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When I come back from a trip, I always enjoy comparing the ideas I have about a country before visiting it and after visiting it. In my head, the Philippines were islands, beaches, Spanish influence and affordable prices. These expectations were met, but the list considerably increased: rubbish, wholesale boat and plane trips, mutant beaches, laziness, very interesting culinary combinations and importations, and many, many more.

A beautiful example of its variety is hidden underneath the water. And Moalboal, with regard to marine life, is astonishing: sea snakes, shellifishes, and, if you are lucky enough, even some whale shark.

Just as rubbish and chaos describe the great Filipino cities, relaxation and nature are ubiquitous in the rest of the country. Thick tropical jungles, overwhelming, lonely beaches, palm trees and fishes of many sizes, always in large amounts. The sardine shoals of Moalboal are idyllic. Millions and millions of sardines noisily swirl some metres away from the coast: all you need is a snorkelling mask.

Swimming with sardines and playing with them is so much fun. It seems as it were today when I swam some metres downwards to find myself sunk in the night, with the sardines as clouds. Then, I would chase them, and they would swim away, as if they were swarms of bees, that get together and then separate, and then get together again, always next to each other… In Moalboal, playing with sardines, I was happy.



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