Sabang & Boracay 2002 - Yapak II, Deep Wall, Single Adventure Tours 2002 - part 4

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What to do after arrival in Manila ?
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Puerto Galera
White Beach
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Puerto Galera
White Beach
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Puerto Galera
White Beach
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Puerto Galera
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Puerto Galera
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Puerto Galera
White Beach
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Puerto Galera
White Beach
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Puerto Galera
White Beach
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honeyko
Tamaraw Falls
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honeyko
Tamaraw Falls
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honeyko
Tamaraw Falls
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Tamaraw Falls
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Puerto Galera
Jeepney
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honeyko
Tamaraw Falls
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honeyko
Tamaraw Falls
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Sabang
First Barhop
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Webmaster
First Barhob
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Sabang
Jenny's friends
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Sabang
Jenny's friends
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Sabang
Jenny's friends
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Honeyko
want go out
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Sabang
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Sabang
Jenny's friends
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Jenny's friends
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Jenny's friends
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Honeyko know
What I like !
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You go
out tonight ?
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Honeko
in the kitchen

Welcome to my second single adventure tour in 2002. As I arrived in Manila on the 28 of May with no concrete travel plans, the only thing on my mind was how to find my honeyko fast and easy. Jenny does not like to wait around the airport, so I told her we'd meet in front of the Heritage Hotel, a safe and easy place to reach for the both of us. The Globe cell phone card from my January trip was no longer working, so after all the entry formalities I purchased a P300 prepaid Globe card and tried calling her. She was excited when I told her I had already landed safely and was in Manila. I bought another prepaid phone card for her. Afterwards, I took the famous run-down bus ... which, if you've ever read my Web page, you'll know from "What to do after arrival in Manila" ... and made my way to the Heritage. Half an hour later I am standing in front when she arrives in a considerably more expensive taxi. It was around 1 PM. I saw her inside the taxi wearing a sexy summer-dress instead of her usual pangit blue jeans. She looked more than beautiful after four months apart. We decided to visit an ATM first before we go to the BLTB bus terminal, catch a bus to Batangas, and then a boat to Sabang. While I'm withdrawing some cash, she's feeding the street kids some loose change ... there were a good number of them hanging around the ATM. During the bus drive, we were able to catch up a bit and had some long, intensive talks and a lot of big, big hugs. Before the stereotypical "welcome-home-again-honey-story" came to its conclusion, we were forced to take a "special boat" to Sabang since we had just missed the last regular boat for the day. Negotiations turned out to be much more difficult than expected because the bandits and vultures were definitely out in full force. In all my trips to the Philippines, I have never met as many cheats as this. It was only when i turned away with all my luggage and a noisy f*ck that they then offered me a P500 "discount" because I was such a friendly guy. It wasn't until later that I found out they had pinched some money from my pocket while "helping" me onboard. I kindly rejected the offered beer because I did not particularly care to make them rich. We arrived in Sabang very wet. One of the boatmen had the audacity to ask for a tip ... I had to laugh. Told him that my girlfriend was soaked and would probably be pretty upset with me if I gave him an additional tip on top of the already bad, overpriced service. All these difficulties and annoyances were soon forgotten, though, once we were in our room.

This time luck was not with us. It was a new moon, which means visibility will be horrible. Translation: no diving at Canyons. This trip the majority of the divers were either Korean or Japanese -- a result of the recent kidnapping scares and after-9/11 high ticket prices? Don't know, but it was rare to see an American or European diver. Really doesn't matter so long as the dive shops make enough money and the quality of service remains the same, right? Unfortunately, that didn't seem to be the case. Divers from throughout Asia are, as a rule, generally happy enough just being in the water. Bad visibility ... no problem. Boring site ... no problem. Next site same as the first ... still no problem. What this means is that divemasters and instructors basically get a "free ride." Why bother going to Verde Island (arguably the best dive spot in Puerto Galera), spending all that time getting there, not to mention all the extra fuel, when most of the divers will be just as happy at an easy point with three meters of visibility?! Anyway, during the first week I only dove three times and was able to get some decent macro shots of ghostpipe fish around the Sabang wreck. In all honesty, not exactly what I was hoping for. I was here to try out my wide-angle lens, so I decided to move on to another island. Jenny suggested Boracay Island. I had originally played around with the idea of a few days in Palawan, a quick visit to Apo Island (in the south of Negros), and then wind it all up with the obligatory meeting with Jenny's family in Samar. But couldn't think of a good reason why I wouldn't want to go to Boracay with her, so off we went.

Here's the trip I worked up: Spend one week in Sabang. Buy two tickets from Manila to Caticlan (Boracay) on Asian Spirit and stay there for one week. Continue on busses from Panay to Negros and then take the ferry from Iloilo City to Bacolod City. After several days of diving and relaxing at Apo, take the route over Cebu to Samar via Leyte. And finally, catch a flight from Calbayog to Manila on Asian Spirit again ... I've done the bus trip before and, believe me, it's a real adventure. For the record, there is absolutely no need to plan everything ahead or pay for tickets months in advance as you can easily buy tickets in Sabang and Calbayog.

We made our way to Boracay. Before going into it, I should first say that my intention is not to offer up some boring "how I spent my summer at the beach" report, but rather a fairly detailed account of the diving to be had. First off, you're going to need a place to stay. There are a number of places to choose from in Boracay, ranging from cheap to hellaciously expensive ... I tend to choose the first. We got off at boat station #3 on Boracay. If you want the more luxurious, higher-end hotels, get off at either boat station #1 or #2 (there are only three boat stations on White Beach). Anyway, do NOT follow one of the touts. There is no need to increase the price of your room. We decided to stay at the same hotel I had stayed two years ago. Orchids is situated a little away from the beach, but the rooms are big, clean, well-designed, and not worn out like so many of the other cottages in this area. The management and staff are very friendly, and they have a beautiful garden. The staff always seems to be working ... you'll be hard-pressed to find someone not cleaning or sweeping something. This section of White Beach has the nicest palm trees on it, even if it is the budget travellers' area. The only bad part is that you it's a bit of a hike to the discos and nightlife. Didn't bother me, though, because I found it nice and romantic to walk along the beach at sunset with her. I know some of you will have eyes for the local girls, which you can find easily enough even though there aren't any go-go bars on Boracay. Ask your divemaster and he'll tell you where the hottest parties take place. Many, many, many student girls from all over the country spend their semester vacation here. If you're lucky enough and in the right age group, you could very easily find the love of your life. If for some reason this doesn't appeal to you, there are always a couple working girls "on the hunt" around a number of the beach bars. This time I noticed a lot of sketchy looking beach boys hanging around the bars as well. Seems they offer a "special service" for the larger, uglier ladies from overseas. How can you spot them? Easy ... just look for a shaved-head, muscular Filipino boy that's wearing a heavy, gold chain. He'll be lounging around one of the beach bars. This should be the last word on sex-tourism "debate." As long as there's no set definition on what or who a sex-tourist is, people shouldn't be so quick to judge or discriminate.

Right next door to Orchids is Dive-Gurus, the dive shop I always use. Found the atmosphere there to be very friendly and familiar, with some real expert divers and underwater photo/videographers. Without fail, the most interesting dive spot is Yapak II, the deep wall. However, I was told I needed to make a check-dive before they would allow me to dive the deep wall. We did this check-dive at Crocodiles Island
... not really all the exciting, but still an easy, relaxing shallow dive. Worth a visit. Dove Yapak II the next day. The wall starts at 36 meters and goes a long way down from there. Definitely not for beginners. Very similar to Canyons in Sabang. You'll see a number of different soft corals and all kind of tropical fishes, some in large schools. It's possible that you'll even get to see some gray and white-tipped reef sharks, mantas, and schools of big tuna. I saw a gray shark and one white-tipped, but no mantas. Because it's such a deep dive, your bottom time is going to be short. The current can also be pretty strong there. You'll wind up the dive doing a 10-minute safety/decompression stop at 3 meters while staring down into the deep blue. I was there at the end of the season, so it was pretty common that me and my guide, a Swiss guy with over 1000 dives, were the only ones at the dive point. Hey, my luck has changed. He was great didn't get impatient when I spent 10 minutes in one place taking pictures and was accommodating and cool in pretty much every situation. I remember one dive when he repeatedly pointed at the edge of the wall I didn't see anything. Just then I caught a glimpse of the big Napoleon he had been pointing at. It disappeared almost as quick. Had time for just one shot, but my camera settings were all wrong and I wasn't able to change them in time. If anyone has a picture of a Napoleon, I'd be grateful if you let me post it on this site. After the dive, my guide told me there was an even bigger Napoleon on the wall some years ago. This Napleon was pretty tame and is apparently spotted on pretty much every dive there. Its behavior reminded me of a police officer strolling around making sure that nothing's out of the ordinary. This fish has a real funny character and should be protected. Glad I took two cameras with me because I came across a crack in the reef with a sleeping white-tipped reef shark inside and a school of sweet lips swimming around. I love taking pictures like this even when it's difficult to get very close.

I found the diving in Boracay to be pretty good, with Yapak II always a good call. Don't understand why a lot of people told me the diving there would be boring. Maybe they dove Friday's rock, which is basically a rock with some dead coral on it. A complete waste of money if you let a dive shop take you there. Instead, get them to take you to the new wreck dive, you'll have a much better time. We didn't spend much time out at night, but Boracay seemed to be pretty lively compared to most other islands in the Philippines. We passed the time playing pool at the Barracuda Bar. They play mostly rock music -- a lot of AC/DC. Great for those of you who tire of disco music easily.

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The Crack
Yapak II
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Boracay
Yapak II
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Boracay
Yapak II
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Yapak II
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Yapak II
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Yapak II
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Yapak II
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The Crack
Yapak II
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Boracay
Yapak II
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The Crack
Yapak II
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Boracay
Deep Wall
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Deep Wall
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Deep Wall
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Deep Wall
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Deep Wall
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Deep Wall
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honeyko
in Boracay
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Boracay
Deep Wall
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honeyko
in Boracay
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Boracay
White Beach
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Boracay
White Beach
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honeyko
in Boracay
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White Beach
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White Beach
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White Beach
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honeyko
in Boracay
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honeyko
in Boracay
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honeyko
in Boracay
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Deep Wall
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Deep Wall
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Deep Wall
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White Beach
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Dive Gurus
White Beach
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Boracay
Deep Wall
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Deep Wall
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Deep Wall
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Trash Trader
White Beach
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Boracay
Deep Wall

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© 2002 by Single Adventure Tours
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I love
my Honeyco
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ghostpipe
Sabang wreck
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honeyco
enthusiastic
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honeyco
enthusiastic
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honeyco
enthusiastic
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Sabang
Banka
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honeyco
Sabang
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honeyco
Sabang
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honeyco
Sabang
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honeyco
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honeyco
Sabang
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Jeepney
Sabang
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Jeppney
Sabang
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Puerto Galera
White Beach
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Beach
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Puerto
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Puerto
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Puerto
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Puerto
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