Boracay's white beach
Yep I have to admit, beautiful beaches! Just stunning
I must pre warn you that this blog is full or ranting and raving.... it is quite a negative blog, however wanted to include it as a) it happened.... and these things do happen on the road whilst travelling, to everyone, it’s not all beer and skittles b) we wanted to remember this day and be able to look back and laugh, because at the time it certainly wasn’t a laughing matter for us!
The plan was to stay in the Philippines until the 9th of January and we had already pre booked flights from Cebu to Manila then onto Hong Kong from there. Flying back from Hong Kong to Brisbane via Manila and Singapore on the 12th of January...... Man how plans can change sometimes
It all started back in Dumaguete. We hadn't packed any emergency food stock into our packs, another absolute no no on the road. Unfortunately the domestic airport had little to no selection of food available and we didn't have enough time before our flight to go scouting for food. We were getting very hangry (angry from hunger) and short at each other. So we bought what little they did
a meal on the run
vegemite grilled pita breads
have at the airport, toasted pita breads, and made do with our tub of vegemite that we had packed from home. It was enough to fill the tummies and ward of the dreaded travellers’ hangriness.
We arrived at Caticlan airport and avoided being sheep like everyone else and dodged the overpriced tricycle to take us the 200m or so journey to the ferry terminal. We had read this handy trick in the LP. We caught the jam packed bankas over to Boracay, and were straight away gob smacked by the hordes of tourists that seemed to all be migrating over to Boracay. Seems as though every tourist in the Philippines was headed over here for New Year's Eve. We were starting to get a bad feeling about this already. But we then tried to shake it off, as we realise that Boracay is renowned for having the most beautiful beaches in all of the Philippines, so we could only expect it to be busy, I guess we had just had a perception of not being quite so busy.
When we arrived on Boracay soil we caught a P200 trike to villa camilla which we
Time to party
It was actually new years eve eve, but we decided to have a big night early
had pre booked whilst back in Australia. It is at the quieter end of the beach south of boat station 3. Unfortunately the photos online made a complete mockery of the reality of the place, as we had expected so much more for what we paid. The beach out the front of the place was beautiful, but I'm afraid that is where it ended. The room was like a moist stale dungeon, and we were certainly not happy with the price tag we had paid of $100 per night. I swear we then patrolled the entire island in the midday sun to find some alternative accommodation that we were happy with. Unfortunately due to it being absolute high season, everything was either full or way too overpriced. We would have knocked on the door of over 30 different places, so unfortunately we were stuck with villa camilla, so we tried desperately again to shake the disappointment of the situation off and just enjoy ourselves. Although it didn't help that we had some pretty terrible Thai food for dinner that night. Was this the worst day of the trip so far, certainly, would our luck soon turn, damn we hoped so.
Suz busting some moves
the locals all wanted a piece of dancing with the flamboyant tourist
Well we awoke the next day to order some shitty pancakes for breakfast. At this point we had really decided Boracay wasn't going to give us the pleasurable escape that we so desired. Thus we went in search of a travel agent to discuss our options for flying out of Boracay early, but to somewhere else in the Philippines. The first agent couldn't help us, so we found another agent that was closed, so we waited outside for 15 minutes only to be turned away again as they too couldn't help us. Was this island so against us that it wouldn't let us escape? We found an Internet cafe instead and by this point we were actually starting to consider flying to Hong Kong early instead. And in fact this is what we ended up trying to do. I say trying because we managed to book the first leg of our trip from Iloilo to Cebu no problems, but unfortunately when trying to book the second leg of our trip from Cebu to Hong Kong; our online bank transaction required a passcode that was sent to my mobile phone...... Which was sitting on my bedside table, back
in Australia! What a disaster, with no way of getting this passcode we couldn't pay for the flight, and were now stuck with a flight just to Cebu. We then spent a small fortune trying to call our bank back home on a pay phone to explain what had happened and to ask them to remove this security feature from our account for us. They had told us they had been successful in doing this, however when we logged back into the Internet and tried to pay for the flights again, it failed. We then attempted to call the airline directly, Cebu pacific at Caticlan, and pay for the flight over the phone. However they wouldn't take payment over the phone and required us to head back to Caticlan to pay in person. Are you serious!? So we then tried to call the airlines head office in Manila, finally some success! The flight was paid for and we would be off this (what we thought of it at the time anyway) damn forsaken island, and off to Hong Kong late at night on New Year's Day. We had literally wasted the last 26 hours of our trip with disappointment after
disappointment. Now finally surely our luck would change...
We ventured back to our room as we were told by the management that we were due to change rooms as they had double booked our room. However when we arrived they informed us that they had sorted something else out and we would now be staying in that room..... Yay another couple of nights in the horror dungeon. We trundled off to an Internet cafe a little close this time to our hotel to book some accommodation at Hong Kong. Let me tell you, trying to book a hotel last minute during one of the busiest times of year was no mean feat. It took us ages to settle on a hotel, which just happened to be the exact hotel we were due to stay in from the 9th til the 12th anyway. We really hadn't wanted to because it was just so expensive, but we couldn't be bothered looking any longer, so we just went with it and would deal with the financial pain when we got back home to Australia. To top things off their printer wasn’t working for us so we couldn’t print out our
not a bad way to waste a day
this was our typical spot for the last few days of the trip
flight boarding passes. So we gave up trying on this after about half an hour not a big deal I guess. So finally we felt like we had everything sorted, could we finally begin to relax...
All we wanted to do now was get back to our rooms, strip off, get into our bathing suits and hit the beach to try and unwind, relax, and drink ourselves away from the memory of the last 4 hours or so. However when I tried to find my wallet upon arrival at the rooms, it was nowhere to be found. Wholly hell where was it? I knew I had it at the Internet cafe, so I bolted back there to try and find it. Unfortunately it wasn't there, so I grilled a few of the kids that were there, and asked if they had taken it, I was met with blank stares. I couldn't keep accusing people as I really had no proof that they had it at all, or if I had even left it there. When we arrived back at the rooms we turned it upside down, and luckily managed to find my wallet tucked away inside my
bag...... What an awful day. We told our hotel we had to leave 2 days early due to a family emergency back home, hoping to get refunded for these couple of days, as we had already paid the whole time in full upon arrival. And what do you know, they said too bad so sad, you leave early you lose your money. And at $100 a night, it was a lot of money. 5 minutes later they came knocking at our door to tell us they had found someone for our room on the second night so we would only have to pay for one extra nights accommodation. Hallelujah some common sense prevailed.
We finally hit the beach for some quiet time and a chance to relax and unwind. The beach really was stunning, I will give Boracay credit for that, but unfortunately even at the quiet end of the stretch of sand it felt so overdeveloped and way over crowded. We had some awesome Japanese food for dinner, finally some beautiful food, followed by some drinks at a bar called the hobbit house, where all of the wait staff were actually dwarfs. We kicked on long
had to make the most of it, doing silly things with a snorkel mask
into the night and got ourselves pretty drunk at a nightclub up towards boat station 1. We arrived at this nightclub pretty early, so along with a few of the younger local crowd were the first ones here. We ended up making friends with a group of these locals and drinking and dancing the night away with our little crew. It was so much fun, showing them that us Aussies could keep up with them long into the wee hours of the morning. The locals were all so kind hearted and great fun to party with. When we were ready to leave, the local guys all escorted us back to our hotel. It was great being able to forget about the events of the last couple of days.
We awoke the next day with seedy little hangovers, Suz being a little worse for wear than myself. Today was New Year's Eve. We awoke to absolute stunning sunshine. We hit the beach immediately, lazed the day away basking in the sunshine under the shade of a palm throng umbrella, casually dipping ourselves in and out of the turquoise waters to keep cool. That night we actually had good
intentions of heading out to just soak up the atmosphere of Boracay and enjoy the fireworks and ring in the new year with the locals, however after a quick bite to eat and a nice dessert at the lemon cafe we went back to our room and crashed out! We were awoken at midnight by the sounds of fireworks just up the beach, but we were just too exhausted to even drag ourselves out of bed to go and watch them. After a quick kiss to ring in the new year we were once again fast asleep, dreaming of what was to come on the next leg of our 4 week escape, Hong Kong.
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