This past weekend was beautiful. I walked outside wearing a sweater and sunglasses, and sunlight poured into every corner of the house! Sigh, it was a summer dream. But of course, it is dreary with wind today. It was nice while it lasted….
Speaking of sunlight, two years ago, two friends and I scored a cheap deal to Cebu during an annual flash sale. Truthfully, Boracay was on my bucket list for the Philippines, but I was dying to get away from the brutal Korean winter. While our flights were cheap, we quickly came to realize the hidden costs of the Philippines: 1) airport tax for arrival and departure, 2) ferry terminal tax, 3) wifi fees, 4) ferry tickets, and 5) hefty taxi rates. It was impossible to evade these costs as there is a monopoly on transportation to get to the island.
The first day I arrived I was so tired that I lost a diamond stud while snorkeling (d’oh! Forgot to take them out!) and fell into the ocean with my DSLR (it was fine!), scraping my knee on coral. I bought a water proof bag for my camera and got lots of sleep (with extra coconut water for hydration) that night, but my friend had to clean my cut with hand sanitizer. It stung like crazy.
What travel guides did not seem to tell us was that it is ideal to travel in a pack of 3. When you’re a 1-2 person group, it is too few; 4-upwards is pushing it. A group of 3 is ideal because it is just enough to fit into a boat and negotiate a deal with the driver. When you’re alone, it is essential you find other travelers to tag along with you, otherwise the boat drivers will not be convinced it is worth the trip, no matter how much money you offer. Note: the motor on EVERY boat is super loud and slow.
There is both a blessing and curse to negotiating. There are endless streams of tourists so that vendors are not as inclined to sell to you for your price. Yet we were able to find tours for a reasonable price and were not scammed.
We were at the fruit stand daily (run by high school students!)- we chose coconut, mango, and pineapple and had it cut for us to eat on-the-go. So delicious and fresh!
We checked out Balicasag Island and Virgin Island in one day. While both are beautiful, keep note: Virgin Island has no bathroom facilities! Panglao in general is very family friendly, so we had a tame few days relaxing in the sun and reading.