Philippines: Is GO!

Jenn and I have been trying to figure out our holiday plans for some time now. The ducks are now all in a line.

We’re going to be leaving December 8th and returning Dec 24th before going straight to Idyllwild for Christmas. Part of the motivation for the trip to the Philippines is that Jenn’s college roommate will be in Manilla for the Holidays starting Dec 21st which will give us time to catch up, share our experiences, and get a tour of Manilla with a local, which is hard to pass up.

We had a lot of complications getting this trip off the ground. I refinanced my house a few months ago which meant for at least for a little while I had lost all of the cash I had put aside for the trip. By the time I was back to a comfortable level we found ticket prices had gone from a steep $1400 each to $1700-1800. We then tried to reschedule sooner, which cost me more vacation days but also had cheaper tickets. Jenn’s work though wasn’t giving her the days off. But after lots of discussion she was able to reschedule 2 weeks forward so we would be back before xmas which brought the ticket prices down to $1200, much more manageable. The rest has then all slotted in well.

Our current itinerary (and as anyone who reads this blog knows isn’t set in stone) is to arrive in Manilla on Dec 10th. We plan to likely spend 1 day in Manilla getting things sorted out before taking a long distance bus north into the mountains and a village called Sagada before continuing onto Banue and Batad. This leg should give us a lot of culture and history, some mountains and great hiking, and if we can find it, some horseback riding. We then return to manilla for the second leg, a flight out to Mindoro Occidental where we plan to do a 2 day trip out to Apo Reef, and atoll known for superb diving, and day of seeing the island, and then returning to Manilla for the third and final leg, time with Oly and her family.

To have the most time to enjoy Apo Reef as possible, we need to have our diving certs out of the way, so the two weekends before we leave we will be taking classes to get our Padi open water certification. This should in itself be fun with trips out to Catalina and Anacapa for some local world class diving. I’m hoping to be allowed to document this process with my underwater camera when were not doing deeper dives. Sadly my camera is rated for 33ft, and I’ve taken it down to 40ft, but I can’t imagine it will go too much deeper. I could see the camera making it down to 66ft possibly, but at that point I don’t really want to risk it. I’m VERY tempted to upgrade my dive camera setup to a GoPro 3 which can go down much deeper to 200ft and has a wider angle lens and natively shoots raw.

More to come in the future!

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