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Week 8: Boracay

October 30, 2008 - Filed under Eats, Entertainment, Scuba Diving, Stuff to do, Travel, Weekly Report

We’ve spent 2 months in the Philippines! Wow, that went by fast. This week we headed off to the Buglasan festival in Dumaguete which is kind of like a tourism fair for the local communities on Negros Oriental where each town or barangay sets up a display area lauding their tourist attractions. It was quaint, and there was a great selection of barbecued foods and baked goods at the concession area. Plus, each evening there are musical competitions and we were lucky enough to show up on rock band night having missed the marching band event the previous day… There were around 40 bands playing that night for 10 minutes each. I don’t know the words to many of the songs they were singing, but it was a nice break from the love ballads pouring out of most places.

A couple days later we headed off to Boracay to check out the white sand beaches. We’d been putting it off because we’d heard it was over-commercialized and touristy, but after the last 2 months in the Philippines and realizing just how rural the country is outside of the cities, we decided to take a week or two to see if it was a viable place to live long term. We flew from Dumaguete to Manilla but due to a flight delay we really didn’t have any time to scope out Manilla. From what I saw it was big, with lots of hi-rises. Flying on to Caticlan, we were met at the airport by the hotel ‘shuttle service’ – where a guy with our names on a card piled us and our luggage into a trike and took us to the Caticlan port. We then took a short 5 minute boat ride over to Boracay and another 5 minute trike ride to the hotel we had arranged to stay in.


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Posted by: Shim

Week 7: Takin ‘er Easy

October 20, 2008 - Filed under Scuba Diving, Weekly Report

We got back from Siquijor Tuesday night and spent most of Wednesday relaxing, catching up on emails and doing a bit of work we’d put off before we left.

On Thursday we headed into town to run some errands. We had a few things on our list to accomplish, the most important of which, was to renew our visas. We weren’t sure how long the process would take and since we’re planing to head to Boracay next week we decided to get it over with sooner rather than later. We had a rough idea where the immigration office was, but after wandering for a few blocks more than we’d have liked in the hot sun, we came across a travel agent (next on our to-do-list), so we decided stop in there. A friendly filipina helped us with a couple of options on getting to Boracay and then pointed us in the right direction of the immigration office.
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Posted by: Kelly

Learning to Dive in the Philippines

October 19, 2008 - Filed under Scuba Diving, Stuff to do, Underwater Photography

While Kelly is a certified Dive Master and has done more than 150 dives during her various travels, I was always somewhat reserved about getting involved in the sport. Partially because it was her hobby and I was into motorcycles, giving us each our own independent, expensive, recreational interests. More so because the idea of submerging yourself underwater with a can of air can be daunting at first. But, given that we’re in such legendary aquatic surroundings, I decided to do a discovery dive.

After getting fitted with a wetsuit, fins, mask, weights, regulator, and BCD (Buoyancy Control Device… basically a vest that fills with air) another couple and I submerged below the surface of the five foot deep pool at the resort and proceeded to learn the basics of diving from Phillip our instructor. Learning to clear the mask when full of water, signs to communicate underwater, how to find the regulator if you should lose it, and basic buoyancy control came to me quickly. So that afternoon we continued the discovery dive in the house reef beside the resort. Lucky for me, the house reef at El Dorado is a marine sanctuary with an abundance of fish, corals, and sea life. Going no deeper than 10 meters, I had an amazing first dive surrounded by all kinds of coral and small fishes. I was even lucky enough to see a turtle. Needless to say, I was hooked and dubbed the ‘Canadian Fish’.
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Posted by: Shim

Siquijor

October 17, 2008 - Filed under Scuba Diving, Stuff to do, Travel

Saturday morning we left for Siquijor. A small island about 45 minutes from Dumaguete. We got up early and took a trike into town, had breakfast and then headed to the pier. We had planned to take one of the larger car ferries because we heard they were reliable and unlike the fast ferries there is room to walk around, stretch your legs and check out the view from the open decks. However, when we arrived at the pier we were informed that the 10am ferry was cancelled during low season, so instead we ended up taking one of the Delta Fast Ferries, instead.

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Posted by: Shim

Week 6: Happy Thanksgiving!

October 14, 2008 - Filed under Weekly Report

I can’t believe it’s that time of year already. Not surprisingly it doesn’t feel anything like Thanksgiving. No cold fall weather, no turkey, and no friends or family to share it with. That’s not to say that the day went by unnoticed, it definitely didn’t. I thought about all of you back home and wondered how you were spending your holiday. I wondered who was hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, and whether or not Randal had been put in charge of the turkey again. I also thought about our new life here, and how thankful I am that we are able to do this, and more importantly that we’re able to do this together. I know that may sound cheesy, but hey, that’s what this day is all about. Read More…

Posted by: Kelly

Casaroro Falls

October 7, 2008 - Filed under Stuff to do

Yesterday we visited the beautiful Casaroro Falls. We hired a van in Dumaguete the day before, and arranged to be picked up from our resort in Dauin the next morning. We managed to haggle the price down from 3000pesos to 2500pesos (about $58) but it was still a bit expensive with only the two of us. We tried to find a couple more people to come with us to cut the cost a bit, but seeing as it’s low season we were outta luck.

We set out at 9 o’clock for a bumpy half-hour ride through the town of Valencia and up towards the falls. About 1/2 a Km before the entrance to the falls the road became too rough for our van and it was time to walk. (You could do this trip on a motorbike or 4×4 and make it all the way to the jump off point).

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Posted by: Kelly

Week 5: Life in Dauin

October 7, 2008 - Filed under Weekly Report

It still hasn’t really hit yet that we live here. Despite moving into our own apartment, and both of us starting up with some work again, it still just feels like an extended vacation. I’m sure that will eventually wear off, but for now I’m just trying to enjoy it. Read More…

Posted by: Kelly

Creepy Crawlers

October 2, 2008 - Filed under General

So last week after I updated my Facebook status regarding a bug incident there’s been a fair amount of people asking for more details regarding the critters around us here in the Philippines. And while we’d never want to dissuade anyone from visiting… while in a third world country a person should be prepared to deal with varying types of pesky pest issues.

So, back to the previously mentioned bug incident… I was cooking dinner the other night at the outside stove (some unbelievably tough steaks I believe) and while heading between kitchens for various ingredients, I failed to keep an eye on my can of beer. Cooking completed, we sat down to eat. Then as I finished the last of my beer, I felt the feelers of a fairly large sized cockroach on my lips. Needless to say, I was thoroughly grossed out and sprayed the table with the last swallow of beer. Dumping the roach out of the can, I smashed him good. Incredibly, minutes later when I wondered if the roach had crawled into the can or had been packaged there at the beer plant… I noticed he had managed to crawl a good 2-3 feet from where I had crushed him. I smashed him again, then lit him on fire just to be sure. I can understand why roaches will survive a nuclear blast. They’re near indestructible! Read More…

Posted by: Shim