It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Miraculously, our dear friend Emily was there to experience the ups and downs of the Philippines with us. It was only fitting as she has been the biggest supporter of our trip since the very beginning, when the nascent plan seemed like an improbable fantasy.
It turns out that our stomachs weren’t made of steel — this post could have been named ‘diarrhea in paradise’ — but that sort of thing is expected when traveling. The real low was the ten-hour ‘ferry’ (read: dingy) trip between El Nido and Coron. We weren’t exactly onboard with the open seas passage after hearing about waterlogged luggage and capsized boats. Yet, that seemed to be our only choice as there were no good alternatives. We wanted to see Coron and the boat trip, although long, was at least direct.
So we drugged ourselves with motion sickness medicine and staked out a place in the shade. Groggy versions of ourselves sprawled out on the wet floor and surrendered to the rocking. Waves splashed through windows. People vomited. We commiserated with strangers, napped and waited for the hours to pass. After seeing a baby on our boat I couldn’t help but think about the plight of migrants…I can’t imagine what they go through.
As miserable as the boat ride was, I’d gladly repeat the trip to spend another week in Coron. It felt like paradise; like I imagine Thailand’s coast did 30 years ago. We spent our days snorkeling in coral gardens and hopping between picturesque islands. The day we left Mark home was especially memorable and ranks as one of my favorite days of our trip — a coincidence?
There have been ups and downs with our travels and the Philippines was no exception, but the highs far outweighed the lows. We are lucky to have such an adventurous friend who was willing to meet us in an exotic locale half way around the world. Together we shared chance encounters with creative kids, drank the world’s most delicious pinacoladas and swam to a private coral reef. We dove by shipwreks in turquoise waters, strolled along empty beaches and ended each day with sunset cocktails. Life is good. Life is even better with good friends. Thanks for meeting us Emily!