Our corner room has about 270 degrees of ocean views with a huge balcony and outdoor dining area. We have everything we could possibly need and the hotel Staff cater to every need. Our room gives us access to a private Club room were drinks and delectable tapas are served totally gratis between 5pm and 7pm. On several occasions we found that we just didn't need dinner after all those hors d'ouvres which is probably not what the hotel management had in mind!
Ever since we discovered this hotel on the web and decided to book, Lynn has been going on about indulging ourselves with a full works spa treatment in the "Chi" complex here in the resort. There was even a 20% discount if we booked in as a couple. So the day after our arrival Lynn made the arrangements with much anticipation on her part and much apprehension on mine. On the day there was a whole lot of bullshit with scented towels, herbal teas, showers rinses and more showers. The the head therapist informed us that we were about to get the agneziac therapy. We questioned that three or four times before figuring out that we were actually going to be getting an aphrodisiac oil treatment. "Good heavens", says Lynn. "Make mine a double" says Brian.
We were then smothered in fragrant body oils before being pinched, patted, prodded and perfumed. After 1½ hours we eventually emerged with a full set of aching muscles and a much lighter wallet. So far we haven't noticed any significant changes in the cuddling up department.
Every day about 10 young guys sift the sandy beach in front our hotel by hand.... finger sifting that is. They remove little bits of seaweed, a cigarette butt or whatever. One night there is a bit of a blow and a great heap of weed ended up on the beach. A night security guard apparently discovered the seaweed at 4.00am and the call went out. When we awoke next morning there were about 30 young men on the beach, They toiled all day picking up seaweed, putting in crates and then paddling it by kayak to the end of the beach where more young men emptied the crates into a big pile ready for more men to load on a truck.
The cost of labour must be negligible in this place. In Nambucca Heads a Council tractor would have dragged one of those heavy spiked rake thingies up and down the beach and had it cleaned up in a hour. I've seen it done on many occasions on various NSW beaches. Whoops! Did I just accidentally praise the productivity of our Council workers!
We enjoyed a wonderful sunset at the Cowrie Seafood Waterfront Restaurant and then ordered a Grilled Seafood Platter. What a disappointment and what a travesty. Most of the seafood was clearly imported frozen stuff and it had been grilled and grilled to within an inch of it's life. Tough, tasteless and a waste of money.
We went to a Filipino Cultural Buffet which included dancing and music from different parts of the Philippines. It's really hard to take a decent night photo using flash and lots of zoom when the subjects are also moving and under the circumstances I was quite lucky to end up with a few usable photos.
"How much per kilo does the airline charge for excess baggage?", I ask the travel desk. After six phone calls and six different answers they finally inform me that no excess baggage is allowed because the plane is small (a 50 seat Dash 8) and the runway at Caticlan Airport is apparently very short. I don't know what to do because we're not coming back to Mactan Island again and can't leave our surplus here.
We have become friendly with fellow guests Doug and Julie, a Kiwi couple who live in Singapore. Doug is an oil industry engineer and it seems like he flies to three or or four different countries every month. Over dinner that evening I mentioned our dilemma. Doug says, "didn't you guys mention that you're coming by Singapore on your way home?" "Yes", we confirm. "Well then, I've got a 100 kilo baggage allowance pretty much anywhere I fly so do you want me to take some of your stuff and you can pick it up when you get to Singapore?" After 20 seconds of protestations about how that would be too much trouble for Doug etc, we grabbed this very kind offer with a sense of relief. We race back to our room, quickly put half our possessions into one bag and deliver the other bag to Doug and Julie's room before they turn in for the night. We're hugely relieved to have solved this problem and won't have to worry about it all night.
It turns out that our subsequent flight from Caticlan (short runway) to Manila in one week's time will also have a 10 kilo limit so with his generous gesture Doug has solved both dramas and put our vacation back on the rails again. Hooray for the Kiwis.
See you all again soon on Boracay Island albeit in stripped down state after excising most of our possessions.