Boracay Bound

Both the doorman and my taxi driver seem especially concerned to which airport terminal I’m going to. I don’t know. My itinerary doesn’t say. How much can it matter?

Taxi pulls up to the airport. Driver asks, “Okay?” The meter says 187, I say “okay,” pay the fare and get out. He drives away. The security guard on the curb asks me where I’m going. Boracay. He says I have to go to Terminal 4. I ask which way. He says take a taxi.

Great. I guess it mattered.

Another taxi and off we go to terminal 4. The meter is off but I am already captive. The driver says, “You pay 200 okay?”

Hmm, it was less than 200 to come from the city to the airport, but this guy wants 200 just to go from one terminal to another? I laugh. “How about 60?” (About $1.20 US).

He comes back with “100?” And crisis averted for two dollars. At this point the haggling isn’t about money, its just to prove I’m not an idiot.

Security begins at the curb. You need a ticket and ID just to walk inside the airport. Question: Is that racist?

Answer: No.

I remember the good old days when my parents used to take me to the airport just for fun, we’d walk all the way to the gates and watch the planes take off. No security checks, no nothing.

I’m flying my favorite airline, Air Asia. Oh its nothing fancy, Asia’s version of Southwest, but they have hands down the cutest flight attendants and best uniforms. Scarlet red mini skirts and matching short jackets. I think they might have regulation lipstick too.

Obviously there is some sort of patriarchal sexist hiring policy in effect, and if that is so then all I can say is, “Hooray for the patriarchy.”

I pre-ordered a sandwich on this flight and learn over the speaker that it has been prepared in accordance with Hallal. Not exactly sure what that is, I mean, I know its a muslim practice, but at what? They say a prayer before they butcher the chicken I guess? Didn’t make it taste any better I can tell you that much.

Unfortunately the plane was not blown off course and forced to land on an uninhabited island. We arrive safely at Kalibo. I could have sworn I read that you can walk from the airport to the ferry terminal, but there is no ocean in sight. Just a long line of people selling taxi rides to the ferry.

Okay, how much?

The fastest way is by taxi and outrigger boat For 1000 pesos ($20 USD.) I’ve heard enough. Speed it is…
She puts a sticker on my shirt and says someone will find me outside. He does, and starts asking about how much I paid and for what. Answer is nothing yet and boat included.

Kalibo rush hour is mostly kids on scooters and sidecars. I kind of like the place: tin roof shacks, wannabe mansions, and a kid walking a goat. Not a tourist in sight.

Wouldn’t mind hanging out here for awhile, but a sign says “Caticlan 80km.” That’s about 50 miles for you miley people, and the above ground cemeteries are kind of creepy, so we better keep going.

Its dark when we get to the port. An hour and a half drive. I believe an airport at Caticlan would do well. (I learned later that there IS an airport at Caticlan, thats the one you can walk to the port from… doh!)

Three tickets needed: Boat, terminal, environment. Boat is obvious. Terminal? Yep, someone had to build it. But who gets the environment money? Al Gore? Two more registrations, one for tourism ministry the other for coast guard. Lot of rigmarole for a boat ride.

Boat is a deisel powered outrigger. Locals in lifejackets. I wonder if they know something I don’t? Or maybe just non-swimmers?

Off the dock and start to walk. Hire a motorcycle sidecar to take me to my hotel. He says 120 and I agree, but make sure he has change before we go. He gives me a thick wad of 20s.

Drives like a maniac through this one road island, but alert and adapting, not reckless. I hold on. There is a lot going on along the road, highly developed, if on a low budget scale. No big name hotels, mega resorts, or cruise liners, but every bit of land put to use, local style.

Sidecar pilot drops me off at a random alley, not wide enough for a car, and points me thataway. I walk. No sign of a sign for my hotel. I arrive at the beach. Its like a carnival with fire jugglers, cafes, and crowds, but not my hotel.

Hmmm. I ask at another hotel but they’ve never heard of mine. Uh-oh. I pull up my email to check the reservation and… I somehow deleted it. Great, just great. Smart phones seem to lose a lot of IQ points bouncing around in a pocket. I drag my bag down the beach – note to self: luggage rollers don’t work very well on sand – and eventually find it.

So I’m here, at Boracay. The “cay” is pronounced more like “guy” by the way. Why Boracay? It seems to pop up on a lot of ‘Most Beautiful Beach’ lists, and I hadn’t taken any photos for awhile, so I thought I’d give it a shot. A friend of mine told me I might find it boring, and I suspect he might be right. Tomorrow will tell…

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