Monday, February 3, 2014

Philippines Vacation: Day Four

Look at that nice hidden beach!
Coming off a long, albeit fun, day on New Year's Eve, we sought to have a more relaxing day to begin the year. Unfortunately, the staff at the Isola Beach Resort did not cooperate with that idea. In the morning, we wanted to get breakfast, but there was nobody at the front desk at 8 a.m. We checked again. Jackie went by herself. I went by myself. We checked again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

And again.


Morning Frustrations and the Effects of Over Drinking
It took until nearly 11 before we finally were able to flag down an employee. He was able to take our food order. When our food came much later, we were told that all the employees had called to say they wouldn't be coming to work because they were too hungover. They had stayed up until four in the morning to celebrate the New Year with the Russians who were staying there. I still don't understand why the resort would not have someone take their place. It was very unprofessional and very frustrating.

Another frustrating thing about the Isola Beach Resort is that it isn't really on a good, or even decent, beach. You can't really sit there and enjoy it for it is full of rocks and mud. Because of this, we went in search of a beach closer than Alona Beach. Basically, we decide to walk west all the way to the tip of the peninsula and see what we could find.

Out for Stroll
Down the street we went. Along the way, I found a pretty flower to put in Jackie's hair. We passed by houses and small businesses. Everywhere on the island, children would run up and say hello or wish us a happy new year. That was pretty normal the entire time we stayed in the Philippines.

Happy New Year!
I love the blue and green! It's sure different from Seoul...
Here comes the storm.
We got walked through some empty paths surrounded by trees and shrubs until suddenly it cleared. We were at the coast! The very tip of the peninsula was a cliff area, but we took a lot of pictures. Then we walked down the coast. Along the way, we found more photo opportunities of the clear water. As is our custom, I took a bunch of jumping shots of +Jackie!

I believe I can fly.
Maybe white men can't jump, but white women can.
Jumping on the beach!
Flying through the air.

A Strange Stranger Appears
By the time we came to a more muddy area, we were already getting hungry. Jackie started taking pictures and I waited by a fallen tree. Meanwhile, an older white man came down the beach with four big dogs. Jackie finished taking her pictures and walked back. When the man came close, Jackie saw the dogs. She loves big dogs, so she started chatting him up. Other than at our resort and at Alona Beach, we hadn't seen any foreigners and absolutely no Americans anywhere, so learning he was one was very different. [I don't like how this is worded]

The man, Dave, loved to talk about politics. We started by asking him why he lived in the Philippines. He told us how the United States was going all downhill. Everything: Obama, politics in general, the stock market, GMOs, etc. All of it was destroying the country. He knew this because of his independent research and from reading Drudge Report and Alex Jones. Yes, he was one of those people.

I'm not a big fan of Libertarians, especially the ones who love to talk about how much smarter they are than everyone. However, he wasn't a horrible person, and he was interesting to say the least. We walked along with him and his dogs until the rain began to come down. He was walking to his house and we were looking for a place to eat by the beach.

Luckily, we were able to gain shelter from a public pagoda by the beach. Lots of people sat under all the different shelters while the storm rolled through. They listened to music, drank, laughed, and sang. We sat with Dave and talked. He acted very forward and friendly toward everyone and they all seemed to be familiar with him, but I got the distinct feeling that he wasn't necessarily liked by the locals despite living there and, as he told us repeatedly, giving lots of money to local causes.

While we sat there, the conversations got more and more revelatory. Dave loved to talk. We listened. He had an abundance of opinions. Some were good. For instance, he seemed to be in great control of his dogs. He knew what to do to keep them in check and healthy. He really seemed to care about his dogs. However, some of the things he said were...strange.

A couple of times, he referred to the Filipinos as "those people." That always makes me cringe. I later mentioned how I had seen a story about Filipino women being tricked into coming to Korea, where they were then forced into prostitution [You can see the video of the story from CNN]. Dave then informed us that when he lived in Korea in the 80s (a fact he told us over a dozen times), and had both saved three of them while ending up dating one. Also, he told us a kind of creepy story about how often the guys he worked with frequented the prostitutes. Seeing as he had just told us about how they wanted to run away because they were tricked into the job (which means they are sex slaves), it seemed odd that he was then okay, he proud, of using the services of other girls many times.

Dave talked about many other things: nuclear power, meth use by the locals of the island, how to raise dogs, his philosophies on basically everything, how the IRS and taxes are unconstitutional, and more. And more still! He was very proud of his big dogs, and with good reason. They were beautiful. Honestly, he wasn't a scary person, but he was really interesting. He had so many things to say! We just kept obliging him.

The rain stopped and we walked with him more along the beach. Suddenly, the rain started up again and we took shelter under a big tent. Other people ran over to take shelter there as well. Time passed and I was starting to get hungry. Seeing it was getting late, nearly dinnertime, Dave invited us to see his house.

Whoa! A Mansion!
Oh boy...
The rain slowed again, so we hurried down the beach to his house.

Either a giant lives here or those doors are obnoxiously large...
It was gigantic. He told us how he designed it to be self-sufficient and able to withstand earthquakes. When we got there, his wife had made dinner for him and their guests, her sibling and in-law. Instead, Dave asked if Jackie and I could eat. She let us. So, we ended up with a great, home-cooked meal.

After eating, Dave showed us around the house. I got the distinct feeling that he had given this tour many, many times. He sounded one of those guides on a tour who has certain jokes and set pieces to make it interesting, except you can tell it's all a set up. Despite the inorganic feel of the tour, the house was still interesting (all six floors or whatever it was).

Finally, we were done with the tour. So Dave gave us a ride back to our place in his gigantic truck. Seriously. It was monstrous. I haven't seen anything like that since I lived in the United States! Along the way, he played us his favorite jazz singer. I can't remember her name, but she was quite good. His truck had a great sound system. Also, he managed to stop in front of the local elementary school to point out that he designed and created the sundial out front. Always the self promoter, this guy!

Sunset at Isola Beach Resort
The day started out with a very frustrating experience at the Isola Beach Resort. Since we had spent the entire day out exploring, I figured they would have either asked the absent employees to come in late or find replacements. Unfortunately, neither happened, and we spent a lot of the later evening searching around for someone to take our dinner order. The good thing, and I'm trying to see the positive here, was that from the top of one of the buildings, we were able to get some amazing views of the sunset. And although we were eventually able to track down someone to help us, it was still disappointing because they were completely out of the drinks we wanted and were unable to get any for us.

Oh well. Enjoy the sunset!

The sunset from the Isola Beach Resort
Goodbye, day. Hello, night.
[The day before we had spent the morning dolphin watching and relaxing at the virgin island off the coast. It was one of the best days of my life. Then we went to Alona Beach and waited for the new year to begin. You can read more about it HERE.]
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