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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:
large_IMG_0740.jpg100_2421.jpgAnd I'm ready to go swimming!

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)

Cheese Burger in Paradise

sunny 32 °C

I like seeing people working hard... Mark and Jayson got stuck sorting a least half a container load of masks, snorkels and fins, some of which Gregg is donating to deserving kids, the others will now be included in any discover scuba and open water divers courses!100_2266.jpg
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This box, like three others is filled entirely with snorkels. Slight overkill.
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Here is the boss, supervising operations...

Plenty of construction and interior decoration taking place at Vascos recently. Lolo is slaving over the timber varnish for Brian's latest venture; The Treasure Trove. 100_2270.jpg100_2269.jpg
Soon to be a very unique gift shop next to the restaurant where Brian's going to start selling a couple of his particularly special blue-glazed chinese antiques.
I like seeing people working hard.

Felt a bit down today actually. I can compare my life almost singularly to one Simple Plan song. Tragic.

....On second thoughts, Jimmy Buffet's 'Cheesburger in Paradise' might also do it.
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[Heading out today on our epic surfing road trip. So excited! Details when I return in 7-10 days :)]

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 23:19 Archived in Philippines Tagged boats surf market shopping storm philippines summer sun surfing paradise resort scuba marine manila underwater scuba_diving souvenirs luzon south_east_asia swell subic_dive_centre uss_new_york surfboard wreck_diving baler Comments (0)

Got my first hater!

sunny 32 °C

To be honest, I never felt like I was doing my job here properly until I started getting comments and new subscribers. But now, I can take it up a notch because I've got my very own hater!
It's supposed to only be celebs who get haters but now at least I know I'm doing my job and my blogs and videos are getting around! Notorious3 says in not so many choice words that he hopes I drown. As much as I hate to disappoint my fans, I must confess that I could swim before I could walk!

So this is for Mr Notorious3:
I am assuming you are of course a bloke? I spent yesterday violently sea sick and blowing chunks out my nose, I spend most days diving in one of the most beautiful and unique locations in the world, I have managed to tour almost all of Asia this year with next to no cash, I have climbed epic mountains, seen endangered wildlife, met some amazing people and my fair share of crazies. I have dodged dysentery, malaria and the odd car accident. I haven't seen winter in three years. I have met a fantastic guy who is flying half way across the planet to come see me in less than a week and two amazing parents who have just done the same. I eat restaurant food every day and consider myself damn lucky for all of the above. .... What have you done lately?

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 11:52 Archived in Philippines Tagged mountains beaches diving cambodia sun camera paradise america manila disney dive asia war disneyland turtle american luzon south_east_asia mindoro vascos dive_master subic_dive_centre dive_centre uss_new_york diver ocean_park zambapalooza Comments (7)

The rain keeps on keeping on.....

snow 31 °C

The rain is falling in an impossibly consistent torrent. I’m worried that if I set foot outside I might drown. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it, it just KEEPS coming! Damn typhoon. There's nothing to do except sit in the bar and drink.... life could be worse I suppose?

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We have ditched the dive boat this morning in search of an ellusive surf break just at the mouth of Subic Bay. We have a party of 3, four surfboards, a new underwater camera, diving boots and a pink floatie ring. Evidence of our awesomeness to be updated soon......

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 06:19 Archived in Philippines Tagged turtles boat diving beach surf summer sun surfing bay tropical scuba centre dive wreck break turtle zambales subic subic_bay dive_centre surfboard zambapalooza Comments (2)

I saw a Turtle I saw a TURTLE!!!!

sunny 35 °C
View Dive Master Lifetime Adventure on VascoDiveMaster's travel map.

Today was probably one of the BEST dives I've done so far in Subic! And I've been so distracted these last couple of days I forgot to mention we have discovered a completely untouched, never before dived, absolutely unbelievable coral reef that just about blew my mind! .... So we've called it 'Nat's Reef.'

Not only was it a mass of coral in every shade of the rainbow, but there were also large nudibranch on this site that I havn't seen in any other dive site in Subic or in fact anywhere at all! As we descended we ran into a freakin turtle!!! A little smaller than the first I ever saw but he didn't seem to mind us at all and just plodded along in front, playing dive master and giving us the official induction to Nat's Reef. Of course, knowing that it would be so spectacular, Einstein forgot to charge to camera and so I have done my best to (unsuccessfully) recreate the moment through Google Images;

pink-slug-160.jpg According to the fascinating read that is 'Nudibranch Behaviour' this guy is a reticulated wart slug, which sounds really appealing!pyjamas_nudibranch.jpgThis guy, and I'm not kidding either, is a Pyjamas Nudibranch! But last, and not least....
sea-turtle-2.jpg It goes without saying that the turtle is the most beautiful thing in the sea.

On a less sober note, you know you're getting old when evenings in the 'Captain's Corner' at Vasco's have been dominated by Brian's new party trick with his personal blood pressure machine. Lowest score buys the round, and I have been blessed with the blood pressure of a half-dead Buddhist Monk.

Posted by VascoDiveMaster 15:31 Archived in Philippines Tagged diving beach island philippines summer sun paradise tropical scuba manila asia turtle luzon subic south_east_asia dive_master subic_bay dive_centre blood_pressure Comments (3)

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