As the year slowly comes to a close, we all grow more and more impatient to break free from 2am Carrier study sessions and into the vast magical wonderland of adequate sleep and sunburns– summer. Here in Taiwan, the finish line isn’t really in sight yet since we don’t finish until June 22nd, but the craving for summer is still all too prominent. That being said, I decided to make the tough choice to travel and break the alliteration of my hashtag, truly a 21st century tragedy. So, without further ado, here’s a few pro tips from #TaytakesPhilippines.
Background: I traveled with a friend from class to the island of Palawan, in the southwest of the Philippines, and I now highly recommend it to anyone who’s looking for an adventure. If you’re trying to form an image in your head, imagine heaven and then add an ice cream cone in your hand and that’s basically the beauty of Palawan.
First and foremost, weigh your luggage! Unfortunately, we did not think to do this and ended up wearing 75% of the contents of our luggage on our person on the way home to avoid paying overweight fees. Always an adventure folks! At least we left with our digni…..oh wait.
The main mode of transportation is Tuk-Tuk (also called Trikes, basically just a motorbike with a big cart strapped on the side) or motorbike. Both are pretty cheap, but if you do decide to go the motorbike route and drive yourself make sure the bike works! Seems pretty straightforward, right? Well, when you rent a bike during the day, you might not think to check the headlights. However, checking headlights right away? Perfect plan. Checking headlights when you leave a remote beach at sunset? Not so much, unless you enjoy the thrill of riding into the abyss with potholes three feet deep. What a rush! Thankfully, we had nifty friends who rode on all sides of us to share their headlights. I guess you could say there was never a dull moment (pun definitely intended).
The food is one of my favorite parts of any place I get to visit, and the Philippines definitely did not disappoint. The area most people stay in when visiting Palawan, El Nido, has plenty of food options, my favorite of which was pineapple chicken *cue dream sequence.* BUT if you’re looking to try some classic Filipino food, the most recommended is always Halo-Halo & Balut. But do brace yourselves, balut is a fertilized duck egg that has been boiled/steamed before it got the chance to finish developing. That being said, I didn’t quite have the stomach for it this time around, but a friend who did try it reports: “tastes like chicken soup. Good!’ However, I DID try halo halo and let me just tell you, it was a religious experience. It’s a dessert featuring shaved ice, jelly, various gummies, beans, milk, and even more depending on where you get it. Basically, picture snow cone meets strawberry milk meets Scooby Doo gummies. 10/10 would recommend.
My next pro tip would have to be that if you’re the type of person who doesn’t want to simultaneously scream and watch your hopes for prosperity shrivel and die while on vacation, buy an “I don’t want to talk about politics” shirt! You probably won’t encounter this, but I didn’t think I would either, so better safe than sorry! Never did I think I’d come half way across the world to be on a boat trip with a fellow American who tries to give me a 15-minute lecture on why women’s rights are silly because women are “asking to be raped.” But it happened! Fun times! T-shirt probably available on amazon and can be recycled for family reunions.
After twenty years of having skin comparable to red velvet cake whenever in the sun for more than 30 minutes, you’d think I would’ve picked up on this tip by now, but surprise! I still didn’t think to use sunscreen! Now I have gotten burnt quickly before, but nowhere close to the speed of my sunburn in the Philippines. Thankfully I managed to burn a different part of my body each day so that by the end of the week I was evened out.
Overall, Palawan was stunning and really made me appreciate the opportunity to meet people and experience cultures from all over. And good news! You don’t have to go to the opposite side of the world to experience how nifty people are! Go talk to someone new today. Humans are neat.
About the Author
Writer & Editor
Taylor is a sophomore theatre and SMAD: digital video cinema double major who is STOKED to be working with Reduced Pulp. She overuses to word “nifty,” and is a firm believer that Kevin was the superior Jonas Brother.
When not doing theatre/SMAD things, she can likely be found studying Chinese, taking pictures, stalking the quad cats, or thinking of a witty tweet. In the future, she hopes to act, travel, and break the world record for the most coffee dates in one week. She is so excited to share her love of the arts with JMU & you can follow along with her on twitter at @freckleface_tay.