|Me (left) diving in Papua New Guinea in March|
© Thierry Dardare/2012
This February I was in the Philippines, researching a book I’m writing about the islands. After visiting the historic sites of Cebu and interviewing a church historian, I took some time out to go diving at Malapascua, a tiny island just off the northern tip of Cebu and one of the top dive sites in the world.
My journey started at the bus station in Cebu city. I had an old copy of the Lonely Planet guidebook, from my first visit in 2009, and it neglected to mention the new, modern bus service. Instead, I ended up on an old, shabby bus with seats so close together that I couldn’t get my knees in, let alone my luggage. Luckily it was half empty so I could stretch out on the front row. The door was left open and a youth hung out the doorway, shouting the destination at potential customers. Vendors would jump on and off whenever we stopped, folded bank notes clasped between their fingers.