Thursday, June 14, 2007

Travel Advisory

What better way to spend the weekend, and the last gasping moments of SCRA-free life, than to overexpose oneself to ultraviolet (UV) radiation at Puerto Galera. There, you can bask under the sun, enjoy the surf and the sand, eat, and maybe swim a little. Be carefree for a few precious hours.

We took the bus to the Batangas City Pier, where we will take a boat that will bring us directly to the White Beach. Once we arrived at Batangas Pier, we were welcomed by dozens of very boisterous locals, who incidentally, also happened to offer boat rides to Galera. Every fucking single one of them. They were all yapping at the same time, and were trying to outshout each other, making every single word they tried to say unintelligible. Well, except for the guy blocking the bus' only door, whose nostril was up my earlobe. You can almost swear they all had the boats up their asses.

It doesn't really change once you arrive at Galera. This time, they will be offering you places to stay. These people, for some unknown reason, cannot comprehend the word "No." (The armed forces should recruit these people.) They are a persistent and unrelenting lot. They are like the Energizer bunny, only less cute and a lot more annoying. In fairness though, the ones at Galera are the "gentler" kind. There is less screaming, but it is no less irritating.

We stayed at the aptly, and quite imaginatively, named "White Beach Hotel." It's not exactly Shangri-la, but they got cable TV, an A/C unit, and an electric fan. Once you turn on the A/C, you'd figure out what the fan is for. There is sufficient water pressure, and if you enjoy the smell of rust in your water, you'll love it there.

The scene at the beach is a virtual seaborne invasion, involving scores of tourists - like us - taking advantage of the three-day weekend, crossing the Verde Island Passage from Batangas to Mindoro. There are as many boats landing on the beach at any given time as there are hawkers back at Batangas. And they come every hour, most probably less. Since they have no other place to land but the beach, every single person on the water tries to stay alive by not becoming the iceberg to the M/B Commando 7's Titanic.

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