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Published: March 7th 2007
Puerto Galera, Mindoro Island
For the first in my life, I paid for a massage, got a temporary tattoo, snorkelled on an amazing beautiful reef and had the best laugh of my life just playing cards. These escapades all happened in the Island of Mindoro on the white beach of Puerto Galera on the 4th day of our trip to the Philippines.
We caught the ferry from Batangas pier around 11am and reached the Island of Mindoro within an hour. We were lucky to have caught the “Commandos” Outrigger boat instead of the “Bryan”, which apparently notorious for sinking. The trip to Puerto Galera was very pleasant. It was a nice weather, the ocean not too choppy and most of all, I didn’t get seasick. It’s wonderful just to watch to vastness of the sea and watch the other boats pass you by. Time seems to freeze as we get engulfed in such surreal environment….and before we know it, we’re already on the beach of Puerto Galera.
We were inundated with agents vying to take us island hopping and snorkelling with their boat for a reasonable price. We contracted one of them for AU$45, which included an island tour and snorkelling gears. We
checked-in at “Marco Vincent Villa” around noon, ordered lunch by the pool then met up with the tour guide to take us island hopping and snorkelling. As we approached the coral reef, we were transferred to another smaller boat and took us at the best snorkelling spots in Puerto Gelara - “The Port of Galleons” used as a safe haven by merchant vessels and Spanish galleons in the early 16th century during storms and typhoons. All excited, we plunged into the freezing water. My cousin Tina started shivering and felt ill. She had a problem acclimatizing to the chilling temperature of the water. The rest of us got used to the coldness in no time and started enjoying the wonderful world of the deep. It’s like being inside a gigantic aquarium. The corals and fish are multi-coloured in all shades of the rainbow. We can even hold the fish as we feed them by hand. The only drawbacks were, we’re not allowed to take off our life vest, therefore unable to dive-in and venture around as the weather got windy and wavy. Nimfa also got stung by jellyfish leaving her all itchy for few days.
At dusk, we opted
Puerto Galera, Mindoro Island
for a nice massage on the beach after a tiring but fantastic underwater adventure. It’s my first time to get a massage after all this time….call me prudish but I just didn’t feel comfortable about it. Most masseurs are women on their 30s or 40s with very strong hands. It felt like torture as my masseur kneaded my back like a pile of dough. I asked her kindly to be gentle as I’m a first-timer. She was surprised and somewhat delighted ‘coz I just made her job easier and also meant less strain on her hands. An hour of good massage makes all the anxieties in life and physical stress fade away. It felt so relaxing and serene. The massage was from head to toe….well….not exactly in that order… she massaged my feet first then my face 😞.…
All greased up with coconut oil, we headed back to the villa to get ready for dinner. We had a nice warm chicken congee at the fast food stand on the beach…It was raining that night so there’s nowhere else to go but to shelter in the comfort of our room. We pulled out a deck of cards and played 2pairs.
Getting my glitter and henna tattoo...which supposed to last for 2 weeks
The rule of the game is to pair up all your cards. The winner gets to put a RED MARK on the face of the losers. It was the funniest card game I’ve ever played. As the game became competitive, the game got ugly (literally). Giving CheChe that much needed mono-brow after winning a game made me lose it. We couldn’t stare into each others faces without burst out laughing. Our deafening laughs caused a commotion among the other guests. We were like a bunch of rowdy teenage girls having a slumber party…..It’s fantastic !
The next day at dawn, we met up again with the same masseurs on the beach for another great massage….we just couldn’t get enough.
One hour before we caught the ferry back to Batangas, we all decided to get a fake tattoo. Peer pressure has a strong hold. We all have to get it. Nimfa and Che only got the glitters tattoo fearing they might be allergic to Henna. My cousin got the Henna and I opted for both (glitters and henna). After a week, the novelty worn off and I can’t wait to get rid of it. Henna, popularised in many cultural
rituals, festivals and ceremonies gets absorbed into the skin. It eventually disappears after 2 weeks or with rigorous scrubbing. It’s very rare that you’ll see girls in the Philippines with tats because of the bad connotation attached to it. Unlike in other cultures, it is consider as good luck and a form of art. We drew quite a bit of attention as we walked around Manila. I heard stories that a Japanese tourist was sent back to Japan ‘coz he’s littered with tattoos fearing he might be a member of the Yakuza. This might just be a hear-say without any truth to it whatsoever. But I believe in saying
Never judge a book by its cover.
On a positive note, trying new things can be fun. Cheers !
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