Boracay, Here We Come!
Trip Start May 10, 2007
39Trip End Jun 25, 2007
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7:30AM: Awake to a phone call from Johnathan saying he had the flight time mistaken and we were to LEAVE the hotel at 9AM for an 11AM flight. The original plan was to LEAVE at 11AM. So, no internet, a quick shower and a speedy [delicious] french toast breakfast @ Javy's in the hotel was all in store for he next hour and a half. At 9AM, we caught AirCon taxis over to the Mactan Domestic Airport. We hurry up & waited after checking in. The plane was a prop plane and the ride was ROUGH. We landed in a light rain and caught tri-cycle taxi's to the Caticlan Ferry Port. There was a cute little group of older Filipino men playing island music in the terminal. So cute. For some reason it reminded me of my peaceful, jolly grandfather, Taid.
We took a small banca across to Boracay, boarding via plank. The regulations have changed so that all boats must enter the island through a port. The beach is no longer lined with boats, like last year. We took another tri-taxi to Station 3, where we offloaded and walked to the Orchid's Resort. Mer. & I checked into my long-term fan room. We then went to eat lunch with Johnathan, Meghan & Chris at a local restaurant that was fairly pricey. I had a crab & cucumber sandwich with a mai tai to drink. Let the island life begin. Afterwards we went down to Juice Bar, sat on bean bag chairs in the sand and enjoyed more beverages.
At 5PM, we all met back at the Orchid's Resort to walk up to Lynn & Herman's [the owners of Orchids] home behind the resort. The view from their home is quite fantastic. They lost many trees this past year in the December 2006 typhoon, so now they can actually see their neighbors' houses and more of the beach area. Lynn is an American who worked in Saudi Arabia for a bit and that is where he met Herman. Herman was in Saudi Arabia working administration for construction jobs. Lynn's company hired Herman and they became friends and business partners. They own & operate both Orchid's Resort on Boracay, as well as a Villa in Laguna Province that the group visited in the beginning of their trip, which I missed this year.
At Lynn & Herman's house we enjoyed San Miguel beers and rhum & cokes. Tanduay Rhum is the official rum of the Philippines. A 375 mL bottle could be purchased for around 50 pesos or US$1. Cheap stuff. Atop their house is a grand rooftop seating area and widow's watch. The sunsets are amazing from their roof. Their house lost all their windows and fans from the typhoon. It is quite a beautiful home, tile & marble floors, saltwater fishtanks, beautiful ornate furniture, animals of all kinds [a monkey, exotic birds, 6 dogs and fish]. The Orchid's Resort is constructed of all island, handmade materials such as bamboo and wood, except for the tile showers. The resort is considered a backpacker's lodge and has resonable prices; I'm paying 400 pesos or US$8/night. They provide some internet and breakfast foods, laundry service and can recommend lots of great things to see and do.
Up at Lynn's house we talked about Boracay's progression and its' issues. In 1994, when Johnathan first visited the island, he saw very few resorts & restaurants. The main road was not paved and locals lived on the beach, whereas, they now live on the windward side of the island. The winds change on the island. During the peak season they blow from east to west, so the locals experience winds during the peak season. This leaves the leeward side of the island calm and mild, creating an ideal atmosphere for tourists. The White Beach is now lined with resorts owned by mostly non-residents or non-natives of Boracay. Cheap pearls & shell jewelry is sold all along the beach. There is someone constantly asking if "you want jet ski? island-hopping? parasail? sunset sail?". There are tons of restaurants, bars, clubs, music, watersports galore. Lots to do! While it is touristy, Boracay is not like Ocean City, Maryland or Miami Beach, Florida. The island maintains a true paradise feel, however few tourists venture to the locals' side of the island. Our paradise is a facade.
After Lynn's, I walked to a bar with Johnathan, Meredith & Meghan before heading to Nigi Nigi Nu Noos 'e' Nu Nu Noos, which is a VERY fun bar. The group was already PRETTY drunk when we arrived. Alittle embarrassing, but they were having a good time. I had fun, but headed home by 12:30AM with Meredith. No need to push my limits on the first night! I have 2 1/2 weeks to test out all the bars.