Tuesday, February 27, 2007

missing that big salty swimming pool

My whole body in motion, breathing rapid but even, wet hair clinging to my forehead, I closed my eyes against the glare. Unfortunately it was not the glare of the sun I sought to block out but the fluorescent lights reflected on the bare white wall facing the elliptical trainer.

Recovered from my flu, and migraine-free for the past week, I've gone back to the gym. And I realized last night that exercising in a box in Tokyo just isn't the same as my hours of daily frolicking in the calm giant aqua pool off of Boracay. Who doesn't love swimming in the sea?

And as you might have seen from the photos, Boracay's White Beach side is ideal if you prefer calm waters, while the other sides of the island get much more wind and surf. We experienced some of those waves firsthand the day we chartered a paraw, a small native outrigger sailboat, and got taken on a wild ride around the island by 3 local wave cowboys. Thankfully we hit dry land twice during our cruise, once to snorkel (Alain's first time!) and once to have lunch on Puka beach, because the marine rollercoaster was starting to affect my tummy!

But we spent the rest of our week firmly planted on White Beach, the island's tourism center and where our lodgings were located. I hesitate to call Nigi Nigi Nu Noos a hotel because it's different. There's an open-air bar just off the beach track (I don't call the main street that runs the length of White Beach a street because it's a sand road!) and Nigi's has a very popular open-air restaurant too. Then there's the office/reception area next to the resto and behind that are the garden paths leading to the huts and assorted rooms. Anyway, the hut was cute, the food good but the staff was cold and unpleasant. Some bordered on hostile for no reason.

Of course we didn't complain, since we felt a good amount of middle-class guilt. See life is tough for a lot of Filipinos, even those living on a paradise island like Boracay. Because, as we discovered on a couple of brief forays venturing away from the beach, the rest of the island doesn't look anything like White Beach. And the local children plying seashells on the beach (like my 3 little hams) don't get to stop at Jonah's for a cold fruitshake whenever they're hot and thirsty.

The main road that ran the length of the island was a short walk from WB. And though we would've liked to walk it and explore more, the traffic and pollution caused by the island's main mode of transpo, motortricycle taxis (motorbike with this big, covered sidecar that can seat 4 & luggage) made for scary and unpleasant walking. We were going to rent bikes and go see what we could find but we frankly decided to just chill out, take our long walks in the sand, do our swimming, reading, eating, etc and not try to explore everything like we always do.

Of course we did gleam some interesting stuff about the Philippines through a few friendly Filipinos we met. Alain was thrilled to find basketball to be extremely popular and we learned that the local language is Aklanon. We had been shocked to discover how all Filipinos spoke English and to then find out that it was an official language, learnt beginning in grade school, along with Filipino (standardized Tagalog). So, just like Canada, they're an officially bilingual country but they are home to many, many, many other languages: 171 in fact! And of those 171, there are 12 with at least one million native speakers each.

Astounding, just like the sunsets.


The beaches of Boracay look almost as nice as the ones of Plattsburgh and Ile Notre-Dame. Hehehehe... Happy to hear that you had a great trip. Check your email!
that sounds wonderful and looking at the pics make me relax (just a bit).
I dunno if you got my other email (as a response to your response to my last post) but yeah, i haven't been up to talking about things yet. :(
Love you!
Cawol, your photos are really really good! You have such a wonderful eye!
Hi Carol,

I finally entered your blog and wow, very interesting information. I had no idea they were so many on the Philippine Islands, not to mention so many languages, wow.

If you want to see the winter revenge in March in Montreal region, just enter my flickr page and see. :-)

Thanks and kisses
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