April 26-27: We’ve made the trip from Subic Bay to Puerto Galera a few times now. We break it up over two days, around 50 nautical miles each day.
The first day takes about eight hours along the cost of Bataan province, across the often rock and roll-y entrance of Manila Bay to a smaller protected bay called Hamilo Cove. The second day is a run down the coast of Batangas province and across the usually nastier stretch of water known as Verde Passage, with all of its commercial ship traffic. Depending on currents, it takes about eight or nine hours.
For most of the way, we get a 3G signal, making it possible to text, play Words With Friends, post on Facebook and exchange silly photos.
This time, our trip to PG was relatively calm and we made good time. At first we had a good breeze, so we put up a sail. When the breeze died down a while later, it got really, really hot. We somehow managed to get a hunk of blue plastic tarp caught around our propeller, so we stopped just outside of Hamilo Cove and Chris jumped in the water to remove it.
After we were anchored for the night, we had a visit local fisherman Junior and his nine-year-old daughter Shamel. It’s the third time they’ve stopped by when we’ve been in the bay. This time Shamel brought along her cousin Bianca and Junior presented us with a gift of several small crabs. The girls came on board and oohed and aahed over nearly everything, especially the refrigerator, the CR (comfort room), the bed and Nukaat.
Junior invited us to come to his home, so we all hopped into his pink fishing banca for the quick ride to Papaya Barangay. We met up with his wife Nonita and were also joined by Bianca’s parents Bernie and Jocelyn, their two other children, Edralyn and Ace John, and cousin Irene.
We certainly didn’t leave hungry. They fed us cakes and soda and then made us dinner that included chicken adobo, a mix of corned beef and cabbage, rice and ripe mangos. Little Ace John took great pride in showing off his rooster. A duck too.
We learned from Junior that Hamilo has installed a boat lift and will be another much needed option in the region for boat repairs, opening in June. And Irene told us the community has protected some of its marine habitat in the hopes of attracting divers. That’s something we might just have to check out on our next visit.
After dinner, we all piled back into Junior’s boat (with the exception of Irene) for the ride back to MOKEN. Everyone got a tour and enjoyed a cold drink, and we made sure to get a couple of group photos before they all departed back to shore.
The next day we were underway at dawn and making good time. We arrived in PG around three in the afternoon, ready to go diving and catch up with friends.