calm after the storm

Well we have arrived in Boracay, Philippines!

In fact we have been here all of three days, and by the time you read this we would have likely have been here a week.

For all the worry about getting to this marvellous country so soon after Yolanda we need not have concerned ourselves. The only thing we have had to do without since leaving Manila after a quick Sunday night stopover in a hard to find B&B is a lack of internet access across Boracay island and a few hours electricity in the afternoon in our hotel. Other than that, life, with the aid of many generators, is moving on as ever on the isle.

Our arrival in Manila was simple enough – minus a quick tussle at immigration with what seemed like the whole of South Korea getting their passports stamped at the same time as us, our bags were located straight away and even success with Santander letting me access my own cash without having to assure them of my presence outside the UK.
That was until we stepped out into the humidity of arrivals and our Casa Joaquin B&B driver being noticeable by his absence. Never mind, a quick dive into the back of a cab and a strangely confident young cabbie called Ramon assured us he’d find our B&B, located off the beaten track in a gated community a few kilometres away.

What should have been a twenty minute ride away (as we discovered the next morning when Ramon picked us up with his missus in tow) turned into a a google map assisted, booking.com written directive, walkie talkie marathon with Ramon’s HQ that lasted a good hour and a half. Still, our hosts Tessie and Emma were brilliant at the B&B, kindly upgrading us to suite larger than my first flat. Even the noise of the low passing aircraft, next doors version of Battersea dogs home and several vocal cockerels nearby didn’t stop us getting a few hours kip after the twenty seven hour door to door trip.

Next morning we jumped aboard a flight to Boracay. It wasn’t even our scheduled flight as ours was delayed a couple of hours. I enquired when the flight would leave given the lack of departure boards in the terminal. Before I could worry about the possible implications of missing baggage, another walkie talkie loving lady was busy re-booking me and Naomi on a flight due to leave in the next fifteen minutes. Boarding passes were hand amended, our names were shouted over the walkie talkie (which I assume was a baggage handler confirming he’d located our bags) and we were soon boarding the plane with 58 (tiny plane) other excitable tourists that were mainly, you guessed it, Koreans.

After waking up on the plane to an incredible view of the passing Boracay, we were soon shovelled onto the back of a tricycle (think motorbike with large sheltered side cart) to the nearby ferry terminal. Before we knew it we were slightly frustratingly rushed through the terminal building as a bloke ran off with our bags trying to get us onto the ferry as quickly as he possibly could – despite not asking if we needed a hand naturally he hung around like a bad smell looking for a small tip. As I handed 20 pesos (33p) to get him out of our faces he looked at me in disgust and stormed off, ready to ambush the next jet-lagged, slightly caught unaware tourist. Nothing like being able to take it all in…..never mind, we were soon on a second tricycle and transferred to our hotel on the lovely Diniwid beach here on Boracay within an hour of landing so it wasn’t all bad!





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