My experience on Palawan island Philippines
Some days we tend to forget easily, but then there are some we will just remember forever. Those days were my second week in the Philippines in November 2011. I am sure I will never forget those. Ever!
That’s how were my days spent on Palawan island, one of more than 7,000 islands of the Philippines.
It all started the day before I went there. I was on North Luzon island, in a small town called Dagupan sitting in a cafeteria with a good friend of mine Mica and her handsome cousin. I couldn’t wait to see him, I remember clearly.
I was just finishing an article so logged into facebook to answer important messages to devote my time entirely after that to my friends. And then it happened. I saw a message from my mom saying just one thing.
Her brother, my beloved 39-year old uncle, just died of cancer. Tears started to roll down my cheeks and I ran out to call my mom. It was one of the worst afternoons of my life, even though my friends really tried hard to make me laugh through tears for the following hours.
”I could not believe I was never going to see my uncle again. And I was not there for my family either. I was not at home just because I was following my dreams!” all this was just going around my head all the time.
The following night we spent with Mica on the bus on the way back to Manila where I had to take my flight to Puerto Princesa, the capital of Palawan island.
I did not want to say goodbye to my friends before taking the bus, I did not want to say bye to my friend in Manila and most of all I was not ready to say goodbye to my uncle who was like a brother to me.
We were never going to burst out with laugh ever again hugging each other???
But the bad day continued.
I just boarded my flight when switching off the phone I got a message from Jason, a friend of mine who I was supposed to travel with for a week around Palawan, that he missed his flight and he didn’t know what to do.
Shit! Everything comes in three, right? The worst thing was that he was the one who planned the whole week and I had NO IDEA where we were going to stay and what we were going to do.
I didn’t close my eyes at all the night before as crying myself out to sleep did not work. They were all puffy so I could hardly see anything. And now I was not just tired, super sad and heart-broken, but angry and kind of desperate too. I spent the whole flight staring out of the window.
I felt like a zombie. Zombie with a a lot of feelings.
Finally we got to Puerto Princesa and the only thing I wanted at that moment was to sit on a plane and just fly to Slovakia to be with my family.
Fucking cancer! Not fair!
I got my backpack and walked out of the airport to the horrible heat. Among all the I AM SO SORRY text messages from Jason was also one saying that a friend of his was waiting there for me at the airport.
Yes, Franco was really there but he was even more nervous about everything than me. A girl from Panglima tours came to meet us there and got us a ride and entrance tickets to the Underground River we needed a few days after.
I was there with tears in my eyes, starving (those who know me know what it means) and cursing traveling and my stubborness.
Why can’t I sit on my ass on the sofa at home for a
while?! Now I asked myself what my mom and grandma have been asking me for years.
More things went wrong that day. We almost could not get a bus to El Nido and then when we finally did, me and Franco had to stay in just one room instead of the booked 2 rooms.
But slowly, the charms of El Nido started to get under my skin and change my mood. I had a huge plate of my favorite spaghetti for dinner and we talked a lot with Franco, who turned out to be a great person and still gave me a chance to show that I am not so bitchy all the time as I was the first hours in Palawan.
He understood a lot of bad things were happening to me at once and I just could not handle it all.
The following day, we took the amazing Tour A around some breath-taking beaches and islands around Palawan and I realized that I couldn’t be anywhere better to heal my broken heart and sadness about my uncle’s death that in this paradise.
The day after we hopped on a boat again already also with my friend Jason who managed to get to El Nido the previous afternoon.
Both Jason and Franco were the best companion I could ever get during those tearful days inside of my heart, and both of them really got a smile on my face pretty often.
We spent time drinking fresh coconut water a lot, enjoying empty beaches, swimming, snorkeling, liking the wind in the air when boating, talking to friendly locals and tasting local food.
Even really bad experiences can lead to beautiful unforgettable memories.
For me, a week on Palawan island will always be not just sad days after my uncle’s death, but also a lot of fun with my friends while exploring the beauty of white sand beaches, island hopping, visiting Underground River and also the former prison in Puerto Princesa, among many other things.
It will also be a tasty dinner with Cesar, the owner of Panglima tours who helped us to organize the trip, and random meeting of the restaurant owner who then invited me to stay in her apartment in expensive Boracay a few days after all by my own and for free.
My Palawan days will always be an Asian experience to remember. A bad and a good one … at the same time.
And that’s life.
It is never just black or white.