Our plans for our first week in the Philippines changed at the last minute so we took a gamble on a beach close enough to Manila that we wouldn’t need a flight and booked it. Two airplanes, a taxi to a bus, a boat and a shuttle ride later and we were in Puerto Galera. We were exhausted. We were dirty and stinky. We were in paradise! It didn’t matter that our home for the next four days was a dirty flamingo-pink shack on the beach. The warm, crystal clear water and lush green mountains had us falling immediately in love with the Philippines.
Michael said he wanted to spend his birthday ON the beach, and that he did! We spent the day at White Sand Beach soaking up the sun, jet skiing and riding the “Flying Fish” around the bay. After many rained out beach excursions, finally we were at a beach and the weather was cooperating.
The following day we spent snorkeling which was a teaser of the diving we hoped would follow. The coral was gorgeous and we saw tons of trumpet fish, puffers and giant clams. We got to “superman” holding a rope while our catamaran pulled us over a colorful coral garden. We finished our day with a stop at a beautiful beach before returning to shore.
I imagine the Philippines is what Hawaii or the Caribbean may have looked like 50 years ago. There are no big boats and no large resorts muddying up the water or carving out the landscape. Everyone gets around on motorbikes or trikes (Philippine tuk-tuks). Almost everywhere you look you’re surrounded by white sand beaches and groves of palm trees.
Life on the island is very simple. Most people live with very little. They live a slow and relaxed pace and celebrate family over “things”. I wish we could have stayed there longer but we needed to get back to the city for a few days of catching up on have-tos before we continued island hopping. Now we’re crossing our fingers the weather will hold out for us because we’ve got island fever and we’ve got it bad!