More Underwater Life in El Nido

9-10 May 2009

Palm fringed beaches, bright white sand and turquoise waters and of course, a little sunbathing cabana

Palm-fringed beaches, bright white sand, turquoise waters and, of course, a little sunbathing cabana in Pangalusian Island

Lunch in a resort such as MIR and LIR means you are spoilt for choice. When asked, “Where would you like to have your lunch, ma’am?” I’d scratch my head and ask, “Where would you suggest we go?” Every place sounds and looks like paradise, with palm trees, white sand, and turquoise waters.  Our first lunch location was in Pangulasian Island, where beautiful coconut trees leaned low towards the sea, making for really brilliant photo ops.

Photogenic trees representing the tropics

Photogenic trees representing the tropics

But while watching other people lazing about, we knew we had to keep working. We needed to adjust every activity in between rainfalls to maximize shooting location and wildlife.  The passing typhoon led to huge amounts of sargassum seaweeds getting trapped into the resort lagoon. For the cleaning and maintenance personnel, it was a huge pain in the neck.  For us, it meant wildlife!  Rommel, our dive guide, immediately saw two juvenile batfish he called by their scientific name, Platax sp. I jumped into the water determined to find a sargassum frogfish or angerfish, Histrio histrio,and lo and behold, I found one – fat, big, and healthy.

I'm not here your know. I'm seaweed

I’m not here your know. I’m seaweed

We decided to stay in Miniloc the last few days to concentrate on the house reef, which hosted just unbelievable amounts of matang baka or oxeye scads, Selar boops, and patrolling giant trevallies, Caranx ignobilis, making breakfast or early lunch of some of the scads.

Trying hard to be a mermaid

Trying hard to be a mermaid

I couldn’t help but swim in and out of the school, hoping Yogi could get good pictures of the mass of fish and me.

Many thanks to the magnificent staff of Miniloc Island Resort for taking good care of the Freund Factory

Many thanks to the wonderful staff of Miniloc Island Resort for taking good care of the Freund Factory

We hated to go but finally had to say our goodbyes. What better way to immortalize our stay with some of the great staff of Miniloc Island Resort than in a group picture with our giant panda flag?


About the Author:

Stella was born in Manila, Philippines in 1965. She studied anthropology but ended up in advertising, producing radio and TV commercials for 7 years. After quitting advertising, she ventured into the freelance world in Manila producing video documentaries for a publishing house, government agencies, non govenmental organisations, and the academe. She moved on to producing books and had a stint at working with foreign production companies visiting Manila. Stella, now based in Cairns, produces photo stories with her husband Jürgen Freund.