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May 26, 2008

Back from the Philippines

Filed under: Philippines,Travels — stephane @ 4:35 am
Pufferfish and soft corals on Ducomi Pier

I’m finally back from the Philippines and what a great trip that was. Being in the KLM aircraft was already a cultural shock with such a crappy crew.

Nonetheless, exception of this intense Dutch cultural shock the stay in the Philippines was awesome and certainly beats Sulawesi in term of reef richness especially as we have only been scratching the surface of it. Special thanks to our Pinoy friends: Doy Tan, Adrien Uichico (who also happen to manage the resort Dive Solana and has some absolutely amazing shots) and lovely Cris for her contagious smile.

When arriving in Manila, courtesy of Doy and Cris I had the opportunity to taste some locale delicacies such as pork cheeks, tuna stomach, raw squids and fish, chicken liver and other things I forgot but left me the next day with still a very distinctive taste in the mouth (I have to say I’ll pass on the raw squid next time or dip that in a proper sauce). Certainly worth doing again next time I’m going to Manila.

A couple of other interesting experience in a bar in Makati and a night in Dumaguete. It’s also very disconcerting to have that many girls giggling and telling you you’re guapo everywhere you go and not exactly shy. Good for the ego I guess. Will consider relocating to the Philippines later.

Our first week in Dauin was altered by the rest of a typhoon which in essence meant bad weather, choppy sea, bad visibility but the house-reef has enough critters to keep you busy for hundred of dives. The next week was much better with sun and good visibility (wide angle shots on the Ducomi Pier were taken with 20+m viz).

About the full KLM experience: No greetings when boarding the plane, appalling service where the hostesses would have happily throw you the drinks in your face, they throw more items on the floor than I have ever seen: water, bread, cans, juice, coffee, … and how shocking to see grumpy 6′ hostesses walking like farmers when you’ve been in the Philippines.

When arriving in Schiphol the train to Leiden was not working and was replaced by a bus service… little did they forget that people actually coming from an international airport do have baggages and it could help to have bus where there is room for baggages. Witnessing the NS staff chatting while retired people try to put their baggage in a bus and insulting them in return when people complain it’s a crappy service is beyond believes.

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