I decided to attempt to keep a journal while on the road / island of Boracay in the Philippines. I was somewhat successful at it – updating it almost every day, so I figured rather than rehash what I can recall from the trip, I will just transcribe my journal entries for you to hear the experience “first hand”.
Friday January 15, 2010
5:00 PM: Arrive Gimhae Airport, Busan.
7:35 PM – Flight: Dragon Air – PUS -> Hongkong
8:00 AM (Saturday) – Flight: Hongkong -> Manila
2:00 PM – Flight – Cebu Pacific: Manila -> Kalibo
3:30 PM VAN – Kalibo -> Caitclan
5:00 PM – Ferry – Caticlan -> Boracay
5:15 PM – Tuk Tuk (taxi) -> Dave’s Straw Hat Inn
Notes: Manila Airport: Long lines. Did a lot of waiting and watching. Had to take a taxi from terminal 1 to terminal 3 to catch our domestic flight to Kalibo. Long, SLOW lines at Cebu Pacific check in counter.
– party plane! club / dance beats playing upon boarding and unboarding the plane. They even played games with us on the plane.
– the flight was about 55 minutes.
– tiny airport. zero customs/ security checks.
– 200 pesos each got us a van from Kalibo to Caticlan and included the ferry ticket price BUT NOT the extra ferry fees (100 pesos extra fees)
Arrived to Boracay Island around 4:30 ~ 5 PM Saturday January 16th.
Checked into Dave’s Straw Hat Inn (boat station 3)
– cozy and humble, but far from night life area/shopping.
– bare minimum in room, but delicious arrival drinks!
Cait and I walked the beach strip tonight …. there is a “brown out” aka a black out – likely from the high winds and rain – on most parts of the strip. We can’t wait to wake up and see Boracay in the day light! We are exhausted, so are turning in early. We were told that it’s supposed to rain tomorrow – fingers crossed it blows over. We need a TAN! (And I really need to poop!)
Oh… and Dave’s has free wifi, so my ipod is coming in handy – and my bberry works here!
Oh…and there are waaaaaaaay too many creepy couples here – aka old white guys with Philippino, half-their-age-wives. On our walk we counted 38 in total.
I heart Boracay. Please be sunny tomorrow! xo
Sunday January 17, 2010.
We started the day off with a run along White Beach. The weater in a beautiful blu multitone. It’s a bit overcast, but we are making the most of the sun when it peeks through the clouds by veggin’ out on some wooden beach chairs @ 50 pesos / day. Breakfast was pretty decent today as well – american buffet style!!
The majority of the day has been overcast and cloudy, but I have managed to get some sweet color! May be hurting later. Cait and I both got 1 hour full body massages for 350 pesos (~ $5 USD). Then we had some fresh mangos and prickly fruit that we bought from a beach vendor. The amount of creepy couples have quadrupled in the sunlight. It’s sooo weird. And there are tons of Koreans!
Dinner: delicious beach side buffet. All sorts of meats, sides and fruits. I could get used to this life!!
Monday Jan. 18th, 2010
Started the morning off with a light jog along the beach. We checked out of Dave’s and met up with the Q Lodge pick-up guy. After a nerve racking ride through the main road nad side streets on a tyipcal Philippino taxi (tuk tuk); passed the villages, up the “mountain”, passed the goats and wild dogs, we arrived at the gated community of Q Lodge. It was somehwat of a diamond in the rough, but with the warm welcome we received from the owner and the guard dog, Spike, we quickly started to feel at ease. The owners seem very accomodating and offered to put an extra bed in our room and even cook us dinner to help save on travel expenses. We decided to try the Q Lodge out and made what we thought was the long trek to White Beach in less than 10 minutes. And to our surprise, we ended up in the main area of the beach (by D’Mall). We ate breakfast at a cute cafe and then parked ourselves on White Beach in front of Hey Judes.
The weather today is clearer than yesterday – a bit overcast – but the beach is bustling with people. Far more than yesterday. We are in a more populat area today, so the number of beach vendors is noticeably higher, which isn’t as bad when just laying around, but the second you stand to walk anywhere, they are all over you.
Tuesday January 19th, 2010
Night one at the Q Lodge: mediocre sleep. Woke up early to roosters crowing. Instant coffee available in room. Delicious breakfast – omlet, toast and fruit – delivered to our room upon request. Shower: mediocre at best. Very little water pressure, but hot and cold water functioning.
Today we scored some sweet cushioned chairs / beds in front of the Red Coconut. There were hardly any beach vendors bugging us today, which was really nice. The weather was incredible today! Mostly sunny and HOT!! The water was so refreshing. I managed to get some good color / burn. One of our fav beach snacks is corn on the cob. SOoooo good! We had nonstop service all day from the Red Coconut servers. Was not mad about it. Now we need to find a place to stay for our last 3 nights as we aren’t going to stay at the Q Lodge after tonight. There is also a large Russian population here.
Wednesday January 20th, 2010
Cait and I met one of the beach vendors and he’s actually really cool. He has sweet dreds and he helped us get a sweet discount at a beach front hotel in boat station 2 (the good area) for our last 3 nights. Tonight is our last night at the Q Lodge – thank the Lord. We had a pretty scary experience walking down the poorly lit road just after dinner, so despite the delicious breakfast and great staff, we are eager to get out of here. I am pretty burnt fron today – my legs are on fire! Depending on the weather, either tomorrow or Thursday, we are going to do an Island Hopping / Snorkeling trip with our new friend Carrey. Hopefully we don’t have to feed the fish!!
Thursday January 21st, 2010
Yesterday we checked into our new hotel – Taj’s Guest House – and it’s so much better than the other two places we stayed. The weather yesterday was incredible! We got some good color! For dinner we ate at a Thai place in D’mall, and it was really good. We decided to break out of our usual routine of going to bed at 8 PM and we embraced Boracay’s night life. It was really neat. A lot of beach front restaurants set up an ocean side patio, so we camped out in some bean bag chairs and listened to live music. Philippinos are REALLY good singers.
We met some guys from California and headed to another bar with bean bags and live music further down the beach called “Chill Out Bar”. It turned into a late night – 1:00 AM! – so we slept in a little bit today to make up for it.
This morning it was overcast and rainy so we had breakfast at our fav cafe and once the rain stopped, we camped out in front of the Red Coconut again. Hopefully the sun comes out today as we want to the Island hopping / snorkeling excursion.
On another note, it was really cool meeting new people outside of Korea. At least this time we felt like we had a unique experience and a different story to tell from the people we meet. And on the flip side, we get to hear different stories and experiences too. It really makes me appreciate this time in my life that much more.
Oh – last night was the first time I’ve seen the stars and moon in a crystal clear sky in a really long time. It was beautiful!
Friday January 22nd, 2010
Last night Cait and I booked our hotel in Manila for tomorrow night. I can’t believe this is our last full day here. It literally flew by. Today we went Island hopping – our own private spider boat drove us around the island to a couple different snorkeling sights. I actually went snorkeling and LOVED it! I am now feeling one with the fishies. I couldn’t get enough of it!
The weather today was perfect. After about 3 hours of island hopping / snorkeling – oh, by the way, I saw Nemo, Dory and Scar! — we parked ourselves in front of Red Coconut to soak in some more rays. After a few hours, I went and got a $3 manicure, then Caitn and I watched one of the nicer sunsets I’ve ever seen. My camera died on our snorkeling trip, so I will be stealing Cait’s pics. After the sunset we went for a 1 hour swedish massage in the spa attached to the Taj Guest House. It was bomb. We had a delicious buffet dinner and now we are veggin’ out for the night. We plan on waking up early tomorrow to get in a good breakfast and soak in a few hours of sun before we depart from the island around 1 PM. It’s tough leaving paradise!
Saturday Janary 23rd, 2010
Woke up bright and early today to sunny, blue skies! We ate breakfast at our fav cafe – Aria – for the last time – where they had our order memorized. I had to abruptly leave the cafe and literally sprint back to the Taj in fear of pooping my pants! HA! Pooping has been a standard topic of conversation this week – and we did a lot of it – the natural breakfast will get ya!!
We made it back in front of the Red Coconut to soak in the last of the Boracay sun, sand and sea. We took the standard 375 last day photos, packed it in, checked out of the Taj, bid adu to Carrey, ate, ate and ate, then jogied to the ferry. From there, everything happened so quickly! – the ferry, the van ride to Kalibo, the airport check-in — so we are now camped out in a coffee shop at the Kalibo airport – literally 4 hours early. At least we won’t be missing this flight – well, anything is possible with the two re-tards.
Tonight we are staying in Manila – should be interesting… but I hear the shopping is good!!
And this is where my journal entries end .. so the rest I will do from memory.
From the Manila we took a taxi to our hotel, which was supposeably only 7 KMs from the airport, but in reality, it was more like 70 KMs. Anyway, I stood out like a sore thumb – even sitting in a cab – so children were running through the busy streets, up to the cab window to beg for money / sell their necklaces. It was heart wrenching. Once we arrived to our hotel, we didn’t really want to walk around after dark, so we got some delivery and called it a night.
Sunday January 25th, 2010
We checked out of our hotel and made our way back to the airport. The airport was soooooooo busy so luckily we were there super early. We checked in and made it through customs … then did a lot of sitting, waiting and eating. Oh. and reading. I finished my second book of the trip. (again, shocking, I know!). Our flight leaving Manila was slightly delayed, which meant we were late getting into Hong Kong, which meant we had to SPRINT to catch our plane. Literally. hahaha luckily they were waiting for us. And before we knew it, we were back in Busan.
It was such a great, relaxing time. I would have loved to see other parts of the Philippines … but for what we wanted – R&R – Boracay was perfect!