A Travellerspoint blog

June 2009

A Shabby Seaside

But with all the BBQ you could ever eat!

sunny
View Around We Go on LauHot10's travel map.

The sea got a little bit rough at times, and it was a good thing they lowered plastic sheeting over the windows because otherwise we all would have got a bit wet.
P1020033.jpg
It took the best part of two hours to reach Mindoro and the small town of Puerto Galera. I had been sitting next to a Filipino lady called Lisa on the boat and she asked where we were going and if we had a place to stay. It turned out she worked in a scuba shop at White Beach which is where we were heading, and the manager of the shop also owned some accommodation. She seemed fairly sure that she would be able to get us a good discount, which was music to our ears as accommodation here has thus far been expensive for us.

We docked in Puerto Galera harbour, usually they take you on to White Beach but the sea was too rough so they had organised a free jeepney to take us. Unfortunately by the time we had made it off the boat the jeepney was full and suddenly the word free seemed to have disappeared from people's vocabulary. It was slightly annoying because it appeared that we had paid over the odds for going to White Beach in the first place, so we really didn't want to start paying for something everyone else was getting for free. Thankfully Lisa had been behind us when we got off the boat and had therefore also missed her spot on the jeepney. We let her have it out with the boat guys in Filipino and soon it was all sorted. We climbed into a tricycle side car and we were on our way.

It was handy having Lisa lead us directly to the accommodation. She asked us to wait while she went to find the girl who ran it and when she returned she'd got us an even better discount. The room was large and spacious, so we didn't feel the need to search anywhere else. We thanked her for her help and parted company. A little bit later we went out to find some grub and get a feel for the place.

White Beach is one of the less developed resorts in and around Puerto Galera.
P1020030.jpg
The eateries which run along the beach are fairly basic and most meals consist of bbq-ed meats or fish with rice. It feels a little haphazard and is slightly shabby in places. Almost like a jigsaw which hasn't been put together correctly. There is also a slightly seedy feel to it, there were a number of lady boys trying to get the party started with some provocative dancing. I find it hard not to stare as I wonder what the local people think and how it would all be perceived back home. We made it an early night after we'd had consumed our bbq chicken and squid.

The next day we had a bit of a lie in and then pondered over what to do. We thought about maybe moving on but decided it would be better to just get up and go the next morning. With how long it takes to travel fairly short distances it seemed to make more sense to start early. So we spent the day lazing around and sorting a few things out. We looked at the map and thought about where we wanted to go and how much longer we thought we would need in the Philippines. We still have a number of countries we want to visit in the next three months and formulating some kind of plan is becoming more important, otherwise we just won't fit it all in.

It was a very lazy day indeed and we had a very poor meal in the evening to round it off. I don't think I would recommend White Beach, there is just no heart to the place and although the beach itself is nice, it's not enough to make the place.
P1020032.jpg
The following morning I was pleased that we were moving on and hoped the next destination would have more to offer.

More Soon

Laura & Adam

Posted by LauHot10 05:59 Archived in Philippines Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

Volcano Vantage

First stop on the journey south...

sunny
View Around We Go on LauHot10's travel map.

The bus trip to Tagatay was the shortest we've had in the Philippines so far, it only took about two and a half hours. We arrived in the dark though and it is always that little bit harder to get your bearings when you can't see much. For example we had no idea in what direction the lake and volcano we had come to see was.

As usual we were set upon by a whole host of people who wanted to offer their services. The slightly annoying thing is what they tell you tends to have an ounce or two of truth to it, it's just the way they choose to tell you that puts you off listening. It soon became apparent that staying right in the centre of Tagatay was going to be too expensive. It wasn't too upsetting though, the town itself simply straddles a main road and consists of four fast food restaurants, a few hotels and some shops. We went through the process of checking a few places, some of which did seem nice. I managed to lose my footing and slice a hole in my trousers which was a bit annoying. Thankfully though I didn't do myself too much damage.

We had some dinner at one of the four fast food restaurants and then got a tricycle to take us about ten minutes out of town. There is a park with a picnic area here and also a few guest houses to choose from. The first one was too expensive but at the second one we managed to get a room in a little self contained out-building, the people seemed friendly and we were happy to take off our packs and settle down for the night.

In the morning we headed over to the park as we presumed we would be able to see the volcano from the picnic area. We had to pay a small fee to go in and then we were pounced on by people asking us if we wanted to go horse riding or take a boat trip.
3P1020028.jpg
We declined both offers and headed over the crest of a hill and then we caught our first glimpse of the lake and the volcano. We went down the other side and found a spot with a good vantage point.

2P1020024.jpg
3P1020027.jpg

It was a little hazy when we first arrived and the volcano looked a fairly blurry out there in the distance. After a little while though the sun burnt through the cloud and it all came in to focus. The volcano sits at one end of an elongated island and you can see some of the way down in to the crater.
8P1020026.jpg
Although it is still considered to be active, it is hard to believe that fiery red lava has ever spurted out of it, the whole area is covered with trees and foliage.
3P1020025.jpg
The last big eruption was in 1911, and the itself lake was once an enclosed bay on the coast, but a series of eruptions in the 18th century sealed the entrance and turned it into a lake. We spent a little time discussing what we were going to do next and decided that we would try and make it down to the south coast of Luzon and catch a ferry over to Puerta Galera which is a small town on the northern tip of another Philippine island, Mindoro.

We returned to the guest house to pack up our things and then started off on our way once more.
P1020029.jpg
Adam thought it was time for us to catch our first jeepney, so we jumped on one that was heading in the right direction and hoped that it would take us back to Tagatay. Thankfully it did and it only cost about 15p for the both of us. Once we were back in town we thought we should eat before we went any further, and we decided to try one of the fast food restaurants we hadn't been to before. Jollibee was the chosen eatery and we both had spaghetti. It was cheap, I'll give it that but I'm not sure we're going to become regulars there. We read somewhere that pizza in the Philippines is sweet but I would have to disagree, the pasta sauce on the other hand is most definitely sweet. In a very sickly way, and I wouldn't really recommend it.

Somewhat satisfied after our food we now had to figure out how we were going to get to our destination of Batangas. We thought there may be a bus passing through town so we stood, under the shade of a tree, on the side of the road and began to wait. A few tricycle drivers came passed and asked us where we were going and also whether we wanted to go on a boat trip. We explained where we wanted to go and everyone seemed to want to express to us that it was 'very, very far.' It wasn't really that far, about 120km and as it was where boats left from for the next island we thought it may have been a destination that was worthy of a bus route. It turned out though that there was no direct bus and we would need to go to another town first. In the end we jumped on a jeepney and again hoped for the best, it was at least going in the right direction. The price seemed to change though which annoyed us slightly, but the boy loosely performing the role of the conductor didn't speak much English and so in the end we just handed over the money. It wasn't a lot in the grand scheme of things but as you are not exactly sure how far you are going it is difficult to gauge how much it should cost. They asked us if we wanted to hire out the whole jeepney to take us all the way to Batangas, but it was too much and seemed a little extravagant. It did mean though that we were treated to the usual jeepney experience, which basically means that as soon as you pick up any spend you have to grind to a halt again to let people jump on and off. Nonetheless it was good and we were on the move.

We had almost reached our first destination when the conductor boy leaned out of the jeepney and waved down a bus that was driving along in the other direction. Quickly we heaved our bags out the jeepney and were trying to cross the busy road without causing an accident. Soon enough though we were on the nice airy coach which was headed for Batangas. We never got a chance to thank the boy in the rush, but it was good of him to help us out like that.

The bus took another couple of hours and once in Batangas we had to get a tricycle to take us down to the port. We probably over paid which annoyed us but sometimes it is just not worth arguing over what at the end of the day is pennies. Once down at the port we were told that the last boat to Puerta Galera left in 30 minutes, so all in all it had worked out well. We bought our ticket and were then informed that we had to pay an environmental fee and then when we tried to enter the terminal we were told we also had to pay a terminal fee. I wish they just wrapped it up into one price rather than sending you here, there and everywhere because it makes you feel like you're parting with a lot more money.

We found seats in the terminal building next to Gate 3 and waited, there were a few other Westerners heading over to the island. We really haven't seen many in the Philippines, it seems the backpacker trail hasn't found its way here yet but I am sure it is just a matter of time. I think the transport links may have to be improved a little bit if they want to attract more people though. It didn't take long for us to be called to the boat, we were both expecting a ferry I think so were a little surprised when we were confronted with a smallish vessel. After a bit of messing about though we were on our way to a new island and were excited to find out what it would be like.

More Soon

Laura & Adam

Posted by LauHot10 05:55 Archived in Philippines Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Welcome to the Dark Side

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

sunny
View Around We Go on LauHot10's travel map.

The beginning of our journey to Manila went fairly slowly as the driver negotiated our way down the windy hillside roads in the rain. Once we had made it on to the flat, it really should have been plain sailing but unfortunately our deluxe bus seemed to have a few problems in the suspension department. It made the ride to the rice terraces on Salvador's tricycle the equivalent to floating along on a mill pond, this was more like sitting on top of a pneumatic drill going to work on some concrete. To begin with it was quite amusing when we were thrown about 50cm out of our seats, but for me at least it soon got a bit tiring. I had to move to another part of the coach which was a little better and managed to drift in and out of consciousness.

We arrived in Manila at around 3:15am, we had very little money and needed to find some where to stay. A taxi picked us up and we simply asked to be taken to an area with a few hotels via a cash point. He ended up returning us to the same area we'd stayed in before, which was quite good in a way because now that we were both well we got to experience it in a different way.

We ended up staying at the Sohotel, which is not exactly a conventional hotel. The rooms are all situated above garages and reception is really just a desk outside. You can pay for rooms here for as little as three hours, which may give you the picture. Also when I left the room they felt the need to phone Adam to make sure he was aware of this and ok with it. Although it does market itself as providing rooms for parties and gatherings, there is definitely a certain vibe to the place. That said the room was really nice; it was modern, clean and at 3:30am all we wanted was to go to sleep.

When we woke up the next morning we went in search of some food, and ended up at our old haunt, the mall. Having had a bit of a chat about the Sohotel over breakfast we both decided that it was a little on the expensive side and the badly hidden undertones were hard to ignore. After filling our tummies we went in search of somewhere else to stay, we stumbled across a few more dodgy establishments before settling on SoGo. Again you could rent rooms here for less than a full night, although they were more like windowless cells, but it at least presented itself as a hotel and was good value for money.

The next day we wanted to head South to the town of Tagatay because it offers a great vantage point for seeing the Taal Volcano which sits on an island in the middle of Taal Lake. We had an idea of where we could catch a bus from but decided it was a good idea to go on a recky to find out when the buses left. We caught the MRT which is Manila's light railway across town to an area called Edsa and found out that buses went regularly so that provided us with some good options for the next day.

We then rode the MRT all the way across to the other side of the city to go in search of a Chinese graveyard. It is somewhat unconventional in that people have actually moved in and set up home in and around the graves. We got off the train and walked up a very busy street. A lot of the pavements in Manila are undercover, there are plenty of raised walkways and the tracks of the MRT loom over head which gives the city a slightly oppressive feel at times. Still it adds to the atmosphere and you feel like you are delving deep into what makes the capital tick.

In the end it seemed that we had gone the wrong way and there didn't appear to be an entrance into the graveyard. By now it was getting a bit late and the sun was beginning to set, there was something slightly creepy about the idea of wandering around with the dead in the fading light, even if they were surrounded by the living. Although I think Adam would have tried to find a way in, we decided it was better to head back towards the hotel and find some dinner.

After having a nice meal at a restaurant that had been recommended to us by the taxi driver when we'd first arrived in Manila we began a new search. Adam's guidebook made mention of a local bar called the Hobbit House, which unsurprisingly is run by dwarfs. We thought it would be an unusual place to go and have a drink, we haven't really had a night out since we came away so we thought we were due one.
3P1020023.jpg
Finding this watering hole however proved to be tricky and we were told various different things by different people. We gave up for a little while and sought refuge in the Hyatt's casino. When we had been in Manila before our hotel room was just across the street from the casino and it is most definitely a place which never sleeps, so we were intrigued to have a look around inside. I've never been to one before, so it was all new for me. Adam has been to Las Vegas so had more of an idea what to expect.

We played it safe, only changing a small amount of money and then we hit the slot machines. I'm really not sure how people sit there all day long hitting the play button. Although there is a slight rush when the machine decides something significant has happened on a spin, we could never quite figure out why some things were good and others weren't, it is really short lived and at the end of the day there is no skill involved. It was fun being a part of it for a short while, but as Adam and I said later, there is something very depressing about a casino. You wonder just how many people's lives have been ruined in those places, or how for some people that soulless room is their whole world.

Back out in the real world we continued our search for the Hobbit House.
4P1020022.jpg
After getting some directions from a couple of security guards we headed down one street but found nothing except some other bar staff trying to lure us in. We asked them if they knew where the Hobbit House was, and tried to signal that it was run by little people. Now in a town where you can rent a room by the hour and there are a number of bars with scantily clad women parading around outside, you can kind of imagine what people may have been thinking. In the end we were worried people were getting the wrong impression and asked a tricycle driver to take us.

The door to the Hobbit House was huge and circular, I was quite excited when we stepped inside. I'm not quite sure what I was expecting but it wasn't like stepping into Lord of The Rings, it was really just a bar and the majority of the clientèle were Westerners. There were a few dwarfs working there but not many, I'm pretty sure the bartender was in fact a child rather than a dwarf. We stayed for a couple of drinks and then headed over to another bar which we'd come across earlier in the night. It was ladies night so I got in free but Adam had to pay, we tried to get him in for free too but they weren't having it. In the end they gave us a 10% discount card for drinks and food.

We were shown to a table and settled down for an interesting evening. There was a band up on stage who were playing some quite heavy rock music. As the evening progressed we were increasingly impressed with them. They only played covers, but that was good for us because we knew most of the songs and it highlighted just how talented they were. Especially the lead singer who had a kind of glam rock feel to him with seriously long and slightly frizzy black hair. He was a demon on the guitar though and really got into it, head banging and all. There was also a country and western acoustic set by a lady boy. All in all it was a really fun evening and we went back to the hotel having experienced a completely different side to Manila.

The next morning we were feeling a little bit sorry for ourselves, so after devouring a pizza we took a taxi to the bus station and started our journey south.

More Soon

Laura & Adam

Posted by LauHot10 05:53 Archived in Philippines Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Three Square Meals

Rice, Rice & More Rice

sunny
View Around We Go on LauHot10's travel map.

Our bus trip to Banaue was fairly uneventful, the monsoon rains had ended the day before and we trudged along at a fairly even pace. The 95 mile journey took us around 8 hours and we arrived at about 5pm. As we entered the town the bus pulled over at a house and picked up a local man, it soon became apparent that this stop was for our benefit as the man introduced himself to me as Salvador a local tricycle driver.

He tried to explain to me in broken English that he could drive us around tomorrow to see the rice terraces. He seemed nice enough but when you've sat on a bus for over eight hours and you still have to figure out where you're going to rest your head that night, having a conversation about tomorrows activities is the last thing on your mind. He followed us around a little bit when we headed down in to the town and directed us to different guest houses, again the fact that we had acquired an unwanted shadow was a little frustrating.

Banaue on first impressions is a slightly bleak hillside town which clings to the side of a valley. The air was heavy and damp, it usually rains every day at about 5pm, but thankfully we were spared this.
5P1020007.jpg
In the distance though we were able to get our first proper glimpse of the rice terraces and as we were come to realise, everything is more visually appealing when the sun shines.

We got a room at the Stairway Lodge which had a restaurant downstairs and a number of small but more than adequate rooms upstairs. We had quite a nice view from the side of the building and having made sure we weren't sharing the accommodation with anything of the creepy crawly variety, we were happy.
1P1020009.jpg

Our only slight concern was the lack of an ATM, we had (slightly naivly) presumed that there would be one as it was a tourist destination but alas Banaue hasn't reached that kind of modernisation. We had some US dollars on us though and hoped we would be able to exchange some in the morning. Downstairs in the restaurant we met Salvador's wife who explained that she was a tour guide and gave us the big spiel about how she could take us to Batard, which is the main rice terrace people visit. Apparently you cannot go without a guide and you have to hike an hour to get there after a two our ride on the tricycle. Now if the thought of a one hour hike didn't put us off then the price tag did, and with our limited funds we decided it wasn't really an option. Not able to really take in all our options, and still thinking we would need to sort out the money situation before we did anything we resigned those to decisions to be made in the morning when we had hopefully had a good nights sleep.

We ate dinner in the restaurant and it was nice to be away from the malls and all the fast food that we had been consuming. Adam wanted sweet and sour fish but that apparently was off the menu that evening and he ended up being served a watery soup with a whole fish which had been sliced up in to it. It wasn't exactly what he was looking for but he ate it all up. I was fairly content with my Chicken in Oyster sauce, but the meal came to an abrupt end for me when a massive cockroach like bug with wings flew into my head. Adam's phobia is spiders, but mine is anything which flies around erratically and I decided it was time to retire for the evening.

The next morning we headed down with our dollars in our pockets and were met by Salvador and his wife, and we wondered just how long they had been waiting for us. We explained that we had limited funds and we needed to change some money before we did anything. With our guide on hand we were led up to the local money changer and got an ok rate. Working out that we would need a certain amount of money to catch the bus back to Manila that evening we came to the conclusion that Batard was just not an option. Instead we decided to head to Haopo where the Hungduan Rice Terraces are, no guide is required, all we needed was Salvador to drive us there.

Once we had filled our tummies with some breakfast we climbed into the side-car and set off on our little journey. 99P1020018.jpg
Not long into the trip we came across a JCB which was scrapping mud from a landslide off the road and into a pick-up. With all the rain that they get in the region, mudslides seem to be a very frequent occurrence. In fact on our trip we encountered quite a bit of mud, one section of the “road” in fact was just mud and Salvador expertly manoeuvred us through it on the way down. The majority of the route to and from Haopo is on very, very bumpy tracks and our insides were well and truly shaken about. They are improving the road in places but it seems to be a fairly slow process as the area is not very accessible.

Salvador stopped at several points along the trip for us to get out and take pictures. The scenery was breathtaking, even more beautiful than we had seen in Munnar.
9P1020010.jpg
5P1020012.jpg
The same varieties of green were on display but the mountains themselves seemed to have more grace and the atmosphere was more magical. The fast moving river that runs through the valley, crashing along over boulders was in start contrast to the peacefulness of the surrounding hills.
5P1020011.jpg
The pace of life associated with growing rice appears be one which ambles along, as they can only be planted and picked once a year. Salvador explained that during the time when the rice is simply growing, the women workers turn their hands to weaving and the men to carving. The fruits of their labours are for sale in a number of shops in Banaue.

After paying a small environmental fee we were made our way to our final destination of the Hungduan Rice Terraces.
2P1020017.jpg
They are the largest in the area and views from the little platform that has been erected are really something to behold. The terraces rise up and then individual fields are divided up, it looks like a patchwork quilt has been draped over the hillside. It stretches on and on and you wonder how many people it takes to harvest all of this rice by hand and also how it is all consumed. This second question is easy to answer as traditionally rice is eaten with every meal, even the fast food restaurants serve it. Salvador said that all the land is privately owned and it is portioned up into triangles which point down the hillside. Then each family harvests their own crop and takes it to market/town to sell. With the sunshine hitting the lush greenery, the view was dazzling.
6P1020015.jpg

The journey back was just as bumpy, if not more so as for most of it we were heading up hill. Once we reached the mud section we became stuck and in the end Adam and I had to get out as Salvador tried to find a way through. Thankfully another tricycle driver came along and helped him out, we tried to offer to push but he waved us away. We got a little bit muddy, but it was very clay-ey so thankfully we didn't sink in too much, I did get one flip flopped foot a little stuck but with a bit of effort managed to pull it free.

Once back in Banaue we thanked Salvador for being a really good guide. He had tried his very best to explain things and gone out of his way to tell us stories about the history of the place. For example when the Japanese had invaded. His wife had explained to us that he was ashamed to speak English because he wasn't very good which we both thought was very sweet and considering we can speak absolutely no Filipino we should be the ones who are embarrassed.

Later in the day while we waited for our bus back to Manila we had a late lunch at another guest house restaurant, it was really nice, probably some of the best food we've had in the Philippines. Then we had a wander around town and had a look in some of the shops selling the local handicrafts. I lifted up one bowl slightly and something made a high pitched noise and kind of flapped, I dropped it sharpish. Not wanting to just leave it for someone else to discover, or for the thing to suffocate I decided to wait for the non-existent shop owner. When they hadn't appeared after about five minutes I called upstairs and a middle aged woman slowly descended. I explained to her that I thought there was a bat or a bird in a bowl and pointed to it, she simply and said 'yes,' and had a look on her face that kind of said 'and your point is??' Slightly confused but safe in the knowledge that I'd done my duty we left.

We headed down the hillside slightly and walked over a very rickety bridge, it was certainly one of those situations when it was best not to look down!
0P1020021.jpg
Soon enough it was time for us to catch the bus and we headed up by tricycle to the bus station. As we waited for the bus the 5pm rains rolled in and yet again it was quite an onslaught, none of the locals battered an eyelid though as the roads turned into streams. The bus was a deluxe apparently, maybe this would have been the case a decade or so ago. However we did get massive seats and a tv, so it seemed as though it was going to be a comfortable ride back to the capital. How things change....

More Soon

Laura & Adam

Posted by LauHot10 05:46 Archived in Philippines Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Admist a Monsoon

Sickness & Spiders

storm
View Around We Go on LauHot10's travel map.

We got to the bus station just in the knick of time to jump on a coach to Baguio which is about 125 miles north of Manila and an altitude of about 1500m. As we were on what seemed to be a fairly new coach and the roads were in good condition we didn't expect the journey to take too long. So we were a little surprised when it ended up taking the best part of seven hours to get there. The air con had been on full blast the whole way and even when we closed the vents above our head it did little to prevent the Arctic chill.

Our arrival coincided with the beginning of a 3 day monsoon, the like of which I have never ever seen before. We got a little damp searching for a place to stay but found a cheap and clean enough room, so dumped the bags and went to hunt down some dinner. We ended up at the local mall which seemed to be the heart of the town. Before I came to the Philippines I'd heard that it was a very Catholic country but thus far it seems to be the malls where people come to worship! While eating some fairly horrible dinner I noticed that a sore throat which had started earlier in the day was becoming worse and I began to worry that I was now the one that was getting ill.

We had quite a bit of difficulty getting a taxi back to our hotel and although we had an umbrella and waterproof jackets on we still ended up getting fairly wet as we stood on the roadside. Finally we made it back and squelched our way up to our room. Just as we were beginning to unpack a few things I heard Adam say 'Holy Shit!' I turned around and he was staring up at the ceiling, I followed his gaze and lay my eyes on the biggest spider that I have ever seen. Now I am no fan of spiders, or any insect really but Adam has a phobia so there was no way that we were staying in that room. We backed out of the room slowly, half expecting the beast to lunge at us and went down to report our findings to the lady at reception. She smiled in a kind of knowing way, as if this had happened before and gave us a different room. When we went in we were really happy because it was a much nicer room and had an attached bathroom, so in a way it seemed like we should thank the spider. Everything seemed fine, I did a quick spider sweep and on first inspection it seemed like the coast was clear. However the joy was short lived and as I gazed behind a little bucket on top of the toilet I realised we had yet another eight legged friend, this one was quite a bit smaller but still bigger than anything you'd get at home.
0P1020005.jpg
The presence of the second spider condemned the Mountain Lodge as a no go area and we decided it was best to move hotels.

When we had arrived there had been a nice looking hotel by the bus station called Microtel. It was now about 10:30pm and it was still pouring, all we wanted was a hotel that was guaranteed to be spider free. With little energy and not liking the idea of getting soaked while we commenced our usual search we decided it was the safest bet to just head there. Microtel was really very nice and comfortable, expensive yet again but there didn't appear to be too many alternatives. As we settled into our room I began to feel worse and had a terrible night. I was now the one experiencing the fever, and was hot and cold. My throat was very bad by morning and I was feeling pretty sorry for myself.

Moving wasn't an option, we got complimentary breakfast and I made it down to eat four chunks of pineapple before I had to go back and lie down. We managed to move to a cheaper room which made us feel a little bit better. Finding somewhere else would also have meant venturing out into the rain or flood from the sky. It was quite unbelievable and from my vantage point on the bed it looked more like huge waves crashing against our window than anything falling vertically. Adam went out to get some food and I dozed off to sleep. I woke up and realised he'd been gone for about an hour which made me panic because I thought he'd only gone across to the bus station. In my slightly delirious state due my high temperature I had visions of him having been knocked over by a car or attacked by mutant spiders, and began wondering how I was going to find him. Thankfully he walked through the door about 5 minutes later having been to the mall/supermarket and bought items containing vitamin C and also fresh salad which has been a rarity on this trip.

The next day we were thinking we'd get the bus to Banaue which is a town surrounded by areas of land divided up into rice terraces. Adam went to the bus station next door to check the buses but was informed that that particular bus company did not go there and we had to go to another bus station in town. With that piece of information and me still not feeling well at all we decided it was better to stay one more day. Unfortunately our room was not available and all the other cheaper rooms were also reserved or occupied so we had to move. The monsoon was still in full swing as we headed out the door, my umbrella and waterproof did little, actual make that zero. Within the space of about three strides we were both soaked. We checked out one place but it smelt of damp and had no bathroom or window, I couldn't see myself being very comfortable there.

In the end we got a taxi to take us to a hotel on the other side of town, it was listed in the guide book as being a good midrange establishment but when we got there we were informed it was for Korean students. Not sure we were taken to the right place, but thankfully there was a hotel pretty much next door. Adam checked it out and gave it the thumbs up so I ventured out of the taxi. Our time in the rain set me back a bit and I felt pretty horrible for the rest of that day but by the evening was beginning to feel that I was perhaps turning a corner.

In the morning I woke up and had almost slept through the whole night so we thought today we would catch the bus. We found our way to the right bus station but were just met with disappointment. There were two buses a day, one at 8am and one at 8pm. It was now about 12:30pm and so if we wanted to leave today we would have to get the 8pm bus. That however would get us to Banaue at about 4am and it just seemed to make more sense to stay in Baguio one more day and get the morning bus. Our time in the Philippines had generally been very frustrating and we felt like we had seen and achieved so little, deep down we knew it couldn't be helped, we had both been ill but there was no denying a lot of time had been wasted.

We found a place to stay just next to the bus station and went to get some food. We walked through a nice little park at the centre of the town where some people were out on little boats shaped like swans in the lake. We ended up going to the mall, the heart of the town and getting some food. I fought the urge to go back and sleep and we settled instead on a trip to the cinema to see Drag Me To Hell. I'm not sure whether it is actually intending to be funny but it really was ridiculous in places, although there were still points which made you jump. These were added to quite considerably by the audience who thought nothing of screaming in unison or kicking the back of Adam's chair when something jumped out on screen. We left with slightly frazzled nerves.

I really turned a corner in the evening and felt much better as we had a bit more of a wander around town which really consisted of shops, shops, fast food restaurants, and more fast food restaurants.
4P1020006.jpg
Also there were a number of indoor markets whose stock consisted purely of pirate dvds. That said it had a nice feeling about it and the Filippino people are so friendly.

The next morning after a fairly sleepless night, however this was not due to illness but rather the loud karaoke party going on at one of the nearby bars we climbed on to our bus to Banaue and waved goodbye to Baguio.

More Soon

Laura & Adam.

Posted by LauHot10 05:43 Archived in Philippines Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 6) Page [1] 2 » Next