We stayed over at the Manila Marriott the first day we arrived, had dinner with nieces and nephews. Joel, who was in Manila for a business trip joined us. Joel sells Boeings and he met with the daughter of Lucio Tan, CEO of Philippine Airlines, earlier. I took pictures with my new Canon SLR with the help of a waiter who was also a camera enthusiast.
The trip to Boracay requires a plane ride to Caticlan airport, a 45 minute flight on a small airplane made in Canada. Then a boat transport took us to the island of Boracay with all kinds of tourist fees and then another minibus ride to the hotel.
We stayed at Fairways and Blue Waters Hotel because the golf course isolated the rooms from the daily life of Boracay beaches. The linens had a musty odor from the high humidity so we asked housekeeping for fresh ones. Dinner at the hotel restaurant was weird because the waiter stands at attention while we ate. It felt like someone was watching us chew our food. Perla reminded me that that was how the rich people lived so I finally relaxed and enjoyed being an honored guest.
This two children were rowing this water craft on our Island Hopping trip. Snorkeling was what we planned for the next day so the front desk connected us with the program director, who introduced us to two guys who would take us snorkeling. I did not get on in this one. After enough fish feeding and fish ogling we decided on helmet diving. This was scary fun. The idea is to go at the bottom of the waters at around ten feet wearing a very heavy helmet weighing 27 kilos, air is pumped into the cavity of the helmet as we were lowered down. The helmet now weighs 2 kilos underwater. The descent was rather painful because the pressure on my eardrum was a bit much. Before going down, the dive director gave us lessons on what to do and what to expect. It was a lot of fun except for the occasional interruption of anxiety attack when my air intake felt inadequate. A DVD of our dive was included in the fee. My face showed expressions of fear and apprehension. I was the first one to give up and the rest followed a little bit later.
Our tour guides were so wonderful. Nelson was always nearby aware of our needs and comfort. There was no need to tell him what we needed. He would ask if he was not sure.
We had no plans the next day so we decided to lounge on the beach, get some vitamin D, eat local cuisine and simply relax. Later in the afternoon, Nelson and his partner saw us and said they were zero for the day. They asked if we wanted to take the buggy tour and so we did. Nelson rode the buggy with me and I got a taste of how he takes care of his clients. Always attentive, not pushy, always extends his hands when I climb the steps. He hardly says anything except for a few information or when he wants to know something. There is simply this comforting presence right next to me. Nelson is 24 years old.
We had dinner at Friday’s Boracay on the beach that night. A beach wedding with only a handful of guest were entertained by a one man band. We were entertained by a one year old boy dancing to the music. From our vantage point he looked two inches tall. When he ran, he reminded me of a little bird hopping around. This place has its share of little ones collectively known as “tsikiting.”