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Roadtrippin' Part 2

Ditumabo Falls

sunny 35 °C

The journey to Ditumabo Waterfalls, the highlight of our road trip, was an amazing experience in itself and the reward was more than worth the journey. I tell our tale through pictures......

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To reach waterfall base camp takes less than twenty minute drive from downtown Baler. Well that is, if you're not held up by a standard Baler road block....
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From this point, our party of intrepid travellers made a magnificent thirty minute trek into lush rainforest, scaling the pipework of a mini hydro-electric plant, clambering over slippery rocks and structurally-questionable bamboo bridges.

Or you can cheat and just walk through the river!

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The mini 'pre-waterfall' waterfall

What we saw when we arrived is what I'd like the call the REAL Philippines; the kind of scenery that belongs on the cover of a travel brochure.
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These photos just don't do it justice due to the amount of spray in the air but it was so beautiful and SO COLD!!!

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We clearly weren't bothered.

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Of course, it wouldn't be Asia without the occasional oddity to keep things exciting.

So after reaching our peak at the waterfalls and having way too much excitement, one too many injuries sustained through stupidity and a little too much sun and good food, we threw in the towel and decided to head home :(
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These were my new little friends that I met on the way to the ATM, before sadly departing back to the real world.

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Of course we couldn't say goodbye without picking up the obligatory souvenirs that we didn't need but can't live without

So exhausted we nearly didn't make it home after colliding with a giant penis carving 1395.jpg100_2448.jpg
a goat with testicles bigger than it's head and two or three road cones. Don't worry, only one cone was mortally wounded. But now we're all going to need a holiday to get over our holiday!

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Aahhh home at last!

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 15:44 Archived in Philippines Tagged waterfalls mountains lakes bridges churches people children animals sky planes beer boat sunset diving ocean beach surf cambodia jungle driving white museum island breakfast philippines sand summer surfing cuisine sunglasses camera national bay america resort big tour scuba manila dive underwater asia coconut scuba_diving wreck computer break sihanoukville pottery discovery luzon zambales subic sunburn now south_east_asia clams swell mindoro dive_master dive_centre uss_new_york surfboard barretto olongapo sunbathe zambapalooza puerto_galera wreck_diving baler Comments (4)

This is meant to be a roadtrip.. All we're doing is driving!

Part One

sunny 34 °C

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Party of Six: Matt, Gregg, Karen, Tanya, Me and Ryan

Well we fell at the first hurdle of our road trip, surviving the epic 6 hour bus drive over potholes, invisible speed humps and dodging the occasional road chicken, we emerged in Baler about 2 inches shorter, and decided we weren't going any further. Totally worth it! We'd arrived in paradise and it was freakin' beautiful. large_IMG_0632.jpglarge_185.jpg

Baler, Aurora; our base for the week was also the location for parts of the film Apocalypse Now (it makes Vietnam look good).100_2296.jpg100_2298.jpg100_2297.jpg103.jpg

Remember that Charlie don't surf? Well, apparently now he does.
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Ryan's Birthday!
The beach out the front of our beautiful hotel was like glass; perfect for swimming, tanning, long romantics walks and whatever else you put in your online dating profile... but not so great for surfing. So we ventured half an hour down the road and dragged out the mals, which are kind of like paddling a boat. It was Matt, Tanya and Ryan's first time learning to surf and they smashed it!
Here he is in fine form, catching his first wave ever... 309.jpg
and here he is in even finer form... 100_2303.jpg
I mean, you're on holidays, so why not celebrate turning 29 by getting naked and chasing Matt down the hallway?
Happy birthday Ryan :)
The next day, a few Coronas convinced him he was able to defy the laws of physics and this beer bottle remained in the corner of our balcony for the entire week.

This particular day, we conveniently forgot to apply sunscreen before heading into the water. Big mistake! We were all feeling slightly crispy and medium to well-done and so recovered with the biggest, fattest lunch in a little road side restaurant featuring some mystery ingredients we would prefer never to disclose. remarkably_sunburnt.jpg
I have to admit if I had started this whole Asian Invasion being picky and sifting through my meals, I would have starved. Always better to the just close your eyes and enjoy.

Here is just a sample of how well we ate on the beach in Baler. 100_2363.jpg
100_2369.jpg Here is me enjoying a Rocky Road Frost; like drinking easter eggs. Something that good shouldn't be legal! We even ate chocolate fondue. 099.jpg Rosa cooked me breakfast in bed every morning; Filipino Beef Tapa + columbian coffee = spoiled rotten!!

Bahia de Baler:
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The 'unique' restaurant beach shack with the live band, surrounded by hundreds of coconut palms but runs out of coconut shakes, and plays highly questionable music throughout dinner...
Weird Al Yankovic: You Don't Love Me Anymore

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We only wanted to enjoy a beer and a cocktail on the balcony until Mr 'Unleash the Animal' decided to pick a fight with the poor waiter on his break. We didn't manage to translate much but I think his actions speak louder than words....

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Like a bunch of 5-year olds we required plenty of time out for naps to prevent tantrums.
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Baler Beach:
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And I'm ready to go swimming!

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Gregg having a rinse off after a heavy surf session
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This is Chris; a mate of Karen's AND a pro surfer, who, when he wasn't playing tour guide or surfing instructor for Charlie Does, had but one intention; to make the rest of us look bad. It only became a problem on the last day when Gregg tried to upstage him, stacked and heard an almighty CRACK! coming from his foot. 100_2432.jpg This was the end of Gregg's surfing holiday.

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Local fishing village in the center of town

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This is actually NOT the scariest toilet I've seen in Asia...

Driving Around Aurora:
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The view from atop a weather station; the million dollar view which nearly cost us our sanity trying to get up the ridiculously steep one-way road.
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Quality main roads around Baler.

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We love Baler locals.... 100_2314.jpg...Yes we do!!!

Drifting away into a paradise sunset.
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This says "Having fun... thrilled you're not here."

Check out tomorrow's blog for our trip to a waterfall and the conclusion to our Baler road trip!

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Posted by VascoDiveMaster 20:10 Archived in Philippines Tagged waterfalls sunsets_and_sunrises beaches people parties trees rainforest beer sunset restaurant beach surf jungle breakfast pink philippines summer sun surfing cuisine sunglasses paradise national bay tropical tour scuba underwater real coconut photography scuba_diving turtle treasure subic sunburn apocalypse now swell surfboard sunbathe theme_park baler Comments (1)

Just Got Off The Boat

sunny 27 °C
View Dive Master Lifetime Adventure on VascoDiveMaster's travel map.

I have literally JUST stepped off the boat and am dripping water all over the dive shop office. My cheeks and eyelashes are a little bit crusty with salt but I'm on a high right now because I just returned from the L.S.T! That's Landing Ship Tank for the non-maritime familiar including myself (I'm reading the info from a print-out). It is one of the best wrecks here in Subic, sunk in 1944 after a life of transporting military vehicles including tanks, trucks and marine vessels.The poor L.S.T. suffered it's demise at the hands of the US Navy for live fire exercises and is now one of the few wrecks that lies upright on the ocean floor.

Enough of the history lesson! The hard and soft coral has made a comfortable home of the deck of the L.S.T. along with the most fragile little nudibranch who perched himself (I really don't actually know if he was actually a he) on the edge of the deck.nudibranch

nudibranch

We chased a trio of delicate little ghost pipefish into a waiting safety net of electric orange soft coral. Making our way along the top of the wreck at about 29m depth we met a local spotted eagle ray that took one look at us, turned his nose up and went back to dancing gracefully above the ship's deck and right in front of our faces.

Spotted Eagle Ray on the L.S.T.

Spotted Eagle Ray on the L.S.T.


Probably the most elegant marine life in existance.

The day keeps getting better. I just got a facebook message from my friend Emily saying she will be joining MY parents, my lifetime friend Erin and HER parents to Vietnam in June/July for our family holiday so she will be stuck with me for a whole month! Right now you can't wipe the smile off my face (insert corresponding emoticon reflecting Natalie's present emotional state here: Cheesy grin)

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 21:35 Archived in Philippines Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises beaches people parties animals boats diving bay scuba dive wreck subic vascos Comments (0)

It's Good Friday in Paradise!


View Dive Master Lifetime Adventure on VascoDiveMaster's travel map.

The Christians have gone a bit crazy here; nailing people to crosses and such so I'm hiding in the office. Am feeling a bit tense as I have lost a whole bag of ten 3-in-1 coffee sachets that are currently my sustaining my life-force.

Have been terrified to learn that, after making a personal vow to abstain from coconut and all things coconut related; then making an epic fail of this promise in Cambodia thanks to oh-so-good coconut shakes by the beach and an over dose of pina coladas, Lonely Planet tells me the Philippines is the biggest producer of coconuts in the world!! :( Am slightly concerned about the possibility of turning into a coconut....

First boat trip out on subic bay

First boat trip out on subic bay


Happy Easter everyone!!!

......By the way, can someone please remind my parents to give Easter Bunny my new address?

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 04:54 Archived in Philippines Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises beaches people parties animals boats diving bay scuba dive wreck subic vascos Comments (0)

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