"Philippine Trip 2008: AKLAN PROVINCE" Philippines by Kaikoura
Philippines Travel Guide: 26,095 reviews and 88,732 photos
I tried to find a way to get an accommodation in Aklan before I left NZ but to no avail. My brother told me it was too close to the Ati-Atihan Festival, I'd be very lucky if I find any.
So we decided to just go to Boracay. I found Orchids Resort through Virtual Tourist and booked with them. Now my only problem was finding a seat on Asean Spirit.
My sister in law's sister organised it for us and we were flying in no time. I freaked out the first time I flew with Asean Spirit three years ago when I saw the condensation inside the plane (of course I thought it was smoke...not thinking of condensation)..this time I was ok.
I was suprised with the changes in Caticlan, I kind of missed that part where I would bend down, sucking in air to stop my tummy from hanging, so I can roll my pants up to get to the boat. But not as much as the times when the boaties would come over and carry me if the boat is anchored quite far during low tide...(I use to always prepare myself with the fact that any moment I would make a big splash due to my heavy frame) now there is such a big improvement.
Anyway, we were met by a nice young boy from Orchid's. I knew I didn't book an accommodation near the water so I expected to walk a fair distance from the beach. I was looking for something private, something quiet and I am sucker for Orchids...the very reason I chose to book with them.
Even before we got to Orchid's I knew I wasn't gonna like it. I didn't mind the walk from the Mall to Station 3 nor the short walk from the beach to Orchid's but I did mind the stench (smelt like pee...) along the way up to Orchids.
We tried to find a place to transfer too but I was too tired and I knew we have to leave early the next day for the Ati-atihan.
I didn't like the room, it was too dark. The toilet and shower were not that clean either and the bedsheets...no thanks. I had to sleep on top of the towels. My friend brought a sleeping bag so it was a blessing in disguise...
We managed to talk to a few people (the lady at the Inn by the corner as you go into the alleyway to Orchids was particularly lovely) and advised we had to get up at 4 or 5 am to catch the early vans from Caticlan going to Aklan.
Got there nice and early. Found one of the vans that plies between Caticlan and Aklan. I asked a very nice gentleman seated at the back if the front was occupied and he motioned we could seat there. I realise he too was headed for the Festival.
This is my first, I have not really seen much of my country. I have gone back home several times now since I left many years ago but I never really had the chance to see places I want to see. My ex-husband was not interested and all he wanted to do was sit in the bar. I am glad I don't have to put up with that now.
I enjoyed the trip (the weather was lousy but got better by the time we hit Aklan) and had quite a laugh along the way. It took me a while to realise the speedometer was screwed. He was overtaking and I kept glancing at the speedometer but it was not moving...my friend laughed like mad...coming from a country where every vehicle must go through a warrant of fitness twice a year or else you are not allowed to run your car on the road...he just could not believe it! But we got there in one piece.
The very nice gentleman at the back of the van guided us to the Plaza where the parade is going to commence. Lucky we got there before the throng of human cavalries hit the town. We found our Shangrila at the Jollibee across the street from the Plaza. My tummy was thanking this Godsent place...I was dying for food! We spent quite sometime in there and found out this gentleman (I wished I asked his name, maybe I did but maybe I forgot) was a free lance photographer. He soon left our table when he saw a fellow photographer who, like him, was there to cover the festival.
Jollibee is now starting to feel more like a beehive...lots of buzzing and laughing and murmuring...I realise it will only get worse. So off we went but decided to check the loo first so we are all ready and light before we hit the streets!
Walked around the plaza, saw a flower or garden center (remember I love Orchids?) and stayed there for a while. Then from the distance I heard a faint thumping sound that got louder and louder. Pulled myself out of the garden center and positioned myself in the middle of the street. I don't really have a clue what was going to happen I just thought the middle would give me a better view.
Then it all came down to us...this sea of colours, of very dark or very bright colours that came in waves as they marched and swung and danced with the up beat sound of drums and you name what! MAybe my expectation was a little bit more than I should have but enough to light up a fire within me to now want to go to RIO!
I love peace and quiet...I like myself and my own company...but the atmosphere where in you get swallowed into festivals like this is a moment to cherish for the rest of our lives!
I probably will never go back or take part of Ati-atihan again...but my memories of the festival will stay with me.
All in all, it was a lovely day...shattered in a way by me losing my eyeglasses.
I know I dropped it between alighting from the van and the Caticlan Jetty Port.
I went out to look for it as soon as I came out of the other end of the port before boarding the boat to Boracay...I offered a $100.00 if they can locate and return my transition progressive glasses but to no avail which means I wasn' t able to see very well in the next few days...
That is just one of the downsides of visiting the Philippines... It woudl be nice if CAticlan Airport and CAticlan Ferry or Jetty did have a "Lost and Found Facility" and people start to educate themselves to the long term benefit of being honest. People who visits our country will keep coming back if they have good experiences.
It's only my second visit in Boracay but was wowed by the progress I have noticed from when I was there last.
I made a mistake of booking accommodation in Station 3 this time, will never do it again. It is rather too far from the action. And when we got to Boracay I found out we could have stayed in a much better place at a much better rate if we just flew in and looked for a place once we got there. There's planty of places to stay at very reasonable prices and they are beach front too!
- Pros:Staying in Boracay for Ati-Atihan Festival was a good choice
- Cons:Being a small place, finding accommodation can become a challenge...
- In a nutshell:Beach, Sun and Festivities!
I found Cebu Pacific fares better than Philippine Airlines. I went to Philippine Airlines but I was not very happy about... more travel advice
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