Marc's Public Blog - Trips to other locations


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This is a collection of my blog entries related to short or long trips I, or Jennifer and I went on.
I have some master pages for some specific locations/trips:

Paris over many years | Australia over many years | Canada over many years | Japan over multiple trips | Italy in 2011 | France in 2013 | Indonesia in 2013 | Japan in 2013 | Japan in 2014 | Taiwan in 2014 | Indonesia in 2014 | New Zealand in 2015 | Japan in 2015 | Costa Rica in 2015 | Singapore in 2016 | South Korea in 2016 | Japan in 2016 | Japan in winter 2017 | Great Britain in 2017 |

Table of Content for trips:

More pages: June 2018 May 2018 January 2018 December 2017 November 2017 October 2017 September 2017 August 2017 July 2017 June 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 October 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 June 2016 May 2016 April 2016 February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 October 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 September 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 October 2012 September 2012 June 2012 April 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 June 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 September 2010 August 2010 May 2010 January 2010 September 2009 August 2009 June 2009 January 2009 December 2008 August 2008 February 2008 January 2008 October 2007 July 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 October 2006 August 2006 July 2006 April 2006 March 2006 January 2006 December 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 June 2005 April 2005 December 2004 October 2004 July 2004 June 2004 January 2004 January 2003 January 2001 August 1997




2018/06/13 Philippines Trip Wrapup
π 2018-06-13 00:00 in Philippines, Trips
While we spent about 3 weeks in the Philippines, most of it was spent on a dive boat, so I can't say I gained a great insight on the country, but we still learned some things:

  • I should start by saying that the filipinos were all very nice to us. I even got the impression that we got treated better for being foreigners who bring in tourist money, but even generally I'd say the people were just all very chill and nice.
  • the country was occupied multiple times throughout its history, including a pretty ruthless Japanese occupation and exit where many civilians got killed when the Japanese left.
  • it tried to rebuild the best it could, but you can tell the toll those wars had on the country. It got a fair amount of US help
  • sadly there aren't many historical monuments left due to the amount of destruction during the wars.
  • after learning spanish, and Japanese for a short time, the population learned english under US (reasonably friendly) occupation, which is now a plus since most of the population speaks English well or very well. Not a bad thing as they otherwise had 100+ dialects which made it hard to communicate internally
  • a byproduct of the low cost of living and english speaking skills, many companies have call centers in the Philippines. The accent is much less obvious than the Indian one.
  • a remnant of that help are all those long transport jeeps that were left behind by the US and are now used as makeshift busses. Sadly this also stopped the country from developing a better public transportation system. Pretty much every time I saw one of them, they were packed to the brim and not meant to transport so many people (mostly in Manila).
  • traffic was all around terrible, although in some places it was abysmal instead
  • in Puerto Princessa, they mostly used trike bikes which while being motorbikes with a wheeled basket attached, could actually transport up to 5 people (not comfortably though). They were dirt cheap, 20 cents per kilometer, although the price for tourists was several times that but still too cheap to worry about.
  • regular cabs in Manilla will fairly often ask you where you are going and decline the ride if they think the traffic is going to suck, or give you a set price off the meter, likely because the meter does pay them enough for sitting in non moving traffic.
  • with all this traffic, congestion, and likely poor to no emission regulations, air pollution seemed bad, even if not China bad.
  • traffic is also so bad that people don't bother with seat belts, some cabs didn't have them in the rear. A few rare times I saw a driver put a seat belt on while entering an area (maybe of enforcement)
  • and you can watch TV while driving, because well, traffic doesn't move anyway so you might as well catch up on your TV shows
  • Security-wise, they had muslim extremist bombings too, like Indonesia, so virtually all buildings have security guards and makeshift searches, quite annoying.
  • That said, I found that in many places, as a tourist of not the wrong color (I assume), the searches were limited and they tried not to be airport-like,
  • but the airports do suck, they forbid any kind of lighter on your person, check in, or carry-on, not true of most of the rest of the world. Ok, a lighter could be dangerous even if you can light fires many other ways
  • more annoyingly, extension cords, you know, what you plug into a far away plug so that you can work with your laptop in the airport, and maybe plug 3 devices into one plug, Well, they are not allowed in carry on luggage. Hello? What?
  • Weather was hot and humid, unsurprisingly. At the same time, the water was quite warm too, at times at the exact temperature than the air (no kidding, I have 31C for both on some dives).
  • And that was it for the Philippines, good time was had.

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    2018/06/12 Cebul and Bohol
    π 2018-06-12 01:01 in Philippines, Trips
    For our last day in Philippines after diving on the Siren, we went to a day tour of Bohol.

    This started with a 2H ferry at 07:00 (getting up on the boat at 05:00 and leaving at 05:30 to get to the ferry way too early because traffic sucks and can't be relied on):


    After arriving in Bohol we wnt to a local church with nice decors:







    and then went to a butterfly sanctuary:





    A coconut a day makes a happy Jennifer :)


    We then did a lunch river cruise:



    they did a nice local dance for us
    they did a nice local dance for us


    Next were the hanging bridges:


    This is where I learned that I've been opening coconuts all wrong:


    And finally we got to see the super cute bohol tarsiers, which are actually quite small (size of your hand), and nocturnal, so very sleepy when we saw them:




    Next was chocolate hill, with a view of what to used to be coral reef mounds when all this land was below water:





    Last, and definitely least, we made the mistake of burning extra time with chocolate hill ATV, which gave Jennifer and me a broken ass two person ATV with a failing motor that was mistfiring and couldn't make power, and a known flat tire that they didn't fix and went flat again within minutes of me using it. They then made BS excuses to not re-imburse us, and it's only due to lack of time that I didn't stay there to burn all their new customers and ruin their lives until they paid me back.
    Still, a few pictures:






    And that was it for Bohol, it was then time to drive back to the port to catch our 2H ferry back to Cebu and Arturo to go to the airport (we went to the local google building instead).

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    2018/05/30 Puerto Princesa
    π 2018-05-30 01:01 in Philippines, Trips
    The highlight is the underground river tour, which is known as one of the 7 new natural wonders of the world. It's a 2H+ van ride to Sabang, where we then wait in line to take a boat to another nearer location where you finally take the paddle boat to the cave.

















    We then stayed around Sabang, and saw some water monitors:










    tree snake
    tree snake

    They had a long zipline over the water, which sounded cool, but the idiots set it up wrong, and sent us all backwards, making the arrival dicey. Sadly Jennifer arrived backwards and hit her neck on the tires supposed to slow her down :(




    we all ended up backwards
    we all ended up backwards




    that's where Jennifer got hurt, being sent backwards
    that's where Jennifer got hurt, being sent backwards

    After taking Jennifer to the ER to get her checked out and get her pain and anti inflamatory drugs. Thankfully the drugs did wonders and she mostly recovered by the next morning. That evening we did make phone calls to our doctor to get his suggestions and making sure we took the best steps for her. Due to the time difference, we had to wait until 23:00 though, so while she rested in the room, I went to the firefly watching tour that Arturo had already booked. Taking pictures outside of the sunset was almost impossible though, small dots of light from a moving boat is kind of mission impossible:





    wonderful pictures of fireflies...
    wonderful pictures of fireflies...

    The next morning, Jennifer was doing a lot better, so we went on a city tour. Puerto Princesa is full of tricycles that can actually take up to 5 people (although not in comfort). Some are quite nicely decorated:

    they had packed vans acting as busses
    they had packed vans acting as busses

    and those tricycles were everywhere
    and those tricycles were everywhere


    We went to a local cathedral:





    We then went to a couple of WWII sites, where general McArthur came back and liberated the country from the Japanese. Sadly the Japanese killed untold people on their way out, including faking an air raid, having the POW go in a trench, and then setting the trench on fire, shooting people who jumped out :(




    this photo is a bit funny because it had to be staged twice (i.e. it's entirely fake)
    this photo is a bit funny because it had to be staged twice (i.e. it's entirely fake)





    And that was it for Puerto Princesa, we then went back to our hotel to board our liveaboard.

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    More pages: June 2018 May 2018 January 2018 December 2017 November 2017 October 2017 September 2017 August 2017 July 2017 June 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 October 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 June 2016 May 2016 April 2016 February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 October 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 September 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 October 2012 September 2012 June 2012 April 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 June 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 September 2010 August 2010 May 2010 January 2010 September 2009 August 2009 June 2009 January 2009 December 2008 August 2008 February 2008 January 2008 October 2007 July 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 October 2006 August 2006 July 2006 April 2006 March 2006 January 2006 December 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 June 2005 April 2005 December 2004 October 2004 July 2004 June 2004 January 2004 January 2003 January 2001 August 1997