I left Jeju Saturday for Seoul and then hopped over to the Philippines for a late night flight. And it must be that time of year where people are taking family vacations, because I’ve never been on a flight with more crying babies than I was on this flight. Good thing I was able to tune it out and get a good nap in. (Hopefully it’s this easy when I have kids of my own someday!)
I landed in Manila around 1:20 am. I spoiled myself with a late night/really early morning breakfast of french toast, bacon, & milk at a little cafe in the airport. The milk tasted a little different from Jeju’s milk, (The best milk comes from Wisconsin and I can’t wait to get back to it!!) but the bacon was scrumptious. And the french toast… Well my french toast is hard to beat, but it wasn’t too bad. My next flight to Palawan wasn’t until 11:15 am, so I had some time to kill. First thing on the to-do list… Find a place to get some sleep! All the chairs were taken, so I found a quiet part of the airport and camped out on the cold, concrete floor for a little bit. I got a pretty good nap in! But my shoulder was pretty sore from how I was laying on it. My “quiet” area eventually became a high-traffic area for people heading to the bathroom. Around 5:30am, I just couldn’t sleep anymore, so I got up and walked around. Some little shops upstairs were opening up and I found one with an open couch! I bought a croissant, so no one could bug me about only paying customers can use the couches. After I enjoyed my nice, hot, buttery croissant, I fell asleep for a few hours. So comfy compared to my last location!!
At 7:45 am, I got up and went to check in. When going through security, we had to take our shoes off! This is the first time I’ve had to do that going through security since I flew out of Chicago!
While I was waiting by the gate, a Filipino man sat across from me and started talking to me. He asked a lot of questions, one of them being “Are you traveling alone in the Philippines?” “Nope, I’m meeting some friends in Palawan for a few days and then heading back to Korea.” (Lies! About the friends part anyways.) Then he was telling me about his two brothers that are doctors in America. Then he asked if he could sit in a seat closer to me so he didn’t have to talk so loud, I said sure. We were talking for a little bit longer when he asked if he could hold my hand… What?! I’ve known you for 10 minutes, what makes you think we’ve already moved to the hand holding stage?! I said no and that I’d rather go back to reading my book. He asked if I’d like him to move somewhere else and I said yes.
The flight to Palawan didn’t take too long and the view of the clouds on the way was incredible! A man from Annabelle’s Pension came to pick me up from the airport. I was greeted by two women when I got to the pension with “Hello ma’am.” (I couldn’t even tell you how many times I heard this for the next 4 days! And the “ma’am” sounded more like “mom.”) They showed me to my room where I slept for the next 5 hours, until a driver came to pick me up for firefly watching later.
Annabelle’s Pension was down a dirt road. After the driver picked me up, we were driving back to the road and had to go up a little incline right before the road. He stopped to look for traffic… Bad idea. First of all, it’s not a busy street to begin with and there was nothing coming. Second of all, he stopped on a pile of clay. We were stuck. Eventually with the help of 5 men and 1 woman, we got out half an hour later!
Firefly Watching on the Honda Bay
Firefly watching was nice, but not what I expected. We went out after sunset and there was a full moon.. Beautiful! There was also a lightning storm over the mountains on another island in the distance. We took a bigger boat with a smaller boat attached. The smaller boat was used to go out into the mangroves to watch for fireflies. When I heard about firefly watching, I expected that there would be swarms of them everywhere… Not so much. The fireflies just hung out in the trees. They weren’t everywhere, but when they did light up it looked like Christmas tree lights. It was kind of magical floating down the river and seeing some random trees lit up with fireflies and a lightning storm in the background all under a full moon.
The served dinner on the bigger boat. We had a nice spread of shrimp, crab, marinated chicken, cucumbers, bananas, and fish. I made friends with Edwin and a couple that he’s friends with. They are all Filipino and just vacationing in Palawan for a few days. They were all pretty awesome and invited me out to go dancing after the tour. I unfortunately had to pass, because since my pension is so far out of town and I’m not sure how to tell a driver how to get me back there. So I just got a ride home from the driver that brought everyone back to their accommodations after the tour.
On the drive back, I was talking to the tour guide and she was telling me all about the many languages she speaks… Wow! And she taught me how to say thank you very much (malaming salamad) and thank you (salamad).