Tag Archives: luzon

The Inflatable Waterpark

16 May

Ek biki inflatable waterpark, Santa Rosa, Philippines

The magic of childhood. Or something.


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This technicolour dream palace is indisputably special. Possibly a little “special needs” too.

What is it?

You may well ask. For this, my friend, is an inflatable waterpark.

Occupying 5000 square metres of apple-green Astroturf in the middle of nowheresville, Luzon, EK Biki comes complete with dangling sharks, inflatable dragon slides, slightly forlorn clownfish and, weirdly, an Olympic-sized paddling pool.

All, like the giant hamster’s wheel and spinning top on which Z spent many happy minutes scrambling, entirely blow-up.

To add a further note of the bizarre, it caters entirely for non-swimmers. Continue reading

Under the Volcano

10 Apr

View of the crater lake, with island, Taal Volcano, Philippines

An island within a lake, within an island, within a lake, within an island in the South China Sea.

“You can’t swim in the crater now,” says Michael, our guide, as we negotiate the bangka across Lake Taal to the serene, petite volcano at its heart. “Taal Volcano is Alert Level 1, going to stage 3. You heard about Mount Mayon?”

We have heard about Mount Mayon. A few hundred kilometres north of here, on the island of Luzon, the Philippines, it’s been sufficiently active for folk to be evacuated, with vulcanologists on red alert.

“Mount Mayon is Alert Level Five, now, but going to stage 1,” he says. “And they say that Taal Volcano is Mount Mayon’s daughter. When Mount Mayon acts, the Taal Volcano follows. They are connected, below the ground. Taal erupts, they say, every two years.” Continue reading

Starfish and Shells

7 Apr

Blue starfish from Gaspar Island, off Marinduque, the Philippines

A present from a fellow guest. Much more beautiful alive than dead.

Easter Monday, and Marinduque is back into election mode. Banner-fluttering jeepneys pump out the Pilipino answer to Things Can Only Get Better in clouds as toxic as their diesel fumes. Mewls of karaoke waft down the pebble beach. Local party honchos gather over coffee, cigarettes and sweet ham sandwiches in the guesthouse convention room. And Rose pours Klaus his first beer of the day. 9.30am.

So we chip out on a banca, a tall, narrow outrigger with scarlet bamboo poles extending like stabilisers on a bike, to Gaspar Island, one of the three kings which nestle offshore from Marinduque.

This is sufficiently unpopulated to have not an aspirant councillor, Botoxed congressman or optimistic anti-corruption campaigner in sight. It also has one of the nicest beaches ever. Continue reading