Puerto Galera, Mindoro, The Philippines

Billed as a tourist must-do, second only to Boracay, I think the guidebooks forgot the prefix: ‘Sex’ tourist. Puerto G, or more specifically the little inlet of Sabang is a messed-up little den of ill repute for the seediest of old men, and their Filipino girlfriends, wives, mistresses, or soon to be any of these. I’m trying not to judge, I understand that if stuck between the unthinkable life of tending a paddy field 12h a day for 60 years vs. exotic holidays and the trappings of designer clothes that you can really blame some of the girls for Belle De Jour-ing it up. Or in some cases the sad, deluded men that do it. I saw the Louie Theroux special, I get both sides I really do. But I guess it just is really hard to swallow when you see it so in your face. It makes me long for the innocence of Phucket, and that is really saying something.

You won’t blame me then for opting to get as far away from vice city as poss. First to Sinandigan Beach, to Tuna Alex’s; a 150 peso (£1.40) hostel near a beach in a small fishing village. This would have been fine except I was the only person there. Oh actually, that’s a lie, I was just sweeping the 20 bed dorm for serial killers, when some Russian character called Serge (50 years old) showed up, intent on talking me to death and force feeding me mandarins. I tried to make myself scarce by walking to nosy next door at the luxury hotel; Coral Bay, except I found it completely abandoned. It was a sinister version of Agatha Christi’s Murder Under the Sun. Creepy. As the only tourist, the entire village seemed to be around to great me at 5 min intervals and also knew me by name. People often rave about Filipino hospitality, although after a while I got kind of uncomfortable with life it in the spotlight. I’d go on a reality TV show thanks had I wanted this much attention!

Plan B then was to travel 7k along the coast to White Beach, a pretty stretch but punching well above its weight price wise in comparison to its looks. To get there you take a 20 peso Jeepney (the pimped up tractor like trucks that set off only when full, be this 2 mins or an hour later.) Plus a trike; a motorbike and tiny side car. Now how many people do you think you can fit in a trike? 2 in the sidecar perhaps at a squeeze? One more on the back of the motorbike behind the driver? Think bigger. Try 7. Two crammed in the side car, two of us on the motorbike and 3 school kids perched precariously on the metal roof of the sidecar!

So I get back, and…..

Sorry but I can’t actually write anymore. The truly HOWLING sound of karaoke is blaring at me from all angles as I lie in bed writing this. I finally find a nice guesthouse and come back this evening to see a banner for ‘Candy’s 18th birthday.’ This appears to involve 5 generations of her whole village wrestling for a microphone. Videoki is huge out here. I would get involved but I, (tragically and unbelievable but true), I think might be able to out sing them all. That’s how bad they were.

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An.an.tas.in : The Anantasin is the name of a shipwreck just of the coast of the Sensi Parasise, Mae Haad Bay, Koh Tao, Thailand. It’s one of my many favorite places.

Lit.tle: Just because it’s cute.

Blasts From The Past…

January 2012

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