A Mis-Match Made In Paradise

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This blog entry about the events of Thursday, January 06, 2005 was originally posted on January 10, 2005.

DAY 446:  Up until this trip around the world, I never really saw the Philippines as a vacation destination in the “getaway” sense; it had always been the place of my heritage, the place where you go and see a lot of relatives that overfeed you.  But to the non-Filipino, the Philippines is a great travelers’ destination, which Let’s Go called “a budget traveler’s paradise.”

I was determined this time around in the Philippines to not only see relatives, but see the Philippines, and that began when I finally got off the family trail and head for Boracay, the Philippines’ hedonistic beach resort mecca that Moe (Hong Kong) raved about.  Boracay is to Manila what Phuket is to Bangkok, before the Asian Tsunami of 2004, that is.

I wasn’t completely off the family trail though.  Escorting me was my Tito Mike, who is technically not my tito (uncle), but my mother’s cousin on her mother’s side.  Meeting us there would be my Tita Josie, who is technically not my tita (aunt), but my father’s cousin on his mother’s side.  As I mentioned in the previous entry, some would argue that they are very un-Filipino; both are older than 25 and unmarried.  My Tita Vicky (a real aunt on my mother’s side) told me that when the two meet, I should try and play matchmaker.


THE TRIP TO BORACAY STARTED BRIGHT AND EARLY, as always to beat metro Manila traffic, as a driver took Tito Mike and me to the domestic airport.  Surprisingly there wasn’t much traffic and we got there way ahead of schedule and waited in the waiting area amidst the signs posted warning against making jokes about bombs on airplanes

One hour-long plane ride, a motorized tricycle ride, and a short ride on a spider boat later, Tito Mike and I finally arrived on the western shores of Boracay Island, on White Beach, named after the plethora of white sands.  Perfect and warm turquoise waters graced the surrounding edges of the island, while the intense greens of palm trees and other tropical vegetation swayed in the gentle ocean breeze.  The sun blazed down from above, making the air warm, but not too hot or humid.  It was every bit the paradise that people had raved about and I hadn’t even really done anything yet. 

Wow, this is the Philippines? I thought.  The roots of my heritage are actually in paradise?

A porter took our bags from the boat, down the beach promenade to Club Ten, the bungalow resort Tito Mike had made an advanced reservation at.  We checked into our lovely loft suite, with AC, TV, minibar, and complimentary fresh mango juice when we arrived.  It was perfect, except for the fact that it was not on the beachfront, at least not anymore.  As one of Boracay’s original resorts, it had fallen victim to that game developers play in the waterfront real estate game:  buying and developing land in between establishments and the shore, making places no longer oceanfront property but behind-oceanfront property.  Club Ten knew they had fallen victim to this and apologized accordingly.


BORACAY’S MAIN TOURIST DRAG is a right on the shore of White Beach, in between the shore and former oceanfront resorts.  It is a laid back sandy promenade of bars, cafes, shops and jewelry vendors, which sounds a bit too commercialized, but was actually not too bad; none of the vendors were really that aggressive and pretty much left you alone to decide on purchases yourself.  North and south of the main promenade were more secluded resorts and beyond that, nothing but sand. 

To get an overview of western Boracay, I walked up and down the shore, wading through the crystal clear waters, passed the sailboats and the wild rock formation known as Willy’s Rock, up to the northern cove and the cliffside resort beyond that where I was awarded with a spectacular view (picture above).  As one boat’s Smart-sponsored sail perfectly put it, it was “Simply Amazing!

Since it was the week after the busy Christmas week, the place wasn’t crowded at all.  Along the way, I noticed there were many foreign-looking tourists; something like 70% of Boracay’s clientele is comprised of foreigners, mostly Germans, French and Italians from what I was hearing.  Just like I had seen in Thailand, I noticed a lot of old white-haired or balding men were with young local women that I assume were escorts, feigning laughter for the old men’s jokes.  That’s not to say there weren’t families around, both foreign and Filipino.  As the self-proclaimed “No. 1 tropical beach in the world,” Boracay’s White Beach attracted everyone, and from what I had seen so far, lived up to its claim.

And speaking of family, my Tita Josie showed up around four at the suite at Club Ten, and I was back on “the family trail” again — except this time it was a bit different.  Josie and Mike were not related to each other at all, other than by the distant link of which my brother and I are.  Immediately I saw that there would be no sort of matchmaking, as the two were polar opposites:  Tito Mike, at 52, was a gentle, humble religious man who read prayer books; Tita Josie was single, forty-something and fabulous — definitely the savviest of my dad’s cousins — a half-Filipino, half-Chinese party girl and manager of a shoe factory that had contracts with Fila and Nike, who had a lot of rich contacts and friends.  To bring parallels from American pop culture, matchmaking them was as impossible as trying to hook up Samantha Jones (Kim Catrall) from Sex and the City with Mr. Rogers.

Tita Josie, who was quite the beach resort person, had been to Boracay six times before and led me on a stroll down to the southern area of White Beach until the sun went down and the magnificent sand castles that people had built were being lit up.  We made it back to meet Tito Mike back at Club Ten, and we went out for seafood at one of the many places serving up fresh shrimps, crabs, oysters, and wild lobsters.  There was an uncomfortable silence at the dinner table as I ate with my two distant sides of family; it felt like, from what I’m told, being an only child having dinner with two alienated divorced parents.

Later that night I vegged in the room trying to catch up on Blog duties, only to fall asleep on the sofa.  I was happy to be awaken up by the voices of my two relatives, finally having conversations over cigarettes — if there was anything they had in common, they were both big smokers.  I knew that there would no match in paradise, but in a laid-back place like Boracay, that thing was the last thing on my mind.

SAVE THE DATE; DAY 503 IS COMING.  MARCH 5, 2005, NYC.
DETAILS AND TRAILER COMING SOON…






Next entry: Advanced Novice

Previous entry: Filipino-American, American-Filipino




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Comments for “A Mis-Match Made In Paradise”

  • SORRY FOR THAT DELAY ON THE WHMMR…  More to come as time for me to write become available!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/10  at  07:15 AM


  • YVETTE/UDZ:  Holy shit!  THANKS for the generous donation!  I guess I’ll have to send out another round of postcards after all!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/10  at  07:16 AM


  • woohoo matchmaker! too bad from what i’ve read negative and positive = nothing…

    boracay-heaven on earth smile

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/10  at  10:22 AM


  • omg - I want to go there!!  Next vacation destination - Boracay. 
    Erik - thanks for the Vietnam postcard!  Came last week, but I just got home smile

    Posted by Liz  on  01/10  at  11:49 AM


  • boracay!  niiice!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/10  at  12:48 PM


  • Gorgeous place…..Willy’s rock will now be my new wallpaper replacing the one off the back of the boat when you went diving in Africa.  One observation that I have also noticed with the country is alot of the pic’s show they seem to be deeply religious with many crosses and religious pic’s everywhere.  Comments?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/10  at  02:09 PM


  • wow!....what a fabulous place to spend the hot summer days!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/10  at  02:29 PM


  • ROSE - Catholic Filipinos (esp in the Philippines) are more religious than the Vatican….

    ok that’s a bit out there…but you can see the point…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/10  at  02:32 PM


  • man, that’s beautiful! sure wish i was there! well, i’m not sure how much snow BC got, but Heavenly Mountain got 19 FEET of snow in the month of January! it’s been snowing pretty good up at Vail as well smile Also if you didn’t know, 24 is back on and Jack Bauer would like to tell you what’s going on “but he doesn’t have the time!” enjoy your stay! N smile

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/10  at  02:33 PM


  • That looks like absolute paradise.  I wonder why more people don’t go to the Philippines.  I have never been, nor have I ever met anyone who has.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/10  at  04:15 PM


  • Looks like a great spot!  I too made Willy’s rock my wallpaper, I was using a pic from the Everest entries….I needed something warmer to look at!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/10  at  05:38 PM


  • I’m going…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/10  at  06:06 PM


  • she said “willy’s rock” huhuhuhuh ...

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/10  at  06:33 PM


  • The WATER is BEAUTIFUL!!!!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/10  at  06:46 PM


  • Hypothetically speaking, let?s say I can come on Mar 5. Would I fly into Newark, JFK, or La Guardia? And are there any special accoms for the Trinidad Show convention?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/10  at  07:28 PM


  • TDOT - You can fly to anyone.  If you fly to EWR you can easily hope on NJ transit train into the city.  If you fly to JFK you can easily hope on the airtrain and take the subway back into the city.  If you fly to LGA, you can take a taxi in…

    I could investigate a hotel and room rate, but I would need to have a decent size block to get anywhere…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/10  at  08:39 PM


  • ERIK:  it is such a challenge balancing relatives, isn’t it?  i go through that each time i go there.  i always get stuck at 3 places and that’s it.  i almost had to go through that again when i was there in april…trying to explore the country at the same time seeing everyone else. i love the family and all, but…good thing this april, the family planned a reunion where i could see everyone at once…left more time for exploring.

    boracay is “simply amazing”!  the beaches, the food, the sunsets, the warm waters, the cheap prices…ahhhh…i love that place and i would go back now if i could and stay for at least a month!  darn you corporate america, darn you!!!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/10  at  09:16 PM


  • Erik,

    Just to correct your “family tree”, your Mom is our niece by our second cousin, Artemio.  So the kinship is on the Rivera side.  That makes you our grandnephew but I don’t want to be addressed as “Lola” (Grandma)!...hehehe…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/10  at  10:56 PM


  • TdOt, are you considering heading to NYC for the homecoming?  I have put the word out to Rose to consider….perhaps a carpool would be in order for us Canadians!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/11  at  12:46 AM


  • Any chance of anyone headed through Alaska on their way to day 503? 


    ...Didn’t think so…=(

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/11  at  01:26 AM


  • Another round of postcards!  I’m sending you my address Erik!  You owe me one from back in May! smile  Yippee!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/11  at  02:13 AM


  • passerby: pix is amazing… my sister and now brother in law went to the phillippians for their honeymoon… they absolutely loved it!! i’m a newbie here… do you do this for work??

    Posted by sue  on  01/11  at  04:26 AM


  • BTW - how do you do ride a spider boat? Looks like you might get a little wet…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/11  at  06:26 AM


  • so what happens when day 503 comes and there are no more blog entries?  work is going to SUCK even more!!!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/11  at  01:21 PM


  • NIZ ALERT - This just in via a mobile text message:

    Due to an itinerary out of my control, I will be in the NIZ for an unforseeable amount of time.

    —-end of transmission—-

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/11  at  01:23 PM


  • suuuure… but he can send text messages…. wink
    heh, might give me time to catch up on my own blog!  LOL

    Posted by Liz  on  01/11  at  03:07 PM


  • Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, ba-bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/11  at  05:51 PM


  • NIZ!!! Oh well. At least I have these pics of Boracay to keep me in dreamland for a while.

    LISA: Unfortunatly, the chances of me making it to NYC are slim to none. But if by some twist of fait, I can go, I’ll probably fly.

    I’ve been scarred for life by an “over roadtriped” childhood, so anything over a 5 hours a flight for me.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/11  at  06:00 PM


  • anyone trekking from MI to NY for the “gathering”?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/11  at  08:25 PM


  • SCOTT:  Possibly me! Where in MI are you? I’m in Ann Arbor.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/12  at  12:58 AM


  • It’s fun how Erik (and by default Markyt) have connected all these random-as-hell people around the world… craziness…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/12  at  06:41 AM


  • C’mon you guys!  Someone has to represent all of us Canadian bloggers!  Td0t? Lisa? Rose?  Anyone else? Speak up!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/12  at  11:26 AM


  • MICHELLE.
    i live in royal oak, about 45 min. from ann arbor.  if you are interested in possibly car-pooling let me know!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/12  at  01:45 PM


  • sounds like a ROAD TRIP!  rock on MI!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/12  at  02:52 PM


  • Scott - Royal Oak is a cool town!  I used to live in Michigan (East Lansing and Battle Creek)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/12  at  03:24 PM


  • It is probably faster for all Michiganites to drive through Canada….you can pickup Rose & I on your way through!  Let’s rent an RV! LOL

    We can call ourselves “The Global Trip Groupies” or TGTG

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/12  at  04:08 PM


  • LISA you may be correct about going through canada being faster.  i’ve driven through penn going to NYC before and it wasnt too bad.  i have never gone the canadian route (pronounced like “root” for u canadians).  as long as someone is on elk/caribou/moose watch it sounds like a fun trip!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/12  at  04:43 PM


  • Scott, sorry to disappoint you but the route/root from Detriot through Windsor on through Southern Ontario to Niagara Falls/Buffalo is the most boring trip ever.  Actually all you will see is farm country cows….or snow right now.

    This route is also further South than most of Michigan!  Did you know that when you cross the border from Detroit to Windsor you are actually heading South…..seems strange to enter Canada to the South?  I know the first time I realized I was heading North to Detroit when I crossed the border into the States, that it felt weird, almost wrong! LOL

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/12  at  06:41 PM


  • yeah i have heard that before about windsor being the only big canadian city SOUTH of the continental united states.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/12  at  07:16 PM


  • Lisa,

    Arn’t you up north in Muskoka?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/12  at  07:25 PM


  • TdOt, yes I am in Muskoka…..Rose is in Windsor and she is my aunt.  I was also born and raised in Brantford!  I would be willing to meet in the south (that is Ontario South) to carpool!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/12  at  07:58 PM


  • TdoT, et. al.

    I’m coming up for day 503 from Virginia. Happy to share accomodations or bunk up if anyone has any ideas.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/12  at  09:12 PM


  • hi!
    i am near the latest blogs these days, stuck in nov atm;).  the phillipines soudn really sweet but i am looking forward to your adventures in indonesia, since i am thinking about going to bali, lombok and such in june and july.
    have fun and see you around..
    Dennis

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/12  at  11:21 PM


  • TGTG, The Global Trip Groupies - I love it!  Seriously, you guys should really go!  If I was there I would be in like flint!  To see Erik in the flesh - and actually see “the hole in the leg.” Now that’s cool!  BTW, Erik, how is your battlewound?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/13  at  02:12 AM


  • NIZ Update - This just in via a mobile text message:

    I am in dialup hell and can’t connect, but should have a batch up for the WHMMR.

    —-end of transmission—-

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/13  at  04:58 PM


  • You make it so dramatic!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/13  at  06:15 PM


  • Am I the only one who was way more into AR5?

    Judging by the lack of AR6 related comments… I’d say no. feedback??

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/13  at  08:46 PM


  • AR6 is too much drama.  AR5 was plain funny.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/13  at  08:57 PM


  • AR5 was the first one that I watched and I was thinking the same thing. Maybe its just hard to watch someone get emotionally and psychologically abused every week.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/14  at  12:35 AM


  • SARA:  More to come re: Filipino tourism.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/14  at  04:14 AM


  • TDOT:  If things go according to the going away party before TGT2, we’ll have a suite somewhere in the city for people to crash at if need be. 

    Otherwise, CALLING ALL NYer VOLUNTEERS who don’t mind someone crashing that weekend!  Can you spare some room?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/14  at  04:19 AM


  • STEPHANIE:  SO GLAD you can relate and you wrote about it; I debated for days whether or not I should post that last entry, thinking that some people would mistake it for some anti-family rant, which was not my intention at all.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/14  at  04:22 AM


  • AUNTIE CONNIE:  Thanks for clearing that up; I was wondering why people call “Tito Mike” “Lolo Mike.”  I really need an Excel file of my mom’s side of the family!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/14  at  04:26 AM


  • MICHELLE:  Yes, many postcards to come your way, even if I have to hand deliver them like Tom Hanks at the end of “Castaway.”

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/14  at  04:31 AM


  • NICOLE:  Vancouver is the closest I’ll get; if there’s a layover in Anchorage, I’ll let you know.  (I don’t have the flight ticket just yet.)

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/14  at  04:33 AM


  • SUE:  Hey, welcome aboard… It’s never too late to join The Fellowship of The Blog!

    I don’t do this for any official business, but keeping this Blog maintained is more work than I ever did at a day job…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/14  at  04:37 AM


  • TJW:  “And the only way I’d ever let you have my bag is if you pried it from my dead, lifeless fingers, okay? If you can get it from my kung-fu grip then you can have it, okay? Otherwise, step off, bitch.”

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/14  at  04:45 AM


  • TGTG.  I like it.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/14  at  04:51 AM


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This blog post is one of over 500 travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World (Or Until Money Runs Out, Whichever Comes First)," originally hosted by BootsnAll.com. It chronicled a trip around the world from October 2003 to March 2005, which encompassed travel through thirty-seven countries in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. It was this blog that "started it all," where Erik evolved and honed his style of travel blogging — it starts to come into focus around the time he arrives in Africa.

Praised and recommended by USA Today, RickSteves.com, and readers of BootsnAll and Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree, The Global Trip blog was selected by the editors of PC Magazine for the "Top 100 Sites You Didn't Know You Couldn't Live Without" (in the travel category) in 2005.


Next entry:
Advanced Novice

Previous entry:
Filipino-American, American-Filipino




THE GLOBAL TRIP GLOSSARY

Confused at some of the jargon that's developed with this blog and its readers over the years? Here's what they mean:

BFFN: acronym for "Best Friend For Now"; a friend made on the road, who will share travel experiences for the time being, only to part ways and lose touch with

The Big Trip: the original sixteen month around-the-world trip that started it all, spanning 37 countries in 5 continents over 503 days (October 2003–March 2005)

NIZ: acronym for "No Internet Zone"; a place where there is little to no Internet access, thus preventing dispatches from being posted.

SBR: acronym for "Silent Blog Reader"; a person who has regularly followed The Global Trip blog for years without ever commenting or making his/her presence known to the rest of the reading community. (Breaking this silence by commenting is encouraged.)

Stupid o'clock: any time of the early morning that you have to wake up to catch a train, bus, plane, or tour. Usually any time before 6 a.m. is automatically “stupid o’clock.”

The Trinidad Show: a nickname of The Global Trip blog, used particularly by travelers that have been written about, who are self-aware that they have become "characters" in a long-running story — like characters in the Jim Carrey movie, The Truman Show.

WHMMR: acronym for "Western Hemisphere Monday Morning Rush"; an unofficial deadline to get new content up by a Monday morning, in time for readers in the western hemisphere (i.e. the majority North American audience) heading back to their computers.

1981ers: people born after 1981. Originally, this was to designate groups of young backpackers fresh out of school, many of which were loud, boorish and/or annoying. However, time has passed and 1981ers have matured and have been quite pleasant to travel with. The term still refers to young annoying backpackers, regardless of year — I guess you could call them "1991ers" in 2013 — young, entitled millennials on the road these days, essentially.




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The views and opinions written on The Global Trip blog are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the official views and opinions of the any affiliated publications.
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