“Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in.” Michael Corleone, Godfather III.
That meant that the first week of our upcoming three week vacation was set. The last week would be spent in Alcoy, Cebu, Janet’s wonderful home town on the beach.
This left six days in between. While nothing had been booked we had a tentative plan. OK, truth be told – I had a tentative plan; a few days on the West side of Cebu, checking out Moalboal and the falls at Badian, and then taking the bus south to the tip of Cebu and crossing into Negros and heading for Dumaguete. A day on Apo Island, across from Dumaguete was a strong possibility. Then cross back into Cebu again, heading north about an hour to Alcoy. Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together!
Now, it just so happens that my good friend and mentor, Pete, had taken his lovely Filipina wife, Cathy, to Thailand for a much needed vacation. For days we got to see the great pictures on FB of their trip to Bangkok and Phuket. Janet and I spent a week in Thailand a couple years ago and had a good time – although I always thought I had a bit better time than Janet did.
For one thing Janet struggled with the Thai food, which is much spicier than anything in the Philippines. But her biggest issue was that virtually every Thai person we met took one look at Janet and assumed she was Thai. They immediately began speaking Thai to her – I mean every single person – for a week! She looked like a deer in the headlights. I’d have to come in and say, “She’s not Thai. She’s Filipina,” which would create a surprised response, each one claiming how much Janet looked like she was Thai. Frankly, some looked at us as if they thought I was lying.
So, I was a bit surprised when she suddenly said, “We have six days. Maybe we should go to Bangkok.” It took me a pained minute to change the focus of my brain, but I quickly adjusted. Over dinner I began looking at flight schedules. After all, she reasoned, we would be in the Cebu airport in the early morning after returning from Camiguin; we might as well stay there and go somewhere else. I checked flights for Thailand, Vietnam (where I spent a wonderful week several years ago, before meeting Janet), Bali, Singapore, Hong Kong. I even checked out what it would take to get to Beijing, a place I have always wanted to visit.
In each case there were layovers that meant that we wouldn’t arrive at a destination until early the next day. While I was excited about the possibility of taking Janet to another country, I was not excited about spending a day in another airport. The six days would essentially end up becoming four.
I went to the website of my favorite Philippines airline, Cebu Pacific, the airline with bright orange planes, cute orange flight attendants, and a slow as Philippines molasses website. I began just typing in the destinations listed on the website for any destination that might coordinate with our schedule.
And then, just for fun, I checked out flights to Boracay. Now remember, just a couple weeks before, wise Janet had rejected Bora because of it’s $500+ airfare for the two of us. But here I plugged in my dates, just a week later than what I had looked at before, and to my surprise discovered that the flights were $200 less. For me it was just an intellectual exercise; a curiosity. I mentioned it to Janet.
Well you guessed it. “Let’s go to Boracay!” she declared.
“But you just said two weeks ago that you didn’t want to go. That after all it was only a beach with snorkeling and island hopping on a crowded touristy island.”
“But it’s much cheaper now.” Of course cheaper is relative. The flight’s cheaper than Thailand, cheaper than Vietnam and all the other countries. And $200 cheaper than it was for the previous week. Suddenly, Boracay was a steal!
I am nothing if not a devoted husband, determined to keep his wife happy. I booked the flight and booked the Island Jewel hotel, the hotel I had stayed at once before, as I detailed in our last episode. We will spend four days in Boracay, leaving two days left for a quick stop in Moalboal and Badian before our return to Alcoy.
The saying goes, “Happy wife – happy life.” Well I’m happy too. The GoPro ought to get a pretty good workout!
Addendum: I will be doing some video blogs of the trip, so get ready to see the real Philippines; or at least the real PI from my warped perspective.