Last hurrah in Asia
Trip Start Jun 25, 2006
127Trip End Aug 01, 2007
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A 30-minute automobile taxi ride, 45-minute flight, 1½-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
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!
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
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
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!