Christmas Eve in the Philippines

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.

sabang

Here we are waiting for our flight in the early afternoon a.k.a the nightmare begins.

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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.

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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 😉

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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.

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I had a Pad Thai. It was alright.

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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.

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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.

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Rustic.

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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.

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Ry had sizzling beef and veggies with rice, which was pretty good.

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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.

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Nevertheless it was nice to be somewhere warm, on a beach on Christmas Eve 😀

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These are the typical Philipino boats.

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What a beautiful day!

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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.

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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 😉

xxx

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19 thoughts on “Christmas Eve in the Philippines

  1. oh no- such a shame! I went to Puerto Galera around…5 years ago for a school diving trip and it didn’t seem that bad then! We stayed here-http://www.llbc.com.ph/ – and the weather was a lot better when I was there 🙂 maybe it’s gone downhill since I visited…got to say though, Borocay looks amazing and many people I know can vouch for that!

    • I think it would’ve been a lot better if it had been sunnier and we were into diving! Like I said, it’s meant to be a world class diving site which probably explains why your school arranged it there 🙂 There were so many diving hostels too! Borocay looks absolutely incredible and I’ve had quite a few friends visit there and they loved it, but I heard that it was quite small, so I figured Puerto Galera would’ve been a bit better for exploring as Ry doesn’t enjoy lazy beach days every day, haha! However we didn’t end up booking any tours in the end either as it was raining and that wouldn’t have been much fun, especially the beach hopping one that I wanted to do! I’m glad you had a good time there though 😀

  2. It’s not that I’m not sorry for your terrible vacation guys, but this post was super fun to read! LOL. Also, eating Hungarian goulash as first thing in the Philippines? Poland, where we currently live now, is just two countries away from Hungary, yet, they have no idea what Hungarian goulash really is, and they basically call any kind of stew goulash, so I wonder what the Philippinos interpretation of goulash was like. I’m even surprised they know about such a thing, LOL. For comparison, here is a Goulash 101 by Gene: http://budapestspacejam.com/2014/09/05/goulash-101/.

    As for bad holiday experience, the first thing I can think of is a festival from last summer (Sziget Festival). I was looking forward to attending it, as a kid waiting for Christmas, but the weather was terrible and I got so sick I couldn’t really enjoy it, and eventually skipped the last day. Funny enough, just a few weeks ago, it won the Best Major European Festival award for the second time, so lot of people must have had fun despite the unfortunate conditions. – Csilla

    • haha, I’m glad it made you laugh! :p I think that enough time has passed for us to laugh about how bad it was, rather than crying about how much money we’d spent on such an awful holiday!

      The Philippino interpretation of goulash was pretty much identical to the photo and ingredients list you showed me – how authentic 😉

      Oh no, that’s such a shame! I’d actually taken off a few days from work before the holiday as I’d been sick, so I was actually quite ill for half the holiday so that definitely dampened my spirits too :/

      Ooh, I’ll have to check out the Festival! Have you ever been to Glastonbury? 😀

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment, Csilla xxx

      • Yeah, definitely check Sziget Festival out, it’s awesome – also it’s practically in Budapest, so you can easily combine visiting the city with some festival fun 🙂

        Naaah, never been to Glastonbury, is it your favourite festival?

        Nonetheless, I loved your post 🙂 Csilla

      • Ah that’s awesome, I really want to visit Budapest – it looks beautiful!

        Glastonbury’s the only festival I’ve ever been to, camped there for 5 days -it was hardcore for my first time camping! Apart from the camping, I loved being able to see so many acts – Beyonce and Coldplay were definite highlights! (I don’t even usually like Coldplay that much haha)

        Does the Sziget Festival have many English acts? xx

  3. Oh Queenie… this did make me chuckle despite the fact you guys didn’t really enjoy it 😦

    Reminds me of this family holiday in this grotty little part of Spain. We stayed in this half-built villa (the pictures made out like it was finished, but the pool was a hole in the ground with water and broken tiles everywhere) and the toilet didn’t work for days on end! The place was also horrible, lots of fat british tourists and malaga-style nightlife. The beach was just pebbles. We H A T E D it. Me and my sister were quite little, we came up with a dance routine and song about wanting to go home (!) and we left 3 days early.

    • I guess everyone’s got to have at least one bad holiday experience right?! Hopefully we’ve just ticked that off and it can only get better from now on 😉

      Oh no! That sounds like where the gang stayed in the first Inbetweeners film haha! Ughh, there were so many grimy old white men here, it was vile. Oh and the nightlife soley consisted of unenthusiastic pole dancers…

      Amelia, I wish Ry and I had done a dance routine! We did genuinely considered going home on boxing day or at least going somewhere else, but the weather was the same in Thailand and Bali too 😦 Ah well, we stuck it out and got one good day out of our 6 day holiday haha! xxx

    • Oh, thank goodness! Even if this post prevents one person from visiting this hell hole! 😀

      Don’t be sorry, I’m glad you haven’t had any bad holiday experiences!

      Thanks for popping by!

      xx

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