Paradise is life… BORACAY! 2014

So I have to admit, I am listening to the soundtrack from the movie The Beach as I write this. The emotions, new friends and pure bliss I gained from this journey is in away equal to my trip last year to Kho Phi Phi. I gained so much and remembered just how perfect simple life or “island” life can be. Another culture that is happy with what they have and don’t expect more. And adjustments to this lifestyle had to be made. And all that ever mattered was the time you had at the beach and with new friends…

My morning checkout from Iloilo was quick and I headed to the bus terminal to grab my bus ticket and start off to paradise.

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The bus was unexpectedly nice. Free wifi, A/C and comfy seats. It was a 5 hour ride to Caticlan where the ferry terminal was located. The seat next to me was open most of he time. A few stops were made along the way and for a quick 20min a women and small nina sat next to me. I slept a little and listened to music the rest of the time. We did make a quick lunch stop at a local spot. I had the batchoy as I knew it was safe for the stomach. I didn’t want to risk it..

The weather was very hot. Equal to 117F when you add in the 92% humidity. We arrived at the ferry port and I lugged all my bags to the crazy ticket counter. One window was for the ferry ticket to Boracay 25P. The second window was for the port fee 75P and the 3rd window was for the enviornmental fee 100P… This was ridiculous, there was one room for all three windows. Why not charge the 200P  and end it???? haha

The boat ran all day. As soon as they were full, they left.. so you never waited. Perfect!

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The trip was only 20min and the island is so close that I could have swam it. The ferry port on Boracay had a post setup for Tricycles. 100P for the ride to my cottage which was located in back of some souvenir shops

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Trafalgar cottages were ran by an English woman and Filipino man. They had owned it since 1986. My room had a fan, bed and small shelf area. Next time I will be getting A/C! The bathroom was shared between 4 other rooms and you used a bucket of water to flush the toilets. New to me but at the rate of $13/nt, I adapted! I mean lets face it.. I wasn’t there to sit in my room.

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I unpacked and settled in for a bit and then headed to the beach for a swim and sunset!!!! Woooohoooo.. I am focking here!

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I was here and nothing else mattered at this point. The feeling came over me that after all of the days I had stayed in the other cities in PHP, this was my reward. No loud traffic, no smog, better food and finally I would meet many great people from all over the globe. My quest for life and its meaning always seems to make more sense at the beach. Maybe it is always drawing us to it… I know it draws me. Day or night. Sunny or rainy. It is always beautiful.

That nights sleep was ok. The fan does help but the humidity does kick your butt. The vendors on the beach sell small towels just so you can wipe the sweat from your face.

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Once at the beach it gets a whole lot better. Always felt 10 degrees cooler. Of course, I’m talking Fahrenheit. I needed to take a swim and grab a bite to eat… but where? There were so many food spots to choose from.

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Water was clear as glass…and not that nasty hot bath water temp you would get in Miami Beach which to me rates very low on the beaches scale.

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This pic is for you guys-

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After a swim in pure bliss, I found my spot.. The Nigi Nigi bar..

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A local spot that had an excellent menu and great happy hour drink specials..

I will have to admit, while in Boracay, most days were very similar. Swim, eat, drink, repeat. Most days I slept until noon or so. Having no A/C in the room made it difficult to start the day. It was so warm in the room that It would take me 90min or so to snap out of it and leave for the beach. Once I was out and walking, my body started to wake up. The air in the room is so stagnant. Even with the fan. I would grab a mango shake for breakfast on the way to the beach. This gave me back electrolites, and a full stomach for a while. The shakes were only 85P and you even got to pick the mango from the bunch.

A few tips when traveling to a country in Asia such as this. The only lotion you will ever need is suntan lotion. SPF30 works well. Body lotions are useless because of the humidity. Bring a small umbrella. I bought one in Croatia 3 years and take it with me on every trip. Exchange your currency in town for better rates. Check with your bank and request your account have no foreign transaction fees. Make sure any taxis you take are metered. Always ask as many questions online to the hostel as you need. Especially be clear on directions. It took me a while to find mine. The locals or very helpful so ask around as well. Buy a large jug of water at the local market and refill any smaller bottles you have. I bought a 10L jug and went through it in 6 days. Not bad.

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The Nigi Nigi beach bar remained my main go to spot the entire time. I couldn’t help it, I had become one of the locals there. I met some amazing new friends there. It seemed to be the spot for international travelers. I met people from Ecuador, Saudi Arabia, Germany, UK, AU, Colombia, Denmark, Atlanta, Dubai, Korea, Nigeria, Brazil, China, Norway and a few others. Sorry if I left your country out anyone.. The first day I met Steve and Sheila from UK and Jan and Becky from Denmark. We would all play drinking games and the bartenders Nolly and Joel kept making us free shots. Who would argue with that?

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Steve and Sheila are still in contact with me and are blog readers now. They have invited me to visit them this summer and may also come to Barcelona to visit. She is Filipina and has grasped her UK accent very well.  I saw Steve and Sheila for a few more days before they left and the Germans Sandra and Katarina were added to the mix. I hung out with them for a few days before they left as well.

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It seemed I met everyone 2-3 days before they were leaving, which is pretty normal for a paradise island. The beach nightclub Summer Place was the spot to go late night and boy was it! Soooo cool as you can dance in the club and then walk 20ft to the beach and star gaze with friends. I’ve never been to a place like this anywhere. You get a very emotional sense while on this beach at night. Knowing you are with some true new friends and sharing such an experience is never forgotten. This is why I always take holidays in new destinations instead of repeating the same place. Variety is the spice of life. Someone told me that once and it seems to hold true.

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I’m not sure how many of you saw the picture I posted on FB about the gang from Last Boracay.. They were hilarious. 3 guys from AU. They were in a business venture together and came for guys trip. Unbelievably they would stay out till 2-3 am every night we went out. Of course, Nigi Nigi bar and then out to Summer Place. There was really never a question where to go if you were near Station 2 or 3 . Oh yeah, the White Beach was divided up based on boat stations. There were 3 spots on the beach that the sail boats and scuba boats came in. So you would tell people, ” I’m staying near station 3″.

Last Boracay on the right. George from Portugal far left and Mike the bar manager from South Africa in the green. Mike to us all out to Summer Place. Open bar tab on him!

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Last Boracay and I went to a pool party where I met the lovely Pamela from Ecuador whom I hung out at the beach with the next day. That night was the guys last night and we went out for a bit. What a fun and interesting group. I can say I will miss them but honestly I will miss most everyone I have met. I have exchanged contact info with everyone I have met which I will never stop doing.

Another amazing sunset! With Pamela.

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My new friend Pamela and I decided to take a snorkel and island hopping trip. I got us a killer deal thru my hostel. Only 1200P for 6 hours and 5 stops. My German friends paid 2500P for 4 hours with a tour company. Tour companies are there for money and they all visit the same locations. Our trip was longer because ours had a couple extra snorkel stops. Pamela and I saw some really cool fish. I explained to her that 70% of the fish that I saw I had owned one of their family members..haha. Tangs, Angels, Butterflies, urchins. I did see a flounder which was cool. We stopped at Crocodile Island and went into a couple coves. I wasn’t that impressed with this tourist spot. No real snorkeling there and it was super hot out. We did manage to find a couple spots to swim and it was bliss. The views were breathtaking!

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We also stopped at Puka beach. This beach was secluded and completely baron. The beach was made from crushed puka shells. Pretty cool!

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That night was Pamela’s last night. Her next spot was an expedition in Tibet. She is a rock star! I hope to see her in Barcelona soon. We had a very memorable time. I’m happy we still chat.

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We took some pics of the lightning storm..

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The next day was my last day. So I spent time packing up everything. I donated my unused boots and clothes that  hadn’t used in the volunteer project to some locals. They were happier than I would have thought. I’m happy that I got to give them something.

After that I headed to Nigi Nigi for the last night. I was very sad to leave and I thanked God that I was able to come here. It still puts a tear in my eye even writing this. I never imagined that it would have been so impactful.

Some cool Koreans and a crazy funny Brazilian guy was there. We had a blast.. When do cool people and a great beach not make an amazing time?? Exactly my point. Ok, I guess alcohol can aid a little bit. But not really if you really think about it. Here, you are in paradise so you don’t even think into it as much…again, as much. At home, how fun is it to go to the local bar until 2am when everyone is drinking and you are not? It sucks!  haha

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Blue Marlin baja tacos!

 

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I would not be Mr. Worldwide without the friendships I have made. I love you all!!

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