It’s been a few days since we’ve blogged, and as we feared would happen, the longer we leave it, the harder it is to knuckle down and document our days. How will we get back into work when home?! We’ve finally chanced upon a sunny, glorious day and being a few rums down we have decided to write a joint blog to get us past our hump.
Worth noting that Gary, the man of a hundred nicknames has now become known as Gerry. Gerry started in Sri Lanka when the locals struggled to pronounce Gary. We tried to dismiss this as an amusing one off. However, later on a flight we were addressed as Sir Gerry and Madame Emily by the attendant handing us our boarding passes.
Now even our European Airbnb host continually emails and addresses me as Gerry. There are also a couple of restaurants called Gerry’s in Boracay that we walk past daily. So my fate is sealed, in the Philippines I am now known as Gerry. Gerry is poor, but it’s slightly advantageous to Barry which has quickly become a fave with Elliott and Molly – sadly that is going to stick.
The last few days have been a blur of grey skies, threatening rain clouds and therefore inevitable bar hopping. Most days dawn with the promise of a tropical beaut of a day and we diligently get lotioned up and head for the beach, only for dull skies to rain on our parade within minutes of settling into our loungers. Thankfully Boracay is well equipped with distractions and there is always a volley ball match to watch or a fun cafe to duck into.
Being located a couple of km from the main White Beach, we’ve been accustomed to walking single file down a very busy and smog filled main road to reach the gorgeous powder sands. Gerry however found us a great shortcut which takes us away from the the bikes and tuk tuks and incessant beeping and tooting that the Filipinos rely so heavily on. This side street is an eye opening slice of reality and the grimy, gritty flip-side to the tourist magnet paradise.
We pass make-shift houses made from wood with electrical wires hanging perilously close to bedrooms, shelters of corrugated iron, kids playing dime in the street, cockerels in cages ready for fighting and men casually taking a piss against their own houses.
This is the real Philippines we say to each other as we hop, skip and jump over the ever-running flow of what we can only assume is effluent as we head to the beach. Traversing this on the way home in the pitch black whilst we are soaked to the bone and sliding around in god knows what feels like less of a joyous jaunt. It’s usually around this time when I’m struggling to hold on to my sense of humour that Gerry makes an A-sign on his forehead and remarks “A for adventure, honey”
Whilst flip flopping shit up our backsides as we walk home is far from ideal, I think we both know we have to suck it up to get to the real gems of a place and boy do those gems deliver. It’s also important to see a place ‘warts and all’ to feel like we’ve truly experienced it.
Yesterday we woke to bright sunshine streaming through the white Ibiza style curtains. Whilst it’s tempting to laze away the morning in the AirBnB surfing internet we know we enjoy getting out amongst it. Heading to white beach we decided to base ourselves at station 1, the gorgeous stretch of beach furthest away from us. Yep I know what your thinking. Why oh why do you want to walk in the heat of the midday sun to the furthest point? No idea. Anyway we ended up in Station 1 and I successfully bamboozled the guy enough that we got our sun-beds for half price right next to the massage station.
After a quick dip to cool off and a little read we decided to try the massage. £7.50 for an hour seemed reasonable at the time. Little did I know that the delicate massage girls we had been chatting to would be replaced by the honey monster twins. We both smiled that knowing smile. You know the one. Where you were both expecting something completely different and it hasn’t worked out but you have to embrace it. Trying to look on it positively I reasoned with myself that she would be firm and it would be more like a deep tissue massage rather than a relaxing soothing beach massage. Oh god. From the moment she put her full weight on me and cracked my back I knew I was in trouble. I swear I heard her giggle when my left lung collapsed and I was compressed to a width not seen since my teens. Then two huge sand encrusted hands as rough as a bricklayers proceeded to exfoliate my skin until I was pale again. Months of tans gone in an hour. Joy.
I quite enjoyed my massage but Gary needed counselling after his.
To console him we made a return visit to the Lemon Cafe for a steaming bowl of delicious, comforting pasta. Clearly not regional cuisine but we’ve been grateful for the variety of food in Boracay (especially on washed out rainy days). We’ve had some yummy curries, laksa, sushi and burgers.
As I mentioned earlier, we woke this morning to beautiful sunshine and we’ve headed further afield to explore Puka Beach via the usual trike. We loved the way the trike man carried his dollar dollar.
It’s much smaller than White beach and incredibly quiet in comparison which we are really enjoying. We walked its length and now we’ve settled on two home made bamboo loungers to while away the rest of the day sipping Buka juice (young coconut), swimming and reading.
Let’s hope this is the start of a new, sunnier weather front.