pic up from the airport here on Negros was with a Jeepney but that was airconditioned and a little bit more modern....
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Old 03-03-2008   #28 (permalink)
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Well, actually I am more in Dauin which is about 17 km from Dumaguete. Here are a few more things I forgot to tell you earlier today: security at the National Terminal in Manila today was very strict. You are not able to enter the Terminal without ticket and the luggage is screened before you can get in ( ALL of it). Inside they are very strict too in making you pay for excess baggage. I had been told by my travel agency that excess baggage is cheap but I didn’t expect it to be THAT cheap. For 10 kg (24 lbs) excess for my dive stuff I paid about 8 Euro (12 USD). That is nothing…. inside the Terminal there was a big sign telling that jokes about carrying a bomb are not appreciated and would be taken seriously (of course I took a pic of that! ).

Once arrived in Dumaguete there were two gentlemen down at the stairways which opened umbrella after umbrella and handed them over to all the female passengers to protect them from the sun. I was too german to take this umbrella since this was about a 20 metres walk…

I just got in from lying in my hammock. I was falling asleep which I’d rather not so I will go to sleep soon. Since I’ve been repeatedly told in the past week that I look tired (last time was about 1 hour ago at lunch… ) I will go to sleep soon since I will do a lot of diving in the next days. Probably more than I had in mind but - sheesh, this place is among the best dive spots in the world so I would be stupid NOT to dive as much as I can. I have been told that I need to tell them as well if I wanna go snorkelling since we have a Marine Sanctuary in front of the ressort and I need to get a ticket if I don’t want to risk getting arrested. (I think the getting arrested part was a joke ).

For the rest I do like the ressort but it is not what I am used to. I had expected a paved road so I could just go out to the village. Not possible…. but having a hammock out there is soooo relaxing. When I leave in 6 days I am not sure whether I will be totally relaxed or bored to death…
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Old 03-03-2008   #29 (permalink)
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,........... When I leave in 6 days I am not sure whether I will be totally relaxed or bored to death…
Your trip already sounds fantasticd and of course the pictures are incredible!

....and this comment...well, I fully understand it! It must be the German in me...

Now be a good girl and go crawl back into that hammock and get caught up on your rest until the next exciting phase of your trip begins.......but please keep the report coming in ...it makes for good reading with my morning coffee....
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Old 03-03-2008   #30 (permalink)
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Jacko, I am 14 hours ahead of you... it IS time to sleep for me... I might be too exited to sleep since tomorrow morning will be my first dive in divers-paradise!
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