Philippines Day 12: Sunset

By today we’d had our fill of Sabang and its crowds of people looking to squeeze a penny off you. The prices were high to. We had plans either way, Oly was landing this morning and we knew she was going to White Beach down the road, so we packed up and checked out.

We had been told that you could pay with credit card at Capt’n Greggs and we intended to. Only when we went to pay there was no signal for the Master Card machine. Apparently the visa one works pretty reliably, but I had left mine at home, and besides the rates on that card are brutal. We waited patiently and eventually a signal came through and we paid our tab. Whew. Worst case we would have needed to walk to the bank, withdrawn the maximum for the day with its $20 in fees. We could have made that work at least. We had a backup plan. Then I thought to look at the receipt and we had been charged 1800p/night instead of the 1700 Chuck Driver, the owner had promised. Apparently he isn’t up until noon and the woman in charge when he isn’t there was off that day. We made a bit of a fuss about it and eventually got paid out the 400p difference from the register.

On our way out of town we still hit the bank for cash since we were nearly out and needed some to do our final shopping with.

It struck me how popular BB guns are with the kids here. We see them all over, shooting at fish, shooting at each other. I’m kind of glad that’s not how it is at home. There is a special poignancy after all our talk about the Connecticut school shooting that happened this last week back home. It’s worldwide news and facebook has been all a twitter about it as well. The gun safety course we took at work has me cringing at the things they do, I’m glad they’re not real guns, but I can see what would happen if a kid got a hold of a real gun thinking it was unloaded and harmless with a round still in the chamber.

There surprisingly were no direct jeepneys so we caught one to Puerto proper where we could catch another or a trike to White Beach. We were hoping to go to the marina and rent a Hobie 14 and go for a sail. There is an island nearby where we were told there are sometimes sea turtles. I had an image of sailing us onto a beach and going snorkeling, then when we’re done pushing the boat back out into the surf and heading back. But we’re told the marina is too far to walk. We decide if it’s too far to walk we might as well go to our hotel, drop our stuff off, and then head back. Perhaps our hotel even has its own boats. We’re staying at the Sunset at Aninuan Beach, an upscale resort on a mostly private beach.

Our trike drops us off in White Beach. We indicated that we wanted to go to Aninuan but he seems to signal he understands and it’s down that road. Only it isn’t. This leads us right to White Beach itself and Aninuan is around a steep point. To get there we have to hike up a long set of stairs then back down the other side of the point. We decide to check out Oly’s hotel and leave a note and so we look at their itinerary for the first time since we left home to see their hotel name. We find they did land this morning, but unlike we thought, aren’t coming right to White Beach, but spending the night in Manila. We’ll shit. We have another day to occupy ourselves, though really we were done with Sabang. Jenn’s ear didn’t need any more stress, and there isn’t much else to do in Sabang.

We made the hike around the point and descended down to the understated roadside entrance to our hotel. Once inside though it’s gorgeous and chic. The price is high by our standards for the trip, instead of $30-40, $85 a night. But the rooms are quite and have AC. The grounds are amazingly immaculate and cute, raised a few feet above the water’s edge on a terrace. Tables sit around a bar with clear glass bowls with colorful hibiscus floating in them. Chaises, hammocks, and other sorts of wicker furniture line the beach side for patrons to enjoy the ocean. We decide this will do nicely. I’m normally not one for the resorts, but it definitely is nice to spend a day once in a while enjoying a spot of luxury. My Dad more than once has said he doesn’t understand why I travel so cheap when I don’t NEED to. To me there is always more travel to do, so it’s always good to save where it’s practical. I won’t always be able to travel the way I do. Resorts like this while luxurious lack a social atmosphere. Everyone here is on their own program wanting to be left alone, us too for the most part. It’s not a place to make new friends. That’s why I like places like Native Village Inn. And why I’ll keep seeking places out like that while I can.

We asked about snorkeling and Lez, the amazingly “fabulous” operator of this resort tells us that the house reef has two resident turtles and that they just laid a clutch of eggs. Is clutch the right word? And that they were worried so they moved the eggs to a safer spot and fenced them off so that they wouldn’t accidentally get trampled on. I told him I was impressed with the foresight and that when they grow of age and want to lay their own eggs they’ll come back to the beach they hatched at, so if they keep this up they will create a tourist attraction people will come to see. We grabbed our gear and went to the dive shop to rent some fins and set off. The water wasn’t clear either, a running trend for us in the Philippines, mostly because of the surf but also because of water mixing that made everything blurry near the surface. We swam around for a while and got stung by some jellyfish. Again, no turtles. We did see quite a few new things though from another banded sea krait this time with photo proof, a white and black moray eel, and oddest of all one of those sucker fish that sticks to the bottom of large pelagic creatures. The sucker fish was so incredibly curious, sneaking up behind us like he was looking for a place to stick on. I was worried it might succeed, but eventually kicking at it enough sent the right message, and it shied away. I peered out into the murky water wondering what large pelagic it came in on, was there a Whale Shark just out of sight, or perhaps something I didn’t want to meet?

We showered off the salt and sat down to read for a while and nap. As the sun would move people would move umbrellas to make sure we were covered. We missed a spot on Jenn’s arm for a good hour and she ended with a nice shade of pink on her arm. We followed up that relaxation with some rum drinks and dinner. At night the Sunset is all lit up by lights up its perfectly manicured palm trees, candles on every table wrapped in paper shades. Bug candles were placed at our feet to keep the mosquitoes away. After dinner we moved to a hammock together and our candles were moved with us. The water washing ashore in quiet waves. All in all a very pleasant way to spend an evening.

Oh and I have two new rum drinks to bring back with me, a banana daiquiri, and a Sunset.

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