This year my birthday fell on Monday. On the bright side, that Monday happened to be part of a long weekend over which we decided to escape to the Philippines. Since I now live in one of the world’s most impressive cities, along with the fact that cities don’t really ‘do it for me’, we rummaged through a list of 13 beaches near Manila for the perfect spot. Long weekends are exactly that- not much longer than a weekend- so if you’re looking for seclusion in another country be prepared to mission.
Straight after work on Saturday (yes we work on Saturdays), we hopped on a flight that took us from Hong Kong to Manila in less than 2 hours. A quick couple hours of shut-eye in a nearby hotel and the adventure continued with a two hour bus ride south. From there we boarded a ferry which got us to our final location by 1pm. Perfect. A day and a half in paradise before we do that all again.
Now, in case you were wondering, that airport hotel, the bus and the ferry didn’t just miraculously arrange themselves in preparation for our arrival. No, a 72 hour getaway involves a decent amount of preparation because who wants to waste time in-limbo on a blink-and-it’s-over whirlwind tour? The vagabond in me took a back seat as I wrapped my head around the way ‘normal’ people travel. When time is limited, that obnoxious person who ‘doesn’t like to make plans and just goes with the flow’ needs to take a hike. Aint no-one got time for that.
Before I give you a blow by blow on the few hours- and even fewer days- I spent in paradise, there’s one thing I must share with you. You’re never experienced enough to be a cocky traveler. The moment you think you know it all, someone’s gonna come out of the woodwork and scam you. Here’s ‘Miss Wanderlust’ and her equally as wandering boyfriend handing over a small conservation tax fee to a man on the boat after being told NOT to pay anyone but the right people at our final destination.
This dude played it so chilled and there we were handing him our money like idiots. A moment later we realized we’d probably cocked up and said to him we’d like our receipts please. He came back with two torn pieces of paper that weren’t going to fool me (again). I tapped him on the shoulder and held out my ‘receipts’. Without saying a word he slipped my money back into my hand and carried on trying to scam people.
In other news, Filipinos are some of the most friendly, kind and helpful people I’ve ever come across. They definitely made an impression. Two ladies fanned me on separate occasions while we took public transport together. Now THATS hospitality.