Certain places encourage connection between travelers: tiny tropical islands, cramped cabins on an overnight train, campgrounds, the diesel-spewing nearly-sinking local ferries to said tropical islands.
El Nido felt like such a place, like the farthest outpost in the Philippines. Looking between the bay’s craggy teeth, you were overwhelmed by an idea that perhaps it was not the South China Sea, but the edge of the world, on the horizon.
This sense of extreme isolation turned individuals into family tribes. From one to five to twelve friends, assorted nationalities and various tattoos, we found ourselves playing games on the beach. Snorkeling, singing karaoke together, sharing happy hour cocktails.
Camaraderie forms when we challenge the boundaries of personal space. When survival depends on turning alone-ness into “what-a-situation-we-are-in-together”-ness.
(Brought to you by Where’s My Backpack?)