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Philippines 2016

October 23,2016 Team #1 away!

Here we go…


Breakfast Day 1

Feel like were in wonderland, Henry Hotel mind blowing!! Interesting journey here from Airport last night, rush hour in downtown Cebu is something else!!! Breakfast done. Just waiting for bus to take us on next leg of our travels, ferry to ‘Ormroc’ for first lot of diving tomorrow!
Keep ya posted, Holibloggers

The journey to Sogod Bay
October 26, 2016

After a two and a half hour OcenJet (business class) ride to Ormoc, we meet our driver for the three hour trek to Sogod Bay, mayhem at the terminal with tuk tuks moving in every possible direction, each one with a smiling Philippino at the helm

People appeared from nowhere to help is load bags into the van and then stood there smiling whilst we fumbled for change.

Or driver was not hanging around for anything and we overtook just about everything in our way.

After a brief stop to take on fuel and comfort breaks we concluded our journey and were greeted by our hosts.

In our rooms was a little welcome gift from Tony, marks and Spencer’s red. Going down nicely then it was out to look for the Moose and Squirrel restaurant which had disappeared disappointingly. Fortunately the same chef had opened up a new restaurant next door in the same building, all was well, delicious food, washed down with a bottle or two of “Red Horse” beer. Apparently the only one they had in stock was the “Stallion” variant, the equivalent to Special Brew! We blame our disappointing cribbage performance due to the Stallion effect! Back to our rooms to pass out after a long day.


Philippines: Arrived Sogod Bay Scuba Resort…

We were hoping to give you an update of our travel adventures however we had a beer and played crib instead.

Perhaps we will have more energy tomorrow after a full days diving or perhaps not.

FYI the two Jos are in the lead from Jen and Richard by two games to nil.

Philippines: Sogod Bay day #1
October 26, 2016

We made the long journey from our rooms to the boat for an 8.30 departure. We crossed the bay to dive Santa Paz and Napantau, then back for a quick lunch stop then out on the boat again for more fun.


Three excellent dives , last one on house reef 70 mins, absolutely stunning!!! Happy divers. Weather is windy and grey but HOT! BBQ tonight with wine thrown in. More on that later unless the cribbage takes over  

Philippines: Food Overload
October 26, 2016

Beach barbecue food overload. Dinner with the owner, his family and other diving guests. Jack fruit. Seaweed, pork, chicken, corn, mango, kebabs, rice, banana heart and red wine (Hardy’s) all for a few pesos, please, no more food!

Philippines: Pygmy seahorse, big seahorse and tiny tiny slugs
October 27, 2016

So Day 2, got off to a rainy start, middle and finish, bit like being in Cornwall at Easter but still able to dive! Still, a hearty breakfast saw us getting off on time to Kermit the boat! First Dive Voltairs Rock, felt like getting into a bath! A gentle slope going down to 45 meters, we stayed at around 26! Lots of rocky outcrops with stunning corals and lots of stuff going on! Critters, slugs, manta shrimp and Frog fish! Second Dive, Bunga Bend, Pygmy Seahorse X 2 on a single fan coral, stunning!! Just lovely poking around in bath water! Pedro, (our dive guide) lost his torch at the end, nearly a Monkey moment but luckily for him he found it, and discovered his clip had broken, thus saving him from spankey as we felt for him! We were asked to return earlier for afternoon dive as (we think) the boys have dates tonight, we have made them promise to give us the Gos tomorrow!

So Back to base, for a quick chip buttie before the long laborious walk to get back on boat, 10 feet of it , oh so exhausting…………….
We have been a little concerned regarding Richard’s shorts, Foxy and I are convinced he’s gonna loose them! However befor our 3rd dive Jo managed to tie em before all ‘his clothes fell off’ in a Kenny Everet way!!!  best not put the picture on here!! 
Final dive of day ‘ Puloys Anchor’ (none in sight) plopped us into about 5 meters of just sand, Muck diving at its best! Spent an hour looking into holes, corals, anenomes, rubbish and anything else to look under or in! Believe it or not it was amazing!! Beautiful white seahorse, huge Anenomes with all types of Clown fish and full of cleaner shrimps! No end of Slugs and in competition to the Pygmy seahorse earlier, the tiniest of tiniest slugs, which we could barley see but which Jo Clark took some beautiful photos of! Turns out there were 2 together looking back at Photo footage! (Will have to get Jo C to post them)

Returned to base, another long slog up the beach to home for a shower, log book logging and blogging to be done!
Then off to Jerry and Alma’s for dinner, which you place your order then Jerry pops off shopping on his Motorbike for the ingredients! This gave us the opportunity to fire up the Crib board! Alas Richard and Elf’s luck has not held, 3 games to 2, but the holiday is still young……..
Tarrar blogger readers more tomorrow! 
PS Just seen a crab run away with a plastic bottle top! 

Philippines: Dive it again Sam!

An early swim for some followed by Waffles, banana pancakes, omelette and eggs on toast for breakfast we went  back out on Kermit for a trip north to a site called Caasablanca.

Today the sun is shining and it’s really hot. The trip north took about an hour and we were the first team in. As we were getting ready we noticed that Pedro had not put his Micky mouse ears hood on, oh no, how would we recognize  him amongst all the other divers (all four of them)? After a quick reprimand, order was restored, we were saved.

Dropped in on a bit of a bomb site, muck diving was the order of the day. Mostly shrimps and slugs. Our guide has a laser pointer that he uses under water which made some of the gobies light up in a way so bizarre that they were identified as alien fish.

Upon returning to the boat other reports of frog fish and giant nudibranchs came in so it was decided to dive the same site again. This time we saw painted frog fish and solar Nudis as well as lots of other stuff. Solar Nudis are the ones that grow their own algae on their backs to use for food when out on a long crawl.

The afternoon dive has turned into a Padre Burgous night dive so we have just taken a light lunch and are resting to build up the strength required to walk down the steps by the jetty into the deep.

The night dive adventure started with us in the back of a tiny flat back truck for the 10 minute  journey to Padre Burgos pier. We arrived at the pier to find Arnold,  Pedro’s nephew,  waiting with our kit. Our kit was carried down some very steep steps  and we followed. At this point we split  into two groups.  Richard,  Foxy and Pedro who went diving and Jo and Jen who decided that having to wade through nappies and any amount of other rubbish wrapping around your legs was not their idea of a great night dive.

Jen and Jo spent a very lovely hour or so, with young Arnold learning Philipinno (or at least trying) listening to music from the local bar and chatting with the locals .

Of course,  what with this being a diving holibog you are possibly more interested in the diving:

An onshore breeze made entry a little interesting as we had to make our way through all the weed and all the other rubbish that was being blown up against the sea wall. Once past all that we descended and were greeted by near perfect vis.

As we made our way around the legs of the jetty we were greeted by frog fish, seahorses, more frog fish and another seahorse, star gazers, banded sea snake, pipe fish, tiny squid, sea moths, octopus, an inquisitive scrawled file fish, a very large nudi and a whole bunch of other characters.

After the hour we made our way to the exit which was another set of steep steps though many hands were there to take our kit and get us back to the van.

Philippines: Diving Limasawa Island

Today we headed south for about 40 minutes to dive some walls on Limasawa Island. Lots more hard corals and a few turtles mostly sums it up. New guests on the boat, one of them introduced himself as BJ, who came highly recommended.

Back for a light lunch, Behong chicken, fried rice with an egg on top and tuna mayo sandwiches with chips then it’s out on Kermit again for a critter hunt,

Must dash, the captain is calling!

Third dive complete, back to base for pre dinner drinks, crib and dinner. Pork adobo, bico express, harangue halang chicken, rice, beer and coke, yum. Let’s not make the mistake of ordering two loads of spring rolls again!

Philippines: Wet and Dry

This morning we were rudely awakened by several cockerels declaring that it was time to get up.  we are currently seeking fresh chicken recipes.

After a quick shower we had blisteringly hot sunshine for a couple of dives in the MPA Napantao  One from north to south, one the other way, lots to see, lovely.
On the way back it rained a little, no drama, as we were heading ashore the sky behind us was black. Once ashore it hammered it down, we could see others on the boat still but we were ok.

Apparently this weather was forecast and it will dry up after lunch, well we have had lunch and it’s still raining!

Jo and Jen have planned a trip into town this afternoon , we look forward to hearing about that shortly!

A short ride in a Tuk Tuk saw the explorers in to town at a total cost of 50p each way. The visited the hardware store, bakery and pharmacy. The police station and church were both closed. Padre Burgos town center is actually so big, they nearly got lost  NOT, No more than ten shops in total and a few bars.

Back to base for cake and beverage. Banana cake went down well, the sunshine cake went to the boat crew, they appeared pleased..

It will soon be beer and crib o clock  and of course, tonight is…  night!

Philippines: Kalangaman Island

The sun was shining and the 90 minute crossing on Exotic #1 was spent exposing flesh and staring at the  island looming ever larger on the horizon.

After the first dive (frog fish, 50ft corals, an impressive wall stretching all the way to the center of the earth) we stepped ashore for a bbq banquet and swimming. Jolo offered her services as the resident island photographer for the locals who I believe wanted to adopt her. After we rescued her we went for a quick exotic dip then back to boat for more diving.

The journey back was directly into the weather, consequently we spent the entire afternoon wet, waves crashing over the deck washing dive gear, guests and guides towards the back of the boat, stark contrast to the trip out which was lovely.

A night dive rounded of the day’s aquatic events with all sorts of crazy stuff to entertain us.

Phew, just made our last our last happy hour order of the day, Black Russians all round, goodnight Vienna!

Tomorrow, Gato island, let’s see how that turns out!

Philippines: Last day #1 and transfer day, a voyage into the unknown.

Our last diving day at Sogod was spent on the slightly smaller ‘Gamay Kermit’ exclusively for our pleasure. We headed out on mirror flat seas to dive in Little Lembeh, so called because of the critters that are found there.

We jump in for the first dive and within a minute a good looking seahorse is found   (no picture of a seahorse so Jen chose a unicorn) as well as mantis shrimp, an amazing wreck festoon with brittle stars, juvenile bat fish and soft corals, amazing colors.

After the surface interval we head out in the opposite direction for the second dive. Finds included: sea moth, devil fish (male and much larger female), mantis shrimps, bra fish  and a wonderpuss as well as much other stuff

Diving done we paid a visit to the locals and threw bags of sweets at children 

Our last night in Sogod was (as a complete surprise to me) the traditional fancy dress party (I should have known). It had been decided that it should be a long trouser dress up evening so I select the light weight and highly colorful leg wear and top it off with a tasteful tie die shirt. Jo is summoned next door to deal with some medical manner (Richard couldn’t have been thinking straight – why on earth would two experience nurses would need help from someone whose only experience a consulting Dr Google). The next thing I know there is a knock on the door, I step outside to be greeted by the rest of the team adorned in similarly colorful leg wear and tie die shirts, well they say that imitation is the highest form of flattery. Decorative shades completed the outfit and off we went for crib, beer and dinner, which was most excellent.

New guests have arrived from Japan (or maybe China) and Russia (ok, kasicstan) but we are off to holiday part II so we didn’t get to know them. We have just boarded the Weesam express ferry from Misan to Cebu. Departed Sogod Bay after an excellent breakfast, all goodbyes said etc.  The transfer to this ferry was about 40 minutes and although the ferry journey is 30 minutes longer we still get in to Cebu earlier than planned.

The ferry has now departed and we are Cebu bound. More later….

Well, that was moderately ok, we used a different ferry with a much shorter transfer which meant a lay in and breakfast. I think it could best be described as slightly down market, load your own baggage on one by one and then everyone fights to get their own bags off, interesting but we made it. Interesting in sail entertainment, two movies, the first the BFG and the second a Korean film called Flu. This was an interesting subtitled story about a container of dead immigrants infected with bird flu.  First symptom… Coughing. Very embarrassing as Jo coughed through most of the film! Didn’t get to see the end so we made up our own endings.

Instant pick up at the ferry terminal for the next leg of our trip. Currently making our way through downtown Cebu dock area, nice!

A swift three hour van ride dodging Tuk Tuks and over taking on blind bends saw us delivered to the next port. After a little paperwork we made our way to the waters edge were we had to board the smallest of craft with all our luggage. This looked a lot like SBSAC heading out to freedom in a seriously overloaded punt.

On to a bigger boat for the 45 minute trip to Malapascua island, a passing typhoon created more than a little swell. We arrived at the island and were greeted with garlands and welcomed on to the island. 20m walk to the hotel reception and another 20m to our rooms, which are fantastic.

The rooms are huge with two King size beds. Jo and I are thinking of putting them together to make mega bed.

We did dinner, over ordered on the food and worked the happy hour cocktail madness, bed flows shortly…

Philippines: Malapascua Exotic

Here we are diving in Malapascua, the reefs are overloaded with colour, we have seen frog fish, seahorses and thresher sharks a plenty. Our guide Ronel seems quite good at finding all the small stuff.

We have succumbed to the happy hour with half price cocktails every night so far, it makes for quite a noisy game of crib!

Alarms were set for 04:00 today as we had an early departure for the thresher shark dive. We jumped at 05:30 and descended to the cleaning stations where the Sharks presented themselves for viewing at regular intervals, over ten were seen during our dive.

The boats here seem to have been designed for smaller and shorter people in that the cylinder holders are a little low for us. The idea of starting a dive operation for taller folk. This soon turned in to Fat basta’d diving holidays to the Philippines. Larger boats with more space for the taller individual with a higher tank position etc. A spinoff operation would be serving non stop coffee and donuts amongst other things designed to maintain the larger frame.

The crib league continues, new partners all round after jo and Richard won the last bout, the search for the holidays crib champions continues…