El Nido on Palawan Island, Philippines – Part 2

The Doublegem Resort is one of the better resorts in Corong Corong and, with this goes the fact it may be the most expensive, we paid AUD$170 per night, which did include breakfast. We now had seven nights there, two nights on our own and five with friends from Australia. The resort is fairly quiet at night and the insomnia inducing, screeching roosters and barking dogs can be heard off in the distance around 4am, rather than sounding like they are in the bed with you – so we caught up on sleep.

Doublegem has a swimming pool overlooking the beach and is well stocked with sunbeds much to Di’s delight. We were fortunate to witness one of the most spectacular sunsets of our entire journey on the second night there. The breathtaking sunset simply got better and better and just when you thought it had reached its peak it got better – it was magnificent.

This was also one of the rare nights Di ventured beyond the consumption of one alcoholic cocktail. The resort had a ‘Happy Hour’ cocktail, ironically called ‘El Nido Sunset’, they must have known something, selling for 100 Pesos or about AUD$2.50. It had vodka, Curacao, grenadine and soda, Di had three!!! Di is such a giggly delight when she has a couple of drinks – this was all training for when her two girlfriends would arrive the next day. John and Dom showed up to say their goodbyes and found Di had a double case of verbal diarrhoea (she simply could not shut up) tinged with fits of uncontrolled laughter, we had a wonderful last drinks with these two, and except John was suffering from a severe self-induced hangover from the night before.

We have met some fantastic people travelling, and John and Dom have been two of the best. See you guys in London and I look forward to visiting the Arsenal.

The day Michelle and Lynda arrived with their husbands, Steve and Pete, Di was like a ‘cat on a hot tin roof’, she simply could not stay still. Having friends visit appears to be the perfect cure for a hangover. They would not be arriving until about 5.30pmish, just in time for ‘Happy Hour’ and sunset. This meant Di and I sat around the pool, sunbathing, reading and blogging most of the day – it would appear to some of you that this is a large part of our travel life – well you would be right!

Michelle, Steve, Lynda and Pete, all live in our home town of Batemans Bay in Australia, and we hadn’t seen them since May last year in Thailand. After the hugs and kisses of the gang’s arrival, it was straight to the beach and cocktails as the sun set. As we sipped our cocktails and watched the sun slide over the horizon, Di and I explained in detail how they had missed the best sunset EVER, the day before!!!!

The next day we hired jeeps to go adventuring around the northern part of the island. We hired two jeeps for 3000 Pesos each vehicle from ‘Just Do It Adventure Car Rentals’, this came to AUD$75 each vehicle or AUD$50 per couple.

How the hell do you drive this?

The jeep hire place was in El Nido town so we crammed three people into a tricycle (tuk tuk) and went to pick the jeeps up. The jeeps had, let’s say, seen better days, and we were guaranteed they were in ‘tip top’ working order – if you cannot trust a car salesman, who can you trust I always say!! The ladies piled into one jeep with a full tank of petrol and the lads piled into the other one that had an empty fuel tank – ‘return as you got them’ and ‘here is my phone number just in case’ were the salesman’s parting words. What could possibly go wrong!!

At the petrol station the fuel cap would not come off the jeep the lads were in. We tried and tried, the pump attendant tried and tried, ten minutes after leaving the car yard we rang the salesman, ‘use a tyre lever and prise it off’ was his response, of course why did we not think of that! Luckily the petrol station had a tyre lever handy and we bought petrol. What could possibly go wrong!

It was great fun zipping along in these old jeeps, the seatbelts never worked or were missing, insignificant items like oil gauges did not work, 50% of the windscreen wipers worked and it rattled a pleasant tune in lieu of a radio – it was like being a teenager again seeking that ‘Endless Summer’.

Stay on the road Lynda!

The ladies jeep lacked brake lights but that is only an issue if they ever actually applied the brakes, their jeep actually had seat belts, the small passenger side door would not open all the time, but it was easy to climb over and the ladies vehicle rattled delightfully. What could possibly go wrong!

We headed north to Duli Beach. Duli Beach is about 40 kilometres away so it took the lead-footed ladies no time at all to reach the turnoff. The lads meanwhile cruised along taking in the sights. We saw motorbikes with men taking their cocks to the afternoon cock fights.

We saw buses with armchairs strapped on the roof and men sitting in the armchairs. We saw tricycles (tuk tuk) with cows in them. We saw one tricycle (tuk tuk) with grandma, two adult children and three grandchildren being taken to town. We saw quaint little villages.

We saw the locals watching us pass. It was an awesome little journey.

The ladies missed the turnoff to Duli Beach and after a 37 point turn we all ventured down the dirt road to Duli Beach.

No power steering in these babies, this turn 35 or 36?

To get to Duli Beach from El Nido you have three options; hire a motorbike for 400 Pesos (AUD$10); get a tricycle to take you for 1200 Pesos which can be split between as many people you are capable of squashing into the tricycle, but this will be a bone jarring unpleasant journey.

Or you hire a jeep. At Duli Beach you pay a small fee to enter the dirt track to the beach, ‘for road maintenance’ the sign said, ‘what road’?

You park and then have a 10 minute walk to the beach.

This photo could become as famous as the Beatles crossing the road!!

Duli Beach is a surfing beach and it is a long white sand beach. The jungle and mountains surrounds the beach and it is a really beautiful place – this is where I celebrated my 56th birthday!

This is where I was when I turned 56!

There are a few restaurants which hire surfboards, etc, on the beach. One of these restaurants let us sit in the shade on their chairs provided we bought drinks, etc.

Pete ended up hiring a surfboard, he is a seasoned pro by the way, and hot dogging it in style out in the waves. It was so nice to actually get into surf after 14 months of the usual flat Asian oceans and the waves were exhilarating. This being my first time in the surf since getting my metal knee I wondered if I would sink!!! The walk to and from the ocean was over some very hot sand and it was hilarious watching tourists, not familiar with such hot sand, perform the ‘hot foot shuffle’. We stayed at Duli Beach for about three hours and loved every moment. If you come to El Nido you must come to Duli Beach.

On the way out of Duli Beach, the dirt track gets steep in places and as we went up the hill we saw a young Asian lady (Chinese perhaps) on a motorbike coming down, her male friend was on the motorbike behind her. The lady rode straight into a pot hole and went over the handle bars of the motor bike. Luckily she was riding very slowly and was wearing a helmet. We stopped, but her male friend waved us on as he was picking her up and dusting her off – she did not appear to be hurt. Over the next hill we saw a western male sitting on a motorbike on the side of the dirt track.  His female pillion passenger had stormed off in the opposite direction and it appeared like he was pleading with her to come back – it looked like she had had enough of being on the motorbike and was walking back to El Nido. It is one thing for inexperienced riders to ride motorbikes around town on concrete roads, but a totally different ‘kettle of fish’ for inexperienced riders to ride motorbikes ‘off road’, they tend to learn the hard way.

The next stop was Nacpan Beach. This beach is very popular with the tourists with lots of little bars, resorts, shops etc, lining the beach area. This beach had a lot more people than Duli Beach. The road into Nacpan Beach is again unpaved, though there are stretches of road where roads are under construction.

There are lots of tricycles full of Westerners bouncing along this road, as well as Westerners riding motorbikes trying their best not to fall off. The ride into Nacpan Beach is a dusty old affair and it was about now we wished our jeeps were equipped with side windows we could close. Oh well, what could possibly go wrong!

Nacpan Beach is just so picturesque and it had a lovely little wave rolling in that was just right for a bit of the old bodysurfing – we were living the ‘Endless Summer’.

After a marvellous lunch at a beach restaurant and a little bit more swimming and sunbathing it was time to press on.

The lads jumped into their jeep and turned the ignition, nothing happened! One, two, three more attempts and the motor did not start, but the fourth one it roared into life and we were off. See, nothing can go wrong!

We made it as far as the main road when the ladies pulled their jeep to the side of the road and said that their jeep did not sound right, there was not much else we could do but keep going. These turned out to be famous last words as about a kilometre down the road the jeep spluttered to a stop – the ladies said, ‘told you so’. The petrol gauge was still on a full tank, yet Lynda said it seemed to have just run out of petrol. Sure enough, the jeep’s petrol gauge didn’t work and the ladies had run out of petrol. It was now 4pm and the ladies had enough thrills in their jeep anyway, so they jumped into the lads’ jeep, and Pete drove them back to the jeep office. Steve and I were left stranded on the side of the road with the petrol-less jeep – I guess it was a bit rude of us to expect a petrol gauge to work! Yep, something went wrong!

Steve and I waited over 90 minutes for Pete to bring the jeep hire salesman and his mechanic to where we were broken down. The salesman didn’t believe Pete the jeep had run out of petrol but the mechanic brought some petrol with him just in case. The mechanic gave the salesman a filthy look when it turned out the jeep had run out of petrol and the petrol gauge was in fact broken. It seems he was unaware of this small detail.

We eventually arrived back at our hotel just in time for sunset and right in the middle of ‘happy hour’. Give thanks to small mercies. The ladies went off to change for dinner, leaving the three lads to finish their beers. A young Western girl came over to us and said, ‘like hi guys, like where you from, like cool Australia, like, well just like!’ She stood there and told us her life story without taking like a single breath like! In summary, ‘her name was Callie, from California, and she was an Event Manager doing events for Taylor Swift, among others, and she had just broken up with her wealthy boyfriend, who was an engineer for Boeing, because he wanted her to do a threesome and she was not into that ‘bi thing’. She then did a model pose, flashed a huge smile and said, ‘see you guys’ and went and climbed a coconut tree – I kid you not! Some people just live up to the stereotype.

Callie from California, PLEASE look at me!

We had dinner at the resort to celebrate my birthday, which I must admit was a rather interesting and adventurous birthday, when Callie from California walked past, she flashed her smile and said ‘Hi Pete’, ‘Hi Steve’ and ‘Hi Dave!’ The ladies looked at us and Steve said, ‘that’s Callie from California and she doesn’t do the ‘bi thing’ – well that stopped the conversation!!!!

Happy birthday to me and thanks for a wonderful day guys.

The adventure just keeps continuing………………..

1 Comment

  1. John and Margot

    Like life, part 2 is often so much better!


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