Camiguin and I Win Big Time!

It’s about two months till we return to the Philippines. As excited as Janet is to see her family and home, I may be even more excited! I really like the place and can’t wait for some serious heat and humidity. I’m ready to tear my coat off, throw on some sandals, shorts and shades and soak in what’s become my second home.

Our vacation will entail three weeks in the Philippines. The last week is easy. We’ll spend it in Alcoy, Cebu, Janet’s hometown, with her family. I am looking forward to seeingĀ them again and looking forward to seeing Alcoy again – it’s a beautiful spot. And it makes Janet happy to be there and I will get the credit – so there’s that, as well.

But what to do for the two weeks before then? We had been considering many options and had in fact asked all of you for opinions. Thanks to those who weighed in. Finally, one recent evening I suggesting to Janet that we needed to pry ourselves away from Facebook long enough to make a decision.

It wasn’t long into the discussion before Boracay came up. Now in some ways this would be a natural vacation consideration. Boracay is, after all, the best known and most popular tourist destination in the Philippines. Many lists include it among the best beaches in the world. For many Filipinos/as Boracay is a dream destination, since by Philippines standards it’s expensive and most Filipinas never get to go, unless they’re attached to a rich kano šŸ™‚

But for Janet and I the name Boracay holds a bit more weight. You see, I’ve been to Boracay before, prior to meeting, falling in love with and marrying Janet. And most significantly, I was in Boracay with another girl.

But for Janet and I the name Boracay holds a bit more weight. You see, I’ve been to Boracay before, prior to meeting, falling in love with and marrying Janet. And most significantly, I was in Boracay with another girl.

So for us it’s not even an issue of what a nice white sand beach Bora has (it does)Ā or whether it’s overcrowded with Chinese and Korean tourists (it is). The issue is “you took ‘her’ to Boracay.” This remark comes up perhaps every couple months and invariably I say, “I am happy to take you there if you’d like. We can go on our next visit.”

Now between you and me, here’s my honest appraisal of Boracay. The white beach is beautiful but it’s mobbed. It’s like Atlantic City when I was a kid. Bora is exciting and island hopping is fun. But I’m too damn old to need so much excitement and guys will ask youĀ “Island hopping, Sir?” at least 10 times an hour as you walk the beach or boardwalk, until you wish they’d island hop themselves off the island or at least out of your way.

All this said, I liked Boracay, and would be happy to take Janet, but it’s not the be all and end all. It’s a fun place to go if you’re a tourist looking for fun and sun, but if you want to see the real Philippines – Boracay ain’t it.

As far as the notion that it’s expensive, it’s really not that bad. Decent hotels can be had for as low as $50/night (I’ll get to that soon)Ā and you can eat dinner on the beach for under $10. Drinking and partying yourself silly every night might be another matter, but I’m not much of a drinker.

What is expensive about Boracay – is getting there. Cebu Pacific, my local favorite airline, has many flights a day from Cebu to Bora. They have an interesting way to market your trip. The flight to Bora is cheap, but getting off the island and back to Cebu is expensive!

Anyway, Janet and I had broken away from Facebook long enough to talk and decide to spend some time in Bora. I pulled up Agoda’s website (my fave hotel site) and we looked at many hotels. Janet’s only criteria was, “I don’t want to stay where you took her!” I readily agreed.

We did what we have done many times before; looked at prices and hotel reviews. Sometimes the price was right but the reviews sucked and other times it was the other way around. We are middle of the road travelers. Unlike our good friend, Jim, who declares as a badge of honor, “Life is too short to stay in a cheap hotel,” our motto is “Money is too tight to piss it away on a space we’re not going to spend time in.” So we want a nice bed, reasonable amenities, and aircon (April is summertime in the Philippines). And if breakfast is included that’s a big plus.

After looking at about a dozen hotels, Janet spotted one that was cheap and had a great Agoda review score.

“Let’s look at that one,” she said.

“Hmm. Maybe not, baby,” I quietly responded. “That’s the one I went to before.”

“It’s OK. Show me.”

Now, this is my worst nightmare come true. But I did as I wasĀ told and showed her the pics of the hotel and the reviews which are uniformly good. Most importantly, at $51/night with breakfast included, by Bora standards, the place is a steal. Plus it’s located at Station 3, which if you’ve every been to Bora, is away from the heart of the party madness.

Well, you guessed it. Janet liked the place and said, “Let’s stay there. Just not the same room,” she added giggling. IĀ rolled my eyes, imagined the upcoming potentialĀ OA moments (OA means “over acting” for those not married to a Filipina) and agreed. “Book it now,” she said.

“No no. First I have to make sure we can get the flights, then I’llĀ book the hotel.”

So I left Agoda behind and proceeded to Cebu Pacific’s website. As I mentioned before, I like Cebu Pacific. I like their cheap fares,Ā number of flights, cute orange planes, and cuter orange clad Flight Attendants. I love the games they play onboard; I even won once. But their website – that’s all Philippines. It’s convoluted and incredibly slow. The fare starts out very cheap, but as you click each page more charges are added; taxes, baggage charges, seat assignment charges, etc.

But this night was as slow as I’d ever seen the website work. Each click took about 5 minutes to get to the next page and with each page the price grew. Now I had explained many times toĀ Janet that the airfare to Bora was expensive but hereĀ she was seeing it – and seeing it in slow motion. As minutes would go by between page refreshes she would exclaim, “OMG that’s expensive.”

“It’s OK ,” I’d respond.Ā “We want to go. We’ll have a great time.”

Finally after 20 minutes staring at the Cebu Pacific site as itĀ moved in Filipino time, it became clear to Janet (I already knew) that the airfare from Cebu to Boracay for two would top $500. She announced, “It’s too expensive. I don’t want to go.”

“It’s OK, baby. We can afford it.” But I could see her mind at work. I could tell she was thinking about what we could do with $500. Actually I figured she was thinking about all the clothes she could buy at Ayala Mall for $500!

“I don’t want to go there,” she announced.

“Are you sure,” I asked her several times. She was more adamant each time.

And that’s how we decided to spend five days in Camiguin. Total round trip airfare from Cebu to Camiguin for two = $160.

And if you don’t think that Camiguin is a total winner, check out this video. I already know I’m a total winner!

http://vimeo.com/110138549

 

 

6 thoughts on “Camiguin and I Win Big Time!”

  1. Sounds like a nice destination, Dave. I still think Bora is a place that Janet should experience at least once. And, she should stay at the Boracay Regency, one of the more expensive hotels on the beach! šŸ˜‰

    1. I stayed in Bora at the Island Jewel – simple, but nice. Close to the beach but not right on it. Station 3. And of course the price was right!

  2. Personally Dave, I think you made a wise choice. If I were a young man and in a “party animal” mode, then Boracay would probably fit the bill. But when you have chosen to live in the Philippines for a slower more relaxed pace of life like us, or come for a visit just to unwind, then I can think of many other less crowded and white sandy beaches to choose from, without all the expensive fanfare. And amenities…who needs them? ….except maybe for your friend Jim! šŸ˜‰

    1. So far Randy (and maybe I am just a PI addict) I have yet to visit a place I didn’t like. Of course some are better than others but I agree that Camiguin is more to my tastes than Boracay was. I like snorkeling and exploring, wouldn’t mind checking out a volcano or two. If you look at the video there is a shot of a guy rappelling down a waterfall. I am threatening Janet that I want to do the same – don’t think she’s gonna let me šŸ™‚

  3. Heads up, there’s a local campaign to keep the name of the island as Boracay and not “Bora”. Use of the slang term (coined by the party brats and posers from Manila) tends to make people cringe. šŸ˜‰

    1. I love abbreviations and slang and use it widely. But I will respect that you say people don’t like Bora. Thanks for reading.

      BTW, if you prefer calling me David instead of Dave – then I will cringe!

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