The Philippines Part 3
Dumaguete (pronounced Dooma-getty) was my favourite city in The Philippines. Bustling like other cities, with a mixture of cars, scooters, jeepneys, and trikes ferrying people around but without the intimidation of Manila or Cebu. We felt we could all walk around without being harassed, which was a breath of fresh air (not literally, the cities are quite polluted!). After checking in to our swanky hotel we went for a walk down to the harbour. A big colourful, lit sign carrying the name of the city was a popular place to have your photo taken, and there are many street sellers making personalised trinkets such as key-rings for a very low price. I chose to have my social media handles carved into one. Social media mogul right here ;).
The city is nestled at the bottom of a volcano which you can see in the distance. We got a glimpse of it while the sun was in its final descent behind the mountain.
That evening we headed out for dinner and drinks, and eventually a club. The story of that I’ll keep to myself but I will say that I definitely did not dance on a stage.
Boracay, Boracay, Boracay. You are mind-boggling. The most popular holiday destination in The Philippines. It divides opinion amongst digital nomads. Some say you simply must go, for it’s long strip of white, sandy beach. Some say it’s simply too over-commercialised and populated by tourists that it spoils it. I have to say I agree with the latter. In a lot of aspects it is not my sort of place. Too crowded, drawing a crowd of party goers and noise. I think it spoils the environment and if I want that atmosphere I could go anywhere with a beach. However, after a couple of weeks in The Philippines we wanted some feeling of western civilisation, and I must say I enjoyed being able to watch the sunset from beanbags whilst sipping on cocktails. The service at many of the beach bars are perhaps what you expect from over-saturated places that don’t have to make any effort to get in customers: pretty bad. Speaking of the sunset on White Beach though, it is spectacular. Completely different to the one I experienced on Siquijor. Deep reds and oranges filled up so much of the sky. I think we watched it for every one of the 5 days we spent there. Too good to miss. Again, it’s a shame there are many people around but you can still get some great photos.
The street/beach vendors are particularly annoying. They’re selling selfie-sticks, waterproof covers for your phone and selling tours. They might be trustworthy but they don’t leave you alone! They’ll see you pay no attention to their colleague and still offer you the same thing, every 5 seconds. After a while it’s best to stop saying no thank you and simply ignore them. Let it fade in to the background if you can.
Sorry Boracay but as far as the White Beach area around station 1 and 2 is concerned, I despise you.
It wasn’t all bad! Our hostel (Second Wind) was great, with a tasty breakfast every morning, Puka beach to the north is a quiet area with fewer annoying beach vendors, snorkelling opportunities and a way to chill, but it’s a bit harder to reach. Gary and I got in the water for some scuba diving. I think Gary even saw a turtle briefly. Not bad for a first dive. We went with the 5* PADI dive centre. Excellent facilities and dive master.