Sunday, May 1, 2011

tao expedition, palawan - part 1:

Well we just finished our week long expedition around the remote islands of northern Palawan. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. We took heaps and heaps of photos, so will try and keep it to around three posts in the
 next few days to avoid bombarding you all!

So about six months ago, we all - myself, Andrew, my sister Sarah and her husband Ben thought it would be a good idea to make the most of the super long, five-day Easter/Anzac weekend - and head off on a quick overseas adventure. We had been talking about travelling together for a while, so this was the perfect opportunity.
We had read about an area in the Philippines called Palawan - also known as the 'last frontier' (see map above). A place off the beaten track and full of stunning islands. I had also read about an organisation, Tao, who do remote island expeditions on a handful of traditional Filipino outrigger boats. So that was it, the decision was easy and it was booked.
Our boat was the Diwa - plus five crew which included two guides, a captain, engineer and cook. Our expedition was from the town of El Nido travelling north to the town of Coron on Busuanga island - about 200km of slow travel. Along the way we stopped at various islands, snorkelled, and visited and stayed in remote villages. We had the islands to ourselves, and made our own way to Coron stopping where we wanted, with no other tourists in sight. Absolutely none. It was incredible, and I really can't use the right words to do it justice. I'll write a bit more about Tao and some of their projects in the next few days.

The photos below are from our first two days out on the water. Some of the highlights included visiting Cathedral cave, Snake Island, Secret Beach - which could only be accessed via an underwater cave and was the inspiration for the book 'The Beach' by Alex Garland (he lived in Palawan for a while), sleeping under the stars on Tapiutan Island and playing with a baby monkey while staying on Cadlao Island (Tao's base camp). It was an excellent start to our adventure!

our boat Diwa

one of the many amazing islands

Cathedral Cave

Snake Island

Secret Beach

Ben doing flips off the boat

our bed under the stars on Tapiutan Island

Tapiutan in the morning - stunning

discovering lagoons

well worth the climb

the gang - Andrew, Gemma, Sarah and Ben


she is only two months old. sucking her toe - too cute.

sunset on Cadlao Island


  1. i don't mind being bombarded at all! can't wait to see more of the adventure. x

  2. Fabulous Gemma. Looking forward to more. Reminds me of the Langkawi Islands a bit

  3. Such cool photos of the kids scrambling up the rocks and jumping off. And the cute baby monkey, of course! (I'm a girl, after all)

    So glad your trip is going well.

    * Julia

  4. Incredible!!! I have got to get there and do some deep water soloing ... rock looks perfect!

  5. thanks all!

    jase: it's sooo beautiful! do go!

  6. Wow! I can'e even imagine how amazing that must've been!


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