Some people tell of meaningful insights and life-altering realizations they’ve had during their travels. I wonder how they do that. I, on the other hand, merely get by on fart stories. So while waiting for my own profound travel epiphany, I managed to pick up a bunch of inane lessons while on a weekend trip to Siquijor with a friend.
1. You’re mistaken for cool people when you go cheap ass. I have a simple rule of thumb when choosing accommodations. Get the cheapest one. I searched online for budget resorts in Siquijor and found Kiwi Dive Resort, which offers a cottage at P450 for two people. When we got there, the receptionist greeted us and said, “Ah, you’re the diving instructors!”
Uh, not really. We’re clueless about diving and I’m not even sure I’m qualified to instruct people on anything, much less on going 50 feet underwater. It was nice to get mistaken for someone with a kickass job though. Turns out the cheapest cottage is where diving instructors often stay. Our moment of apparent coolness lasted for about five seconds but these things come so rarely we’ll take anything we can get.
2. The food is better next door. While we don’t have anything to complain about on the dirt cheap accommodation, we had an issue with the food. You see, Kiwi Resort’s menu isn’t very friendly towards rice-powered people like us. I guess it’s because most of the guests are foreigners so the food choices are tailored to the Western palate. (Although I don’t see the point of travelling halfway around the word and then eating a cheap imitation of dishes from your home country.) The local staff understood our predicament and recommended the restaurant in the neighboring resort, Islander’s Paradise.
The cheesy name was the first indicator we’re on Pinoy territory here. The food was as native as you can get; their dishes include locally grown vegetables like malunggay and alugbati. We ended up having all of our meals there.
3. Never trust a cartoonish map. As much as we loved the food in Islander’s Paradise (I cannot get over the cheesiness of this name), we wanted to try something else. There’s a map of Siquijor on their wall that shows where tourists spots, resorts and restaurants are located. The drawings were rather kooky but at least it didn’t look boring. I insisted on checking out a restaurant on the southwestern tip of the island, which looked like a short walk from our resort. My friend was hesitant, probably sensing it was a bad idea, but she agreed anyway just to shut me up.
Her spidey sense was right; it was a bad idea. We were starving when we left the resort since we woke up late and haven’t had breakfast yet. The “short walk” turned out to be about 3-4 kilometers. Then it rained. We thought of turning back several times but figured we’ve gotten this far anyway and we were already soaked as it is so might as well trudge on. The restaurant was just about to open when we got there. The staff was so rude and inattentive my friend decided we should leave.
So we walked back, drenched and famished. She was furious and I was scared. She had every right to kill me then. She was a good sport though and still managed to laugh it off. We made the best of the situation by dancing around in the rain on an empty highway while belting out boy band and Justin Bieber songs. We’re blaming the crazy behavior and atrocious choice of music on extreme hunger.
4. Black Swan is creepier and Big Bang Theory is funnier when watched on stormy nights. The Social Network is still boring regardless of weather conditions. It’s not much fun to hang out on the beach when it’s cold and rainy so we did the next best thing: movie/series marathons while stuffing our faces with potato chips. My friend hasn’t seen Big Bang Theory yet, which is tragic so I took it upon myself to introduce the awesome comedy series to her. She was laughing her head off on the first minute of the pilot episode.
Black Swan was disturbing and creepy and sad and perfect for a stormy night. I fell asleep after 20 minutes of watching The Social Network. Mark Zuckerberg is a jackass, the Winklevoss twins are whiny, privileged boys and Andrew Garfield is cute. Got it. I didn’t hang around long enough to understand what Justin Timberlake was doing there.
On the whole, our weekend trip was largely uneventful. Early mornings were spent walking on the shore and evenings were capped with beer and laughter. With good times like these, I think I can live without a profound travel epiphany for now.