To travel across the Philippines, you have to take multiple forms of transportation.
I flew from Busan to Manila with Philippine Airlines. Shortly before our decent, the flight attendants gave every passenger a free SIM card.
According to my Lonely Planet book and friends who have visited the Philippines, you should take a yellow metered taxi from the airport–not a white taxi. So I stood in line with the other foreigners to get a yellow taxi. It was easy to spot with the big red sign.
An airport staff member told me it would take an hour to reach the front of the line. It took about fifteen minutes.
As soon as my taxi took off, the meter started, and it went faster than a meter should. I noticed, but it was 1 AM, I wasn’t thinking clearly, and I had forgotten that my Lonely Planet book had a warning about this.
When I arrived at my hostel, the meter read 3, 500 pesos, so that’s what I paid. I didn’t think to question it, check my book, negotiate… I just wanted to check in and sleep. Also, everybody told me that white taxis charge you 75% more. If I took the time to do the math, I would’ve known that that price didn’t make sense. Also, I thought: How can I argue with a machine? Well, apparently some taxi drivers have figured out how to rig their meters.
Two days later I flew to Coron, and it was my first time flying in a propeller plane, and I just happened to get a window seat right next to one of the propellers.
After three days in Coron, I took a ferry to El Nido. I purchased my ticket the day before, which cost 1, 760 pesos.
The following morning I got a ride to the terminal, which only cost 10 pesos. Then I had to pay a terminal fee of 20 pesos.
Around noon we left the terminal one group at a time to walk to the ferry.
The seating inside the ferry was like the seating in a plane. It was air-conditioned.
We departed at 12:20 and arrived at 4:30, but we didn’t dock until 4:50 due to the lack of available space.
During our journey across the sea, we were provided with some interesting entertainment. We began at the middle of the movie Congo. They cut the movie short and started playing a bad bootleg copy of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. It was such a bad bootleg that you could see the people in the movie theater. Thankfully, they stopped playing that and started playing Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes. Then they turned that off after the opening credits. When they did play a movie to its completion it was Spy Mate, which is about a secret agent chimpanzee. It was released in 2004 and earned a well-deserved 17% on Rotten Tomatoes. Finally, we watched the most recent version of King Kong with Jack Black. See a pattern?
After three days in El Nido I shared a van to Puerto Prencesa. We left at 11 AM and arrived at 5 PM. It cost me 1, 500 pesos.
Three days later I flew to Manila where I would catch my final flight home to Korea, and in the tiny Puerto Prencesa airport, you have to pay a terminal fee of 200 pesos.
During my two hour flight, I was lucky enough to get a window seat and capture this shot.
“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson