Wednesday, 6 June 2012
No.25 New adventure don’t fail me now!
So I’ve arrived at my new home: Coral Cay’s base in Napantao….Southern Leyte. And I tell you, it’s nothing like I’d imagined. Tucked away a million miles from everywhere, it really feels like it’s out on a limb. Maybe that’s just because it’s in Southern Leyte. Everything’s a bit more rural here- I’m talking lush green mountains, rice paddies, barangays dotted here there and everywhere, dirt tracks and bags being strapped onto motorcycles, steep hills and rough seas. Leyte is certainly different to the rest of the Visayas….gone are the cool cats of Cebu, with their tarmac roads and beach bum style, gone too are the laid back boholions and their little jeepney tricycles. Yes indeed in fact Southern Leyte reminds me a lot of Sorsogon – the province in which I started in, back in my ‘Donsol Days’. It’s green, it’s mountainous, it’s rocky road ready, but most of all it’s a little bit old school. The people are less urbanised, the tourists fewer and am I really ready for this…English is less prevalent….yes I feel I may be about to delve, and perhaps become entangled in more traditional Philippine roots…
So that’s Leyte from a Sally’s eye view…but what’s Coral Cay Conservation (CCC) like? I know how great is it, that I can read your thoughts?!
Sooo let’s see. What can I say, what can I say. Well my first impressions are a little bit mixed. The base is, well it’s, so it’s all a bit random. Yes, random certainly works. If I had to describe it, CCC you’ll hate me for this but the first word that comes to mind is…derelict. Painted with murals from past volunteers the place is certainly colourful, but it seems like nothing is finished…everything is half done and if you look beyond the murals the cracks in the walls make you wonder why the place hasn’t fallen down yet. Ok so maybe I’m being a bit harsh….perhaps its partly to do with the somewhat patronising and prompt “welcome” I was given by the current expedition leader (totally going to get in to trouble for this later…). I’m sure he’s a great guy, but I tell you, way to make a girl feel like this is going to be a great place to be for the next 5 weeks!! The weird thing, I suppose, for me, is that CCC have been based here for what 4 years….yet from the little land they have outside it looks like things are still being prepared…the place is overgrown…with bits and bobs scattered everywhere…it seems a shame…I guess I’m basing my opinion on previous experiences of being on base camps, where volunteers have made the place “pretty” and found ingenious ways of making benches etc….perhaps the reason for the lack of this here, is simply that nobody here has time because they are too busy doing surveys. Maybe that’s a good thing.
Anyway, I’m sure it will come to life as soon as everyone’s back – you see with the exception of a few people, everyone is out on survey – on the pacific coast as the sea conditions here in Sogod bay are too rough for diving. So there you go CCC, show me what you’ve got, let the place come to life with people and laughter….or else I might just cry. Nah serious. I’m excited. Show me what you’ve got and we’ll try and share it with the rest of the World!!