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martedì 20 maggio 2014

Welcome to paradise (Boracay)

Not bad huh? I ended up in this island just after Xmas for eight days ( which is a little short considering the journey but definitely better than nothing). I had visited many places in South East Asia but I had never been to the Philippines although it has always been a place where I wanted to go to. It's not easy to reach the island: first you have to get to Manila, then take an internal flight changing terminal (which is in another area of the airport and takes about 20 minutes by taxi to reach), then depending on where you land, take some means of transportation to the island. I landed in Caticlan which is very near. You still need to take a van to the jetty, a boat to Boracay and another van to destination. You can do that by getting a ticket outside of the airport with Southwest, a very well organized company which does everything for you, tickets, luggage etc. Believe me when you are jetlageed and had only three hours of sleep like I did, it helps a lot. When you get to Boracay the main attraction is White beach, a four km white sand beach where traffic is not allowed and where most of the hotels , guesthouses and restaurants are. The beach is divided in three stations. I was in the middle at Station 2 which is very nice. Station 1 is even nicer even if a little calmer and station 3 I thought was the worst. Having said that do not imagine the island as a secluded paradise because it isn't... construction is everywhere, it is unfortunately very touristic and that spoils a bit the landscape. Plus I was there for the New Year's Eve vacations and I can tell you there were millions of people. See for yourself. Usually Xmas is a good season. Should be dry and not so hot. Unfortunately it rained or better poured for a couple of days including New Year's Eve which leads to the question: What do you do on an island like this when it's raining? Well it depends who you're with and what type of journey it is but you can have a massage (fantastic) for as little as €5 or eat (and there are a lot of places where to do that), or go shopping or if you like it you can swim in the rain. That's what a lot of people did on New Year's eve when it was literally pouring. When there is good weather apart from laying down in the sun and swimming most people go to Boracay to do kite surf. This sport never attracted me so until the last three days I never crossed the main street situated at the back of the beach to reach the other beach Bolabog beach to see what was happening there. Well, I could say it's kite surf paradise where there are schools, competitions and kite surf fanatics from all over the world. I was passing by a school called Habagat German owned and with a lot of teachers. I got convinced to try in the end and I took two and a half classes (I missed the last half due to unfortunate circumstances). Well, I kind of learnt to fly a kite and that was it. I stayed in the water up to my waist with my arms up holding a heavy kite, staring in the sun for what I thought was an endless time, with a teacher next to me holding my waistband and giving me directions. By the way he was very good looking as the majority of windsurf, diving, kitesurf etc. teachers are... In the end I missed the part where I would have gone up on the board.. Damn it. Well I'll try again some other time I guess. As far as eating is concerned there are certainly a lot of places in White beach most of all not very good and very touristic, but the best place is certainly D'Talipapa the fish market where you buy your own fish in one of the many stalls (incredibly cheap let me tell you) and go to one of the many little restaurants around the market to have it cooked. I went there with some new friends I met on the island and it was a fantastic experience plus some of the best seafood I had ever eaten.Strongly reccomended. AS I said I didn't stay enough in the island to truly enjoy it and I would love to go back to stay a little longer and maybe look at the other islands which I was told are very beautiful too. It was really one of those things I really regreted. Especially because I came back since I had pressure from clients from work. A piece of advice? Never and I repeat NEVER listen to clients when you are going on holidays or better if you are already there because nothing is life or death matter unless you're a doctor or someone involving in saving human lives. For the rest especially if you're freelance don't listen to clients. The things we had to do so urgently are still pending... And so I missed another couple of days in Boracay which really would have made the difference. I'll go back, of this I'm sure and this time with no internet connection nor phone. I wonder if this time I'll be able to ride a board and fly a kite. I'll just have to wait and find out..