Once we were off the Boat of Death, we arrived in Boracay. Just a short boat ride to a short van ride and we were there!! Boracay is absolutely stunning. It is second (in my book) only to Palwan in beauty. Just perfect--the sand is the consistency of flour, the water is so clear you can be neck deep and still see your toes. It is just gorgeous.We stayed at Cez Manor which was not beach front but less than a minute walk to the beach. We paid PHP2,500 (about $50) per night. We selected this place based on our large group (14 people) consisting namely of teenagers which meant that one of the rooms had six people (two parents, four sons). Hotels here do not seem to be very bothered by large groups of people in one room which was good for our friends paying two college tuitions at the time. The hotel....well, you get what you pay for. For $50, you get two beds, a shower with hot water (trust me, this is an amenity here, not standard at all), air con, and satellite television (PHP300 deposit if you want the remote). The only thing to note about the Philippines is if you are staying at a no-name hotel, there are things you may find that would never fly in the states (holes in sheets, pillows that smell like feet/mildew, mildew so thick in the bathroom you can scrape it off with your finger, bathroom sink that leaks heavily but the housekeeper will at least switch the trash can for you, holes in the door, no window anywhere in the room).
We spent a day island hopping and snorkeling which was absolutely fantastic. There were some great fish and just mass quantities of them. I did not take any pictures as I am tired of coming home from vacation with half of my camera filled with blurry pictures of fish that look nowhere near as cool as they did in real life. Just wonderful snorkeling. We stopped on a little island that was stunning, had some of the bluest water I had ever seen, and had a man with a machine gun. I sidled up to one of the boys and before I could open up my mouth, he said, "no, this is not normal and I do not know." We gave the gunman pizza rolls. I assume he was an un-uniformed security guard of some sort but who knows. He seemed to like the pizza rolls. Everything was great with out boat. One of the boat guys threw an empty Vienna sausage can in the water and Ado made him go dive down and get it. Lucky for him we were only in about 12 feet of water.
At night in Boracay, the beach turns into a multitude of restaurants serving every type of cuisine imaginable. We selected Mongolian BBQ which was PHP220 per person (~$4.50) for all you can eat (or here as they say, Eat All You Can). Good food. They had mushrooms which was a big plus, albeit mushrooms from a can. We brought a couple of bottles of wine (no corkage) and proceeded to stuff ourselves. On the beach they had set up low tables with pillows on bamboo benches. Just spectacular. A live band was playing right next door and for me it just about creates the perfect dinner in paradise.
The following day all the kids got henna tattoos (PHP100 or $2) and we spent the day rotting on the main beach. Perfect weather. Lunch was at the Mandarin Spa (wood fire pizza) and dinner was Greek at Cyma in D'Mall which I quite enjoyed. Fantastic food. We had a tomato/cucumber/feta salad, fried cheese, and lamb ribs. I don't eat a lot of lamb here so it was a nice treat.
We took Cebu Pacific home. We had never flew them before but it was a nice flight. Made it to Manila in 45 minutes. Much better than the cruddy boat (can you tell I am still disturbed by the boat ride??).