Boracay: Sun, sea, sand, sun burn and scuba diving

Trip Start Mar 16, 2012
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Trip End Sep 14, 2012


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Where I stayed
Roys Rendevous

Flag of Philippines  , Visayas,
Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The intention when we left Manila was to stay 3 days and 2 nights. We chose to fly AirPhilExpress as time was an issue and we couldn't get the boat on that day. We went to Manila airport to find our flight was canceled, but they 'kindly' put us on the earlier 10.30am flight. Oh but it was 10.20am already. Also, with a 10kg baggage limit and both of ours roughly around 14kg we ran to pay our excess baggage fees. I asked 'is the flight delayed?' They responded, 'don't worry the plane will wait for you'. Looking back it was literally one of the funniest things I have heard in my life. We ran (wearing flip flops) through security and to our gate. It is not till then, that we realised the flight is delayed, not only that I later found out that it had not taken off from its previous destination till an hour after the scheduled departure and the time we kind of managed to make it to the gate. By 1pm we start to board the flight. It is a little plane, so hot inside, especially when we are sat on the runway for a further hour. 4 hour delays for a 35 minute flight. Well we made it to Caticlan airport, where we got a tricycle to the port, a boat across to Boracay island and then another tricycle to our hotel. When the 2 of us arrived we dumped our bags and headed out for a drink to watch sunset. Our hotel was run by a lovely local couple who proudly told us they were 73 years old.

Boracay in theory should be somewhere I love to hate. Love the white sandy beach and the crystal blue waters, but hate the touristy, busy nature of the island, but it actually worked for me. Although, the constant calling of 'sunglasses ma'am, buffet ma'am, massage ma'am' did start to wear thin. However, the beach was beautiful and as we were situated in the quieter end the beach it was far less full. There was also a good atmosphere in the day and at night with plenty of places for us to eat really good food.

The following day we set up camp on the beach, even at 8.30am it is so hot, by midday we had both retreated to the shade. It wasn't until later that we realised we had both been badly burnt. It is not surprising as we find out the temperature reached 36 degrees! All I can say is I am English and can't stand the heat, although I was surprised to burn that badly. I don't think my malaria tablets help, as a side effect is sensitivity to the sun. At least the pain of sun burn took away from the itch of the 40 insect bites covering my body (and still counting).

We were planning on heading out on the 26th but we decided as traveling around the Philippines is not as easy or cheap as other places and we love the beach here, why rush on so quickly. So we extended our stay another 2 nights. This meant that we could go scuba diving. It is my third time scuba diving, having previously dived in Australia and Vietnam. We had a great instructor called Al. He took us into the shallow waters as we tried out our masks and breathing equipment, before heading on a boat to crocodile island. Out of the 2 options we had it was by far the best. For one it was quiet and not swarming with other divers. Also, we got to see nemo! There was beautiful fish and coral, which made it worth doing another dive. We then spent the rest of the day and following day in the shade. We had to change hotels on our final night as they did not have any space for us, but we managed to find somewhere around the corner. My bed was covered in bugs, which is never good for the person that gets bitten to death. 

By the 28th it was time to ship out. Our next destination was Cebu and we decided we had had enough of flying. But to get to Cebu we had to get a tricycle to the boat, a boat across to Caticlan, then a bus to Iloilo at the bottom of the island. It was great going through the countryside and seeing the local little villages. 6 hours later we arrived in Iloilo, where we got another tricycle to the port, booked our ticked for the ferry and got an over night boat to Cebu. As it turned out timing was pretty good and we never waited long for the ferry. We managed to book ourselves into the presidential suite! May as well go in style. Basically, instead of going cattle class in what I can only describe as a 100 bed dorm we had our own small cabin, with en suite. It was actually better than some of the hostels we have been in and cheaper as well. After a pretty good sleep we arrive in Cebu.

I much prefer the overnight boat to overnight train, not only that it was really a pleasant surprise. I can only really describe walking into a new hostel is that of opening a Christmas present, you may roughly know what you are going to get, but whether you like it or not, or whether it was what you expected is another thing. It is opening the door to see what your money has bought. Sometimes, a pleasant surprise or sometimes it is a case of putting on a smile and saying it could be worse.
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