First off, this is in honor of the first post I was writing that somehow got wiped. RIP. The first week in the Philippines has been pretty awesome. Coming into to this trip, we left everything pretty open. The only thing we knew were the destinations and that at some point Shawn, Chan, Alex, Caro and I are gonna have an orgy.
Our first stop was Manila, where we were greeted at the airport by some cabbies that wanted to rip us off by charging 1900 pesos. But that didn't phase us since we grabbed an affordable 300 peso cab. We felt even more at home because the first two songs on the radio were Ironic by Alanis Morrisette and Incentive by Jan Arden. Hurray Canadian 90s pop. We arrived at Our Melting Pot hostel, which was on the fourth floor of a building in the business/tourist part of Manila in Makati. We took a long ass nap after fun adventures trying to find local mini SIM cards for our phones.
We made plans to meet up with Oliver, Owen's brother and his boss later in the evening. By that point, we met our roommate Graham, a cool British dude who had also just arrived in the Phil's. So after dinner, our merry group went out to check out their "strip clubs" which was more like a harem. When you walked into the dimly lit room, there were girls on the dance floor and some just sitting around. it wasn't really eventful but definitely the most expensive activity on this trip. Around that time Carol and Alex arrived, so we went to meet them at the hostel. We were informed at hostel that there was a reggae party going on close by, so after a short cab ride, we were there.
The show was sooooo dope. It was hosted at a warehouse but it had no ceiling, making for a very wet dance floor from showers earlier. The booze was so cheap and the band was banging. They played mostly covers of Sublime, Marley and many other ska bands. My favourite part was the grill that served just about every part of the chicken you can think of. Chan fell in love with chicken intestine. We danced the night away till 3 or 4 and eventually cabbed home.
Day two started off pretty simple, checking out the mall of Asia. It wasn't anything special apart from being really f*n big. The indoor ice skating rink was a cool surprise. The highlight was leaving the mall and chilling on the boardwalk, staring at the sunlight reflecting off the ocean. We eventually grabbed some beers and spent the rest of the afternoon drinking.
During our conversations someone brought up cock fighting. So that became our mission that evening. We took a cab to a cock fighting derby but the entrance fee was 900 pesos, which was insane! So we decided to peace out, which lead to a 40 min walk through the rain back to the hostel. Our walk took us through some slummy areas which really remind me of Ghana. Or Midgar in FF7 after the plates fell according to Shawn, nerds...It was pretty rough seeing families sleeping on the concrete. It was kinda weird to finally make it to our clean metropolitan area.
Third day was suppose to simple: fly from Manila to Tagbiliran City and check out the Chocolate hills. But the universe had other plans and decided not to process our ticket purchase. We only discovered this when we got to the airport. So after some rescheduling and many card games, we were on our way to Cebu City, which was already in our plans.
We landed in Cebu pretty late and within minutes of checking in, we were grabbing street meat and beers with some guys from the hostel. Man was the booze cheap, 65 pesos for a litre of beer which is a lil over a dollar Canadian. We found out the three dudes, Aussie, American and French (I think) met while volunteering in Taklaban. The beers flowed and eventually Aussie suggested that we go clubbing at a place called Mango. Chan decided to hit the sack early since he downed 2 litres of beer in an hour plus he was up earlier than the rest of us that day.
Mangos was pretty bananas. Cheap cover which got you a free drink and a packed dance floor. Aussie was very generous with handing out beers, even when I didn't need anymore. Actually everyone was handing me drinks which just gave me more fuel to dance with cutest Japanese girl, Kumi. She had an ass and she could dance which made her all the finer. She rolled with a decent size crew which included her sister and a girly boy, who may have not been with them. It made for a fun guessing game but we definitely confirmed she was a girly boy. The night was pretty much perfect apart from a small incedent when Shawn thought he lost his cellphone but he forgot that I had borrowed it
The morning was spent enjoying a blunt to help get over the hang over. The weed was supplied by Joanne, a girl from Hong Kong who definitely has consumed more drugs than I ever will. But now she was trying to just stick with weed.
The afternoon was spent taking a to bus Maulbaul because it was something to check that was close. our earlier plan was to go to Oslob but it seemed too far for a day trip. It was a great decision. My favourite part of hostelling is meeting new people. That night we had the honor of meeting our Filipino angel, Carletta. She was an early thirties single mom that was spending the next year travelling around. We found out later, she had misdiagnosed with cancer but the scare was enough to make her sell her car and house and discover the world. She convinced us to go snorkeling with her the next morning which sounded awesome.
Our awesome new friend was able to get us a deal where we got dive in two spots for the price of one dive. By this point, Shawn was starting to get sick. But the promise of seeing turtles got him onboard. The catamaran ride to the dive spot was hella fun, seeing into the water and hanging over the edge. Snorkelling was salty as all hell but man was it worth it. The crazy colors of fish, the coral formations and the turtles! It was like they were flying underwater. I remember going off by myself at one point and seeing something coming at me in the distance. After a brief panic attack, I realized it was a turtle and I was soooo happy. I just followed until I lost track of it around some coral, sea ninjas!
Ill stop this here for now. More thoughts to come.