El Nido Motorbike Ride 24/11/11

Good morning world! I am not hungry this morning, what a new great feeling!

We are planning on hiring a motorbike here in El Nido and discovering the places and beaches away from town. The shop owner can’t give too much information about the route around northern Palawan. She and her husband have only been a few kilometers outside of El Nido. Bit strange, isn’t it? I’m just thinking, they are not an adventurous couple, so let’s just get the paperwork done and off we go.

We are cruising up the road, finally feeling free and independent after the island prison we had spent 3 days on. The sealed road suddenly ends just out of El Nido and a gravel road leads the way through the rice fields; we are feeling adventurous.

“Something feels strange here!” Logan says and asks me to have a look at the back wheel. I can’t see much and have to jump off the bike. “Yes, it’s a flat tire!!!” We are in the middle of no-where, the last person I saw was a farmer pulling a plough behind an ox! The sun is burning on our skin and I feel a bit vulnerable out here. Since we went past a person with his face covered and something in his hand that looked like a gun, I was reminded of the kidnappings here in the Philippines I watched on Banged up Abroad. This year there have been 10 kidnappings of foreigners by the Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines.

Suddenly a car appears in the distance and we wave it down. An Asian family is stepping out of the car one by one until there are about 12 of them gathering around our motorbike. Their son tells us that there is a mechanic not too far from here. Logan asks me to jump in the car with them and he’ll follow. “Yeah, great!” I’m thinking, convincing myself that the Abu Sayyaf wouldn’t drive down in a van full of family members. Half way there, they tell Logan to get in the car and let the son ride the bike, since he’s a lot skinnier and lighter.

The “mechanic” is indeed a teenager and his two friends under an open hut, next to a field with a couple of ox. They take out the tube and hold it under water; hey this is how I learnt to find a hole in my bicycle when I was a kid. They must have seen bubbles coming out and are now heating up some rubber to clamp it onto the tube.

“How much?” Logan is asking. “50” the boy answers. Logan gives him 100 and tells him to keep it. He is very grateful and happy. We are too! Back on the gravel and mud road we are going past rice fields and forests, then past children and through a tiny village. At the end we finally get to a beautiful beach and a very calm ocean. We seem to be the attraction of the town; all the school kids come running down the street to watch us, while we are walking down the beach. Behind a point, we find another long bay with palm trees, it’s a beautiful still secret spot.

After a long swim, we seem to have cooled down enough to make our way back to El Nido. Back in town we just drive down the beach and into the second bay of El Nido to explore a bit more. We rest on a bench near the ocean for a while, before we take off to the other side of El Nido (south). There isn’t much to see apart from Corong Corong. After the little village the road leads into a foresty area away from the ocean. There is a look-out which we stop at to get a nice overview over Corong Corong and the Bacuit Archipelago. There is a guard asleep in his hammock and I feel sorry to wake him up from his afternoon snooze by starting the motorbike right next to him.

Back in El Nido we book an island hopping trip for the next day, have dinner and fall into bed.

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