December 23rd 2014 marked the day that Ry and I set off to the Philippines in search of a relaxing beach getaway over Christmas!
We’d initially considered going to Borocay Island as it’s the top search on Google and my chummy, Jess, said that it was the most beautiful beach she’d ever seen. However that meant another flight from Manila airport, so we figured that the Philippines must be full of islands with gorgeous beaches so we decided against Borocay this time.
After a recommendation from my pal, Nick, we decided to head to Sabang instead.
Here we are waiting for our flight in the early afternoon a.k.a the nightmare begins.
Our three hour flight was delayed by an hour. Not the best start, but these things happen.
We arrived in Manila in the hope that our driver would be there to greet us with a sign. No such luck. We couldn’t get hold of him or our hostel for about an hour. Finally we managed to get hold of the hostel and it turned out that our driver was in the car park a few blocks away. How did he expect us to find him?!
Anyway, all is good. So a 3-4 hour journey later, we were taken down this pretty dodgy winding road in the dark. It was pretty scary. Turns out that this was where our private boat was waiting for us (public ferries stop running by the early afternoon).
We hopped on our private boat and set off.
This was pretty much our view for the entire ride. It was pitch black.
About an hour later, we saw the twinkling lights of our destination!
As we got closer, we were so excited. Ry even said “It looks even better than Thailand!”
Oh, how wrong we were.
When we got off, our first impression was that it reminded us of Phi Phi with the night life and street food, as our driver/captain leads us to our hostel.
Unfortunately this is the only photo that I took of the room. It was really cheap and had a nice comfy bed and a powerful hot shower which was dreamy 😀
We’d recommend the Sabang Oasis Resort, if you’re not put off coming to Sabang by the end of this post 😉
As it was past 10pm, we decided to head out for a spot of late night dinner.
Ry went for a Hungarian Goulash, which was a super moreish, spicy, meaty soup.
I had a Pad Thai. It was alright.
The next morning (Christmas Eve), we woke to be greeted with rain.
When I’d checked the weather forecast the week before we went, it told us a fairytale of sunny days.
However when we checked for the week ahead, there were several rainclouds.
At least our accommodation gave off sunny vibes.
Despite the on and off rain during the day, we set off to explore this small town located on the northeastern coast of Mindoro Island.
Though first stop was lunch 😀
After browsing a dozen menus, we settled for Bondis Restaurant with a sea view, where we got a bit splattered by the great outdoors.
I went for the tuna sashimi salad. I was expecting a big bowl of salad with a couple of slices of tuna – y’know when restaurants say ‘so and so’ salad, there’s always more leaves than the ‘so and so.’
I was pleasantly surprised with the portion size and it tasted alright.
I actually would’ve preferred a few leaves rather than pickled cucumber, but you can’t win them all.
Ry had sizzling beef and veggies with rice, which was pretty good.
Following lunch, we continued to roam in search of the beautiful beaches that we’d been promised.
Sabang consists of three beaches: Sabang Beach, Small La Laguna and Big La Laguna Beach.
Sabang Beach was dirty and close to the bars, so that was unappealing, especially with locals constantly harassing us to buy their jewellery.
These photos were taken at Big La Laguna Beach, which wasn’t big at all.
The internet told us that this was a lovely white sand beach and maybe it’s the dark sky affecting it, but it wasn’t all that beautiful or impressive.
Nevertheless it was nice to be somewhere warm, on a beach on Christmas Eve 😀
These are the typical Philipino boats.
What a beautiful day!
After scouring the entire island within a few hours, we decided to hide away from the downpour in a restaurant in the late afternoon.
We shared a yummy mango dessert and a sickly chocolate slushy concoction.
There are tours from Sabang to other parts of Puerto Galera, but unfortunately the tourist centre was shut on Christmas Eve and Christmas, so we were stuck here for a little while.
I don’t want to post negative rants on here, however if you are thinking of heading to the Philippines:
AVOID SABANG AS IF YOUR LIFE DEPENDED ON IT!
In the wise words of Almere from Trip Advisor: “Sabang is a dirty, stinky, sleazy town that is solely focussed on the sex and diving industry.”
To be fair, Sabang does boast world class diving facilities, so if that’s what you’re into, then go for it!
Please let us know in the comments about the worst holiday you’ve ever been on – we can laugh about it together 😉