miércoles, 10 de diciembre de 2008

2008-10-11-Potipot

The smallest island ever!! At least the smallest i have been so far, but i guess it wont be the only one in a country with more then 7000 islands.


Potipot from the boat

Potipot Island is located roughly 1 km from the mainland shore of Uacon, Candelaria, Zambales. Uacon is about 240+km from Manila by road.

As usual Filipinos make business out of anything, is very common to charge money when you go to certain islands or beaches.

We thought it was a joke.

We spent 2 days and brought tents to sleep in the island, we also brought some food and drinks.

Dave couldnt stop his addiction to Alcohol.

For you to have an idea about the dimensions of the island, you can turn around the island in 10-15 min. There is not much to do but relax, swim and get tun.

We tried to help Dave bringing some soft drinks to the shore.

In this tinny island you forget about time, polution, stress and civilitation. only a cell phone is needed to text the resort and ask for a boat to bring you back to the other shore.

The other shore.

Although is a very small place, is possible to find cool areas like this:

Potitpo east side.

Great frame for some pics.

The shore was full of little crabs, really cute and funny running over the sand, i loved them till the night came down and we were sleeping on the shore. You may think, woowwowow, lost in a little island, under the stars, with the relaxing sound of the sea and feeling the thin white sand... uhmmm beautiful.

I was thinking the same when i started to feel 
moskitos and crabs biting me!! Death to all !!

Anecdote from the trip:

Nicola stepped on Rambo and she claimed:
"eeeeeeeeew that rat thing! i would do it all over again if i had to!"

Poor Rambo, in fact RambA.

Our trip could be summarized with the activity we practiced 70% of the time:

Tumboning!! 

It is a perfect destination if you wanna disconnect from the crazyness of the city. The guys were feeling sad because we were leaving.

Come on dont be sad !!, we will be back next year!! 

Next trip Bohol,
Smile please :).


domingo, 23 de noviembre de 2008

2008-9-26-Boracay

Next stop in my journey across Philippines was the most famous and touristic spot in here, the island of BORACAY!! The name already sounds exotic as Bali, Tahiti or Fiji could sound. Is not only a nice and beautiful island where you can relax, but is also a party reference for holidays.  

As you might guess, since Philippines is a country composed of more then 7000 islands the fastest and more convenient way to travel is the plane, is pretty cheap and the schedule time is very well thought so that people could travel early in the morning and come back late in the evening. Our flight was at 5AM Friday, we were tired but with a smile thinking about the beach and the sun. 

Candie and Girlie

The weather forecast was not very optimistic, they said it would rain and it would be cloudy but when we arrived a rainbow was giving us the welcome to paradise!! 

Welcome to Boracay!!

Boracay is basically one long white beach divided by stations(1,2,3 being 1 the most expensive one). You can find really fancy resorts and very rustic ones, there is a good offer for all the pockets.  As you can see below in the map there are different areas but the most popular places are station 1,2,3.

 Bora Bora Boracay!! 

Station 2 Luxurious resort 

Zone 2 our resort. It costed about 4 euros per night with aircon and hammock.  

 That's life!!

The beach in Boracay is simply beautiful, it was my first time in a white beach and it was amazing to be able to be in this island considered as one of the most beautiful islands in the world.  

Where is my coco nut? 

Ohhh there it is!! 

I tried for the first time snorkling and although it is not the best place to practice it, I was amazed by the different kind of  fishes we could see just below us.

Snorkling was definitely fun!

Say "PA-TA-TA" !!

After all the activities during the day we went to what in Philippines they call Dampa or Palenque. Is actually a fish market with fresh seafood, you can buy very cheap fresh seafood and bring it to any of the nearby bars, they will cook it for you.

We are staaaarving, bring the food!!

A few days ago Jehan introduced me to one of his friends, he lives most of his time in Boracay and he promotes the island, he is also a musician and made a song called BORA BORA BORACAY, very famous in Philippines. With this song i leave you till the next adventure.

Smile please :)

lunes, 17 de noviembre de 2008

2008-08-10- Wakeboarding

After the success of the surfing trip, the next stage was trying to learn wakeboarding. This time was only, Jehan, Michele, Kathy and me. All of them tried before and could do it, but would i be able to wakeboard?

This time we drove around 2 hours to go to Taal lake in Tagaytay

In the middle of the lake is the Volcano

 Again the price was standard, 55 euros for 2 days, including food, acomodation for one night, boat and 1 hour of wakeboarding each day with the rental for the equipment. 

Our resort was on the shore of the lake as you can see from the picture below.

When it comes to wakeboarding the boat is very very important because is wat will pull you and make the waves that wake boarders use to jump and do all the tricks, our boat was the best in the Philippines, it can create huge waves that are perfect for jumping and making the tricks.

Getting into the boat!!


Wakeboarding time!!! 

Kathy 

What  you see at the background is the Taal Volcano, is a volcano in the middle of the lake, apparently you can go on top of it and there are some warm springs where you can have a relaxing bath. I havent tried that yet though.

Dani and Michele 

Dani is a Kathy and Michele´s friend and he is from Barcelona, he owns a spanish restaurant in Manila. 

And here I am, giving my best!!

Go Isma !!

After all the practice i just woke up once and sank straight away, definitely is not my sport.

Since i suck in wakeboarding my attitude next day was the best i could have.

Lay down and enjoy the show from the pros !!

Dani in action!! Using the big wave from the boat 

...And why not, take some pics from kathy, Michele and Jehan.

 Michele and Kathy

 Jehan aka ¨Manila Party and trips reference!!¨

Sunset was beautiful at the end of the day. 

It was two great days on the lake with quite good weather, it only rain a couple of hours the second day, and i found out that if i wanna learn any water sport, wakeboarding is definitely not a good choice for me.

Smile please!!

domingo, 9 de noviembre de 2008

2008-08-03- Surf Trip in La Union

I am finally back to business and found some time to write in the blog, i have been traveling around and visiting different places in and out Philippines.

This was my very first trip since I arrived to stay here for the next 6 months. I went with Oriol and other people we met to San Juan (La Union), the trip was organized by Jehan.

It was a 2 days trip with over night in a house on the beach, all the trip costed around 55€ including car, driver, acomodation, food and drinks, one hour of surf lessons and eco-tour trail with guides and transportation.

The ride was about 5 hours with a van, 8 people, Thomas and Patricia(France), Russel (Scotland), Jehan, Rose and Laxmi (Philippines), Oriol and me.

 The Trip crew!! 

We arrived early in the morning, we had a quick nap and we started hour surf lectures J.

Time to practice the basics!!

And there i go!! Balance Balance !!

 My instructor the best !! 

At night we had some drinks and food with the surf instructors. Some people had more fun then others and got really wasted hehehe.


It was Laxmi's Bday too :)
 An improvised cake and candle for my Bday!!

Next day was the eco-tour, it consisted in a trail in the mountain across the forest and the rice terraces till we reached the waterfalls.

For the hike we were supposed to where our hiking boots but everyone forgot them on the beach and we did it with flip flops or bare foot directly, at times it was hard but it was a complete experience walking on the mud.

 Ready for hiking? Where are the boots? xD

 Views where simple beautiful.

Sometimes there was no trail at all.

Some parts of the river where really slippery and it was dangerous, you could fall and hit your head with a rock.

Small break before doing the last part till the waterfalls.


 And there we are !!! 

We were soooo happy when we saw the waterfalls that we forgot it was still left all the way back. While coming back it started to rain really heavy but it was very nice to do all the way back under rain. The temperature was around 30 degrees and the rain was refreshing.

More to come soon... meanwhile smile please !!

martes, 26 de agosto de 2008

Product and services price list !

This a some interesting figures for you to have an idea of how cheap life can be here for European people:

(All prices are in euros)

1-Real estate:

  • Buy: example, 90 square meters in a good area of Manila, the capital will cost around 30000€ with building swimmingpool and aircon in the flat.
  • Rent:Studio from 25€ (no air con not furnished) to 300€ (fully furnished, gym, swimming pool and air con)
2-Food:
  • Restaurant: from 1.5€ to 9-12€(in a very expensive bar)
  • Hyper market:Milk products are quite expensive, like Cheese (100 gr 4€), Chorizo and stuff like that is difficult to find and really expensive, i paid 8€ for 6 chorizos from Spain.
  • Fruits imported are expensive, 6 apples 2.5€.
  • Seafood is CHEAP!! you can buy alive seafood in a place and go straight to the bar where they will cook it and spend 4-5€.
3-Alcohol-Tobacco:
  • Imported alcohol is expensive as in Europe i would say but the local one: Tanduay Ruhm 8 years 1.2€ 1 litter. San Miguel beer: 1€ 6 bottles.
  • Marlboro 1€
4-Clothes: As in Europe the fake clothes are found here.
  • Lacoste polo 5-6€
  • fake shoes Nike, vans, Adidas, etc... 10-15€
  • Basketball clothes: 5€ pants and 5€ T-shirt
5-Services:

  • Massage: 1 hour 5€
  • Taxi: The longest distance inside metro-Manila 5€
  • Haircut: 2€

If you are curious about any particular thing that you would like to know the price let me know :)

Smile please !!

Traffic jam as way of life !!

In big cities is where the proximity to our work becomes crucial and even more in Manila where the public transport is close to NULL, only 2 "metro lines" ( a train that goes over the road), for a Metropolis of 11,553,427 million people where the most popular way of transport is the jeepney.


Jeepney

They are manufactured in The Philippines and they start being totally grey, the colour of the metal and their owners start pimping their Jeepneys getting results like this:


Pimped Jeepney !

Other way of transports:

Bike

Pimped Tricycle

And of course the Taxi, is what i usually take cause is not expensive for foreigners and you dont have to wait for schedules(they dont know what is schedule in Philippines xD ).

video

This is a global picture of the transport situation in Manila

video

Experiencing the Traffic jam

As you can see from the videos, the transport in Manila is a chaos and the lack of traffic lights and signs does not help at all. Fortunately i found a nice place to stay close to the office, about 5-10 min without traffic and till 20 if there is traffic.

Next post full of product and services price !!

Smile please :)

jueves, 21 de agosto de 2008

More Malate lifestyle

Magandang hapon! (good afternoon), I will talk a little bit more about Malate, my favorite area in Manila for many reasons:
  1. Is located in the center of Manila city.
  2. Is where Intramuros is (small city sorrounded by walls that belong to the Spanish period)
  3. Nightlife full of bars with life music.
  4. Represents the real Manila, as i said in my previous post.
  5. Is where I found the cheapest but nice Spa. (600 php = 9 euros for 2 hours body massage)
Coming back to night life in Malate, the first time there it was a full experience. First speaking with the taxi driver, he warned me about that place. There are pick pockets, people that try to exchange you money in the street using fake money, hypnotic people (it doesnt matter wether you believe in this or not) i experienced a man tried to do that with me but i didnt stare at his eyes, didnt want to proof if it was real or not.

Last Thursday Oriol took a video from the streets in Malate, it was not that busy at that time so you will not get the real feeling as when you walk there and the kids come to you grabbing your hand and asking for money, people try to convince you to go to a place where you can get a chic easily, etc ...


video
Malate Streets Day

video
Malate Streets Night

As you see in the video from malate at night, it is impressive the big amount of kids everywhere. Philippines families have around 4 or 5 kids average, i met people with 8 or 9 kids.

In Malate is also where Oriol works at the Instituto Cervantes, the institution that promotes the Spanish culture and language across the world and i would like to show you another video where Oriol shows his work place.

video
Instituto Cervantes

As i previously mentioned, Malate is a place that will not leave you indifferent if you pass by or hang out there. My first 10 min in Malate was a big shock, i was with some other friends on the street, children coming to us begging for money, 2 or 3 guys coming to us with big sticks and beside me a man with snakes in his hands trying to selling them to me :D. But it was more impressive to see that the guys with the sticks were not coming for us but for the kids, they were hitting the ground with them to make the children run away and stop disturbing us. This is Malate and this is Phillippines, a place were everything works somehow and nobody tries to change it.

Next episode... Traffic jams in Manila and products price list !!

Smile please :)



miércoles, 20 de agosto de 2008

Malate vs Makati

Today i would like to speak about the ''2'' realities in Manila. In Manila you can find 2 different scenarios, as an example of the first one is Makati City (Business center), Here you can find clean streets, high buildings, well dressed people, good bars, restaurants, shops, everything reminds me to European countries.

Makati City @ night

But this is not the reality, In Manila the 42 % of the population lives under the poverty threshold, as and example is Malate, an area in Manila City (See map of Metro-Manila). In Malate is where I found the biggest contrast, on one side you have a big Mall, lot of people shopping, eating, having a drink...etc, as soon as you get out of the mall and cross the street you can find people begging for money, and what is worst, not only homeless people but homeless families, all of them sleeping in the street, garbage everywhere, kids coming to you and grabbing your t-shirt in order to atract your attention and ask you for a few coins.

Malate streets
Beside all this, Malate is one of the best places to go out, is full of bars with live music and lot of people hang out there among all that sad scenario.

video

Live music Bed Rock Malate

The first time I went out there it was with Oriol and some spanish people we met, it was a great night and we had a lot of fun, Oriol and I experimented how things work in the night life regarding girls hehehe. If you are a foreigner you will be sorrounded by girls trying to dance with you, they will just dance. You dont have to try to do anything (In public Phillippine people doesnt do anything even if they have a gf), later they will come to you, give you her cellphone number and then is when the game starts.

Potorrismo Filipino

I will ilustrate this with Oriol's experience hehehee (I already asked for permission for this). He met a girl in the bar, he almost did not speak to her, they just danced, she gave him her phone number, after 2 days they met for dinner. ATTENTION !!! The very first moment they met in the street she took his hand as if they were a couple, they went to a restaurant and she was playing the whole time under the table, she even feed him and after that they went to Oriol's hostel. I will not give more details, just a picture of the girl.

Oriol's "friend"

The story does not end here, next date he was supposed to have, the girld text him (everything here works with sms), and wrote : "If we meet today you will buy me boots ?" :|, after this Oriol didnt reply and it was clear he was not going to play that game.

This is also the the sad part here, many girls would come to foreigners because of the money and is simple to see old people (45-50) not specially good looking, with beautiful young girls (20-25) . So, it is a matter of principals if you decide to play or not that game.

More stories to come, stay tuned and smile please :).