Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Honeymoon Part 1

Well, the wedding is over and the honeymoon has passed. Both were great.

The honeymoon was amazing though. If any of you have a chance to scoot down to the Philippines do it. The people are its selling point and they go beyond any words that I might use to describe them.

Before leaving Seoul, we had a nice two hour wait in the JAL Business lounge that Harry and David got us into. It was a nice closer for a fun week with them. The time came, we said goodbye (mom cried) and we headed to our plane and started the quick three hour flight down to Manila. You know that you can play games on planes now? They have a handheld controller and you can challenge other passengers to games. We played Battleship. I did not win.

We exited the plane and walked through the old and highly inefficient airport. I mean this place was a mess. Everything was out of order: security, luggage, customs and then immigration. It made no sense.

After changing money and counting the massive amount of peso's we just received, we realized that we had no flight info for our next leg to Boracay. We didn't even know where the exit was. We asked many people and were surprised that they all spoke English, but we still got nothing concrete. Finally, I spotted a person holding a sign with our names on it. She was Korean. Typical.

She got us to the next airport. This one was awful. 30 flights, no set gate numbers or times, just announcements 10 minutes before you were to board. The room was so packed and no AC.

Luckily, they did have one of these...

Unfortunately, it provided no comfort outside of crowded and old toilets. We boarded the super cool plane, and were given the Filipino version of Lays and Capre Sun.

Look at the enthusiasm Mr. Chips has for their product.

"Triangular shaped corn chips loaded with mucho NACHO CHEESE that spell a whole lot of fun and a whole lot of goodness. You don't just bite Mr. Chips chip. You got all out and gobble them all up." So what's in Mr. Chip's chip? It's excitement in a chip."
That kind of enthusiasm was just was I want to see. I was super pumped about the rest of the trip now.

The flight was only thirty minutes. 고 slept, but I spent most of my time gobbling down the excitement of Mr. Chips, looking at the islands and the bright blue water below. We started the descent and we got our first glimpse of Boracay. I took an airplane shot which never turns out, but this one was okay.
We landed and were immediately swept away by the pack of friendly "helpers" there to take our luggage and walk us the 15 meters to where we were to meet our new guide. We got our dollars ready for tipping. We were told that one dollar was more than enough, but I'm the guy who tipped Cambodian tuk-tuk drivers three dollars on a twenty-five cent fare. We gave him three bucks. We were finally there, with luggage, smiles and Peso's, and now we had to find our guide. We walked outside the very small "airport" if you could call a small strip of cement and an open-face building an airport.

We saw name signs for all the guests. I knew there were a lot of Koreans heading to Boracay, but this was too much. Every name was Korean. If you look close, you can see ours.
We met our guide. He was a very tan Filipino named Phol. He had a leaf on his left cheek that we later discovered was easing the pain of a rotting tooth. Phol spoke English and Korean on top of his native tongue. He tied a drinking straw around our bag for id, called a few goons to take them away and then we were put on a tuk-tuk. I love tuks.
We arrived at our boat that would take us to Boracay.
Finally we arrived on Boracay Island. It was a little later than planned since we had to wait for our plane for two hours rather then the presumed twenty minutes. The sun was setting and the clouds on a nearby island we smothering the small green mountains.
We waited there for a few minutes before boarding another tuk-tuk which would take us to our hotel. We drove through the island center which I guess would be the city of Boracay. It was old, dirty and just what we expected to see. We arrived at the Seraph Hotel and were greeted by another Korean guide named Ali (pronounced like the boxer). We put our stuff down in our amazing hotel room and hurried back to meet Ali so we could have our package-tour-provided dinner. We walked into the restaurant (which was Korean) and sat down with our tour group. It was then that we decided that we would not be participating in the part of tour that involves moving as a group with the Koreans. They were boring and the entire dinner was quiet outside of 고 and I goofing around. We kindly said good-bye and no thanks to the beach tour that followed dinner and ventured out to the beach on our own. We had a few drinks, bought some jewelry and walked around the beach. We were tired and wanted to jump on the bed anyways, so we headed back to the hotel and turned on the TV. We were a little surprised with what we found.
The next morning we woke up early and headed to the beach for some amazing drinks at beach front bars. These bars were literally ON THE BEACH.
After that we kind of walked around from place to place and drank, talked and bought little trinkets and island jewelry. I spent mostly on drinks and 고 bought jewelry. It was a win-win situation too because everything was so cheap. Here are a few pics from that day...
This is what the main drag looked like. It was a small sand walkway lined with trees and bars.
Man, it was nice.
I swam out to these rocks. On the first rock, there is a statue of the Virgin Mary. Odd placement, but since the Spanish had such a impact on all facets of Filipino culture during their rule I was not surprised.

Can you spot the white guy? The bar that 고 took this picture from was owned by a British ex-pat. He has lived on Boracay for 14 years. He was there before electricity was. I mention him because when we first came up to his bar/hotel, he took one look at me and said, "You're American. I can tell by your bellybutton. You're also a teacher in Korea and this is your Korean wife and you're on your honeymoon." I was impressed.

We had a little Mexican food and washed them down the tepid Sam Miguel's (Filipino brew).
The man is real, the baby is not. Look how big I am compared to this guy. I mean big, not fat.
We needed some more cash too, so we went to the bank. No shoes, no shirt, no problem.

That night, we went decided that we should go on a hour-long sunset sailboat ride. The best part of the sailboats was that they were just as one would think of a SE Asian sailboat. You know, with a middle part, two nets for sitting and bamboo serving as a balance on either side. The whole island was full of locals trying to get you to take a ride on some sort of boat. These "vendors" did not own the boats, but they got some sort of commission. We decided to go with Allen, B-Boy and Glen. So, we met them around 5:30 and waited for our boat to come in.

Allen, 고 and B-Boy. B-Boy had a crush on 고. He reminded me of my friend Danz at home.

We waited for about ten minutes and the boat pulled up. We noticed that a rain storm seemed to be approaching and we continually told the "captain" that it looked like rain, but they insisted that it was not and decided that we should head that direction. We did not care and I was in a great mood because we just bought a big bottle of tequila for two bucks. We (I) was ready to get wet. Fine form, huh?

Double chin?

Of course, our captain was not heading this way. He preferred the rain.

This is what we saw BEFORE we headed out.

It was pretty, but come on. Twenty minutes later, reality set in and the captain had to turn around. And by turn around, I mean haul ass. We were locked in a race with storm.

He was determined.
We won. We beat the rain. In fact, by the time we made it back to the beach, the storm changed directions and the sunset couldn't have been better.

We headed back to the room and showered to get ready for another night out. We weren't sure where we wanted to go, but we knew there was a fun nightclub, so we thought we'd give it a try. By the way, I love dancing to LIVE MUSIC, but the club scene is so lame. 고 likes it though. So, we agreed that we would end up there...maybe.

Part 2 gives you the scoop...


Mom said...

Beautiful pictures....great detail on your stay. Helps so much being able to experince it ...sort of...with you.

You and Go look so happy!

And, yes I did cry....what of it??!! ;)

oncle jean said...

Yeah, get used to crying older relatives. We had to put little Muffin to sleep yesterday, and I was a wreck all day.

But on a sunnier note, what a fabulously beautiful place. So enjoyed the wry commentary with each photo. Can hardly wait for part two.