Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Dumaguete to Siquijor

In which we cadge a ride to a plush resort and Abby discovers that it’s all going to be ok because she’s still in the calendar
Starring Elvis who rows the yacht and a parrot called Macky.

Backpacking is obviously a great deal of fun and there’s nothing like a round of bedbugs to remind you what an adventure you’re having, but when a good excuse comes round to treat yourself to some proper luxury (towels! and a hot shower) it is to grasped.  So thanks Abby who conveniently turned 30, agreed to come all the way out to the Philippines to celebrate and brought friends - thus justifying the expense of two nights in an exclusive luxury resort.

From Dumageute we got another of the rock-and-roll ferries (do not watch this if you get seasick:    ) across to Siquijor, one of the smaller Philippine islands, with a magical reputation.  It became known for its witchcraft and apparent healing powers in 17th century after ill Spanish sailors dumped here to die made surprise recoveries.  And what’s more, thanks to the swarms of fire flies, it gave off an eerie glow that could be seen for miles across the dark ocean.   To be honest though, we really didn’t see much of it because our resort had a swim up bar and the most delicious frozen mojitos we have sampled (so far). 

At the ferry port we were just trying to sort out some sort of ride when we spotted a van with our resort name on it.   The driver was waiting down at the terminal with a huge welcome sign and two Swiss tourists lumbered up to him trundling their enormous pull alongs.  We told him we’d be coming along and got into the van.  The Swiss gave us filthy looks – especially after we asked them if they were Russian. 

Now admittedly it does not take much to impress two backpackers who have been living in £4 a night rooms with toilets that require flushing with a bucket, but the resort was gorgeous.  It was spread out between palm trees on a long stretch of beach and even though they said they were fully booked, it hardly felt like it.  We had our welcoming drink in the foyer (where a parrot called Macky strode up along a branch squawking in protest at the interruption to his peaceful afternoon) before being walked around for a little tour.   There were two restaurants, two pools, a dive centre, at least three or four bars and a fisherman’s village.  “This,” said our guide, waving an arm with a sweeping flourish, “is the mini-Olympic pool.” 

After Jade and Chris arrived we did some bar hoping and then settled in for dinner on the beach. The food was excellent. The wine was better.  There was a late night raid on the mini-bar and an underwater photoshoot in the pool after midnight. 

The next morning we informed our waiter at breakfast that it was Abby’s birthday.  “How old?” he immediately wanted to know.  “Well,” he said, “that’s fine because you’re still in the calendar.”  Seeing our confused faces he then went on to explain what he meant which was basically that because months can have up to 31 days in them, if you are still under 31, then that’s ok.  Comprehensible but perhaps not entirely logical. 

The main activity we did here was lounging. There were some very nice loungers beside the pool, hammocks between the trees and a large, empty beach, all of which required some testing out.  In the afternoon after we had a birthday lunch (complete with melted cupcakes that I had carried all the way from Dumaguete and were slightly worse for wear as a result) we hired a hoby cat to go for a sail along the bay.  There wasn’t a great deal of wind when we set off and admittedly I know very little about sailing but when we started getting blown back onto the dive launch we all began to question the competency of our captain – Elvis.  Someone rushed into the water from the beach and adjusted the sail and Elvis rocked the rudder back and forth to effectively row us off the beach.    We tacked up and down along the shore before heading back to catch the sunset with a beer on the beach.

1 comment:

  1. Love the underwater photo - still looking remarkably sober!