We got our first taste of the notoriously untamed islands of Palawan in Sabang. We first took a plane from Manila to Puerto Princesa and then spent 5 more hours on an off-road mini van.
We teamed up with “Two wild and crazy” Czech guys and hard nosed our way to negotiating the mini van for $23 USD (split 4 ways!). The Czech guys were hilarious, insisting we stop to get beer for the long drive. One of them even had an accent that was a dead ringer for Steven Martin or Dan Aykroyd’s SNL character. I was an immediate fan. But the roads were so windy that everyone was too car sick to drink. (To sick to drink? I know I feel weird even writing it.) Sadly, our full beer cans tragically rolled around in the van, clinking together under our seat, not being given the proper attention.
Finally we arrived in Sabang. This place was out of this world gorgeous. And after 5 miserable hours, all I was capable of thinking about was swimming out into that crystal blue ocean.
But Ben and the Czech guys had other plans. They wanted to go from beach resort to beach resort, to scope out the best deal on accommodation. WTH, I was sold on the first private beach hut we saw. It was only $10/night, what more do these guys want? As they dragged me along in their search for the cheapest beach hut, I impatiently muttered to myself, kicked sand like at 3 year old and stared vacantly out into the ocean. Finally Ben got the hint, told me I was being ridiculousness and decided to turn back to the first hut we saw. Yay! for throwing small but yet effective immature tantrums
Our hut was right on the beach. But only had electricity between the hours of 6 pm to 10 pm, making it difficult to see anything in our hut before noon.
This is where I came face to face with my first traditional Philippine bathroom. The shower is a facet sticking out of the bathroom wall with a bucket underneath and another smaller bucket with a handle. To take a shower, you fill the big bucket with water, expect it to be cold unless there’s a water heater, then you use the handled bucket to dump water on yourself. The shower drain is a hole in the floor that funnels water into a mud puddle in the back of the hut. It sounds primitive but it’s a very relaxing way to shower.
The toilet is just a porcelain bowl with no flushing mechanism. To be honest, I was pretty confused. Ben showed me that I had to use the handled bucket to dump water into the toilet bowl to flush. The extra water forces “everything” down by gravity, funneling “the everything” to the previously mentioned mud puddle in the back of the hut. Do not visit the mud puddle in the back of the hut. In fact, never walk to the back of any residential hut in the Philippines.
At the airport and major tourist attracts there are some westernized toilets, but I think they confuse the locals just as much as their traditional toilets confused me.