Last hurrah in Asia

Trip Start Jun 25, 2006
Trip End Aug 01, 2007

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Flag of Philippines  ,
Friday, May 18, 2007

He Said:
A 30-minute automobile taxi ride, 45-minute flight, 1-hour van ride, 15-minute outrigger boat ride, a 10-minute trip in the side car of a motorcycle taxi, and lastly a 10-minute hike was all it took for us to get from our hotel in Manila to our guest house on the island of Boracay. If only we'd had a chance to take a train as well then we would have taken just about every form of non-animal transport in the Philippines! Despite the bit of an ordeal getting here, it was totally worth it; this place is absolutely gorgeous!
Boracay has all the characteristics of the perfect place to chill-out; a palm lined beach, powdery white sand, crystal-clear turquoise water, cheap but high quality food and accommodation, very friendly locals, and some of the most stunning sunsets you can imagine. One very interesting aspect is that this is the first beach destination we've been to in Asia where Europeans or Australians weren't the majority of visitors. It turns out that in addition to being a magnet for vacationing and honeymooning Filipinos, Boracay is kind of a Korean version of Cancun. Groups of young Koreans come here in droves, but are considerably more sedate than the hoards of rowdy young Americans who flock to Mexico. Thankfully for old farts like us, Boracay is pretty relaxed and sedate without much in the way of thumping music, late-night clowning around, or beer swilling contests.  
In the last week we've managed to do a do a lot to reading on the beach, sample way too much great food, and fit three very different SCUBA dives into our "busy" schedule. A dive on a large shipwreck, another over a very colorful reef teeming with life, and a final dive in a channel drifting along with a high speed current made for a really interesting set of undersea sights and experiences. I'm sure Katie will have a lot of details to add as she found the last one a bit, ummm..."challenging"!
Even though we've been here for a week, I think we could easily stay another without stretching our endurance for U/V rays to the limit. But move on we must! In a few days time we'll have spanned the Pacific, crossed the equator again going from the northern to the southern hemisphere (and changed seasons from spring into autumn) and be on the other side of the planet in Peru. We are doing our best to enjoy a last few days of warmth here. I don't know how we'll deal with the cold in Peru since we've pretty much been in an endless summer since leaving home last July! I've really enjoyed the Philippines but feel like we've barely scratched the surface of this huge nation. It is definitely a place I would like to come back to!
She Said:
Even though I had never heard of it until a few months ago, Boracay is a cute little island easily accessible from Manila.  In fact, it is so close that the number of vacationers swells from Thursday to Sunday with weekenders from Manila.  There were thousands of people on the beach the evening we arrived (on a Saturday), and we were pleasantly surprised when the place seemed to be empty during the week.  We have been to so many lightly touristed beaches lately that I have developed a bit of an aversion to crowds.  The sand is so white and the water is extremely clear and warm, prices are very reasonable (an excellent all you can eat buffet on the beach costs $5 complete with live music) all which makes Boracay an excellent location for your beach vacation...if you are anywhere in the area, that is.  The massive downside for vacationing Americans is that it is so far from the US, which is probably why we encountered so few of them (unless of course one spouse was Filipino).
We did a bit of diving (again, for a bargain), and there was one dive in particular that I will never forget.  It was a drift dive, which basically means that the boat drops you off in one place and you float along underwater with the current, and the boat meets you downstream.  We have done a few drift dives before, none of which were really that big of a deal, and actually are nice because you just slowly drift along without exerting yourself too much.  This particular dive, however, was much different.  The current wasn't really a leisurely drift... it was more like a vacuum suction vortex.  We were just rocketing along with the current, and I quickly realized that the purpose of this dive was to ride the channel current, instead of to take in the local sea life, as the visibility wasn't so good (on account of the current).  Anyway, I was sucking down my tank of air sounding like Darth Vader (which I do when I get a bit panicked), when Todd accidentally (he claims :-)) bumped into my face and knocked off my mask. Just before the mask left my face, I saw we were coming up on a giant coral reef and one of the largest sea fans I have ever seen.  Before all my SCUBA training kicked in, I started freaking out that I could not breath, until I realized, no stupid, you can breathe fine, you can't see. And oh my God, where is that sharp reef full of cutting things?  After what seemed like 30 minutes (Todd claims it was only 30 seconds), the situation was under control, mask in place cleared of water, and everything was fine without any collisions with hurtful undersea life.  Let's just say I was a bit traumatized, and proceeded to cry once the dive was over, and will definitely ask a whole slew of questions next time the option of a drift dive comes up!
Tomorrow we start all off on the long journey to Lima, Peru, which believe it or not, is going to take 7 flights over 3 days.  Luckily, we have a short 2-day stopover in the USA!  It will be nice to be back in the States after 10 months away!
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taz on

hi! i have a nice time reading your blog. I am happy that u had a nice vacation here. You are always welcome to come back and explore more. There are so much to see and should visit here. I been travelling too here in our country. we have so much to offer. I highly recommend Palawan and Bohol. I took some pictures to share but its on facebook. If u have time add me ' Taz Jonson'. Hope you can come back here.. My pleasure to be your tour guide. God bless!

Terry on

Thank you for posting this.I also had a wonderful experience in Boracay last August 2010, my family and I had a great time we stayed at Zoe Mei Resort Boracay the location is very nice if you want to have privacy and very affordable accommodation rate we enjoy but not spent too much. we also enjoy the snorkeling and reef walking experience.Want to go back in Boracay next year.

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