My Adventure Partner (a short essay)

This is an entry to Wanderlass Adventure Partner Contest.

I have two complimentary yet contrasting partners whenever I travel: my kickass research and organization skills and my ability to just go with things.

Even though I love to travel, my first no-parents-allowed trip as an adult happened just last April 2010. My friend and I ended up in Australia – our first time in Cairns but my second time in Sydney. As I’d been there before and my friend’s only stipulation was a budget cap, planning everything fell to me. I looked up all the places I went to and enjoyed, the best ways to get there, a good hostel located within walking distance from the attractions, and most important of all, possible ways to get discounted tickets. After all the research, I presented my friend with three possible itineraries complete with projected costs. Thanks to me (*pats myself on the back*), we made the most of our five days without breaking the bank. My only regret was being two weeks early for the John Mayer concert and not knowing “Wicked” was staging just blocks away from the hostel.

However, just letting go and going along with what other people want to do has its upsides too. During my latest trip to Antique, Guimaras, and Iloilo, my friends did all of the planning. All I did was buy my ticket and contribute towards group expenses. Thanks to them and friends-of-friends, we visited a hacienda, went diving, island hopped, celebrated someone’s birthday, and ate tons of seafood in just four days!

/end essay

Notes: yay I’m writing again! Yes the impetus was winning a kickass backpack but I really have been meaning to get writing again. I have lots of adventures to document, most especially the trip to Antique, Guimaras, and Iloilo. I want school to be over ASAP!

Enchanting El Nido episode 7 – Snake Island

Coming from Miniloc or Lagen Island Resort, it takes approximately 30 to 45 minutes to reach Snake Island by boat. The boat ride is the perfect opportunity to fully appreciate El Nido’s wonderful seascape as you pass by one majestic limestone cliff after another. In fact, it would seem that in no time at all, you’ll arrive at your destination.

The island gets its rather menacing name not because it is riddled with snakes, but because of the S-shaped sandbar that snakes its way from the island and connect it to the mainland. The sand bar is more clearly visible during low tide and people can actually walk across from one end to the other if the tide is low enough. It was formed by two opposing currents that met and deposited sand at their meeting point, giving it its characteristic shape.

The soil in Snake Island is very rich in heavy metals, making it toxic for the majority of plants. It is also quite poor in nutrients. Thus, only plants with a high tolerance for phytotoxic metals can survive. Also, carnivorous and parasitic plants with supplementary forms of nutrition aside from photosynthesis, such as the pitcher plant (Nepenthes philippinensis) and devil’s gut (Cassytha filiformis) can be found colonizing the area. The forest is dominated by stunted trees of Palawan mangkono (Xanthostemon speciosus). These trees, also called Palawan ironwood, are endemic to Palawan and produce some of the hardest woods in the Philippines, making them valuable sources of timber.

After a five-minute hike and without even breaking a sweat, you reach the view deck which offers a stunning view of Bacuit Bay.

El Nido Resorts
Miniloc and Lagen Islands
El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
http://www.elnidoresorts.com

Bolinao, Pangasinan

I got my first taste of grad school field work last March 5-7, 2009 when we visited the UP MSI Bolinao Marine Laboratory in Bolinao, Pangasinan. I took more videos than photos this time around (I’ve recently been inspired to do more video blogging. haha) and I’m hoping to be able to edit them together into a nice introduction once the semester ends in 3 weeks (wheee). I did take some nice photos though:

Aquaculture is one of the main sources of income here:

Aquaculture is one of the main sources of income here

Downtime with my classmates:

Downtime with my classmates

The giant clam garden of the institute. They’ve managed to increase stocks to 34,000! 🙂

Giant clams

The town pier:

Bolinao town pier

One of the oldest churches in the Philippines:

Bolinao church

Motorcycles and tricycles (motorcycles with attached side cars) are the kings of the road here:

Motorcycle

Bolinao is famous for its shellcraft:

Shellcraft

Looks like I’ll get lucky this summer: Baler, Aurora is already firmly in the summer itinerary, with Batanes being actively negotiated. Huzzah! And if I’m really, really lucky, I might even get to sneak in Baguio, Boracay, and El Nido. Wheeee 😀

Sabah Sky (yes, another one)

Sabah Sky at near-sunset

The Sabah sky close to sunset

Ack. I forgot to post this with the rest of the photos from my trip to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia last April. Ah well. Better late than never 🙂

Date taken: April 6, 2008

Where: off Sutera Harbour Resort, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

Camera used: Canon PowerShot A80 << see? you don’t need an expensive camera to take good photos 🙂 I’ve had this with me since college.

Seafood Market

Suang Tain Open Air Seafood Restaurant

Welcome to the Suang Tain Open Air Seafood Market, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. You can choose between freshly dead or freshly swimming seafood and get them cooked anyway you want. Just please do Mother Nature a favor: don’t buy the endangered fish. This guy in the yellow shirt was displaying several live Napoleon wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus) and asking only 35 RM (Ringgit Malaysia) per kilo 😦

Remember:

When the buying stops, the killing can too.