Published: November 16th 2011October 10th 2011
It was one of the quickest ferry rides we’ve ever been on to reach Boracay Island, the heart of tourism in the Philippines. We had talked to many people who had been here recently. Some people hated it, and others absolutely loved it. Surprise, surprise. As usual, there were plenty of people there to greet everyone coming off the boat to promote different places to stay. One of the ladies convinced us to try out her place, which happened be in the same general area as where we were going to look anyways. After looking a couple different places, we decided to check out a few other options before making a decision, and we were glad we did. Somehow we got lucky and had a different lady guide us to a little place kind of hidden off of the road. We scored an awesome, clean room with a fridge, cable TV, and even wifi in the room! On top of that, we had a kitchen we could use to cook our own food and free coffee in the morning for only 600 Pesos per night. We definitely got off to a good start, but we really couldn’t wait to hit the
beach. After all, why else do you come to Boracay?
Our first impression of the beach was really only one word, incredible! The beach had the whitest sand you have ever seen and paired with clear azure water it looked straight from a postcard. Sure there were plenty of tourists here, but not nearly as many as we thought there would be. This was partly due to the fact that we were here during low season, but the beach is also 4K long and really wide so it’s plenty big enough to accommodate a LOT of people. Being here in low season is something we’ve really been enjoying, other than some of the weather since it’s rainy season. We didn’t even care that we had just braved a typhoon and gotten completely soaked a couple days before as soon as we saw how beautiful the water was even with a cloudy, overcast sky. We slept SO well that first night in our new home we would have for the next few days. Not being paranoid about man eating cockroaches and chemically enhanced Godzilla sized rats might have had something to do with it, too. We just couldn’t wait to
get to the beach the next day with the sun shining on that blue and green water.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t going to happen quite yet. Actually, there was a SECOND typhoon hitting Luzon, which meant that where we were was also going to get slammed with rain. There was no way that second day was going to be spent on the beach. Instead, we took advantage of some luxuries we haven’t had in what seems like forever….HBO and Cinamax!! Nothing like a whole day movie marathon to kill some time. We also took note of our new surroundings, Nate: “Man is it nice to have a fridge.” Jessie just laughed. “Yeah, it really is the little things isn’t it?” We tried to think when the last time we had a fridge was. It had been months ago when we were still in Thailand. It’s just another one of the everyday things that we’ll probably appreciate so much more down the road. Sometimes we wonder if we’ll still be able to remember how to use a microwave when we get back. Ok not really, but we HAVE forgotten what it’s like to have one!
This night would be a
whole new experience and one Jessie won’t soon forget. As we were trying to sleep, we kept hearing a kitten crying out over and over. It literally didn’t stop all night and all morning. Just knowing that the poor little thing was out there in the pouring rain was breaking Jessie’s heart. We finally figured out where it was coming from, and found the little kitten that had just barely opened its eyes most likely abandoned by its mother. As bad as we felt, there was no way we could take care of it. We knew that even if we tried we’d still have to leave it alone in a few days anyways when we left Boracay. This little kitten seemed to draw a lot of attention by both locals and tourists who would look at it, most likely come to the same conclusion we had about not being able to take care of it and sadly walk away. There was an old man who either owned or worked at the place next to us who walked out to see where the noise was coming from. Jessie was watching from our 2nd story balcony, “Ok good, maybe this old man
will try to take care of it.” Instead, he grabbed it by the neck and threw it across the vacant lot next to us. “Oh my God!” We couldn’t believe he had just done that. To make matters worse, the kitten was still crying so he walked over and grabbed it by the neck again while throwing up against the side of a house in an attempt to kill it and shut it up. Nate’s jaw dropped and Jessie had to look away before it happened while tears started rolling down her face. Jessie, “I can watch 7 water buffalo get slaughtered but I can’t handle seeing something like that!” Nate looked down at the old man as he looked up and couldn’t help himself, “What the f***?!!!” The old man just went inside like nothing had happened. We were disgusted to say the least. That’s one thing that’s pretty standard of most people in Asia. There’s just no consideration for animals. PETA would probably shit a chicken if they came over here! No lie. We’re pretty sure most of the people here think that animals don’t feel pain. We’ve seen enough beaten, starving and dying animals to leave a
long lasting memory for sure.
Just to relieve some of the pain you are all feeling, the kitten was still alive 2 days after his attempted murder (and meowing!) and a nice tourist took him in and was nursing him back to health, WHEW! Jessie could finally sleep again knowing the kitten was safe and out of the rain. As for us, we were out of the rain at night but living with the reality that for the next 5 days straight it would rain on and off because of the typhoon rolling through! We were on one of the most beautiful beaches in the Philippines and it was raining all day long. I guess that’s kind of what happens when you’re here this time of year. But, how could we complain really? We were just grateful that we weren’t inside of a Nipa hut with a bamboo thatched roof right on the beach while the typhoon was rolling through. As Nate’s Dad said, we would’ve been like one of the three little pigs with the straw house, except the wind is the big bad wolf. Let me tell you, it was huffin’ and puffin’ all right! We were
really hoping that all of our time here wouldn’t be lost. At least we had a kitchen to put to good use and Jessie made curry for us a few nights and eggs and French toast a couple of mornings. You didn’t really want to be walking in the streets anyways. As soon as you even walked to the bakery and back while treading through the flooded streets, you were walking through all kinds of nastiness from the road. Let’s just say your flip flops will smell about as good as a dying dog’s farts.
After about a week we finally got to start getting caught up on some sunsets we’d been waiting for. They made for a beautiful end to the day, whether we were wet or dry. There was always one thing we couldn’t help but notice (and honestly laugh at). We couldn’t believe how many of the Korean couples here felt the need to match each others’ outfits. No lie! The guy would have the exact same pattern as the girls dress or swimming suit worked into his shorts or shirt somehow as if to announce to the world they were a couple. Maybe it’s just
normal in other parts of the world, but we’re pretty sure if we tried that at home people would rip on us until we changed clothes. That might sound a bit brutal, but picture this…Nate wearing a pink and yellow flowered pattern on the bottom of his swimming suit that matched Jessie’s bikini perfectly, or Jessie wearing a bright blue and green dress while Nate wore the exact same color and pattern on his shirt. C’mon, we’d be asking for it!
It was nice to finally have a few decent days where we weren’t getting hammered with rain drops the size of golf balls (not really THAT big but it felt like it sometimes). After being cooped up for so long we were itching to go for a walk just to get out and get some air. It didn’t take long for Jessie to make a new friend as Nate was taking some pictures of her down by the water. A little girl name Coco was walking with her mom past Jessie when she broke free from her mom’s hand and ran toward Jessie with her hand out. We’ve given a lot of “high fives” to kids in Asia,
so she assumed that’s what she wanted. Instead, the little girl practically jumped right into her arms with the biggest smile on her face and wrapped her arms around Jessie. Of course her mom was delighted to be able to take a picture of this as were we. Before being set back down, she gave Jessie a big hug and a kiss on the cheek before waving goodbye to her as she walked away. It was absolutely adorable and pretty much made Jessie’s day. You’d think that a trip like this might make us even more scared to have kids, but it’s having the exact OPPOSITE effect on us. The fact that the kids over here are so cute that you want to take every one of them home doesn’t help either.
Walking down towards the rich part of the beach, one guy after another kept approaching us trying to get us to go on a sailing trip, snorkel trip, rent a jet ski, buy pearls, hats, sunglasses, you name it. So we have a theory about that. Somehow we must look like a couple on a honeymoon with money to blow on whatever we want. If they only
knew how far from the truth that is. If they found out we lived on less than half of what most people we paying just for their room alone, they’d be shocked! Then again, you can’t blame them for trying. There were tons of people who took ‘em up on their offers, especially around sunset. The sunset trips, at least to us, were especially a waste. We didn’t know what the difference was between seeing it from the beach or seeing it from 100 feet out in the water. Even the kids were working for some extra money in front of the resorts as they drew different designs in the sand and had you pay a small fee to take a picture of it. You wouldn’t believe how many people were paying for that. Hey, if you can make a little money like that, more power to you. It beats the hell out of begging for it for sure. So we say good for them! Honestly, they really did make some pretty awesome designs. We had to hand it to ‘em.
One night after a roasted chicken and rice dinner at Andok’s (our favorite “local” hang out), we made
our way back to get some laundry done before heading off to bed and hung the wet clothes on the line outside. When we woke up in the morning, there was something off when we looked outside. Nate’s sarong, flip flops, shorts and a t-shirt were all missing. He went searching right away and found his flip flops at the bottom of the stairs along with his shorts, but the sarong and t-shirt were gone for sure. Nate, “Being bigger than almost everyone else has its advantages. Whoever took my stuff probably tried those things on and were drowning in them, so they decided not to take them.” Sure we were a little irritated, but considering this was the first time we’ve had something stolen since we’ve been gone and it was just a $5 sarong and shirt Nate hated, we couldn’t get too upset about it. Obviously we’d have to buy a new sarong for Nate up by the “mall” but he found one that he liked even better than his first one so it all worked out ok.
This would end up being the longest we’ve stayed anywhere as long as we’ve been gone…kinda like our home
away from home. I mean how could we leave in good conscience without actually enjoying the beach. As if we really needed a good reason to stay almost 2 weeks. Yeah…we got stuck here a while. Truthfully, we got into a little routine of going to the same bakery and getting some star bread for breckie in the morning, either chillin’ in the room if it was raining or heading to the beach right away, getting in some sun and swimming and maybe grabbing a fruit shake and going for a walk on the beach before enjoying the sunset during happy hour, and then showering and grabbing dinner. We know, what a life! Some of you might think you’d get bored doing this every day, but we got used to it in a HURRY! Besides, in the Philippines, you need to slow down to the pace of life here to really enjoy it. The longer we’re here, the more we fall in love with this country. It was going to be harder to pull us away from this place than taking away an ice cream cone from a 6 year old.
But before we would leave, Nate would have
an experience he would never forget. He pushed open the bathroom door and heard a SPLAT on the floor. “Oh no!” He jumped back. “I just decapitated a gecko! Poor little guy keeps flopping around!” Jessie, “Well kill it already so he isn’t suffering!” Nate, “I can’t! I just can’t do it.” He wasn’t kidding either, he couldn’t do it. All he could do was pick him up and flush him in the toilet. Of course this didn’t happen until after the tail fell off and flipped around on the ground, causing Nate to shriek and jump back into the bedroom. “Ah shit, his tail fell off and it’s flippin’ around everywhere!” Jessie was almost beside herself with laughter. No matter how tough he looks Nate could NOT be a bigger baby when it comes to things like that. He just won’t ever be very good at killing anything in nature no matter what the circumstances.
Our last two days couldn’t have been more perfect…the sun was out, the water was calm, there was no wind and we were able to enjoy doing what we love most, baking in the warm sunshine. After our usual routine of a day
and enjoying a perfect sunset we went to see Dana, a girl we met at a nice little family restaurant. Dana really wanted us to give her something to remember us by. Since we didn’t have anything on us we could really give her, we decided to take a picture with her and email it to her instead. She was definitely grateful. That actually wasn’t the first time someone had asked us for a souvenir. We gave an old man a dime a few weeks before that and we couldn’t even believe how excited he got. Ya gotta love it when you can make someone’s day for 10 cents!
All good things must come to an end and our time was quickly coming to an end here on Boracay, which was making us sad because we really didn’t want to leave such a beautiful beach. It was especially hard to go since almost a week of our time didn’t really count due to the weather. We must say, of all the places we’ve been, this had been hands down the most amazing beach we had ever seen. Although it was hard to throw our packs on our shoulders once
again, we were excited to be meet up with a friend from home in Manila before flying to Palawan. From what everyone had been telling us, Palawan is the very best of what the Philippines has to offer. We haven’t been disappointed yet and we’re sure we won’t be when we get there, that is, IF we make it there... Traveler Tips Getting There
From Caticlan you’ll take a quick 20 minute ferry ride for 155Php per person. A tricycle ride into town will run you a steep 100 Php. Staying
If you’re visiting in low season, you can get some great deals on rooms. Just be sure to stick around station 3 instead of being closer to all the resorts and the shopping. It wasn’t hard to find a room with a double bed, cable TV, private shower and fridge for as little as 400 Php per night. Even a nicer room with wifi inside can be found for 600 Php. Eating
If you’re lucky, the place you stay at will have a small kitchen you can cook your own food at. Not like this is true of every place, but there were plenty of people
who complained about getting sick from the fish barbecues in front of many of the resorts. We tried the Greek restaurant in D Mall and were not impressed. If you’re looking for a reasonably priced, fresh meal you can go to Migak which is close to D Mall on the main street it also serves Indian food. Another good bet, although more expensive, is eating at Cowboys at station 3. We had talked to people who said that everything was good here, and from what we experienced we’d have to agree with them. It really was worth the little extra money that we don’t usually spend. Otherwise, there’s always Andok’s chicken and rice. A full chicken and rice for 2 can be had for under 300 Php including a drink. Transportation
Boracay is another place where you can pretty much walk anywhere you need to go unless exploring other parts of the island besides the incredible beach area. A tricycle ride will cost you 100 Php from the pier, but you might be able to find a hawker promoting a guesthouse who will pay a little bit of it for you if you check out their place. Typically you’ll
pay the same to get back to the pier, but we found a guy who was willing to take us for 80 Php instead.
There are more photos below