Hugely excitingly, well, to my mind at any rate, we have just been accepted on a 4 month Marine Conservation Dive Master Internship! This is exciting for a number of reasons. Firstly, we get to do actual marine conservation and help out with research, which is something I’ve always always wanted to get into. 2ndly, we’re going to be Dive Masters (Dive Masters are really cool)! 3rdly, we get to do all this on Pom Pom Island – a tiny little blip in the Celebes Sea, sort of between Borneo and The Sulu Archipelago bit of The Philippines. more


It’s Ya BirthDAY! Gonna eat Balot, HEY!!


Generally speaking, easily available, reasonably priced food in the Philippines is atrocious. But there are exceptions. The trick is not to eat out. Home cooking is so much better, it’s hard to see how on earth most non-tourist oriented restaurants survive. Everything is either dried or fried. In vast quantities of oil and salt. Or it’s rice. more

Not so Pygmy Elephants

Bombing down the Kinabatangan River, somewhere in Sabah, Borneo, the sporadic shrieks (that I think may be animal noises, or perhaps he’s just singing) issuing from our guide clearly audible over the thrumming engine. Oh the serenity! Mind you, if he’s good enough for David Attenborough, he’s good enough for us. And he is good enough – I’ve seen pictures.

Our goal today is elephants. more

The Night Bus

There are almost certainly other effective Philippino torture methods, but the one with which I am familiar is The Night Bus. The Night Bus primarily utilises compression techniques, together with forced aural stimulation to gradually undermine the sanity. Much in the way of goats licking human feet to the bone, the physical pain onset is gradual. more

Kalinga Tattoo

Whang Od at work

I’d read up online about people’s experiences with Whang Od – they were invariably called stuff like “Getting Inked by Whang Od – last living Kalinga tattoo artist” and referred to the spirituality of both the pilgrimage to reach her and that of the experience generally. Many talked of meeting her in peaceful tranquillity on a remote platform overlooking the rice paddies and told of how she had spoken with them and then decreed which tattoo they should have, as though she had some sort of mystical insight into their personality and was bestowing upon them something particular to themselves and their life journey. Load of bullshit. more

Manila, Manila…

…if you were coffee, you’d be quadruple strength instant, oblivious to milk, taken scalding hot straight to the back of the throat. Edgy, loud, grimy, proud; shy you are not. Your colours just visible through the smog like a dream of breeze through the sweat. As we wait, endless, for movement through traffic that does not crawl so much as grind painfully over the melting tarmac, like an ant with one leg. But slower. more