On our first day in Palawan, we went Island hopping to discover the limestone islands looming around El Nido interspersed with some snorkeling. We've seen Twin Rocks, Miniloc Lagoons, Entalula Island, Shimizu Beach and 7 Commandos Beach, although we were not able to hop between the islands due to time constraint.
I personally enjoyed best our trip to the secret lagoon. This can be reached by bangca up to the entrance in a low cliff. We had to swim through a rock opening to get to the beach. And inside is very shallow but with fantastic corals. This is where I got most of my cuts and scratches. But if you snorkel at the opening, you'll see lots of fishes (Nemo!). However, this could be hard because the current will push you out of it. Cool! Once inside, you'll be in a secret world, enclosed by black marble walls and covered in thick exotic flora. This cliff-lined world is totally quiet, the tranquil serenity inside broken only by the sounds of birds and cicadas. You need to find an outcropping along the shore and listen to nothing while looking at everything.
It turned out to be a fun-filled trip even if the weather wasn't perfectly sunny and there were signs of hazardous rainfall. Our island meals were provided by the tour guide so we got to enjoy grilled fish, cucumber salad, and a share of liempo. I guess we were lucky enough to enjoy the serenity of all islets and lagoons we've visited since it's all ours. Only a number of Caucasians and Australians crossed our paths every once in a while. I was captivated (so as my shutterbug friends) with the lagoons for its crystal clear water and powder-smooth white sand. I had so much fun snorkeling because of the aquamarine colors underneath: the vast existence of coral reefs and the diversity of tropical fishes.
After our almost perfect island hopping and snorkeling, halfway to the pension house while still traversing the sea, a sudden heavy downpour threatens our jaunt. The ocean wave causes our boat to heave up and down and in no direction. By that time, we were surprisingly calm perhaps the hangover from our recent activity. One of us even tried to stand up amidst the threat of rogue waves if not alerted by the boatmen. It was then when we were advised that we've just missed 2 whirlwinds. We then sensed peril and were completely terrified as the wave ceaselessly hits our boat. It was obvious that the boatmen and his crew (?) are in distress. We were in the middle of the ocean, sightless of any nearby island but fog and waves. We all paused unruffled to fight disconcert and panic feeling. While some skirmished through singing and throwing jokes, others just deliberately composed. I was completely dulled and jaded. I am somewhere in between anticipating my demise and envisaging myself to live and tell a tale. It's no joke. We're struggling on a thin line. The boat is about to capsize. Every minute terrorized us with the fear of drowning. We had no choice but to combat our fear and we're left with only one defense ... Prayer.
Minutes passed by to an hour of waiting.
Next few episodes I have in mind, we're all in ecstasy (ha-ha ... elated to survive the near death experience we've encountered).
Thanks to Manong Boatmen and his crew for the pluck of bravery you’ve shown.
We owe you our lives!
NEXT STOP: Underground River (Sabang, Palawan) September 26, 2009