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Getting closer to the perfect beach...

just a little too busy


We needed to travel over to the east side of Mindoro to a place called Roxas to catch a boat to another island called Panay. We walked up to the main road and a tricycle driver asked us where we were going, we said we needed to get to Roxas. He explained that first we needed a tricycle to take us to the jeepney terminal in Puerta Galera, then we would have to take a jeepney to Calapan and then catch a bus to Roxas. He said it would cost 150 Pesos for him to take us to the jeepney terminal in Puerta Galera, which to us seemed a tad expensive. So we decided to ask a few more people. Another guy came up to us when we were walking away and asked us what the problem was, he said that '100 Pesos was the normal price.' The first guy looked a bit sheepish now and waved us towards the tricycle. We tried to explain we'd rather go with someone who hadn't tried to rip us off but we were ushered in nonetheless.

Once at the jeepney terminal we just missed one going to Calapan but another one arrived a few minutes later, we climbed on and waited for it to fill up. A mum with three young children got on just after us and sat opposite. Her oldest daughter was about six, then she had a boy of about four and a little girl around one. They were gorgeous children and really well behaved, the mum was really good with them as well. The little girl was a tad rumbustious but adorable, and she completely zonked out when the jeepney started moving. I wanted to tell the mum how lovely her family were but with the language barrier I thought it might be a bit tricky plus with the jeepney packed to the max I felt slightly embarrassed. One of the other passengers was a grumpy old women who kept trying to get the mother to move up and make more room, i.e. have all of her children on her lap, she already had two!

It was a pretty uncomfortable ride and I was quite pleased to get off at a cross junction. Just outside of Calapan we stopped and heard a man calling out Roxas, we jumped off and soon enough we were in our next mode of transport. It ended up being a kind of small people carrier, there are plenty of them on the road here and they act like miniature buses. It was being driven by a man and he had what I presumed to be his wife and son in the front. We waited around for a while to see if the van would fill up but after half an hour it seemed we were the only takers and we headed off on the three hour journey to Roxas. We picked up a few other people along the way, but I did wonder how much of a profit this guy could possibly be making. When we were almost there we pulled over to a small road side shop and the little boy got out and another one got in, not quite sure what was going on there. It didn't seem in any way dark or ominous, just intriguing and I wish I could have asked.

The man dropped us off at the port in Roxas and after a bit of asking we figured out where to buy our ticket to Caticlan, a port town on the northern coast of Panay. Our ultimate chose destination was Boracay which is a small island just off the coast of Panay, and is known for its powdery white sand and beautifully clear water. However there were no direct boats there so we would have to go via Caticlan. Thankfully this time it was a ferry that awaited us, so we were pleased that we would be able to walk around.

Once on board we decided to sit outside to enjoy the view and also to avoid the karaoke “fun” that was just about to get under way. Karaoke is very popular here and is enjoyed by men, women and children alike. It baffles us how people can sit and listen to other people sing so badly and truly view it as good entertainment. Music in general is a big part of life over here and not all of it is bad, during our trip our ears have been treated to a wide variety of different genres. Unfortunately once outside the main cabin the chosen soundtrack was fairly horrific, kind of euro-pop with a latin twist. It didn't really fit with the beautiful sunset we witnessed as we glided along the incredibly still water.
It was teeming with flying fish which skimmed across the water effortlessly, we tried to capture the spectacle on camera but the little fishys were a tad too speedy for us.

The journey ended up taking longer than we'd anticipated and when we arrived in Caticlan we thought the likelihood of us being able to get a boat to Boracay was slim. While we were waiting for the boat to dock we were approached by a couple of guys from Estonia. They asked where we were headed and when we told them they were very pleased because that's where they were going too. We hoped with greater numbers we might be able to find a boat to take us. There was another girl going to Boracay too and she actually lived there, we never found out her nationality but she looked Scandinavian. With the benefit of her local knowledge we let her lead the way.

We found a tricycle with an elaborate side-car which could accommodate four people, so with the girl on the back of the motorcycle we drove over to a different port. Then proceeded a little bit of a cat and mouse game as we tried to find a boat. When we got there one had just arrived and we thought our luck was in but as we waited on the jetty it just pulled away without a word and left us standing there gazing after it. One of the over confident Estonian's approached a man who was standing aboard another boat and asked if he would take us over. As he negotiated a price a few other people turned up and with the numbers, we decided the price would not be too bad. We waited a little longer and in the end there was a good group of us and it didn't cost too much.

It was a very short trip to Boracay and once there the girl again took the lead and found us a tricycle, we headed over to White Beach which is the most famous on the island because of it's beautiful sand. We parted company with the others here. Although the offer of sharing an apartment with the Estonian's was up for grabs, we came to the conclusion they were probably looking for a different experience to us, i.e. a drunken fuelled rampage of the local bars and their inhabitants.

We wandered down the beach, and by this time it was getting very late. The atmosphere was really good though.
Lots of restaurants, bars and accommodation littered the sea front and people were definitely enjoying themselves. We decided the cheaper hotels would be down the side streets and in the end we found an ok room for an ok price, basically it had a bed with clean sheets and that was enough for us.

In the morning we decided there must be somewhere better to stay and now it was light and we were refreshed we began the search. A little further up the beach things got a bit quieter and we found a light and airy room with a balcony, so we even had a sea view! After settling into our new digs we had a walk along the beach and the surrounding area.
There are lots of little shops selling good quality knick knacks, unfortunately the prices are slightly hyped up because of the location but it was good to have a mooch. I bought some flip flops because the ones I'd purchased in India were beginning to rip my feet to shreds.

In the evening we found a good place to eat, good value for money anyway and with a view of a lovely sunset.
It would have been nice to enjoy the night life a little more, many of the bars had live music, unfortunately it was just a bit too pricey and we couldn't justify a stretch in our budget. Especially as generally the Philippines has been more expensive and it has eaten into some of the savings we had made in India.

The next morning we planned to set off on our travels once more but when we woke up there were two problems. The first being that it was raining elephants and rhinoceroses and secondly Adam was feeling ill again. The next couple of days we took things very easy. Adam generally tried to recuperate in the room, and I made a few trips out to hunt down the necessities. I had to dodge a few torrential downpours as Boracay was hit by bad weather.
Not exactly conducive with sitting out and getting a tan. Still I was thankful that I didn't have to go to far a field to get what we needed, some times it's nice when things are on your doorstep.

We did enjoy Boracay and it certainly has a lot to offer but we were still searching for a quieter beach experience. Thankfully we still had some time. We awoke on our fourth day and with Adam feeling a bit better we decided it was time to move on. We were heading for the island of Negros and the town of Bacalod as we worked our way West through the central islands of the Philippines.

More Soon,

Laura & Adam

Posted by LauHot10 23:39 Archived in Philippines Tagged round_the_world

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