I have already been here in the Philippines for nearly two weeks and this is my first post. After traveling to many countries now, I have finally made it to the Philippines. Air Asia have cheap flights from Kuala Lumpur which fly into Angeles city, about two hours from the country’s capital Manila.
The biggest surprise has been the level of armed security guards here. I am not sure if that makes more worried or if I feel safer. One of my first meals was at McDonalds and they had an armed guard standing out front and another one inside. These guys don’t just have handguns, but heavy machine guns slung over their shoulders. Since the store was pretty small, I couldn’t help staring at this guy thinking about the level of security that was apparently needed for a pretty small McDonalds.
Security staff at hotels also carry handguns and they all seem to have 24 hour surveillance.
I caught a flight to Boracay from Manila, actually a city just across from Boracay as the island is too small to have its own airport. I knew Chinese New Year was approaching, but I didn’t realize it would be the same time as I was here. Lots of Chinese and Koreans here right now and all flights are booked out of the island for the next week. I might have to travel by bus to another airport if I want to leave sooner.
Boracay is your typical postcard perfect tropical beach resort. They seem to have handled development reasonably and the beach and water is still really nice. The usual touts are not too pushy. Hotels are a little more pricey than what you would pay in say Thailand. The food is not as good as other destinations in Asia, but not too bad. Americans would feel at home as there is every available fast food franchise available here, with a few local ones thrown in.
One consolation for me is that the beer is great and cheap!