13:11 Sat.
26 Sep, 2015


Cebu , Philippines
28 °C
Mostly Cloudy
5:33 am
5:37 pm

Early next morning we left hotel to get to the smallest airport I’ve ever been and took an hour long flight to Cebu. As soon as we left the airport we were swarmed by taxi drivers fighting over who will drive us to the hotel. It was still early in the morning so we had few spare hours before we could check in in the hotel. We decided to go to the “Zoo” at the edge of the city. The taxi driver took us on about an hour long ride to the zoo, through the city, where he told us few things about the city and the life there. The city is really big, second biggest in Philippines – around 1M people. And if Boracay was scary at first, it was nothing compared to Cebu.

First time flying with propeller  plane
First time flying with propeller plane

Traffic was all over the place, lots of motorbikes, people, tricycles, cars, driving all over the place where road rules were more of a guidance than an actual rules. After about an hour (I’m not sure if our taxi driver took the shortest path 🙁 ) we have reached the zoo, or something like that. Entrance fee was around 0.5€ per person, and we got a private guide to take us through the zoo. To our surprise, we could actually touch and take photos with some of the animals, which was pretty cool. On the other hand, the animals had such poor cages it was quite sad to see them there, I hope they are going to get better care in the future…

After the zoo the taxi drove us to the hotel, near city center. The hotel was quite far away from the water, besides I don’t think it’s possible to swim anywhere near Cebu city, because of pollution from such a big city. Because of this, I think, the hotel was more of a business type and even though it was from famous western chain we got the best room in the hotel for as little as 35€/night. And what a room it was, it was the nicest hotel I’ve ever been too. The room was almost bigger than our apartment in Ljubljana, around 40m2, with enormous bed and flat screen TV. But that’s not even the best part, the best part was enormous bathroom with shower and a bathtub with integrated TV in the mirror in front of the tub. That’s right, we had another TV in the bathroom. 😀 Since hotel was far away from sea, we had a pool on the rooftop.

After setting in our rooms we took a walk around the area, which in retrospect probably wasn’t the best idea, luckily nothing bad happened. Despite being in what I think was near city centre it was much different than what you expect in European cities. There was trash everywhere, in front of stores there were guards with shotguns (I’m not kidding). There was a particular situation that I found especially strange. While we were walking down really big (4 lane) street, there was big pile of rubble in the middle of the sidewalk, blocking the path so we had to actually go on the road and walk around it. Despite having zebra crossings, it was almost like playing a game to cross the street, no car slowed down let alone stopped when they saw us going over. We had to walk all over the street: up, down, left and right to get away from the cars and to cross the street. Well despite described, it wasn’t that bad. Streets were quite full of people, who were selling food at stalls or walking around. On few points we were swarmed by local kids, trying to beg some money off of us. We even went to a local store where we bought like 7 t-shirts for 3€ (all shirts combined). The strange thing was, that the shirts actually weren’t bad, the material felt quite good and I’m sure if I bought the same shirt here in Slovenia it would have cost around 15€ each.

View of the city from our room.
View of the city from our room.

In the afternoon we went to an enormous shopping mall with more than 700 shops. To my surprise the prices there weren’t much cheaper than in Europe. After getting through small portion of the mall we went to eat some weird Philippines’s fish dish, which too no one’s surprise I didn’t like. After returning to the hotel we went for a quick dive in the pool and then to bed.

The guy in the back is actually a conductor, taking admission  for bus ride.
The guy in the back is actually a conductor, taking admission for bus ride.

Really really early next morning (4AM) we had a trip arranged to the south of the island, where we would swim with the sharks. To our surprises when we came down in front of the hotel a driver was already waiting for us, and too even greater surprises the car was actually quite good. After sitting into a car I turned to get my seatbelt fastened and as soon as I did that Veronika was already sleeping beside me. I’m not sure how that’s even possible, she fell asleep in less than half a minute, I wish I could do that, but for some reason I can’t sleep on public (and private I guess) transports. On the bright side, because I couldn’t sleep I was able to watch scenery outside the windows. On our 4 hour drive to the south, we almost had 10 car accidents, 2 times we almost hit a motorbike, driving in the dark without a light, and for some reason (maybe because it was may the 1st) we almost run over 3 marching band, who were marching in total darkness in the middle of the road.

Rice fields beside the road.
Rice fields beside the road.

After arriving to the Oslob, the town in the south where the sharks were, another guide was already waiting for us (and by us I mean only me and Veronika). She took us to breakfast and told us some instruction for shark diving. Soon after we were in the boat with 2 Filipinos, driving the boat for few hundred meters off the shore, where sharks were. And there we saw them, whale sharks – the largest fish in the world.

Rowing toward the sharks. Veronika is scared.
Rowing toward the sharks. Veronika is scared.

We jumped in the water and sharks swum around us. They were enormous, the tail alone was taller than me, or at least it seemed like that, because of magnifying effect of underwater goggles. We gave a camera to the Filipino on the boat and he took some photos of us. I’m mentioning this, because he held his breath underwater for what must have been 5 minutes. While I had to get up to the surface 3 times, and I can last more than 1 minute without air, he was still down under, taking photos of us. We weren’t allowed to touch the sharks, for their protection, and as they weren’t afraid of us, we actually had to swim away from them quite fast not to get in their way.

After about an hour we returned to the shore where a driver took us to a nearby waterfall and later lunch. In the afternoon we returned to our hotel. We went for a short walk around the area again, to buy some souvenirs and soon after retreated to a dinner in our hotel. We had a really nice dinner there, with surprisingly nice dessert.

Tropical waterfall and vegetation.
Tropical waterfall and vegetation.

Next morning, again in the middle of the night, we had to leave for the airport where we had a plane back to Hong Kong.

16:30 Sun.
12 Jul, 2015


Caticlan , Philippines
26 °C
5:31 am
6:19 pm

Now I understand how GRRM can write a single book for more than 6 years…

After really comfortable, Maggie got us seats at emergency doors so we had like 1.5m legs room in front of us, 3 hour flight, we have landed in Philippines, Kalibo to be exact.

Despite landing at around 11PM, the first thing we noticed after debarking was moisture and warmth in the air. After quick check-up we left the airport and could see the Philippines for the first time, and what a sight it was. Mind that it was dark, there were some locals in rugged clothes sitting in the middle of the street, grilling something on a fire (in the middle of the street), there were dogs, without a leash, everywhere, buildings looked half-finished and there was trash everywhere. Despite this cultural shock, there were already some people waiting for us, to get us to the Boracay island. After two hours of comfortable ride in a modern bus with AC, another check up in the port and a short ride with a boat, we were on the island. There was a van already waiting for us, to drive us to the hotel. I must say, they really take good care of tourists, everything I described here was included in price of around 10€, which we with the plane tickets. On our way to the hotel, I was really happy we chose a good, secure hotel, everything on the street looked like it was going to kill us, luckily as we found in the next days it wasn’t that bad, we were just tired and not used to it when we arrived, beside everything looks scarier in the dark.

Entrance to our hotel complex.
Entrance to our hotel complex.

The hotel was enormous and secure. It wasn’t a typical hotel, but more of a whole complex stretching around golf course. It was completely isolated from the rest of the island with fence and guards, especially the entrance looked like it was guarding post of a war camp. After quick check in at 2AM we were driven to our villa in the complex, to our surprise each villa also had their own guards and hotel personnel.

After a good night’s sleep, we head over to the main building, to have big buffet style breakfast. To our surprise the choice of food was enormous; from Asian, Philippines to the western food. They even had a cook who did your eggs as you wanted. After the breakfast we decided to go check out the hotel’s private beach (ofc it had one xD). Despite being only 10AM it was already really hot and impossible to walk barefoot on the asphalt (I tried). After short walk we arrived to the beach. It looked like a postcard, white sands, palms, light blue water… a paradise. We ran into the water, it was first time we were in the Pacific Ocean.

Veronika pacifically touching Specific ocean for the first time. :)
Veronika pacifically touching Specific ocean for the first time. 🙂

After a while we decided to go to the main beach of the island, so called white beach. The beach is enormous, it’s stretching along full length of the island, there is really fine, almost snow white, sand on it, palms in the back, beach chairs, quite a lot of tourists and locals.

It was not more than 2 minutes since we settled down, that we were swarmed over with locals trying to sell us everything from sunglasses to multi day tours around the islands. After what must have been 30minutes of bargaining and negotiations we reserved a diving tour for the next day. After locals saw that we actually “bought” something from them, they were all over us, coming in intervals of 2minutes, it got quite annoying really fast.

Jean  and Maggie
Jean and Maggie

In the evening (that is 5PM there), we decided to walk along the beach, until we were hungry and ordered something to eat. The food was good and refreshing, and of course, we had to try (local) coconut milk with ice (it was delicious!). After dinner, we watched sunset, it was really beautiful and fast. The time since the sun first touched the water to the time when it was below, must have been no longer than 20 seconds.

Me in the sunset
Me in the sunset

Next day, early in the morning we were scheduled for diving trip. We met our guide on the beach where she got us our diving gear and brought us to our boat. Speaking of diving gear… there is a “funny” story associated with it, I’ll write about it in a future post. We visited three diving spots, full of fishes and corals, and in the end made full circle around the island. It was really nice and well worth time.

Taxi on the island. I have never felt more unsafe. xD
Taxi on the island. I have never felt more unsafe. xD

In the afternoon we went back to the beach, to relax some more and in the evening Veronika and I already had to prepare for the next day, when we had a flight booked to another island Cebu.

Jammie, Yannic, Jean, Veronika, Maggie and Me
Jammie, Yannic, Jean, Veronika, Maggie and Me

All in all Boracay island is very beautiful, there is tons of stuff to do there, now I’m sorry we were there for such a short time. Despite first impressions, people there are really friendly and really try to keep the tourists happy (much more than our neighbours khm khm!). Hopefully I’ll have a chance to visit Boracay and the rest of Philippines again.

Incredible color
Incredible color
Incredible color of the water.
Incredible color of the water.
20:41 Mon.
1 Jun, 2015

First Impressions

Hong Kong , China
29 °C
Light Rain Shower
5:38 am
7:04 pm

Ok, let’s finally do this. After long, long flight(s) we have finally arrived to Hong Kong airport, at around 2pm on Saturday. After getting through immigration, Jean and Maggie were already waiting for us at the entrance of the airport. It was good, surreal to see them after so long.

Stepping on China's soil
Stepping on China’s soil

After quick chat we went to grab something to eat, to the Japanese restaurant at the airport, which happened to be one of the best meals I had there, I had ramen.

Boarding ferry - it's the only way to get to Jean's island.
Boarding ferry – it’s the only way to get to Jean’s island.

After lunch we took a bus (and another bus and a boat) to get to their island. On the road there we could already see tall buildings, around 30 floors, steep hills, just beside them, tropical vegetation everywhere, but no sight of Hong Kong. As I learned later, the area of the city is much larger than I thought, it’s around as big as “primorska” region in Slovenia.

View of the city - from the monkeys area.
View of the city – from the monkeys area.

After about an hour and half, we have arrived to the island Peng Chau where Jean and Maggie live. Somehow we still weren’t tired (that much) so we decided to go for a walk around the island. And there, at the top of the island we finally saw our first glimpses of the main city.

After good night sleep, we slept for probably 14hours, we decided to go and see the local wildlife (i.e. monkeys) in the suburbs of the city. After taking ferry, subway and a bus we have finally arrived to the location of the monkeys. The first thing we noticed after getting of the bus was heat, and really high humidity … subtropical climate. 10m from the bus stop we already saw first monkeys and a lot of signs that said you mustn’t feed them, look them in the eyes and much more. Despite them being small and not looking to dangerous, we ran on quite few occasions, when they tried to attack us or steal something from us. One even blocked our path and didn’t allow us to go further, always running angrily toward us when we tried to go by, I’m not sure what provoked it, maybe it was my shirt colour.

Monkeys are roaming one area harassing visitors and stealing food from their backpacks.
Monkeys are roaming one area harassing visitors and stealing food from their backpacks.
He wasn't to happy seeing us walking over the bridge. :)
He wasn’t to happy seeing us walking over the bridge. 🙂

We decided to go for a walk around park, the path led us through some dense forest areas, around water reservoirs. It was a nice walk, all vegetation looked much different then what we are used to see in Europe, and the noises from the birds and animals were more tropical. =) After about an hour of walking we arrived to a big dam, where we saw monkeys again. They tend to live close to humans, because they are used to get food from them (even though it is forbidden to feed them), sometimes they even steals food from your bags. They are really smart, strong and nimble, it should be fun to have one as a pet.

After the monkeys we went to the city, to the area where they sell a lot of electronics. It was really weird sight, it was something between big store, lots of smaller stores and a market, everything inside another building, if you can imagine that. After a lot of searching, and figuring out that Hong Kong is really expensive (more on that later), I have finally bough a SD card for my camera, which was 5€ (20%) cheaper than in Slovenia (if you know, that there are no taxes in Hong Kong, you realise that they cost exactly the same).

Remember where all those electronic devices come from on eBay? This is almost like offline eBay for electronic stuff. There is whole quarter of city full of shops like this.
Remember where all those electronic devices come from on eBay? This is almost like offline eBay for electronic stuff. There is whole quarter of city full of shops like this.

In the evening we went to the avenue of stars, where Leff and Allen were waiting for us. Finally after almost 2 years we were together again. It was great seeing them and it actually felt like we never were apart.

This is one of my favourite things in Hong Kong. Hot pot - a restaurant where you cook the food yourself.
This is one of my favourite things in Hong Kong. Hot pot – a restaurant where you cook the food yourself.
Allen, Leff, Veronika, Jean and Maggie
Allen, Leff, Veronika, Jean and Maggie

After, we went to have a big dinner, in a nearby mall, but not before waiting for table for 2 hours (a normal thing in Hong Kong, or so they say =)). I think we went to a traditional Hong Kong (maybe Chinese?) restaurant. I actually haven’t been in anything similar before. At the beginning we choose what kind of meet we want (for the table), then they brought 2 big pots with heaters beneath them, and we actually put whatever we wanted in ourselves. Besides meat, we could choose from variety of sauces and vegetables that were located in something similar to salad bar in Europe. The food was good, at least what I ate, I tried to avoid spicy things. =) At the end, you could say that we paid to cook dinner for ourselves.

After the dinner we were really full and slowly walked outside to the pier again to take some photos. It was a great yet tiresome day.

On Monday we went to the city center to exchange money for Philippines. You would think that we would go to a local bank, but no, Maggie took us to … not sure what, but exchange rate was like 20% better than at the airport, and it was in some building almost like apartment building. After quick lunch and few photos we took a bus to the airport and soon after we were already flying toward Philippines.

Old plane at the airport
Old plane at the airport
14:54 Sun.
10 May, 2015

Pizza is on the way

Ljubljana , China
21 °C
Partly Cloudy
5:36 am
8:21 pm

After long journey of almost 36h, very stressful transfer in Beijing and most annoying flight in my life, we are finally home.

Anyway pizza is on it’s way, wuuh finally western food, was getting a bit tired of eating asian for so long :D.

16:33 Fri.
8 May, 2015

Actually it is last night.

Hong Kong , China
28 °C
Partly Cloudy
5:46 am
6:53 pm

Tomorrow evening (actually today in local time) we are going to be leaving Hong Kong and returning back to Slovenia. Last 14 days flew by really fast. There was so much too see and do. It was actually quite tiresome.

We are sad that we have to leave already, but at the same time already dreaming about eating pizza and other “westeren” food!

View from 118th floor.

View from the tallest building in hong kong. This is in 118th floor.
View from the tallest building in hong kong. This is in 118th floor.
View from the tallest building in hong kong. This is in 118th floor.
View from the tallest building in hong kong. This is in 118th floor.
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