Happiness and melancholy can be found in close together. The former can be found at a parking garage at Manila Airport when arriving at 4:55 on our favorite flight Cebu Pacific 5J679 from Shanghai. The latter can be found in a bathroom stall at the very same airport when changing back sandles into sneakers.
However, this weekend was about something different. This weekend was about celebrating the awesomeness of being able to hop to the Philippines for a weekend to go diving. Yes, we can!
Day 1, 10.11.
At 0.30 we board Cebu Pacific 5J679, bound for Manila, together with our group of 12 French Divers. Thanks to emergency seats, we sleep all the way to Manila. The amazingly efficient group has no checked baggage, so we are on our way south to Batangas in no time. However, an official Taifun warning throwes a wrench in our plan and delays our boat by 3h (the weather is beautiful, wind is calm and waves are low, but the captain must wait for the official clearance).
At 12, we reach Sabang, a small village perched against the mountain coast of Puerto Galera northern region. From the ferry terminal we walk on a narrow concrete path above the water and through small passage ways, invocing the feeling of an old smugglers neat. Our resort, BlueRibbon, ia located on the west side of the village. Rooms are functional but the view from the equipment / dining area is nice.
The group is focussed. After a quick lunch, we are on the boat, heading for our first dive at Ernie’s Cave. It takes a bit getting used to diving in such a large group. Still, its a nice dive with a small wreck. With a good current, we drift effortlessly. Its raining outside and the town looks a bit grey. We start our second dive late, turning it in a night dive. Still, its a pleasant dive.
We are offered a night dive and graciously as we are out on land for at least 1h – way to long. Its Michis first night dive. But after a bit of predive nervousness, she thoroughly enjoys it. And its a beautiful dive. Sandy bottom with three wrecks. We meet a puffer fish that follows us for a while.
We manage to stay awake for a superb fish BBQ dinner. But shortly thereafter, we fall into a deep sleep.
Day 2, 11.11.
Today, Alibaba will earn the highest profit of any retailer in one day during singles day, in Germany, its the start of the “fifth season” and Melinda Trump may visit the Beijing Zoo. But none of this matters to us as we are – after our obligatory omlette and waffel (mango pancake in this case) – on our way to Verde Island.
Verde Island features a pinnacle the just breaches the surface. Its like a miniature version of Richilieu’s Rock. The pinnacle is home to an abundance of typical reef life, hard and soft coral, moray eels, schooling bannerfish, travallis, etc. Michi runs low on air and we go up ahead of the group. We make a short stop on Verde Island for swimming and relaxing, before we do a second dive at the same site. Two frog fish are highlights of this dive.
We have BBQ lunch on Verde Island and head back to Sabang.
From there, we do third dive a bit west of our resort. Again, its a dusk dive and we come up in the dark. We see cuttlefish, mini-crabs, electric shrimp (at least their legs), boxer shrimp, etc. We finish this last dive happy and relaxed.
How to spend the no-fly time? No problem. The French like to eat and know how to party. Its a great night and I am very happy to wake up the next morning.
Day 3, 12.11.
I am not getting younger, but special measures last night helped me to survive this day. Anothe pancake breakfast turns into a laid back Sunday morning. The weather is beautiful. We hang out by the sea and drinl mango milk shakes. Michi and I explore the town for about 1h. Lunch and at 14.00 we are back on the boat to Batangas. A school of Dolphins wave us goodbye.
On the way to the airport, we are stopped by roadblocks for Donald Trump returning from the ASEAN conference. Flight home is good, we arrive a bit earlier, encounter no taxu queues and make ut home at 1am.