Our hotel was lovely and to sleep to the sound of rain, waves splashing onto the beach and the wind rustling in the palms was so peaceful and recharged every cell of our bodies. We spent most of our days on the hammocks by the beach reading, or in our room on the balcony. I also loved the window seat that was over the garden and had a view of a life time. I keep saying our room was a room with a view… like a big screen TV with only 1 channel – Paradise TV.
With no TV, telephones, cars and noise we took it easy and let days slide by. We didn’t have any plans which was nice for a change. Another teacher and his family was staying close by and we had decided to try to look them up on Wednesday. We asked how to get to their hotel and we were told it was 15-20 min walk, maybe half hour if we walked slowly. It turned out to take us 40-45 min since we didn’t have proper shoes… we didn’t expect it to be a hike. We set out through the back of the resort to a small mud path and across a swinging bridge made of bamboo. We ended up hiking through “jungle” that was filled with palms and plants. We came to a small farm with chickens, pigs and dogs. The family waved and said good-morning as we trekked on by. We finally came to a road, but no cars or taxi’s in site, so we followed the signs to Sabong. I thought once we came to the main road there would be cars and traffic, but there was nothing, but a bumpy dirt 1 lane road. Later we passed one fellow on a motorbike and a jeepney going in the opposite direction. Other than that there was no traffic or people. We came out of the jungle on top of a hill beside a beautiful new home overlooking the lagoon and the ocean. Below on the muddy lagoon were metal houses perched and balancing above the water with small wooden planks leading to the small structures.
At the bottom of the hill we wandered along a small sidewalk that looked like it was leading into someone’s private residence, but instead it led past houses, small stalls selling food and then opened onto the beach, Big Laguna. We walked along the short stretch of sand and a few restaurants and hotels until we reached a rock outcropping. A path led around the backside of the rock and came out on the beach, Little Laguna on the other side. This area was filled with hotels, restaurants and numerous dive shops. In the distance small houses inhabited by the locals. Diving here is very popular and suppose to be very good. There are numerous sites of old ship wrecks and coral a very short distance from shore. We continued on along the sand when we spotted my fellow teacher.
Together we went through the narrow maze of streets that were only wide enough for 2-3 people to walk abreast. There were small shops selling food, drinks and souvenirs. To cater to tourists there were so many restaurants with Western, Korean and local seafood dishes. We found a coffee shop that Alastair and his wife frequented since they arrived. The coffee and fresh-baked muffins were fantastic. After coffee we wandered the streets and sat on the beach. Many locals were trying to sell us necklaces, bracelets made of shell and handmade macrame types, other small trinkets and offers of massages. We came to a regular street with some traffic that had numerous jeepneys… the local taxi. These vehicles are like covered pick up trucks and inside they have two long benches along each side. They are often decked out with shiny chrome, trinkets and names… they are very cheap, only a few pesos per kilometer.
Groups of men stood on corners offering boat trips and Alastair saw a gentleman that they used for a trip to the local waterfalls. They had tentatively arranged a trip snorkeling with them for the next day and asked if we would like to join them. It seems very bizarre to organize things on the street, but that is how things are done here.
The people are so friendly and always welcome you with a good morning, or evening. They always call the men sir, “how are you sir?” and the women “mum” , “how are you mum?” I am not sure if this is a sign of respect, or they just think I am old! When they learn your name they welcome you and call you by name and ask how you are. They remember what you like and come with it right away. They do not rush and hurry you… they take their time and talk to you, if you are willing. The service was awesome and you felt like a guest in someone’s home, not a hotel.
Part of our resort was run by local families. Each family lives on the resort and they all help with the guests, gardens etc. To have that “family guest” feeling instead of impersonal hotel. It gives the locals good work, and the guests a warm atmosphere.
After securing our trip for the next day we bought a few things to make lunch and went back to Alastair’s hotel. Their hotel was very different to ours. It was set back from the beach and had the look of a modern condo. After climbing numerous steps we came out onto a large balcony overlooking the water and Little Laguna. Inside they had 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, large living room, dining room and kitchen in an open concept design. Everything was white and dark wood… very chic. They had a big flat screen TV, all the modern conveniences.
After a nice visit we trekked back to our resort and rest up for our adventures the next day.
stay tuned for more… our snorkeling trip.