Out Of The Fryingpan, Into A Nice Soft Comfy Bed

Trip Start Oct 02, 2012
Trip End Mar 31, 2014

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Flag of Philippines  , Visayas,
Saturday, November 17, 2012

We awake early and in high spirits. Yesterdays struggle and disappointment have been banished from our minds. In fact, the only thing on our minds is having our favourite pancakes for breakfast. Pacific stack 'em high with syrup and butter. As we wipe the sticky greasy mess from our faces, we wonder why we haven't lost any wieght since we've been roughing it as backpackers? It remains a mystery. Fed to bursting, we jump in a taxi to the North bus terminal where we can catch a bus north, towards the sandy island of Malapascua.

Most Filipinos love to talk and our taxi driver is as chatty as they come. He's also a funny guy and the journey to the station is filled with Ian's giggles and the drivers insistance that we marry immediately in the Philippines. The terminal is as unorganised and crazy as expected but we find the right bus easy enough. We are taking it as far north as we can go, to the small port town of Maya, from here we hope to catch a boat across to Malapascua. So we hunker down in our seats in a very old looking bus. There's no air con, but the windows are all so wide open that falling out is a real risk! As we hurtle along at 100mph, we get talking to a couple of backpacking chaps from Belgium who are also heading to Malapascua. It turns out that as they are over 50, the government pays them to have a year off work so they can go and travel. How awesome are the Belgian Government!

The bus journey is long and at one point Ian makes the mistake of looking out the front window. In doing this, he witnesses us almost crashing into an oncoming bus, there are horns, hard breaking, swerving and inches to spare. Another near-death experience for the record. Looking out of the side windows aren't much better as Anna sees a woman on a motorbike drive into a dog on the road, no attempt at slowing or going around it, just 'Bam', and carry on regardless. The roads and the speed are crazy, but it's to be expected now. The rushing wind through the huge open windows keeps us cool but blinds us at the same time, leaving us with frozen eyes and headaches by the time we reach Maya, four hours later. But at least we have actually reached Maya! It is a small victory. Maybe we will even complete today's planned journey!

The boat over to Malapascua Island takes about 30 minutes and we can see it from the dock. As we stand there in the heat and sun, we start to think, 'we could probably swim to it, if we need to'. We've been stood in front of the boat, with our Belgian friends, for five minutes or so. The only thing preventing us from getting on board are the dozen Filipino men all telling us that we need to pay them 200 peso to travel. They are telling us this whilst stood in front of a huge sign that reads, 'Boat To Malapascua - 80 Peso'. There's not much we can do as we need to be on that boat. And these guys know it. One of the Belgian guys manages to reduce the robbery to 150 peso each, which we pay grudgingly, then we literally 'walk the plank' onto HMS Dick Turpin for our ride over to the Island.

Forty minutes later and we beach on Malapascua to be greeted by a man with the whitest teeth we have ever seen. He is from our hotel and his name is Sunny. We think he was given this name because if you look directly at his teeth you'll go blind. Avoiding eye-to-teeth contact, we talk to Sunny about the trips out diving, snorkelling, island hopping etc., that the hotel can arrange for us. We have no intention of doing any of these but don't have the heart to tell him yet. In a long-overdue stroke of good fortune, the hotel is overbooked and we get upgraded to a better, bigger room with a shared balcony and a sea view. We gratefully guzzle our welcome drinks and after a bite to eat, head out to explore the beach and the surrounding area. Things are looking up.

Well it turns out that Malapascua is simply stunning. A long, mainly empty strip of white sand, coupled with warm, clear sea. There isn't too much development yet and the interior of the island houses a few small Filipino villages with winding dirt roads and scores of dirty children playing a flip-flop tossing game which looks like fun. Walking down the beachfront, some children approach Ian asking his name, where he is from, how old he is etc., until they suddenly whip out a plastic bag offering him souvenirs. He politely declines and as we wander away, we wonder how soon the child-sellers will go from cute, to annoying.... So we continue wandering and after spending an unknown length of time being lost in the dusty village behind the beach front, we finally find the hotel again. It has become our tradition to get lost within a short distance of our new home. Not because we have terrible senses of direction, but because it takes us to places we wouldn't usually go...... erm but mainly because we have terrible senses of direction.

We have dinner and drinks on the beachfront (with a little yappy dog as company) before doing a spot of stargazing and then heading off to bed. We feel relaxed and happy. Malapascua is a fantastic place and we intend to make the most of it. So screw you Siquijor, we bet you are rubbish anyway! ;)
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Claire on

Laughed so loud when I read about the woman on motorbike hitting a dog- hope the dog was ok- feel bad for laughing now... Emma asked what I was laughing about. She said "Mummy you always laugh reading about Anna.." x x

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