Monday, May 30, 2011

Boracay, Day Five - A Stroll to the Markets

After breakfast on the fifth day, just the four of us wondered out onto the beach and had a chat with James. He was wondering what we'd like to do today and in return I'm sure he was wondering what money he might make in tips for being our trip planner.
Nothing today, James, we're just going to hang around on the beach and do some shopping.
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Did I tell you about our friend nicknaming James, Mowgli? He did sort of look like Mowgli from Disney's The Jungle Book.
At least a more modern one with a real clothes and knockoff Oakleys.
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So, we headed south on the beach toward D Mall and whatever else we could find in the daylight. We'd walked down through there in the evening a few days ago, so wanted to see what everything was like in the day time. Vendors were still set up along the beachfront. Lots of beaded jewelery, wicker bags, paintings, tshirts and a little bit of everything beachy.
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The views along the beach a little further down from our hotel/resort were nice. It was interesting to see how the different resorts set up and handled things for their customers in contrast to how they were set up to handle the dinner crowds at night.
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We enjoyed other sites along the beach as we strolled that morning. Some scenery and some eateries that looked interesting.
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We did a little shoe shopping for Dev. We had laughed earlier that his foot had grown so big that they might not have shoes large enough for his size 12 foot in the Fils. We found some large flip flops though! Thankfully, they were too big because we couldn't figure out how to get those in checked bags for the ride home!
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We stumbled down one alleyway that we discovered led to another market area. A cheaper market...
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Upon further walking, we found the seafood market and discovered that more of the locals were shopping here. We had asked a few days earlier where many of the locals shopped, but no one had answered us sufficiently. It's not like it was a big secret! I guess hidden treasures are just that though. And "rich" foreigners should be directed elsewhere. ;)
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Mangoes... I love Filipino mangoes. We enjoyed many fresh ones while in Boracay.
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Boracay, Day Four, Under the Sea

We'd spent time on the beach. Time playing in the water. Time in the air with zip lining. Time behind the wheels of go carts.
For Day Four, we decided to spend some time under water. We'd seen advertisements for diving - scuba diving and helmet diving.
Some of our group had had scuba lessons in the past, some had not. The boys and I fit into the not group.
So, we opted for helmet diving along with Cherryl, Sohee and the other boys.
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On the boat after our lesson, waiting to gear up.

The helmets were weird. They were heavy and had connections at the back where they were hooked to a hose which connected to an air tank/compressor which remained on the boat. We had to climb overboard and stand on the ladder. When our shoulders were almost under water, they put the helmets over our heads, resting on our shoulders. It was kind of like when you hold a cup upside down and insert it into a tub of water. The cup doesn't fill with water as there is an air pocket in it.

Everyone did great getting their helmet on. Everyone but me. LOL I could at least admit it. I freaked out a little bit. It all started when they put my helmet on and I started to go under. I got salt water in my mouth and started to freak. It was at that moment in time that I remembered I'm claustrophobic - not diagnosed or anything like that - I just don't like tight spaces so avoid them. I came back up and readjusted while convincing the guides and anyone else left on the boat that I would be ok. Of course, I would be ok. DS2 was already below the surface, so if a nine year old child can do it, I could too, right? ;) I reverted to Lamaze breathing and went on my way. Hee. Hee. Hoo. Hee. Hee. Hoo. Hee. Hee. Hoo. I think I scared the guides though because they wouldn't leave me alone after I got under. They kept coming over to me in addition to taking the photos and checking to see if I was ok. I was fine. I just had to remember to breath and also which hand signal meant OK and which one meant return to the surface. Ok sign = OK. Thumbs up = return to surface. Peace sign = just a crazy Asian photo op thing. LOL

Once we were all under and on the bottom, the guides lined us up for photos.
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Then they gave us fish food to feed the fish. Another photo op. And then led us over to an underwater phone booth for yep, more photos.
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Dude! I know my helmet has more water in it than anyone else's, but seriously, I'm OK!

While the girls and the younger guys were under our helmets, the older guys were gearing up for scuba diving.
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Their trip underwater was about the same as ours on this adventure.
Go down, swim around a bit, take pictures, feed the fish, swim some more, then surface.
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If there is ever a next time, I think I might want tried and true diving lessons. But, a next time isn't guaranteed. ;)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Boracay, Day Three, Sunset Cruise

Remember a few weeks ago when I shared Day One with you and talked about the "sailing boats"? To conclude the evening of our third day, we decided to take one of the many sailing boat tours. The boats were catamarans and there were hundreds of them along the coastline. The twelve of us boarded one of them and set sail for an hour before sunset.
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A catamaran is almost nothing.... netting and bamboo rails extending out on each side of a very narrow hull of a boat. We arranged ourselves on each side of the middle in what was sort of a balanced sorting. All the boys got on one side along with Jim and Cherryl, while five of us perched on the other side. One of those five being Roo.
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As I said, it was just before the sun set on the horizon, so it was a wonderful part of the day. Our captain handled the boat well, gliding over the water, pulled the lines and turning us just right. The thought of who needs a gym with weight training equipment in it when you can be a sailing boat captain in the Philippines went through my head more than once. Look at those arm muscles!
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As I mentioned earlier, there were hundreds of these boats on the coastline. We were one of many out on a sunset cruise.
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Finally, the sun gave in and set over the horizon.
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And we turned back to shore. In the twilight of the rest of the cruise, our captain talked to us a bit over the crashing of the waves and pointed out some things along the coastline of Boracay. He pointed out Manny Pacquiao's beautiful vacation/island home. Wow... looked much nicer than some of the resorts we'd seen along the beachfront. I have no photos of that for it was at some point just past the sun setting that the waves got higher and we were starting to get soaked, so we handed the cameras over and let Captain store them in the hull.

For the remainder of the trip back to the beach, the boys on the other side decided they had to see just how wet they could get us all. They stretched their legs out into the water and caught overs causing them to wash over us. I was really glad that I was on the grown up side and Cherryl was stuck over on the teenage boy side getting soaked. LOL

Friday, May 27, 2011

Boracay, Day Three, Zip-lining

Day Three of our Boracay Spring Break adventure started out with another breakfast at the hotel served with fresh mango. I only went for the fresh fruit - forget the eggs and bacon. ;)

We then made our way to the beach where we hung out for a few hours before noon when we loaded another Filipino bus for a zip-line trip. We'd seen zip-lining signs at Mt. Luho, but James told us of another place where the line was better. So, off we went.

We turned into a golf resort, rode passed the fairways and up a winding road to the top of the hill. The view below us of our line and destination which was the beach was pretty awesome.
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So, we signed our liability waivers and geared up with our helmets and harnesses.
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It was just the boys and me. G-Dub opted out of hooking himself to a rope and sailing down a hill over the tops of trees with no idea of how to stop when we got to the end of the line. Wow... when I say it like that, it makes me wonder why I did it. LOL The van driver took him and Sohee down to the beach where they'd watch us come down and join them. View of the beach where we'd land:
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View of where we'd be traveling.
It was probably at that point in time that I was up top asking the guides for the fourth time, "Wait, how do we stop when we get to the end?"
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No, seriously, guys, how do we stop? They began to just laugh at me. I was almost offended! But, at least my sense of adventure wasn't squelched. I still let them strap my kids and myself to the line and push us off the platform. Dev went first with Erik. Zipping down the line.
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There was a rope and part of a rubber tire across the lines. When you zipped into it, you braked. Hard. They warned you that you had to lie back or else the force would jerk you and make you hurt yourself. We listened. We were fine.
After you zipped past a certain point, they pulled the platform over for you to disembark.
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Next up, it was my and Roo's turn.
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I'm not sure why I along with almost everyone that came down that left line turned sideways. It was a little freaky, but not too bad.
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I hated that platform. Zipping down the line was much less scary for me than that stupid platform for some reason. I'd say because I hate heights, but you wouldn't believe me since I just sailed off a platform on top of a hill and skimmed over treetops zipping down that said hill. Right? I think I just didn't trust my footing. I was worried about falling off the platform. Yeah, I know. Sounds stupid. At least my head would have been protected by my helmet. Yeah, we asked that question too. The one you're thinking. The question about what those helmets were going to protect if we did actually fall from the line. LOL I never came up with a decent answer.
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Yay! Feet almost on the ground again!
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Whew!
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The last of our group to zip down the line.
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Time to go. Where's the next adventure?
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