Our first stop in Manila was the Mall of Asia. We heard it was the largest mall in Asia and it was certainly the largest mall that we have seen in Asia. I am simply guessing but it was about 10 times the size of Select City Walk in New Delhi. I have been wanting to pick up a traveling sized computer and I found an HP Mini there for about $480.00. That is about $100 more than I can get one for in the USA, but I won't be back in the USA for at least 6 months. I am typing on it now.
Manila nightlife reminded us a little of Bali at night ... at least in the touristy areas. Sixty year old men with twenty-two year old local girls at their side. But we did find a place with live music where the locals were hanging out. There was a tribal sounding band playing when we arrived. There were three drummers, two playing bongo looking drums and one playing a rock style drum set. There was also an electric bass guitar and a suitar looking lead guitar. They were all dressed in shorts and shirtless with tattoos
from neck to belly buttons. The second band was a cover band and they played the Cure, the Beatles, and other English bands from the 60s through the 90s. They were dressed in 60s outfits with ties, like the Beatles. There isn't much live music in Delhi so this was a nice treat.
We spent one night in Manila and headed to Boracay the following day.
Boracay is heaven. It reminds me of Playa Del Carmen (PDC) on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. Food from all over the world, music from all over the world, and people from all over the world. Great food, great prices, unpretentious surroundings, and a laid back silky smooth atmosphere. I am not completely comfortable admitting this, but for a simply base experience without concern for temples or spiritual pursuits, I like it better than Thailand. It is like PDC without immediate evidence of one thousand years of history. We get a lot of history living in India, so the Philippines is just what the doctor ordered.
Today we went for a boat ride around Boracay and snorkeled. You may have heard that Pack-man, a Filipino boxer who recently defeated a boy
from the west (USA?) in a boxing match in the second round? On the trip around the Island, we were told which house was Pack-man's. Nice place. It looks like Aliens landed in Boracay and built a house on a cliff.
Filipino's seem to be the most 'American' Asians that we have encountered while living in Asia. They watch baseball, basketball, and boxing, and they are also into Hip-Hop and R&B music. It feels good to enjoy American music without having to think about it. In Delhi, they seem to hate Hip-Hop because you never hear it at all. Delhi is more influenced by electronic music from Europe, mainly German and French music, If you grew up listening to American music, you will enjoy the sounds that drift into your ears in the Philippines.
This is insanely relaxing. I haven't been this relaxed since I am not sure when. It may have something to do with the beach centric experience. There is no need to get in a vehicle at all. It is just a strip of white sand with one resort after another. Anything you could possibly want is within walking distance along a white sand beach.
And the prices are decent. A meal for two including everything ... $14.00. A boat ride around the island including snorkling gear ... $50.00, sunset sailing is $40.00, one hour on a jet ski is $60.00. If the wind picks up today I may try kite surfing.
A few days later ... We are at the airport in Caiticlan waiting for our flight to Cebu. I spent a few hours walking around Boracay checking hotel prices in case we decide to live here for a few months someday.
Boat Stattion 1:
On the high end, there is the Waling-Waling Beach Hotel in Boracay which is right on the sand and costs about $200 per night (www.waling.com). The food was a little limiting for vegetarians, it seems like a largely a traditional Filipino menu. Nigi Nigi Too is right next door at about $120-$140 per night. The food was excellent and it seems to cater more to a western diet with Pizza and Burgers, but also has a few nice Asian dishes. It is right on the sand and is a great choice if you want to visit Cheers on the beach (www.niginigitoo.com).
If you are staying longer
and want to pinch a penny or two, here are a few options a block away from the beach. The Boracay Breeze Resort (email@example.com) is fairly nice and only one block away from the beach at $36 per night (Apr-Oct) and $56 per night (May-Oct). The rooms are small but they have hot water, clean sheets, and airconditioning.
La Plage De Boracay Resort was the cheapest reasonable place I spotted at about $200 per week and one block off the beach. It has hot water, clean sheets, and the air works (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Jony's Beach Resort (email@example.com) is right across the street from the beach and has a beach cabana on the sand at $66 low season and $84 high season. The rooms are very nice, as nice as the Waling-Waling.
Boat Station 2:
The Bamboo Bungalows Boracay (www.bbboracay.com) is right on the sand with only the beach walk between you and the water at $50 night low and $70 night high season.
Boracay is the sort of place that you should feel comfortable booking for only a night or two and then walking about checking prices upon arrival to pick a place that suits you best.
Boat station 2 and 3 are a bit more lively with music and nightlife, which can be a good thing if you like people watching and eating at different places. There is a great assortment of foods from around the world, such as Italian, Filipino, Chinese, Thai, Japenese, and American (Burgers and BBQ). The high end vegetarian food is a little limiting. But the low end vegetarian is so good, you won't care.
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