Paradise in Boracay

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December 17th 2009
Published: December 20th 2009
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After leaving Manila, we booked a flight on Cebu Pacific, and headed off to Boracay Island, in the center of the Philippines. What we got was a stark contrast from the city, as this was a tropical island with crystal clear water and probably the nicest beaches I've ever seen to date. The only crappy thing was it was a little touristy but definitely a change of pace from Manila. We stayed at Frenz hostel which was the budget backpacker hub of the White Beach, which was the main area of this small island. It was sick how many different restaurants, bars, nightclubs, shops, etc and again very touristy so we kind of had to pick and choose where we ate and be economical. Still sometimes it was difficult, and I did end up splurging at various times.

I met many other backpackers staying at the hostel, notably Shawn, a Canadian from BC, group of Finish people, Coleta from Edmonton who is also an Olympic volleyball hopeful, a group from France but studying in Taiwan, and three Irish girls named Sue, Fiona, and Carolyn, whom I had briefly met while in Manila but who I got to know a little better here. They were a crazy bunch and were backpacking around the world for a year. They taught me a drinking game called ring of fire, which consisted of a deck of cards and some funny rules and of course lots of drinking. We all played for a while and it was good fun, my drinking tolerance has increased but nowhere near most of them. I drew a ten towards the end of the game and had to take a tequila shot and I really can't get back into tequila anymore. From there we went out and sat at a place on the beach and continued the party and then moved on to yet another place by the beach. Everyone drank loads and most had some pretty severe hangovers the following day. Luckily I tend to be alright if I primarily stick to the beer. I also met the girls' friend John, who was English but living in the Philippines for the past year and told me some of the nitty gritty of the country and a lot about the unfortunate corruption that occurs here. Obviously many countries are plagued with it.

I did quite a bit of swimming there and the water was so warm I was staying in forever. I practiced laps cuz I really need to become a stronger swimmer. I have plenty of endurance while swimming it's just that I'm really slow and would like to change that. There was also a gym nearby and I put in two decent workouts to try to maintain some of the progress I had achieved. This is still a running experiment though.

When I was walking on the opposite beach of the island I saw something that definitely picked my interest. As I got there I stood and marveled at the dozens of kites flaying in the air, with riders controlling and riding through the water with them. This is known as kitesurfing and it looked awesome! Shawn was currently doing a full course for it at the beach and also talked to me about it, so the following day I walked down and signed up for a three hour beginner course. I managed to control the kite rather decently and got to do some body drags too which was loads of fun. Right towards the end I tried getting up on the board and lasted for about a second before wiping out. Something I'd like to try again soon. Some of the other kite surfers were sick, pulling all sorts of tricks like hangs and spins.

Another first for me was seeing cock fighting. Two roosters are pitted against one another in a battle to the death, at least in most cases. Very bloody and gruesome. Supposedly it's like the second biggest "sport" in the Philippines.

I went to the dentists while there as well since some of the other previously mentioned backpackers went for a cleaning and told me good things. The cleaning cost only about 12 bucks and now I'll have sparkling white teeth for the next few days. I got a haircut/shave at a barbershop and probably was the best shave ever, as a straight razor is used and the cut is close as can be. An unexpected thing too is at the end of the cut the barber gives a head, neck and back massage. Super relaxing.

On the last day I went with Shawn and we rented ATV's for a couple hours. We toured the a big chunk of the island and went off-road a little. We stopped at a butterfly farm where we saw bats, birds and of course butterflies, checked out a practically deserted but gorgeous beach, and finally made our way to viewpoint where we had a 360 view of the place, not to mention saw some monkeys and other cool animals. One monkey grabbed a water bottle someone had left behind and tried drinking through the cap so I went up to it and opened the bottle and fed him water. I love monkeys, I wanted to bring him back with me.

I did loads of other stuff but the important chunks are up there. In the end we extended our stay from four to seven days. Lastly the island offered serene sunsets...

P.S. Internet connections are generally poor so the times I've been getting online have been few and far between. And forget skype, at least here, the chances of it working are remote at best.

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20th December 2009

Hey Danny Your trip sounds amazing so far. An experience you will always remember. Some words of wisdom. Stay away from tattoos and overly friendly Phillapino women. Continue blogging. Love the posts and pics. Acher
22nd December 2009

I'm soo jealous
Hey dude, sounds like you're having exactly the trip you thought you'd have and maybe better. I'm so jealous and the more I read, the more anxious I get to do some traveling of my own ! Have fun and be safe ;) peace buddy. Happy Holidays
22nd December 2009

The trip is going well so far. Don't be jealous man, you'll be travelling before you know. Amsterdam soon! Btw how's Telus working out? Happy holidays to you too man.

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