Philippines | Anilao — Enjoying the Slow Life

Getting around the Philippines is an adventure in and of itself. Largely, it is practically impossible, or else inefficient and extremely time-consuming. Most of the time, it takes four people to move two bags, all of who demand tip after the event, but generally won’t take it from the hands of a woman.

The bus ride to Batangas City was chaotic enough, but trying to flag a jeepney to Anilao was complete mayhem. We ended uppaying 500P (440P more than the actual rate) to get a jeepney there, and then the drivers tried to get even more money out of us by saying it was “too far – 700P, special trip!” We were furious and nearly stormed out of the device, but, after threatening to do so (and offering to pay only the 30P fair to Bauan), we were quickly reassured that it was not too far after all. As we drove, they were clearly bragging to passersby about their naive American passengers. The jeepney finally dropped us in Anilao, and we had to hire a tricycle (a motorbike with an attached sidecar) to take us to our resort. I really don’t know how we fit; it is barely large enough for two small people, let alone a 6’4” man, an average Western woman, and two large packs. In any case, we made it there alive to tell the tale. Being dropped off in the absolute middle of nowhere was something else – we are completely off the grid here.  Not to mention, we were praying for somewhere to take credit cards, as the ATM at Bauan would not even let us take out $12.

Though our resort of choice did not have any openings, we were walked to a place next door, which turned out to be a diving resort catered to Japanese tourists. It is called Sunbeam Marine Sports, and we absolutely loooove it. (Cost: $400 each for 3 day open water certification, rooms, and all meals) Our teacher is named Aki, and his assistant is Leody. Together, they make us laugh, even under water. They are really good people, Aki being Japanese and Leody Filipino. We have stayed here three days now, and experienced many adventures. We wake every morning to the sound of roosters crowing, then walk down the winding stairs overlooking the bay and sit at breakfast, where the nice staff ask us if we are ready to take our food, then laugh and chat with us. The temperature is especially nice, with the right amount of breeze and sun. Most of the staff live on the resort and seem to work long, 13-hour days. It’s beautiful here, pretty much all day and night. The bay is quiet apart from the birds and geckos – it’s blue and open, with boats dotting the ocean, mountains on the horizon, and lots of lush wildlife. It’s been a wonderful place to rest, though I am frankly quite shocked to have made it. Our course has moved rapidly, but we have enjoyed all of it, especially the last dive. Today was met by congratulations from all.

We have been pretty much the only Westerners around, though one man and his wife did show up today. After getting done at noon, we spent the rest of our day lounging on the open deck, drinking mango shakes, reading, and just taking in the scene. Dinner was madness – one of the guests was having a birthday, and therefore roasting an enormous pig for the occasion, which was promptly cut up and sent to each of the tables along with some cake (only after the pig’s head and cake were photographed together). It was delicious. Also, there were many fireworks and Japanese conversations; we even met a man named Yoshi, who is the Japanese version of Mr. Campbell, and very nice. He patted us on the back with surprising strength, and insisted on getting photos with us. He was hilarious, telling us endless stories and saying, “English is Greek to me!” He also taught us to yell “tambaya!” when the fireworks would go off, so we would all yell “tambaya!” in the middle of conversations. Aki and Leody were also there, devouring the pig and smiling as usual. It was a blast, and the most fun we’ve had since since being here. After putting flowers in my hair, the resort’s girls served me some kind of hard liquor version of plum wine, and all was quite merry. Sad to leave tomorrow…

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One Response to “Philippines | Anilao — Enjoying the Slow Life”
  1. Lora says:

    Last week our class held a similar talk about this subject and you show something we haven’t covered yet, appreciate that.

    – Lora

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