1-11 Feb 2020
We flew by Scoot as we were on budget and because we wanted to go stop over Singapore. I saw my dad from far away waiting for us at the arrival waiting area in Manila. His look has changed since the last time I saw him. It pinched my heart if you know what I mean.
We just went to have a Filipino meal in one restaurant and then had 1-hour massages. T wanted to have as much massage as possible while in the PH because it is cheaper. The next day was my dad’s birthday. We met with my sister in Tagaytay to have a buffet breakfast. It was a nice feeling to dine together again. We then went to Caleruega to attend a mass. It was my parents’ first time to go there while I have been there a couple of times. We used to do retreats there when we were in school. After plenty of photo ops, we went to my relatives’ home to celebrate the day with them as well. It was the first time T met a relative of ours. The next day, I had two migration documents to settle. We just had coffee at Manila Bay.
Our three days in Subic began. Papa drove for about 5hours. We reached Subic exhausted, so we just went for massage and dinner to call it a night. The next day, sadly, papa was not able to come with us as his knee was sore from driving for too long with air condition. I wasn’t used to that. Papa had always been enthusiastic when it comes to going to places. I felt sad but hey, we still went on with our day anyway. We walked by the bay and these men started talking to me about island hopping. I have read a lot about the island near Zambales but not much about Olongapo. He explained about Sampaloc island (1hr away), Mayanga Island (15mins away), SIlanguin Cove (2hrs away), Snake Island and Grande Island. He said their boat rent is P1k per 1hour and can go for a Sampaloc island for the whole day at P4k. Of course, I asked for a discount. They didn’t give me much but still, P3.5k was ok considering we had a white person with us.
Off we went snorkeling in between Grande Island and Sampaloc Island. We haven’t even swum for 5mins when a patrol boat came near us and told us that we weren’t allowed to snorkel there and that we could be fined P5k for it. The corals there were sort of dead and I didn’t see any fish at all. In my head how can you not allow swimming but allow people to kill the corals? Apparently, they said, it depends on the “gifts” offered. Disappointed, he headed back to the boat and decided to just travel to Mayanga island. Our only plan was to go for a day at Sampaloc but because of this, we had to turn back and spend a few hours at Mayanga. The water there was crystal clear though it wasn’t as still so, it was hard to snorkel. There were fishes in some parts. It was a small island with only 2 or cottages. After only a few hours we decided to head back. I thought they promised we would also go to Snake Island but we didn’t so we paid for the price of the whole day and actually just had a boat time of 4hours which was disappointing. We went home, rested and went for a walk at the boardwalk with papa.
I researched about Silanguin Cove. Yep, it’s super nice in photos. There were two possible ways of going there, one is by driving 45mins to a town, then taking the boat for another hour and boat costs P2k going there or from the same boatmen the day before at P4k (from P5.5k) for 2hrs in the boat but no driving. We chose the latter so everyone can just chill.
It was indeed a long boat ride especially the waves were not very friendly. The cove was not entirely visible from the main passage. It was nicely hidden inside a group of hills which served as a gate to a private beach. We snorkeled in there and unlike the Sampaloc waters, Silanguin Cove’s corals and wishes were so alive. It was so beautiful. Water was calm and there were not many people. That time, we almost owned the whole place. Cottage rental was P800 and the entrance was P150 each person but the caretaker said we can pay P1k all in. We spent hours there until the sunset and truly enjoyed it. It was worth it. Heading back was dark and rough, therefore, I felt guilty and gave them extra P1k.
These boatpeople also have a sideline of cooking for visitors. My dad loves things like that so I gave in. He said it was P1k for a huge fish and 1kg of pork and P200 for cooking. I gave him P2k thinking that that would include cooking but on the day, the boat people were not there and the cook asked us to pay extra P300. Food by the bay is always yummy to me no matter what the taste is but it was not worth P2.3k. We went home after that.
- Talk to several boat companies before actually heading there. I did not as I generally did not plan anything.
- Make sure to get your “baon” before heading to the bay or terminal.
- Make sure to discuss your itinerary in detail and that if it is legal to go there or not.
I was generally happy about the trip except for the feeling that I was a little ripped off in my own country.
We didn’t do much the next day. I just went for Dental cleaning and I hated the “White House” way of saying the price. Cleaning was said to be P800 but its case by case basis. Once you’re lured inside, they would check your teeth and tell you that the basic cleaning was P1.5k. Almost double despite I knew my teeth were not so bad as I go for cleaning every 6months. Anyway, this script of “case by case” was annoying to my ears. Why can’t they just give at range so it’s not shocking to hear once inside?
The next day, we went to meet my sissy for a hot-pot lunch and shooting. I couldn’t make myself do shooting as it was loud and scary. This was our last day in the PH. It was sad of course.
This Wuhan virus couldn’t stop us. We stopped in Singapore for 21hrs, therefore, we visited the Jewel, collected a document and met a few friends. I miss both my 1st and 2nd home now that I am returning to my 3rd home.
Every time I’d go home, I could see my parents changing physically. It breaks my heart. It feels like time is really slowly taking them away from me whilst I want to keep on holding on to them….