Before we left, Buan reminded us of why we were actually leaving - it snowed like crazy, blanketing the town in 40 centimetres of fresh powder. When we flew out of Seoul it was minus 5 degrees.
To get to Boracay, we flew into Manila, transferred to Kalibo and then took a bus for an hour and a half to Caticlan port. From Caticlan, we took a boat to the island and then a truck to our accommodation. Fortunately we were too zoned out from getting up at 5:30 to notice how much extra travelling that really is. Plus the landscape is so different from Korea (and New Zealand, for that matter) that I spent most of my time gawping at people and taking pictures.
The first place we stayed was Baling Hai Beach Resort, a little boutique-y hotel out in the 'wops' - if a place as small as Boracay can have wops. Boracay's teeny-tiny, only 7 kilometres long and a kilometre wide at the narrowest point. The resort has 7 different houses, all built into a steep hill, looking over a private bay. I found Baling Hai on TripAdvisor, my travel bible, and was utterly smitten then utterly gutted as I realised that it was booked our for the duration of our trip. A couple of days later I was showing one of my students what I'd missed out on (a lesson about the past tense) when I saw there was a cancellation. I quickly taught my student about the future tense, and about tone and repetition ('Oh my god! I'm so excited! I'm so excited!') and we were sorted. My god, it was worth it:
It was so beautiful, it literally made me sick. But more on that later.
My favourite thing, aside from the room service, view, being woken up by sunshine and being lulled to sleep by the waves on the shore, watching geckos skuttle across the roof, reading... was the veranda pictured above. But more specifically, those two sweet couches. After four months of sitting on the abomination in our living room that Koreans call a couch (the very thought makes bile rise in my throat! I hate our 'couch.'), these things were heaven on earth. I napped and ate and read many books in the three days I was permitted to use these couches, and it was amazing.
Boracay is apparently party central on New Years Eve, but we spent the night drinking beer on the veranda, eating cheap and delicious food from the bar and relaxing. Baling Hai has a small restaurant (seating 30 people, maximum) right on the beach. The kitchen is up on the top of the hill, and food is lowered to the restaurant in a woven flax basket using a pulley system.
And it was good food! My favourite was the fruit-filled pancake, a bargain at 110 pesos (about $3.50)
When we weren't eating or reading, we went swimming. Balinghai Beach is small and sheltered and very private. There are two wooden pontoons anchored in the bay, so Tom and I swam out to them and sunbathed, and then jumped off into the postcard-perfect water. It was wonderful!
On our last night, we ordered a seafood platter and we were treated to a candlelit dinner on the beach. I'm terrible at taking pictures, but here are some of them:
|Prawns, calimari, grilled fish and rice!|
A sea snake had been swept onto the beach - I think it's a banded sea krait and they're deadly, which explains why my waitress freaked out and then stared at me as I took pictures.
After 3 blissful days we said goodbye to Baling Hai and moved on to Frendz Resort, near Boracay's infamous White Beach. More on that in the next post.