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Day 66- 70- Our Ok Stay in Boracay!

Boats,Beaches & Rain!

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7th February- Welcome to Boracay
About an hour after arriving at the ferry port, faffing with tickets, environmental tax, port tax, proof of accommodation and waiting for the correct ferry we were finally on our way to the island of Boracay. The bureaucracy in this country is crazy!

Getting off the ferry we were accosted by about 30 tuk tuk drivers, we knew our hostel was only a 9 minute walk and knew the prices they were quoting were ridiculous so started the slog with our huge bags and all our other bags up the hill, in 30 degree heat. A sweaty ten minutes later we started the climb to the second floor to our hostel reception. How we keep picking hostels with stairs I'll never know.

The hostel was great! An 8 bed dorm can be cramped but the set up meant it felt more like a 4 bed dorm. Free soap and toothbrushes made a fancy touch for a hostel. After a rest, shower and plan for what to do for our time on the island, we headed out to have a look around. Our hostel offered a free shuttle buses in to town every hour (another nice touch).

There was a tourist attraction called ‘Willys Rock’ so we thought we’d check it out, after a bit of giggling. A long walk down the white sand beach (Philippines really is just paradise) we came to a rock formation with a Virgin Mary statue with steps leading to it. We searched for some information about how it came about or what it’s meaning was, there was nothing so we had to turn to google. Google also provided... nothing! Turns out, it’s just a rock, that’s always been a rock, someone liked the rock so build a Virgin Mary on the rock, now tourists come to look at the rock. The rock has no meaning or story, just a rock. Yet it proved a popular rock with people clambering for pictures. We shot a few to make the walk justified and were on our way.


As Boracay is the party island of the Philippines, it was so much busier. We’d become accustomed to sharing a beach with one or two other people. Here it was like Skegness on the one day of the year we’d call a heatwave. We weren’t the biggest fans. We went to wander round the many many markets in search of our Christmas decoration, but were faced with the same tacky keyrings and magnets as every other island in the Philippines. I really thought they’d have some nice handcrafted trinkets.

Having heard this beach had a great sunset we decided to sit on the beach a while and wait for it before dinner. During our early early we were confronted by a man with no teeth (Mark) trying desperately to sell us a tour for the next day. After not taking no for an answer Andy decided to humour him by proceeding to wind this guy up (like the windup merchant he is) for the next 40 minutes! Insisting we’d come back tomorrow, this poor guy was super excited but also not convinced. He was demanding we pay half now for a deposit. There was a huge language barrier as we couldn’t understand him (partly the accent, partly the lack of teeth) and he couldn’t understand us. I hoped he would just leave... he didn’t. Then afer a while and the conversation going in circles he just stayed and silently watched the sunset with us; a strange, strange experience. I say sunset, again, the actual sunset was hidden behind clouds so there wasn’t anything spectacular to see. Well I say this yet I'm aware the below pictures are probably making any of you sat at your work desk quite jealous still. We are just in search of that perfect horizon shot. While Mark was talking to someone else we saw our escape and briskly walked away. Poor Mark turning around realizing we were gone came running after us to confirm, once more, we would be there tomorrow.


We’d picked we’re we’d go for dinner and headed in the direction, at night this town was even more the party town with colorful bars and restaurants along the beach front and down the ‘strip’ as it would be called in Magaluf. Sitting down at the burger joint we both struggled deciding what to have as there were so many good options! We decided to share (jerk chicken with rice and a pulled pork bbq burger), this way we got to try two different things. Both were tasty and we chatted the evening away reminiscing about some classic indie tunes.

After the bill came and we’d both regained consciousness from the shock of the cost, we paid and grumbled the whole way home. For some reason the prices weren’t inclusive of VAT, we haven’t experienced that anywhere else in the Philippines. Dinner is usually about £4/£5 for the both of us a night, I worked out this dinner was £13 for both of us... which we both thought was outrageously expensive.. but in reality, it’s still nothing for two main meals ????.


8th February- Island Hopping Boat Tour
Unfortunately for Mark we’d found a cheaper tour so it was an early start the next day to the beach. Trying to avoid Mark from spotting us we followed the guide to our boat. Everyone on the boat, except from us, was Korean or Filipino. The guide, Justine, was incredibly enthusiastic, and self promoted herself to personal photography on the first beach; telling us how to pose and what to do. Some people would love this, Andy and I just found it a little awkward as you may need able to tell below!


Second spot we hoped would be snorkeling at crocodile island (as the tour description stated) as apparently the reef around it is colorful with a lot of vibrant fish. Instead we got taken to a random spot in the ocean where the reef was pretty much dead (assumingely from all these tours stopping here) with only a few fish around. Next was another e headed snorkel spot which was almost the same as the previous other than the fact their was a cluster of fish gathering near the boats only because the guides fed them. A vicious circle of tourists wanting to see fish so tours feeding them to make sure they are in the right spot for the tours but then the fish become dependent on this food rather than sourcing their own so keep returning for the tourists to see. Although again maybe we have just been spoilt as looking back on the photos and videos it does look pretty cool.


Lunch consisted of some amazing bbq pork kebabs, shrimps, chicken curry and noodles. The pork was so good I had 8 kebabs!! (Disclaimer: they were only small, not like kebabs we make back home). Heading back, deflated that we hadn’t gone to Crystal Cove, Magic Island or Crocodile Island as the description had stated. We were further frustrated about the fact it is called island hopping yet we only visited one island that wasn't Boracay, so during the journey back we were compiling a mental complaint.

As most nights we’d (Andy had) researched a good spot for dinner and we made our way there chatting about anything and everything- it’s strange that we’ve been traveling for three months now, spending every minute of every day together and (other than a little bicker here and there) we haven’t fallen out, had an argument or run out of things to talk about! The little cafe we were heading to was closed so we had to make alternative arrangements and stumbled upon a pizza place. We’d forgotten to get more cash out of our secret hiding places so had to scour the menu for something we could actually afford ????

9th February- It even rains in paradise
For our final full day on the island we’d decided to try and find a pool we could laze beside and actually start reading a book. I'd planned on this trip I’d be able to read so much but having been so busy (or catching up with blog in our spare time) I hadn’t even had chance to download a book to our kindles!. Being turned away at a few hotels or being offered ridiculous prices to use the pool we decided we’d just head to the beach for free (albeit sandier).

20 minutes after arriving we were playing in the sea as the clouds swooped over sky and the heavens opened. Conflicted as what to do (would it pass in a few minutes like a tropical storm or would it keep pouring all afternoon?) we found cover under a palm tree. Before long the rain had trickled through the leaves and our cover was no longer a dry haven. We made a short jump to the cover or a shop and stood there amongst locals considering our options. 15 minutes later we decided we had to bite the bullet and make a run for it, getting to a 7/11 being only a little soggy we scavenged for whatever we could find for lunch (a packet of crisps to share and a chocolate muffin each) and sat on the patio (undercover) and caught up on blog for a few hours, not quite the day we’d had planned.

On our way back to the hostel we’d found a really nice Jeepney souvenir (the only one in the whole country apparently). The rain has subsided so we made our way to a Moroccan restaurant which had beautiful decor, prompting the ever exciting conversation of ‘where will we travel to next?’ And continually reeling pretty much every country in the world- we need to win the lottery! A stroll back down the beach we reflected on Boracay. It had been highly recommended to us, even being many of the locals from other islands dream holiday destination, yet we both felt it was too touristy for us, we’d much preferred the quieter island where you get to experience the local way of life.


10th February- Moving on to Kalibo
In the morning we made a quick sprint to town to acquire another souvenir we’d seen after our pizza (but had no money left), because one is never enough! Spending the majority of the day making our way to Kalibo for our flight the next day. The hotel was one of the nicest we had had in a while and we had a private room and double bed! Always a luxury.


Andy’s daily dinner research had given us direction to pork belly. I’m always weary of pork belly being too chewy. Arriving at the restaurant we were told they only had the pork belly and pork chops to take away, no rice, no sides, nowhere to sit. After receiving a super heavy huge box we sat on the side of the road and dug in, dipping the first crispy slice in the apple sauce, within seconds I knew this was the best pork belly we would ever had, it was incredible! Just looking at the picture is making me salivate (although I appreciate it probably doesn't look as good when you don't know how it tasted!). It was literally heaven in your mouth. The crackling crispy but not overdone. The pork tender and delicious! We had read that there is good pork belly in the Philippines (lechon) but we never expected this! If you are ever in Kalibo make your pilgrimage to Ramboys you won't regret it (well as long as you get the restaurant!)


After a couple of minutes the owner of the restaurant came out Invited us in, even though they were closed. Gave us water, extra apple sauce, forks and plates, we were a little confused as to the change of mind. He had placed us on a table near the back so we couldn’t be seen from the counter and we realised we had been invited in purely because we were white. It’s strange to us here how we get treated better here just because we are white! The entire walk back we just went on and on about what a great dinner it was.

Just a random guy walking his cow, as you do:


11 February- flight to Puerto Princesa
Our flight the next day had already been rearranged twice so we were a little annoyed when we delayed another hour once at the airport. After a few hours and a stop over in Manila (taking advantage of another Cinnabon) we finally landed in Puerto Princesa.

Posted by Bears on Tour 23:44 Archived in Philippines Tagged rain boracay kalibo pukka_beach crocodile_island lechon pork_belly ramboys

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