Friday, February 15, 2013

Siquijor, Philippines (or simply wow!)

Does anyone still wonder why I loved it here?  That roof on the top-left side of the picture .... that's our bungalow.  That water to my right ... the ocean.  Everything in between .... perfect!

In my last update I tried to show some of the ups and downs of traveling.  It isn't fair to only remember the best parts.  You've got to accept that there will probably be terrible parts of even the best trips.  And speaking of best trips, we've now made it to the good part.  The part about why this was one of my best trips ever.

The first and biggest reason this was one of the best trips I've ever taken was Vicky.  Having someone I love there with me to share the experience improved everything.  Add to that that this was our first big vacation together and it becomes extra special.

Enjoying the evening

The second reason it was one of the best trips I've ever taken was the resort we stayed at.  If I was a little older and had the money to open my own tropical paradise resort, this is exactly the kind of place i'd open.  It was nice without being ostentatious, well maintained, full of beautiful plants and loaded with atmosphere.  This clearly wasn't a strictly commercial venture.  This was a resort made by someone who loved traveling and set out to create a place that they'd want to stay in.

Our beachfront

Part of the Coral Cay Resort's restaurant

We met the owner, an ex-Army American with a Philippino wife who'd dreamed of opening his own place since he was 10.  Both are hardworking, friendly and seemed determined to make the best possible place to go and relax.  They succeeded.

When you throw in nearly perfect weather, a bungalow literally on the beach (with a new hammock right in front of our door that they installed a month before we arrived no less!) and very cheap prices, the situation becomes almost impossibly wonderful.  When a few mosquito bites are the worst complaint you have for most of the week, it's a GOOD week.

Day 1, Sunday
Our first day there was spent just taking it all in and trying to stay awake.  We were tired but we wanted to go to bed around 9pm so we could be up at 7am and not waste these gorgeous days.  Some good food, a little swimming, a lot of picture taking and a beautiful sunset helped us accomplish this goal.  Thank you Lord moments = 3.

Day 2, Monday
This day was for exploration.  We neglected to bring sunscreen, figuring we could buy it nearby for cheap.  Turns out we needed to go to the main town on the island to pick some up and do a little shopping.  Sunscreen of course is important to me and an absolute requirement for my beautifully fair-skinned (read: vampire) girlfriend to even consider going out in the sun.

So we caught a tricycle into town, found some sunscreen and picked up a pair of t-shirts and some sunglasses for Vicky (also a necessity).  Dinner was spent at fancier place nearby, the Danish Lagoon, with a great view and good food.  We went for a massage after, which was good but we were resting on wood beds with no padding which was exacerbated by the massage going for too long (i know, i didn't think it was possible for a massage to be too long either but it is).  Still it did help relax us and we slept well that night.

The Danish Lagoon Restaurant

The sunset view from the Danish Lagoon

Day 3, Tuesday
Since the previous couple days had been full of traveling, shopping and just generally doing stuff, we declared Tuesday a chill day.  Thank you Lord moments = 4.  After a leisurely morning, we took a 2 person kayak out to a floating raft a few hundred yards offshore for some exercise and fun.  Some swimming and relaxing followed and then we headed for dinner and dessert at the Danish Lagoon.  It was once again very good.

Clearly we took this seriously

"V for Victory!"

The highlight of the day though came that evening when we returned to our resort.  We met a really awesome Belgian couple that evening who we hit it off with immediately.  What began as an exchanged of pleasantries ended up becoming a wonderful 5 hour conversation that culminated with an invitation to stay with them in Brussels when we come to Europe next (hopefully this summer!)

We were especially impressed since they were conversing in their 3rd language with us and doing it well.  The man, Igor, told us a joke that made everyone laugh.

What do you call someone who speaks 3 languages?
What do you call someone who speaks 2 languages?
What do you call someone who speaks 1 language?

We laughed and admitted we were guilty as charged.  I'll stop here and get to jumping into waterfalls, starlit walks on beaches and such next time.

Me, Vicky, Jennifer and Igor

Enjoy the pictures and don't forget to click on them to make them bigger (and therefore prettier)!

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