Kuta to Lovina

The drive from Kuta to Lovina was quite a nice trip, outside of the debacle of negotiating with the local taxi drivers. Once I was finally on the road we drove through a maze of local villages which exhibited pristine local culture, mini houses and shops were sandwiched between the rice patties and Hindu temples for as far as the eye could see.

Villages just north of Kuta
View from where I stopped for a beer

Panglao Island

Compared to Boracay, Pangloa island has been much less transformed by tourism. Although it's still absolutely a tourist location, it's a bit grittier and there's still evidence of the local culture all around. At night time it gets dark enough here that you can look up and spot the dense band of starts which forms the milky way, something I forgot existed after living in Beijing for a year.

Diving boat?
Some goats south of the main beach

Tagbilaran and Bohol

Dotted with historical landmarks, Tagbilaran seems rustic and culturally rich. My hike down to the Peir revealed a view looking back at the town which resembled a Picasso painting. After the sun went down I eventually found myself at a park in the town center, where the local Tagbilaranians were gathered to enjoy a barbecue with a live band playing. While the adults drank and ate, their children hopped around on a miniature scale version of the chocolate hills in the center of the park.

View from the pier
Mini Chocolate Hills

Snek Spotting @ Boracay

After a whole day spent mostly arguing with Cebu Airlines and Citibank, I realized I'd be spending an extra day on Boracay. My extra day was cloudy as another tropical depression was working its way over the area, but I figure Id make the most of it by walking north along the beach until I found something new.

Pathway along cliffside

North Beach @ Boracay

On my second day I decided to cross over to the north east side of the island. After about a 20 minute walk passing through the center road I hit the north beach. On this side of the island the main business is diving, which can thrive if the wind direction causes the other-side of the island to become to choppy. Other then that I noticed lots of locals, some fixing up boats, some walking the beach and others playing around doing back-flips in the sand. I eventually found a restaurant which I stopped into for a tuna belly dinner. I enjoyed a glass of wine here as I ate my dinner, and after the amount of mosquito attention I attracted I'd say the mosquitoes enjoy alcoholic blood.

Boat repair shop

First Thoughts On Boracay

Landing at Caticlan Airport you realize quickly that you're on a tourist conveyor belt until you get to Boracay. On the way to the island you'll pay tricycle fees, boat fees, port fees and environmental fee for using the port; people will offer to help you find a hotel also, I'm sure this comes with a fee also but I opted to find my own. After the boat ride a second tricycle ride runs you up the center of the island and eventually to your destination, in my case this was Boat Station 2.

My initial thought about Boracay after moseying about my first day is that it's an extreme tourist trap, however a pleasant one. Just like Phan Thiet and Lung Prabang, as soon as you enter the city you're enveloped in a micro-economic cloud of tourism.  The main difference here is that you're on a island, so options become limited and prices are driven higher.

Aside from the touristy aspect of the island, my initial impression is that this is one of the more beautiful beach destinations I've been to. This is the rainy season here in the Philippines, however even when it started raining tonight, the beach still looked pretty spectacular in its clouded over state. I cant say the same for places like Nha Trang.