© 2011 fholzgrefe

Solomat-pol

The Philippines (with Sebastian – German, Magda – Polish, and Nils – German)!  Our transportation started off shaky (literally)…our airplane hit an air pocket and we fell, sending everyone free-falling for a few seconds.  It was so scary, but all I could do was laugh! We arrived at 11:30PM on Friday, August 26.  We bought bus tickets for PHP400 (US$9.44) and drove about 2.5 hours to the city of Manila.  We arrived at about 3AM and there were still so many people out and about, it was amazing!  Our first hostel was disgusting, but we really had no choice due to the time.  It cost us each US$4.24 for the night and we had two bunk beds and a fan.  We weren’t really in a room, just an area with a grated fence put up for privacy.  I slept with all my clothes on, including my shoes. 

 

We left the next morning and found a 7-11 where we ate some breakfast and decided our game plan.  We were to the tourist police who helped us decide where to go (Puerto Galera, then to Sabang).  We took a taxi (US$3.56) then a train (US$.28), then a bus (US$3.96), to finally arrive at Puerto Galera in time for dinner (the port that would take us by ferry to Sabang).  We rode a tricycle (a motorbike or scooter with a side car for passengers) to our hotel (ride US$2.36 per passenger – a ripoff – and hotel US$5.92 pax).  The room was SUCH an upgrade from the last, we were so excited!  We all took showers, then went to dinner across the street at an authentic Filipino restaurant run by (what looked like) children.  We had delicious Filipino food – what looked and taskted like crispy spring rolls and a noodle dish (with Red Horse beer).  Dinner cost us each US$5.21, which was mostly for all the beer we had.  We crashed in our beds at about 9:30 (bad idea).  At about 2AM we all woke up, but shortly went back to sleep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next morning we got up at 9AM to catch a ferry to Puerto Galera.  We ate at 7-11 again, then proceeded to buy the 3 different tickets just to get onto the ferry (total US$7.17).  We waited FOUR HOURS at the pier for our boat.  The one we originally signed up for filled up, so we were forced to wait for the next one (so frustrating!).   We ran into 3 German girls who were going to White Beach (who go to school with us) and they were escorted to the front of the line (having brown hair definitely made me feel ugly that day).  The boat ride over was VERY rocky due to a typhoon (Typhoon Mina) – I was concentrating on NOT getting sick (my efforts paid off).  We arrived in Puerto Galera about 1.5 hours later and took a Jeepney to Sabang (the water was too rough to go straight there).  A man asked us if we needed a room, so we followed him to a hotel right on the beach where we decided to stay (US$9.47 pax for 2 nights).

 

That night, August 28, we went to a touristy restaurant that served American, German, and Filipino food – we ate delicious Filipino food (pork pesto, some others) and drank quite a few beers.  We walked down the street to a karaoke bar (that had a band playing instead of karaoke that night) and had a few more beers.  I would not have passed a sobriety test that night…good thing I wasn’t driving!

The next day, August 29, we hired Money, a local, to drive us by boat to a beach.  Money first took us to go snorkeling, which was GORGEOUS!  The colors were much more vivid than in Fiji, I wish I had an underwater camera!  He then took us to Puerto Galera so he could buy food for a BBQ while we shopped.  The boys were the big spenders, buying t-shirts, shorts, and glasses.  We went to a beach where Money cooked us pork, chicken, rice, and a yummy Filipino mixture with onions, soy sauce, jalepenos, and green peppers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We went swimming, then Money made plans to meet us for karaoke and to go to a disco at 8.  We went home and showered, then went out for a few drinks at the bar downstairs.  Money arrived and we headed to a bikini club – girls had their underwear on and were walking around on stage.  All the girls for sale were being held in the back.  I asked the pimp, the girls were about 20 years old.  :-/   We headed to the karaoke bar where Madga and I sang Spice Girls and the boys sung the Beatles.  We went to a disco, but it cost PHP50 to get in and noone was dancing, so decided to go back to the bikini club.  It was sad, really, they all looked so bored walked around in their underwear on stage, waiting to make their money by selling their bodies to the old white men later in the evening.  Magda and I had enough, so we stated leaving, then the boys followed.  That night, Nils was so sick (I think because we never really ate dinner, just the BBQ at 2) so I tried to leave to get him food but the door WOULD NOT OPEN!  The doorknob somehow broke and would not turn.  I was trying my hardest, but could not open it.  We went to sleep, then in the morning sent Magda a text saying, “help us, we are stuck in our room.”  I (cleverly) removed the hinge pins from the door and Sebastian pushed it in, feeling very manly.  We gathered our stuff and left ASAP! (to go up to Magda and Sebastian’s room).  As we were waiting around, Money shows up.  He (rudely) asked Sebastian for money for his “sick mother.”  We left and ran into the pimp frmo the bikini club who had brought the boys two shirts with the club logo on them.  They were SO excited (cost them US$23 for two).  We went to the pier and bought our tickets to leave, then had some breakfast nearby.  In Sabang, there are TONS of old, ugly men with young Filipino girls.  That morning, we saw an old, ugly woman with a young Filipino guy (she was from Florida).

 

The boat ride back (for me) was better than the first, but the rest of my group thought it was horrible (Sebastian threw up).  I was sitting in the very front with a nice breeze, which probably was the determining factor.  We got back to Batangas and had a coke, then jumped on a bus to ride back up to Manila (2 hours, US$3.95).  We found a decent hotel in Manila (the best in our entire trip), so booked in for the night (US$21.82 pax).  We headed to the Mall of Asia, one of the largest malls in Asia…didn’t really feel like we were in the Philippines after stepping inside.  We were surrounded by Gucci, Burberry, Adidas, etc., with prices the same as what is in the U.S.  We took a Jeepney (US$.18) and a train (US$.28) home, then went to bed (after taking a nice hot shower).

 

The next morning, our last day, we decided to go to a famous church to see a life-sized Black Nazarene, then to a market.  As stated, Manila is disgusting.  There was human feces on the sidewalk, trash everywhere, and the whole city was a shanty town.  We walked and walked, trying to waste time before needing to leave for the airport.  We ate lunch at Hong Kong Tea House, which was pretty good (US$2.60).  We went back to the hotel to stay out of the rain (crazy rain, we were so lucky to have no rain in Sabang), then grabbed a taxi to go to the airport.  Our driver was obviously a novice and looked petrified to be driving on the expressway where he had to stay in his lane and could not honk every five seconds.  Two hours later, we finally arrive near the airport only to be pulled over by the police!  Apparently, green cabs are not allowed to drive to the airport.  The cop said we needed to give him money for the ticket, which I thought was weird.  He said he would drive us there for PHP1800, so we gave him PHP2000 total (he put on the meter and it only reached 1100 and the ticket cost 1200…he received plenty) (US$47.33).  He tried to stop us from going into the airport but we literally had no money left.   We checked in to find out we needed to give HK130 for a terminal fee (stupid) *US$16.69).  We ran into a bunch of people from our school at the airport (mostly Germans), which was funny.  Our flight back was good (1.5 hours), and we took the bus home, which was cheap and a nice ride.  We sat at the very front on the top of the double-decker bus.  🙂

 

All in all, it was a wonderful trip with a wonderful group!  Total spent for 6 days in the Philippines: US$303 (including flight)

 

Price List (USD):

Coffee – $.70

Snickers – $.99

Beer – $.89

Soda – $1

Meal – $2