We were supposed to fly straight out of Manila to Boracay but had a change of heart last minute & decided to check out Puerto Galera which was just a 2 hour bus ride & then a 2 hour boat ride from Manila. There are 2 main areas in PG - Sabang & White Beach. We couldn't decide between the 2 so decided to do both as they're quite near to each other.
Sabang first & we stayed in the cheapest accommodation we have stayed in for ages. At less than a fiver a night Paddy's Bar was the cheapest place to stay in Sabang - maybe even the whole of PG. Paddy's Bar was run by Paddy & his son Spud who were Australian but of Irish descent. There was also Lorenzo who ran the bar and a young guy they were training up they called hamburger when we got there but within a day of us arriving he had been promoted to being called cheeseburger. Yup - these guys were a bit crazy but really friendly & a lot of fun.
The room we were given first was really small - Russ couldn't even fit in the bed which I found quite amusing, after the 1st night we moved to a much better room with bunk beds that were a bit longer than the previous bed. Unfortunately they were murderous bunk beds - on the 1st night I was climbing into bed when Russell wasn't in the bottom bunk the whole bed fell on me & trapped me against the wall - it really hurt but I'm sure it would have been really amusing to see, shame nobody was there to see it :)
We didn't find much to do in Sabang, there wasn't really a beach to speak of and the bars full of old western men with Filipino women weren't exactly our bag but we still enjoyed it. We spent just about a whole day on a floating bar in the sea. There was a little boat that ferried people over day & night, it even had a slide into the sea (which I never got to test out). We had lots of fun in that bar, the drinks were cheap, there was a nice free shot every hour or so & they let us put our own music on for a bit before some other tourists took over.
|If only I knew what was about to happen....|
Although 99% of that day was ace & sooo much fun there were 2 bad bits. 1) I got a really bad jelly fish sting, so bad I cried a little bit and me & Russ were pulling the tentacles off my arm for ages. Russ said I was delirious as I got out of the sea just wiping my arm for ages. The bar staff got me lime to put on it & that really helped. 2) My purse got stolen. There wasn't a lot in it & the English owner told us not to worry about the bill so we only lost about £20 in the end, I was more bothered about losing my purse I bought in Bangkok :( We didn't let that ruin the day for us though, we still look back with happy memories of our day on the floating bar. They also let you write on the bar in marker pen so we left a few drawings & an important warning.
We spent quite a lot of time sat in the bar at Paddy's drinking with the guys and watching them make whatever they decided to make that day, they were always up to summat with their angle grinders & other power tools. We got on with them all really well so when they asked if we wanted to go out snorkelling with them on their boat we jumped at the chance. It was a great little trip & this was definitely the best snorkelling we have ever done - I finally found Nemo - he has grown since the movie. We snorkelled round a ship wreck & watched Spud & Lorenzo go diving for oysters - they must have got over 50 oysters that they were going to bbq that night. Then the scary bit came - the cave! They had told us about this cave but to get to it you had to swim through an underwater tunnel about 10 metres long. I was terrified, even more so when we got there as Paddy then also told us you had to be careful & swim near the bottom or you would hit your head on the top of the tunnel. Spud went 1st & held your head as you came through so off I went & it wasn't that bad at all & the cave was really cool with a whole in the roof. Russell struggled more than me, on the way out I thought he wasn't coming, we seemed to be waiting forever for him & in his words he 'kept forgetting how to swim'. We were wearing flippers for the 1st time too so that made it a bit harder cos we didn't really know what to do with flippers.
A highlight for me was watching Lorenzo swim underneath Russell & grab his foot - Russ shit himself. Really funny!
|Free oysters anyone?|
|Apparently the owner of this boat wasn't even bothered when he found out it had sunk|
|Paddy & Spud's dogs - LaLa & Woof enjoyed the boat trip too.|
They dropped us off at White Beach where we had booked 4 nights - getting off the private boat was 1 way to make an entrance.
We found our hotel with the help of an ice cream seller (we bought an ice cream to thank him for his trouble) and I was amazed to see the Russian couple who owned the hotel also owned a tiny monkey. They had only just acquired this monkey & she didn't yet have a name but I really liked going to reception under the pretence of asking a question when really I just wanted to play with her.
Unlike Sabang White Beach had a beach & it was nice on first sight but on closer inspection it needed a good clean - I re-named it fag end beach. Turns out there had been a lot of beach parties over Easter so hopefully it will be cleaned up by now.
Puerto Galera is one of the top 10 diving sites in the world apparently & I can believe it, the coral & sea life were amazing.
After spending 2 hours & £6 looking for a cash machine (we tried just about every machine in PG) it became apparent that we weren't going to get any cash in PG so our 4 days turned into 2 as we didn't have the cash to pay for the hotel for another 2 nights and cards weren't accepted. So, as Russ mentioned before all roads lead to Manila, we booked a hotel in Manila and a flight to Boracay the day after as we knew of a cash machine in Manila that worked for us. How crazy is that? We had to to go back to Manila to use the cash machine!
The journey back wasn't as comfortable as the journey there, they let too many people on the bus so Russ was sat on the floor which was boiling as we were right over the engine, he even took a 'no seat selfie', we went to the cash machine and got as much cash out as possible & then we got an inept taxi driver who couldn't find our hotel & stopped at least 8 times to ask people for directions. I was hoping Boracay would be as good as I had heard, we were in need of a bit of relaxation and natural beauty.
|Poor Russ Russ|