EL NIDO TO SABANG

From El Nido we took Lexus Shuttle Service to Sabang. Don’t mistake their name for the vans that they have. They do not have Lexus automobiles. It’s the only shuttle service that goes to Sabang from El Nido. The vans carry passengers from El Nido (EN) to Puerto Princesa (PP) but they can drop people off at the junction in Salvacion for another van. We left El Nido at about 10 o’clock in the morning and arrived at Salvacion junction around 2pm. We then waited for another van coming from PP on the way to Sabang to pick us up. Lexus organizes all this which takes the hassle off me. The cost is Php900/person (US$20) from El Nido to Sabang.

We got seats in the front of the van beside the driver. He told me that he just came from Puerto Princesa and they left early in the morning. He only had about half an hour rest and Lexus operator asked him to travel back straightaway. He was meant to go back in the afternoon (after a longer rest break). I was keeping my eye on the driver in case he got tired. I noticed he kept eating candy in order to stay awake. He did have a rest once we stopped for 30 minutes in Taytay.

You can also take the bus that goes to PP but I was told that it gets tricky waiting for vans from PP going to Sabang in the afternoon (as you haven’t booked the whole trip with Lexus, and also the bus is likely to get to Salvacion later in the day, and you may have missed the PP to Sabang van). The shuttle may cost more compared to a bus fare but it takes the hassle of organizing off your hands.

Overnight stay here

I made arrangements to stay at Balay-balay Travel Lodge (Php2000/night), air-conditioned room with a bathroom and a shower. All the other places were fully booked when I inquired. The place has the basics for an overnight stay. Electricity is only available in Sabang between 6pm-6am. We sprayed some bug spray just to make sure that no mosquitoes will be fed (on us during the night) as the bathroom window doesn’t have an insect screen on it and we could see a few flying about.

We settled in for the night ready for tomorrow’s visit to Sabang’s famous Underground River.

You can check the other El Nido posts here:

Are we there yet? – Bus trip from Puerto Princesa to El Nido
EL NIDO Island hopping tours
EL NIDO ISLAND HOPPING: TOUR A – Lagoons and Beaches
EL NIDO ISLAND HOPPING: TOUR C – Hidden Beaches and Shrines
INLAND EL NIDO: Motorcycle ride and secluded beaches
EL NIDO – Where we stayed
EL NIDO – helpful things to know
EL NIDO TO SABANG —you are here

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Text & Photos by Alicia Davis

A SLIPPER AND A PRAYER

Awhile back a friend gave me a pair of pink flip-flops, comfortable and good quality footwear. We lived in Melbourne at that time so I only used them during summer, but since we moved to Manila, I use them every day. When I go to the market I put them on, when I do my errands I use them. Wherever I go that I can get away with wearing something other than shoes, the slippers are my footwear of choice. Understandably they started to wear out. There were some uneven flowery designs on the sole of the slippers that also provided some sort of traction so I don’t slip when walking. As the soles started to wear out, those flowery designs began to disappear, until I couldn’t see them anymore. The soles were now very smooth.

The footpath, or sidewalk as referred to in Manila, varies depending on the building it is in front of. Some are gravel and coarse, others are tiled and smooth. The tiled surfaces are extra slippery when it rains. One rainy afternoon as I was walking along using my favorite slippers, I absentmindedly stepped onto the tiled portion of the sidewalk when suddenly I felt my foot slipping on the smooth wet surface. For a quick second I thought I was going to fall but manage to hold my balance and steadied myself. It became apparent that the soles of my slippers were now very smooth and it was a risk to use them especially on tiled sidewalks. I needed new footwear. I resolved to buy one on my next visit to the department store.

It just so happen that I went to the department store that week. I need to buy new shoes and I also browsed through the section for sandals and slippers. I choose a pair of flip-flops and was ready to pay for it together with the shoes I found when I hesitated and walked all the way back to the section where I got them to put them back. I went home with the other stuff I bought and didn’t think much about it.

A few weeks passed on another rainy afternoon I was walking, this time on my way to the bank. As I was about to step on a smooth tiled surface I remembered I almost slipped over the last time. So I was walking so slowly that people passing me by were actually looking at me in a funny way (wondering what was wrong with me). My resolve to buy new slippers was stronger this time.

I went to the department store but the style that I wanted to buy was out of stock. I went home thinking that I will go back to the store in the next few days firmly deciding to buy new slippers. But the next few days turned into weeks, because I did not have any instance where I had to walk in smooth wet surfaces again, and buying this footwear sort of ‘slipped’ my mind.

A couple of months before December there were few more occurrences of where I went to the department store to attempt to buy slippers but for some reason or another came home without them. I remembered my “excuses” when I looked at buying – the ones I have are still good to wear, I will wait for a better design, they don’t have my size, wait for something better. It came to the point where I wondered what was wrong with me, why do I keep having these “excuses” every time I am in the store ready to buy the slippers.

December came and we were getting ready to go away for Christmas break. I desperately need to buy some flip-flops as we are going away for holidays and most of the time we will be on the beach. But I got busy with preparing to go away. It again slipped my mind and did not buy them while in Manila.

When we went to Cebu, I actually dragged my husband to a mall to look for slippers. Browsing through the display intent on buying them, I still went home without them. Dejected, I did not find what I wanted.

I was meeting up with the friend who gave me the pink flip-flops years ago. Each year around Christmas she usually gives me something and it had been a different item each time since the slippers. This year she handed me a paper bag which she said was my present. I put it down on the table and we got so busy catching up that I did not open the bag till hours later after she had left.

Guess what the present was? It was a new pair of slippers, just exactly what I wanted!

I rang to tell her that her present was exactly what I needed. She then proceeded to tell me that she had bought the slippers months ago in July, as it was on sale with a considerable discount. She had prayed that I will not buy the same item because she is giving me slippers as a Christmas present!

It’s amazing how God honored her prayer and those “excuses” are actually His gentle prompting when I was about to buy new slippers.

I was amazed and at the same time relieved, I thought there was something wrong with me, why it seems like I intend to buy new slippers but have excuses instead.

I realized that what seemed like my own thoughts are actually that ‘still small voice’ that the bible speaks of, and that He is interested even in the little details of our lives.

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Text & Photos by Alicia Davis

Snorkeling at the GREAT BARRIER REEF

The first time that I was properly introduced to the wonders under the waters, I was hooked right then. I snorkeled for the first time at the Great Barrier Reef. It was a wonderful experienced, but at the same time it kinda set me up for future disappointment. Because now wherever I go snorkeling, I always compare it to the colors and beauty I saw when I snorkeled for the first time.

The Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system, is composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,300 kilometres (1,400 miles) over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometers (133,000 sq mi).

There are plenty of day tours to choose from at the Great Barrier Reef that offer snorkeling; we opted to try a smaller boat with about 30 passengers, less people means not-so-crowded. We started off early morning when the mist of dawn is still in the air. We walked towards the marina in Cairns. It was the start of a fantastic day. Here are some photos of what we saw.

 

A parrot fish amidst colorful corals

 

Under the sea with these creatures!

 

This is a Black anenome fish –a.k.a the cousin of Nemo

The Great Barrier Reef (located in the Coral Sea, off the east coast of Queensland, Australia) is home to thousands of species of marine life; some are not found anywhere else in the world. It is one of the seven wonders of the natural world, and pulling away from it, and viewing it from a greater distance, you can understand why. It is larger than the Great Wall of China, and the only living structure on earth visible from space.

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Text & Photos by Alicia Davis