Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bowling for Bolinao.

From Puerto Galera, the plan was to loop around Mindoro and commute to Pandan Island, just a short ferry ride off the coast of Sablayan, Mindoro. However, as we all know, plans are subject to change – especially when you’re traveling.

The ferry from White Beach, Puerto Galera to Abra de llog – a town only reachable by boat from White Beach - was cancelled due to rough waves along the coast of Abra de llog. And not wanting to stay in the ladyboy infested town of Puerto Galera for another night, we agreed to return to Manila and leave the following morning for Bolinao, a town located at the northwestern tip of Pangasinan province.

Visiting Bolinao seemed to be a viable plan due to its relative proximity to the 100 Islands, another destination that I had not yet seen but was eagerly looking forward to visiting.

To reach Bolinao we took a basic, non-aircon local bus which departed at 3 am. And once we reached Bolinao, Jason didn’t hesitate in describing the excruciating 8 hour commute as “the bus ride from hell.” I couldn’t really argue with him; it was pretty bad.

Once we arrived, however, we still had to take another 30 minute ride via tricycle to reach Patar Beach.

I was so happy to have finally arrived at Patar. It had been a long, arduous journey. I hopped off our tricycle and immediately walked to the beach, which was flooded with local tourists as it was the weekend.

There was only one problem: there were zero inexpensive rooms along the beach.

Zippo. Nadda.

The cheapest accommodation that we could find were these wooden, bamboo constructed rustic huts with leaf roof thatching for 1500 pesos (or $35 USD).

Again, like I’ve mentioned in my previous blog, accommodation in the Philippines is insanely overpriced. And this is an area absent of foreigners, too. I saw zero white people here.

We had our tricycle driver take us down the road where we hoped to have better luck.

Nope. No luck. Zero. Zippo. Nadda.

The woman at the resort initially charged us a whopping 3000 pesos ($70 USD). And get this… for a dormitory room! I told her that we would stay for 1000 pesos ($23 USD) – still ridiculously overpriced – but she refused. The lowest I could get her to come down to was 2000 pesos ($47 USD).

I don’t think the people around Patar Beach understand the logistics of negotiating. So instead of earning 1000 pesos for the room, plus the money we would've spent eating there, she received the grand total of… 0 pesos.

Congratulations. Thank you for playing.

And we left.


Next Stop: The Hundred Islands

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