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  • Writer's pictureJoanna

Joanna Two Two

I was ready to leave the Burgos. I was craving civilization and more than just one oatmeal restaurant down the road. I needed to get out of the rain, and ironically enough, I was also ready for a location with running water on demand.

I had been sweating profusely for the past 24 hours. The Philippines is HOT. I was covered in sand and I just felt all-around, nasty. A shower seemed like a really good idea.

I got in and really lathered myself up.

I put an obscene amount of shampoo in my hair and just stood there, savouring the refreshing spray. There was no place on my entire body that was not lathered in bubbles.

... and then the water ran out...



Bubbled and bare, I slunk out of the shower and into the kitchen area to turn on the sink. Nothing.


I was hardly in a position to head out into the courtyard to seek out assistance. There was a large bottle of drinking water sitting on the counter. Guess that would have to do.

So every-so carefully, I rationed the water in order to properly rinse off... cursing the entire time.

I managed to make it work... but seriously, it’s moments like this...

Those were my last moments in Burgos and off I went to General Luna, a coastal municipality at the southern tip of Siargao.

The rain stopped… finally… and I really got my first real taste of bright blue skies, turquoise clear waters, white sands and chill beach vibes. The forecast is still calling for torrential rain & thunder & lightning… but all I’ve seen the last couple days is sunshine & happiness. I am positive it will remain that way.

For this portion of the journey, I had opted to stay at a hostel. Temple Tropical. I was decidedly impressed by their photos. It has an inviting atmosphere... impressive dome-style facade, a cozy pool area and lounge. It was love at first sight. Very hip, yet comforting.

What didn’t impress me much was the 12-bed dorm room in which I was situated. I can’t imagine, for the life of me, why I would have chosen to be put in a 12 bed dorm. It’s not normally my go-to.

I’m more of a 4-6 bed girl.

Less chaos.

Less awkward.

Less snoring.

Less noise.

Less mess.

Less horrible.

Regardless of what I chose or didn’t choose at the time of my booking, there I was. We were each given our own cubby hole... almost like a capsule. Each bunk came equipped with a plug, a light, a small shelf and a pull down privacy shade. I had originally been placed in an upper bunk, but one of the girls kindly offered to move me to one of the bottom ones. She must have heard my old age, my fat ass and my knobby knees screaming in silence, at the sheer terror of both the climb and the descent.

Ok… I have my qualms about hostels. Yes, I do. Perhaps we all have our strong opinions on them.

They are very oriented towards the young, and I consider myself quite brave (for lack of a better word) to be venturing back in at my age. BUT… on my second night, they put a FAMILY in there… with a TODDLER. You think a hostel is loud? Add an infant.

Yelling, screaming, crying, banging, running, smacking, grabbing, throwing and spewing out loud, trivial words at random…

It was hell.

This kid woke us (me) all up at hours in the evening, prevented the thought of any lazy afternoons and ensured each morning was not-so-bright, but definitely early.

Why not get a family room???

If one calculated all the money they spent on individual capsules, they could have easily purchased a family room. Baffled. I came in at one point during the afternoon, and the grandma had the audacity to ask me not to be loud because I might wake her granddaughter,

Oh, that’s rich.

Loud, it shall be.

One hostel down... no more to go.

I decided I would spend one of my days doing one of the advertised island hopping tours. In all of the online sites, guidebooks and verbal recommendations of things to do in the Philippines, ‘island hopping’ was at the top of the list.

As per the norm, adventure is never far behind where I venture... and I was slated with a rickety old schooner, with a makeshift, wonky plank for a ladder. On more than one occasion, I thought I was going to meet my demise. But somehow I managed to survive.

I looked up what kind of boats they were and apparently they're double outrigger boats called bancas. It seemed my banca had hopped its last hop and I figured it was going to meet its demise, with me onboard... in the middle of the deep blue. It would continuously make this ghastly gurgling sound... sputtering & spattering... then die... only to be revived, time & time again. It resembled a dilapidated lawnmower, begging to succumb to the briny deep. With each rev of the engine, I could almost feel the diesel leaking into the sea.

The first island we visited was Guyam.

It was small, tear-dropped and full of Instagram shots, which made it the idyllic location for all the young girls turned influencers. It's mildly amusing watching their seductive poses, but more so, the boyfriends following them around being forced to take the perfect shot. It's a full time job,

There are branch circles, palm tree swings, cozy benches, colourful signs… not to mention the white sands and the turquoise water.

I did get a few shots of me on the swing, but I bore more of a resemblance to Humpty Dumpty than a budding model, so those photos were quickly deleted and replaced with a mango rum.

Delicious, I might add.

The mango rum. Not the Humpty photos.

I was a little tempted by the mango cheesecake milkshake, but deemed it too early for milkshakes. It's never too early for mango rum though. Right?

I met a lovely couple from Australia, who were up for the surf. They were staying at Cloud 9, a definite surfers resort. Did you know Siargao is the surfing capital of the Philippines? I didn't either. The things you learn. He recommended I try surfing... and I momentarily considered the idea... but I figured I'd let the sharks nibble on someone else.

From Guyan, we ventured to Daku Island, our lunch stop. In saying that, ‘lunch’ doesn’t seem quite the appropriate word. It just doesn't do it justice.

It was a grandiose feast.

Like a banquet blowout.

I understand that they want to indulge and impress, but this was excess. It actually exceeded excessive to the point of gluttonous. I say that considering how raped the oceans are. They paraded seven tables of food out in front of us, each fitting together, like a puzzle, to form the ceremonial spread.

They spelled the word ‘SIARGAO’ out in NOODLES.

It was a Filipino-style boodle fight lunch feast... but not fight as we would normally associate the word. I guess the traditional word describing the feast is Kamayan, which translates to “by hand,” and describes the method of eating with your hands. There were mangos, pineapples, watermelon, rice, noodles, shrimp, fish and something in a shell that looked a little bit too creepy for me to try. At first I wondered how all of this food would possibly be eaten, but when the tables were taken away, they were picked dry. No napkins though… and when you’re eating mango, pineapple and shelled shrimp, napkins are a plus. Especially when eating with your hands.

Naked Island was our final stop.

I believe it was named for the fact that it’s basically just a sand dune, void of vegetation. But I figured it could aptly be attributed to the dozens of naked girls running around, getting their dream beach shot. Bathing suits these days leave much to be desired. There is a fine line between clothed and naked.

We live in an odd world...

Anyway... one incredible must always be followed by one foolish move... by me.

One might say it's become established practice.

Has anyone ever done something astonishingly moronic on their vacation?

If not, you really must join me for a jaunt, as I seem to excel at idiocracy.

The evening following my island hopping excursion, I sat down in the hostel and started to strategically plan for my next couple weeks in the Philippines. Like any regular traveler, I checked out flights, ferries, accommodations, restaurants, tours, points of interests, beaches and more.

I booked into a few hotels.

I booked a couple ferries.

I booked a flight from Cebu to Boracay. November 29th at 11:25AM.

Then I went to bed.

The next morning, I rose, got ready for the day... and continued my online exploration.

I checked out flights, ferries, accommodations, restaurants, tours, points of interests, beaches and more.

Pretty much exactly the same as the night before.

THEN… I booked a flight from Cebu to Boracay. November 30th at 11:25AM.

As soon as I confirmed with my CC, a wave of familiarity rolled over me.

What was this doomed feeling I was feeling?


I booked the same flight twice ,24 hours apart.

Seriously… I’m a moron. Just give me money and watch me blow it right out the window.

I have to throw something in for clarification. There was absolutely NO alcohol involved. I wish there was, actually. Then I would, at least, have a feeble grasp at some kind of rationalization.

I spent the majority of the morning, trying to contact Cebu Pacific, to no avail. They don't care. I sent 25 million messages and even tried to beat their bot, but alas, I could not outsmart it, no matter how much I tried. Every time I typed in, “I want to speak to an agent,” it had the same list of concerns for me to choose from. None of which mentioned booking the same flight twice.

There is nothing else I can do but try to be patient.

Now… I wait. I am positive that I will wait in vain… and nothing will come of my stupidity.

Yes… it’s my fault.

Just another notch in the belt of the brainless.

I can deal with that.

Follow me for all your travel needs.

You’ve got a real travel expert here.

I’m a sure thing.

This 'How NOT to Travel' with Joanna McBride is actually writing itself.

Dealing with my disappointment, I decided to venture out into the town and explore. My original intention was to do a land tour, but I figured I shouldn't spend the money. Instead I stayed behind and threw money out the window like Jacob Two Two.

I walked all through the small, but bustling town of General Luna, taking every opportunity to pop into gift shops, check out local artisans crafts, try out new foods & drinks and basically just wander.

I took the advice of the Australian couple I'd met and headed up to Cloud 9 to watch the surfers.

It was insane.

They were soooo good.

The waves were ENORMOUS. In fact, I don't think I have ever seen waves so big. No wonder they call it the surfing capital of the Philippines! I stood out on the boardwalk for a couple hours, completely mesmerized. I could have watched them forever. I did, actually... I stayed until the sun went down.

Back to the hostel for some laughs, some wine and some delicious Filipino fries.

What wasn't there to celebrate? I had had TWO full days of sunshine and I had TWO fun flights coming up! Cheers to double stuff.


Not too much celebration though. I had arranged for a Tuk Tuk to pick me up at 4:30AM. I had to be at the Dapa port for my 6AM ferry from Dapa to Surigao. From there I was catching another 10+ hour ferry to my next island destination, Cebu!

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Nov 26, 2023

I am loving your adventures! I want to hear more about the food!

Jan 14
Replying to

LOL... I'm not good at description!

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