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Has it only been a week since I last checked in? I’m traveling through the Philippines in a manner I’m not really accustomed to — at lightening speed. Generally I’m a slow, lazy traveler. I like it that way. But with only a three-week visa and so much I wanted to see, I thought I’d give this whole race-through-the-country thing that so many travelers do a try.

This week kicked off with a with reunion with travel buddy , who I waved goodbye to in November when we parted ways on The Big Island. She booked a spontaneous island-fever induced trip to join me (she lives in The Cayman Islands), and I couldn’t be happier!

So in the mere seven days that have elapsed we’ve gone from the Cordillera mountain town of Sagada to the whale-shark spotting capital of Donsol to the laid-back island of Malapascua, where I write you from. The Philippines is such a departure from anywhere I’ve been in Southeast Asia, I find myself constantly tapping away at my iPhone or scribbling away in my notebook, trying to capture all the little idiosyncrasies that make this place tick.Ā  Lack of WiFi notwithstanding, the beach where I now sit is paradise — they’re going to have to drag us off this island.

Photo A

Week-93
Week-93

Why bury when you can hang? Sagada’s biggest tourism draw is the coffins hung from the area’s limestone cliffs.

Photo B

Cave Connection SagadaWe were more interested in what was underground — a several hour journey more than 780 meters underground through a natural tunnel connecting two local caves.

Photo C

Boat in DonsolA local boat in Donsol.

Photo D

Donsol HutsOur accommodation in Donsol.

Photo E

Donsol Diving Diving! This nudibranch was one of a parade of creatures that absolutely blew my mind.

Photo F

Donsol Diving The coral was anxious to keep up — I felt like I was in Avatar.

Photo G

Week-93
Week-93

The little mandarin fish on the right were a new discovery for me. My favorite part about that photo was that I shot it totally blind — my new mask would NOT stop fogging, so I was working with a pretty serious handicap.

Which photo is your favorite? Can’t wait to show you photos of Malapascua next week!

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35 Comments...
  • Kathryn
    March 25 2013

    A, B, F and G! How the heck do they get the coffins up there?

    • Meihoukai
      March 26 2013

      That’s the exact question that Heather and I were asking when we were there! Despite widespread spoken English we couldn’t get a straight answer on that one šŸ™‚

  • Dani
    March 25 2013

    G! Your underwater photos always make me want to try diving šŸ™‚ Can’t wait to read more about the Philippines, we are dying to go there (maybe at the end of the year?!)

    • Meihoukai
      March 26 2013

      I hope you do — there’s a real lack of helpful blogmation (blog information, the new word I just invented and kind of love) on this country! I feel I could have avoided a lot of missteps had I had the guidance of some of my favorite bloggers!

  • Melanie Fontaine
    March 25 2013

    My favorite picture is photo C! It just looks so incredibly peaceful and stunning. The Philippines look amazing, can’t wait to see more!

    xx
    Melanie
    Melanie Fontaine recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      March 26 2013

      Thanks Melanie… I can’t wait to start sharing! A bit more Thailand goodness to come first of course šŸ™‚

  • Chris Shaw
    March 25 2013

    I agree with Melanie! There’s an implied sense of impending adventure there!!!!!

    • Meihoukai
      March 26 2013

      Funny, almost didn’t even put that photo up! This is why I love getting everyone’s feedback.

  • Diane
    March 25 2013

    Photo C all the way. The sky is so gorgeous and the boat is serene. Lovely colors!
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    • Meihoukai
      March 26 2013

      Wow, C is definitely the unexpected reader favorite! I never would have guessed.

  • Gram
    March 25 2013

    I like C, too. the picture of peace

    • Meihoukai
      March 26 2013

      Gram! I’m glad you are reading. I owe you a phone call, as soon as I get back to internet strong enough for a Skype call. Hope you are recovering okay, love you!

  • Audrey
    March 25 2013

    I’m going with B on this one – super creative.
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    • Meihoukai
      March 26 2013

      Thanks Audrey! It’s not easy to get your creativity on 780 meters underground, so I like that one too šŸ™‚

  • Margy
    March 25 2013

    A and C

  • Lindsey
    March 26 2013

    I can’t get over Photo D… because I was there just over a month ago. It was a gorgeous place to stay! I love photo G though. Especially as you were half blind šŸ˜‰
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    • Meihoukai
      March 26 2013

      Awesome! Did you get to see whale sharks? Donsol was a funny place, not what I expected. Need to gather my thoughts so I can post on it!

      • Lindsey
        March 28 2013

        Nah, none while we were there. Definitely not what we expected though we liked the fireflies.
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  • heyailene
    March 26 2013

    Your underwater shots are always my favorite!

    • Meihoukai
      March 26 2013

      Thanks! There will be plenty coming up with my Divemaster course starting soon!

  • Dad
    March 26 2013

    You have seven weeks worth of photos of the week here. A – for you-gotta-see-it-to-believe-it quality; B – you are the master at reflection photography; C- for tranquility or loneliness; D – for I wish I was there envy; E, F and G – because you are the best underwater photographer that is not being paid by National Geographic

    • Meihoukai
      March 26 2013

      I would like to state for the record that I will begin accepting checks from National Geographic at any time šŸ™‚

  • Ash
    March 26 2013

    I would love to Go with B for most amazing Photograph underground…And G as it was half blind and it shows that you can even capture the stunning photographs even when half blind. Don’t worry i am gonna recommend you as one of Nominees for National Geographic best photographer award.. ! šŸ˜‰

    • Meihoukai
      March 27 2013

      Ha, thanks for the nomination Ash šŸ™‚

  • Kristen Noelle
    March 26 2013

    I had a dream I was flying to/in the Phillippines… (perhaps from reading this blog!?), I guess that means I have to get there! Sounds great so far.
    I’ve never seen anything like A, and B was just such a cool underground photo, but I definitely gotta go with C. That dynamic skyline + waterline combo gets me almost every time. I adore that photo!

    • Meihoukai
      March 27 2013

      I often read my favorite blogs on my iPhone as I fall asleep… I too sometimes have blog induced dreams! So funny, ha.

  • Jen
    March 26 2013

    I love photo D! Those cottages look amazing to stay in, and the area is so beautiful.
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    • Meihoukai
      March 27 2013

      Unfortunately the beach here was very small and brown sand, but you really come to Donsol for what’s underwater šŸ™‚ Can’t wait to write more about it!

  • Photo C…amazing! Say hey to Heather for me!!
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  • Jenna
    March 27 2013

    I love your underwater photos, E, F & G–so pretty!!
    Jenna recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      March 27 2013

      Thanks Jenna! Diving in the Philippines has BLOW MY MIND! Can’t wait to share more.

  • wes
    March 29 2013

    Mandarin fish FTW – foggy mask at great new site – nightmare, so I vote that way in a show of solidarity. You’re gonna love where I just was when you get there. omfg.

    • Meihoukai
      March 29 2013

      Your photos are definitely pushing me over the edge to go join Neil for a few days! Ugh I’m going to end up doing the world’s most rushed DM course šŸ™‚