Here's a recent guest post submitted by Scott H. regarding his adventures in Boracay. Hope you enjoy reading the first part of this installment, I sure did. A huge "Thank You" to Scott. More adventures to follow from the big guy. Reading Dave’s story about his visit to Nogas Island, reminded me of my first Visit to Boracay. When my Asawa and I first went to this beautiful island resort I had still not made up my mind about making the move and retiring in the Philippines. I am not saying that this mini-vacation we took there was the deciding factor, but it sure didn’t hurt. Me? I am an informal type of guy. No frills, thrills or constant excitement are needed to keep me happy, and my experience in Boracay sure fit that bill.
Boracay can only be reached by water; in fact where you land depends on the prevailing wind at the time. On our first visit our as our pump boat approached the main tourist beach you can see the fine white beaches, with folks strolling up and down and wind surfers and swimmers in the water.
With the informal nature of the Philippines our Captain (just being polite) seemed to be making a torpedo run straight at the beach and grounded bow first right on the sand! A narrow ramp was run down to the shallow water and the Captain’s helpers started grabbing bags and suitcase and piling them on the beach. Soon a group of young men, dressed in shorts and t- shirts, approached all the arriving tourists, and after a brief conversation with the wife, a young man picked up our bags and began schlepping them down the beach toward our hotel.
We stayed at a place called Cocamanga’s (since then the name has changed, naturally). We followed our native porter down the white sand beach, hooked a right and headed into what I thought was jungle. Following a narrow path we emerged from a tree line to cross the Islands main road (barley wide enough for two cars).
After waiting for a gap in the tricycle and bicycle flow we again plunged into what seemed to be jungle. A path took us to an open sided Nipa hut on stilts. By now I am starting to wonder what is really going on.
A very pretty young lady, dressed in shorts and a tee shirt, gave the normal “Hello Sir, Hello Ma’am” (have you ever noticed that young ladies always address the Kanos first, even though they must know than (a) we don’t speak the language and (b) we sure as heck don’t make the decisions?).
I then notice a computer, telephone and several other modern appliances, all hooked to an extension cord that disappeared somewhere. Well we checked in and a porter, dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, hauled our luggage done a path through trees, shrubs and well kept flower beds to another large Nipa Hut on stilts.
Now I have been in the military for over 20 years at this time and am used to crude conditions, but dammit I am on vacation here. The porter led us up the stairs, opened the door, turned on the color TV and the air conditioner, showed us the bath with a shower grinned and shuffled his feet. I got the hint, pulled out a P50 bill ($1.10) and he left with a big grin. I flopped down on the bed, turned on CNN and started to relax. Not bad for a jungle!!! But alas it was not to stay that way. When your married does it ever?
As I was beginning to nod off, the Asawa blurted, “I want a mango shake!” I glanced over and saw a room service menu in one of her delicate paws and the room phone in another.
- “What are you doing?” said I.
- “Ordering room service” answered my beloved.
- “Stop! We are not going to pay room service prices!!! No way! I’ll go to the restaurant and get them!” (This was before I looked at the menu naturally and found a mango shake was only P250 ($2.30), but by now pride and principle has taken over.)
So with a t-shirt, shorts and flip flops on I exit the room, wander down the path to the “front desk” and ask were the restaurant is. I was directed back across the road through the trees. “Straight through there Sir”. Being a tough infantry guy, I resumed my hump through the jungle and I imagined I was a member of the Philippine Scouts and what it must have been like during the war.
Once through the trees, I saw another Nipa Hut without sides, a circular bar and chairs around it. A variety of blenders, fans and the like were present (hooked up to extension cords naturally). “Aha! This looks like a bar!” I approached the establishment and asked a young man in shorts and tee shirt “do you work here?” I was rewarded with a shake of the head. Another gent passed by, in shorts and t-shirt (you starting to notice a pattern here?) and again I was rewarded with a shake of the head.
Finally a young woman, pretty and dressed in what? You guessed it, admitted she worked there. I ordered my shakes, and sat and watched the beach while they were being prepared. I carried them back through the jungle to our room with a look on my face that told my Asawa “see? I can be let out on my own!” And boy I can tell you those Mango shakes are good!
As we sat on the veranda, enjoying our shakes, listening to the wind whisper through the palm fronds, we planned our next day’s activities. We were going to go Island hopping! Cool, I wanted to see as many different Islands as possible. But the Filipino definition is a bit different than mine as it turns out, it means…………………………