After a quick 45 minute flight to Kalibo I step off the plane into 90 degree humid weather :) Outside what has to be the smallest airport I have ever seen, there are a line of buses and a heard of tricycles. The tricycles are motorcycles with a cart for passengers attached at the side. They're funny to look at yet seem to be the number one mode of transport here. A woman approaches me and asks if I have a place to stay; nope. I tell her I'm looking for something in a central location for cheap and she tells me no problem I will have someone meet you in Caticlan to bring me to the Sanders White hotel (1,100 pesos a night = $22). Ok. I am then told to get on the Philippine Air shuttle for a 2 hour bus ride to Caticlan. The bus has AC and is crowded, yet I get 2 seats to myself (thank you backpack for taking 1!). The ride is slow but it gives me a chance to see the countryside. It reminds me tremendously of Costa Rica; palm trees, mountains, shacks and people out walking everywhere. I get to Caticlan and there's a woman standing holding a sign "Loren Sanders White." She's rushing around like a maniac and I'm literally chasing her around the ferry port. We have to buy a ticket for the ferry, an environmental ticket and a terminal ticket. I get these and continue chasing her onto the boat.
Oh my god. It's absolutely gorgeous. The boat pulls up through crystal clear blue waters to a beautiful green mountainous area with white sand beaches. We get off and have to get on a tricycle to Station 2 where the hotel is located. We get on the tricycle which is probably supposed to carry 3 people, with 4 others. That makes 7 of us including the driver. We crawl up hills but man did we fly down em. We get off and again I chase the woman to the hotel. We have to walk down the beach then down a cute little sand alleyway to the Sanders White. It's sooooo cute!!! I have a room with two beds and a nice sized shower/bathroom. By the time I get into the hotel and changed into my bathing suit and onto the beach it's only 1. I walk out to the beach (1 min walk) and all you hear is "pearls" "boat ride" "atv" "massage" "buffet" etc. There are people peddling stuff everywhere; especially in Station 2 as it's the area of the beach with the most happening.
I have a full day to sit and relax on the most gorgeous beach I have ever seen. I don't know what you all know about the Philippines, but I knew nothing. It's literally paradise. I can't believe I am sitting here in the Kalibo airport again about to leave. Words can't describe the perfection of this place!!!
So I'm laying on the beach and I'm approached by Roli. He wants me to go on a boat ride that includes snorkeling, lunch and drinks for 600 pesos ($12). I agree I'll go the next day. This isn't enough to get him to leave. He continues to sit next to me and ask me all about my life. "Where's your boyfriend?" Not this again. I go on to tell him no bf and he asks if I want a Filipino boyfriend. No, Roli, I do not, I am content being alone this week, it's not that kind of trip. Then he tells me he can show me where to get dinner on the cheap. Like Manila, there's a fish market where you pick what you want and bring it to the restaurant to cook. I agree to go with him just so he'll leave me alone so I can lay on the beach, and we meet at 6. I got a squid and 5 scallops and got them all cooked up. Yum! Roli didn't eat but he bought the beer. San Miguel is an excellent beer by the way. So he's kind of getting annoying but says he wants to buy me a beer and go to the beach. I tell him I'm tired but go for the beer. We sit on the beach and somehow he got on the subject of my Filipino boyfriend again. He tells me he wants to be mine, I say sorry, and then he says "If I see with with boyfriend I cry." haha ok I've had enough and tell him I'm beat and need to go home.
I go back to my room and can't help noticing all of my neighbors have these sweet hammocks on their balconies. I'm jealous. I still have some beer left so I sit out on my porch. I look at the railing. I'm an idiot. I have a hammock I just need to hang it up. This is the fanciest $20 a night place I've ever stayed in! I swing and enjoy my Super Strong San Miguel while watching a lizard run around the bamboo on my porch. Life is hard. After I deem it's safe I won't run into Roli again (he lives in Caticlan and has to take a ferry back before the stop for the night) I head out. I start walking toward Station 1. 1 and 2 are party time and 3 is a little quieter. I walk a ways up and stop at a fun, crowded bar, and sit next to two gentlemen. We get to talking and I find out these two guys met this afternoon because they're both staying at the same hotel. Kobi, Italian, is here for a quick trip as he lives in Manila, and Danny is here for a month as an I'm-out-of-the-air force celebration from Hawaii. So they're both here alone too! Instant best friend. We take shots, a million photos (I thought I was bad about making people take 3000 million pictures, but Kobi takes it to a new level. When he asks you to take his picture he wants one from every angle. It's pretty hilarious), we leave and get beers so we can go sit on the beach and listen to some live music. All of the big hotels have nightly buffets on the beach and some of the bigger ones have bands. We went and saw the Regency's show. It was pretty good, or maybe we were just that drunk.
After we have all had enough we decide to meet them tomorrow for breakfast and beach chillin. They have free breakfast, tiki tents, and lounge chairs at their hotel. Done and done.
DAY 2 LIFE GETS HARDER
After banana pancakes at their Blue Mango hotel the three of us walk out the door to the beach. I can't get over the beauty of this place! Here I am under a tiki tent, on a bamboo lounge chair, on the whitest sand I have ever seen, looking into the turquoise-iest ocean I have ever seen, and all I can think "suckers back in Korea!" I literally spent the entire day going from laying on my lawn chair to floating in the ocean. Back and forth all day. Nothing else. No swimming, no beach games, just straight chillin from am to sunset. And everything we need, drinks, food, water can all be ordered right from our hotel and delivered out to the beach. Perfect!
Kobi is a crack up. This dude is in his 40s, had long curly black hair, and loves to rock his speedo. He is European after all. He's been to almost every country in the world and seems to me that he works for a week then travels for 3 months. I don't remember what he did, but sign me up. He currently lives in Manila and loves to frequent Boracay, and who can blame him. He is just the happiest, most talkative, funny person I have met. He spent the entire day harassing the vendors. They walk by trying to peddle sunglasses or pearls and he calls them over, makes them show him all the goods, says "no thanks but she's interested" and points to me. Then I have to spend the next 5 minutes trying to get the dudes to leave. Too funny.
Danny at one point is telling me about the best sandwich at the Blue Mango, the Freddie White. Bread, bacon and mayo, bread, peanut butter and jelly, bread. Sounds disgusting. I try it and it's heavenly. I guess you can't really mess up with bacon eh? Then Danny starts telling me about some of the nasty Filipino food. Then he makes a mistake and tells me about balot (ball-oh). It's a 14 day old duck embryo (still in the egg) that you eat for strength. Apparently alll of the Filipinos love these things, but Danny informs me he would rather die then try it. You know me, as soon as he tells me this I have to have it. A few hours later the balot man comes walking down the beach with his heater/cooler thing of eggs. I buy one, 50 pesos ($1), and Danny runs into the dive shop attached to the Mango to get Tom, the dive master, to show me how to eat it. Tom eats one everyday (and he's English!) and tells me the yellow part (goodness that forms into the duck) has all of the vitamins and minerals one needs for the day. The egg is hot. Like burn your hands hot. I let it cool a bit, then crack the top open and drink the juice. Tastes like chicken broth. Then Tom peels the shell off. There's a little, maybe 2", duck fetus. It has eyes and a beak and legs etc. It's def a duck. Then under the fetus is a glob of yellow and under the yellow is a white hardish part. Yellow eventually becomes duck, and white helps facilitate the process apparently. It's like soju. One shot. I've eaten some gross things but even this was hard for me to put in my mouth. It was looking back at me. Danny can't even watch. He's jumping around 10 feet away freaking out that I would even consider doing this. I tell myself people eat this everyday and throw it in my mouth. Not bad. Actually quite good. It tastes just like an egg yoke, just a little crunch in the beginning when you get the bird :) Apparently now I have HUGE street cred in the Philippines, Tom's impressed and Danny's disgusted and impressed and Kobi's still harassing vendors.
It's time to go shower and relax. It's rough laying on the beach all day being catered to. Danny and I agree to meet for dinner later on although we're both pretty exhausted. The night before totally took it out of all of us. Danny and I meet and go to this Spanish Tapas book that Tom recommended. It's even said in Lonely Planet to be a place often frequented (is that redundant?) by locals. A good Tempranillo, Miss Earth contestants sightings, and tapas later and we're beat. I go home to get some sleep so I can be ready for another day of beach chillin!