Archiv für den Monat: Oktober 2009

From Cebu City to Moalboal

After a great start in Cebu City we got uo early the next day and went to Carbon Market. This market is settled downtown in the poor areas of Cebu City and is a typical filipino market. So far this was one of the most interesting thnigs to see.
Surprisingly we were no surrounded by vendors trying to sell their stuff, although we were obvious the only white and ‘rich’ people there. It was really pleasent just to wander around the market. There was everything to find – food, fresh fruit, clothes, flowers, even auto parts. It was really dirty there and especially at those places where they were selling meat I was not able to breath, cos I was afraid I might vomit.
But still besides all those dirt everything is so colourful, like everywhere in the Philippines. And the people are friendly. We had a nice conversation with some women selling coconuts.

Having made our way though huge Carbon Market our trip went on to Moalboal. We went there by bus and I can tell it’s an experience. The roads are bumpy and the drivers don’t care about about speedlimits. It is more like rollercoaster ride and it’s fun. Before the driver hits a turn he just honks. On the bus you won’t find only people, often there are also chicken and there are coming vendors into the bus selling weird filipino food.
But travelling by bus is cheap and you got to see a lot on your ride.

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Arriving in Cebu City

With the island of Cebu I put through lots of positive memories.
We arrived in Mactan close to Cebu City. We took a cab to get to Verbena Pension in uptown Cebu City. The room and breakfast were quite cheap, but simple. We just spend there one night, so it was okay. Cebu City has a lot of green spots and has fresh air to offer compared to Manila, although it is a big City, too.
That day we went by taxi to Beverly Hills (yes, that really is the name of the rich Chinese quarter in Cebu!) to see the Chinese Taoist Temple there. It was quite impressive to see that huge temple, but still for me ot looked like toy. We wandered around in the Chinese garden. Afterwards we wanted to go to a vantage point calles Tops, but it turned out to be quite expensive by cab, so we sadly decided not to go.
We had sent the taxi driver away, this seemed to be a mistake cos at that time there was no taxi driver there at all and the way don the hills back to city centre was quite long.
But since we are three lucky girls a Pick-up came along and gave us a

hitch-hike. we sat on the loading platform and enjoyed our ride.
Our hitchhikers asked us to have a drink in a bar and so we found ourselves in a Corean restaurant in a small mall. The guy (Christoph) turned out to be from Austria, living in the Phillies for more than ten years and the girl (Ziva) with him was his Slowene couchsurfer. And there was this little filipino girl with them who was actually Christoph’s flatmates daughter. What a nice meeting!

But still this eventful day was not over yet. We went just right out the restaurant when we were asked by some motorbike driver if we’d like to go to Tops. And for sure we wanted! Finally we we went there for a really cheap price and it was so much fun to get up the hills to Tops with that guys.
Tops is amazing. I didn’t think it was that great, but one has a beautiful view over the whole city sparkling and glittering in the night.

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Boracay was the first island we visited on our first trip through the Philippines.
Early in the morning we headed to the airport of Manila, we did not have a ticket yet, because Cebu Pacific (the airline we wanted to take – cheap one) does only accept Asian credit cards. Well, there we are at the airport, with backpacks, but with no ticket. But luckily there were still some seats on a cheap flight to Kalibo on Panay Island available. We booked a second flight to the next destination Cebu, too. After spending some hours at the airport waiting for our flight, finally we departed into paradise.

We arrived in Kalibo, cos Boracay is such a small island that does not have an airport. The landing was quite rough, the pilot had to brake hard to get the aircraft to stop on the quite short runway. From there we went by bus to Caticlan, from where we took a boat to get to the island of Boracay. Actually we thought we were going on a ferry trip, but instead we found a small typical filipino boat. One puts its luggage on top of the boat and then you sit down on benches and the lifevests are hanging down from the ceiling right in your face.

After a short ride of about 15minutes we arrived on Boracay. It was already dark, cos usually it is always already dark about 6 o’clock. We took a quite expensive tricycle and went to our cottage at Melinda’s Garden.
Melinda’s Garden is a really nice place a little set ack from the beautiful White Beach. And the name is what you get. The beach seems to be endless, kilometres of white sand, crystal clear water and palms all over. Although Boracay is quite touristic the beach is almost empty – there only a few people hanging around – a dream.

But this wonderful island has somehow a bittersweet taste. When one’s walking across the seaside on the sandy boulevards there are a lot of street vendors, people offering massages, people from restaurants etc that are calling after you all the time, what is quite annoying. In the evenings a lot of colorful boats were sailing along the sea into the sunset, which was pretty to see.
It was so wonderful to spend some days there in the sun and at the beach after the busy time in Manila. One day we rent a boat and went to Crocodile Island close to Boracay. There we went snorkelling in some caves that opened to the sea.

Compared to the islands we now have been to, Boracay is relatively expensive, but still quite affordable for rich Europeans like us ;)

On Boracay I saw quite a lot of Ladyboys for the first time in my life. And I can tell, yes, they are really professional. One has to look twice to get the idea, that there might be something wrong. And still I am not sure if I identified all ladyboys. Another weird phenomenon was that there actually were a lot of elderly white men hanging around with really young and beautiful filipinas, one could see a lot of them there. Before I was not aware that this cliche was so true – it was really remarkable.

One day I was walking on my own on the beach to a little chapel on a rock in the sea on White Beach. I guess I walked like one and a half hour, but still the beach did not come to an end. In the distance I already saw the Maria on the rock and some people around to take pictures of the chapel. When they saw me, they actually started to take pictures of me! I was kind of surprised, because there are relatively lots of white people on Boracay. But I guess they never saw a redhead before. When I arrived at the chapel some Koreans asked if they could take some pictures with me. Sure I agreed – who knows where I am to see now on the Internet ^^

After those relaxing days on Boracay we continued our trip to the island of Cebu.

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19th October

Finally our first trip will soon come to an end. There are only five days left until we will be back in Manila, but hopefully we will be off again for some days before University starts on 5th November.
So far we are on Bohol now, the third island after Boracay and Cebu. For me it is the most beautiful so far.
On the islands it is hard to find Internetcafes and if you want to get to an ATM you always have to go to the biggest city on the island. So that is why my blog is so empty of current information. But back in Manila I am going to write a broad travel report for each island. I am really happy right now on my travels.

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10th October

Finally we could start our first trip. With no clue if we would acutally get a flight we went to the aiport with our luggage and YES! we got a flight and some hours later we found ouselves on beautiful Boracay. Our flight went from Manila to Kalibo on Panay, from there we had to go on a trip tp Caticlan. There we changed to a small boat, which took us to the Island of Boracay. We are living in a small quiet bamboo cottage close to White Beach. Boracay is quite touristic, which is a little annoying sometimes, but the rest of our trip will be apart tourist areas. But still the islands has its beauty – quite nice beaches with white sand and crystal clear warm water. Today we went snorkelling round the caves on Crocodile Island. It feels so good to be here on this beautiful Island. Everything is lean back and calm, not comparable to the busy and noisy city of Manila.
On Monday our trip goes on to Cebu. Probably we will stay there for one or two days and then we will go to Camote Islands and maybe some more Islands of the Visayas. Our last destination will be Bohol.

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7th October

Yeah! Seems like tomorrow is gonna be the day we will head off to Philippine paradise. Actually we do not have a flight yet, but the call center agent of Cebu Pacific (airline) told us there are flights available, which we have to fix at the airport. So, this means, getting uo quite earlz in the morning and then hopefully take the flight to Kalibo on Panay to go to Boracay then by ferry. I already booked our cottage on Boracay, which only costs 800P (12,30Euro) per night for the three of us. Feels like a dream, ha. The trip to Boracay is followed by a trip to Cebu and then to Bohol. We are planning to be back in Manila on the 26th and then finally enroll our classes.

Today we spent our day in the malls to do some cheap shopping and some bad eating. Now it is time for spa.

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6th October

Some days have passed since my last post and there happened a lot of things in this time.
One night we were invited to a dinner at Manons place in Burgundy plaza – she is one of the French students we got to know on last thursday. So we had just to take the stairs and in 2 minutes we were at her place. It got really crowded round the table, cos there were about 20 students there – most of them French. So we had French dinner and I guess at this point it was the best I ate so far in the Philippines.

But yesterday the French meal was beaten by fresh seafood.
In the afternoon we met Shieg, who was a participant in my ISWI group and is living in Makati, Metro Manila. We took a cap and went to Manila Bay and its Seafood market. It was so nice to see Shieg again after some month and it was great to come to know something about Metro Manila from a local. When we arrived at seafood market there was the most strange thing that happened to me so far in Manila. The cab was crowded by people screaming and touching the car, because they saw us Europeans in the cab. I was so happy that Shieg was there, cos I was totally overwhelmed by the situation. The cab driver and Shieg tried to calm us down, that those marketeers are harmless and that this is just their strategy to sell. As we got out of the cab, the four of us were crowded by the whole marketeers of the seafood market, everybody wanted to talk to us and everyone of’em wanted us to be the guest of their restaurants. They came over with their biggest fishes, crabs and lobsters.

In the end we let Shieg decide on the food (one chooses from the fresh seafood their and then it is prepared in a restaurant) and she was bargaining with the marketeers for the ceapest price.
The seafood was great. And Shieg showed us how to eat like a Filipino with the hands. We drank coconut juice just right out of the fruit itself. Some guests of the restaurant took some pictures of us and it was not the first time this evening that one told you, you are beautiful. Itwas damn strange, and I guess to a certain degree I know now how it feels like to be tracked by paparazzi.
But thank God it is not always like that, although it is obvious that people, especially men, are looking at you or cars are driving slow beside you.

After dinner we took a walk at Manila Bay and watched the smashing Chinese Sea. There is a big promenade framed by colourful lamps and palm trees. You can see there a lot of locals hanging around, but also homeless people sleeping on the ground, also kids. We went to an exclusive restaurant and honestly I felt abd after watching those poor kids on the streets.

Our way back we made by cab again, deposed Shieg at her dorm in Makati, and went then to Katipunan. It was an adventurous trip, because obviously the cab driver was bamboozling us. We were bargaining for the price, but we had no idea how far Katipunan Avenue was, so we agreed on a price and he took off the meter. So our way back home took us more than one and a half hour – we hazard the guess that actually the price should have been lower and so he took a loooooong ride, to let the price seem appropriate. But finally we arrived home, in good health and for the price we agreed on. I think we have to get used to looon looooong rides.

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3rd October

It’s done. We had our first night in our own apartment in which we probably gonna live for the next six months. I hoped that I would have some really sweet dreams, cos one sais, what one’s gonna dream in the first night, will come true in the end. But actually I dreamed just weird senseless stuff. We do not have Internet access yet and until there is still typhoon warning they won’t install, so we are sitting here in the nearby Starbucks, having a coffee and enjoy having Internet. There are still some more things to do concerning our apartment, but weekend and typhoon warning hards to get forward. Actually there is no warm water in the showers at the moment. And some more cleaning is in need. Lately we cannot snoop around Manila, cos of the typhoon warning. So we just stay here round the corner of the condominium. On Monday or Tuesday there will hopefully be the appointment with the head of communication department from ADMU, so that we can enroll our classes and feel free to wander around the Philippines.


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2nd October

The last two days were really exciting. Yesterday we went into one of the big malls here in Manila. It is so different compared to the rest of the city. Everything is clean, even the toilets are. After having shopped our first cleaning equipment for our apartment there, we got back to Quezon City and met with three French girls and one Norwegian girl for dinner. It was our first contact with International students from Ateneo University. They all were already studying here for at least one semester. So they have already been through a lot and could give us the best advices for every situation. After having finished our cheap cheap cheap! (not even 2€) dinner, the girls invited us in one of the student houses nearby. There we got to know a bunch of International students from China and France. The house was full of people and they had arranged a meeting to discuss their further steps to help the victims of the last typhoon. Some of them had already been in the crisis areas and gave away food. Lately we couldn’t stay until the end of this meeting, because we had to get up early the next morning to move into our apartment in Burgundy Plaza.

So today we moved into our apartment very close to Ateneo University. Like almost everything here the apartment was really dirty (although the owner said it was cleaned!), so we did some rough cleaning. The apartment is in 12th floor and we have a great view over Loyola Heights Campus. The apartment has three bedrooms, but I am sharing a big one with Judith and Janina has her own. So one small room is free at the moment, if Judith and me are fine with living together in one room, we consider a fourth roommate from elsewhere in the world.
And then there is a big living room and a kitchen, in which I got to know a BIG cockroach. But Judith was our hero and was so tough to fight the devilish animal.
When we went to Mc Donalds to reward us for working the apartment, we crashed into Johann – a philippine participant of Judith’s and my group at the International Student Week in Ilmenau (ISWI). I was so surprised to see him and at the same time so happy. We found out that he lives just round the corner in a dorm.

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