The Tarsier Diaries: Adventures in the Philippines (2)

In Which Stacey And Rhys Eat Pasties, Hate Disco, Watch Dolphins and Contemplate Thailand.

Sunday, 11th July 2010

First, a word on last night – we did NOT get a good night’s sleep. I was passed out by 9pm, just how I like it because, as Rhys says, I “could sleep through a war.” This is a trait that served me well, because it meant I could also sleep through the dodgy boom boom-ing of the Oops Bar Saturday night disco (!). Rhys however, was tortured by the dodgy 80s tunes. He decided to wake me up the best way he knows how (his usual subtle combination of nudging and boob-grabbing) and complained that I HAD to wake up because he didn’t want us to be on different sleep cycles. Um…what? The sad thing is that in my barely conscious sleep-deprived state, I absolutely believed him. I even recall propping myself upright against the headboard in a desperate attempt to stay away and sync up our bloody sleep cycles. Only in the cold light of morning did I realise that he was, in fact, talking utter bollocks.

Oops Bar Restaurant

Today was spent in typical chilled fashion – morning swimming, afternoon sun-bathing, beach meandering and of course, room “cabbaging” (a Rhys-ism meaning chilling/chillaxing/doing nothing much out of sheer exhaustion/laziness). Of course, all these activities have been interspersed with eating delicious foods. There was a time in my life when I swore never to be one of those Britons who travels abroad and then insists on ordering egg and chips or similar, but nearly three years living in Korea has given me an (un)healthy appreciation for Western food. It would shock people to see how excited Rhys and I were after discovering that the bar where we were staying served Cornish pasties! Pasties, for the love of God!

This evening was the long-awaited World Cup final between Spain and the Netherlands, which really interfered with the 9pm bedtime I was trying to cultivate. It wasn’t the best match of the tournament (and kick off was at about 2am, so my judgement may have been impaired) and I think pretty much every Dutchman got at least one yellow card. In all honesty, I was not in the mood to stay up til 2am to “watch a Spaniard get kicked in the heart.” (Thank you Richard Hammond for putting that so eloquently on Top Gear). But anyways, I’m glad Spain won. And David Villa, if you’re reading this, SHAVE OFF THE SOUL PATCH! Damn.

Tuesday 13th July 2010

Needless to say, Monday was a complete write-off. After staying up til sunrise to watch the football, we collapsed in our little hut (this time, without the accompanying disco soundtrack) and slept and slept. The next day was devoted to more sleeping, and to planning some actual activities that involve more than eating, drinking and tanning.

Which is why, this morning, I was awake at 5 AM. What?! What happened to syncing up our sleep cycles? Well, today we had to sync up with dolphin-time. It turns out that these fun-loving mammals like to have breakfast like, really early.

What 5am looks like (who knew?)


Sigh. So, with the sun barely up, Rhys and I mounted a little white banca and headed for the ocean on a dolphin watching trip. And it did not disappoint. Although the sea was worryingly choppy, and it took a while to find any, every dolphin sighting was ridiculously exciting, although you only got to see them for a few seconds at a time. This is why I love travelling – for these experiences that make you feel such fresh and innocent excitement and enthusiasm. It’s like being a child again. Albeit, worldly wise child with a passport full of stamps who can legally travel alone and drink in bars.

After the dolphin watching, we headed for the Virgin Islands, not to pick up a virgin, but to check out the 7km sandbar which curves out to sea. Unfortunately, it was high tide, so we couldn’t walk along the sandbar so much as paddle along it. The most notable thing about this part of the journey was that Rhys managed to take the single most unattractive photo of me that’s ever been taken:

Future Miss World

This was followed by a snorkelling trip off the coast of Balicasag island, which is rumoured to have some of the best snorkelling in the Philippines. Unfortunately, the water was ridiculously choppy (due to the typhoon the previous day which had hit Luzon in the north of the Philippines, but blessedly left our little island in the Visayas in tact). Even with my ever-chic bright orange life jacket, I was finding the whole experience somewhat terrifying. It’s difficult to marvel at a kaleidoscope of fish folk when you’re trying not to (a)hit your head on an oar (b) float out to sea (c) die. My poor boyfriend sans lifejacket, ended up drinking a lot of sea water, which we know from reading Life of Pi and watching Bear Grylls, is never a good thing.

Some fish

Dolphins aside, it’s been a bit of a disappointing day. We are both trying (and failing) not to make comparisons between this holiday and our last one, which was in the most perfect hotel ever in Koh Samui, Thailand and included hot water, calm seas and a breakfast buffet. Not once did I have to wash myself using a bucket of cold water, as is my privilege on Panglao. Sigh.


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