My days are generally taken up with the laptop and writing. Electricity is good, and I am getting a lot done. But my initial fear of island life is always there.
Get up, eat. Enjoy beautiful view. Write. Eat left overs, feel too hot. Start on second liter of water. Write. Stop and wait for the electricity to come back. Wait for the sun to cool down. Head to town and buy supplies. Sit in front of fan when the electrictiy does come back. Cook, clean, watch sunset. Write. Sleep.
Unsurprisingly, it’s pretty much the same routine everyone else has here. Locals that is. Holiday makers I’m not counting here as they are here for different reasons.
I am not complaining mind you, I am after all proving a point. And; it seems to be coming true.
However, when another opportunity to go island hoping came about; I jumped at it. There was another couple heading to a few of islands as part of their tout. I was invited to come along thanks to Rex. He wouldn’t be around this time though, so we had a new boatman. He caught be wonderfully for 400 pesos once I arrived at the boat.
I was tempted to walk away, Rex was usually free. But, I needed to get out.
The old lagoon was first. Then the hidden lagoon. Here rather than following the couple out I went off in the opposite direction. The island where the hidden lagoon is located is owned by a local man. And on it, two old Filipino’s are stationed to stand guard.
They live in a little hut on the beach, and have to paddle out to get supplies as there is nothing on the island. Not even water. They play on a guitar for visitors, and charge 50 pesos to people wanting to have a picnic there. Now these guys were really taking island life seriously.
I walked along the shore and soon noticed the rocks lining it. I am not a geologist, but I think this is fairly accurate. The rock in El Nido is very different to the rest of Palawan.
It’s almost bone or coral like in it’s formation. Tiny little holes cover all of it, and it feels sharp. Every cliff seems climbable due to this. One can just grab hold of any cliff face and your skin can grip onto this rock like spiderman. It hurts a little after a while, but nothing too much.
What’s more if you hit a stone off it, the rock gives off a metallic sound. There were also large iron colored deposits dotted around the place. A close up look showed them to be like iron ore, but still rock. I think that I must be getting really bored with my Island life. I am obsessing about rock …
We took off again and headed to another deserted island for lunch. Grilled chicken, salad and of course, rice. All in all it wasn’t a bad day out. I needed more of them actually. I’m spending too much of my island life writing my book from my little shore side cottage. Then again, there is only so much to do on an island.
I gentle reminder about how the other half live was brought to my attention as we chugged back to El Nido on the banka (small boat). The boatman pointed out to another island. This one looked a little different. All along the shore were well maintained houses, still decorated in local materials, but distinctly modern. So modern infact that I caught a glimpse of solar panels dotted along the roofs.
The boatman mentioned the name of the place. A resort used by the rich. I thought the guy meant the rich class of the Philippines as there did seem to be a striking number of them about. But no he meant the elite of Hollywood.
“This where George Clooney stay.” The boatman pointed. “$450 dollar a night.”
Back at my $5 dollar a night cottage I sat back to another sunset. Twiddled my thumbs and began to cook my two day old beef adobo. I wondered if George would like a plate?
Similar to West Africa, once you see how the other half live when you are at the complete opposite end of the scale; it gives rise to strange emotions. It makes me see why so many people clammer through all odd’s to get a taste of the good life. It’s another world on your door step, so close you can see the cool ‘unreality’ of it all.
Yes, there is a resentment there. Polar opposites living next door to each other can bring this out after a while.
In Africa it was emabassy functions, or NGO ‘think tanks’ or dare I mention ‘workshop weekends’. Pluck the local man out from his village and place him in this foreign movie star like enviroment, then send him back.
I wonder if Rex, or today’s boatman thinks the same way I did after some time in Africa.
Do they look over at night when all but this villa are without electricity and wonder what it would be like to live like this everyday? What then if they get to make it inside? Do they resent it, desire it even more, or; try their level best to forget it?
Then again I’m not sure anyone would truly comprehend this unless they’ve been in such a situation. Though, I think most could and perhaps should, at least try to imagine it.
The electricity blinked off and I pined for a non-meltable candle, or maybe a wind-up fan at the very least.
How to cook for yourself on an island (refrigerators not included)