Saturday, July 9, 2011

Day 37 - Arrival in Boracay Island, Philippines

So much jetlag from all the flying. By the time I arrived in Boracay, I was exhausted from the lack of sleep, jumping from plane to plane to get to Boracay. The worst flight was the Cebu Pacific flight that I took from HCMC to Manila since I had an emergency exit row seat, and the chairs didn't recline. I had to try sleeping on the foldaway table in front of me.

It was comforting to hear the banter of all the Filipinos speaking in Tagalog at the airports and airplanes though. For some reason, it made me feel safe, since it was something I was familiar with, with all the Filipino friends I have back at home.

Getting to the Boracay Island was quite a task with a bunch of departure/arrival/environmental fees that I had to pay at each stopping point. I had to pay 200 pesos to leave the NAIA airport in Manila headed to Caticlan. Once I arrived at Caticlan, I had to pay around 200 additional pesos for an environmental fee, arrival fee, tricycle fee, and boat ride to Boracay Islands. Then, I had to hire another tricycle driver in Boracay to get to my destination - another 150 pesos.

I was going to stay with another CS host again in Boracay. He was at work when I arrived at his home, but had his friend there to welcome me. Another CSer was staying with him too, so I'd have some company around the island during my 3 night stay.

The entire island is very small, and it'd probably take less than 30 minutes to get from the south of the island to the north by tricycle. There were 3 popular areas for tourists on the island called Boat Station "1" "2" and "3" based on actual boat stations used in the past to get to the island. Now, there are different Ports to get to the island, but the popular areas are still called "Boat Station" 1-3, despite not really being stations.

We headed to Boat Station 2, the center of all the tourist activity with restaurants, stores, and bars. The whole area reminded me of being in Hawaii. We decided to get some breakfast, and I would have my first Filipino meal of the trip. I had bulalo (beef marrow) soup and a sweet and spicy chicken with rice dish.

Afterwards, I got the first glimpse of the white sands of Boracay. We stationed ourselves in an area where there were a couple beach chairs to sit on and relaxed for most of the day in the sun, reading books and taking quick naps.

The other CSer, Mark, was Filipino, teaching English in China, and originally from the United States. I spoke with him about what he knew about the Philippines - and we brushed a little on the political climate of the country. Seems like there is always something to criticize about the current president, Benigno Aquino III, and how effective he has been while in office. Mark told me that the Filipino public is not really educated or concerned on making the right choices when voting for government officials, and they end up criticizing the president for lack of effort. They vote for famous people, like Manny Pacquio only to realize that these people don't really have the skills to take on such a role. The current president is the son of former president Gloria Acquino, and he probably won the title of president because of that... I guess this can relate to the politics in America (Bush Jr) and California (Schwarzenegger)..

After beach bumming, we met up with our CS Host Chad, and headed to the market to get some seafood since Chad would be cooking dinner for us! I'd get an authentic home-cooked meal on my first day here!

The dinner was delicious, and consisted of fish, squid, and octopus, along with rice. We had dinner the Filipino way by eating with our hands, and I learned the special technique of holding the food with four fingers while pushing it into your mouth with your thumb. I'd eaten with my hands before while eating Ethiopian food, but never with Filipino Food.

The rest of the night was spent lounging around and drinking our San Miguels and Red Horse beers until we were too exhausted to go out..

Flight from Manila to Caticlan

Tricycle ride along the main road

Bulalo Soup

Sweet & Spicy Chicken with Rice

Seafood Market

Chad, Mark, Rose, Me, and Jerome

Home-cooked Filipino Dinner

1 comment:

  1. Haha! A just post for the first day in the Philippines!

    But then, it's actually "Corazon Aquino" who is the mother of our current president. You somehow combined the names of our former presidents Gloria Arroyo and Corazon Aquino. Haha!