Friday, May 05, 2006

Palawan Day 3: Fishing at Port Barton

Port Barton is a bay on the west coast of Palawan facing the China Sea. It was nighttime when we got to Port Barton and although we could hardly see the path we were taking (there was no light along the beach), the sky was lit up by the millions of stars that twinkled. It was agreed that we'd go fishing the following morning. But of course noone thought any of us was serious about waking up so early as daddy wanted to leave at 4:30 a.m. It was really hard for ikee and boyet to get up because we were tired from yesterday's activities (as usual). But dad and I had not been able to sleep very well since there was not electricity from 12 MN to 5 am. Of course I didn't know that Port Barton would only have electricity at certain hours of the day. But even if I did, would I have a choice? The option is not to go to Port Barton. But that is a very remote option for my family. We'd much rather endure the heat than miss out on the opportunity to discover this place. And quite frankly, you'd hardly need the fan anyway.

Fishing has always been one of the favorite things that my family likes doing. In the past, we only got to fish in aquariums or fish ponds and never a large waterform such as this bay. The fishing activity was pre-arranged and our guides with their speedboat were at the beach to pick us up at 4:30 a.m. sharp. But then daddy didn't want to leave the resort until there was light on the path so we had to wait for it to be switched on. As we sped off on our speed boat and were just scouting for a place to fish, my daughter and I took the time to look into the heavens. I had never in my whole life been able to see a shooting star. But there, that early morning, we saw two of them!

Soon after our guides were able to choose a spot and our reels had baits on them. My daughter who had originally wanted to do this activity became worried because daddy had told her about how she should hold the nylon string but that she had to release the string as it would be able to cut her finger off if she held on to it when she catches a big fish! Poor girl. She merely helped us with the things to prepare for our line but no longer cast one down for herself. We did what we're off to do anyway and she helped out in reeling the lines in and choosing a spot for each one of us to let our lines down. The first catch of the day was mine. it took just about 5 or 10 minutes to do it. It was a half kilo grouper (lapu-lapu) and wasn't as hard as I had imagined the "fight" to be. But daddy said I was just lucky that I didn't catch a talakitok instead. Half a kilo talakitok would be 5 minutes pulling. The other members of the "fishing team" (just nice to read that is all) caught their own fish. If we had made a rule to eat what we caught, I would be able to eat 4 meals with my catch while they'd have to watch out for what I'd have left. hehehe

We had breakfast (fish and rice with some coffee and papaya) at a nearby farm. After that we proceeded to the snorkelling site. My daughter had not approved of this route because she wasn't wearing her swimsuit and had her jogging pants on when we left the resort in the early morning. But we could not afford to lose an hour or so just to get our things from the resort and head back to the snorkelling site. I offered for her to wear my shorts since I wore my swimsuit anyway - a practice that I had since my teen years. My swimsuit serves as second skin to me whenever I'm anywhere near a beach. Of course she agreed. That was the best option we had.

We got to see several islands. Port Barton seems to have marine life even in shallow waters, unlike the other beaches we had gone to before where you'd only be able to appreciate the sea creatures when you go to the deeper parts of the beach. We had the time of our lives when we first saw a tortoise, a real live one, swimming quickly away from our boat just like a thief would when caught in the act of stealing. But of course this creature was not stealing anything, it was running for its own life. Did it think we meant it harm?

Just as soon as we saw the tortoise, we saw a manta ray swim past the other side of our boat. I was very eager to jump into the water equipped with just my fins and dive mask but then again I was scared of what else there was there in that sea. the water was so clear even at 30 feet deep and the corals were all too inviting. Jeff, our guide, is a dive expert and had encouraged me to jump in as he had done. Yeah right, I do snorkelling but not diving... yet that is. Now I'm really determined to learn to dive. I can swim, but not dive. How hard can that be?

The islands were spectacular! There is one which they call the german island (only because it is owned by a German National) where one side of it looks like a place taken out of a comic book! It's so beautiful, that it looks like how you'd picture an island where a damsel gets lost in and is there for a few days without food and water, and all but clear sea water and some coconuts all around her. Only this time, instead of a damsel, there's a dog in the island.

The islands we went to were almost uninhabited. What is sad is that some people do not have the drive to help in preserving nature. One island had a few used bottles in it. while on the main beach of port barton, a few plastic bags were seen swept on land by the waves.

We had lunch at the Greenviews Resort. Daddy had ordered some shrimp and crabs and some seaweed salad. We were all hungry of course and had devoured our meal like prisoners. It rained while we were at sea and this probably contributed to why we had to eat a lot - we had to warm ourselves up. Some excuse...

It rained again after lunch. But noone could stop both my husband and my daughter from having a good time. Greenviews has a garden and some hammocks where one can stay. It also has a gazebo right in the middle of the garden and I thought it was a good place to hold a garden wedding. All over the place were coconut trees, some shrubs and ornamental plants. There were no other guests but us. The father-daughter guests went around playing under the rain getting themselves really soaked under some downspout. After all getting wet didn't have to mean getting back into the water.

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